Friday, May 28, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Focus

Where is Your Focus?
A devotional by Tema Banner

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”
 –2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (NIV)

Whatever consumes your every thought, therein is your god and the very thing that will pull you away from God. Our generation has never seen a world more battered than now. On every front we are stressed: marriages, children, finances, the list is endless. The devil uses these situations to pull us away from what is most important. This is nothing new, it is what he has always done.

He can be subtle. You might not initially see the things he uses to pull you away: politics, business, the cares of life, health, even church activities. The devil will use everything that is going on in the world today to get your attention and make you worry when God has told you not to worry about anything, but to take everything to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6). As Christians, we love to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, but if you read verse 13 you will see that it is speaking about a country being bombarded by pandemics and famine. Sound familiar?

There really is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Instead of only quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14, why not live it out in our own lives every day? Take our eyes off those things that bring fear, distress and confusion into our lives. It may be the news, strained relationships, children dealing with school issues or addictions, failed finances, an unknown future. The devil deals in fear and confusion, God does not. When you see the world in confusion and when you see yourself being pulled into confusion, realize it is the work of the devil, the one who hates God and hates us. Turn your eyes back to Jesus Christ who is the lover of your soul.

Perhaps you have gotten away from reading scripture, maybe you are focused on watching TV and the most recent news report. The news is the same day in and day out. Instead of watching TV, turn it and social media off. Take that time to open your Bible, read a devotion, pray with a friend, sit in silence, and ask God to speak to you. There is nothing He desires more than to communicate with us. He created us to have relationship and to glorify Him. We do this when we sit in His presence.

It is not always easy to be still. I find it difficult because I allow other things to get in my way: washing clothes, cleaning the house, walking the dog. I make excuses for things that need to be done instead of being still and knowing that He is God and experiencing Him.

The world tells us that we must be busy all the time, but that is a lie. What we need more than anything is to be like Mary and to sit at Jesus feet instead of like Martha – busy and worried about things that are unimportant. (Read the full story in Luke 10:38-42). I can say this because I am a Martha, always thinking I must fill every minute of every day with activity and feeling guilty if I am not industrious all the time.

What I need is to hear Jesus speak to my heart to remove the confusion and stress of a world in chaos. Remember all the gifts God has brought into your life, think of the beauty of His creation, rejoice in the salvation He has provided by the gift of His son, Jesus Christ. Know that He loves you deeply and no matter what the future holds, He will be with you every step of the way.

Let’s Pray: Father God, thank you! Thank you for your never ending, unstoppable love for your creation of which I am one. Thank you for the blessings you daily shower on me. May Your Holy Spirit fill me with greater love each day for you and those you put in my path. Keep my eyes and heart focused on you, let my ears be attuned to your voice so that I will not fear or be confused. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Writing stories that take the reader on a journey to parts unknown has been a lifelong love for Tema. She enjoys all history and continues daily to hone both her knowledge of history and her writing skills.

God is her guiding light and the reason for every endeavor in her life. She is a member of the South Carolina ACFW chapter as well as an active member of her local RWA chapter, Carolina Romance Writers.

Tema has served as past President and Secretary as well as holding various chair positions of her local RWA Chapter, Carolina Romance Writers. She is the honored recipient of the Harold Lowery Service Award, presented by the Carolina Romance Writers.

God has gifted her with a loving husband, two children and four grandchildren who are the delight of her life.  

In her spare time, she gardens and digs into genealogy for nuggets to use in her stories.

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