FOCUSED in 2021

Have you ever been like me, completely self-focused? I mean COMPLETELY!

Oh sure, I give to others, I serve at church, I volunteer in my community, I work and contribute to our finances, I clean my house, I love and spend time with my family and friends…but if you were to look at my life under a microscope you would see that I am SELF-FOCUSED. proud of this. It is not the CHRIST-LIKE behavior that I strive for. 

It is simply and purely the truth of my human nature.

My life under a microscope would reveal that I take EVERYTHING, yes, EVERYTHING very personally! I am far too easily offended. I give, and I am happy about it until someone questions my gift. I readily serve at church with enthusiasm until I receive a negative response. I volunteer in my community with a sense of responsibility until I turn it into an obligation that becomes self-focused. I responsibly work and earn money knowing it is good to contribute to our finances until I grumble and complain because of the strain on me. I clean my house dutifully, proud of keeping it in good repair until I complain because I am sore and tired. Most of all and easiest of all, I love and spend time with my family and friends with ease and pure, unbridled joy, yet I expect so much in return from them! My SELF needs their love back.

While you may be thinking, this is only natural! God created us to love “one another.” It is still a matter of SELF-FOCUS!

I admit Friends, it is tough to live our lives without SELF-FOCUS AND SELF-ABSORPTION! Especially in this world drawing us away from God and focusing us on SELF.

Do the terms, “SELF CARE,” “SELF FIRST” or even “SELF WORTH,” ring a bell? We are bombarded with these phrases. In and of themselves they are not wrong. Problem is, when we hear them and read them over and over again, they can easily become part of our DNA! They can infuse our very beings so that they become our initial and primary focus. When they do, they turn from being a healthy lifestyle to promote and sustain health and become a way of life. When we live this way we become SELF-FOCUSED! We live lives like I described. 

This year of 2021, we are striving for CHRIST to be our main focus! On CHRIST infusing our lives with His strength, His direction, His purpose and His focus. In a matter of speaking….

We are committed to living CHRIST-FOCUSED lives instead of SELF-FOCUSED lives!

Before you get, “SELF-DEFEATED,” take heart! In and of OURSELVES, we cannot do it! But Jesus Christ never intended us to do it on our own. Christ promises that when we give Him our “OLD SELVES,” He gives us a NEW SELF when we live in Him!

MY OLD SELF HAS BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, BUT CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME.” Galatians 2:20

It is possible to live CHRIST-FOCUSED lives, and not SELF-FOCUSED lives, only when we give our old selves(crucify them), to CHRIST and allow CHRIST to live in us!

TRUTH BOMB

GIVING OURSELVES TO CHRIST ALLOWS US TO LIVE CHRIST-FOCUSED INSTEAD OF SELF-FOCUSED LIVES!

We are in this together friends! It is a process only possible through the power of JESUS CHRIST living in us! It is DAILY.

The practice of putting CHRIST first in all we say and do is the first step forward!

Love you all and walking this path with you, step by step!

Speak Truth Love

HITTING THE TARGET

BULLSEYE!

If we do not know what our Target is, how are we going to hit it?

When I looked up the definition for TARGET, the dictionary gave me 4 basic definitions…

#1) “An object usually marked with centric circles, to be aimed at in shooting practice or contests.”

The first definition brought back an immediate memory from High School.

When I was a sophomore in High School we had ARCHERY as our Physical Education Class.

I remember it so clearly in my mind. We were all asked to stand in a straight line, side by side. We were to position ourselves “6 feet apart!”  Sound familiar? This was not for COVID reasons but for our safety. We were each given an archery bow and three arrows.  I remember our P.E. Teacher, Ms. Bee, standing right beside me as she instructed all of us to stand firm with our feet apart, looking squarely at the TAGET in front of us. I have a vivid picture of the leather hand coverings she wore on her hand and wrists. She was obviously not a “novice” at this like her students were! 

Each of us had a large round TARGET that looked to be made out of straw. It was attached to a tall base that had three long legs which enabled it to stand solid and sure.  It was not going to fall over. Even in those crisp, cold, windy days of a Sacramento winter.  

Ms. Bee demonstrated how to place the arrow securely in the bow. Each arrow had a grove in the center back amid the feathers. The grove was there to secure the arrow in place and the feathers were there to help keep the arrow straight in flight. She pulled the arrow back firmly and held it in place. She then instructed us to point the arrow directly at the center of the TARGET, AKA, the bullseye, and have your eye on the center of the Target as you release and let the arrow fly!

I will never forget how fast that arrow flew from her bow to the center of the target. She hit the BULLSEYE! She was not “an expert archiest,” but she was however, practiced and SURE of each step she needed to take to keep her eye on the TARGET and hit the BULLSEYE!  I am sure from time to time that she missed and hit one of the outer, centric circles. But I am also sure that she kept practicing and following each necessary step to ensure her arrows hit more BULLSEYES than circles!

Now the practice of ARCHERY, setting up a “TARGET,” with centric circles on it, and putting the arrow into my bow, pulling back and letting it fly toward the target, made perfect sense as I read the first definition in the dictionary.

But I have to admit, definitions 2, 3, and 4 made me stop and think about targets and shooting at them!

#2) “Any object used for this purpose.”

#3) “Anything fired at.”

and #4) “A goal to be reached.”

While none of these definitions were “shocking” to me, they did ring a strange bell in my mind.

If I am aiming at a target that I intend to hit with an arrow, shot from a bow at quite a distance and with full force behind it, I could do some damage.  If indeed my aim is aimless!

If I take my eyes off of my sure target, and aim at “any object” I use as a target, or at anything I decide to “fire at,” or even at a goal I chose on my own to “reach,” I could cause a lot of damage!

Only when my TARGET is sure and true, will I be able to aim, shoot and hit the BULLSEYE!

I do not want my life to be full of aimless shots at random targets. More than anything, I do not want my careless arrows to be shot out of my bow and hit anything I may fire at randomly.

I want my life to be purposeful! I want to know my TARGET, practice my shots, and aim in the direction my Lord Jesus Christ points me in! I want to read His Word daily, pray to Him daily,  and listen to Him daily so that my Target is solid and my aim is sure!

How easy it is to shoot out thoughtless and careless arrows that hit random targets in whichever direction I point them in? I want to stop, think and pray before I shoot arrows out of my mouth or before they come flying out of my actions. I want to make sure my arrow is pointed directly at the target Jesus Christ has set for me. Then I want to carefully aim and shoot only in that direction!

JESUS CHRIST IS THE TARGET OUR LIVES ARE TO BE AIMED AT!

Everything we say, everything we do, every activity we engage in, every battle we fight or every battle we endure, JESUS CHRIST IS OUR TARGET!

TRUTH BOMB

If you do not fix your eyes on the target and aim for it, you will never hit it!

When we fix our eyes on Jesus we will hit the BULLSEYE every time!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrew 12:1-2

Our Target is not COVID. Our Target is not Crisis. OUR TARGET IS CHRIST!

If your eyes are fixed on Jesus Christ alone, and not on COVID or Crisis, you will hit the Bullseye every time!

Speak Truth Love

THE POWER OF A WORD

We are told that repeating something over 12 times will set it in our minds.

For example, if I am going to the grocery store and do not want to forget almond milk, I repeat “almond milk” out loud 12 times and I am likely to remember to pick it up even if I forget to write it down.

What about holding God’s Truth in your mind? Try it! For 12 days in a row repeat a verse out loud and see how it sticks!

Our minds are AMAZING! They hold massive amounts of information and we can train them to recall information when we work at it. 

Problem is, much of the time we are lazy or lackadaisical at allowing what informational take in and what we recall or focus on.

We scan our social media periodically throughout the day and allow bits and pieces of all sorts of information to infiltrate our brains.

We watch our television screens and randomly scroll through program after program from Netflix to Apple T.V. to Peacock to ESPN and so on. Before we know it the one program we intended to watch has turned into 3, or 4 and our brains have been bombarded with pertinent and meaningless information!

While this system of collecting information may be a nice way to “unplug” and relax, it can prove to have exactly the opposite effect!

I am reminded of a Family Motto we developed for our family when our children were young.

We had several written out “Family Rules” that hung in our home to remind us of our goal of living a Christ Centered Life.

One was,

YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU DON’T THROW A FIT!

Another, that reminds me of the caution we must realize when exercising the above practices was,

EVERYTHING YOU PUT INTO YOUR HEAD AND EARS WILL COME OUT YOUR HEART, MOUTH AND ACTIONS!

As we say “GOOD BYE” to 2020, and “HELLO” to 2021, I want to commit to living out that family motto!

I want the Word I read about most, listen to most, and speak of most to be CHRIST!

Why? Because CHRIST did everything for me!He died so that I may live!

Christ loved me when I was unlovable. 

Christ found me worthy when I felt worthless. Christ forgave me when I was a sinner.

CHRIST DIED FOR ME!

I OWE HIM MY EVERYTHING!

THE LEAST I CAN GIVE HIM IS THE MAJORITY OF MY ATTENTION AND FOCUS!

While we were still sinners CHRIST died for us.” Romans 5:8b

My focus for my blog this month will be CHRIST!

My goal is to develop a habit of putting CHRIST FIRST.

I Want to practice this in a practical way that will help us develop CHRIST as our “habit” for 2021!

TRUTH BOMB

THERE IS POWER IN EVERY WORD WE SAY SO LET’S MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT!

Will you join me? Will you commit to making your habit of 2021 focused on CHRIST?

I know if we do we will find Hope, Peace and Potential in all we do!

Here’s to changing the curve in 2021!

CHRIST will be our focus and 2020 will be a dim reflection in our rear view mirrors.

Here we go!

CHRIST IS OUR FOCUS IN 2021!

Speak Truth Love