Distractions by Evening Star

Distractions

It's amazing how many distractions I can find in my life if I just sit back and take the time to notice that they are there. 
 
I've had several great topics I wanted to blog, friend's emails I wanted to reply to, friends and relatives I mean to call, time I need to spend with my husband... things that should get done but gets swept away by petty, little -- and sadly pointless -- distractions.
 
Distractions are little things I will turn my attention to instead of that which I should do. 
 
 
This can be a game, sudoku puzzle, surfing the internet aimlessly, reading a book, and many other things that, by themselves, aren't bad to indulge in but do not need to be done before that which should be done.
 
This will most often happens when I find that which I should do as difficult or uncomfortable. The distractions bring a sense of comfort, familiarity, fun or similar feelings. For example, in writing this blog alone, I have been distracted and have:
  • written a list of other ideas to blog
  • loaded a program on my boss' computer
  • chatted with someone
  • read other people's blogs
  • watched videos posted on the internet
  • looked up which founding father mentioned "an armed and educated populace" is an essential thing <-- and that one took a good chunk of time
  • helped my boss look for a lost wallet
  • written to someone about the "armed and educated populace" findings
  • further chatted with people...
You get the idea... I was even having distractions distract me from the original distractions. LOL This has taken three hours of time wherein this blog (and the others on that list) could have been done.

What's wrong with distractions (other than not getting work done)? They can mislead us from what we should do, what we should hear, what we should see, where we should be. Like a child being led away with the promise of candy and fun times, we can let the little distractions that infiltrate our activities lead us away from what we should do in this life.

Distractions are little temptations. Temptation will not come in the form of a winged devil offering you the best the world can offer and all you have to do is say yes or no. It can come in the form of tiny little distractions, procrastinations and deviations that can lead us astray, one sidestep at a time.

In the end, when we look back on our lives, what will we see? Will we see the achievements we've accomplished, the good that we've done, the people that we have helped, or will we see all the little distractions that, in the end, really amount to nothing.

When I see what the little distractions can do in my life, I see where I need to shoulder my burdens a bit better and, like a quarterback with those really big shoulder-pads, take the treasure of the goal I wish to accomplish in my arms and plunge my way through all the little distractions that try to tackle me and take me down before I can reach my objective.
The ball is in your hands now.
Will you fumble
Or score
- ESA
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Evening Star
I am who and what God made me to be, no more, no less. I am a Christian in that I follow Chist and His teachings, not any particular flavor of Christianity. I've also learned much of and from other religions around the world and enjoy discussing any of them. I'm an open, friendly person who gets along with any type of person and welcome anyone to converse with me on any subject. Everyone brings with them something I can learn no matter their ability, background, education, income, intellect, lifestyle, nationality, position, religious beliefs, or any other lines with which humanity tends to divide itself. The world is filled with wondrous variety and I strive to find the Light and Love that exists in each and every person.
 

Don't give up! ~ Greg Laurie


Don't give up!





Recently I was in New York and went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant with a group of people. It was so loud that I couldn't hear myself think. I didn't have any silverware, so I was trying to get the waiter's attention. But he wasn't noticing me. So I turned to my friend Mike for a little help. Mike is a New Yorker and knows how to communicate with fellow New Yorkers.

He looked in the direction of the waiter and yelled, "Hey! We need some silverware over here!"
"All right!!!"
New Yorkers have this friendly aggression that I have never quite figured out, being from Southern California. But Mike knows how to work the system.
When it comes to having our prayers answered, sometimes we need to employ a little friendly aggression. And rather than insulting God with our boldness, it can actually be pleasing to him, because Jesus taught that we should be persistent when we pray.
Jesus told his disciples, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened" (Luke 11:9–10 NIV).

Often in prayer we will ask God for something once or twice and then just give up. But sometimes God isn't saying no. He may be saying, "The timing is not right. I will do it for you later, but not now." So keep praying. Keep asking.

The illustration Jesus gave to go along with this principle would have been readily understood by the people of his day. They didn't have homes with separate bedrooms like we do. The whole family would sleep in one large room. So imagine someone knocking at the door in the middle of the night, asking you for bread.
"Uh, we are in bed. We don't want to talk to you right now."

"I need bread." And he keeps knocking on the door. Everyone is waking up, and once the baby is awake, you can't get her back to sleep.
"Fine," the wife says, "Just give him what he wants and make him go away."

Now God is not a stingy father who will only answer our prayers if we badger him. Jesus used this illustration as a contrast to what God is like. When you pray, you are talking to someone who wants to answer your prayer, someone whose ears are open to what you have to say. So don't give up so easily.

Ask, and it will be given. 
Seek, and you will find. 
Knock, and the door will be opened. 

The language Jesus used is unusually compelling, because the three verbs—ask, seek, and knock—indicate an ascending intensity. It starts with the word "ask," which is requesting assistance. It is like being in a store and looking around for someone to help you. You find a clerk and say, "Excuse me. Could you help me?" Maybe she is busy texting or talking to someone on the cell phone, but you ask for her assistance anyway. Let's say that doesn't work. So you step it up a little bit.

That brings us to the next word, "seek." This denotes asking plus action. You say, "Excuse me. Sorry to interrupt, but I really need some help right now. Could you assist me?"

The next word, "knock," speaks of asking plus action plus persevering. At this point you don't necessarily make a scene, but you are not going to take no for an answer.

We find an example of asking, seeking, and knocking in Matthew's Gospel, which tells the story of a Gentile woman who approached Jesus about her hurting child. She came up to him and the disciples and said, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed" (Matthew 15:22 NIV).
When she persisted, Jesus gave the most amazing response: "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs" (verse 26 NIV).

Now is that a nice thing to say to a woman who is asking for prayer for her daughter? In fairness, the word that Jesus used for "dogs" spoke of the family pet. So it would be like saying, "Well, it is not right to take the children's food and give it to the family pet." Some people would have walked away in a huff, but not this woman. She understood the value of persistence.

She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table" (verse 27 NIV).

I am sure that must have made Jesus smile. He said, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire" (verse 28 NIV).

I think the disciples' jaws may have collectively dropped at this point. First of all, why was Jesus even talking to this Gentile woman? And now he was going to give her whatever she wanted? Why? Because she passed the test.

Jesus put a little obstacle in front of her. Hey can you clear this little hurtle? Or is this too much for you?
Can I clear that hurtle? Foom! She was over it. Now what? She understood the value of persistent prayer.
Sometimes God will put an obstacle in our path. Some of us will give up very easily. But others will say, "Obstacle? I am coming over that obstacle. What else you got? I am not giving up on this."

That is what persistent prayer looks like. So don't give up.

Keep asking. 
Keep seeking.
Keep knocking. 

Because that is what Jesus taught us to do.

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