Focus

My dad was holding the ladder while a friend at the top was attempting to nail a spike joining two walls together. The man swung his hammer missing the big nail endlessly. Finally after several splinters flew from the beat up wood he looked down at my dad fairly embarrassed and said “I give up”. Dad chuckled a little as he said “I had a hammer like that once”.

I marvel often at how I so easily lose focus. I remember as a teen in a (just for fun) snowball fight with my girlfriend. I threw a snowball straight up in the air and while she tipped her head back and watched it I pasted her in the face (for any teens reading this, that’s a deal breaker for any long term relationship).

Today, it was cloudy and below freezing. Frost formed everywhere. A photographers dream or possibly nightmare playing with light and focus. I have often struggled to get my camera and various lenses to focus clearly where I wanted. Cameras do their own thing sometimes if you let them decide (autofocus). Some times the lens is just a smidge off. The photo looks nice as a broad stroke but it’s not truly in focus. You be the judge as I took a bunch of pictures. Truthfully, I’m getting better. Click for slide show as the whole picture may not be seen here.

Did you see the chickadee? I’m not sure how it can hold a piece of popcorn in his claws and grasp the branch at the same time. I tried to focus on his feet.

Focus, with a camera or in life is an intentional discipline. We just have to be aware of where our focus should be. One of my younger brothers was in an intramural basketball team in college. They had a “Prevent 100” defense, meaning their goal was to prevent the other team from scoring 100 points (true story). They accomplished this goal much to the dismay of some really good teams. To answer your question forming in your mind, no, I don’t think they won any games.

We were designed like a camera with fixed focus. If our focus is not on Jesus then nothing else in the big picture is really in focus. We focus on our circumstances to make them better. We focus on ourselves and it’s all about us. We focus on our family and then the kids move out and maybe follow the Lord (from my jaded youth director days…often not). Focus on our career and all we get is a career until it’s over. We were designed and commanded to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2

When we get our focus properly on Jesus, it’s not very far down the road and we begin to see our neighbors through God’s eyes, and they need Jesus. We begin to grow weary of prayer meetings only praying for our friends and families aches, pains and life’s discomforts because people need Jesus. We intentionally begin to invest our time and resources toward areas helping people find and grow their relationship with Jesus. Perhaps they even go so far as to learn how to use a computer, find out how to navigate the internet and write a blog pushing people to fix their eyes on Jesus.

Gary

20 thoughts on “Focus

  1. “I had hammer like that once.” We ALL have feet of clay. It sounds like your dad was a pretty wise man.

    I was just thinking, Gary hasn’t weighed in on all the recent chaos. I rightly predicted you would not mention recent national events at all, but would wisely say something like, “Focus on Jesus.”

    Thank you, brother. Blessings.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks David. Can you imagine what could happen in this country, or the world for that matter, if a million Christ followers really continuously focused on Jesus and it was reflected in their daily life and all their social media accounts? He is THE WAY, TRUTH and LIFE. Nothing man does or doesn’t do can alter that….

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  2. So true, Gary. Told my senior pastor last Sunday I was becoming weary of blogging. He told me something that inspired me. He said the internet is a “Bully Pulpit” on a high mountaintop to carry our little voice far and wide never knowing where it might land at just the right moment. God knows, but we can lose focus.
    Beautiful pics there.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Oh G.W. I understand that weariness. God knows and does His work in hearts that we may never know about till eternity. I do not have a pastor like that but my wife keeps telling me (and Ted under Tmart2007) that I should keep writing.

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  3. Do you ever notice how some people calm the waters and others stir things up more than they already are? We need a lot more to calm the waters and you’re one of those who do. I’m often mindful that when Jesus first appeared to His disciples after His resurrection He uttered the words “peace be unto you” or “peace be with you”. I need His peace and I am grateful that there are brothers and sisters in the Lord who help move me in the direction of those thoughts. Thank you for this post Gary. Blessings.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Bruce, I have noticed that dynamic and hope to keep growing that kind of fruit in my life with those around me. Peace is a really big deal in lives today, perhaps a key to gaining credibility and the right to be heard with those who need Jesus in their lives. As part of the flock, Gods sheep seem to be confused about this in practical living.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Well played and timelessly relevant! Beautiful photos. You know, I’ve noticed that woodpeckers, with their large feet, don’t seem able to do the chickadee stunt, but they work from the gifts God gave them. Our woodpecker has pecked himself a modest cereal bowl in the back of the trunk of the lilac next to our feeder. He takes the seed to his “bowl” and then hammers it apart and eats it that way.

    Focus is everything and everything vies for our focus. What a needful reminder of where ours needs to rest. Thanks and God bless!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Craig, That’s a great insight on the chickadee and woodpecker difference in gifts. A woodpecker made cereal bowl as a hammer station, that would be fun to watch.
      Our woodpeckers compete and go after each others food stashes (taken from the feeder) in the rough bark of the big oaks. Yes, there is much to distract our focus.

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    1. Thanks Ted, You are going to keep after me on that 365 devotional book aren’t you. I’ve actually done a lot of research on publishing a physical devotional book with pictures included. Aside from self printing, I don’t have a feasible cost yet. It’s too expensive. However digital is not.
      The only other problem is that it will take me 14 years if I write one every two weeks which is about my normal blog pace so something has to give to make it happen.

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  5. Gary, I am so very grateful you went “so far as to learn how to use a computer, find out how to navigate the internet and write a blog pushing people to fix their eyes on Jesus. a computer, found out how to navigate the internet, and write a blog pushing people to fix their eyes on Jesus.” The Holy Spirit uses your posts to challenge me, convict me, and encourage me in Christ. I stepped away from your post and pictures humming these words, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” The picture titled “Frosty Seed Top” seems to illustrate this. The camera’s focus captures the delicate, and intricate beauty of the ice crystals and the seed top seems to glow against the darkened background. Something that would have been unseen without focus. As you said, “If our focus is not on Jesus than nothing else in the big picture is really in focus.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Beth, I am very grateful for your encouragement. Ironically, the old hymn “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” almost became part of the blog as I was thinking of posting the words to the song to end the blog. The writing journey was never about writing for me as I struggle to want to sit down and write. I also love the computer as long as someone else is doing it. Thanks again Beth for your encouragement. I love that picture as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing how our focus on Jesus changes our focus elsewhere. It’s like we see things in a whole new way. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and the BEAUTIFUL pictures!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks Stephanie. It is amazing. The smallest details in how we live out our lives are way more important and our world is so much bigger with a life in focus. Keep making a difference in your Wisconsin world. I’m trying to tame a patch of Minnesota over here.

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