Today I’m honoured to have a dear friend and coworker in the ministry, Hattie Asberry, giving us a bit of her wisdom for the day. I encourage you to take in all that the Lord has given her as a deposit for us on day 18 of our 21 day fast. Her contact information and ministry website are listed below, please take time to visit her site and take in the wonderful work the Lord is doing through her.
Life is an amazing journey filled with tremendous twists, turns, trials, tests and triumphs. The fictional character Forrest Gump says it best “My mama always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” His mama taught him the ways of life and left him to choose his destiny. The movie depicted how Forrest faced many tribulations throughout his life, but he never let any of them interfere with his happiness. From wearing braces on his legs, to having a below average IQ, Forrest continued to believe that good things would happen and he followed his dreams. He turned each setback into something good especially when he struggled to get his leg braces off and discovered that he could run faster than most people.
His mom also taught him that, “You have to do the best with what God gave and you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.” Such great advice. But, unlike Forrest, we have a true and living God who abides in our hearts to lead and guide us. You and I know that we can easily get stuck in our fast-paced life with inevitable distractions, disappointments and undelivered promises from people. Looking to people to affirm us and approve of us. Looking to people to make our wrongs right. Looking to people to be the friend to us that we have been to them. Looking to people to fill voids in our lives that only Jesus can fill. We often find ourselves forgetting our purpose to serve and worship our Lord…because we are focused on the twists and turns of life better known as distractions.
Distractions are tricks of the enemy to keep us from the call and focus God has ordained for our lives. There are so many things in this world that fight for our time: money, relationships, health, career, education, worries, fears, busyness, social media, internet, telephone, texting, church and family. If you are always busy or on the phone how will you hear God when he calls? Even people, places and things that appear important or things that we classify as could not have been helped can all filter under the distraction trick. Satan appears in many shapes, sizes and fashions to continue to steal your time, kill your dream and destroy your relationship with Jesus Christ. Recognize him and stay focused! Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2).
To focus means to center our attention and concentration upon a certain thing. For the Christian that thing would be Jesus who is our Lord and Savior. Like Forrest Gump, life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. Last year was one of the most challenging years of my life…but my constant self-talk was run your race [Hattie run your race, run your race I whispered morning, noon and night]. Regardless of life’s circumstances I knew that God was with us and I kept my eyes focused on Jesus Christ. We can choose to focus on the negative or we can focus on the positive. “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).” Focus your attention on what is most important in your life.
In the midst of life’s twists and turns…how can we resist distraction and keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus Christ? In 2017 reposition yourself closer to Jesus. Commit to reading your bible daily, improve your prayer life and spend time meditating on God’s Word. Talk to God and allow him to talk to you. Learn to listen to God and understand the varying ways he communicates with those he loves. Build an intimate relationship with Jesus (fall in love with him) and know that He is your protector. Seek God and not opportunities then opportunities will come. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
Take control of your thoughts, for as a man thinketh in his mind so is he. What you believe will determine your destiny. We become like the things we focus on. That’s why it is important to focus on beauty and godliness. Recondition your mind to focus on these things as Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Guard your heart, bring your life into focus and allow Jesus to fill your mind.
Direct your focus and run the race God has planned for your life! If Forrest Gump, a simple-minded but kind-hearted Alabama boy can succeed in life through a mixture of luck and destiny…what about YOU?
By: Hattie R. Asberry
CEO of Essentials For Godly Living