Losing Sight Series: Symptoms of “I” strain.

(This is part two in a series about when we lose sight of God.)

How do we lose sight of Jesus or his plan for our lives? We’ve all no doubt experienced at least temporary blindness.101_9341

When I read the scriptures, I am astounded that even those closest to Jesus, those that walked, lived and ate with him…even lost sight of him.

The story of Mary and Martha recounted in the book of Luke chapter 10 speaks of one sister being caught up in details, losing sight of her Savior while the other sister sat eagerly as His feet. Jesus said to Mary Luke 10:41/42

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a]Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

What are some of the symptoms that we are entering into tunnel vision where we are focused more on “I” than on HIM.

JOYLESSNESS:  Are we losing joy in our noble pursuits? Martha was stressed. Jesus didn’t say that Martha was distracted by Pinterest or Facebook (zing!) He said, “with much serving”. We need to be mindful that even good and Godly things can become a distraction if we take our eyes of Jesus. When joy seeps out of service we need to ask ourselves some questions. Do our efforts cause stress for us or those we love? More importantly…do our noble efforts replace our relationship with our Creator?time clock

FRUSTRATION: When we begin to question God’s identity in the middle of a crisis, it is a symptom that we are losing sight of who He says He is. When we think Jesus doesn’t care about what we are going through, we need to rediscover who God is.  Martha actually told Jesus to tell Mary to help. She said, “Don’t you care that she’s left me to do all this alone?”. Martha legit thought that Jesus didn’t care about her stress or her feelings. When we sense that God no longer cares about us, we’ve lost sight of Him.

OVERWHELMED: Are we drowning in details or despair? Do we feel that there is not enough room to breathe or enough hours in the day? Martha felt there was not time to get everything done before Jesus arrived. When we feel overwhelmed by doing, we need to stop and reconsider what God has actually told us to do. Has God provided someone to do that task or help with it? Have we recognized that helper or have we insisted on doing it ourselves, our way? When we struggle with the pressure of getting it all done, we’ve lost sight of God’s plan for us.

100_4946ISOLATION: Have you ever felt totally alone or utterly abandoned? When those feelings become your focus, it’s likely that you’ve lost sight of the God that will never leave or forsake you.  Loneliness and despair that sucks your life out is a result of distance or separation between you and your Creator. Some soul searching often reveals – we are the one who moved…God is where he’s always been.

SILENCE: Do you ever feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Sometimes our prayer life feels like a one-way conversation. Are we guilty of telling God what we are doing and ask for his blessings? Are we all talk…and no listen? (zing!) When we are no longer hearing from God, chances are we quit listening. The silence is often a symptom of us losing sight of Jesus.

If we are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is time for a check up.  Most likely the diagnosis is distance and temporary blindness. Next week we will explore the causes “I” strain and the following blog will address the remedy!

POINT TO PONDER: Are you experiencing any of the symptoms of “I” strain? Have you perhaps lost sight of who holds the keys to your heart or the Light unto your path? What remedy do you seek? We’d love to see your comments here at kissedbythecreator!
Catch us Monday thru Friday at 6:30am EST for #HOPEscope on www.periscope.tv Look for Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator we are going through the book of John!

 

What is a tzitzit?

I was sharing with my #Periscope* devotion group #HOPEscope* about how I often use visual objects to keep me focused on God during the day, and during my prayer time.

This particular day we were discussing how he is our firm foundation.  I mentioned that HE is our Rock. The lyrics “On Christ the solid rock I stand” were playing in my head.  I showed them a rock I set out as I reminder of this truth. I mentioned the variety of other ways that a visual person, such as myself, can use items to represent truths and remind us of scripture.

Rocks represent the Christ who is the Rock on which I stand

Rocks represent the Christ who is the Rock on which I stand

Sometimes it takes something to pull our thoughts back to our Creator.  In my ministry I often leave the audience with a token, a book or a bookmark to help them remember what was shared. I’ve gotten emails from people  even years later who mention they still use the token to remind them of a particular truth.

For a visual person, images are extremely powerful in processing the world.  As a lover of Nature and the Creator, I often see the fingerprints of God where ever I look outside.  My heart longs for the sea constantly as I feel HIS presence so strongly there.  My connection to the Creator is both enhanced and strengthened by the visual.

God's thoughts of us outnumber the grains of Sand.  Psalm 139:17/18

God’s thoughts of us outnumber the grains of Sand.
Psalm 139:17/18

Today I was reading in Numbers 15:37-41

37 The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”

Even God saw that HIS people needed tangible reminders of his commandments or his words.

These reminders were called tzitzit [tsiˈtsit] the Hebrew name for specially knotted ritual 
fringes, or tassels, worn in antiquity by Israelites and today by observant Jews and Samaritans.  They were a tangible reminder ordained by God.

A collection of nature photos and verses.

A collection of nature photos and verses.

Now these were the same people who saw the seas parted and manna fall from heaven.  They “experienced” first hand (not just read about) intense miracles and blessings from the very hand of God.  They were first and second generation evacuees from Egypt…and yet…they forgot.  They got sidetracked from God and what he required.

God created us. He knows how we think. He knows how we can be distracted like the Israelites.  The world is a busy and noisy place and it causes us to be sidetracked much like the Israelites were.  If distractions were prevalent  back then before electricity and social media…flash forward.

POP up ads lure people into situations that are unholy. We have beeps/whistles/passwords and codes.  We are forced to remember so much other information that often what  God speaks to us gets shoved out or put aside.  While I have seen Social Media used for good and to positive ends, there is no denying that it can become a huge time waster and massive distraction.

It is prudent that as believers we utilize whatever means possible to remember the

Gifts from the sea inspire me

Gifts from the sea inspire me

commandments and promises of God. Having tangible reminders visible helps pull our focus back to our Creator.  It might mean setting our phone alarm to remind us to pray or study the word, or putting a Post-it note on our computer.  I don’t see many of us sewing tassels to our clothes. The word of God doesn’t change though our visual reminders might.

 

 

Sea Glass reminds me  that God can take Trash and make into treasure.

Sea Glass reminds me that God can take Trash and make into treasure.

39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”

The word consecration literally means “association with the sacred”.  I want to be associated with God how about you?

Next blog will be focusing on Prayer and Tangible ways we can stay focused or make it more meaningful!

POINT TO PONDER: What visual reminders speak to you about the awesomeness of God?

(*Periscope is app where my show #HOPEscope airs mornings after 7am and eves after 8pm I am over there at ” kissedbycreator “)

Painting a picture of Transformation

5549981067_6a50e522aa_z

I could only imagine what the cashier in the convenience store was thinking when I barged through the door covered with paint, dashed to the freezer section and returned breathlessly with mint chocolate chip ice cream.  As I counted out my pennies with green and white splattered hands he (a former student) looked at me quirkily.  We’d been transforming my basement with a coat of paint that resembled mint chocolate chip ice cream and the paint slaves had watering mouths.  Under his gaze I was aware that in the process of my DIY drama I had transformed from the cleanly dressed meticulous teacher into a splattered, sputtering disheveled Bryers junkie in need of a sweet fix.  Chuckling, I briefly updated him on my saga and dashed home to keep the minions running another hour with the sugar rush.

Not just my basement, but so far this year, I’ve confronted numerous transformations or at least the beginning of them.  My college-bound child is transforming from a high school student to a man who will be launched into a Military academy.  My mother in law was transformed into a widow by the sudden stopping of a heartbeat. Cancer has transformed people that I love. God has transformed unbelievers in my life into Warriors for Him.

Pondering transformation and nature, the butterfly comes to mind as one of the most amazing transformations in the insect world. The Greek word for transformation  is metamorphoo (met-am-or-fo’-o)which is why we call what happens to the butterfly Metamorphosis.  In all of its stages from egg, to caterpillar to chrysalis to beautiful winged masterpiece, it undergoes obvious transformation.

I came across the verse below and while I’d heard it and studied it before, the word TRANSFORMATION seemed to really jump out at me.

” And do not be conformed   to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect   will of God.”  Roman’s 12: 2

What does renewing of the mind mean?

Renewing the mind sounds like something we have to do daily.  It has a lot to do about where we focus and what we focus on.  The Bible says to set our minds on the things above:

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the cearth.” ~Col 3:2.  How can we not focus on this Earth, we live here?  Yes, we live here, but we need to remember it is NOT our home.  Our true home is in heaven with the Father.  So we need to keep focusing on our Heavenly Home.

 We are called to focus on spiritual things. Romans 8:5 says:  “For hthose who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, [focus on]ithe things of the Spirit.”

When any species goes through metamorphosis it requires fuel for the process…as do we.  We need to be mindful of what we are fueling our mind with.  If we feed on the “bread of life” or nourish our spirits with the word of God daily, we’ll be fueled up for the transforming of our minds.

And while the transforming of my basement will add resale value, the Transforming of our minds has eternal value.

Point to Ponder: How have you experienced transformation in your life recently?

(Thanks www.lindajackmanphotography.com for these images)

 

%d bloggers like this: