Paying Attention?

My friend, may I ask you a question? When it comes to the message of salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ, are we skimming over the message of redemption, touching it lightly but never really getting a feel for what the author, God the Father, has laid out before us in his Holy Word?

My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.

I’m a reader. I make it my habit to always have several books on my nightstand to dig into for an hour or more every night before retiring. Some books hold my interest more than others depending on a variety of factors. Sometimes the writer takes too long getting to the point. That may cause me to lose interest. Then there are the writers who assume too much and leave me wondering just exactly what they might be talking about. Like an engine choked by too much fuel and not enough air, I sputter to a halt and the book might get shelved for months, even years. Sometimes, however, it’s my fault entirely. I think of the moments, especially when reading out of habit, that I’m not concentrating on the words but merely reading for the next page and not the message of the page I’m reading. It’s not that the author was boring or his or her message wasn’t important. Simply, I didn’t focus my attention acutely enough on the first word, of the first sentence, of the first paragraph of what I was reading. Once I begin skimming the surface of what the author has to say because I can, it’s really very hard to stop long enough to allow myself to settle into the depths of what the author has written.

I’m a writer as well, and know the importance of grabbing the reader with my message at the beginning of a paragraph. Nevertheless, I also know that writers must assume something when they’re putting words to paper––namely, the reader is not just skimming. For a book, story or article to be effective, the author must be disciplined to clarity and the reader to seeking the message. There’s an exchange of energy here: writer to reader and reader to writer. Both need to pay attention, allowing that energy to bind them into the message.

Oswald Chambers writes: “If you want to know the energy of God (i.e., the resurrection life of Jesus) in your mortal flesh, you must brood on the tragedy of God. Cut yourself off from prying personal interest in your own spiritual symptoms and consider bare-spirited the tragedy of God, and instantly the energy of God will be in you. “Look unto Me,” pay attention to the objective Source and the subjective energy will be there. We lose power if we do not concentrate on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these, we are to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. ”

The Apostle Paul exhorts us to focus on just one thing. “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” One of the most important questions in our lives as Christians is this: Are we skimming over the message of redemption, touching it lightly but never really getting a feel for what the author, God, has laid out before us in his Holy Word? You and I have been by grace saved and not by our ability to be anything. In so doing we don’t owe anything on account for the salvation God freely gives. However, we do owe him something; we own him our willingness to focus on the message of Christ crucified for us. Skimming over that message is ill advised at best.

We pray. Heavenly Father, your Word is steeped with importance and deep meaning. How often we seek it only to read it and not understand it. Forgive us Father when we are willing to be content with little when much more is available. Help us Lord to focus and pay attention to the message of Christ crucified for us. Help us to stay focused on this and this alone. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

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God bless you for Jesus sake.

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