Driven to Distraction

You know, I don’t pay attention to many car commercials, mostly because I can’t afford a new car. But I was watching television over the weekend and one caught my eye like none has in quite a while.

Perhaps you’ve seen it: they ask eight or so people to sit in a room and watch a video on a screen.  You hear a verbal command something to the effect, “Please do not remove your eyes from the screen.  Watch the screen at all times.”

Then the producers send in cute puppies, Vegas-style show girls, loud singers, and a host of other distractions.  And of course, not one participant keeps his/her eyes on the screen.

It’s a car commercial with a target audience for those that feel the need to text while driving.  The car they’re advertising has a text screen located high on the dashboard so that you can text and keep your eyes on the road. Sorry. This makes me nervous. PLEASE DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE — EVEN IF YOU OWN THIS CAR.

The fact that I can’t remember many of the details of this commercial says something. I have to say I wasn’t enthralled by the commercial enough to even remember the make or model of the car. From the moment the commercial started, I heard the still, small voice of God whispering in my ear, “That’s you, Sandy.  You’ve been distracted from Me.”  After that, all I could think of was the spiritual implications of how I’ve been distracted from God.

We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith. and He is the One who makes our faith complete.He suffered death on the cross. But He accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy He could see waiting for Him and now He is sitting at the right hand of God’s Throne.  Hebrews 2:12 ERV

I am a writer, so distractions can be the death of an afternoon of hard work or even an idea. But you don’t have to be a writer for distractions to wreak havoc on your life.

Imagine cleaning your house and happening upon some really interesting television show (Discovery ID can do this for me). You sit to watch a few minutes and the next thing you know it’s time to make supper and do homework with the kids — and that inch of dust is still layered on top of the mantel.

Just about the time you sit down for your quiet time in the Bible and a moment to commune with God, a friend with whom you’ve not spoken in ages calls…and it just seems rude to hang up. Before you know it, it’s been two hours and you now have to rush to get to your doctor’s appointment.

Or, let’s imagine that you are at the grocery store with your list — your concise, nothing-else-needed list; the list that you diligently went through the kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, and the freezer to make; the list you intend to stick to because you’ve promised God to live on a tighter budget and contribute a little extra to the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign at church.   As you turn the first aisle, you notice Nutter Butters are on sale (Or Oreos!) and you counsel with yourself saying, “Just one little bag won’t throw my budget off too much.”  And by the end of the grocery shopping, you’ve “one-little-bagged it” on every aisle and your budget is blown.

“We must never stop looking to Jesus,” is the first line in Hebrews 12:2.

And I fail to do it every day. If you think I’m writing to tell you how well I avoid distractions, my dear Child of God, you are reading the wrong devotion in the wrong blog. It takes great practice to ignore the pleadings of the world and while I’d like to say I spend a good portion of every day practicing avoiding distractions, I don’t spend nearly enough. I get caught up in the drama of the world and let the rush of “being in with the in-crowd” wash all over me.

The point I want to share with you is that God uses worldly things to remind me just how distracted I’ve let myself become. In my gluttony, He shows me a young couple who is barely making it on their own. In my gossip-carrying mouth, He allows me to see or hear a bit of unkindness about myself so that I can lay my hate-carrying tongue on His altar for cleansing. In my impatience, He allows me to experience waiting in a way that will only point me to Him. If I’m carrying a grudge or hate in my heart toward someone, He somehow shows me that I have the same quality I dislike about that person.  I must humble myself and forgive that person or there will be no forthcoming forgiveness from God to me.

In my distracted mind, God shows me a car commercial in which the message isn’t that I can text and watch the road at the same time, but that I can’t remain close to God and let a distraction take my attention away. I must remain focused on my Lord as if the distractions of this world are nothing or I will miss the joy that is waiting for me.

Do you have a something you’d like to share in the comments?  Do you need prayer?  If so, you can leave a detailed request or simply write “unspoken.”

Don’t miss the joy of the Lord, my friends! And whatever our distractions are, rest assured that God is never distracted from us.

If you don’t know about the wonderful missions project (Imagine No Malaria) by the United Methodist Church, please click on the link above, and if you feel so inclined, a donation would be greatly appreciated.

shr

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The Apple of His Eye

Photo Credit:  http://tearingoffthemask.wordpress.com

I have begun a new relationship with my granddaughter, Joshlyn.  I am now her primary caregiver while her mother and father are at work during the week.  While it is hard work, it is a labor of love more than anything.  I love to hear her coo and laugh.  She looks like an angel when she sleeps.  And when she is wet or needs a diaper change, she is not shy about letting you know she’s in distress.

Yesterday, Kelly and I were running some errands with Joshlyn in tow.  While we sat down to get a quick bite of lunch, we put her car seat on the table.  She proceeded to work her “baby magic” on everyone in the restaurant.  The owner of the Honey Dew Deli stopped by our table and commented, “What a beautiful little girl.  I’ll bet she’s the apple of your eye.”

My daily bible reading today included Psalm 17.  I was delighted at the reminder I found in this passage:

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;  Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show Your marvelous loving-kindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You;  From those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye;  Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.  Psalm 17:6-8 (NKJV)

I am thrilled to know that I am the “apple” of God’s eye.  As much as I love Joshlyn, I know that God loves me even more.  He hears me when I pray.  He shows me his “marvelous loving-kindness.”  He has saved me from death with the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.   He gives me protection under the “shadow of His wings.”

Do I think it’s a coincidence that I heard the use of the phrase “apple of your eye” twice in two days?  No.  There are very few coincidences in the life of a child of God.  I like to call these reminders of God’s omnipresence “God-Incidents,” for I believe He reveals Himself to us in big ways and small ways.   The big ways are more easily recognized because they’re, well, BIG.  It’s sometimes easy to miss the small ways, so you must be vigilant and watchful.  Some of the most meaningful lessons God has taught me are through that “still, small voice” in which He speaks to me.

Photo Credit:  www.med.ubc.ca

If you believe that He is always with you, then you must embrace the idea that He wants to communicate with you.  He made us to be loved by Him and to love Him in return.  We learn to know God by communicating with Him — listening and responding.

God is waiting to catch your attention!  Don’t miss the “God-Incidents” He’s preparing for you!

Related Articles:  “The Hat Rack”  http://faithrises.com/2012/02/27/the-hat-rack/

“The Direction of Your Thoughts”  http://busymomof03.org/2012/04/11/day-98-the-direction-of-your-thoughts/

“Have Women Got It Wrong?”  http://abtwixt.com/2012/04/10/have-women-got-it-wrong/

He Calls My Name

HE CALLS MY NAME

He calls my name.  His gentle voice soothes all my fear.

As He draws close, He turns my storm to calm.

My trembling soul grows quiet when my Lord is near,

And I find rest in the safety of His palm.

He calls my name — Emmanuel, God is with me;

Wonderful Counselor, He’s forever just the same.

Glory to the Most High God, the holy Prince of Peace.

I know I’m His.  He calls my name.

He’s my Provider.  He portions everything I need.

He’s my Creator and still turns the night to day.

He’s my Salvation, whose Son exchanged His life for mine.

I call His name and He’s only a prayer away.

He calls my name — merciful Savior of my soul.

He’s my Deliverer, who took my every blame.

Redeemer, Lord of Life, Alpha and Omega —

I know I’m His.  He calls my name.

The day will come when I shall draw my final breath

And I’ll cross over into my heavenly home.

There all my family will meet me on the river’s shore,

And then, together, we will gather near God’s throne.

He’ll call my name and I will see Him face-to-face;

The Reason I’ll sing and forevermore proclaim

That He’s King of Heaven, God of Glory, Giver of Eternal Life.

Forever we’ll reign, when He calls my name.

Do you know my Jesus?  He’s calling your name.

(c) Sandra Hall Rosser 2012

Image Credits:  www.latitude821.comwww.elementfreelance.comwww.jeevagarajan.wordpress.com, www.onchristianradio.com, www.davemathews.hubpages.com, www.antiochbcpavo.com, & www.my.opera.com

Related Articles:  “Precious…Oh Precious”  http://jeevagarajan.com/?s=God+is+near&submit=Search

“Challenging Times and Great Blessings”  http://oilofjoyandgarmentsofpraise.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/challenging-times-and-great-blessings/

“Why We Should Finish Where We Started:  The One Question We Need to Answer Every Day”  http://chiefofleast.com/2012/01/15/why-we-should-finish-where-we-started-the-one-question-we-need-to-answer-everyday/

“God is Big”  http://lorischulz.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/god-is-big/

“You Are Already Famous to ME”  http://ascendinworship.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/you-are-already-famous-to-me/

“What If…”  http://michelecline.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/what-if/#comment-27

The Song We Were Singing: Unfailing Love

Today, my good friend and sister-in-Christ Jodie Bailey (www.jodiebailey.com) agreed to be my guest blogger.  I thank her for giving me the inspiration to post about music that makes a difference in my life.  Without her “The Song We Were Singing” Mondays, there would be no “How Can I Keep From Singing?” Mondays for this blog.  Please check out her website and blog to be truly blessed.  Grace & Peace, Sandy

I APOLOGIZE!  This was not published on Monday as it should have been.  I am still new to this blogging thing, so it’s probably my fault.  But I don’t want you to miss what she has to tell you.  Enjoy…and again, I apologize!

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Aren’t there some days when it’s just good to know that God loves you?  Sometimes, in the hustle and craziness of life, it’s easy to dash into prayer time and dash out again without really looking for God’s face.  “Here’s my stuff, God.  Thanks for listening.  You have a good day now, okay?”

It’s good to slow down, though.  To shut our mouths, rest our heads in His lap, and let Him run His hand over our hair.  Oh, it’s in those times when I feel God’s love the most, when I lay my head down and let Him love me.  I don’t say anything, I just get into His presence and let Him talk to me.  Sometimes He says nothing.  He’s just there.  In a way, those are the best times, the ones that bring tears to my eyes because there’s no agenda, it’s just me and my Abba, being together. He likes to do that to me at the beach.  We stand together, staring out over the water.  There’s no dazzling insight, no amazing bolt from the blue, just us, hanging out.  I just know there is a crystal sea in heaven simply so we can stand there together.  That is what I look forward to the most!

The God whose words spoke everything into existence likes to sit still with me.  Do we realize how incredible that is?  If you’ve got a minute, sit with Him now and let Chris Tomlin’s “Unfailing Love” get you into that moment with God

-jb

“Unfailing Love” (Christ Tomlin) “http://www.youtube.com/embed/CaVYDM9DKLo?rel=0

Video Credit: FireThundertv

Image Credit:  www.therockgifts.com