Friday, May 27, 2011

#76 Target Fixation

Philippians 3:14 NASB I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever noticed that you seem to end up at the place that you focus your attention? This can be a good thing or a very bad thing depending on your focus. There have been accidents where people have hit the back of police and other emergency vehicles while they are parked along the side of the road with their lights flashing. Like moths drawn to light they fixate on the flashing emergency lights and without intending to do so they crash into the police cruiser or ambulance because of a phenomenon called "target fixation".

I had the opportunity to take a motorcycle safety course and the instructor said the same thing happens to cycle riders when they navigate turns. If the rider looks through the curve ahead where they want to be they are much more likely to allow the motorcycle to lean and follow the turn successfully. If they look down at the road or dividing lines they will almost always turn too short or too widely.

When I gave some thought to this concept of target fixation I cannot help but think the same thing happens to us spiritually. Meaning that if we fix our eyes on the things of this world then we are likely to be drawn to them and absorbed by their enticing, alluring calls. However, if we fix our eyes on the Lord and His soon return we will long for a better world; one that truly fulfills, one that has as its leader the Creator God of the universe.

That world is one where there is no death or sorrow, but rather peace and happiness because in that world we shall ever be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. In that world we will have the perfect character of our Savior, and in that world we will find the realization of all our hopes and dreams.

Where is your focus today friends? Are you fixated on making more money and living to get all this world has to offer, or are you longing for a better world? It is my prayer that each of us will take our eyes off the fading glory of this world, and allow Christ to fix our eyes on the prize of heaven and an eternity with Him.

Dear Father God,
I praise You today for all Your mighty works and especially for the hope of a better world with You. Please help us each to take our eyes off the fading glory of this world and to focus and fixate on Your will for our lives and the home You have promised us in glory. We pray these things in Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, May 20, 2011

#75 Razor Sharp

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword..."

I have always had a fascination with knives. No, not the tomato-slicing kind or any other type that might commonly be found in a kitchen. I mean manly knives; knives used for hunting or military purposes.

When I was still just a boy I can recall my grandfather giving me an Old Timer knife. It was really neat to have it. The knife consisted of a metal frame surrounded by wood-like grips all housing three blades of varying lengths and widths. To this day I am not sure for what they were all supposed to be used. But even though I was uncertain of their use I was so proud that I had them.

That fascination and love for knives carried into my adult life as I would often visit gun and knife shows around our home in North Carolina. Again, I was so taken in by all the variety and intriguing designs. When I joined the Army I of course had to have tactical knives fit for a Solider. My favorite brand of knife to this day is SOG. Each day of my life I place my trusty SOG Trident in my pocket and if I happen to not have it with me I feel a bit lost and unprepared.

There is another blade I have also come accustomed to having by my side daily. This blade is not manufactured for tactical or hunting purposes. No, the purpose of this blade is far more noble than any knife used for sport or any article of war. My favorite blade is not folded and snugly placed in my pocket to help me feel fully dressed.

My favorite blade is actually the word of God. Any knife worth having needs to be sharp; the sharper the better I say. And God's Word truly meets that requirement. We are told in the book of Hebrews that God's Word is sharper than even a two-edged sword. The Sword of the Lord can cut through the stoniest of hearts and pierce us to the very core of our being.

Of course just like any other knife, if we do not use the Sword of the Lord we cannot benefit from its use. Far too often are our Bibles are left lying about to gather dust. How many rich blessings do we miss because we have not taken the time to let God's Word cut away our sinfulness. Christians often speak of wanting greater faith. We pray, "Lord, please give us more faith, help us to trust You more!" I am not knocking that sort of prayer, but God has already told us how to increase our trust and faith in Him. We are told in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.

In other words, if we want to see our faith and trust in God increase measurably then we must spend time reading the Bible. If we want sin to be "cut" away from our lives then we must allow the Sword of the Lord to point it out and the Holy Spirit to convict us of it. I believe it is then that we will see the results of our sinful character being replaced by Christ's divine character. Theologians call it sanctification, I simply call it becoming like Jesus.

Friends, won't you let the Spirit of the Living God cut you to the core through His Word? His blade is razor sharp and only trims away that which would keep us out of heaven. Trust in Him and trust in His Word. It is the only sure thing in this world.

Dear Father God,
Thank You for Your blessings and mercy to us and for Your holy Word that brings us closer to You. Please help us to stay in your Word, and please help us to surrender more fully to You each day. We long to see You face-to-face and we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.