Being PRESENT in His PRESENCE

DSC_2200I’ve been pondering distractions lately.  Watching people in stores, restaurants and at the pool or in cars and noticing how distractions divide our attention. Often the people we are with become second when we are distracted.

Statistics show traffic accidents on the rise as well as accidental deaths and injuries all  due to a “lack of focus”. My friend posted a sign they posted in the work place about personal cell phone usage because her employees were more focused on their phones than their customers.  In several instances employees playing a game on company time actually suffered accidental injuries in the workplace while they were rushing to capture a fictional creature.

My friend Beth was the victim of serious car accident due to a DSC_0248distracted driver who was texting.  Both legs and pelvis were broken and she spent days in the hospital and months recovering all because the other driver was distracted.

When parents are distracted often the kids pay the price for it.  I know how quickly a child can scamper when we are distracted by something.  As a young mom I thought the kids worked as a team.  One would distract me so the other could climb on the table or out the door.

DSC_0904Distractions cause our communication to suffer.  Trying to chat with my husband while he’s watching  Golf, is never productive. Striking up a conversation with me, when I’m proofreading or writing is also bound to result in frustration for both of us.

Many of our distractions are manmade and the result of choices we make. We choose to fill our boredom or our gaps with a distraction instead of allowing solitude or silence or focusing on what’s in front of us.  A man who makes his living in the tech industry and Google gaming sees the danger in distractions.

“I’d argue that what’s happening is that we’re becoming like the mal-formed weight lifter who trains only their upper body and has tiny little legs. We’re radically over-developing the parts of quick thinking, distractible brain and letting the long-form-thinking, creative, contemplative, solitude-seeking, thought-consolidating pieces of our brain atrophy by not using them. And, to me, that’s both sad and dangerous.” -Joe Kraus  Partner at Google Ventures.

One of the scary things about this quote is that it was mentioned in a speech he gave in 2012.  Four years ago.  Also frightening was his take on “solitude-seeking, thought consolidating pieces of our brains”.

Where do we find God?  What does the Bible say about seeking alone and quiet time with God?

DSC_0903“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)

 

I believe distractions are not only costing our personal relationships but also our heavenly ones.  Our Connection to the Creator is causing a shift in our spiritual lives as well.  It is more about the culture shaping us than us shaping the culture.

Are we missing messages and missions God has for us because we are too distracted to connect with him?

POINT TO PONDER: What can you do today that can help you to increase your quiet time with God and make it distraction free?

We will be discussing this during our Retreat “HOPE: An Anchor for your Soul” get details here: http://kissedbythecreator.com/?page_id=406

Catch us on #HOPEscope every Monday – Friday at 7:15am on www.periscope.tv  (search Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator)

Painting a picture of Transformation

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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)

 

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