Tag Archives: attention

Demanding an Audience

As a baby, we do many things for the attention of our parents. We continue to do what we can for attention as we grow. At some point, we learn that we aren’t supposed to be seeking all this attention, that this attention should be for God alone. We are to live in a way that we point to Christ Jesus and glorify Him by our words and actions.

Even so, we often get caught in situations where we try to get attention. We get excited when someone with a reputation has recognized us. Some of us want so badly to be seated near these distinguished people. Backstage passes are coveted. Seats near those in charge are desired. We want to “push for a place among the great.”

This is something we all do in life, but it was never something Jesus did. He didn’t demand an audience. He didn’t push for a place to sit beside those who were considered high up on the food chain. Instead, He ate with sinners. He lived His life to glorify the Father. Today, ask if your words and actions glorify God—or if you are demanding an audience? Are you pointing to Jesus or are you pointing to yourself?

“Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great.” – Proverbs 25:6 [NLT]

Drawing Attention

Paul gives specific instructions for women. This passage is a difficult one for many women to swallow. Many times it is misunderstood. Contemporary readers typically shut their ears to the truth in these words. It is important, whether you are a man or woman, to understand what Paul is referencing in these verses.

The reason for “women to be modest in their appearance,” is because women should “not draw attention to themselves.” The attention should always be God’s. This is why Paul is addressing the issue of women fixing their hair and wearing jewelry. It has to do with attention. We are never to do anything to draw attention away from Jesus Christ.

Paul notes that the attractive woman is one who does good things. When doing these good things, we shine the Light—we point to Christ. Remember friends, the world tells you to do what you can to get attention. However, in Kingdom life, we know He alone deserves all the honor, glory and praise. It doesn’t mean we cannot wear makeup or jewelry, that our clothing doesn’t matter. It means nothing can take His glory. Fix your eyes on Him and in everything you do, point to Him.

“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.” – 1 Timothy 2:9-10 [NLT]

Bag in the Wind

During one of our evening walks, Marci started to bark like crazy. She saw something dark moving at a nearby house. She went into barking dog mode and it was hard to get her to calm down. Funny enough, she was barking at a black plastic trash bag that was blowing because of the great winds passing through the area. It did not matter how many times I tried to tell her it was fine, she continued fixated on what she thought was an attack.

I see a lot of “little dogs” going crazy at things observed—many times misconceptions, many times judgmentally rooted. The “little dogs” are those people in a church who point out what everyone is doing wrong. A big spoon of legalism is dished out. Oftentimes this is seen between people who have grown up in the church. A person from one denomination, raised with certain traditions, barks at someone else who has been taught that other traditions were more important, or that their traditions are the “right way to do things.” Possibly the barking dog syndrome is a result of someone becoming puffed up.

The Bible talks a lot about unity of the Body. The reason so much time is spent on this topic is because the devil will use anything to try to plant and promote division. The church can often get off course when Jesus is not the most important focus. Whether we are at church, at home, at work, at school—wherever we are at—Jesus should be the main thing. As well, if Jesus is the main thing, we should do whatever we can to promote the unity of the Body. This means the little dog syndrome should stop. Instead, let us love God and love others. May we build up instead of tearing down. The bag in the wind is not something on which to fixate.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3 [NIV]

 

Looking the Other Way

You can miss a lot of things when you look the other way. There are times when we purposely look the other way to avoid things, and there are moments when we do not even realize we are missing anything as we are focused in another direction. The Psalmist noted that God is good, but he almost missed seeing Him at all because he was too busy looking at people.

What has your attention today? Where are you looking? In this world, it is very hard to not look at the people around you and focus on them. With social media and television and magazines, we are able to even focus on people we never met, people who are famous. We place our attention on who divorced who, who looks the worse without makeup, who had a tantrum, who gained a lot of weight, etc. There are millions of dollars spent each year on magazines to keep up with celebrities. As we look the other way, we miss God, the great Almighty Lord of all. We miss seeing His goodness because our eyes are looking for what the world says is good, interesting, and pleasing.

Today I hope you consider where you place your attention. Today I hope you aim to not miss the goodness of God. It is all around you. Don’t let the world get you to look the other way. He is here. He is alive. He is good. And He loves you so very much. Don’t miss Him. Please, don’t miss Him.

“No doubt about it! God is good—
good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it,
missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way,
looking up to the people
At the top,
envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about,
not a care in the whole wide world.”

-Psalm 73:1-5 [MSG]

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Taken Seriously

There is a lot of time and energy being spent in the world today just to be taken seriously. People feel like they must fight for attention. Advertising has become more bold and outrageous than ever. It is hard to get people to pay attention. Celebrities do wild stunts. We post odd status updates to social media just hoping to cause someone to listen. At work, we take extra time for a presentation because we want to boss to take us seriously and consider us for the next area of advancement.

Things are different when we look at how we get attention from people and how we get attention from God. We do not have to fight to get His attention. We do not have to outdo another to get His attention. We do not have to be wild and crazy and do something off the collar to get His attention. The Psalmist wrote that He always took him seriously. He always listens. He always is genuine and sincere.

To God, you are important. He ALWAYS takes you seriously. Every prayer. Every need. Every desire. Every hair on your head. Every piece of your life. It all matters to Him. So you can spend your day trying to get attention from someone, or you can recognize that you already have His full attention. His attention is the best.

“You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.”

-Psalm 61:3-5 [MSG]

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Look After

If you are the older sibling, you might have heard the phrase “look after” your brother or sister. If you are in a management position, your job is to “look after” whatever you are managing, and this usually includes a group of people. When you have children, you “look after” them.

Looking after someone requires time and attention. Looking after someone at its best requires love and dedication. Looking after someone or something requires caring. Looking after someone requires being intentional and present.

The author of Hebrews wrote, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.” He went on to mention bitterness that leads to trouble and corruption. We spend a lot of time looking after ourselves, looking after our families, looking after our co-workers—let us not forget to look after our brothers and sisters.

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” – Hebrews 12:15 [NLT]

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Fix Your Thoughts

We can look around and see so many things. As technology improved, we have the capability to see so much more than when you and I were younger. With this great advancement comes an open door to allow more things to pass by your eyes. Some things are great and some things we could do better without.

Paul told us to “fix our thoughts.” To put our attention in a particular area. To focus on certain things. It is something that I remind myself of daily. With all of opportunities we have to see things, it is clear that we need to filter what we see so as to focus on what is “excellent and worthy of praise.”

If you look at a magazine shelf at a store, you will see so much destruction. So much divorce. So much scandal. So much drug addiction. So much gossip. So much impurity. As you focus on all this sin, it starts to draw you inward. The marketing experts know what they are doing. You won’t see many “admirable” magazine articles plastered in the more frequently used aisles. You have to seek them out in the aisles rarely opened. But we are challenged to fix our focus. I say “challenged” because it is a challenge but it can be done. Today, be boldly focused. When you find yourself seeing things that are not worthy of praise, fix your focus. Allow more of what is good to come in, and gradually you will find that there’s a great benefit with this intentional focus on what is good.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” – Philippians 4:8 [NLT]

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Focus

The morning started like any other morning, but this morning a customer returned to announce that there was an emergency in the parking lot. EMERGENCY. It appeared to him that someone was hunched over dead in their car. Immediately people went into action. The go to person was called to the parking lot. The higher ups all took position. There was a low mumble as people were considering the situation and coming up with their own opinions and speculations. There I stood silently praying as I continued to do my job. Please Lord, let the person be okay.

It turned out that the person was hunched over, but they were far from dead. The person, who was young and vibrant, was simply engrossed in her smart phone. She was looking intensely at the phone that she paid no attention to the knocks of the man earlier who was checking to see if she was okay. Only when dozens of people were frantic did she hear the knocks on the window. There must have been something exciting on that phone. She had her full focus on that phone.

Where is your full focus today? Are you so focused on something that you aren’t focusing on God? Are you so focused on your job, your schooling, your family, your relationship, money, a hobby, that you aren’t paying attention to God? See, He’s knocking—He’s always knocking. The problem is we so often are hunched over not paying attention and we miss the knocks.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” – Revelation 3:20 [NIV]

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Smart Wisdom

Twice this week I have seen a young man walking his son down the middle of the street. I often see runners and walkers alike walking on the street at the side of the road. Many of them have florescent clothing and typical exercise attire. All of them are looking forward to be aware of any oncoming traffic while walking on the proper side of the street to be as safe as possible. This man with the small child; however, rarely looks up as he walks his child. He has his face looking downward at his “Smart Phone,” keeping his attention there for blocks at a time.

If you have a child, God has blessed you with that child. You have been entrusted to care for the child and to raise the child in the way of the Lord. Numerous passages speak of teaching our children the Lord’s Word. Numerous passages mention training up a child. Sadly, there are many parents who are lost themselves, walking hap hazardously through life. This can be not only dangerous for the parents but can also be hurtful to the children. Other parents, even those who know the Lord, have been engrossed with other things in life, that their children do not get much of their attention.

Today, if you have a child—thank God for such a great blessing and seek Him for guidance. Rely on His Word to help you train up the child as the way to go in life. Ask yourself—are you active in your child’s life? Do you know what is going on at your son’s school? Are you interested in what your daughter is interested in? Get interested. Pay attention. Hug. Show love. Show support. Share wisdom. Share Jesus. They need it.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 [ESV]

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Tower Building

In Genesis 11, the people were attempting to build a tower to make a name for themselves which resulted in the people being scattered. By attempting to build the tower, they were seeking glory for themselves, rather than glory for God. They were trying to build themselves up rather than living for God.

When you look around today, it seems like there are a lot of towers being built up all over the world. Perhaps we have been scattered all over and we speak different languages, but it did not rid us of this desire to be like God—the same desire that plagued Adam & Eve in the garden. People are still trying to get noticed. People are still trying to build up. People are still trying to live for themselves rather than for God.

Today, look at your life and check for any towers. Are you seeking glory? Are you trying to get noticed? It is okay to get some attention, but we should always be pointing to Christ. To God be the glory.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NIV]