Archives For focus

Right now is happening directly in front of you, but you probably don’t even recognize it. We’re constantly being caught unprepared to deal with the moment before us. Instead of proactively approaching each day looking for opportunities to build God’s Kingdom, we spend our time reacting to whatever may come. “Right now” occurs over and over each moment we live.

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Each of those moments is an opportunity to either build or tear down God’s Kingdom. Each of those moments is an opportunity to do the things God has told you to do, to be the person He created you to be or to forever be wasted. Right now, we get to choose which it will be.

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Are you living for or with Jesus? There’s a subtle but significant difference. We can follow everything the Bible teaches and still miss the point. This is, I fear, the state in which many “Christians” find themselves today. They are focused and determined to live for Jesus, and they engage in activities they believe are dictated in the Bible. But this misses the point of living with Jesus.

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From the very beginning, God has shown He is relational. He created the Garden of Eden, indeed, the entire planet, so He could spend time with His creation. He wanted to walk with us, and for us to desire to be with Him. God’s character is unchanging, so we know He desires the same things today.

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Satan knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). He gets more desperate each passing day. It’s one reason this world continues to fall ever deeper into evil and depravity. In the midst of the chaos, it’s easy to become discouraged. We wonder if things will ever get better. Some even question where God is in the midst of all this.

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Followers of Jesus should, while fighting against the dark forces prevalent in our world today, also be encouraged. If Satan knows his time is short, it means ours is too. The difference is our time ends in victory, while the devil’s dissolves into defeat. If Satan’s time is short, then Christ’s return is near.

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As I continue to seek ways to simplify my life, I’m amazed at how complex it continues to grow. There seems to be a never-ending flow of demands on my time, opportunities to pursue, and responsibilities with which to engage. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess your experience is similar. We are a busy generation of humans. As I often tell my team at work, being busy is not synonymous with being productive.

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I fear many of us have allowed our lives to become so busy we cannot be productive for the Kingdom. We’re so consumed with the fleeting things of this world we are missing out on the great eternal work left to be done.

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As disciples of Jesus, our goal is to ever be drawing closer to Him. We want to know Him better, to understand Him on a deeper level, and to love Him more. Satan has other plans. The entire focus for Satan is to keep each Christ-follower unbalanced and distracted.  Sometimes he does this by insinuating himself into tragedies and disappointments we encounter. More often, Satan’s modus operandi is to subtly influence us to look away from God.

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The devil needs only catch the corner of our eye to accomplish his purpose. Whenever we can be influenced to not have our entire focus on God, Satan claims a victory. He is the master of distraction, and his distractions will erode both our walk and our faith.

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I love this quote from real estate mogul Gary Keller: “We don’t determine our lives; we determine our habits, and our habits determine our lives.” That’s great advice for life and general, but I think it is quite applicable for our Christian walk as well. What habits are you building into your life that will lead you to live wholly devoted to God?

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Discipleship never happens by accident. It’s not something we stumble into. Discipleship is a choice, one we must make every day. To continue making the discipleship choice each day, we’re going to need habits in our lives to make this easier. Our habits form the disciplines essential for discipleship.

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For followers of Jesus, daydreaming can be both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, what we daydream about offers significant insight into what God created you to do for His Kingdom. If you aren’t certain where your passions lie, pay attention to the things about which you daydream. We tend to dream about those things which captivate and fascinate us. One of the great joys in life is figuring out the intersection between your passions and God’s mission.

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On the flip side, daydreaming can be an insidious thief of your time and energy. We can waste hours daydreaming and not accomplishing anything for God’s glory. As disciples, we know it is our duty to be good stewards of our time, so we must be careful our daydreaming does not inhibit our Kingdom building.

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There is no quicker path to destruction than to take your eyes off Jesus. Let your focus waver for even a minute and you will be heading down a path you never intended and have no interest in following. It’s troubling how we can spend hours on our knees with God, and seconds later lose our focus and find ourselves in a dark place. It comes down to discipline, but focus is taxing of our energy, so we often tire and give up.

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Still, if we are serious about living a life worthy of Christ, we’ve got to get better at keeping our focus on Him. One slip can cause years of damage. As you approach this day, this hour, this moment, let me ask you: “Where is your focus?”

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Those of you who work retail understand that particular career field has a way of destroying the wonder of Christmas. I’m twenty years removed from more than a decade of retail management, and I confess I think I am only now beginning to fully recover. To all of you in retail I want you to know I truly understand why this time of year may no longer be overly special for you.

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You are more likely pulling your hair out (or fantasizing about pulling out the hair of certain customers!) than you are experiencing the magnificent peace of the season. If you could hit pause for just a couple minutes, I’d like the opportunity to remind you of what an amazing time of year this is, and to hopefully help reorient your focus on the true reason for the season.

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Devoted followers of Christ hate when they sin. It’s maddening. We don’t understand why we continue to do things we know are not honoring to God (Romans 7:15). If you’re like me, you may have often pondered why we sin in the first place. It seems logical our love and devotion to God would keep us close to Him and far away from sin. It would be that simple if we did not have an enemy who was constantly seeking to trip us up and eventually destroy us (1 Peter 5:8).

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While we can’t blame Satan for our failures, we can blame him for planting the seeds of those failures. Ultimately though, the reason why we sin is because we choose to take our eyes off Jesus.

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