Focus

I started wearing eyeglasses in my late twenties. 

But it was less than two years later that my prescription for my glasses changed.

The change was so gradual that I did not notice it. 

But the signs were there. Blurred vision.  Headaches.  Eyestrain. 

But I didn’t recognize the problem.  My wife did and suggested I get an eye exam. 

Of course I needed new glasses. 

It is amazing how I could lose focus without even realizing it. 

There are times I also lose focus spiritually. 

I take my eyes off the Lord and experience a loss of vision and purpose.

The prescription for this spiritual illness is found in Psalms 119:18. It is my prayer for today. 

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

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Pray – Do it right now

A few years ago I made a commitment to not promise to pray for people later but to do it right then.  It changed my life for the better. 

In the past I would promise to pray and often forget to do it. Then I would feel guilty.

When people promised to pray for me later – I would cynically expect them to fail just like I did. 

With this new commitment to pray instantly I found a pattern that worked for me. 

I always asked permission if I could pray for them. 

I found that most people are happy for you to pray for them.  Whether they believe in God,  or an impersonal force, or nothing at all they appreciate your concern for them. 

I found that brevity, sincerity and simplicity are all that is needed. This is not the time to get caught up on your prayers or to teach theology by the way you pray. 

I asked to update me on what progress they made.  I wanted to be able to continue to effectively pray and rejoice in God’s response to their need. 

Their faith and mine were increased as God answered our prayers. 

I found that this model of praying was swiftly copied by others as they prayed for others the same way. 

The Lone Ranger

Ministry is best accomplished in teams. 

Jesus sent out his disciples in groups of two. 

Paul and Barnabas started their missionary journeys together. 
When they separated they took others along instead. 

God has not called us to be the Lone  Ranger in ministry or life. 

Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. 

Do you have anyone to assist you in the work?

If not,  you are headed for burnout. 

God,  help us be open to work with others to accomplish your redemptive purposes. 

Caregivers and the Messiah Complex

Caregivers can develop a messiah complex. 

As caregivers,  we have a tendency to take everyone else’s burden and make them our own.

But this can be disastrous.

We can find ourselves with an overbooked calendar heading toward physical exhaustion and a nervous breakdown. 

If we can’t help ourselves we cannot fully help others. 

We need times of rest and renewal. 

We need to give up our desire to look like we spiritually have it alltogether.

God uses broken people who seek Him.
So I am not Superman.  I don’t have it all together. 

I am sometimes wounded,  broken, discouraged and often in need of healing. 

My awareness of my absolute need for Him in my life is what makes me effective in ministry.

My awareness of my need for rest,  recharging,  and renewal will determine my longterm effectiveness in ministry. 

Marriage Advice from my Dad

My Dad gave a lot of good advice on the subject of marriage.  He was a hopeless romantic. Here are just a few of the lessons I learned from him. 

Harsh words, a critical spirit, unfulfilled promises and anger are passion killers in any relationship.

If you bring flowers home for no reason,  you will never have to bring them home for a reason. 

Taking love for granted is the quickest way to losing it.

Don’t go to bed mad.  Stay up and talk it out.

Your spouse chose you,  so they are capable of good decisions.

Learning to ask for forgiveness and being able to grant it is a necessity for a healthy marriage.

Passion can be rekindled. An unattended campfire can be restarted from a smoldering spark when the ashes are stirred.