Re-focus

One of my new favorite things isportrait mode on my iPhone X. I love the way it focuses on a specific thing while blurring out the background. It’s especially great when taking pictures in a dirty house. The only downfall to this glorious technology is its inability to always focus on the right thing. I’ve often missed some real Kodak moments per se because my camera focused on the wrong image, blurring out what I intended to fix my focus on.

Example: The kids and I ran down to the creek today, and I was trying to focus the camera to grab a picture of our German Shorthair playing in the water, only it focused on the water and not my dog! Yes, they were both parts of the picture, but the important part, my dog, was the part that wound up blurry and distorted. The focus was on all the wrong things.

As I was thinking about what to write to you today, God reminded me of this truth: In light of eternity, does this really matter? His whisper challenged me to refocus. It caused me to notice that my focus is obscure; it’s been fixed on all the wrong things. My lack of focus has potentially caused me to miss some incredible moments. And maybe this is you today. Maybe there are some things you’ve been so focused on: work, fitness, finances, business, etc. that you have missed opportunities to glorify God in your life and to others. After all, in light of eternity, does it really matter how much money you’re bringing home, what size jeans you wear or how many abs you can count? Or if your child plays for a traveling ball team or a city league? What truly matters is whether you’re glorifying God; that’s why He created you. You are made for Him, and to lead people toward Him.

So, how are you doing? Where’s your focus? Are you stressed out trying to figure out this crazy life? Are you worn out? Burned out? If that’s you, maybe it’s time to fix your focus. Turn your focus back to our creator, the one who made us on purpose and with purpose. The one who loved us enough to send His son to die for us, the one who then sent a comforter to live inside of us, leading and guiding us. The one who paid it all so we could live an eternity with Him. Perhaps, my friend, you need to refocus.

And yet, there is another pit we fall into: What about those of us who are getting up every day with our intentions to serve in work, ministry, and our callings. Or those of us who are knee deep in His dream for us. We know ourwhy, but perhaps we’ve lost focus on it? Is it possible we’ve been focusing so much on self trying to make it all happen that we’ve lost our focus on who it’s for? We’ve placed self and the glory we gain in the process above the real focus, God’s glory. Y’all, I’m guilty far too often. And I think it’s time to refocus; remember the why behind what we do. The why should be the same for us all; to bring glory to our great God and lead others to Him. Heavy thought here, but People’s eternity depends on our focus. If leading people closer to Jesus isn’t your why, It may be time to fix your focus. Allow Him to guide you and your focus back to Him.

So whatever your focus is today: self, business, others opinions, your body, ministry, etc., let’s take a moment and ask God, in light of eternity, does THIS really matter? Fix your focus.

“Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you gave him authority over all flesh, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent — Jesus Christ. I have glorified you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”
‭‭John‬ ‭17:1-4‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Hold Tight

Toss and turn, toss and turn. I lay wide awake, my mind spinning in circles, battling and wrestling with my thoughts, the situation surrounding me, and the Lord. Maybe you’ve been there before, up all night wrestling through your struggles; whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Some nights it feels like a WWE match in my own room. I wake up exhausted and often without progress, only to fight the same battle again the next night.

After my last battle of the mind a few nights ago, I decided, enough is enough. I’m done letting the situation win. Tonight I’m not giving up until the Lord takes it from me, until I’m able to surrender the battle entirely. And that determination leads me to the story of Jacob in the book of Genesis:

Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not defeat him, he struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip.  Then he said to Jacob, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name? ” the man asked. “Jacob,” he replied.  “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” he said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he answered, “Why do you ask my name? ” And he blessed him there. — Genesis 32:24-29

As I read and reread this scripture, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the words spoken in verse twenty-six: Then he said to Jacob, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  Jacob had a lot of wrestling to do because of his past life as a deceiver, and when day broke he could’ve easily given up and let go of the fight, but he refused to let go until God changed him.

That thought challenged me and I wondered, are we willing to hang on? Are we ready to fight through until something inside of us is changed?  Or do we give up at daybreak only to face the same battle again and again?

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the tossing and turning, the battles that rage inside my mind and heart, the situations that never improve. I’m tired of revisiting the same fight night after night, day after day. I want change to happen in my circumstances. I want change to happen in my life, I want a blessing, but to receive change and a blessing, I have to be willing to hang on to Jesus and not let go until change happens. We cannot give up at daybreak just because it’s easier, we must hold on and not let go.

So what are you giving up on? What battle are you continually fighting? Maybe you’re fighting an addiction to alcohol, shopping, food, or drug addiction. Perhaps it’s an unending struggle with your spouse, or a battle with depression. Or maybe you’re fighting for the promises and dreams God’s put in your heart. I don’t know what you’re wrestling, but I know you can’t let go, not this close to a breakthrough, a blessing. Friends, God wants to give you a new name, a new identity based off what He sees in you, not based on your issues, your past, or your situation. But this requires you to wrestle until you receive what you are fighting for and what God has for you. Don’t give up.  

Eyes Wide Shut

A couple two or three years ago my pastor taught a message called I see what I see, but it’s not what I hear. This sermon was one of those messages that I have clung to throughout my faith journey since then. I can’t remember specifics about the sermon, or even what scripture he used that day. All I can remember is the meaning of the message.

Often it’s so easy to look around and see what going on and lack the faith to believe for what God has spoken to us.  Maybe God has whispered promotion to you, but all you see is set back. Perhaps He’s said healing, and you see weakness. Maybe it’s a big dream He’s been whispering, and all you see are one giant after another standing in your way. Been there, still there, so if you get nothing else out of this devotion, get this; you are not alone.

One of my favorite scriptures that I continuously use to remind myself of this thought is found in Habakkuk 2:3, For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

Whatever God has spoken to you and over your life WILL come to pass. It may not look like it, feel like it, and it may not happen when we believe it should, but it will happen. Look at some of our heroes in the faith. Moses heard promise land but saw the Red Sea, David heard Kingship but saw a field full of sheep, and Joshua heard victory but saw the walls of Jericho.

I may never understand all of God’s ways, but I choose to TRUST His voice. I may not like what I see, but I will decide to believe what He said.  Whatever you may be seeing today, the good, the bad, or the ugly; my prayer for you is this, that you not set your heart on the sight but rather on the sound. May we look ahead with eyes wide shut.

I see what I see, but it’s not what I hear-Pastor Beau Norman

To check out the sermon for yourself click HERE.
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More than a conqueror

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Roman 8:35-39

You are strong, you are brave, you are fierce, you are capable, you are enough, you are loved, and you are more than a conqueror!

Too often we allow ourselves to get so bogged down by the weight of life that we start believing what the enemy continually whispers to us. We get overwhelmed and worn out and begin to buy the lies that we aren’t enough to get it all done and get it done decently. Any mommas feel me on that one? For me, it’s the constant and overwhelming struggle of juggling being a wife, mothering three kids, schooling them, ministry, non-profit work, and being a good friend and sister to others. There are days I do it well, and there are days I begin to believe the lie, the lie that says I’m not enough, or I’ll never be able to do it. Perhaps for you, you are a college student who faces school each day and real life each night. Struggling to study and spend time with the ones you love most. Maybe your a momma to toddlers who feels like you’ll never be able to accomplish anything again because you’re trapped between dirty diapers and sippy cups, been there too, friend. Single, married, young, or old; whatever your season looks like, I want to remind you of this truth, YOU are more than a conqueror.

God created you to kick butt and take names! Nothing and no one can stop what God started in you. Sure this may be a difficult season to flourish in one area or another, but it’s coming. In the meantime keep moving forward.  Keep kicking Satan in the face, keep kicking down the roadblocks he throws your way; keep fighting. You are a fighter, friend and you will win this war that’s within. And when you get knocked down, and you begin to believe the lies, remember that God loves you, and He is proud to call you daughter. Nothing can separate you from His love.

So if that’s you, and you’re knocked down today, as God extends His mighty right hand to you, I also am extending my hand to you, let’s get you up, dust you off, and get back to winning this war! God has incredible things ahead for you, but it requires you, and me, to move forward!

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