Stay Focused


So Peter got out of the boat. He walked on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. He began to sink.
~Matthew 14:39-30, NIrV


 When believers focus more on current circumstances than they do the person and power of Jesus, they flounder.
~Bill Patterson
In 538 BC, Cyrus allows 42,360 Jews to return to their homeland. He also allows them to take all the articles that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple. These returning Jews are excited about their new freedom and the fact that God had moved a pagan king to help them resettle their homeland. Two years later, they begin construction on a new temple. After ten years of working on the temple, they got discouraged and the work comes to a halt. Haggai and Zechariah encourage them to resume construction and in 515 the temple is completed. More than 50 years pass and then Malachi comes on to the scene. He has his work cut out for him: the Jews have grown apathetic and skeptical. They are disappointed in their circumstances. They are still under the domination of a foreign power, they are struggling economically, they are surrounded by hostile neighbors and there is injustice among them. The wealthier Jews are taking advantage of the poor. In the midst of all these disappointments, they become cynical and ungrateful. They were going through the motions of worship but they had no zeal, no enthusiasm and very little hope. They saw themselves as victims which they have a tendency to do.
Here is the question: are we any better than the Jews? My honest appraisal would be “Not really.” We have the same sinful tendencies they possessed. When we get into some bad circumstances, we tend to doubt God’s love just like they did; we get skeptical just like them. Anytime we take our focus off of the person of Jesus, we are going to drift, if not sink. Faith has to be maintained and there is not a better time to focus on Jesus than when things are going bad.
Several years ago, a man came to me broken hearted. His wife of twenty years told him that she didn’t love him anymore and that she was moving out. He was devastated. I gave him the same advice I give all persons in such a predicament, “You can’t control this situation, it may get better or it may get a lot worse. Now is a perfect time to focus on your vertical relationship. Jesus loves you and he will never betray your trust. Get focused on HIM. If you get your relationship with Him right, all the other will work out for His glory and your good.”
In the old days, men left women but in our present culture, it is usually the woman leaving the man. To be honest with you, I doubt any has paid any attention to my sagacious advice. Men are weak: instead of looking up and getting in tune with Jesus, they look around for another woman. If folks would only listen: YOU GET RIGHT WITH JESUS and all your other relationships will be enhanced. Until you put HIM first, all other relationship are going to lead to failure and disappointment.


We had a task force working on plans for the FORTE. I was in my second day of the WBS at Sardis Springs. I visited Mary Sue Thompson, Chip Matthews, Bobby and Barbara James. Ray Lee preached at the Pastor’s Conference and did a good job.

We are glad to see the warm tempts return. We have shrubs that are blooming: they are at least 6 weeks early. I worked outside last night until dark in a T-shirt. We went for 18 days in January without our central kicking on and our light bill was higher than it has ever been. Sometimes I wonder if Joe Wheeler is on the up and up. We are almost into our new office facility. Frankie is going to hook up my internet tomorrow. I like a few things in the bath room but other than that, she is really to go. I am in the process of preparing for the Winter Bible Study which is in Malachi and I hope to finish my study in the new building. I’ve been using Thomas Roy’s cabin but now I have my own cabin. It is not on Smith Lake but I’m just 50 yards from Ray’s branch and 150 feet from BIG MAMA’S DINER.

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