Stay Focused

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Romans 8:5 NIV

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.”

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

Jesus Christ is the only Way to life with God.  Sin is what separates us from God and Jesus has conquered sin and death and filled the space between us and God with The Cross.  Peter learned while walking on water to never take your eyes off of Jesus…keep your eyes focused on Him…He is our Savior.  Amen.

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Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[a] paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4:25-27 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

What Are Your Distractions? Resolve Them ASAP…

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Colossians 3:2-10 NIV

Ever had one of those mornings or one of those days?  When you know you have things to do and you just can’t focus…you feel scattered?  Your mind keeps jumping from thought to thought and you have moments telling yourself, “c’mon stop it…focus on what you need to do!”  This is a perfect example of how we can’t overcome things on our own…we need help…we need God.  There is a sign in our home with the letters ASAP on it…yet it doesn’t stand for what you are thinking it does…this ASAP stands for “Always Stop And Pray.”  When you notice things going the wrong direction, always stop and pray…when you just don’t know what to do, always stop and pray…when life gets overwhelming, always stop and pray.  Distractions and taking our attention away from God will be constant in life…we can overcome our problems by remembering to ASAP.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:6-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Persevere Under Trial

My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. Your faith will be tested. You know that when this happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. And you must allow this strength to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. If any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone and doesn’t find fault.”

James 1:2-5 NIRV

Don’t give up…keep praying…keep trying…be persistent…have courage…believe.  Everyone is challenged by something in life.  Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind.  It is in these situations that we can see the power of God, we can see His mercy and His grace when we shift our perspective off of worldly treasures and back on to Jesus.  God is holding on to you through everything the world is throwing at you.  Trust in Him and persevere through trials.  Amen.

I Am by Crowder

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“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 standing on one of the Bridges of Madison County near Winterset, Iowa)

His Way

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

Stay focused, stay patient, stay committed.  Too often in life we get distracted by our surroundings or circumstances.  This is the work of darkness and evil…the less time we spend with God the less committed we will be to Him.  Some days will be more difficult than others…yet be persistent and don’t give up.  God loves you, He is with you, trust His Way.  Amen.

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Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Psalm 51:10-12 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 while traveling through the state of Washington)

Stay Focused

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Romans 8:5

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.”

Psalm 1:1-3

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Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[a] paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4:25-27

(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

What Are Your Distractions?

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Colossians 3:2-10

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“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Focus On God

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5

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“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Romans 8:5

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 on a bridge near Winterset, Iowa)

Focus…Persevere

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

2 Corinthians 4:6-9

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Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Colossians 3:1-4

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)

Music, Faith and Focus

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One of the most important tools I use to keep my faith top of mind most often is music.  Faith based music provides an encouraging and uplifting way to focus on the messages of faith.  As I have stated in earlier posts, around Christmas of 1998 I was looking for something different on the radio and I came across a Christian radio station that was playing faith based Christmas music.  It was during the Christmas season that year that I began a transformation.

I didn’t know it at that time but God was definitely beginning to chisel away the old me who was only concerned with where I was working, how much money I was making, what others could do to help me, etc.  I was like many people focused more on self and less on God.  It is so easy to do…..the world we live in constantly encourages us to only be concerned about me, myself and I.  Even after Christmas I continued to listen to this station.  I had thoughts like “what would this person think if they knew what I was listening to?”  As I enjoyed the hymns on the radio in the car to and from work I heard artists like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman and BeBe and CeCe Winans.  They sang songs with messages from the Bible.  Some top songs from that time were:

Angels – by Amy Grant

The Throne – by Michael W. Smith

More To This Life – by Steven Curtis Chapman

Heaven – BeBe and CeCe Winans

I really began to enjoy hearing these messages every day.  I have continued to listen to the same station everywhere I can for the last 15 years.  I always have it on in my office, in my car and at home (whenever the kids don’t have the radio control).  The kids know many Christian songs and call the station Dad’s radio station.  At some point, I don’t know when, my wife started listening daily.  The impact this constant reminder has had in my life and in the life of my family is immeasurable.

The enemy uses so many resources in this world to distract us from God and God’s plan for our lives through other music, TV, movies and news that we all need something to bring us back to God.  I was just thinking at church recently ‘I remember when I would only spend about an hour a week focusing on God in worship’…..I imagine my life would be very different today if I was still only giving God about an hour a week.  That means I would be spending way too much time worrying about things I can’t control, working too much trying to climb the corporate ladder, feeling rejected and dejected when things didn’t go my way.

Hearing the messages of faith through Christian music every day for me has been an essential way to stay focused on what really matters…..how I treat others and how I can serve God in our community.  I encourage you to find your source of inspiration to stay focused on God each day.  It will probably be trying something new but give it a shot and see what God has planned for you.

Peace to you.