11-11

The United States Military demands FOCUS.

Distractions are quickly dealt with.

Clothing is uniform.

Equipment is uniform.

Wording and response – uniform

ATTENTION!

Procedures are uniform

Everything is uniform

If the rocks vary too much – paint them and make them uniform.

The military has some very firm and ….colorful…ways of encouraging those who become distracted to get their FOCUS right.

Goal being no distractions and clarity of focus.

God expects the same from us!

Philippians 4:8-9 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.”    NLT

There seems to be a continuous Tsunami Wave of “STUFF” vying for our attention, our focus and our time.

We are BOMBARDED with internet, e-mail, commercials, bill boards, shouts, violence, news, beeping APP notifications, alarms, ringers, newspapers, car horns, lights and MORE

There is a WAR for your ATTENTION, and you are probably LOSING!

This DISTRACTION SICKNESS is overwhelming!

We need CLARITY

We need FOCUS

We need HELP!!!

We can turn off the Radio, TV, phone and computer for a little while BUT the withdraws soon set in and we are back on facebook or checking our e-mails or playing our game.

We rationalize and justify.

But WE ARE ADDICTED to DISTRACTION!

It is not that these TOOLS are not helpful to our lives, or beneficial to our work; it is the way we so QUICKLY become consumed by them and FORGET how to THINK and FOCUS on one singular thing.

We have developed the attention spans of a Golden Retriever Puppy, the memory of goldfish and somehow the superiority complex of a Siamese Cat!

We need FOCUS.

WE need QUIET

We need HELP!

Paul encourages us to FOCUS!

  • He told us to fix our thoughts on what is true and right
  • Paul wants us to think about what is pure and lovely
  • He encourages us to ponder things that excellent and worthy of praise.
  • Paul, who at one time, as Saul, had practiced a Godless religion that persecuted Christians, NOW encourages us to keep putting into practice all we had learned from him about living a life of faith, trust and service to God.
  • By reading the works of Paul in the Bible we can understand that Paul was encouraging people to FOCUS ON GOD!
    • Paul knew the peace of fixing our thoughts on Jesus Christ.
  • If you want the PEACE OF GOD
    • You must live life God’s Way
    • Faith
    • Hope
    • Love
    • Humility
    • Service

Focus your life on God and He will take care of everything

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When I go on vacation I like to go see things that are beautiful. Mountains, rivers, creeks, various attractions, monuments, etc.

  • We went to the Ark Encounter this past summer and it was beautiful and educational
  • We are hoping to go to Mount Rushmore one day
  • The Texas Hill Country is amazing, as are the West Texas Mountains

I have never taken a vacation to go to a trash heap!

  • Oooooo, look at what that seagull just pulled out of that pile!
  • Aahhhhhh – The aroma is especially pungent today!
  • Oh Look Dear, I big truck is coming! What will it bring?
    • Yuch

Why then, do we spend so much of our lives focused on the very worse the world has to offer?

  • Why do we slow down and stare at car crashes?
    • Are we hoping to see something gross?
  • Why are we so easily drawn into the arguments and fighting of others?
  • Why do we “LIKE” all these fake profiles with their rhetoric and hate for everyone and everything that is not just like them?
    • Why is this garbage so attractive to us?
    • We are so quick to join in, to jump onto the trash pile as well.

We can find NO PEACE in this junk, only agitation, anger and disappointment.

We can find and experience peace in Jesus Christ

Philippians 4:2-7 “And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.  And I ask you, my true teammate, to help these women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. And they worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.  Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  NLT

October 14th – Daniel 3 – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace.   KEY Daniel 3:24 – 25

What gold statue are you bowing down to and turning away from God for?

What gold statue are you bowing down to because you find it easier than standing boldly for god in a lost world?

Why are we so timid or afraid?

  • Kings, Potentates and other governmental leaders of high rank have a way of making the government all about them
    • King Nebuchadnezzar had a gold statue in every town
    • When the music played you were supposed to stop whatever you were doing and bow to the ground and worship that statue.
  • BUT there were some men of faith who refused to worship either the gold statue or the man
    • They worshipped God and God alone
      • They were not afraid to challenge the King about his idolatry
      • They trusted God to protect them, save them and give them life
      • OR God would call them home, but they would NEVER worship a man.
    • The King was furious and had the furnace heated to 7 times hotter than normal
      • There are political leaders and parts of our society who would do his today to believers.
      • Some of the strongest men threw the 3 into the fiery furnace…and they all died because the flames :leaped out and killed them.”
      • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fell into the fire,,,,,,,
    • The King looked in and in amazement DID NOT see ashes, he saw 4 men in the fire
      • AND ONE WAS LIKE A DIVINE BEING
        • Jesus is on the OT Scene doing what He does – SAVING people
      • Not a hair on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was singed, not a thread of clothing was burnt and there was not even a whiff of fire smell upon them!
        • JESUS SAVES
      • That Day, King Nebuchadnezzar learned that life was not about HIM and was not UP TO HIM!
        • He Praised God and led his country to do the same
      • What are you facing that seems bigger and more powerful than you ever could be?
        • Stand with God
      • What fiery trial are you caught up in that seems not only able but surely to burn down your life?
        • Stand with God
      • What ever you are facing today
        • Stand with God
        • Sometimes we wonder why God takes us through troubled waters
          • The answer usually is “because your enemies cannot swim.”
        • Walk with courage and commitment to God because God has got you!
        • We have no requirement to worship a government, a dictator or a bully!
          • We stand with God
      • What we do have are battles in the physical and spiritual realms.
        • What we do have is enemies who seek our destruction
        • What we do have is anxiety, fear and worry
          • How do we walk confidently in this BATTLEFIELD we call life?
            • WE DO NOT TRY TO WALK ALONE
            • We walk with God
    • Stand with God and with Peter and the Apostles when they cried out “”We must obey God rather than human authority. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by crucifying him. 31 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this to give the people of Israel an opportunity to turn from their sins and turn to God so their sins would be forgiven. 32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.” …as recorded in the book of Acts 5:29-32

October 21st – Dan 6 – Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  *** Daniel 6:19 – 22

  1. Politicians can so easily become self consumed
    1. Make it all about them
    2. Easily manipulated by their arrogance and pride
    3. Used by the manipulators that know how to pull their strings
      1. Ego, pride, money, etc….
      2. Daniel was doing EVERYTHING right
        1. The manipulators were jealous of him and his soon coming promotion
          1. Instead of working harder and more diligently themselves
          2. The manipulators sought to TEAR DOWN Daniel
            1. Ruin his reputation
            2. Ruin the Kings view of him
            3. Take his life
  1. Sound familiar?
    1. We do that far too often today
  2. For 30 days everyone MUST pray to no one else but you.
    1. I am not sure what he thought he would do in response to all these prayers
      1. They fed his ego
    2. Daniel had two choices once he heard the new law:
      1. Compromise his faith for 30 days
        1. It is just for a month then were are back on track
        2. What could it hurt?
  • I will live to worship another day
    1. Cowards route
    2. Faith failure
    3. Kept him in favor with King Darius
    4. Solidify his promotion
    5. Personal gain
  1. Live for God as he always had lived
    1. Consistent faith
    2. Conviction
  • Character
  1. Trust God with the results
  1. Daniel had the COURAGE and FAITH to chose God
  2. We face these same two choices
    1. Not always from our politicians or the “powers that Be”
      1. Sometimes with friends
      2. Sometimes with family
      3. Sometimes with co-workers
        1. How will we choose?
  1. Who is trying to manipulate you into being who THEY want you to be?
  2. Who is jealous of your success?
  3. Who wants you OUT OF THEIR WAY?
  1. How strong is your faith?
  2. Do you have Daniels courage?
  1. The evil manipulators ran to the King and told them that Daniel broke the law and continued to pray to God, as was his tradition and routine
    1. Is it yours?
    2. The manipulators told the King that his favorite had violated law, and knew he would have to kill him
    3. The king was furious and broken
      1. Angry with himself
        1. Angry about being used
      2. He tried to find a legal way out, but could not
  • Daniel had to be thrown in the lions den or the king could lose power and authority.
  1. Into the den of lions Danial was thrown and the lid was sealed.
    1. No escape
    2. And the lions were hungry
    3. Daniel had displayed great courage and now his death appeared certain.
  2. The next morning it was the king himself who was most concerned about Daniel
    1. He ran to the den, had the lid removed and was hoping that somehow Daniel survived.
  3. God had protected Daniel
    1. Not even a scratch from the hungry lions
  4. The king was overjoyed
  5. Daniel was NOT rebellious against the king but remained humble and respectful
  6. The king proclaimed that Daniels God was the God who rescues and saves His people
  7. God rewarded the lions for their obedience with a good meal of failed politicians
  8. Daniel prospered in service to God by serving King Darius and King Cyrus.

Daniel was a man of faith in God

Daniel was a man of great Courage

A leader must first be a servant to all before he can lead anyone.

In Daniel Chapter six God lays out the other necessary qualities of a God-fearing leader.  They are:

  • A person of Faith in God
  • A person of Character
  • A person of Consistency
  • A person of Conviction
  • A person of Conscience
  • A person of Courage
  • A person of Truth
  • A person of Honesty
  • A person who Serves

These simple principles apply to all leaders, man and women, young and old, local, state and federal.  They also apply to our homes, churches and workplaces.

General Douglas McArthur defined the greatest quality of a leader as Selflessness.

True leaders serve God by serving those God has appointed them to lead.

Something caught my mind this morning and made me think. It was a innocent enough comment and certainly meant no ill will or anger. It was just a phrase people say. I have said it before and never thought twice. It is completely wrong.

The phrase: “Better half”

I know the context is meant to describe your spouse. I understand the simple concept of one part of Two being half.

But it is wrong. at its very core it is wrong and may be one reason marriages are not surviving.

In a marriage you are not two. You are one. United by contract yes, but also by covenant. One. You should move as one, act as one and let no person, place, work, addiction, hobby or any other thing separate you.

One. One home. One life. One bank account. One.

The union of marriage is much deeper and connected than a piece of paper with signatures verified by a notary.

It is a connection that is deeper than a contract. It is a covenant. Two separate people become ONE, connected to the very fibers of their heart, soul and life. ONE.

I know this is diving way deeper than the simple phrase would demand, but it is an important reality we need to understand.

It is this same thought pattern that brings forth the phrase that “marriage must be 50-50.” It must NOT be 50-50. Divorce is 50-50, marriage MUST be 100-100….or more correctly – 100% in all things. No slacking here!

America was founded on God, Guns and Guts.   Why are we trying so hard to remove all three? 

Is the freedom we enjoy to much for you to stand? 

Is the reality that you can attend or not attend any religious service or meeting you want without fear of punishment to harsh? 

Perhaps the knowledge that anyone, regardless of color, creed or ancestry, can work hard and become successful is too much to bear. 

I guess a country of tolerance, acceptance, opportunity and wealth is just wrong for some folks.   Some folks just want to see their own lives burn, be oppressed or have hope driven out. 

There are countries where that type of oppression survives, we call them “third world” or failed nations.  

They are not the United States of America.

This picture is from last weeks Rattler game against Mission Veterans High School.rattlers

This was a tough, physical game with lots of hard hits; most of them legal but some not so much, resulting in several unsportsmanlike penalties. There was a little drama with the stadium lights that halted play and some controversial calls by the game officials…for against sides. Being an ex football player myself I am sure there was a little bit of “chatter” and spirit filled discussion during the game.

But once the game was over and the victor decided both teams lined up, shook hands and moved on to preparing for their next game.

This picture spoke volumes to me about the current status of our country and community politics.

Election contests are often hard fought, harsh words sometimes spewed, mistakes made and sometimes we disagree with the “calls” of the officials.

Once these contests are over and a winner decided we must come together, shake hands and move on. No one benefits and many are harmed by a continued division and backbiting.

We should learn the lessons of sportsmanship and humility out young athletes are teaching.