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Posts Tagged ‘focus’

Verses 23-24: “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'”

Whenever I do not drive myself on Carpenters for Christ mission trips, most of the other times I travel with my father in his truck. Since he is driving, I’ll chart our progress on a map to see how close we are to state lines and such (in most cases to take some snapshots). There have been times he has asked me where we are on the map and how close we are to certain landmarks or towns. He has even asked before how many miles we are to a certain area (good thing I took land navigation in high school!) I thought of this when reading all the detail that Luke put into the account of Paul travelling to Rome aboard the ship and his trials during the storm. Most of the account is filled with this navigational detail, but there were three things that drew my attention while reading this account.

In verse 3, Luke writes that Julius (the centurion in charge of the prisoners) treated Paul kindly. I’m reminded that God “clears the way” when we need His help, and sometimes that help comes in unexpected people that He sends our way.

The second item is in verses 23-24: that God reminded Paul that he was to make it to Rome alive to be brought before Caesar. Worry is one of the devil’s favorite weapons…with that weapon, he can rob us of the energy and focus that we need in ministering for God. Paul was probably emboldened and strengthened to be reminded of this by God’s angel. The weight of concern about their survival was lifted from him with this reminder, allowing him to focus on the task at hand.

The third item is in verse 36; Paul encouraged the men, who hadn’t eaten anything in the last 14 days, to take nourishment for their survival. The angel had told Paul that they would survive, but the ship would be run aground, so they would need strength to make it shore (go without food for 2 weeks, and see how strong you are!) This verse is a reminder that God gave us physical bodies that we need to take care of in order to better serve Him. That means making sure we take the nourishment we need to keep our bodies running as they should.

Sounds like common sense, right? But as I’m often reminded in this old world, common sense ain’t as common as it used to be. It’s better to let God do the driving and we “ride shotgun” with Him!

Something to think about.

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Verses 2-3: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

There is a scene in the movie The Matrix, where Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is walking through a crowd of people in the city with Neo (Keanu Reeves). Morpheus is telling Neo about how all the people are still attached to the Matrix, and some are so engrained that they are not ready to be “unplugged”. During this walk-and-talk, Morpheus seems to wade effortlessly through the crowd, encountering no resistance. Neo, on the other hand, is focused on trying to keep up, bumping into people, still looking at “the world” around him, trying to listen to Morpheus…when he gets distracted by a striking blond beauty in a red dress walking past them. His head turning, he follows her with his eyes, until he hears Morpheus (his back to Neo) say, “Are you listening to what I’m saying, Neo?…..or are you looking at the woman in the red dress?” Neo stammers for a minute; Morpheus tells him to “look again”. Turning around the woman is now Agent Smith, one of the Sentinel programs, gun drawn and about to blow Neo’s head off. Morpheus orders Tank to freeze the program; all “the world” around them freezes in time. Neo finds out that this was a training program, designed to teach him about the Sentinel programs that can hijack anyone plugged in the Matrix. It is to teach him where to keep his focus; in Morpheus’s words “if you are not one of us, you are one of them”.

Paul is reminding the Colossians to focus on things of Heaven, not of earth. Similar to how Neo looked at the Matrix world after being unplugged, remembering his “memories” and realizing now that they weren’t real, Christians shouldn’t attach the same importance to things of this world, when it’s a Heavenly world we should be focused on. We serve a Heavenly Father, saved by a Heavenly Son, to be used by Him to do Heaven’s work, while we are here on earth.

Something to think about.

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verses 25-26: “Let your eyes look directly ahead, And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet, And all your ways will be established.”

Most everyone has seen a picture of a horse pulling a carriage or a wagon; some like me have even seen it in real life. I’ve seen the old-fashioned mechanism called “blinders” that they would put on these horses, to keep the horses from noticing things that would appear in their peripheral vision from distracting or spooking them. The blinders would force the horse to look only straight ahead. Sometimes I think blinders would be a great device for some car drivers who seem to get easily distracted! 🙂

Solomon is warning here to not take your gaze off the path you’re on. Temptation easily lies along the ditches and the weeds beside the road. If you’re not careful to watch where you going, that’s where you wind up…the ditches and the weeds. A high school band director I know was chiding his band, who were taking in all the sights and sounds of the homecoming football game and the visiting alumni; he said just minutes before the halftime show, “I want you to have a good time, but NOW is your time to FOCUS!”

In a world full of distractions, ditches, and weeds, make sure to keep your focus on Him!

Have a blessed day!

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