Miscellaneous

FOCUS!

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! He can be found virtually anywhere if we earnestly look for Him and listen intently! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

Used to want a lotta things

All the stuff that’s on TV

Education, cars, and clothes

Fashion lights and jewelry

(Focused on the wrong stuff)

Now I got my eyes on you

And now I know that

— Lecrae – God Is Enough

In the movie, Focus (2015), we learn about a seasoned con artist named Nicky (Will Smith) who takes a woman under his wing and teaches her the trade of pulling off the perfect cons. As I watched the beginning of the movie unfold with a ring of Nicky and his team of con artists master goods right from under the noses of unsuspecting people in the midst of a popular, busy tour attraction, I was taken aback.  “Oh Lord, don’t let no people get any bright ideas from this movie,” I thought.  I wasn’t naïve to the fact scams and thefts are committed everywhere in our society; however, it is always sad to know that people violate others and rob not only their possessions, but their sense of security too.  I began to shun the movie; however, one particular scene where Nicky loses all of the team’s money to another man, presumably a businessman/thrill seeker got me intrigued. God used this particular scene to turn the light bulb on.

Nicky had one more chance remaining to win the monies back and his protégé could not understand how he could gamble and lose all of their monies like he did so she began begging him to quit. Nicky then told the businessman to pick a player on the game floor and tell it to his protégé. Nicky was to guess who the businessman chose and his protégé was not to inform Nicky, so Nicky had no clue. Did Nicky guess right? Yes, he did. Lol! Watch the movie to see; it’s intriguing, especially when Nicky reveals to his protégé the answer to her question of how he guessed the right player. His reply was basically his team had been sending subliminal messages to the businessman from the entire time he stepped foot into his vehicle to his hotel and from the hotel to the game—basically the whole day—regarding the number five, and he picked player number  5. Boom! That’s when it hit me, the devil and the world sends us subliminal messages, and sometimes loud messages too, every day. The devil is on his job convincing, suggesting, persuading. How are we safeguarding ourselves against these messages? And as the body of Christ, are we sending out our very own messages the Lord has downloaded into us?

We live in a world that is consumed with hurry, multi-tasking, full schedules, and accumulating more accolades and more stuff. There are countless advertisements that speak to us daily whether on television, on billboards, or on passing buses. There are junk mail filling our emails and mailboxes, and countless headlines and ads readied to catch our attention on the internet.  Lots of songs with catchy repetitive hooks and enticing beats framed to etch their sounds and messages upon our children’s minds. There are countless programs and tasks to spend our time on. We are bombarded daily whether we realize it or not. There are a lot of things and people vying for our attention, and many of us are often overwhelmed or battling distractions, suggestions, and persuasions. It seems that we can’t slow down even if we wanted to and we can’t maintain focus even if we tried. Many of us have lost our focus naturally and spiritually.

I am praying but last night’s worries or tomorrow’s tasks keep popping up in my head.

I just bought a new dress but her dress looks better on her, so now I want that one.

Insomnia is my new friend, and daydreaming is my associate.

I hear them speaking but I have not heard anything they said.

Which voice is God’s; I don’t know what to do.

I just can’t say no to that extra project on my job; scared to say no out of fear of losing my job.

I signed up for one more ministry and program at church, although I am burned out.

I keep getting sick, but no time to rest, there are bills to be paid and work to be done.

My mind is just as cluttered as my room.

I just can’t get enough of that gossip.

I can watch television for hours upon hours but can’t seem to stay awake in church.

My problems just seem to grow bigger and more every day.

After I accomplish this, now what?  When will I feel satisfied?

I wish I could just freeze my life; I feel so overwhelmed.

Are you being bombarded with worries, fear, diversionary battles, distractions, suggestions, and timewasters? Hard to distinguish whose advice is right, which voice is God’s, which one more thing to add to your schedule? Are you focusing more on your problems instead of focusing on God? Are you constantly running the race of life in comparison to someone else; are you constantly trying to please others out of fear of man? Are you spending more time adorning your life with good and worldly stuff and less time adorning yourself with the right stuff, prayer, God’s word and the whole armor of God? Are you overwhelmed? Do you know your purpose and plan your life around that? Are you a procrastinator and are you constantly allowing things and others to distract you from staying focused. It is interesting that the synonyms for focus are center, heart, core, and nucleus.

What is your heart? What/who is the center or at the core of your heart?

Focus is the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition (Dictionary.com). Are you looking ahead, no matter what goes on around you, no matter what the devil sends your way to try to distract you? Even though your mind may say it is difficult to see, does your faith say I have a clear visual definition of what God’s word says, what He promised, and what He placed in your heart.

Well, God knew we would get off track at times, so He gave us instructions on what to focus on and how to do it.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)

Our focus should be on God. Our spiritual eyes should be set on Him. Now more than ever, our spiritual antennas should be tuned into God’s voice. We should be at the point of surrendering our very lives to God, seeking Him with all we are and all we got. His Word should be before us and we should be connected to His heart in prayer daily.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your Son Jesus who showed us how to stay connected with You and how to stay focused on You. Thank You that You give us the grace to fix our eyes on You and thank You for the discipline to resist the enemy and combat the distractions. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who is our Helper and our coach in keeping us on track to finish the race! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Sisters, today, I EMPOWER you to stay focused. Distractions will come, but just keep seeking God, pursuing God, talking with God, putting Him first, making Him the center of your heart, and reading and obeying His Word. Just like Nicky was committed to honing his craft, let us be committed to pursuing God and staying focused. Our eyes should be on the spiritual prize awaiting us in heaven and not on these temporary things that will pass away. Let us also send to others God’s messages of His eternal kingdom, unfailing love, and holiness that will endure forever.

God Is Enough Song by Lecrae:

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing or editing, she currently works for a Trio program helping high school students prepare for college. She loves to build people up through God’s Word, encouragement, mentoring, and her writing. In 2014, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. She  also launched her Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous, inspired by John 15:8. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

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