Focus; December 9, 2021

Psalm 105:1-3 Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

It’s hard to know where to stop when quoting this Psalm! It is essentially a litany of God’s acts on behalf of His covenant people, with this as the introduction. As comes out many other places in the Old Testament, a major reason for this recitation is to let the peoples of other nations know about the greatness of the Lord. The Jewish people have a very spotty record of following that pattern, but Jesus certainly confirmed it in the Great Commission, (Matthew 28:18-20) and He said that it would be done by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8) For that to happen, however, God’s people need to be aware of God, His grace and power, themselves. That’s what this introduction is all about. The Japanese has a rather unique phrase here that may or may not agree with the Hebrew, but it is certainly different from the English. Where the NIV says, “tell of all His wonderful acts,” the Japanese says, “cover/hide your thoughts in His wonderful acts.” That to me is a very good image of what it means to meditate on God, His character and His Word. Our imaginations come up with all sorts of thoughts, but the more we are aware of God, the more the thoughts that are at variance with His thoughts fade into the background. The devil is constantly trying to distract us, so it takes an act of our will to focus on God. However, if we will do that we will know His joy in a way that those who don’t know Him can’t imagine.

I am certainly prone to distractions! My interests are past counting, and my mind flies all over the place. The blessing of that is that I’m not likely to be bored, but the downside is a lack of focus and follow-through. I’ve got plenty of room to grow in covering my thoughts with those of my Lord. I don’t hesitate to talk with others about the latest advances in science and medicine, or actually almost any subject under the sun, but I need to be more focused on talking about the Lord and what He has done. The confirmation that I had indeed been baptized in the Holy Spirit came through my talking with a total stranger about Jesus, and Acts 1:8 came to mind, but I’ve got to remember that’s not to be a merely occasional activity. When my thoughts are filled with the presence of my Lord, my words are going to be as well. I’m not to be “so heavenly minded I’m no earthly good,” but my focus indeed needs to be on God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

Father, thank You for this reminder. The next two weeks are certainly packed with opportunities to talk about You and what You have done. Thank You for giving me the outlines for the messages for this Sunday and then the prayer meeting on Wednesday. Thank You for the start on the outline for the big Christmas service on Thursday. I ask for guidance and anointing as I continue to work on that. Thank You for the class Christmas parties I’ll be holding, and of course there’s the service here on the 19th, with it all culminating in the Christmas Eve candlelight service on the 24th. Help me be so focused on You that all of these are a joy and not a burden, effectively communicating the Gospel to those who need to know it, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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