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It’s easy to get tangled up in the mechanical details of writing and lose the joy of stringing letters together to form words. I’m my own worst enemy and I get tangled up on a regular basis. After years of practice, I’m pretty good at getting untangled. Yesterday’s details twisted, snarled, and tied me into knots. The smallest details became my biggest problems. Tiny bits of nice-to-know information grew into huge bites of knowledge enough to choke an elephant. Informational knowledge is nice to have but my ratio of knowing-to-doing is lopsided. I know so much and do so little! What if I could narrow my focus and ignore distracting details that may be nice to know but could make me miss my mark and fall short of my goal? I have a goal!
After all these years I should be better at avoiding things that tangle me up. When will I learn that my mind never sleeps? When will I learn that my sleep is affected by the things I fill my mind with while I’m awake? When will I learn that I can’t watch zombie movies and not expect to have nightmares? When will I learn that mindless reading produces thoughtless writing? When will I learn that passive listening produces active thought? When will I learn?
What if I could concentrate on the truth instead of the lies? What if I could focus on honor over dishonor, justice before injustice, and purity instead of contamination? What if I could zero in on beauty and not the beasts, and goodness instead of evil? What if I could fix my thoughts on the truth, put the brakes on my tongue, and a muzzle on my mouth?
This week I spent time in the backyard. I focused on the beauty of the mangoes, the purity of the yuca, and the excellence of the plantains. I filled my baskets beyond overflowing. I was focused on the goodness of living in a tropical paradise where everything grows and tastes great. Even the weeds grow faster in this oasis and the critters think I taste great, too.
I focused on the goodness and a critter focused on me. He left his painful mark and a clear reminder that this is not yet paradise. Bad things still happen to good people and bad, and good things still happen to bad people and good. This is not paradise – not yet. The Creator created a new heart in me, but He left me here in my old body on a decaying planet surrounded by both good and bad for a while longer.
In the meantime I eat the mangoes, boil the yuca, and bake the plantains. I have enough. Today I share my backyard with creeping, crawling, snapping, biting, slithering critters who focus on me. Silly critters! They can’t kill me – I’m already dead to this place. I can only live the life that remains in my old body by loving and believing in The One who loved me and gave himself for me. Today, now, right now, I look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my ability to believe. He endured it all, and look where He is now!
It’s easy to get tangled up in small stuff, things that slow me down and weigh me down. Today I look up to Jesus and try to imagine the day my faith will become sight. I can’t imagine, but I believe!
Tomorrow we vote in Panama. We, the people, will choose the men and women we agree to follow. We’ve witnessed the debates, heard the promises, and get to decide who we believe. Can we believe them?
This is not yet paradise. Tomorrow I will vote for Jesus again. I follow Him. I’ve witnessed the debates, heard the promises, and get to decide who I believe. I choose to believe.
We share our country with creeping, crawling, snapping, biting, slithering critters who focus on our votes. Silly critters! They can’t fool the King of kings and the Lord of lords. I just spoke to Him on behalf of the candidates and the voters. I know He’ll work it out.
Are you gonna vote?
Run the Race
If you’ve been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
Fix your thoughts on what’s true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
If you belong to Jesus, you’ve been crucified with Christ. It is no longer you and I who live, but Christ lives in us. Live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.
Let’s dump the weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily tangles us up. Let’s run with endurance the race God has set before us. We can only do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m no expert, but I’ve got my eyes on the goal. Jesus himself is waving me onward and upward. I’m running toward Him. There’s no turning back and looking back unless I want to get tangled up again.
Focus on the goal. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Track those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. You get to vote. Vote! Your life depends on it!