November 2

Today's Bible Reading
     II Kings 15
     Titus l
     Hosea 8
     Psalms  123-125
            ''Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He has mercy on us. Have mercy on us, 0 Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt." (Psalms 123:2-3)
            Our memory verse is a description of total reliance on God.  Just as the servant is to keep his eyes riveted on the Master, our eyes should also be focused completely on God.  This is how knowledge of His countenance is gained, and how God reveals Himself to us.
            You will discover that your spiritual strength will be drained when you stop looking to Him. Our stamina is set, not so much through external troubles surrounding us, but through problems in our thinking. When our behavior is based upon our thinking instead of God's direction, we will soon fail.
            Perhaps there was a time in your life when you faced a crisis, and you came through it with victory because your focus was on God and on His Word. Now, however, the enemy has come and deceived you. You think that perhaps you were superficial and filled with pride; you think that what was accomplished was  in the flesh and that you took credit that was undue; your friends agree and say that they really knew that what you experienced back then would not last. Now you think that you are expecting too much of yourself.  It is only as we focus on Him that we see others things in our culture clearly.
            The danger comes when, no longer relying on God,you neglect to focus your eyes on Him. In any endeavor of our life, undistracted focus is necessary for success. This is especially true in our relationship to God in our service for Him. When you discover a spiritual drain in your life, you must correct it immediately, realize that something has been coming between you and God and has distracted your focus, and change it or remove it at once.
            There are many ways that we can be distracted from this disciplined focus. In Mark 4:19, we are told to beware of the cares of this world. They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God.  Refuse to be swamped by ''the cares of this world."
            It is also true that we are distracted by our desire for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, ''Oh, Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself." Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul's faith in God. Don't say, ''I must explain myself ', or ''I must get people to understand." Our Lord never explained anything - He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.
            When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually, and allow that discernment to tum to criticism, we block our fellowship with God.  God never gives us discernment that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.
            I wear bifocal glasses, but I am able to stay focused with the ''up close'' or ''far away'' becoming blurred. Jesus was bifocal. He could focus on who He was ministering to at the present without ever losing His vision of His long-term purpose! So can you when you are in tune with Him. Concentrate your focus on Him today.
Tum your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of this world will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
            As you consider Maritime Ministries as a prayer focus today,remember the Seamen's Missions around the world. There are an estimated 10 million seafarers and fishermen - increasingly non-western and non-Christian. They have little exposure to the Gospel.            One of these mission organizations is called ''Mission to Seafarers''and there are others like them that work in harbors and ports, serving the spiritual and practical needs of seafarers. Pray for them today.
''It is not so much the greatness of our troubles, as the littleness of our spirit, which makes us complain."
J. Taylor