finding a way to focus this week of thanksgiving

November 23, 2015

Where is  your focus today? Honestly, where has it been over the last week or so? I confess, mine has been on everything I have seen and read and heard. And, yes, all of it revolves around the evil in the world. How sad.

As I typed a reply to my friend’s message, it was like I audibly heard His voice say just this.  If you focus on all of this, how can you really be thankful? And, if you aren’t focused on being thankful you aren’t really focused on me. And, if you aren’t focused on me, how can you really survive the day in day out troubles this world brings?

It is true.

All of the headlines. All of the disasters. All of the tragedies. All of the evil. If those are our focus, then the enemy wins.

In times of great calamity, he wants our focus to be on him. Not on God. Why?  Well, doesn’t that make those of us who love the Lord weaker in some way?  If we continue to walk in fear, doesn’t that really negate the power that has been given me by Jesus?

And, yes, if I am writing about fear, I am preaching to myself.

Fear gives the enemy a foothold. We become so entrapped by his ‘what ifs’ that we can’t even begin to hear the Father’s voice. Our light can become so dim that darkness overshadows all that is good and pure and holy and true. The lies overpower any bit of truth that we might know. We become paralyzed by the next headline and too often we lose sight of the One who knows our name.

“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:3

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Yes, friends, He is our shepherd and He knows our names. He is faithful. He will strengthen and protect each one of us. That is Truth. That is powerful. That is worth remembering.

So, the big question remains. When all of the world seems dark and overrun with evil , how can we as believers get out of the trap? How can we remain focused on the One and only Savior? How can we trust and believe and know in the very marrow of our bones that He really is just that, the Savior of all the world.

It isn’t always easy, but I think we need to be repentant and repetitive.

When the world seems so upside down and everything seems cloaked in darkness, I really believe we are called to humble ourselves before His holy throne.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

To ask Him to forgive us for being lukewarm for too long. To confess to Him, that yes, we have put other things before Him and that we are sorry. To cry out to Him and ask Him to heal our land. From the inside out. Nothing superficial, but totally supernatural. It is by His stripes we are healed. And, if that isn’t the most supernatural, God-glorifying story in history, I don’t know what is.

Yes, that is the most precious gift and we often take that for granted.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”~ Isaiah 53:5

And, yes, I also think we need to be repetitive. Praising Him over and over and over again for all that He has done for us. Worshiping Him in our day to day living, not just in our comfortable pew on Sunday. I think His heart’s desire is that our hearts be so overwhelmed with His goodness and grace and mercy and the good gifts that He gives, we can’t help but thank Him all day. Praise really will turn our hearts from fear-ridden to glory-giving.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up…And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” Luke 18: 1, 7

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2

I can promise I don’t have any answers or any solutions other than one – The One and Only. He is our answer. He is our hope. He is our help. He is our Savior. And, yes, in the midst of terror and tribulations and travesty we must continue to offer more and more thanksgiving.

Our feelings may cause us to not always feel thankful, but I can promise you, if you make a conscious effort to praise Him in spite of your feelings, you will be blessed.

“Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16

We can’t let the enemy win by allowing him to refocus our attention to all the evil things happening today that he controls, but rather we must make a choice to stay focused on the One who knows us by name and controls the universe.

He is your strength and shield. An ever-present help in times of trouble. A mighty fortress. The stronghold of our lives. Our Rock. Faithful in all He does. Our deliverer. Merciful. Our support and rescuer. Our light and our salvation. Whom shall we fear?

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalms 27:1

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:13

Holy Father~

We are humbled to be in your presence. We are overwhelmed by your faithfulness.  Forgive us of our sins and help us to remain true to your call for our lives. We confess, at times we lose sight of your precious promises. We choose today to believe them and trust them for our lives and for our great nation founded on your Truth. We praise you for all that you are, all that you have done, and all that you have promised to do. You alone are worthy of our praise. Guard our hearts and our minds so we can spend our days in thanksgiving and praise as opposed to fear. You are our deliverer. Your strength sustains us. We are thankful.

In the precious name of Jesus, who gave his life so we might live. Amen.






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