Keeping Our Focus

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Focus.

How many times do we start off doing one thing, and end up distracted, pulled away, unable to complete what we set out to do? If you’re like me, perhaps this happens more than once in your life.

Sometimes distractions can be a good thing, but often they are not. Distractions might pull us out of the doldrums and lead us on to something meaningful. They might also lead us away from something worthwhile to something useless.

Because Baxter has problems with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, his trainer has identified him with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ADHD. As an elementary school educator, I dealt with ADHD children, but never expected I’d have an ADHD dog, although it does make perfect sense.

Baxter tries to focus and follow commands. He really does, but like Pie told me when he was young, he only has so much good in him. Once it’s gone. It’s gone.

Several ways we’ve found to help Baxter is to redirect his attention to what he should be doing, give him a time-out where he can compose himself, regain control, and simply rest, or kneel beside him and stroke his head.

In the book of Nehemiah we read of the gigantic task Nehemiah began in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the city was destroyed by the Babylonians. He faced opposition, ridicule, planned attacks, calls for special meetings, espionage … numerous distractions all designed to keep him from completing the task the LORD placed on his heart to complete.

Still, Nehemiah was faithful. He kept his eyes and focus on God. He was committed to completing the work set before him. He didn’t let all those outside distractions stop him. It would appear Nehemiah did not have ADHD.

Sometimes when we are called to complete the work God’s given us to complete, we get distracted. We get pulled from the task. We lose our focus. Maybe we have a little ADHD going on. Maybe it’s Satan’s strong pull to keep us from the work God’s called us to. Who knows? Whatever the reason, our loss of focus allows the work to go unfinished.

At those times it may be wise to keep our eyes on Jesus, take a time-out, draw close to the One who has the power to keep us focused and allow him to comfort us. We need to go to God in prayer, compose ourselves, seek his clear direction in what to chase and what not to chase. Then we can ask him what distractions are from him, and which ones are not. After all that, we are able to simply rest in who he is, and who we are in him; his Beloved child who he loves with an everlasting love.

Do you have difficulty completing tasks you set out to complete? If so, how do you overcome that tendency?

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I sent messengers to say to them, “I am doing important work and can’t go down there. I am not going to let the work stop just to go and see you.” Nehemiah 6:3 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — We Don’t Have to Understand to Obey

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

We don’t have to understand to obey.

That pretty much sums up what the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho says to me. Throughout these past three weeks I’ve looked at the story of the Israelites entry into the Promised Land from the beginning act of following the Ark of God, their obedience demonstrating their trust in God, and setting up a memorial to remember God’s provision.

In my study of this chapter in Israel’s history one commentary I read said, “Obedience to God does not require a total understanding of his commands; it requires trust in God even when his entire purpose cannot be seen.” Like I said … we don’t have to understand to obey.

It’s one more reminder he is God and we are not. God owes us no explanation. He doesn’t need our approval before he sets his plan in motion. He tells us to jump. We ask how high.

We may be at a time where our life makes no sense whatsoever. We don’t understand the twists and turns that led us to this place. We don’t know what God’s plans are, or why they seem so slow in coming.

We don’t have to understand to obey.

Here are some of the lessons we can learn through the example we have of the Israelites entering the Promised Land and conquering Jericho.

  • Follow the Lord’s leading because this is new territory, and we could get lost if we take our eyes off him.
  • Our obedience to follow God’s instructions for how he wants things done demonstrates our trust in him and his plan for our lives.
  • Remember what the Lord has done, and tell others.

What other lessons have you learned in your journey to the Promised Land?

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On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times. The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the town! Joshua 6:15-16 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — You’ve Never Been This Way Before

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

During a recent study of the days before Joshua led the Israelites in their first battle in the Promised Land at Jericho, I read something I know I’ve read many many many times, but because of the events of that week, the story took on new meaning.

Has that ever happened to you? You’re very familiar with a particular passage of Scripture, yet because of where you are in life the message you receive from the passage is altogether new.

The Israelites are camped at the banks of the Jordan River waiting to enter the Promised Land, and end their forty years of wandering in the desert. Moses is dead. Aaron is dead. Miriam is dead. Joshua is now in charge.

In the span of three verses God instructs Joshua to be strong and courageous three separate times. One of those times God tells Joshua to be very strong and courageous.

This was new territory. The Israelites have never been this way before. They have no idea what to expect. All they know is God leads them, and God’s Shekinah Glory; God’s Holy Presence, dwells among them in the Ark; the sacred chest.

Before the Israelites cross the Jordan, their leaders tell them since they’ve never been this way before, and won’t know the way to go, they are to follow the Ark.

And that is the part of this story that had new significance to me. Maybe to you, too.

Since you’ve never been this way before, and won’t know the way to go, follow the Ark.

Like me, are you about to cross your own Jordan and head into new territory? Are you embarking on an endeavor you’ve never come up against before? Follow the Ark. Follow God.

Because we’ve never been this way before and don’t know the way, what say ye we allow God to lead us so we don’t get lost?

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Two days later their leaders went through the camp, shouting, “When you see some of the priests carrying the sacred chest, you’ll know it is time to cross to the other side. You’ve never been there before, and you won’t know the way, unless you follow the chest. But don’t get too close! Stay about half a mile back.” Joshua 3:2-4 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures Moses God’s Leader

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Moses. Leader of God’s people. How would you describe the man God chose to lead God’s people out of Egypt?

Even though Moses resisted God’s call on his life the day God spoke from the bush that burned but never consumed, the record of the Israelites’ Exodus from slavery in Egypt shows Moses was a true leader. Do you think God would have called Moses if he wasn’t?

The more I read about Moses’ life, the more I admire the man. What patience he exhibited when time after time the ungrateful Israelites complained against God and Moses during their forty year trek through the desert. Moses showed compassion and a willingness to sacrifice himself for the people he led. Moses also showed strength in the face of rebellion.

Numbers 12:3 tells us Moses was the humblest man on earth and Deuteronomy 34:10-12 says there has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses.

Even so, Moses told God he was not the man for the job. Moses said his speech was slow and halting, and that right there should disqualify him. God disagreed. Because we know the end of the story, we know Moses did go, he did what God told him to do, and he did lead the Israelites to the Promised Land God prepared for them.

During the martyr Stephen’s words just prior to being stoned to death, Stephen said of Moses, “Pharaoh’s daughter found him and adopted him as her own son, and taught him all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he became a mighty prince and orator.” (Acts 7:21-22)

Moses became a mighty prince and orator. Doesn’t sound like a man whose speech was slow and halting to me.

I believe sometimes we judge ourselves the way Moses did. We discount our abilities and shrink back from using them. God put those abilities in us to accomplish great things for him. One thing I heard years ago, which I firmly believe, is God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

So if God has tapped us on the shoulder to step out of our comfort zone to do a mighty work for him, we shouldn’t start writing a list of our shortcomings. Each of us has shortcomings a plenty after all. Instead, let’s put God at the top of our list of strengths, leave it at that, and perform the work God’s called us to through the Holy Spirit’s mighty power living in us.

Where in your life have you seen God’s power at work?

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There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel. Deuteronomy 34:10-12 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — The Chicken Little Effect

Isaiah 40by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Something I try to remind myself whenever a situation appears daunting, is to remember everything God has already brought me through and realize he didn’t being me this far to drop me now.

When I stop and consider each and every time God has shown up and showed out, the fear of the future event shrinks and releases the grip it held on my throat. But that takes a deliberate act on my part. It doesn’t come easy.

I have to choose to remember God’s goodness in the face of the awful.

Sometimes we get caught up in the crowd mentality around us. I call it the Chicken Little sky is falling effect. You know, the mistaken belief disaster is imminent. Fear can run through a group of people like a fast spreading fire, destroying everything in its path.

It seems the Israelites fell into this Chicken Little trap more than once when they made decisions and forgot to remember what God had already done for them, causing them to freeze in their tracks fearing the what-ifs.

When they reached the Promised Land they listened to the report of the ten spies who said the land couldn’t be taken. They didn’t listen to the two spies who said with God on their side, it most assuredly could be conquered.

The people forgot who God was. The Almighty Powerful Sovereign LORD. They lost perspective of who they were in God’s eyes. Beloved people. Set apart.

They stood at the edge of the land God promised them afraid to open the door and step inside. They refused to take the land and missed out on God’s blessings for them.

They accepted God’s provision of food, water, clothing, shade from the cloud by day and warmth from the pillar of fire by night. Maybe when it came to conquering the land of Canaan, with its men who made the ten spies feel like grasshoppers in their eyes, they didn’t believe God could provide and deliver them.

I wonder…do we do the same thing? Are we okay with believing God can handle the things we consider small, but allow fear to make us falsely believe he can’t handle the bigger, tougher, scarier issues in life?

We can get caught up in the sky is falling mentality and forget who holds the sky in place.

Fear can lead us to do some pretty strange things. Forgetting who God is and what he is able to do being one of those things.

Back to the beginning of this post…remember what God has already brought us through and realize he didn’t bring us this far to drop us now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

 We are afraid, because the men who explored the land told us that the cities are large, with walls that reach to the sky. The people who live there are taller and stronger than we are, and some of them are Anakim. We have nowhere to go.”

Then I said, “Don’t worry! The Lord our God will lead the way. He will fight on our side, just as he did when we saw him do all those things to the Egyptians. And you know that the Lord has taken care of us the whole time we’ve been in the desert, just as you might carry one of your children.”

But you still would not trust the Lordeven though he had always been with us in the desert. During the daytime, the Lord was in the cloud, leading us in the right direction and showing us where to camp. And at night, he was there in the fire. Deuteronomy 1:28-33 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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