Opening the Gift of the Present

The GIft

Today as I ate my lunch, I decided to do a little research regarding, “How to increase focus and concentration” and I found some nuggets to add to my treasure chest. In my search, I found that what resonated with me more was actually some information on what to focus and concentrate on more so than how to increase focus and concentration.

These days I find it increasingly rare to have someone’s undivided attention. Once upon a time it was considered rude to engage someone without stopping what you were doing to make eye contact. When someone looks directly at you it is a sign that you have their attention. These days you are often forced to share someone’s attention with personal electronics like mobile phones, laptops, and other multimedia devices. There are times when multi-tasking is the best way to be productive and then there are times when giving less than your undivided attention results in time thwarted. Sometimes when you are not fully engaged in something that is occurring, you miss cues and subtleties that give important information causing that time to be less fruitful.

We have been given life by a GOD that is detailed to an infinitesimal degree. He packs so much into every moment we live. The secret to abundant life is learning to be fully aware in every moment we are blessed to live, in order to be mindful of the present goodness. Be sure the things you focus on are worthy of your time, and if anything is worthy of your time, you should make sure you get everything you can out of it. Prudence is one of the truest markers of maturity and enlightenment.

Enjoy these exerts from an article I read from a website called “The Art of Manliness” :

“Modernity has given us a lot of comforts and conveniences, but it has also unleashed a torrent of stimuli competing for our attention. To live a truly flourishing life amidst this cacophony of distractions, mastering your attention is key. At the end of your life, who you’ve become, what you’ve learned and accomplished, and who’s there at the end with you will be the sum total of what you chose to pay attention to each year, day, and hour of your life. Will a series of cat videos flash before your eyes? Or will you look back on the deep conversations you had with your family and friends, the books that changed your life, and the little details you discovered in all the places you visited?”

“Practice attentive listening. Focus isn’t just useful for intellectual endeavors. It’s also an essential interpersonal skill. The ability to be present with a loved one or friend builds your rapport, intimacy, and trust with them. At the same time, making an effort to focus all your energy on someone else strengthens your concentration muscles overall. It’s win-win. So next the time you’re talking with your main squeeze, put away your phone and listen as attentively as possible.”

Practice mindfulness:

“Mindfulness is simply focusing completely on what you’re doing, slowing down, and observing all of the physical and emotional sensations you are experiencing in that moment.”

All the life you have is happening right now, everything beyond this present moment is a matter of faith.

 

Advertisements

Good Things Promised

breaking_bread.jpg

 Psalm 84:11

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

Yahweh wants to teach us to walk uprightly so that we can enjoy and not stumble over all the good things He has created for us to enjoy. Walking upright refers to doing things in order and correctly. Being upright puts us in the correct posture to handle the gifts of GOD. We have to remain hopeful and patient through the process of being made upright. When we submit to Yahweh’s order, we are assured that we will have things for enjoyment and fulfillment and they won’t have us. We live in a society where the appetite for things is made stronger and then exploited for profit. There is a constant influx of stimulants for appetites and very little esteem toward patience, moderation, and discipline.  As a result, lives are out of order and perverted. People don’t possess material things, material things possess people. People don’t consume food, food consumes people. People don’t have sex, sex has people. The understanding of needs and wants has also suffered distortion.

 

Yeshua taught that they that seek their life will lose it and they that lose their life will find it. Many people have lost their lives in pursuit of things that are accompaniments to life, when they should have been pursuing the giver of life.  Through our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we gain the right perspective and order in which to enjoy things to their fullest, without bondage. Understanding and discipline is required before we can fully enjoy the blessings of this life. The WORD of GOD is the instruction and power to live life to the fullest. We can’t allow our appetites to convince us that the WORD, GOD’s instructions for living, isn’t crucial to getting the most out of life. It is like the disregard of the instructions that come with a new gadget due to the eagerness to start experiencing it. In the same way the teachings of the Creator are often thrown aside for the lust to experience the blessings of life

“No good thing will be withheld from those who walk uprightly.” You will not miss out on the good things in life by waiting on GOD’s timing. The reality of the scripture at the beginning of this writing needs to take root in the heart. The tone of this word from GOD speaks to the human nature. People generally live in fear and rejection, thinking that they will be overlooked or disregarded, so they strive for their piece of the pie. The Creator is saying here, “I will not with hold anything from you, just let me show you how to enjoy it in the right way.” If you happen to be a parent, then you know what the Father is up against in dealing with His children. Read the whole chapter of Ephesians 1 but it begins, “Be ye followers of Christ as DEAR children.” They were being admonished to not forsake the instructions in rebellion which leads to ruin. Hebrews 10:35-36, is such a sweet scripture to simmer in your heart, “Cast not away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after you have done the will of GOD, you might receive the promise.”

 

The Gospel of Christ, the testimony of Yeshua, the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of GOD is meant to win our confidence, towards faith, patience, and endurance, that we might have life to the full.

The devil is still telling the same lie he told in the Garden of Eden, “GOD is with holding something from you, don’t follow his instruction.”

I leave you with an excerpt from Proverbs 8, but I encourage you to read the whole chapter. It is the wisdom and understand of the upright speaking in first person:

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death.”

To hate judgment, instruction, reproof, correction, wise counsel, advice of godly elders, the laws of GOD, the counsel of the bible, TRUTH, is the same as loving death. Embrace instruction and enjoy life in abundance.

 

 

What are you hungry for?

Often times when a woman is pregnant, she gets strong cravings for particular things to eat. These cravings are believed to be linked to nutrients her body needs to support the baby she is carrying. The more she understands the root of the cravings, the better she is able to make selections to adequately nurture the life with in her. There is a similar dynamic that occurs in the life of everyone in regards to their cravings and desires. We really need to understand the root of our desires to ensure we make choices  that result in promoting life within us.

Many religious orders encourage the practice of ignoring desires in order to live spiritually but I have come to understand that all desires are rooted in a spiritual need. A characteristic of true spiritual living is having an understanding of the true root of our desires. Just resisting or ignoring desire does not lead to a peaceful existence and neither does simply indulging. People often try to satisfy spiritual cravings with physical things. This is an issue because physical things can never fill the need created by a spiritual deficiency. In fact, trying to fill a spiritual need with physical things will always lead to over indulgence, because no amount of a physical thing will satisfy a spiritual need. If you wanna a picture of what I am saying, just look around at all the areas of addiction today. In our day we have drug addicts, sex addicts, pornography addicts, food addicts, shopping addicts, gaming addicts and working addicts to name a few. These are so common, if you are not one of the addicts just mentioned, you have a family member or close friend that is. All of these appetite disorders are rooted in spiritual deficiency.

The Samaritan woman that met Yeshua at the well had five previous husbands and was currently involved with a man that was not her husband. This sounds to me like a person with a need yet having some serious issues trying to get that need met. Obviously men were not the solution to the need she had, yet it appears she was on her way to a sixth husband. When you don’t understand the root of your desires, that is, the real root behind the desire, it is easy to get into some vicious cycles. Yeshua told the Samaritan woman, “If you knew the gift of God and who you were talking too, you would have asked him to fill the thirst you have been trying to fill all these years and he would have given you living waters that would have truly satisfied you.” That is my paraphrase and translation, for the actual account, read the book of John chapter 4. Yeshua went on to tell the Samaritan woman that the water he offers becomes a well of life with in you which springs up to satisfy thirst forever. There are many people in relationships today that are destined to fail because each is looking to the other to satisfy thirst that can only be filled by Yeshua the Savior, also known as Jesus Christ. The living waters that Yeshua offers can break the cycle of addiction and set your appetites in order.

We are spiritual beings, created with an infinite capacity for the knowledge of GOD and it is only when we are in relationship with GOD and learning of Him daily that we are satisfied. Any disconnect in that relationship automatically creates a void that will surface in the flesh as an appetite for something. The Disciples would often badger Yeshua telling Him he needed to eat something and He would tell them, “I have meat that you know not of.” He was full spiritually! While in physical form, whenever Yeshua felt any appetites arising, He would set himself apart and spend some time communing in the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit with in us giving light so we can discern the root of the motivations that drive us from time to time.

Physical things are only a shadow of the spiritual things we really need. YES…we need companionship, food, and recreation but we need them in the context of spirit and truth. Our Creator intended for us to have pleasure but in the context of life not death. One of my mentors, Edwin Louis Cole once said, “Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasure.” A lot of the perversions we see today stems from man’s attempt to solve his own problems; destructive self-medication.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Prov 3:5-6)

The one that created you knows what is best for you. Trust Him with your life and He will lead you to freedom and fulfillment instead of bondage and disappointment. Make a determination today, to reconnect with GOD through submission to the Word. Yeshua saves.

Psalm 145:14-19

14 The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.

Be Diligent To Be Delighted

We are told to plan out our salvation in fear and trembling. This amounts to the urgent and intentional efforts we exert towards getting to know our heavenly Father better. The key is being intentional. In fact, it takes planning and intentional effort to grow in our relationships with other significant people in our lives. Our relationship with God is the only one that requires fear and trembling however, the more significant the person, the more of a priority it should be.

Dust, mold, and fungus are amongst the few things I can think of right off that grow or thrive from neglect or lack of attention. Who wants relationship that resembles those?

We are commanded to be holy as GOD the Father is holy and we are commanded to love. Ask yourself if you are proactively and intentionally taking action to promote more holiness and love in your being. We know this involves moving deeper into things that are spiritual and eternal, as well as moving away from things that are carnal and temporal. It also means drawing closer to GOD and seeking fellowship with His children. It means becoming less selfish. Our heavenly Father will orchestrate circumstances to shape us and guide us toward these goals. I believe we have a role in the intensity and frequency of the nudges in the right direction. As children of GOD we are not allowed to just drift. Our Father is committed to perfecting the work he began in us. If you do not like dwelling in whale bellies, being encompassed by your enemies, drought or famine, then be proactive and seek Him. Surely there are modern day equivalencies to these scenarios but they are just as undesirable and equally effective. Obedience is so much better than sacrifice.

As you ponder this, the natural tendency is for the mind to start producing a long list of do’s and don’ts, which can make you feel burdened and discouraged. Thank GOD there is an easier way. Instead of focusing on the HOW, we are encouraged to focus on the WHO. The “Who” is Yeshua (also called Jesus). Our Savior Yeshua is the Word, and the Word is the divine seed for everything GOD wants to reap out of our lives. If we will just abide in the Word of GOD, the fruits of holiness and love will break forth in our lives. Many people read their bible occasionally and read devotionals a little here and there, while at the same time spending hours engaged in worldly activities. Does occasionally spending time in the Word capture the tone of fear and trembling? It does not and this double mindedness leads to being inconsistent in our spiritual walk. We end up with a harvest mingled with a little fruit but plenty of thorns and weeds.

This is not a conversation about salvation. It is a conversation about having greater joy, greater peace, soundness of mind, inspiration to dig deeper and reach higher, having more fulfilling relationships with GOD the Father and those that mean the most to us. It’s about greater success at living well. So get fired up and make whatever adjustments you need to spend more time in the Word and with people who are seeking GOD and enjoy a harvest of life in abundance.

Embracing Truth Leads to Freedom

https://i1.wp.com/www.manataka.org/images/Eagle%20Soaring.jpg

Part of the strategy of the enemy is to deceive people into believing that the things we can see are more real than the things we cannot see. Until the microscope was invented, we could not see bacteria or other molecules but we have always experienced their effects. Likewise, there are spiritual things that we cannot see that have an influence on us, however we cannot see them. It is time out for dismissing spiritual things because they are not completely evident to carnal senses. Spiritual things matter most and should be the most compelling influence in our lives. Things that please us carnally can often have a strong influence over us, even to the level of swaying good judgment. That is why those that desire to follow Christ have to take up the cross and mortify their flesh. Christ, the good shepherd, as he leads us on the path to life will inevitably take us through terrains that afflict the flesh. If we have not already made the decision to die to the flesh, we will turn back or go to the wayside when the narrow paths of life starts to restrict the flesh. It is only through taking up the cross that we become eligible to really hear the words of Truth and except spiritual principles. That is what is meant by 2 Corinthians 2:14,

 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

It is by design that certain things bring us pleasure. The Creator Yahweh made all things good and when they are enjoyed in adherence to His instruction they bring life. When we partake of creation in perversion, outside of His  commands, it tends toward death. 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18:

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Spiritual things that have eternal repercussions and should always take precedence over temporal things. Pleasures enjoyed outside of an eternal perspective is the substance of regret. Be wise, be temperate, and be patient, to enjoy lasting fulfillment.

We have to cultivate a love for Truth to the degree that we despise anything that would obscure our view of it. This will put us on the path to freedom from self-deception, as well as strengthen us against deception from the wicked one. The Holy Spirit given by God the Father is a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. A sound mind is a mind that operates from the perspective of Truth. Truth is the word of God. If you are free enough to hear the virtue in what I am saying then take it and run with it!