Monday, August 31

Stop Rubbernecking!


Stop RubberNecking! is a strong message we received when we asked God for perspective on the importance of avoiding broken focus. I (Keith) once watched an "Eye-In-The-Sky" Breaking News flash being reported on live TV about a multi-vehicle pile-up in the west-bound lane of Interstate 40, one of our nation's busiest highways. As the news crew's helicopter circled overhead with their cameras focused on the people emerging from their crumpled vehicles, the reporter suddenly shouted, "I can't believe it, folks! Something just happened on the o-t-h-e-r side of the highway, causing a pile-up of multiple cars in the east-bound lane!"
Later that evening, I turned on the local news report about the I-40 pile-ups that day. To my surprise, the commentators were speaking as they showed earlier footage of the long string of drivers climbing out of their wrecked cars, saying they were still unsure what caused the initial crash on the west-bound side, but police determined that the east-bound pile-up was caused by "rubbernecking". Just imagine the heartache that gripped the initial "rubbernecking driver" who started the pile-up. Like, "Why did I let myself get distracted and drawn in by the commotion across highway?!" Keeping our attention away from such distractions, being intentional to avoid the risks of rubbernecking while helping others to do the same, we all work together, and individually, to wind up as victors over troubling conditions we face out on the road. But, like that first distracted "rubberneck driver" on I-40, our losing our direction and way on the road of Life in Christ can always be traced back to "broken focus"!
As we consider the tragic scene of I-40, we can draw a clear parallel between the rubbernecker who was first in the east-bound pile-up and the Christian today who is too comfortable with distracting thoughts in their mind that is to "be stayed on Jesus Christ". Staying focused with The Holy Spirit of Christ, we avoid becoming easily distracted by an arround-the-clock barrage of TV programs, internet, news and social media channels, which are competing for our focus more now than ever before! We must practice self-control, asking The Holy Spirit to help us keep our time and focus and attention from being hyjacked! The Holy Spirit is like the long arm of God reaching into our mind and heart to remind us of the essentials of being sober-minded and self-controlled! By keeping disciplined focus on daily pursuing Oneness in Jesus Christ, being quick to turn off intoxicating words and views of "Breaking News", our spirit resists the enemy's lures toward "spiritual rubbernecking". We must stay fixed on Christ, pursue becoming One in Jesus Christ, and regularly meet with The Holy Spirit in the pages of God's written Word. By doing those things, together with God, we keep ourselves and others around us steady in sober-mindedness, spiritually and physically.
Jesus Christ warns us to stay focused and sober-minded in order to avoid the distractions of this life. It is most important for each one of us to be intentional in our constant pursuit of becoming one with Him, every day, just like we keep our driving attention aimed directly in front of us no matter if we're driving a busy highway of noisy distractions and rubberneckers or a quiet rural highway. "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (indulgence), and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:34-36.
If there has ever been a time that we must "pray without ceasing", keeping our minds stayed on Jesus Christ, it is now. As our Father has been drawing the wickedness out of the dark "hiding" places, exposing it in the LIGHT, we all must be steadfast, building up The Family of God. If we stand together in prayer for/with one another in these final hours, we keep our spiritual eyes focused on becoming One in The Lord Jesus Christ. By our keeping focused on taking "the narrow way" each and every day, we protect ourselves and everything we hold dear in The Kingdom of God from compromise by countless indulgences of this world. If we submit to The Holy Spirit's leading, He is our Best Friend and Comforter Who keeps us clean and ready to be used by God everyday, in spite of distractions and "cares of this life" all around us. Be encouraged to press through, stand strong, and reach out to those whose focus has been weakened or broken by all that is happening in the news and world today.
In the fulfillment of our Father's promises and plan for our lives, this as a most strategic season of opportunity to perform our key role in this "final harvest of souls"! Each one of us has a responsibility to "seek FIRST" our Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, by the Wonder-full Holy Spirit's lead, to work side-by-side with The Holy Trinity to step out in faith and fulfill God's call on each of our lives. We must constantly focus on stepping out in faith to fulfill our function in the Body of Christ, together as The Family of God, making our steps count as we make our way to the finish... all for our Father's Glory in the mind, heart, and lives of everyone around us and in the world.
As we in The Army of Jesus Christ find ourselves in this final push just before the great trumpet sounds, we must take our thoughts captive, practice self-control, ask The Holy Spirit to meet with us in the pages of God's Holy Word, hydrate by the Living Water of His Word, and FOCUS on His LEAD. The proper context for all of our thoughts, words, and deeds will be found in God's Word, through The Person of Jesus Christ, and The Holy Spirit's tutelage as we meet with Him in The Gospel Jesus Christ preached. For it is only as we put on the mind of Christ that we will be able to be transformed into His likeness, which is the reward of walking *with* Him. Remembering who we are, Whose we are, and that it is by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that "the war is won for us already", we keep focused in this fight to everyday overcome our enemies in the spirit. In turn, we stay alert to the needs of those around us who need to find their way in avoiding "broken focus". Then, when The Great Conquering King returns in ALL of His Glory with The Mighty Host of Heaven at His Side, we will bear the abundant fruit of sowing the sweet seed of God's Word into the fertile soil of people's ears and hearts everywhere. All of us have got to put our ALL in the fight to finish our work with pure Focus, Fearlessness, Love, Discipline, and every single thing we've got in us that God has given... to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! And don't be concerned with what the person next to you is doing; You do your job, and you do it with everything you've got, knowing in your heart that WE WILL WIN in our living Life with Christ! Let's GO!!
Once we are in daily pursuit of becoming ONE with God, our wisdom and understanding *in Him* changes everything! Always remember that because, "Your focus on working *with God* will lead you to overcome worldly obstacles, and to inherit rewards that go far beyond your greatest expectations!" Watch and see!
From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for loving us, teaming with us, and being ALL IN on this final harvest of the souls for the Kingdom of God. By our praying for one another and being intentional to sow our individual life experiences, talents, time, and seed into our reaching toward the goals God has given, we will benefit, together, in the fruit and inheritance of our Father's Kingdom that will abound to each of our accounts in Heaven. With love and prayers we express our eternal appreciation for your taking part in this work and Pressin'IN Blog of TowardTheMark Inc. We close with this challenge for you to STAY EVER-MORE FOCUSED on Jesus Christ and all that our Father God placed in your stewardship to benefit your Life with The Holy Spirit. There is nothing "of this natural world" that will last, but "the treasures in the spirit" we will take into eternity with us, being the fruit of everything we do while we are alive and living "in this world". With that, we take joy in sharing this sort-of "gold nugget" of reassurance for your "drive ahead" with The Holy Spirit. This Pressin'IN message is a result of our waiting on The Holy Spirit to fill and lead us in the season of prayer we are in. Especially among the uncertainty, confusion, and fear surrounding events of our country, we continue to ask that our Father God, by the fulfillment of The Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus, give you reassurance of His plan for your life. As you carry with you the Word of God (above) for all of us, Luke 21:34-36, we look forward to hearing how you recognize, as we did right away, its beautiful connection with the blog passage The Holy Spirit had given us last month to emphasize our need to "SUIT UP...Focus-Lead-Overcome"!
Our prayers are fueled with hope and expectation for fulfilling our spiritual assignments in this world, through sharing The Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Gospel Jesus Christ preached... greater than ever before!

If you have yet to invite Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Lord and Savior, or if you have allowed something or someone to come between you and God, now is your time to get right with God. Right there where you are, pray this prayer to God, then REST-ASSURED and watch what God does...

          "Dear Father God, in the precious Name of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and The LORD of all lords, I lay my life at Your Feet. I come before You, confessing that I am a sinner, and I ask for You to forgive me of all my sins - those that I know I have committed, as well as those that I am not even aware of.  I ask that You come into my heart and be my Lord. I lay my life, and everything in it, at Your Feet, and ask that You please take me and begin to change me to be like YOU. I ask that You redeem the time that has passed, and allow me the opportunity to become exactly what You have predestined me to be, from before the foundation of the earth. I commit my life to You now, and thank You for receiving me as Your own. In the wonderful Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, I pray, Amen."  And AMEN (So be it)!


            WELCOME HOME!

            If you have just prayed this prayer, we want to congratulate you for making the greatest decision that you'll ever make! By accepting Jesus Christ, or rededicating your life to Him, as your personal Lord and Savior, you have begun the wonder-full process of being grafted into the family of God, and we welcome you "Home" to God's Family. We would also like to invite you to contact us so that we can send you information that will help you begin growing in your relationship and daily walk with God. We would encourage you to begin attending a Holy-Spirit-filled, full-Bible focused church right away.


            We advise you to begin reading The Holy Bible daily, whether you understand it or not. Always remember, God's written Word in The Holy Bible is LIKE NO OTHER BOOK that has ever been written! When we rendezvous with The Person of The Holy Spirit as we read what God has written there, it becomes stored in our heart for The Holy Spirit to access it to bring to our remembrance.  You will find that the Scriptures will become applicable to whatever you are going through, at any given time!

            There are wonderful Bible teachers that can, especially early in your walk with God, help you to receive good teaching and encouragement right away. Though informative, those Bible-teaching programs are never to be a substitute for close relationships with people who love and serve God. At times, the transformation process that you have now begun will be difficult, and you will be tempted to go back to your old ways of living your old life. It will be during times like these that hanging out with strong Christian friends and mentors will be crucially important. There really IS strength in numbers! (Selah)

            And remember... growing in Godliness requires purity of focus, staying steadfast, immovable, and uncompromising in the faith of Jesus Christ, and now more than ever, no matter what, Keep PRESSIN' IN! You might consider using our book  LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, the special collection of keys to defeating hindrances that have kept many of God's servants from walking with the confidence and authority that Jesus Christ died to provide for us! Twelve life-changing chapters include:

;
Sin Makes Ya Stewpit!
The Cart's Before the Horse
The Crisis of Eroding Integrity
The Fruit's on the End of the Limb
Too Quick to Compromise
The Rarest of All Breeds!
Please...Stop Stinkin'
Three Keys to God-Pleasing Faith
Let It Go
Understanding the Fear of The Lord
Into the Secret Place
Give to Give


  To help you further your fight to victory through the battles that confront every one of us in these turbulent times we live in, get your copy of our book, " LETTERS FROM THE FRONT." In this collection of 12 letters written from the front lines of battle fought in the spiritual, natural, and theater of the mind, Keith's Scripture messages will build your faith and help you reach God's full potential for your life.
"LETTERS FROM THE FRONT"
available at
TowardTheMark online.


We pray God uses this message, and all of our resources, to fan the flame in your heart for Christ Jesus, His wonder-full Ways, and His Plan and Purpose for you in this life. We are eternally grateful for our loving Toward The Mark Family of sponsors who make this blog, and all of our resources, possible by their faithful prayer and monthly financial support! If you have any questions about our work, or if you would like to make a special tax-deductible donation, place a special order for any of our books, magazines, or CDs, or to share a testimony or prayer request with us, please  e-mail us. Also feel free to write a letter and mail it to TOWARD THE MARK, P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152.
With love we lift you to The Lord in our prayers, hopeful that you have determined to, "Suit Up" and Focus-Lead-Overcome. We appreciate you eternally for taking part in our work by downloading this Pressin'IN *TowardTheMark* Blog!

Your Servants in Christ Jesus,

    
To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small… 
sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word that Keith recounts in our written and recorded products.

We couldn't do this without the help of our friends!
This blog message, along with the complete collection of original podcasts, music, blogs, books, CDs, and other Bible-based resources of Toward The Mark, Inc. is made possible by the faithful prayer and financial support of the TTM Sponsorship Family. We'd like to invite you to come on-board, to become a part of the TTM Family as well, by becoming a monthly financial partner. Your support will go toward fulfilling our God-given calling to help provide effective, contemporary outreach tools that are available to everyone, the churched and un-churched alike, all who desire to know more of the love, truth, and salvation of Jesus Christ. We invite you to partner with us, as we, "press Toward The Mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14)

Keep PRESSIN' IN!


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