Where’s my focus?

I’ve been wearing progressive lens eyeglasses for a few months. It took a couple of weeks to adjust to seeing through three different areas of focus. If you wear them you understand. Even though I’m pretty comfortable with them now, I still sometimes lose my focus. Every now and then as I look at something I have to move my head and eyes all around to find the clear spot and I wonder what’s up with that?

We can lose our focus spiritually too. We can become sidetracked into areas that really aren’t important and have nothing to do with salvation or living a godly life. Our focus needs to remain solely on Jesus, who brings love and grace to us through the Holy Spirit, as we give our praise to God the Father. Remember, the plain things are the main things and the main things are the plain things.

Let’s keep our focus on Jesus, even if we have to occasionally adjust our line of sight, or rather, let the Holy Spirit adjust our line of sight. It’s best left to him.


Is anyone more merciful than God?

One day last week I skipped a workout. This was on a day when I had planned to exercise, but my energy level was low and I just didn’t really want to do it. This week, due to my yearly trek to downtown LA to work at Staples Center during March Madness, I will miss several days. But as I said in an earlier post, I’m not going to feel guilty or beat myself up. I’m also not going to use the few days off as an excuse to stop. I’ve done that before and called it inertia.

When I mess up, I’m usually merciful to myself (and good at rationalizations). When our good intentions go awry or we make a mistake, we quickly justify our action or inaction. We often don’t give others the same latitude. We judge and criticize and wonder what’s wrong with them, and we incorrectly project our attitude onto God. Those who don’t understand much about God think he is always looking for opportunities to punish us. But do we love ourselves more than God? The One  who created us is not less merciful than we are; he doesn’t love us less than we love ourselves or our children or friends/family. I can’t remember who said it, but I read somewhere the theology of many doesn’t allow God to love us more than we love our children.

The truth is God loves us more than we love ourselves, our spouses, children, parents and God himself! We love poorly and conditionally – he loves perfectly and unconditionally. I’m going to get back to my workouts next week and while I’m sweating it out, I’ll be praising God for his love that keeps me going.

Keep going, no matter what

We are two months into the year and most people have already forgotten their New Year’s resolutions, if they even bothered to make any. I made a couple – one to exercise more and the other to be a regular blogger. I’ve done pretty well – so far. But if I’m not as consistent as I would like, I won’t beat myself up or give up. I’m determined to keep going with both, no matter what.

Life is full of distractions and often things happen to derail our good intentions, even when it comes to spiritual matters. It’s frustrating to realize how consistently inconsistent you can be! But the following quotation reassures me God is not a harder taskmaster than I am. He understands our limitations and really only expects one thing of us: to keep going, to keep running the race and cross the finish line (Philippians 3:12-14).

“I would emphasize this one committal, this one great volitional act which establishes the heart’s intention to gaze forever upon Jesus. God takes this intention for our choice and makes what allowances he must for the thousand distractions which beset us in this evil world. He knows that we have set the direction of our hearts toward Jesus, and we can know it too, and comfort ourselves with the knowledge that a habit of soul is forming which will become after a while a sort of spiritual reflex requiring no more conscious effort on our part” (A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p. 82).

I’m not sure I completely agree with the “no more conscious effort” part, but I love that God knows the intent of our hearts and makes allowances for distractions. So here’s to pointing ourselves in the the right direction and finishing the race!

One for me, one for you

When we were little and my sister and I were given candy, knowing we had to share, we would count it out: one for me, one for you, one for me, one for you. We were very careful to divide everything equally, even when pouring orange juice, because we always wanted our fair share.

As an adult, I frequently count my blessings, thanking God for his mercy and generosity. And as a Christian, I don’t need to worry about getting my fair share. God has already blessed me beyond measure in many ways.

It’s wonderful to receive a blessing, but what about being one, by turning around and blessing someone by an act of kindness or service? Some people call this paying it forward, meaning if someone does something good for you, you then do something good for someone else. But we don’t need to wait for someone to start the process, God already did that; all we need to do is keep it going.

It’s something to consider, whatever you want to call it  – paying it forward, being a blessing, showing grace or even – one for me, one for you.

I am loved

My daughter thinks it’s amusing to watch me play with my iTouch. To her 20-something mind, gadgets such as iPods, the iTouch and phones that do more than allow you to make phone calls belong in the domain of her age range. Yes, it took me all day to figure out how to use my iTouch and I am still quite slow at texting, but I’m fine with my long learning curve. You’re never too old to enjoy new technology.

One of my favorite songs on my iTouch is by Josh Groban on the Awake album. You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up) is a love song that always makes me think of Jesus. When we feel the weight of the world, Jesus lifts us up. He hears and understands us; when we feel lost, he finds us and when darkness blinds us, he shines to guide us.

The writer of these lyrics may not have been thinking of Jesus when he wrote it, but when I hear it, I hear Jesus singing to me and I know I’m loved (Zephaniah 3:17). And I love that I can take this reassurance with me everywhere I go, thanks to the iTouch!

All about relationship

The wonderful thing about our relationship with God is that it’s already there! All we have to do is participate in the relationship Jesus has had with the Father from eternity. And how do we participate? Through prayer and in community with other believers. It’s that simple. We don’t have to worry about how to go about getting a relationship with God, or building it, or if we’re doing it right. Just enjoy it!