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Archive for the ‘Focus’ Category


The oddest things hit you at the oddest times. Like when you’re in the kitchen just going about normal everyday cooking, like boiling water.

In the last few years it seems like I’ve been in an extended period of waiting. Waiting is never easy. I have yet to meet one person who would actually say they like to wait for anything. Some are more patient about it than others, but, it seems like no one would ever put themselves in a waiting spot.

So to try and make the wait easier, I’ve tried to wait in expectation for the next phase of what my life holds, and what the Lord is going to do. That being the case, recently I’ve realized that that’s not what I’ve ended up doing. Instead of waiting with an active expectation, I’ve actually just been waiting with no expectation. Instead of actively waiting, I’ve been passively waiting.

So it hit me while I was in the kitchen waiting for a pot of water to boil so I could make pasta, that waiting in life is a lot like waiting for water to boil.

Now I know the old adage that a watched pot never boils, but the reality is that if you prepare it correctly, it will, just not as fast as you think it should. All you have to do is get the pot out, fill it with water, put it on the burner and turn on the heat.

Then wait. And wait. And wait.

You can go off and do other things while it boils, but if you stand there and watch it with expectation a funny thing happens. You get to see what goes on with the water as it goes through its stages of heating up, then boiling.

At first, the water is pretty still and it looks like nothing at all is happening. Then, so suddenly you don’t think you’re seeing things correctly, there are small movements as the water starts to flow in channels in the heat. Later, bubbles start to form on the bottom and sides of the pot, just before they rise to the surface and you can truly see that something is happening.

With the breaking of the bubbles on the surface, then you know it’s time for you to do whatever it is that you’re going to with the boiled water. Like, put in the pasta so it can cook, and, you can go on to the next phase of preparing something to eat.

In waiting for the water to boil, it occurred to me that it’s the same with waiting for the Lord. We can passively wait, go off and do something else and not bother to look to see the signs that the Lord is at work. Or, we can actively wait, by doing what we are doing as we live our lives, and at the same time keep our eyes open. If we do this, then we can see the flow of the current of the Lord beneath the surface before what He’s doing boils up to overflowing in our lives.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

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Because it’s been such a strange weather season in the Sierra Foothills where I live, the plants have had a difficult time knowing when to come out, but the weeds don’t seem to have that trouble at all. They are everywhere.

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Around my little cottage, A.K.A. my little shoebox, is a large area that I have to weed whack twice a year. Once when everything starts growing in the spring, then once just before summer when everything has turned a golden brown.

Usually this isn’t an issue. I just do the front yard in one day, and the back yard the next. Then a few weeks later, I do it all again. But, this year, I look at the whole expanse that needs to be done, and it just makes me tired.

I realized this after I dropped my son off at school and pulled the truck in the back of the house. The weeds – that look a little like wheat quite frankly, so they’re not unattractive, just tall – where way taller than they should be. As I sat scanning the yard, looking at them and how tall they are, I realized that I had only done one quadrant of one days work about two weeks ago.

That’s about 1/8 of the acre that needs to be done. In short, not a lot.

It felt like a heavy weight slowly oozed through me as I sat there trying to figure out when I would be able to squeeze in the time to get out the weed whacker and actually tackle them. Then it sunk in that not only did I not have time for another two weeks, but, I was just too tired to do it.

Sometime that’s just what happens in our live isn’t it? We have a task that we know needs to be done, something we’ve done without an issue for years, when all of a sudden it’s just overwhelming. We realize for whatever reason, we just are too tired to tackle it. Then on top of that comes the sense we’ve got such a long way to go to get it done, that doing it seems like an impossibility.

We can get to that spot in a lot of different ways, maybe your workload has become heavier, or there’s been a change in your lifestyle, or your child is transitioning to another level of life, or your parents are. No matter what the change may be, when added to the current load of life, it all of a sudden becomes more than we can handle.

It’s kind of like the old story about the straw that broke the camels back.

But, as children of the Great I Am, we are not called to handle these things on our own. He makes all things possible as we look at Him, not at our current impossibility. He will make a way for us, we just need to trust Him to do it. And, He’ll help us with that too.

“I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

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Light is a funny thing, living and static and the same time. If you’ve ever seen the way light overtakes a room pushing back darkness and replacing it with its own self, you’ve seen one the many amazing things that light does.

Where does the light of the Lord shine? Brightly, in unexpected places.

Nightlights

Just recently I was in the market for a night light. Since my son is a teenager now, I thought I was beyond shopping for those little darkness busters, but I’m now in that in between spot that many people are finding themselves in. That time when you are in between taking care of your children and your parents.

The experts call this time of life the ‘sandwich’ spot and I can see why, you’re raising one generation on one side and your helping to take care of the other generation on the other side. Basically, this means you need to think on two sides of the spectrum, which is why I was shopping for a night light.

Needing light to see

If you’ve ever had older people stay with you as guests, or even had a parent or parents move in with you, you know that they need light at night. They don’t need the light to banish the darkness, they need the light to see by so they can navigate the house without hurting themselves.

And, this is why I went searching for night lights just recently. My Mom needs a light to navigate her way through the house during the wee hours of the night. But, searching for a nightlight that fit the bill was no easy task.

Bright lights

First it had to be bright enough so she could use it to see with her failing eyesight, but not so bright that it was the brightness of a regular lamp. I searched high and low for just the right nightlight. I went to stores where I tried out high priced lights, and I went to drugstores where I found moderately priced  night lights. But, none of them fit the bill.

Finally, after I tried what I thought was everything I found myself in a dollar store with a friend and saw a basic – translated not too attractive, very utilitarian – nightlight at a price I couldn’t beat. Just a dollar. I laid my dollar with Washington’s face on the counter, and brought the nightlight home.

Perfect light

That night we tried it out, and it was perfect. The light was bright enough that my mom could see where she was going, but not so bright that you felt like you were on the landing strip of an airport.

I would never have thought the perfect light would be found at the dollar store. Then I started thinking, how many times do we look for the light of the Lord in the places where we think it should be? Yet, we find the brightest reflection of His light in places we don’t expect, that we may not look once at, let alone twice. But, He guides us to those places, so, we can see Him shine His brightest.

“The LORD is my light and my salvation,…” Psalm 27:1a

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At this time I’m casually looking at a calendar I bought at the Galleria Borghese when I was there a while ago. It is a very small thing, maybe 2 inches by 2 inches. Every month – the month and days written in Italian, go figure:) – features a small picture of a sculpture by one of the greats, Bernini.

The January picture is one of David as he is in the action of slinging the pebble, or rock, that brought down Goliath. The thing that really strikes me is the moment in the piece. The muscles tensing before the throw underneath the smooth white marble skin. The stance of his body that is twisted, tensing, winding up for the throw because he only had one chance to get it right.

This was before David became king, when he was the youngest son of a family whose business was agriculture. A time when most of his days and nights had been spent in the field with his sheep, mastering the slingshot, singing to God. Little did he know that mastering the slingshot was going to bring down the most feared enemy of the Israelites, little did he know that he literally would have only one shot to bring down the giant. A bulls-eye of a space to hit, just a small space in Goliaths armor that bookies on the sidelines were probably giving a billion and one chance to hit its mark.

But hit he did, right out of the park, which just goes to show you that sometimes the mundane everyday life we all seem to live may be preparing us for that opportunity that God wants us to have, that one in a billion chance that God is preparing us to accomplish.

After all, in God’s world, where we live and breathe and have our being, one in a billion happens all the time.

“LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing, You hold my future.”

Psalm 16:5

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With the holidays hurtling towards us at breakneck speed, I have been thinking quite a bit about focus, about what our focus is and in the process rereading a piece by A. W. Tozer titled, “The Gaze of the Soul” found in his book, “The Pursuit of God”.

In light of these thoughts about focus and our oftentimes random, unfocused way of being – I am constantly amazed at how easily we allow ourselves to be dragged hilly-milly here and there – I am resharing my own thoughts on focus from a long ago written piece.

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Focus.

When I first had my son, I remember one bit of parenting advice among many. I don’t even know where it came from, but, it went something like this, what you focus on when parenting is what kind of parent you will become.

At the time, I took it to mean that if I focused on the things that I didn’t like about my own parents parenting then I would repeat those same things. And, if I focused on the things I thought were good about their parenting, along with those things that I thought were important about being a parent, then I would be able to work towards the goal of what I thought a decent parent was.

Focus.

In time, the idea took on a mind of its own to me. I realized that what I focused on is what I became, even if I didn’t like the focus. If my focus was uncontrolled, and, I didn’t make sure my focus was on what I respected or held dear, then I inadvertently walked in a direction that I neither liked nor felt comfortable in because those paths weren’t what I wanted. But, because my focus was not controlled, that was where I went.

We all have this focus problem that ultimately translates into a behavior problem. Even Paul himself wrote the things he wanted to do, he didn’t and the things he didn’t want to do, he did. It’s all about focus. Our hearts may be in the right place, but, if our focus is off, we have a problem.

Focus.

God is very clear about where our focus should be. On Him. All the time. Without ceasing. This isn’t for His good, (after all He is whole in who He is, He doesn’t need us to focus on Him) it is for our good, because He knows how we are. Where our focus is, there we shall merrily go, until we find out we’ve actually gone too far, don’t know where we are and in our wanderings have lost our focus. Again.

“Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad. V’ahav’ta eit Adonai Elohekha b’khol l’vav’kha uv’khol naf’sh’kha uv’khol m’odekha.”

“Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,”

Deuteronomy 6:4-5

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Bionicle figures

Being content in all things.

 Worshipping the LORD no matter what’s going on around us.

 Or, taking it one step further, enjoying the life we’ve been given no matter what it looks like.

 These are kind of foreign concepts to most of us. Our natural inclination is to complain, or ask the LORD to change things, or to give us more, or ______, you fill in the blank.

 My son is an avid collector. He’s been this way ever since he was small. If he got one toy in a set of six, he had to have the other five to be happy because unless the set was complete, it just wasn’t right.

 I remember this in particular with the LEGO Bionicle toys. Now, LEGO is a mastermind of marketing, and, they just seem to know what appeals to young minds. But, in this arena they really outdid themselves.  

 They created a whole world on the island of Mata Nui. This island was populated by the Toa’s, the Bohrak, the Toa Nuva, the Bohrak Kal, and the list goes on. All of them had different sets of six LEGO figures, which added up to a lot. And, that didn’t even include the special sets and the movies, books, etc.

 It seemed like every time he got a new one, there were five others we had to get to satisfy him. Now, he didn’t always get those other five, but because he likes sets of things, and is a collector, he wasn’t truly satisfied with what he had until he thought it was complete. And, the only way for it to be complete was to have all six.

 We’re a little bit like that in our own lives, aren’t we? We think, if only this were finished; if only we had this; if only we were here, there or had done this or that. If only somehow we would achieve that elusive completion that will make us feel content for even five seconds.

 But, the reality is that no matter what we achieve, what we get, how many sets of life experiences we complete, that sense of authentic, lasting completeness will only be truly found in Him. In relationship to Him who is the essence of completeness.

 Sure, we can achieve things. When we do, we can quiet that sense of the need for completion for just a little bit. Then, before we know it, we sense it again and go on another quest for completion that will just end in the same way.

No matter where we are in our lives, we can all focus on the more that we don’t have instead of the enough that we do. Realizing, also, that He is the only enough we will ever encounter. It’s when we live in that enough, knowing that somehow the LORD is enough for us no matter what our circumstances look like, that true contentment comes.

 Living in Him is the only way that we can be content in all circumstances, and, not only that, but it’s only in that space that we can take that extra step of making the enjoyment of the life He’s given us into an actual way of saying “Thank You” to Him.

 “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:12-13

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Tachyon visualization. Since that object moves...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you seen the news lately? Not the economic news, or even the sports news, but the back of the paper news. Lately it’s been getting really wild. I don’t think I remember a time when so much of the strange, the bizarre and possibly the true just keeps popping up.

There was the excitement of finding a planet that orbited two suns very similar to that of the planet Tatooine, the home of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. A news story that was eerily like fact following fiction, except the fact was in existence long before the movie had come out, we just hadn’t seen the reality of it yet.

Then there’s been the discovery of what might be evidence in the dry desert of the state of Nevada that a Kraken, the stuff of deep-sea legends, may actually have existed.

Yeti hunters in Siberia now claim to have undeniable proof that the creature known by its more common name of the Abominable Snowman may actually exist. And, by extension all the other big creature known by that name around the world, like Sasquatch and Bigfoot, exist too. Can you imagine the crazy reactions of people if they actually caught one of these mythical creatures? I’m sure my good friend’s husband would be ecstatic. But, it would make everyone question what they thought was real.

The questioning of what is real is really rocked by the discovery that neutrino’s can travel faster than light. Let me say that again, it looks to be the case that neutrino’s can travel faster than light ( and, I’m not even getting into tachyons). According to Einstein’s theory, nothing can travel faster than light, which, it seems, a lot of our modern ideas about physics and cosmology pretty much are hinged on according to some commentators.

I’m no expert in these fields, so in this arena of physics and cosmology take what I say with a grain of salt. The only experience I’ve had with neutrino’s is limited to say the least, primarily revolving around the Jimmy Neutron show on Nickelodeon which has shown these intense and crazy little neutrino guys going around creating all sorts of trouble, including making whole cities disappear and more.

Come to think of it, if what scientist are saying is true about them traveling faster than the speed of light, they would be doing pretty much the same thing that they did in Jimmy Neutron, behaving badly, causing trouble and upsetting the norm.

But, it was a comment by one columnist in particular that really caught my attention about this possible dynamic shift in the way we see the universe that these pesky little neutrino’s may have unintentionally caused, he said we would all have to eventually change our theologies.

Change our theologies?

Now, I’m not sure whose theologies he’s referring to, it was an offhand sentence thrown into the column as a whole, but to my mind this discovery doesn’t change the theology of  Judeo-Christian’s that is contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible one whit. That ‘theology’ points to the great I Am as not only being the creator of the Universe and savior of mankind, again these thoughts are included in both the Old and New Testaments, but points to the fact that His ways are so far above ours that we don’t even understand a fragment of how it all works.

Human minds can’t understand even a thin slice of how it all works as we are discovering everyday, and this not only relates to the how the Universe works, but also how salvation works too. Because what god would come down and take the form of a human so men could be reconciled to Him? All because of love. What kind of god does that?

The answer is simple, I Am.

“Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?”…God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.””

Exodus 3:3 & 14

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