Saturday, January 14, 2012

A New Year, A New FOCUS

You might think that since I haven't posted much here that I've fallen by the wayside. Well, not exactly. Life has been happening. I'm still a fulltime college student, which keeps me quite busy during the school semesters. In 2011, I also took summer classes. In a week I begin what many say is the busiest semester in my teaching degree program. If they are right, I may not have time to get back here to post until summer; we'll see.

So am I still committed to following Yeshua and walking in all of His ways? Absolutely! Have I got it all figured out and down pat to the point that I'm doing it perfectly? Absolutely NOT! :o) I am still a "work in progress." However, I believe even more firmly, if that's possible, that YHWH's Torah is still in effect, that it applies to ALL of His children (Jewish or Gentile), and that I bring Him pleasure when I do my best to walk according to His Torah. I am still "going it alone" as far as my family goes; my precious hubby is on board with me, praise YHWH, but my children and grandchildren have not come to this understanding yet. I continue to pray that YHWH will work in their hearts and open the eyes of their understanding. They have a love for the Lord, make no mistake, as do so many Christians, but they have not grasped the place that Torah obedience has in the life of a believer. It's not about salvation--salvation is by faith, not by works--but works follow faith and are the evidence of a changed heart; Torah obedience is about sanctification, about holiness, about pleasing the Father and being unspotted from the world.

Over the past year I felt so pulled by the world and the flesh; at times it felt like my anchor was slipping. When a challenge was issued in one of the cardmaking groups that I belong to (the group Anything Goes at Papercraft Planet) to make a papercraft project highlighting a word or phrase that you want to work on this year, I knew this was an answer to prayer. As I thought about what word I wanted to make my goal for this year, FOCUS came to the forefront. In a way, that word wraps up the whole idea of Staying the Course and of my decision to follow Yeshua. I believe that the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-6 says it quite well: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart." If that's not FOCUS, I don't know what is!

But beyond that, I knew that FOCUS, while my key word, was also to be expressed as an acrostic. So here's what I've come up with:

F--focus on being faithful (Matt 25:23), fruitful (Col 1:10), and fearing the LORD (Prov 9:10, 14:27)

O--focus on being obedient (1 Pet 1:14) and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah (2 Cor 10:5)

C--focus on choices: being content (Heb 13:5), crucifying the flesh (Rom 6:6), contending for the faith (Jude 3), compassionate (1 Pet 3:8), and my conduct (1 Tim 4:12, Phil 1:27, Rom 13:12-14, 1 Pet 1:15, 2 Pet 3:11)

U--focus on being unashamed (Rom 1:16), unconformed (Rom 12:2), upright (Psalm 143:10, Prov 11:20, and unspotted (James 1:27)

S--focus on having a servant's heart (Eph 6:6-7), being spiritually-minded (Rom 8:5-6), being a slave of righteousness (Rom 6:9), self-controlled (Gal 5:22-25, 2 Pet 1:5-8), and studying to show myself approved unto God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15)

In one of the newsletters I receive, this one from Jewish Jewels, a Messianic Jewish ministry to the Jews & the unsaved in general, I learned that the word "shema" does not mean just "hear;" it also means to "do." That takes me back to one of my favorite verses from James 1:22: "But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James continues (vs. 23-27): "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." The "perfect law of liberty" is the Torah and the "work" that YHWH says we are to do is the Torah, which also teaches us how to stay "unspotted from the world."

In that same newsletter (Jan 2012 issue), they said that the Jewish understanding of prayer is that it is a "service of the heart" to YHWH; I like that!
Not only are we to bless the LORD as we go through our day, thanking Him for all that He has given us, but we are to pray without ceasing, bringing our petitions to Him as well. Cool!

At any rate, I now have a FOCUS for 2012. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out and what the Holy Spirit does in me as I strive to stay the course towards the high calling of YHWH.
Take care and may the grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister in Jesus,
What a blessing you have been to my heart this morning. God has used you to His glory. Thank you for your insight from our Lord. I found your blog by plugging in "Be careful little eyes." What a blessing to read what God has given you to share. Keep staying the course that God has placed before you. I will share your blog with my Bible study groups. Blessings to you and yours and honor to our God who loves us so much.