Author: Jan Grace

As an ordained minister for over 30 years, I have pastored two churches and have spent time on staff as a worship leader. I have been married to Phyllis, the wife of my youth, for over 45 years and we live near Des Moines, Iowa. We have a son and daughter-in-law, along with 2 grand cats. My wife and I attend Lifehouse Community Church in Urbandale, Iowa. I've published 10 books, all available at jangrace.org

Surrounded By Enemies

“Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.” (Psalms 5:8 ESV)

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11 – 5:12 ESV)

It’s a nasty, unfriendly world out there; for the Christian especially. To think otherwise is to be ignorant of God’s word.

Jesus said, “If they’ve hated Me, they will hate you also.”

John wrote, “He came unto His own (the people He had covenant with through Abraham) and His own received Him not.” (John 1).

And that’s what every child of God should expect: trouble from those whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to ours.

Of course trouble may come in different ways; from severe persecution to a mere intolerance of our beliefs and ideas. But nevertheless, trouble will find its way to every person who believes God’s word enough to live it.

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12 ESV).

When’s the last time you reminded yourself that as long as you’re living in this world, you are surrounded by enemies? Have you come to grips with the word from James where he states a person must choose where their loyalty lies?

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4 ESV).

It goes along with what Jesus spoke:

“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:13 ESV).

And John the beloved’s words:

“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13 ESV).

Another passage to read is found in Hebrews 11; the story of Abraham regarding himself a pilgrim and a stranger here on earth while waiting for a city Whose builder and maker is God.

Paul wrote to the Philippians: “To depart and be with Christ is far better (than continuing to live here on earth)”.

Child of God, you are surrounded by enemies. Unfriendly forces are set against you to try and trip you up, get you to compromise your devotion to the Lord and to besmirch the Name of Christ.

But you are not without hope! God did not leave you to walk through life on your own. He’s promised to never leave you, nor forsake you. He has sent the Holy Spirit to empower you, thus giving you victory over every trial and temptation.

He is with you in trouble as your ever present Help in time of need. You will never face anything by yourself, if you’ll simply call upon His Name!

“Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:12 – 10:13 NLT).

The Psalmist wrote this promise from God Almighty:

“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.” (Psalm 91:14 – 91:15 NLT).

It’s a mean, nasty, ugly world. And sometimes, it’s even worse!

Yes, sometimes the devil and his cohorts try and wear us down and tear us up. Peter referred to the devil as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He tried to devour Daniel but couldn’t get it accomplished!

David talked about walking through a dark, dangerous valley. Though he was surrounded by enemies, he declared to all who could hear him, “I will fear no evil because You are with me, Lord! In fact, You make it possible for me to feed on Your faithfulness while my enemies watch with frustration.”

You may feel like you’re walking through that same valley, surrounded by the same enemy of old.

But you are not alone. You can (and should) remind yourself daily (at least), Who God is to you, in you, and around you. Plus, remind your enemies just Who it is they’re messing with.

Use some of David’s words if you’d like.

“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill…I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” (Psalm 3:1-4,6 ESV)

After all, even though you’re surrounded by enemies, you are God’s property; His purchased possession.

And He always takes care of His own.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (Psalm 91:1 – 91:2 NLT).

Amen.

He Is Our Peace

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)

The Hebrew word for “peace” is “shalom”.

Here’s what it means: completeness, soundness, welfare, safety, soundness (in body), health, prosperity, quiet, tranquillity, contentment, friendship, of human relationships with God especially in covenant relationship.

Peace.

In other words, He (Jesus, according to Matt 8:16,17) was crushed, beaten, chastised, and hung out to die in our place so we could be all He originally created us to be.

Whole, complete, righteous in God’s sight; as though sin NEVER existed before in our lives.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

Incredible, so far beyond anyone’s imagination or comprehension, is His love for you and I.

Then, just to show the devil he completely lost his authority over mankind (those who would become children of faith), God raised Jesus from the grave! The empty tomb itself joins in with all creation proclaiming Jesus is Lord.

Paul declared, “He Himself (Jesus) is our peace…” (Ephesians 2:14).

The Greek word for “peace” is “eirene”, and corresponds in meaning to the word “shalom” in the Hebrew.

The apostle also wrote: “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” (Colossians 3:15 ESV).

Another translation reads, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts…” (Colossians 3:15 AMP)

Act as an umpire? Yes. The Greek word for “rule” means to “arbitrate, to decide, to call the shots”. In other words, let God’s peace (His wholeness, etc.) call the shots when you have issues in your heart and mind. Don’t let anything push you away from God’s love and care for you.

After all, He IS our peace. He is YOUR peace!

Now God’s question to you and I is this:

What are YOU believing and declaring?

Pain hurts, so ease up a bit.

“Suck it up, brother! Jesus is your Savior, Healer, and soon coming King.”

So says the well meaning Christian to the dear one who’s going through a painful and emotional hurricane.

Does it help?

No!

Why?

Because pain is still pain, and words designed to demean others while showcasing one’s own “spiritual superiority” never ease anyone’s pain.

Scripture alone will not heal or ease the pain. There’s more to it than blasting people with the Word.

“But…”

Yeah?

“But the word says, ‘he sent His Word and healed them’” (Psalm 107:20).

Yes, it does. And, there are a lot of other scriptures that support the psalmist’s testimony.

Yet here’s a point we can’t forget. GOD sent His Word. JESUS told the soldier, “Go your way, your servant is healed”.

Aren’t we supposed to do the works Jesus did (John 14)? Yes, and even greater ones!

But that doesn’t mean we act as though we’re high and mighty and others should feel grateful just having us speak with them.

We are to do things like the Word says, but only do them in the way Jesus would.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17 NLT)

Do them as He would do them, IF He would do them.

Speak the truth in love, with faith AND compassion, tenderly using the opportunity to minister grace to the hearer (Ephesians 4:29).

Pain, regardless of the reason, speaks loud enough for the sufferer to hear. If there’s a lesson to be learned  it won’t come from some egotistical maniac using scripture on the sufferer as though they’re an idiot.

Jesus always spoke truth. He always shared the Word. And He always did it in love, not for His sake but for the good of others AND the glory of God.

Those going through pain, sorrow, or grief don’t need cute quips, quotes, or cutting remarks. Even if someone is hurting as a result of sin, they can still receive compassion from God.

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:15 ESV)

If God will minister real grace and compassion to the hurting, don’t you think He’d have us do the same?

Pain is painful. Let’s not add insult to injury.

Instead of blasting the hurting with our scripture “stones”, how about if we just simply DO His Word.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1 ESV)

So, what would you do to comfort the afflicted, help ease someone’s pain, while staying true to the scriptures?

It can be hard to trust God…

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord GOD is the eternal Rock.” (Isaiah 26:3 – 26:4 NLT)

I love that passage, but I must say it can be hard to trust God when my chaotic world appears to be closer to me than He is. 

Of course, God IS closer, but it just doesn’t always seem like it. 

Know what I mean?

Whether we’re dealing with health issues, family relationships, financial burdens, or whatever; the one that has the loudest voice will be the one that captures our attention if we’re not prepared. 

And many times, so many times, God doesn’t seem to make as much of a racket as those things that keep us at our wits end. 

But nevertheless, God meant what He said when He told Isaiah, “I will keep those in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on Me.”

Perfect peace? What could that possibly mean?

The Hebrew word “shalom” is used here and it means completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, safety, soundness (in body), welfare, health, prosperity, peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment, friendship, etc.

Just think what is possible for the one whose heart and mind is fixed, locked in, on God and His Word.

And yet, it can still be very hard to trust God when all hell seems to be breaking loose and flying at you at the speed of sound.

God knows that and gave us some things which can help; if we’ll make use of them. 

The first thing is to learn (by practice) the art of focus. How? Setting and maintaining God and His Word as our life’s priority. Settling it in our heart and mind that God is not a liar, He only speaks truth, so whatever He says is more important and more reliable than any other voice in the world. 

There was a situation, recorded in Numbers 21, that illustrates perfectly the importance of focusing on God’s Word. As you read the story, understand God’s remedy for your situation and mine is wrapped up in His Word. 

“Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?’, they complained. ‘There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!’ 

So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.’ So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him, ‘Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!’ So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed.” (Numbers 21:4 – 21:9 NLT)

Focusing wasn’t an easy thing for them to do. Imagine what they were going through as they tried to keep their eyes on the pole and not on the snakes slithering around their ankles. Wow!

You may know what that feels like!

But some of them got the message, did what He said, and found their wholeness, their remedy, in the words He had spoken to Moses. 

Hard to do? Yes. Impossible to do? No. 

The second thing is to remind ourselves often of God’s faithfulness. When things are going well, and our life is calm and peaceful, remind ourselves by speaking these words out loud (so OUR ears can hear them):

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1 – 103:5 ESV)

“I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2 ESV)

After all, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

In other words, prepare our heart for any and all situations BEFORE we’re bombarded by the things life can throw at us. Resolve to stay strong when we’d rather give in to doubt, worry, and fear. 

Because it can be hard to trust God when we’re not prepared.

Stirring the Pot


There is a theory being circulated in the Body of Christ, and while it’s nothing that hasn’t been propagated before, I want to weigh in on it. 

The gist of the theory, or teaching, is that God Alone watches over His kids and corrects them if and when they need it. In other words, keep quiet and don’t tell anyone they’re wrong. 

If that were true, why did Paul and others write the things listed below? (Remember, they wrote as they were instructed by the Holy Spirit). 

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24 ESV)

“I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,” (2 Peter 1:13 ESV)

“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,” (2 Peter 3:1 ESV)

“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” (1 Corinthians 14:3 NKJV)

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV)

“And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling
them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22 – 1:23 NKJV)

Of course there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about stirring up the brethren. Like Paul wrote in Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”

Considering yourself, or in other words, don’t become prideful but keep your mind and spirit guarded by humility.

The New Testament teaches we all have a responsibility to watch over each other and do what we can to help one another grow in Christ. It’s not an easy thing, because sometimes we don’t want the help or we feel like we shouldn’t be interfering in someone else’s life. 

But if we don’t, who will?

Over the last few years I’ve written over 800 posts, each with some reference to Jesus and His work in us and the world around us. Some have been kind of “in your face”, but most were written to be a source of encouragement to whoever would read it. 

Today things are changing. No, I’m not saying it’s “no more mister nice guy”, but I am saying I intend, with God’s help and direction, to “stir the pot.” 

I’m not going to rant, talk right wing (or left wing) politics, or anything just to make people mad. I AM, however, going to focus on issues some, of not many, believers consider to be gray areas when the Bible shows they’re black and white.

Why am I going this direction? 

Because I believe we’re running out of time. If someone is going to make a difference in this world, it might as well be the church. But if the church isn’t standing for righteousness, or God’s way of doing things, our example and voice will be either muted or nothing more than a loud irritant.

That’s why I’m changing the name of the web site. You’ll still find encouragement, hope, and comfort in the things I write (at least I hope you will), but there will be a more direct approach on some subjects I address. 

(At times, I may even step on my own toes. And that’s a good thing!)

“Stirring the Pot – one post at a time” is not intended to be the final word on anything in the Bible. I’m open to having nice, considerate, dialogue so we can stir up each other. I hope you follow the posts and comment often. 

Explore the rest of the site while you’re at it. Some parts are still under construction, but I think you’ll find the material on each page encouraging and helpful to your walk with Jesus. 

Amen

He Watches Over His Word


And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” (Jeremiah 1:12 NLT)

The Lord showed Jeremiah a vision, and then asked him what he saw. After Jeremiah answered, the Lord said, “Yep…and you can trust I am watching and fulfilling all my great plans.” 

And so it is today. 

He is watching over each person who hides His word in their heart; to make sure not one promise goes unfulfilled. 

After all, Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

It’s not that God makes sure every cloud has a silver lining. That’s isn’t exactly what Paul was getting at. Rather, it’s more like the Lord is working behind the scenes, in ways we can’t imagine, watching over the word He has established in Heaven and earth. 

He is faithful Who promised!

Like Abraham and Isaac, climbing the mountain because God told them to. Abraham had quite a test; to offer to God the very one who was God’s answer to prayer. The very son who was promised by God some thirty years prior. 

Though things looked like God WASN’T honoring His Word, or watching over it to see it fulfilled, at just the right moment the answer came. 

In the form of a ram, climbing up the back side of the mountain. 

God, working all things for the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. 

There are so many voices around us today; each one having a different opinion about God, His Word, and life in general. But it’s not so much a matter of everyone else’s opinion…

What do YOU think of God and His Word? 

Are YOU hiding His Word in your heart? Are YOU supplying your spirit with the refreshing, powerful, life-giving promises of God? 

Are YOU trusting Him to watch over you as He watches over His Word?

As time rapidly approaches the “end of all things”, making way for the “new beginnings”, many false prophets, preachers, naysayers-people who have NOT developed a faith relationship with Jesus-will have many things to say. They will try to discourage you and I from boldly proclaiming our complete trust in the Lord and His Word. 

Don’t let it rock your world or shake your faith. Remind yourself, and others, that because God is watching over His Word, He’ll make certain not one promise fails!

…Not one word has failed of all his good promise… (1 Kings 8:56 ESV)

Amen! So be it!

Leave Me Alone, God!


Sometimes I’d just like to yell at God, “Leave me alone!”

Without a show of hands, how many of you can understand what I’m saying?

I mean, there are times when I get sick of people. I’m frustrated with how things are going, and I’m wanting to be left alone – by everyone.

Including God!

But since He’s working all things for my good, and He’s promised to complete what He’s begun in me, I can’t escape His Presence. 

He will NOT leave me alone. 

He’ll remind me how much He’s already done in my life. 

He’ll remind me of certain scriptures, certain promises, that He’s made to me in the past. 

He’ll point to attitudes of my heart and actions that aren’t pleasing to Him; things which run crosswise with the faith He’s trying to build in me. 

And I’ll sense Him say, to the deepest part of my soul, “Do you REALLY want to act or think that way? Don’t you remember what I’ve delivered you from?”

Maybe you’re not like me, but there are times I’d really like to tell the whole world off; even cheer them on as they run as fast as they can to the eternal lake of fire.

I’m sorry, but I’m simply being honest here. 

It’s not that I hate people, or I don’t love God. 

It’s just that sometimes I love myself far too much. I want my way, in my timing, on someone else’s dime. I become so wrapped up in my puny little world, the moment it’s interrupted I go to pieces. 

THAT’S why He won’t leave me alone. 

And honestly, I’m so thankful He doesn’t.

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.” (Psalm 138:8 ESV)

Where is the power of God?

Throughout history people have witnessed the miraculous power and provision of God. People who were backed into a corner with no way out.

No way out but God, that is. 

As in the case of Zerubbabel, a governor in Judah. When those who had been taken captive to Babylon began returning to their homeland, it was Zerubbabel’s responsibility to watch over the rebuilding of the temple. 

And to Zerubbabel, it seemed an impossible situation.

But not for God. 

The prophet Zechariah received a word for the governor.

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6 ESV)

Thinking about this, and remembering many of the biblical accounts of the miraculous, I find myself wondering, “Why don’t we see those same kinds of miracles today?”

Like the parting of the Red Sea. Or, the water pouring from a rock. The sun stopping dead in its tracks for almost 24 hours. Water turned to wine. Fish and bread multiplied.

Miracle after miracle by the God Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

And since He’s the same today, where are the miracles of old?

Why aren’t we seeing the miraculous signs and wonders Jesus said we’d see?

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”” (Mark 16:15 – 16:18 ESV)

The early disciples witnessed the miraculous. 

And while it’s true there have been some in today’s world who have experienced the miraculous power of God, it seems to be the exception rather than the rule. 

Oh, we know the scriptures. We know when to say “amen”. We have church planting down to a science. We can craft sermons with the best of them. 

No, I’m not saying we shouldn’t know the scriptures, shout amen, plant churches, or craft great sermons. 

Not at all!

But where is the power of God?

Where is the “but by My Spirit…” earthshaking power of the Living God?

I have only one answer. 

We aren’t the people of yesteryear. 

What do I mean?

We have become so good at planning, we never find ourselves backed into a corner. Nothing looks impossible to us.

“Oh, come on, man. There are plenty of things which look impossible.”

I agree. But when those moments happen, what do we typically do? 

Go with our backup plan. 

And then claim it as God’s will. 

Well, maybe you haven’t, but I know I have. 

What if we allowed ourselves the luxury of having no Plan B, no extra door to use if God seems to close the one in front of us, and no memorized excuses as to why our Red Sea’s aren’t parted today?

What if we welcomed those moments when we find our backs against the wall? 

What if we learned, like Paul, to boast in our weaknesses (and our impossible moments) knowing that when we’re weak, were great candidates for His strength?

Or, like James, found a way to count it all joy when our way seemed blocked by temptation or struggles; knowing that the trying of our faith works patience. 

And patience never disappoints. It always has God’s signature on the final product. 

Us.

I’m just wondering out loud. Of course, I can’t answer for you. But, with the Lord’s help, I’m going to fix my eyes on Jesus. 

And when I see a mountain in my way I’m going to expect to see it removed by the Spirit of God!

After all, He’s in the mountain moving business. 

Still.

You Are Framing Your World


Have you ever stopped to think about what God’s most powerful, creative force is?

I’m referring to His Word.

In Genesis we read the story of creation, how He spoke our world into existence.

Out of the abundance of His heart He speaks…

He created mankind, using Himself as the pattern, and breathed into them the breath of life. 

His Word. 

And believe it or not, He has given that creative force to man… 

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT)

What shall we do with our words? Where will we allow our words to take us? 

“We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.” (James 3:3 – 3:5 NLT)

What kind of world will we create (or frame) with our words? 

“By faith we understand that the universe was created (KJV-framed) by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3 ESV)

I love watching home remodeling shows, where someone completely guts an old house and frames in new walls. The framework makes it possible to finish the house, and it is the defining factor of exactly how the house will look and function. 

So it is with our words. Whether we believe it or not, our words frame the kind of life we’ll have. They determine our direction and disposition, and decree what will or will not be allowed to attach itself to our life. 

In a house, doors and windows cannot be added unless the framework allows for them. No extra lighting or electrical outlets, either; not until the framer says so. 

What are you saying about your life? What are your words creating? 

Are you and the Living God on the same page? 

Do your words agree with His?

If the Kingdom of God operated according to the words YOU speak, would God’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven?

Remember, it was Jesus Who said, “…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 ESV) 

God demonstrated just how powerful words can be when, out of the abundance of His heart, His words framed the world as we see it.

Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We live the way He has designed when we are continuously feeding on what He is saying (in His Word and by the Spirit). As His word brings life to our inner man, our heart, it then follows that out of the abundance of our heart our mouth speaks; creating and framing a God-minded, God-favored kind of life. 

Our tongue will steer us through life’s channels, and will keep us from becoming shipwrecked. 

So, what kind of world are you framing for yourself, your family, and those around you? 

Are you enjoying the life you’re living? More importantly, is it the kind of life which invites God’s Presence and help? 

And where will you eventually end up?

It is so very important we understand our greatest power, and frame our world as it should be. 

Full of life, and pleasing to God Almighty.

What are YOU looking at?

“Oh, be careful little eyes what you see…”

Although it seems impossible to live a trouble-free life, since the unexpected crops up from time to time, there are some troubles we can and must avoid. 

It takes is a heart for God, vigilance, and diligence in controlling what we allow our eyes to focus on.

Scripture records the first time trouble entered mankind’s world. 

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:5 – 3:6 ESV)

“…a delight to the eyes…” doesn’t necessarily make something evil. But when God says to leave something alone, we’d best heed His instruction. 

The things we keep before our eyes will be the things we ultimately gravitate towards. 

Good or bad. 

So what are you looking at? Where is your focus?

Instead of giving you a long list of things NOT to look at, here are a dozen things God’s word tells us TO focus on.

1. Look to the remedy God has prescribed for total cleansing and forgiveness. “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:8 – 21:9 NASB) See also John 3:14-16

2. Look to the Lord for your Source of safety, strength, and salvation. “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121:1 – 121:8 NASB)

3. Look continually to God’s Word for direction, comparing your path with His. Make corrections as needed. “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:20 – 4:27 ESV)

4. Look to the Lord by faith when praying. Expect Him to hear and answer. “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 ESV) See also 1 John 5:14,15

5. Look at God’s prophetic nation, Israel. “And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:29 – 21:33 ESV)

6. Look to yourselves; self-examination. “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34 ESV)

7. Look beyond the “right now”, the temporal. Look to the eternal for true perspective. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 – 4:18 ESV)

8. Look continuously for the Blessed Hope. “…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:13 – 2:14 NASB) See also 2 Peter 3:12

9. Look to the Founder and Perfecter of your faith. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1 – 12:2 ESV)

10. Look after one another. “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Hebrews 12:15 NLT)

11. Look continuously into the mirror of God’s word; the perfect law of liberty. “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” (James 1:22 – 1:25 NLT)

12. Look for the mercy of God. For yourselves and others. “…keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1:21 NKJV)

It is a proven fact...if we spend our time looking at the things we should look at, we won’t have time for our eyes to focus on things we shouldn’t. 

So be careful, pay attention; don’t live a sloppy life letting your eyes lead you around. YOU take control of YOUR eyes.

And you can believe God will help you, if you’ll only ask. 

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

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