Sharpen My Focus

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With another year starting up, I have been contemplating and praying about how to manage my life in better alignment with God’s Word.  While a new decade is upon us, I am more concerned about the year ahead.  Better yet, I need to build my faith day-by-day.

Last year, I kept three key words close to my heart:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Health

While I have been successful in managing my pre-diabetic condition, and my family has been a true blessing in so many ways, I still feel there is room for growth in my faith.

In reading Scripture, Jesus is always connected to us.  At the same time, there is a need to reshape my daily habits by reading God’s Word with a deeper understanding and to be more consistent in prayer.

From John 15:1-2:  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.  He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit.  Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.”

  • God prunes and shapes. 
  • Bear more fruit by sharpening my faith.

From John 15:11:  “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”

  • Christ’s joy resides in me. 
  • He keeps my cup overflowing with joy. 
  • I will abide in the Father and the Son.

My mother (she will turn 82 this month) reminds me to make each day precious.

With faith at the forefront of my agenda for 2020, I will use a phrase to better emphasize keeping my faith on track and growing.

  • “Sharpen My Focus”

With God’s guidance, this Grace-driven foundation will consistently build up my spiritual energy.

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Waiting For Rain

 

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What is so special about simple rain?

Have you truly witnessed God’s gift of rain?

 

Everywhere, anticipation of rain

Withering crops crave God’s rainfall today

Farmers wait faithfully for rains to come

Without rain, hearts and plants start to decay

 

The farmland depends on these vital rains

Last year, little rain arrives to help out

Sunny skies chase away clouds too often

“Next year” cries out from thirsty lands of drought

 

Farmers sow their spring crops on faith alone

Waiting for nature to moisten the ground

Praying to the Lord, asking for His rain

Rain arrives, new life rising skyward bound

 

God sends righteousness, in the form of rain

Fulfilling prayers, easing farmers’ pain

From Isaiah 45:8:  “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also; I the Lord have created it.”

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Jesus Will Be With Us

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An early winter blizzard covers the immense ranching country.  The harshness of the storm threatens everyone’s safety, both people and cattle.

Phone lines are disconnected, with most on the ground.  Electricity is off except where well-prepared ranchers turn on generators to provide for their needs.  All roads into each ranch are drifted shut with the heavy, dense snow.

One rancher is overly concerned for the welfare of his family and his cattle herd.  The family is warm and safe inside their home, and they have enough groceries to last for several more days.

However, the cattle stand in harm’s way.  Their water supply and feeding schedule have been disrupted, and the rancher worries about the length of the storm and the consequences for his 300 plus head of Black Angus cows.

At suppertime on the third night of the storm, the atmosphere is tense.  The rancher’s son sees the worry painted on his father’s face.  This faithful, little soul of a five-year old reminds his father with words filled with hope, “Jesus will be with us.”

Overnight the storm begins to abate and move on.  In the morning, crews begin to slowly and carefully clear the roads.  In a matter of hours, they will reach the isolated ranch.

Using his powerful four-wheel tractor with its giant dozer blade, the rancher clears a path to where his precious cattle are nestled against the wall of a massive shelter.  While he makes sure the water is running, and the cattle receive their hay with a helping of rolled oats, he smiles and remembers the faithful words of his young son, “Jesus will be with us.”

Charles Swindoll Quote

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Do you need some good news?  We can resist the enemy!  His attacks may be directed toward the vulnerable part of your life, but the shield of faith will protect you from them.  You can resist him!

From 1 Peter 5:9:  “Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.”

From Ephesians 6:16:  “With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Patsy Clairmont Quote

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Faith is the quiet place within us where we don’t get whiplash every time life tosses us a curve.

From 1 John 5:3-4:  “For the love of God is this, that we obey His commandments.  And His commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world.  And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.”

Lonely Road

From 2 Corinthians 3:18:  “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”

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Sometimes life resembles a lonely road

Walking endless miles, filling with shame

Surrounded by darkness, always so cold

Feeling mixed up, never into the game

 

God’s Word and Spirit bring transformation

Empty, spiritual desert . . . leaving now

Bringing dramatic change, new foundation

An oasis of faith becomes a vow

 

Discovering new hope, suffering ends

God’s light shines ahead of our faithful steps

Stumbling and failing, no longer contend

God’s Glory reigns supreme, without missteps

 

Old ways transforming to a better life

Exchanging total control with our Lord

God’s Grace gives, without cutting like a knife

His everlasting love, brings rich accord

 

God’s army of angels, walking ahead

Lonely road left . . . following Christ instead

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Franklin Graham Quote

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Depositing our faith in Jesus means God is now responsible for us, because He has purchased us.

From Proverbs 3:5-8:  “Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.”