Tag Archives: where is your focus

Distractions

I have a hard time focusing—my attention has always been a battle. I’ve taken medicine to try to keep my focus, as I was diagnosed long ago with AdHd. Nothing seemed to keep me “me,” but yet a more focused me. Over the years, I have learned some habits to prevent me from adding to my lack of attention and to help me to stay focused. Even so, there are distractions all around for each one of us and we have to be intentional so we are not distracted from the “great work” God has called us to live out on our spiritual journey.

In Nehemiah 6, we read one of my favorite phrases: “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” I love this! People were trying to thwart the progress of Nehemiah’s “great work.” The wall he was called to build was nearly finished. The gates simply needed to be put in place. As he was near the finish line, the distractions didn’t stop. They never do. There will always be people trying to stop you from doing what God has placed in your heart. The devil has been defeated by Jesus, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to stop any progress God’s children have in growing God’s Kingdom and on doing something that glorifies God. But boldly we can exclaim: “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”

Today, examine your life. Distractions can come from any area of your life. Are you living a life fully for God? Is God first in your life? Have you been facing a distraction that is keeping you from living out what God has for your life? Are your eyes focusing elsewhere? Fix your eyes on Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). He will see you through.

“And I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?’” – Nehemiah 6:3 [ESV]

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Colossians Study: Realities of Heaven

[Colossians 3:1-4]

He is your life

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ. [MSG]

  • Christ Raised (v. 1) – Raised along with Christ, raised to life with Christ
  • Christ Ruled (v. 1) – Christ rules at God’s right side
  • Christ Focused (v. 1-2) – Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth]
    • Set your heart on what is in heaven – Seek the things above
    • Think – phroneó – Direct your mind to, seek for, observe, care for
  • Christ Hidden (v. 3) – You died, your life is hidden with Christ
    • You died – apothnéskó – dying off (separation / away from)
    • Life – both physical & spiritual (present & future)
    • Hidden kruptó – concealed, secret, hidden
  • Christ Glory (v. 4) – Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory. Glory (doxa– “dox’-ah”) – praise, honor, glory, high renown, splendor

Bible Study Questions:

Seek the things that are above (v. 1) and set your minds on things that are above (v. 2)

These things make the subject of CAREFUL REFLECTION

Think on these things – Give them weight in your decision. Allow them to shape you.

1) In Philippians 4:8, Paul wrote, “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” (NLT).

This is to be our FOCUS. This is part of seeking and setting your mind. What do these words mean? How does the world derail us from focusing on these things?

TRUE
HONORABLE / HONEST / NOBLE / WORTHY OF REVERENCE
RIGHT / JUST
PURE / AUTHENTIC
LOVELY / ACCEPTABLE / LOVABLE
ADMIRABLE / GOOD REPORT / KIND AND GRACIOUS
EXCELLENCE / VIRTUE / VIRTUOUS
WORTHY OF PRAISE / PRAISEWORTHY

2) What can we do to follow Proverbs 4:23 command to “watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life”?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

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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A Huge Danger

When a danger is called “huge” it should not be taken lightly. In this case, the people were being warned of the danger of associating with a country that worshiped false gods. The concern was that by living closely with these people, the people of Israel would begin to accept some of the practices and culture that was against the Word of God.

Jesus ate with sinners. He spent time with many people who were not pure. However as we read the Gospel, it is clear that Jesus did not spend all of His time with these people. He spent a lot of time with His Father in prayer. He spent a lot of time teaching and preaching as He traveled along with His disciples. He was so engrossed with His mission and He spent much time with the Word as was demonstrated during His time in the wilderness and while teaching. He often recited Scripture. It was written on His heart. It was at the core of His being.

If we do not go out in the world to share the Gospel, then the Gospel won’t get shared. We cannot isolate ourselves from the world to stay safe from temptation. Even in isolation, you will be tempted. Temptation is everywhere. But you can be cautious and keep yourself from spending too much time around “huge danger.” Paul wrote about focusing on what is worthy of praise. You can opt to take in a lot of negative and find out that what you take in will eventually come out. Or you can opt to focus on Him and the right, the pure, the lovely and find that it begins to pour from you.

“Don’t make any deals with them or their gods. They are not to stay in the same country with you lest they get you to sin by worshiping their gods. Beware. That’s a huge danger.”

– Exodus 23:32-33 [MSG]

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