Archives For focus

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 living 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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Nothing kills momentum and mission quicker than indecision. When Jesus calls you to do something, do it right away. How many times have you felt led to help someone, donate some money, or simply say a kind word but hesitated? And then the moment was lost. Indecision kills. What could have been a beautiful moment is now gone forever. You never noticed Jesus bothered with indecision.

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He knew His purpose, He knew His mission, and He let nothing interfere with them. The life of Jesus was a perfect model of consistency. Consistency is the antidote for indecision. When our default and constant reaction to any nudge of the spirit is to act, we will cut indecision off at the knees.

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Every now and then I read something that at once inspires me while also feeling like being punched in the gut. In his book, “Counter Culture”, David Platt writes, “I don’t want to waste the opportunities God has given me to live out the gospel by which God has saved me in the culture where God has placed me.” Let that sink in for a moment.

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It’s a great mantra by which to live our lives. It’s also a convicting scale we can use to weigh any decision with which we are faced. Are we doing all we can to serve and love others in the context in which we’ve been placed? If not, why not?

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Self-centeredness continues to be the Achilles heel of so many people who desire to follow Christ. We want to serve Him but can’t seem to get our eyes off ourselves. Instead of focusing on how amazing God is, we are content to fret over how miserable we are. A.W. Tozer once said, “The life of the normal believing child of God can never be a life of gloom and pessimism, for it is the Holy Spirit of God who keeps us above the kind of gloomy resignation that marks the secularism of the day.”

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We acknowledge with our minds the Spirit of Christ dwells in us, but live as if He doesn’t exist at all.

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I was recently reading Calvin Miller’s excellent “The Disciplined Life” for a second time and came across a statement that exploded off the page. The author wrote, “To hold anything in our hearts that is contrary to the single-minded call is to split our attention between Jesus and whatever else is calling for first place in our allegiance.”
This is the heart of discipleship.

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There is no place in the life of a follower of Christ for anything other than Jesus. A divided kingdom will certainly fall (Mark 3:24), and a divided heart will never find lasting peace or victory. We either solely belong to Jesus or we do not belong to Him at all.
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I read an awesome prayer recently. It was simply, “Deliver me today from the trifling things and help me to spend every minute of the day on ‘the things that matter.’” I need to pray that every day. My life is often filled with “trifling things”. I am guilty of rejecting the beautiful, matchless gifts of God in lieu of the cheap and fading things of this world.

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It’s crazy when you step back and look at how much we’re giving up and how little we are actually getting. Everything we achieve or acquire in this life will pass away. It won’t last. In the end, it will all be useless; wasted time and wasted trinkets to litter the memories of a possibly wasted life.

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