Don't Stop Praising
Have you ever seen that old video where you are told to count how many times a basketball is passed between players wearing a white shirt only to completely miss a man in a gorilla suit pass through the frame? If you haven't google "selective attention test video." It might not fool you now that you know what to expect but this video was done as a part of a study that measured how we can be attentive to things we are focused on while missing key things in the background. What we are focused on steals our attention, it steals our energy, it steals our thoughts. When we are so focused on one thing, event, or object we tend to forget everything else. The same effect occurs when we are focused on our shows or movies. Our spouse might be trying to say something but our mind blocks it out to give our attention to what we've selected to give our attention to. Whatever we give our attention to we give the power to occupy our thoughts and our energy.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world
Instead, fix your attention on God.
You’ll be changed from the inside out.
Sometimes we give our attention to the things of the world and forget or ignore what really matters most. It's easy to be so preoccupied with our circumstances, and our difficulties that we neglect to include God in our lives. In 1 Samuel 7 the Israelites had gathered together to worship the Lord and repent, and their enemies, the Philistines, took it as an opportunity to try to wipe them out. They paused from worship and begged Samuel not to stop crying out the Lord on their behalf. Samuel continued to minster and offer sacrifices and God rescued Israel from the hands of their enemies. Sometimes our worship gives way to fear. Sometimes we shift our focus from the God who can deliver us to whatever problem or circumstance is currently overwhelming us. We give power to our problems by failing to trust that God has the power to bring about a deliverance. We give power to our difficulties when we stop looking to God for help and instead give all our attention to worry, and fear. But when your enemies surround you, when you can’t see through the darkness, when all you feel is sorrow don’t stop praising. Don’t stop crying out to the Lord. Trust that He will bring deliverance. Don't give in to fear and worry, fix your eyes on Jesus and don’t stop praising.
7 When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah,
the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them.
When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines.
8 They said to Samuel,
“Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us,
that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.”
10 While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering,
the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle.
But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines
and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites.
1 Samuel 7:7,8,10 (NIV)
God help me not to focus on my problems but instead to focus on you. No matter how difficult my problems may seem, no matter how impossible the obstacles before me appear, I trust that you can bring about a deliverance. Help me to praise you even when my enemies surround me. AMEN