Your focus changes everything. If you focus on your problems, you will become overwhelmed by your problems. You will worry. You will become stressed. Your attitude will darken. When you focus on Christ, you realize for Whom you live and you are reminded of His Word. Focusing on Jesus helps you to live by Christ, to trust in His promises, and to embrace the eternal.
In Colossians 3, we read about seeking God, about focusing on Christ. Paul wrote for us to set our minds on things that are above—the higher things. Verse 1 says aim at and seek. This says so much. When you aim at something, you have to focus intensely on the target. When you focus on the target, you have to be facing the target. It is all about the target and reaching the target—making contact with the target. When you seek something, you go forward, toward the object. You attempt to find the object. With Christ, this is so very easy. The Bible says, seek and you shall find. The Bible says when you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him.
Today consider how you are aiming at Christ, how you are seeking Jesus. Are you focused intensely on Jesus? Are you facing the direction of Jesus? Do you make contact with Jesus? Are you moving in His direction? Are you seeking wholeheartedly?
“If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead’, aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds, and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not the things that are on the earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2 [AMP]
If we consider our lives, we could say that there are some things we neglect. Some people neglect their health. Some people neglect their children. Some people may neglect their pets. Some people may neglect their work obligations. Some people may neglect their household maintenance. Some people may neglect their appearance. Some people may neglect their family. Some people may neglect their finances. The list goes on and on.
Remember when the Israelites decided to bring the Ark of God into battle so that they could win the battle (so they thought)? Then the Ark was captured and for a long time it was not with the Israelites. This was the Ark of the Lord, the Ark that the people of Israel used to communicate with God. The same Ark that contained the jar of manna that was preserved, the Ten Commandments, as well as Aaron’s rod. So David spoke up and told the people of Israel that it was time to bring the Ark of the Lord back. “We neglected it during the reign of Saul,” he said.
Neglected it. This also could be interpreted as “ignored” or did not “seek,” “inquire,” or “consult.” These words are all listed in various translations. Today I want you to consider what you neglect—what you ignore. First and foremost, consider your relationship with God. Do you neglect it? Do you seek Him? Do you consult Him? Has it been awhile?
“It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.” – 1 Chronicles 13:3 [NLT]
God’s word speaks a lot about obedience. We aren’t too fond of the “O” word. In Deuteronomy 4, we see everything listed for us. This passages says “hear the decrees and laws…. follow them… do not add… do not subtract from it… watch ourselves so that you do not forget… teach them to their children” (Deuteronomy 4:1-9 NIV).
As I was reading this passage today, I thought of HEART. We need to have a heart devoted to God, a heart for God, a love for God, that will cause us to do as this passage says. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (NIV). It all comes down to heart.
Having a relationship with God is not simply knowing what God’s word says, but doing what His word commands. Yes, the “O” word.
Do you have HEART?
- Hear (Listen)
- Ensue (Follow/Obey)
- Arithmetic (Don’t add or subtract)
- Remember (Keep it in your heart and head)
- Teach (Teach your children/others)
Thomas was given the nickname doubter. No one wants to be a doubting Thomas. He needed to see Jesus and the wounds to actually believe. Yet when we look closely, the other disciples also only believed after they saw Jesus. It is important to have faith as a child and only believe. At the same time, I see this situation with Thomas in a positive light. Thomas believed after he saw– he simply wanted to be sure of things.
Today we have people attempting to tell us the Truth. Some people say they have heard a special word from God and they form their own groups that do not follow God’s Truth. There are people who manipulate God’s Word in an attempt to promote their vision. We have infomercials that stretch the truth, advertisements that are too good to be true, and much more. Sadly people are so very quick to jump at these lies, instead of seeking out the Truth. Thomas wanted to have evidence. He wanted to be sure. Once he knew the Truth, he believed.
Jesus told the disciples to stay alert and beware those who came and pretended to be Him. He warned them that there would be lies and schemes, there would be miss-truths that people would attempt to spread. We see this too many times still today. It is okay to be like Thomas and to want to see proof. When someone says that God’s Word says something, check for yourself. When a minister preaches a message that you are unsure about, dig into God’s Word. If you seek the Truth, the Truth you shall find (Matthew 7:7). Stay alert.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
– Jeremiah 29:13 [NASB]
I had just dropped my two children off to the bus stop and was walking the dog for our daily adventure. I was enjoying the warm sun and the fresh air. I looked ahead to see another group of children gathered together at a second bus stop. They entered the bus and as the bus pulled away and the group of remaining parents walked away, I noticed a man and a young boy.
The young boy was probably four years old, and he looked at his father with glowing eyes. I was too far away to hear what he said to his dad, but I knew by their actions, that the son had just challenged his dad to a race. And they were off. I could hear the laughter as they both ran down the path. The father was sure to not run at full speed so that he could keep a watchful eye on his son, and keep his son enjoying the race. They ran together till they reached their home. It was such a small moment that I witnessed during my morning trip, but it was such a special time– and probably not only for myself.
God tells us to be mindful of how we interact with other people. When it comes to parenting, we are not supposed to raise our children to be filled with anger and bitterness. We are to raise our children in the Lord. We are to be ready to offer grace and love. We are freely to give and sacrifice. God has gave us such great examples of how we can be a good parent, and a good friend, child, sibling, teacher, etc. We simply need to love like Him, to show grace like Him, to sacrifice like Him. We simply must seek Him.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
– Ephesians 6:4 [NASB]
When I was a little girl, I remember when I went to the mall with my grandmother, my mother, and my sister. When we were about ready to leave, we had a few things we wanted to look at yet. My mother and grandmother wanted to go and do their own thing. I was still pretty young, but I was old enough to know better. They told me when I was finished purchasing an item, to meet at this certain place and they were going to do what they had to do and then they were going to meet me there.
I had different plans. I said I was old enough to meet them out at the car, that I could walk out to the car by myself and everything would be fine. My grandmother and my mother said absolutely not, that they would meet me at the spot and that was it. So I finished making the purchase that I needed to make and I decided I was going to go out to the car. I was gonna show them, because I could get out to the car by myself.
I was out by the car. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. No one was coming. My grandmother and mother in the meantime were frantically searching for me, with my sister, dragging her around everywhere looking for me and wondering where I was. I was lost they thought. It took a long time before finally they came out to the parking lot and they found me. I got in trouble of course. I should have gotten in trouble because I didn’t listen.
It reminds me of how we sometimes don’t listen and we all at one point or another were lost. I was thinking back to Luke 15, where you can find the lost sheep and lost coin parables, and how the coin and sheep were valuable. We are very valuable to God. He doesn’t want any of us to not be with Him. Just to imagine ninety-nine sheep and one gets away. He goes after that one. Each of us are that one at one point or another. We are all thought of as an only child. To imagine that kind of love.
A lot of people think love is emotion. The word love is about action. That is how God loves us. He comes and He gets His lost sheep. He is with you through it all. He doesn’t leave you. He shows His love. The way He shows His love was to send His Son to redeem you and to redeem me. That’s action- that’s what love is all about. We are asked to love one another, to serve one another, and the love that we are to have is a love filled with action.
Read Luke 15