Laser Focus

laser-focus

The closer I get to Jesus, the less legalistic and judgmental I get. I think this is because the closer we get to Him, the more our own imperfections are highlighted. Not in a bad way, but in a way that helps us realize we need Him more than ever and how much we are all alike. Sinners searching.

Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. Matthew 7:1-2 (GNT)

The closer I get to Jesus, although my own sinfulness is exposed, His love is amplified. He loves me anyway.

The closer I get to Jesus, the more I can empathize. Rather than seeing rebellion and hatefulness, I see the hurt behind it. I don’t necessarily engage or react like I used to (at least I try not to), but I do understand why it’s there. They are either trying to earn a love that is already there or they are not feeling the love that is already there. Both scenarios are sad. In these circumstances, remind yourself of His unwavering love and pray. Pray they will feel the Love they need. The Love we all need. The Love that is already there.

The closer I get to Jesus, the other “stuff” doesn’t seem to matter as much. A bad day at work is just that. A misunderstanding with a friend is an opportunity to grow. A temper tantrum thrown is an opportunity to practice patience. A tight month financially is an opportunity to trust. A critical comment is an opportunity to test my faith. A rejection is an opportunity to test my resolve. A mistake is an opportunity to show grace.

The closer I get to Jesus, the more thankful I get. It’s because of His love that any of us are here and it’s because of His love that we get to live with Him forever. It’s because of Jesus that I fight the fear to share. And, it’s because of Him, that I get to.

The closer we get to Jesus, the more He shines. My goal on this earth is to walk as closely as I can with my Jesus until that blessed day I get to look Him in the face….

Where is your focus? On the problem? The fight? The hardship? Focus on Jesus, take His hand, and don’t look down. Look full in His wonderful face. With laser focus on Him, the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace….

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To Seek His Face?

hideandseek

What does it mean to “Seek His face”? I woke up this morning with the strong inclination to do just that. “Seek Me. Seek My face.”

I play hide and seek with my girls and they squeal with excitement as they search and find me. It’s fun! The looks on their faces are priceless. Their eyes are wide as saucers when they find me and their laughs are contagious. I think a game of hide and seek is in our very near future. I feel the same way when I hear from God and even more when He blesses me with the courage and strength to obey. It’s in these moments that I imagine He may squeal with delight too. They tend to feel so few and far between…..

Look to The Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Psalms 105:5

Remember the cultural phenomenon “what would Jesus do”? This saying was about seeking Him. Seek His will. Seek His words. Seek His wisdom. Seek His character in any given situation. To seek means to search for, to discover, to look for, to ask for…To seek can be grueling. To seek can be hard work. We may not necessarily like what we find because it’s not the “easy” thing to do. We may be so scared of what could be found, that we stop seeking altogether. But, to seek His face is the prize. His face is the pot at the end of our rainbow and well worth searching for. Matter of fact, His face IS the rainbow after the storm.

Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

I don’t think this verse means we will always get exactly what we ask for. I believe it means that if we are seeking Him, we will find Him. Being the perfect parent He is, He won’t give us everything we ask for. In His ultimate mercy and wisdom, He gives us what’s best for us. No matter the circumstance, He is always best for us. He is the prize. Ask, seek, search, grow….

One of God’s favorite “hiding places” (if you’re seeking Him) is in the Bible. It’s His love letter to us. It’s His instruction booklet and owner’s manual. His word is there for our own good, not to punish us. His word is there because He loves us, not to condemn us. His word is there to instruct and direct us, not to force us. It’s there to convict us, not to shame us. Seek and you shall find.

Courage to Face the Fear…

courage

The Lord is on my side, and I am not afraid of what others can do to me. Psalms 118:6 (CEV)

This verse is inspiring, but still hard for me to wrap my head around. One of my greatest fears is hurting someone’s feelings with my words or actions. I think that’s because I know how that feels all too well. Having your feelings hurt can inflict wounds so deep that it takes a lot longer to heal than a physical wound. I’d take a broken bone over a broken heart or spirit any day. If left untreated, the scars left behind by hurt feelings and a wounded spirit may never heal and leave our hearts bitter, hard, untrusting, and fearful and this, in turn, hurts others.

My own feelings have been dismissed, hurt, and minimized countless times in my 36 years. Because I know this pain intimately, hurting others scares me greatly. My fear in standing up for myself has been fed by my fear of disappointing others, hurting their feelings, being misunderstood, or just plain trying to keep the “peace”. What this verse means to me is that if we stand up for ourselves or others in LOVE, we can be firm, honest, and true to ourselves and God, without the fear of how the person will retaliate. Leave their reactions to God and let Him deal with the circumstances of you standing up and speaking the truth. It takes God-given strength to speak the truth when you have lived in fear of other’s reactions your whole life. You’ve heard the saying “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes”? This rings increasingly true to me. Ask God to help you perform the actions He desires and let Him deal with the reactions. Speak the truth in love and the truth shall surely set you free. He knows our hearts. That is such a relief to me and I hope it is to you….because one thing we all need in this world is relief!