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Posts Tagged ‘interruptions’

Distractions and Diversions

May 28th, 2014

“Anyone who starts to plow, then keeps looking back is of no use . .” Luke 9:62 TEV.

The devil is the master of distraction and deception.

My thoughts and comments today are about “distractions and diversions.”

Distractions happen. Distractions waste more of a person’s time than we realize when they occur. Ironically, while writing this, I became distracted. That happens easily to any of us. Interruptions occur; misdirection results. Here’s the problem. Typically, you are not interrupted by more important matters. Usually, lesser things crowd into your life and crowd out of your life things you cannot afford to procrastinate. Your success results from setting priorities, maintaining focus, and avoiding distraction.

A distraction can be a brief, pleasant diversion. However, any diversion has potential for a misdirection you may not intend. That can be costly if not noticed and corrected. Unfortunately, distractions come in all shapes and descriptions, some in the pretense of responsibilities or others disguised as opportunities. The devil is the master of distraction and deception, using love of the world, desires, worry, regret, greed, anger, offences, or temptations to dissuade you from being the person Christ means you to be.

Jesus spoke of the danger of spiritual distraction, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” Read Luke 9:57-62 TEV. See John 6:66-69 NIV. Jesus’ clearest teaching on distraction is found in a parable He told. Read Matthew 13:3-8 NIV. The same seed – with incalculable potential for good – had differing results, according to the reception of its truth. Jesus was not talking about farmers and fields, nor seed and soils. In His story, Jesus was describing people into whose hearts and lives the Word of God was sown, inefficiently in some but effectively in others. Read Matthew 13:18-23 NIV. Whatever diminishes your obedience to God’s Word, His will, and His ways is a distraction you cannot afford.

Beware; distractions preempt attention from what God is saying and doing in your life. “The evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” Vs 19. Your spiritual life requires priority and focus. Distractions dull God’s calling in your heart and diminish His dreams for you before their time of harvest.

Be careful; distractions prevent the Word of God from becoming rooted in your heart. “Since he has no root, he lasts only for a short time. When trouble comes . . he quickly falls away.” Vs 20-21. Avoid shallow convictions and superficial faith. See Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV.

Be watchful; distractions preoccupy your mind with worries and fears instead of God’s Word. “The worries of this life choke [the Word], making it unfruitful.” Vs 22. Worry ignores God’s Word while consuming thoughts and emotions with fear, suffocating hope, and destroying expectation. See Philippians 4:6-8 NLT/2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV.

Jesus’ conclusion is, “. . the man who hears the Word of God and understands it. He produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” Vs 23. Paul was neither distracted nor dissuaded, “None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself . . one thing I do, forgetting . . reaching . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Acts 20:22-24/Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding.

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Interruptions and Opportunities

May 16th, 2014

As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” Galatians 6:10 NIV.

Opportunities often appear as interruptions or inconveniences.

My thoughts and comments today are about “interruptions and opportunities.”

Good people do good things when they can and there are plenty of opportunities, if you are watching and wanting to do so. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart.” Luke 6:45 NIV. Can you remember how good you felt when someone was helpful and kind to you, when they weren’t obligated? There are people around you every day who would be encouraged by even the smallest act of kindness – a compliment, a thank you, a door held open, a smile, a helping hand, a gesture of concern, a kind note or call, or an offer of prayer. See Ephesians 2:10 NIV. When you see a need, is it an opportunity, or an interruption or inconvenience?

Paul’s instruction to the Church is clear, as is the reward, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers . . Because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” Galatians 6:9-10 /Ephesians 6:8 NIV.

Usually, failure to do a good thing is not for lack of opportunity. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV. Why do we not do what we can when we could? I think the answer is simple: opportunities often appear as interruptions or inconveniences.

In the context of being neighborly, Jesus told the story of a Good Samaritan. Read Luke 10:30-37 NKJV. A man had been robbed, beaten, and left beside the road. A priest and a Levite actually paused long enough to see the man, but hurried on their way without helping. A Samaritan “saw him and had compassion on him. So he went to Him, bandaged his wounds . . and took care of him.” See Matthew 5:16 NIV.

I have over simplified the story for the sake of brevity. Were they afraid for their own safety? Were the religious men uncaring? Maybe to one it was an interruption to his plans, to another possibly an inconvenient time, but for the Samaritan this was an opportunity to do good. Solomon advised, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” Proverbs 3:27 NKJV/James 4:17 NIV. It is likely the others’ lives were no busier than the man who stopped to help. Inattentiveness is often the culprit but busyness is the cause.

The deciding factor should always be: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16 NIV. Pleasing others is a trap; pleasing yourself is a dead end; pleasing God is rich with reward. Everyday, in ways large and small, there are opportunities to help. If you aren’t available to those opportunities that appear large, you probably will not recognize the ones that seem small. Jesus is your example; ”God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good . .” Acts 10:38 NIV. You are anointed to bless others.

My prayer for you today is that you will embrace every opportunity to do good.

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Divine Interrruptions

September 17th, 2009

“I will now turn aside to see this.” Exodus 3:3 NKJV

“Welcome any interruption where God reveals Himself to you.”

My thoughts today are about “divine interruptions.”

Life can be a dizzying rush of routines and responsibilities too much of the time. I find myself in a hurry a lot more than could possibly be healthy. I am not a disorganized person. I like to do what I am expected to do; I like to be where I am supposed to be; and I like to be on time. If I were not careful, life could become a blur, and when that happens who knows what I might have missed along the way. And along the way is really where everyday life has to be lived.

Moses was working his day job, a shepherd in the middle of nowhere tending his father-in-law’s sheep. Now what could seem a more thankless or dead end job than that? Suddenly, unexpectedly, something a bit bizarre happened. Oh, it wasn’t just a bush burning. In that dry, hot, and arid land such a thing likely had happened before. But this was different, it burned without being consumed – and much more importantly, God’s presence was in this bush. “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses as a blazing fire in a bush.” Exodus 3:2 NLT.

God will take whatever form required to gain your attention and audience. I wonder how many times God was in the path of my busy, daily schedule, and I was too focused on the natural stuff to be aware of the “anything but natural” presence of God. I fear there may well have been too many times when I have been too busy to notice God’s interruptions. “When all kinds of trials crowd into your life, don’t resent them as interruptions, but welcome them as friends.” J.B. Phillips Paraphrase.

Now, isn’t that sad – if you reject and resent your burning bush moment? When the predictable obscures the unpredictable – when the natural crowds out the supernatural – you are in danger of missing God. When that happens you could miss the most important moment of a heavenly agenda that is meant to direct and impact the rest of your life.

How much trouble is God having to get you to stop, look, and listen to Him? When your life is allowed to become too busy and too noisy, you are likely missing God, and whatever He has for you. “And when God saw that Moses turned aside to see, God called to him . .” Exodus 3:4 KJV. I love this part of the story when Moses lets his life become God’s story. God interrupts your routine and then waits to see your response before He goes further. Moses turned aside to see. If not, he would have missed God.

Read this next progression of verses. God lets Moses know that God knew where he was and who he is, by calling him by name. God reminds Moses who He is, the God of Moses’ history and heritage. God tells Moses what is of concern to Him, the plight and cries of His people. God tells Moses what He has come to do, to deliver Israel (the very thing Moses attempted to do on his own and failed, before running for his life!). God informs Moses where he fits into God’s scheme of things. And finally, God assures Moses that he will not be alone; the Almighty God will be with Him. (Read Exodus 2-12).

Do you need direction for your life? Have you been looking for purpose and meaning? There’s only one way you will find that – only one place – only from one Source. Welcome any interruption where God reveals Himself to you, however inconvenient or uncomfortable for the moment.

My prayer for you is to never be too busy to watch for, and listen to, God.

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