Tag Archives: focus

July 2 – The Battle Is The Lord’s

2 Chronicles 19-23

When Jehoshaphat heard there was a great multitude headed their way, and ready for battle, he was afraid. But Jehoshaphat didn’t run. 20:3 says he turned his attention to the Lord. He asked his fellow Jews to fast and pray with him.

Then the king prayed, “God, we’re in trouble. We don’t know what to do – but our eyes are on You.” (from 20:13)

I love God’s answer to that prayer. “Do not fear. The battle is the Lord’s. Stand and see the salvation of the Lord.”

So on the day of battle, Jehoshaphat told the people to trust God. He put the choir in front of the army, and instructed them to sing praises to God. I’m sure the enemy hadn’t expected that. They had swords drawn to fight Judah’s soldiers. What were they supposed to do with the praise team?

The enemy armies, stunned and confused, began fighting each other. It was a pretty incredible victory for the Jews.

I don’t know what battle you are facing in your personal life. I do know the battle before us as a nation. Let’s learn from Jehoshaphat’s example. Instead of focusing on the problem, let’s turn our attention to the Lord. Let’s fast and pray and seek Him only.

Then, instead of complaining, or worrying, or striking out, let’s praise Him. Let’s us Christians be the examples of trust in God, confidence in His ability, the willingness to obey only Him, and the joy that is ours in our redemption through Jesus’ blood.

Oh, let’s be ready for battle. But never forget that when our focus is Him, the battle is the Lord’s!

Longing

I read several psalms this morning, and as I did something in Psalm 130 convicted me. It reminded me how important is my focus, my longings, my purpose. 

I am saved. I accepted Jesus’ work on the cross and when I did, he washed my sins away. I can stand before my Holy God because he has placed his own holiness on me. That, in itself, should cause me to live a life of gratitude.

But things seem to pop up that would take my focus off my Savior. My longing may shift from wanting more of him, to wanting something else: a career, a spouse, health comfort, a bigger house, or a better car. 

As I read the psalms I am reminded to long for that which is eternal. The other things will fall into place if I look to Jesus every minute of every day. I may never have that ocean front condo, or have the privilege of sharing life with a husband. But if my focus is on the Lord, on loving him and being loved by him, on obeying him, and serving him, my longing for other things will morph into what God himself longs for me.

May my prayer always be: More of you, Lord. More of you! Whatever I have on this earth fades in comparison to knowing you, loving you, serving you. 

I want it, I love it, I deserve it!

A lot of advertising these days is directed toward our lusts. Whether it’s a skinny girl in sexy underwear, a shirtless man wanting to unclog a drain, a shiny new car, a beer that guarantees a good time, or an investment that promises a secure future, the industry is masterful at finding out what turns us on and exploiting that.

Job said lust is a shameful sin that needs to be punished. In 31:12 he goes so far as to say: “It is a fire that burns all the way to hell.”

Lust isn’t only sexual, although that kind of lust is certainly a serious problem. Attraction is not lust. But if a person allows the attraction become a focus, if it becomes a daydream or a flirtation, it can turn into lust – which is a sin.

Lust is an intentional sin. Attraction doesn’t become lust unless it is fed.

Lust takes our focus away from God. When our thoughts could be directed toward the Savior, we allow them to be directed instead toward the person, the money, the lifestyle of that which has attracted us.

If you recognize that you may be lusting after something or someone, you need to stop feeding that lust. Turn your eyes, instead, on Jesus. Force yourself to change your thoughts. Pray. Get busy doing something for the kingdom.

Remember what Job said. Your lust is a fire that just might burn in you all the way to hell.

Father, I thank you that you created us with the ability to control our thoughts and our minds. You have told us to guard our hearts, to think about whatever is good and lovely and pure. So if you tell us to do those things, it must be possible. Forgive us when we allow our thoughts to wander, when our thoughts become sinful, when we allow our attraction toward something turn to lust. May your people turn our thought lives over to you and my you fill our minds with those things that are good for us and bring glory to you.

September 6

Ezra 3:1-13; Psalms 92,126; Daniel 10:1-11:35

I loved reading that the Israelites who went to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple “assembled as one man”. They had come from many different towns but they all were focused on the same goal. The first thing they did was to rebuild the altar so the priests could get down to business.

Church fellowships can be tricky. Imperfect people volunteer their time and resources for the day-to-day ministry of a body of believers. I’ve sat on church boards and know how much time can be spent debating the tiniest detail.

What color should we paint the bathroom? Should we hire a landscaper? Who is going to shovel snow this year?

I’ve been at meetings where opinions were so strong, arguments broke out. Of course we are going to have different opinions. We are individuals with individual tastes. But I think we can learn from Israel’s example. 

Whether we are part of the decision-making board or a volunteer in the nursery, let’s approach our ministries as one man. United in purpose. And if the bathroom ends up green instead of the beautiful blue you wanted, oh well!

The real question is, are believers being equipped to share the gospel and are souls being won for eternity? Is Christ honored from the pulpit, in the pews, in classrooms, on the ball field? Is your fellowship making a difference in your community for Jesus’ sake?

Let’s be united in our focus on the Truth of Scripture and being obedient to our Lord. Let’s put aside our differences if they don’t have a direct effect on that work. Time is too short and we have too much to do to worry about paint colors and manicured lawns.

Father, I thank you for those people who volunteer to sit on church boards, who mow church lawns and shovel snow. I thank you for choir members and nursery workers and Sunday School teachers. And, Lord I pray that where your people gather, we would do that as one man. May we set aside opinions that don’t matter in eternity and work together to accomplish your work that does matter. Bless your church today, Lord, and the dear ones who work together to make their fellowship run smoothly.