Read part 1 and 2 of this series by clicking on these two links. Today we will discuss the need to understand the power that is in the blood of Jesus to help us remain focused.
In order to maintain the proper focus, it is imperative that we understand the implications of the shed blood of Jesus. The scriptures let us know that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Our sins demanded that a price be paid. A sacrifice had to be offered to rescue us from death. In Exodus Chapter 12, we see a foreshadowing of what Jesus would ultimately do for us on the cross. Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God and His shed blood is what made the forgiveness of our sins possible. So what does this mean for us today? When you plead the blood of Jesus, it is a reminder of all the blood accomplished and still continues to accomplish today. Jesus shed His blood on our behalf and this sacrifice makes victorious living 100% possible. We don’t have to take what the devil offers. We don’t have to dwell on past mistakes and live in condemnation. We don’t have to receive sickness. We don’t have to be confused in our mind. Why? Because of the blood of Jesus! His blood gives us newness of life and a new level of authority! Remember that there is still power in the blood of Jesus and it is a sure way to help you remain focused!
Click here to read part 1 of my Focus series. Today I will discuss how looking back when things become difficult can cause you to abort the promises of God.
It is easy to focus on the promises of God when all is going well. However when things become difficult, it is easy to begin to look back and long for the very thing God delivered you from. This was the case with the children of Israel in Numbers 14:1-4. They were on the verge of possessing the promise land and Moses sent 12 spies to take a look at the land. After 40 days of scouting out Canaan, 10 of the spies came back with a negative report. Fear got the best of them and they focused on how big their enemies were. The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb came back with a favorable report and they reminded the people that because God was on their side, they would have the victory over their enemies. Unfortunately, the Israelites chose to receive the negative report of the 10 spies and wept in fear. They began to look back and long for slavery because their present situation in the wilderness seemed too hard. Their loss of focus on the promises of God gave them a distorted vision and caused them to long to return to slavery. Seems absurd doesn’t it? But how often do we lose focus because we are in a difficult place and we begin to long for relationships or circumstances that God delivered us from. Sometimes the uncertainty of today seems so overwhelming that we forget about the promises of God and we long for a yesterday that had us bound. However we must remember that God is faithful. Don’t abort the promises He has made you by looking back!
Looking back causes you to weep when you should be rejoicing. The children of Israel were on the verge of possessing the Promise Land, a great reason to rejoice but they had the wrong perspective and began to weep in fear. (Numbers 14:1)
Be careful what you say when you are longing for yesterday because it may actually come to pass. The children of Israel cried and said it would have been better that they died. The Lord had enough of their lack of faith and complaints and granted their request. All of the first generation of Israelites that left Egypt except for Caleb and Joshua died in the wilderness. Don’t abort your promise by looking back. (Numbers 14:21-25)
Looking back can cause you to falsely accuse God and make you forget all He has done! Look at the accusations that the Israelites made against God in Exodus 14:3-4“Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Now remember these are the same people God delivered in a great way from Pharaoh, the same people who were not affected by the 10 plagues, the same people who witnessed God part the Red Sea for them to walk across on dry land and their enemies were then swallowed up. THE SAME PEOPLE WERE NOW ACCUSING GOD!
Have you been looking back? Please pass this along to others who may need this reminder.
I had the privilege of speaking at my church last weekend and I will share the notes with you over the next few weeks. I spoke on F.O.C.U.S. There are many things in life that can distract us and cause us to lose focus and miss out on the promises of God. I pray that what the Lord gave me blesses you!
F-Forget the past and move forward!
I discussed two ways in which we can look back on the past and lose focus. We will explore the first point today; looking back at our past with regret.
Looking back at our past with regret
The devil loves to remind us of who we used to be, causing us to lose focus. When you think back on your past sins, you feel unqualified/unworthy of operating in your gifts that are NEEDED in the body of Christ. You lose sight of who God has called you to be. You begin to rehearse all your past sins and condemnation imprisons you. “I made too many mistakes for God to use me now,” become your normal thinking pattern. The shame from your past haunts and cripples you from moving forward. Yes you sinned but if you have repented, God has forgiven you. It is time to move on! Stop focusing on who you used to be, that person is dead!
You must resist the temptation to look back. Instead focus on the truth that you are now forgiven. You are redeemed. You are new! Once I really got the revelation that I am forgiven and I don’t have to live in condemnation the devil’s reminders of my past lost their influence on my mind and spirit. There was no Velcro on me for his accusations to stick to. Don’t waste your pain by looking back. When you focus on today, you will begin to see how God is masterfully redeeming your live from destruction.
Reflect on the meaning of the following scriptures as you spend time with God this week. Are you living in the reality of these scriptures?
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
God said. There was. And it was good. That pretty much sums up my God. The one who has the ability to speak something out of nothing. Create light out of darkness. I read Genesis chapter 1 through different lenses this morning because I read it thinking about some things that God has spoken to me. Things that if I look at it in the natural they seem impossible…nonexistent. But my God, the very God who created the heavens and the earth defies human logic and breaks through every boundary to bring into existence what He wants. He not only speaks and it happens, but when it happens it is good! As I read that very familiar passage of scripture I was encouraged. Encouraged to believe that if He created in Genesis 1, He can still create opportunities for me today. He can create openings in doors that are shut and even create a door that was not originally there. Encouraged to believe that it will be exactly as He has spoken as I grab a hold of it by faith. Encouraged to believe that as I pursue the purpose for which I am called, it will all work together for my good!
Reread Genesis 1 and reflect on the following questions
-What specific promises has he made to you that seems impossible?
-When you think about what God has spoken, do you see it as impossible because you are thinking about your own limitations? Is God asking you to do it in your own strength or His?
The enemy is shrewd and is always looking for ways to devour our children. His goal is to have them live contrary to their God given purpose and to ultimately destroy them. We must not be passive. As parents we have been given the great task of speaking life over our children, reminding them that they were called before they were born. It is imperative that we let our children know God has a purpose for their life and encourage them to live accordingly. Below I created a quick worksheet highlighting the call of Samson in Judges Chapter 13. Take some time to read the passage and answer the reflection questions below.
Reflection Questions for Judges Chapter 13
God gave specific guidelines for Samson before He was even born. Why did God give these specific guidelines? In other words what was Samson’s purpose?
Even though Samson’s mother was not called to be the deliverer for Israel, she also had to be careful about what she consumed as she carried Samson. Are you aware that what you consume (spiritually) can affect the call of God on your child?
What are some things (spiritually speaking) that you need to remove from your diet, to help foster the call of God on your child’s life?
Sometimes we may need more clarity on the call of God on our child’s life, it is ok to ask. What does Samson’s father do in Judges 13: 8? What does He ask for?
What does James 1:5 tell us to do?
Has the Lord given you any insights concerning the call on your child’s life? Please list them below.
Have you been asking God for wisdom on how to help develop the call/purpose for your child’s life? What are some practical things you can do to help develop that call?
Yesterday I wrote about having an identity crisis. However as I connect more with God I am beyond delighted to learn that not only is my identity in Him; but I am also learning that I was called before I was born. Yes that is right, there was a call on my life before I was even born! I was created for a specific purpose. The same is true for you. Below is a quick worksheet I created to remind you of this truth. Take some time to fill this out and reflect on the assigned scriptures. Are you living in the reality that you were called before you were born? Are you pursuing the purpose God has for your life?
CALLED BEFORE I WAS BORN
5 “I __________ you before I ________ you in your _________ ________.Before you were ________ I set you ________and _________ you as my prophet to the nations.”
I also love how the amplified bible states it.
Jeremiah 1:5Amplified Bible
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument],And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own];I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
On the lines below, please write this verse in your own words? What stands out the most to you about this verse?
Are you in constant communication with the one who created you? Do you seek Him for how to live out the call on your life, or do you follow your own agenda or what others think you should be? Answer honestly and give examples.
What have been some of the biggest hindrances (feeling inadequate, people’s negative opinions, doubt, ungodly relationships, lack of pursuit, finances, etc.?) to you pursuing the call of God on your life? Have you prayed about these hindrances or have you lived in defeat?
What are some practical things you can start to do to fulfill the call of God on your life? For example I know that I was called to encourage others through my writing so I try to be faithful to posting on my blog.