On Whom is Your Attention Focused?

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Luke 12:16-21(KJV)

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

One day we’ll give an account of ourselves to the Lord (Romans14:12). We must, then, pay attention to how we live.

The rich man in Luke 16:19-31 made the tragic choice of living for himself without regard for the Lord.

He also made two other mistakes.

First, he invested everything for himself and nothing for the life to come.

When we are blinded by our own desires and personal satisfaction, it is easy to become lukewarm about spiritual matters. We forget that this life is not all there is. Scripture tells us to store up treasures in heaven, not on earth.

Where our treasure is reflects where our heart is (Matthew 6:19-21).

The rich man’s other mistake was to prepare everything for himself and nothing for others.

Crumbs falling from his table (v. 21) were the only form of assistance he gave a poor man named Lazarus. The one who had much wealth did not share it with the one who had little.

Jesus explained what our priorities should be to love the Lord wholeheartedly and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27).

We see the rich man’s mistakes repeated in another parable. This time a wealthy man builds bigger barns to store crops so he will have plenty for the future.

God calls him a fool for such shortsightedness (Luke 12:20).

The Bible repeatedly warns us to pay attention to spiritual matters—the Lord is to have first place in our lives and be the center of our affections.

He urges us to store up heavenly treasure by caring for the lost and hurting people around us.

On whom is your attention focused?

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Our Own Selfish Nature…

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Luke 10:38-42 (KJV)

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Jesus had great affection for Martha, her sister Mary, and her brother Lazarus (John 11:5).

One day He sent word to them that He and His disciples were coming to visit. The women started preparing their home, as there was a lot to accomplish before the men arrived. Martha, however, in all her busyness, lost sight of the importance of spending time with the Lord.

But let us not be quick to judge her.

We know that in our relationship with Jesus, He is to have first place above all else in life. Thoughts, attitudes, and actions are to flow out of our intimate connection with Him. But, as we have all no doubt discovered, this is not easy to do.

Our own selfish nature clamors for supremacy, and the world with all its temptations encourages us to indulge ourselves.

Even while carrying out the Lord’s work, we can lose sight of our first priority—deepening our intimacy with Christ.

When Jesus arrived, Mary stopped what she was doing so she could listen to His words and learn from Him.

Martha, distracted by all that was still to be done, kept working. The Lord affirmed Mary’s choice to be with Him and urged Martha to follow her sister’s example. Both women expressed their love and care for Jesus through their actions, but Mary chose the better way.

Nothing should supersede the believer’s relationship with Christ; both character and conduct should reflect His likeness (Eph. 4:24).

During Jesus’ visit, Martha—with the best of intentions—let her service for Him become more important than time with Him.

If friends observed your life, what would they say matters most to you?

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Listening for His Leadings…

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Romans 12:5-7 (KJV)

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

The world’s definition of success differs greatly from God’s.

Take the role of a pastor, for example–it would be easy to accept accolades for church growth, as many people equate high attendance numbers with a minister’s effectiveness. But the Lord desires that we obey Him with humility.

Whether a crowd builds or not, success is measured by obedience.

This looks different for each believer.

Some Christians have very visible jobs, so their efforts are public and obvious.

Others serve Christ in quiet, less noticeable ways.

God bestows upon His followers gifts tailored to each one’s ordained assignments.

The Holy Spirit reveals our calling, and we’re to give our best effort. Of course, no matter what the task may be, the result will be worthless unless the Father breathes life into it.

In other words, we are entrusted with God-appointed work.

He assigns the duty, provides the skills, and causes growth. The Lord deserves all of the glory.

We are blessed simply to be a part of His plan.

As mere vessels that God uses, we should be thankful for anything He accomplishes through us. And by giving Him all the credit, we need never feel defeated with disappointment. Rather, in spite of how things may appear, we trust Him to achieve His good purpose.

Honor is misplaced unless it goes directly to the One who creates, sanctifies, and sustains.

God created you for specific tasks to further His kingdom. He wants to use your life–and will allow you to watch His powerful hand at work.

Listen for His leading, and praise Him for all He accomplishes.

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When People Fall Short…

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Matthew 18:21-35 (KJV)

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

You’re in a difficult situation, and one by one, friends have fallen away and lost contact. Now the pain is worse because you’re suffering alone.

Why did these people desert you?

There are many possible reasons.

For example, they might have left because they felt inadequate. Or maybe they couldn’t stand to watch you suffer. Perhaps, though, some had their own best interests in mind and feared falling into similar trouble or being associated with a socially unacceptable situation.

You might wonder how to respond to them.

Whatever the reason was for desertion, there is only one appropriate biblical response—forgiveness.

The reason is that as forgiven people, it makes no difference what someone has done to us; we never have the right to withhold forgiveness.

After being left alone during his Roman imprisonment, Paul wrote this about those who had abandoned him: “May it not be counted against them” (2 Tim. 4:16). In other words, he forgave them. The apostle probably remembered what happened when Stephen was stoned. Paul had been present as one of the persecutors, after all, and he heard the dying man cry out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60).

But it is probable that Paul had an even greater act of forgiveness in mind: Christ’s atoning death and His attitude toward the crucifiers (Luke 23:34).

Because God forgives us (and all who turn to Him) of all sins, we don’t have the right to withhold forgiveness from anyone, and that certainly includes our friends.

Is there someone you need to forgive? If so, do it today.

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Pride, Discouragement and Distraction…

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Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

There’s a goal to the Christian life, which God expresses this way: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).

This refining process is called sanctification.

And there are several identifiable stages en route to this goal, but sadly, most believers are unfamiliar with them.

Let me offer some definitions so you can identify where you are on the journey and understand what to expect.

Salvation is the first stage of the Christian life. This describes our redemption from sinfulness through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.

What results is forgiveness of sin, which lets us have a relationship with Almighty God.

Next, God gives us opportunity to serve (Eph. 2:10). We were created to do good works in Jesus’ name.

But at some point, we notice something isn’t working. This is the start to stage three: frustrated inadequacy.

This unpleasant but necessary part of the journey can last varying amounts of time. Without it, we’d undoubtedly experience self-sufficiency and pride.

But we should recognize this difficult phase as beautiful because it leads us into the best part of our spiritual lives: total dependency upon Jesus as Lord of our life. And we will be fulfilling our ultimate goal: becoming a reflection of Christ.

Sadly, many Christians don’t reach a point of complete reliance on the Lord.

Pride, discouragement, and distraction can ruin focus and perseverance. Paul reminds us to fix our eyes on the goal of maturity in Christ (Phil. 3:14).

Learning to die to self is painful, but ironically, it’s the only true way to life.

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His promises…

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2 Peter 1:3-4 (KJV)

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope

God’s promises are very precious.

Not only do they remind us of His personal interest in our lives, but they also provide hope and encouragement during difficult times.

Before claiming a promise, we must check ourselves in three areas: faith, obedience, and patience.

First, we must trust Jesus as our personal Savior and live on the basis of our belief in Him.

Obeying God is also necessary. If we willfully continue to disobey the Lord, then He is not obligated to fulfill His promise (1 Peter 3:12).

Finally, patience is required. God operates on His timetable to accomplish His purposes according to His perfect plan. Waiting on Him is necessary.

At times it will seem as if a divine promise is not being fulfilled.

When that is the case, take a second look at the biblical passage to be sure it applies to you. Then verify that you have met the necessary conditions, and examine whether there is a genuine need. If you are still convinced the promise applies, then you can look a little deeper at your request.

Will the Lord be honored when this promise is fulfilled?

Can He answer this prayer without harming others or hindering His will in their lives? Will this help you grow spiritually? These additional questions will assist you in claiming a promise of God.

The Holy Spirit is our instructor, who will teach us about the Lord’s promises.

He wants to build our faith through Scripture, provide the strength necessary to obey, and develop in us the fruit of patience.

These qualities are necessary and will help us as we look to God to fulfill His promises.

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The Miracle of Grace…

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Romans 5:15-17 (KJV)

15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Paul wrote extensively about grace —God’s favor given to the undeserving.

And wherever the apostle traveled, he spoke about the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24). He knew firsthand sin’s controlling power and the freedom that comes through faith in Christ.

He described himself as the worst of sinners because he persecuted and imprisoned many believers prior to his conversion (1 Tim. 1:15).

Once we accept Christ’s death on our behalf, the penalty for our sin is considered to be paid in full, and the power of sin over us is broken.

When the Holy Spirit indwells us, we become spiritually alive.

What’s more, we are then given a new family and purpose for living. Scripture compares our conversion experience to receiving a heart transplant (Ezek. 36:26; 2 Cor. 5:17), changing citizenship (Phil. 3:20), and moving to a new country (Col. 1:13).

Paul exhorts everyone who has been saved to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:43; Eph. 2:8)—our heavenly Father’s desire and will is that we relate to Him on this basis alone. Just as we needed to rely upon Christ’s substitutionary death for salvation, we are to live a life of dependence upon Him.

It’s our faith, expressed through obedience, that pleases Him (Heb. 11:6).

Grace is the most powerful, life-changing force in the world.

God freely offers His unconditional love to whoever receives His Son. At salvation, our life is placed upon the immovable Rock—Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 10:4)—whose favor is extended over us. And from then on, He sees us through the everlasting grace He has provided us.

What’s your response to this miracle of grace?

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Healthy Friendships…

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1 Samuel 18:1-3

1-And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 

2-And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. 

3-Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.”

We all long to be in genuine relationships. God created us with this need, as we were not meant to live in isolation. 

Our world is so driven by technology that many people today try to ease their loneliness through computer interactions. However, we cannot deny that if a friendship relies solely on social media, it doesn’t compare to the human fellowship.

But healthy friendships don’t just happen. They require intentional effort.

In looking to Jonathan and David for a biblical model of godly companions, we saw how mutual respect is vital in a healthy friendship. Now, let’s look at two more aspects of their relationship. These men had an emotional love for one another; their hearts were knit together (1 Sam. 18:1).

When one man experienced joy or sadness, the other man felt it too.

They also had genuine devotion to each other, which is a type of commitment that involves giving: To show loyalty, Jonathan gave his friend material items—his robe and weapon. But both of these men selflessly offered more. Jonathan even risked his life and future kingship in order to save David from execution.

Notice, too, that Jonathan was often the initiator and the one who gave more. He was a prince, whereas David was a lowly shepherd.

Social status shouldn’t interfere with cultivating a true friendship.


We were designed for true companionship based on mutual respect, genuine love, and commitment. This requires time, selfless devotion, and transparency—which means being real, even about our faults.

Taking such a risk requires trust, but genuine relationships are well worth the effort.

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