Faith, Fear, and Focus

No question about it, life is tough! It doesn’t matter where we are in life, every season has its own set of challenges. It is up to us to decide how we will respond to these challenges – with faith or fear.

Since it’s the start of a brand new year, I’ve been talking about setting goals this month. As we all know, making forward progress in life is a challenge in and of itself. I’ve discovered that our main enemy is this silly thing called fear – False Evidence Appearing Real.

Fear comes in many forms: doubt, worry, anxiety and negativity, to name a few, all of which have one purpose – to distract us from moving forward and achieving our goals in life. Fear also steals our joy and our peace and that really sucks, doesn’t it?

What to do? Shrink back? Retreat? Give up? Cry? Drink?

NO!!

The answer is to STAND FIRM and refuse to give up or give in. We will be rewarded in due time for “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

When trials come my way, I repeat this phrase to lighten the situation. “This is a test. This is only a test. In the event of an actual emergency, you will be instructed where to tune in your area.” Remember that blurb they used years ago when testing on the radio? I know where to tune in – to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. When I put my focus on Jesus he gives me peace through any storm and calms the waves of doubt, fear and anxiety that threaten to drown me, if I let them. Jesus gives me strength, courage, and confidence to endure till the storm passes.

What are you going through this month that is distracting you from your goals? Where has your focus been? If you don’t know where to tune in, may I encourage you to give Jesus a try? Like Coca-Cola, He is the real thing and he will refresh and energize you to keep pressing on to accomplish your goals.

Until next time, keep the faith, keep looking up and as Winston Churchill said long ago, “Never, never give up!”

The First Gift of Christmas

This past sunday began the season of Advent. Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. It is a time of expectation, anticipation, and yes, hope. In Christian circles, Advent is a time to focus on the true gifts of Christmas – hope, peace, joy and love.

This week the focus is on the gift of hope. What do you place your hope in, dear one? Your job, your significant other, your children, or yourself possibly? Sadly, as we all know, each of these can and will disappoint us.

But there is one person who will never disappoint, and his name is Jesus. Yes, Jesus – the Messiah, the Christ child. Jesus is the reason for the season. It is not the shopping, the decorating, the food preparation, or even the giving of gifts. It is Jesus who brings us the true gifts that will last forever.

Have you lost hope in something or someone? Did some event not materialize the way you wanted it to? Or perhaps some person or situation failed you? I encourage you, dear one, to look to Jesus. He, like Coca-Cola, is the real thing. He is the only source of hope we can cling to in this world. When all else fades, Jesus is still there to light our way. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Be filled with hope, dear one, and until next time, keep looking up!