Life is full of distractions.
Phones, but as awesome of a tool as these are, they will remove hours from your life, if we let them
Distractions are everywhere. Life is full of them
How about a weather report!!!!!!
The things we own, they require our time, our energy, our money, and our attention.
Every new possession adds new stress in our lives.
And yet, we continue, to pursue and accumulate, more and more and more.
Luke 12:13-21 (NLT)
13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
More stuff is not the answer.
More stuff has become the distraction,
Mark 10:17-23 (NLT) The Rich Man
17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good.
19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him.
“There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”
He had every good thing, that he could possibly work for or earn,
but he didn’t have the peace of God.
Obviously, by his reaction, his many positions we’re more important to him then his relationship with God.
His things were in charge of him, they owned him.
We have to learn, The best things in life are not things.
When we chase riches, we give away our greatest possible potential.
We trade it for the highest dollar figure we can get.
When our contribution to society is motivated by a selfish desire to accumulate riches, it has become self-focused.
And we have lost our opportunity to live the best life that God has planned for us.
Paul puts it like this;
1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NLT)
6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Money is not evil. It is simply a tool. The problem is when we begin to love the money.
We count on money to bring us peace, joy, and happiness.
That should come from our relationship with the Lord.
Here is how James looks at us when we allow ourselves to be distracted from the Lord by money;
James 5:1-3 (NLT)
1 Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment.
If we are counting on these things to supply, and ignoring God, we are in trouble.
Enough about money, Let’s talk about fears for a minute.
In the 14th chapter of Matthew, it tells us about Jesus feeding the 5000 and then sending the disciples back across the lake on the boat while he went to pray. If you know the story, wind starts to blow, storm kicks up, wave start to roll and the disciples are terrified. Now it’s 3 AM. They see something coming across the top of water. It was Jesus walking…
Matthew 14:28-30 (NLT)
28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Peter got distracted by the storm.
Let me give you another example of people distracted.
In the 13th chapter of the book of Numbers.
God tells Moses to send out 12 man to explore the land of Canaan, “ the land I am giving to the Israelites”.
So Moses sent them in with the instructions to check out the land.
Find out what it will take to take possession of the land the Lord is giving us.
After spending 40 days, the 12 men returned to camp and gave that report of how wonderful the land was and the fruit it produced.
Numbers 13:27 (NLT) 27
This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces.
They brought out a single cluster of grapes so large it took two of them to carry it on a pole between them.
But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified.
This second part of the report distracted almost everyone.
Fear distracted them from God’s blessing and cost them 40 years until they all died in the wilderness.
What has the Lord called you to that you are afraid of?
Google says there are upward of 365 times in the Bible that tell us to fear not or do not be afraid.
The Promise of Tomorrow and The Regret of Yesterday
We spend an incredible amount of resources not living in the moment.
We waste so many days waiting for the weekend.
So many nights wanting morning.
Our desire for future comfort might be the biggest thief of life.
We should look toward the future and plan accordingly.
But, when we simply endure today, only for the sake of tomorrow,
the perfect guy,
the perfect girl,
we miss out on the full beauty and potential of the present.
Matthew 6:33-34 (NLT) 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
We are going to have regrets—nobody escapes life without messing up.
But no amount of regret can ever change the past.
Call your mistakes what they are,
Confess them to the Lord and to whoever else has been hurt,
repent, and then move on.
Don’t allow regret from the past to distract you from today’s opportunity.
Psalms 103:12 (NLT)
12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
You’re forgiven. Forgive yourself and move on.
Learn from your past. good or bad, learn from it, but don’t live in it!
I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick. “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
1 Kings Chapter 13 gives us another account of a distracted man of God
1 Kings 13:1-24 (NLT) 1 At the Lord’s command, a man of God from Judah went to Bethel, arriving there just as Jeroboam was approaching the altar to burn incense. 2 Then at the Lord’s command, he shouted, “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: A child named Josiah will be born into the dynasty of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests from the pagan shrines who come here to burn incense, and human bones will be burned on you.” 3 That same day the man of God gave a sign to prove his message. He said, “The Lord has promised to give this sign: This altar will split apart, and its ashes will be poured out on the ground.”
4 When King Jeroboam heard the man of God speaking against the altar at Bethel, he pointed at him and shouted, “Seize that man!” But instantly the king’s hand became paralyzed in that position, and he couldn’t pull it back. 5 At the same time a wide crack appeared in the altar, and the ashes poured out, just as the man of God had predicted in his message from the Lord.
6 The king cried out to the man of God, “Please ask the Lord your God to restore my hand again!” So the man of God prayed to the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored and he could move it again.
7 Then the king said to the man of God, “Come to the palace with me and have something to eat, and I will give you a gift.”
8 But the man of God said to the king, “Even if you gave me half of everything you own, I would not go with you. I would not eat or drink anything in this place. 9 For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’” 10 So he left Bethel and went home another way.
11 As it happened, there was an old prophet living in Bethel, and his sons came home and told him what the man of God had done in Bethel that day. They also told their father what the man had said to the king. 12 The old prophet asked them, “Which way did he go?” So they showed their father which road the man of God had taken. 13 “Quick, saddle the donkey,” the old man said. So they saddled the donkey for him, and he mounted it.
14 Then he rode after the man of God and found him sitting under a great tree. The old prophet asked him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
“Yes, I am,” he replied.
15 Then he said to the man of God, “Come home with me and eat some food.”
16 “No, I cannot,” he replied. “I am not allowed to eat or drink anything here in this place. 17 For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’”
18 But the old prophet answered, “I am a prophet, too, just as you are. And an angel gave me this command from the Lord: ‘Bring him home with you so he can have something to eat and drink.’” But the old man was lying to him. 19 So they went back together, and the man of God ate and drank at the prophet’s home.
20 Then while they were sitting at the table, a command from the Lord came to the old prophet. 21 He cried out to the man of God from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: You have defied the word of the Lord and have disobeyed the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You came back to this place and ate and drank where he told you not to eat or drink. Because of this, your body will not be buried in the grave of your ancestors.”
23 After the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the old prophet saddled his own donkey for him, 24 and the man of God started off again. But as he was traveling along, a lion came out and killed him. His body lay there on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it.
We need to identify the distractions.
We have two come to grips with the the fact that the best things in this life can be our greatest distractions from the Lord.
and sometimes the hardest times in this life are when we focus our attention on the Lord.
What does the Lord compete with for your attention?
Joshua 1:7-8 (NLT) 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
What did Jesus do to remove the distractions?
Luke 5:16 (NLT)
16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Matthew 14:23 (NLT)
23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Mark 1:35 (NLT)
35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
Luke 6:12 (NLT)
12 One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.
Luke 9:28 (NLT)
28 About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray.
He had a pretty good plan. Be diligent.
When we invest this time with the Lord, we will find Him.
Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT)
13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
We are in a war for our hearts and minds .
We have to do battle for our attention.