I really appreciated a sermon my brother-in-law preached over the Canada Day weekend this year. He preached on how Gideon’s army was whittled down from 32,000 to 300 men, a Scripture found in Judges chapter 7.
As Christians, grafted in to Jesus, we know what our destination is. It’s the journey that God is concerned about. Similarly, God wanted Gideon’s journey of defeating the Midianites to be characterized of one where the Israelites were completely and utterly dependent upon Him for the deliverance.
We are not so different from the Israelites. We wander, we’re helpless often at the many challenges thrown our way as we go through life. Sin easily entangles us, as Hebrews reminds us, but somehow everything works together for our good for us who love Him who made us (Romans 8:28). Prayer is crucial to establishing a constructive, two-way dialogue with our Maker.
Did you know that we are living in the ‘Open Source’ age?
We are indeed. This means that the creative commons is expanding, and there’s plenty of the proverbial market to be shared.
I say this because the concept of Open Source has evolved from Linux-based initiatives to the realm of the social. In other words, people and companies are using media like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to share information not JUST to promote themselves or their product, but also to connect with their audience.
Connecting with your audience is where it’s at. It doesn’t take big, monolithic, behemoth-like companies to reach the masses. Smaller entities and individuals alike can connect with many others around the globe by building strong brand identities.
In an age of out-sourcing and constantly finding ways to improve a corporation or organizations bottom-line, patents are more important today than ever. This is part of the strategy Western countries are banking on to help them in their quest for remaining advanced in terms of economic standing.
So although there are many Open Source ideas floating around there, in order for companies and people to thrive, there must be copyright, patents, trademarks and intellectual property rights that are enforced so as to allow individuals and nations to not have their ideas plagiarized. A strong justice system is key for economies who wish to build long-lasting wealth and prosperity.
Why is it so difficult to remain focused in our day? I would say, more generally, that this has always been a challenge for people.
Yes, technology has made it harder to keep the “the main thing the main thing,” to borrow an expression I’ve heard before. At the same time, our devices have supposedly connected us more easily, allowed us to better keep track of our schedules and have kept our priorities in check.
But is that really true? The Fitbit has revolutionized our ability to track. Because of our increasingly sedentary lifestyle in the West, technology has fulfilled our insatiable desire to measure by providing us with a tool that can monitor our fitness “progress.”
I would argue, however, the quantity is not always quality, in life. Jesus chose to pour Himself into only twelve disciples, despite the crowds of people that swarmed around Him during His earthly public ministry, which many estimate to have lasted only 3 1/2 years. Jesus had clarity about what His mission whilst He lived among us.
Are you determined to aim for a high level of focus during your life? Pray to God that you would partner with Him in finding out your niche, both work-wise and Kingdom-wise.
Have you ever heard that expression? I have. It means that Scripture exposes truth and teaches us things about ourselves that we never knew before. It shows us God’s love for us, His people.
Whatever you’re going through in life, the answers are in the Bible. It is the “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” We can have full confidence in God’s Word to us. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
I challenge you to put God’s Word to the test. Try reading it consistently and thoroughly from cover to cover. Make notes about it. Write in the margins. STUDY the Bible. If it helps keep you motivated, follow a Bible-reading plan. Reading the entire Bible in a year is very doable, as long as you do it consistently. Believe me- you will not ever regret it!
Here are some great Bible versions which I have inherited and endeavour to complete or have already read through:
- New Living Translation
- English Standard Version
- New International Version
- John C. Hagee Prophecy Bible
- Revised Standard Version
- The Amplified Bible
- The First Scoffield Reference Bible
Some folks are still keen about the King James Version of the Bible and while it is not a staple of my Scripture-reading, I love to refer to it occasionally as the language and descriptions in that version are so very rich! Happy Bible-reading, all.
“Time is of the essence.” Have you ever hear that statement?
It is true that time is important. Too many things pull at our attention. We must learn to focus on our calling and our gifting in life. As a Christian, I know that my quiet time with the Lord sets the precedent for the rest of my day. It’s not that I can’t reverse course if I’ve had a hurried start to my day, it’s just that it takes more effort. Yet making sure that I read my Bible and pray in the morning requires self-discipline, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Focus does not come easy to some people. Whether you call it Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), some people have a hard time concentrating. I think I fall into that category…
A closing thought… patience is a rare virtue that is being cultivated these days. Again, it is a fruit of the Spirit. We must learn to nurture patience. In the rush of daily life, as we meet deliverables and deadlines, we can actively wait by praying to the Lord Jesus and asking Him to give us peace in all circumstances.
It takes great determination to be fully present in our distracted age.
In my writing, I tackle subjects as big as how our lives have been altered by technology, for good and for bad. Probably the greatest way that our lives have been affected by technological shifts has been through giving us more time.
That extra time can be wasted or put to good use. As a Christian, I find that cultivating an active prayer life is a MUST in order to achieve a high level of effectiveness for carrying out Christ’s mission in my life.
Prayer centres us; it settles us and our ever-wondering thoughts. In the gospel accounts, Jesus calms the storm. He still is in the business of doing that today…
As wonderful as social media is, it can be a profound distraction. It takes wisdom to use it wisely. One can become so focused on keeping up with the Joneses that one is not accomplishing one’s own goals in life and running one’s own race with vigour.
Help me, Father God, to realize that though the internet has not ‘moral code,’ I can trust you to guide me each day into complete truth. Thank you that by trusting you and surrendering to Your perfect will, I can experience real, lasting peace and know that my time is well spent.
Subtlety is an art, isn’t it?
Most of us learn this the hard way. Sometimes mass emails are an effective means of communication, but many other times they fall on deaf ears.
I remember in my university business class we discussed the most effective means of communication. Numero uno? Face-to-face conversation. Body language is everything. People communicate a lot with their body when they are speaking to you. Next, is telephone, then email. Yes, email is last on the list of effective methods of communication.
Why? Email is passive. You can choose to ignore that extra email that doesn’t tickle your fancy. It is impersonal. But if you try and call someone, or better yet, engage with a person face-to-face, that other person, if they are interested, is able to track with you and your message. Facial cues and affirmative nods provide insight into how well you are engaging the person whom you are speaking to.
As a Christian, I also find that face-to-face interaction is the most effective means of communication. Phone dialogue isn’t as rich as meeting with somebody in person. And certainly emails can be misconstrued… Thankfully, our Saviour came down from heaven and actually took on human flesh. He visited sinful humanity and did not simply leave us written instructions, though we are left with His Word, but He lived among us, healing the sick and doing many wondrous signs amongst us. That same power is available to those who call upon Him and are led by His Holy Spirit!
When do you get inspired? It could be on the bus, first thing when you get up in the morning, doing the dishes, on the way to work or school.
Often, I’ve found, inspiration comes at the most wild times.
That’s why I carry a notepad and pen most places I go. It gives me the opportunity to jot down notes about my writing, spontaneous thoughts I may have… whatever comes to mind, really.
Now I don’t always use 100% of what I write down, but at the very least I’m inspired. It gives me pause to process my thoughts, come back to my notes later and to reprocess those notes into some meaningful writing.
Have you ever thought about carrying around a notepad or something similar with you? I would suggest you try it. If you are a writer like me, you will find it a helpful practice to engage in.