Reset, Reflect, Refocus

Welcome to 2017.  I know I’m a few days late, and it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’m looking forward to this year being a year of amazing things.  2016 was a 2016 of a year, but like all the years that came before it, it had its ups and downs.  It’s all in how you want to look at the year you just left and the year you are going into.  We are 9 days in as of today, and if you are reading this, guess what, you are alive and have the internet.

I challenge all of you reading this to change YOU this year.  You are the only thing that YOU can control.  I titled this post: Reset, Reflect, Refocus for this main reason, we are 9 days into the year, and many of us have already forgotten the resolutions that we made, or didn’t make, or life has been life already these 9 days in.  So my challenge to you is to wake up everyday and reset your mind again.  Wake up with the attitude that today is gonna be a good day.

Reflect every night and everyday about what God did for you during that day and the day before.  Can’t think of anything?  Are you somewhere warm and dry?  Did you eat?  Did you find a parking spot at the mall?  Look back not only on the previous day, but on your previous days, months, years.  Look back at your history book with God.  The last time your electric was about to be shut off but wasn’t, the last time your car was running on fumes and you coasted into the gas station, the last time you were in the drive through and the person in front of you paid for your meal.  When was the last time you did something for someone else?  God, provides for us, not because we give to those we don’t know, not because we deserve it, not because of our actions, not because we are or aren’t “good” enough.  God provides for us, because he loves us.

As we start out this year refocusing on what is actually important, we can make the best out of our lives and situations.  Refocus your life, and check your priorities.  Make sure that you know why you are doing what you are doing, and that you haven’t just become a cold machine, that goes through the motions of life.  Look back on what you have been through, and figure out what you are going to let God do to improve the life’s of those that love you, and those that don’t even know you yet, through you.

Sometimes life is about taking the sourest lemons life has to offer and making something resembling lemonade…

What’s your hope?

So last week I started with passion, and this week I want to move on to hope and faith. No not the sitcom, but true hope and faith.
20120402-230734.jpg

hope |hōp|noun1 a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen: he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information | I had high hopes of making the Olympic team.• a person or thing that may help or save someone: their only hope is surgery.• grounds for believing that something good may happen: he does see some hope for the future.2 archaic a feeling of trust.verb [ no obj. ]want something to happen or be the case: he’s hoping for an offer of compensation | [ with clause ] : I hope that the kids are OK.• [ with infinitive ] intend if possible to do something: we’re hoping to address all these issues.

faith |fāTH|noun1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something:this restores one’s faith in politicians.2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.• a system of religious belief: the Christian faith.• a strongly held belief or theory: the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe.

faith – noun 1 he justified his boss’s faith in him: trust, belief, confidence,conviction; optimism, hopefulness, hope. 2 she gave her life for her faith: religion, church, sect,denomination, (religious) persuasion, (religious) belief,ideology, creed, teaching, doctrine.

hope – noun 1 I had high hopes: aspiration, desire, wish, expectation,ambition, aim, goal, plan, design; dream, daydream, pipe dream.2 a life filled with hope: hopefulness, optimism, expectation,expectancy; confidence, faith, trust, belief, conviction,assurance; promise, possibility. 3 have we any hope of winning? chance, prospect, likelihood,probability, possibility; informal shot. verb 1 he’s hoping for a medal: expect, anticipate, look for, be hopeful of, pin one’s hopes on, want; wish for, long for,dream of. 2 we’re hoping to address the issue: aim, intend, be looking, have the intention, have in mind, plan, aspire.

To me, hope and faith, are the same but different. Faith to me is the belief of things unseen, and hope is what we want to happen. I have faith that the studs in the walls will hold up my house, I have faith that my heart will continue to beat, I have faith that God will provide for me and my family. I hope that my car starts every morning, I hope that my computer works properly everyday, I hope that I save my blog posts… It is also my hope that my daughter will grow up to be a great woman of God, and find a nice christian husband. I hope that I am the father figure that God has called me to be, I am the husband that God has called me to be.

If faith is a belief in the unseen, why do so many people say the the will only believe in things they can see. Do we not have any faith anymore. To me the best description of faith I have ever heard is; “I’ve never seen the wind, but I have seen the effects of the wind… but I still know that there is wind.” So while we can’t see God, we can see his creation all around us. We can see and feel the effects of his presence around us. Just when we don’t know where else to turn, we see a way out. God knows the answers the entire time, we have to look to him to get those answers.

Think about some of the team building exercises that are out there; the trust fall, walking blindfolded while someone else guides you. With all of these exercises you have to hope that people will catch you, and that they will guide you properly. Look at all of the plays that are used during a football game; the quarterback has to hope that his line will keep him protected, and that a receiver is going to get open, and be running the route that he is expected to run so that the quarterback knows exactly where to look.

20120402-230924.jpg

It comes down to the fact that we need to have a child-like faith. We just need to trust God that all will be taken care of. As kids, we didn’t care about the things that our parents did, house and car payments, bills, etc. We just wanted to know that mom and/or dad would be there to: pick us up when we fell down, make dinner, and that things were the way they were because that’s how God made it. As we get older, we start applying logic to our thinking, we start questioning faith with logic. It is here that we have to go back to the child-like faith, and realize that the things of God, don’t always make sense in the now. Many times we can look back on situations that happened in the past and see where God was in it, but it is hard to see when it is happening.

The biggest question that I want to pose to you now is, where are you putting your hope? Do you put your hope and faith into people, material things, sports? Do you put your hope and faith in God and Family? Take this time leading up to Easter, and reflect on where you place your hope, and what your passions are.

What’s your passion?

Preface:  I’m starting this post as part of a multi-post set leading up to Easter.  The post series is going to be about Passion, Love, Faith and Hope.  Feel free to comment definitions of these topics in your own words.

—–

What’s your passion?

passion |ˈpaSHən|

noun

1 strong and barely controllable emotion: a man of impetuous passion.

• a state or outburst of such emotion: oratory in which he gradually works himself up into a passion.

• intense sexual love: their all-consuming passion for each other | she nurses a passion for Thomas.

• an intense desire or enthusiasm for something: the English have a passion for gardens.

• a thing arousing enthusiasm: modern furniture is a particular passion of Bill’s.

2 ( the Passion )the suffering and death of Jesus: meditations on the Passion of Christ.

• a narrative of this from any of the Gospels.

• a musical setting of any of these narratives: an aria from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

passion

noun

1 the passion of activists: fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, eagerness, zeal, zealousness, vigor, fire, fieriness, energy, fervency, animation, spirit, spiritedness, fanaticism. ANTONYMS apathy.

2 he worked himself up into a passion: (blind) rage, fit of anger/temper, temper, towering rage, tantrum, fury, frenzy.

3 hot with passion: love, (sexual) desire, lust, ardor, infatuation, lasciviousness, lustfulness.

4 his passion for football: enthusiasm, love, mania, fascination, obsession, fanaticism, fixation, compulsion, appetite, addiction; informal thing.

5 French literature is my passion: obsession, preoccupation, craze, mania, hobbyhorse.

6 the Passion of Christ: crucifixion, suffering, agony, martyrdom.

Passion like love takes on so many different meanings for different people and different times.  It is during this time of year, that we hear a lot about passion.  Churches are preparing for Passion Plays, we hear about the Passion of Jesus, and we hear about the passion of basketball.  As you can see 1 of these is obviously not like the others.  In thinking about this I was trying to come up with my own definition of passion – the way you feel about something so strongly that it is what keeps you going.

That was the best own-word definition that I could come up with.  I also wanted to try and separate passion from love, because you can feel passionate about something that does not fall into the realm of love.  I’m passionate about writing, my family, technology, cars, The Ohio State Buckeyes, and while in a way I love,  those things, I don’t love them in the way I’m taking these posts.  I write because I like to do it, technology is my job – and I enjoy what I do.  Also lets face it, I live in Lexington, around here there is a PASSION for Kentucky basketball.

If passion is what gets you going and keeps you going, what is your passion?  Is it your family, your job, your team? Think about the things that mean the most to you in your life, what would you do to make sure that they/it had your full attention?  This takes me to a deeper thought on Passion; The Passion that God has for us.  Again as we come up on Easter, we are reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  He took our place, and took our sins and inequities upon himself, so that we would have eternal life with Him.

What do we do with this passion poured out on us?  Too many times we take it for granted.  We need to have a passion for God in the same way that He had a passion for us.  When you take a look at your priorities, in turn you will see your passions.  Your top priorities, usually turn out to be your passions.

So I leave you with this thought:  Check your priorities, check your passions, check yourself.  Make sure that your passions are what you want to be passionate about, if not its in your hands to make it right.