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Tuesday Thoughts 7-10-18

I’d been thinking about all that was involved in getting the camper reader for family camp.  Lists of towing, packing, & cleaning needs were getting mentally checked-off when the mist slowly started to fade, and my surroundings became clear…I was in the prayer room at home somewhere in the middle of talking to Jesus.  How hard it is, sometimes, to keep focus!  I don’t think there’s any scenario safe from the wandering mind.  And while some stunning creativity can come from those off-topic mental journeys, immense dangers are also possible.  Fear enters and can become controlling over wild imaginings of what might be.  Deep disappointment will result when reality differs radically from the storybook alter-ego life secretly dreamed about.  Futility will overtake anyone who realizes they were chasing the results, rather than cause of purposeful living.   So too our life in Jesus gets cluttered with actions, events, and practices that we somehow begin to think are necessary to spiritual health.  On the other side of this coin, meandering mind-journeys also talk us out of the things that actually do matter, things that bring us back to the basics.  We can afford neither if we want to be fully filled and equipped for the constant warfare all around us!  I know you already know this but allow me to remind you of our single point of focus. Jesus expressed it in the New Testament book of John, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NLT).  It’s all about Jesus.  Work, play, accomplishment, purpose, relationships, the past, the present and the future…Jesus!  The easy part is identifying who is really important.  The hard part is making everything about him (which requires very difficult assessments and resulting changes).  Our Savior (and focus) provided two parables to get us to that simple (but really hard) process of clarification. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44–46 (NIV84).   In case the connection is unclear, Jesus IS the kingdom!  If he is, indeed, our treasure, the clear path to obtaining (and keeping) the treasure is to get rid of everything that is not him!  Sell it, give it away, burn it up.  The call is radical and many well-meaning people will not understand your sudden departure from old ways, old things, and old desires.  If my experience has any connection to the common human condition, I can assure you that increasing frustration, fear, and failure awaits anyone will not un-clutter their connection with Jesus.

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