Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Are You Looking At?

Genesis 19:26 (New International Version)
But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

You may not realize how critical what you look at is. Where you focus your attention, determines where you end up. There are three places, in particular, I want to focus on from the Word of God.

Lot’s wife couldn’t keep herself from looking back and, well, we know what happened to her! This tells me we should not constantly dwell on the past. While it is good to occasionally think back to happy times or past victories, constantly living in the past is a dangerous mistake. We all know people who are living on past glories or perpetually punishing themselves for past mistakes. Neither one is any fun to be around. You can’t move forward when you are looking behind you.

In 2 Samuel 11:2-15 we read about David, who should have been in battle with his men, but instead remained behind. In his boredom, he was up walking around on the roof and spotted Bathsheba – another man’s wife – bathing. He was then enticed to commit adultery. This tells me to be careful to avoid boredom. It almost always leads to trouble.

In Genesis 3:6 Eve was encouraged by the serpent to look at the forbidden tree. The more she looked at it, the better the fruit looked until she could resist no more and ate from it. Whatever you focus your attention on, increases. If you are on a diet, don’t sit and watch the Food Channel all day – you will inevitably go on a binge! We’ve all read about men who constantly fed their minds on pornography and ended up committing violent crimes. The message here is to avoid looking at anything that fuels a temptation.

Those are negative ways to use the gift of sight. Here is how God intends us to use it. We are to be like Abraham, in Genesis 15:5, and focus on our goals and dreams. Keep your eyes on the prize and before long it will be your present possession. Luke 21:28 encourages us to look up when all these negative things begin to happen, because our redemption is near. This tells me to keep my eyes on Jesus so my faith remains strong.

If you want to make steady progress, be successful, healthy and blessed - be careful what you look at.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Late Bloomer...Or Right on Time?

I had a conversation recently that made me think about this. I have always considered myself a “late bloomer.” As a mom, I have watched my children grow into young adulthood and constantly marvel at how much further along in their development they seem to be than I was at their ages! It made me stop and carefully consider why that might be. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, a very different time. There were no computers, cell phones or Face Book. My children have grown up with cell phones, computers and other electronics and are extremely proficient in their use. They have been involved in the social networking era of MySpace and Face Book. These things alone may have had a huge impact on how quickly they have “blossomed” in certain areas simply because of exposure.

As I thought about upbringing, that, too has to be a factor. I grew up in a household where my mother was an alcoholic. While I knew my parents loved me, the environment was anything but stable in many ways, and I know that while that sort of situation causes you to mature more quickly in some areas, in others your development can be stunted. I know that to be true of myself. My children, on the other hand, have been raised in a reasonably stable (none of us does it perfectly, after all!) home, in an atmosphere of love, encouragement and acceptance. I believe that, too, has been a factor in why they bloomed so much earlier in some areas than I did. So the soil a seed is planted in – the environment – either encourages growth or slows it.

I’ve always thought of this “late bloomer” thing as a negative, something to be ashamed about. But in studying scriptural longevity, I got an entirely new take on this. I was studying the verses in Psalm 90 that refer to the Israelites who rebelled and were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Many have mistakenly believed verse 10 which says the “days of our years are threescore and ten (70) or even if by reason of strength, fourscore years (80),” refer to a believer’s lifespan. I clearly saw this was simply referring to those Israelites who rebelled against God. In a very insightful footnote to this verse in the Amplified Bible it says: “Seventy years never has been the average span of life for humanity. When Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes, had reached 130 years, he complained that he had not attained to the years of his immediate ancestors. In fact, Moses himself lived to be 120 years old, Aaron 123, Miriam several years older and Joshua 110 years of age. Note as well in the Millenium a person dying at 100 will still be thought a child.” (emphasis mine)

Well, now, that changes everything! I have always told my kids I plan to live to at least 120 so they will have to put up with me for a long time! Perhaps I’m not a late bloomer after all! Could it be that I am exactly where I am supposed to be in my development? If I believe God is aware of every detail of my life (and I do); and I trust Him to direct my every step (and I do); and I expect to fulfill the number of my days in health (and I do); then I am developing exactly according to “schedule.” I don’t have to compare myself to anyone else or feel I should have attained certain understanding or revelation before now. I can just trust that God is moving me along at exactly the right pace and I will know whatever I need to, just when I need to. Besides if 100 will be considered a mere child, I’m still in toddlerhood!