Distraction of Denver

I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth
,” Psalm 121: 1, 2.

On my first trip out west, I was mesmerized by the ever changing landscape. The Rocky Mountains slowly rose as white ghosts of snow-capped summits into view and took my breath away. For the first time, I was witnessing the sights that must have inspired the lyrics, “purple mountain majesty” and “the mountains declare the glory of God.”

As I arrived to the city of Denver, the sights quickly consumed my view: the new baseball stadium, quaint café squares adorned with statues and fountains, remodeled antique store fronts contrasted with shiny modern architecture. These new highlights diverted my focus from the beautiful landscapes in the distance. I loved the sights of the city, but they completely distracted me from the splendor of the mountains on the western horizon.

Then it struck me. How much is this like my daily life? I often spend devotional time in the morning when I lift my eyes vertically to the Lord and am refreshed with His power and glory. But when I leave my devotional time and jump into my day, I become consumed with the horizontal demands and sights close at hand.

God is like those mountains that surround the western side of Denver. He is always there watching and waiting to offer strength and refreshment. When we look vertically to Him, we are aware of His presence, but many times our thoughts and view are consumed with our horizontal daily demands.

We are called daily to lift our eyes, vertically, to the hills. This is where our help comes from.

I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth
,” Psalm 121: 1, 2.

It is only then that He endows us with strength and empowers us to reach out horizontally to others.

Dear Lord, How Majestic is your name in all the earth. As I seek to serve you daily, help me to focus on the glory of your vertical insights that will strengthen and guide me in my horizontal demands. Amen

Note to my readers I want to share an exciting opportunity I have to publish some of these devotions in a book called Devotions for the Distracted Heart. I will keep you posted on the details when the book comes available, hopefully by June 2019. This has consumed much of my time, so I wanted you to be the first to know about this.

Also if you are interested in meeting in person, Check out this link for some of the places I will be speaking or conferences I will be attending. Let me know to look for you there!  https://wonderofwomen.org/events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Distraction of Donkeys

donkey--Dan

Matthew 21:8-11
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

I love a parade; the music, the floats, the bands and performances all add to the excitement. When taking my children to parades over the years, they saw them through different eyes. Their high points were the huge balloon floats, the furry characters, the candy thrown into the crowds and the animals. Whether the animals were dogs, horses, or donkeys, it didn’t matter. They were not even impressed if there was a celebrity riding on the animal. The animals and all the antics and . . . messes that go with animals were the attractions that highlighted our conversations long after the parade ended.

This made me think about how I might respond if I had the ability to be present for that original procession of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. What if I was a part of the crowd saying “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Would I recognize the Savior? Would I come away from that experience knowing that I had just experienced the presence of the Living God? Or would I be more enamored, as the children, with the waving of the palm branches, the excitement of the crowd and the donkey?

I would hope that I would have the awareness of the presence of my Savior. I would hope that I would savor the experience of standing on Holy Ground. But as I reread the stories of those who were there, I am not sure that I would have been aware of the sanctity of the moment. I may respond more like the children and have been distracted by the antics of the donkey than with the significance of the event. After all, there were many others there that day who were vulnerable to losing sight of Jesus. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and many in the crowd turned on Him. What makes me think I would be any different?

God surrounds me each day with His wonders and blessings. When I focus on Him, I recognize His presence and am filled with appreciation and excitement; from the beauties of nature, the security of shelter, support of relationships, the empowerment of gifts and more. God is generous with these gifts on a daily basis, yet amidst these wonders, I can become more focused on the distracting antics and messes that surround me than the blessings. These can be as benign as busyness or technology distractions. They can be as challenging as conflict, losses, negative messages, doubt, frustration or illnesses.

The fact is, Christ is a presence that parades into our lives every single day. He comes wanting to bless, support, carry, love and guide us in all we do each day. We only need to recognize, accept, love and follow Him. The trick is to not be distracted by the moods of the crowds or the antics of the donkey. For when our sights are off the Savior, we are vulnerable to distraction, denial, betrayal, rejection and even complacency.

Dear Lord, during this Holy Week, Help me not fall victim to the parade of daily distractions. I pray that I recognize the blessings you bring into my life and remain steadfast focused on You, Your Love, Your Sacrifice, and Your unfailing Grace. Amen