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

Shaky Faith

It’s raining said the farmer as he spit into the wind…(An old saying on the farm). Yes, it’s a perception saying.

I took the above picture in the wind on my regular camera settings for still shots. Not very clear is it? In fact I spent part of the afternoon taking high speed pictures and captured some excellent mediocre shots. My subject matter was all over the place, often in the same picture.

black eyed susan eml
I think they all moved slightly

This brings me to some questions we must all ask ourselves if we claim to be people of faith. “Does the subject of your faith change? When you feel like your faith is on shaky ground is it because your faith is really on your circumstances? recent events? other people? your faith community? The cataclysmic event that just happened in your life?Rocks Cry eml I took a picture of a rock in our yard. It doesn’t move in the wind. Awhile back I wrote on it but that’s another time (The rocks cry out one of my first blogs way back).

Here is the deal. When others see us, watch us and take a look at our faith. what people see is a blurred confusing image if the subject of our faith is not Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and our salvation. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith and put to the side everything that gets in the way Hebrews 12:2 

When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through our storm. 

I put together some pictures taken in high winds from this afternoon. They may not be perfect but each one was in a protected niche from most of the wind. God is our shelter, rock, provide, protector,and I could go on…You get the picture. (Click for slide show)

 

I imagine God shelters us in ways we do not even see or understand. Consider a few lines from the old hymn “He hideth My Soul”

A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
A wonderful Saviour to me
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
Where rivers of pleasure I see
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land
He hideth my life in the depths of his love
And covers me there with his hand (repeat)
 
A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
He taketh my burden a-way
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved
He giveth me strength as my day 
One more thought: I put my camera on a tripod for getting clear pictures whenever I can. People who watch our lives to see if Jesus is real (and they do) often have enough things shaking their world as it is. Hey, who among us sees clearly? Let’s not present a moving target of faith for shaky people trying to get the picture.
When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through their storm. 

Gary

Check out the video of the haven of rest quartet G.W posted in the comments section. “He Hideth My Soul”