21 May 2001

"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem"-Luke 9:5 Our Lord led a very focused life. His purpose was always before Him. Even as a child He would say, "I must be about my Father's business." He came to redeem His people from their sins and nothing moved Him from His purpose till the atonement was made and the captives set free. To be focused means that we have a goal in life, a God honoring purpose and that we are moving towards that purpose in a determined way. As our Lord's face was "stedfastly set to go to Jerusalem" to die upon a cross for our sins, let us set our face before our calling and lead a focused life as well. Is it not difficult for us all to remained focused upon our responsibilities in life? Whether it is our jobs or our families, we can be sure the devil will use all his power to distract and divert our attention from those things that are not only pleasing to our heavenly Father, but also most rewarding to ourselves as well. From a host of biblical examples, I will give you a few examples of people who lost their focus, why they lost their focus and the resulting consequences of their actions. Perhaps we might all might glean from their mistakes and hopefully, lead a more God honoring, focused life. We do not have to go far in the pages of scripture to find Eve losing her focus. She was not focused on the family when she began her dialogue with Satan. Her eyes were wide with the world and we may all read the results in the headlines of God's word. She let a lot of people down. She was to be Adam's "help meet" as all wives are to be. Yet, today, the focus of our society is not so and just to mention the biblical expression brings excitement to many. What about king David? He was greatly blessed, anointed of God, yet at the "time when kings go forth to battle", David looked upon Bathsheba and lost his focus. Even though we may be blessed with a castle we can lose focus, forgetting present blessings. That sin haunted David all the days of his life. We read of his pain in the 51st psalm. Losing our focus can bring great pain, not only to ourselves, but also to the people around us. Jabez realized that and part of his prayer ran thus, " ... keep my from evil that I may not cause pain". We must focus on what we have, not what we do not have. We learn more from David. We learn about repentance and forgiveness from the greatest of sins. We may miss a shot or two from the three-point line from losing our focus, but the game is long. Repentance and forgiveness are rich and bountiful at God's throne of grace. The prodigal son was a typical teenager who lost his focus. He wanted his money and left home with his pockets jingling. As one good preacher said, "He left home looking for a part and didn't have one till he got back home". Joseph is our good example. Sold into slavery by his brothers, unjustly accused by Potipher's wife and thrown into prison, he remained focused upon God. He didn't carry bitterness in his heart against those that had misused him. He went on with life doing the best he could knowing that God was still with him even though the world was not. We read of his exaltation to second in command of Pharaoh in Egypt. Remaining focused has great reward. We all lose our focus from time to time. Not only by sin, but tragedy, family problems, loss of loved ones and just the mundane everyday events can cause us to become distracted with our purpose and callings. Some can get so caught up in some good cause that they forget on their main cause as fathers, mothers and spouse. So, how do we remain focused? In Psalm 88:15, you will find the writer of the Psalm "distracted". He was refocusing by fervent prayer. Yes, prayer will focus our attention to God. It will refocus our direction when we are lost because it puts us in touch with our true north star, the "bright and morning star", the "day star": our Lord Jesus Christ. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.