We all need that focus point to stay on track! We all need that solid, fixed place to keep us on track! We need something that doesn’t move that we can depend on and rely on for our tracking. Sailors use the north star because they know where it is and how to navigate by it! Hikers and campers and those who like to trek through the woods use a compass to find north to be able to navigate! But when we lose focus, we veer off course! When we get our focus on something else then we tend to turn in that direction rather than staying the course. Even the wisest can sway off track if they lose focus!
How about you? Are you keeping God and His Word in focus? Are you using Him to stay the course? Are you keeping aligned so that you are able to stay on track and get to the goal?
Are there distractions pulling you off course? Are there things getting in the way of you being able to stay focused? Remember the goal! Remember the purpose! Don’t lose focus!
Today’s reading begins in 1 Kings 11…
Decline of Solomon
1Now King Solomon loved so many foreign women, besides the daughter of Pharaoh—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites— 2from the nations of whom Adonai had said to the children of Israel: “You shall not associate with them nor they associate with you, for surely they would turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon clung to them for love. 3So he had 700 wives as princesses and 300 concubines—and his women led his heart astray. 4For it came about, as Solomon grew old, that his wives led his heart away after other gods, so that his heart was no longer wholly devoted to Adonai his God, unlike the heart of his father David. 5For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of Adonai and did not fully follow after Adonai, unlike his father David. 7At that time Solomon also built a high place for Chemosh, the detested thing of Moab, on the mountain near Jerusalem, as well as for Molech the detested thing of the children of Ammon. 8Thus he did for all his foreign wives, who were burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods. 9So Adonai became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from Adonai, the God of Israel—who had appeared to him twice. 10He had commanded him about this, that he should not go after other gods, yet he did not keep what Adonai had commanded. 11So Adonai said to Solomon: “Since you have done this and did not keep My covenant and My statutes that I commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days for David your father’s sake; but I will tear it away from the hand of your son. 13Yet I will not tear away the whole kingdom, but will give one tribe to your son for My servant David ‘s sake, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 14Then Adonai raised up an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite, of the royal line in Edom. 15Earlier, when David was at war with Edom, Joab, commander of the army, went up to bury the slain, and had struck down every male in Edom. 16Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had cut off every male in Edom. 17But Hadad and some Edomites, servants of his father, had fled to Egypt, while Hadad was a small boy. 18Setting out from Midian they came to Paran and took men from Paran along with them, and went to Egypt—to Pharaoh king of Egypt—who gave him a house, allotted him food and gave him land. 19Then Hadad found great favor in Pharaoh’s eyes, so that he gave him his own sister-in-law, the sister of Queen Tahpenes, as wife. 20The sister of Tahpenes gave birth to his son Genubath. Tahpenes weaned him in Pharaoh’s palace and Genubath remained in Pharaoh’s palace among Pharaoh’s sons. 21Now when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers and that Joab commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh: “Let me leave so I may go to my own country.” 22Then Pharaoh replied to him, “What do you lack with me, that all of a sudden, you seek to go back to your own country?” “Nothing,” he answered. “Nevertheless let me go anyway.” 23Then God raised up another adversary against him, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord King Hadad-ezer of Zobah, 24when David killed them. He then gathered men to himself and became the leader of a marauding band that went to Damascus and dwelt there and gained control in Damascus. 25Rezon was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, adding to the trouble that was Hadad. He despised Israel, while he reigned over Aram.
Prophecy to Jeroboam
26Then there was Jeroboam son of Nebat (the name of his mother, a widow, was Zeruah), an Ephraimite of Zereda. Though he was Solomon’s servant, he also raised a hand against the king. 27Now the reason that he raised a hand against the king was this: Solomon built the Millo and closed the breach of the city of his father David. 28Now the man Jeroboam was mighty of strength, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he appointed him over the entire labor force of the house of Joseph. 29It was around that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had covered himself in a new cloak, and the two of them were alone in the field. 30Then Ahijah seized the new cloak that was on him, tore it into twelve pieces, 31and said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for thus says Adonai, God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and will give ten tribes to you. 32But he will have one tribe, for My servant David’s sake, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. 33“‘For they have abandoned Me and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon. They have not walked in My ways, nor done what is right in My eyes, nor kept My statutes and My ordinances, as his father David did. 34Nevertheless, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will keep him as a ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David whom I chose, because he kept My mitzvot and My statutes. 35Yet I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and I will give it to you—the ten tribes. 36To his son I will give one tribe so that My servant David may have a lamp every day before Me in Jerusalem, the city that I chose for Myself to put My Name there. 37“So I will take you and you will reign over all that your soul desires—you will be king over Israel. 38Then it will be, if you obey everything I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My eyes, keeping My statutes and My mitzvot as My servant David did, then I will be with you, and will establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David—I will give Israel to you. 39So I will for this afflict David’s seed, but not for all days.” 40Therefore Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam got up and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt. He remained in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 41Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom—are they not recorded in the Book of the Acts of Solomon? 42So the days of Solomon’s kingship in Jerusalem over all Israel was 40 years. 43Then Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David; and his son Rehoboam was king in his place.
–from 1 Kings 11
What is getting your attention? What is catching your eye? Where is your heart being pulled? But do you have a focal point? Do you have a fixed point that you are able to use to stay on track? Don’t lose focus and then lose sight of your purpose! Don’t lose focus and then lose hope for the plans God has for you! Don’t lose focus and miss out on life having meaning and purpose!
Kohelet: the Preacher
1The words of Kohelet , son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2Futile! Futile! says Kohelet. Completely meaningless! Everything is futile! 3What does a person gain in all his labor that he toils under the sun? 4A generation comes, and a generation goes, but the earth remains forever. 5The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to the place it rises. 6The wind goes toward the south, and circles around to the north. Round and round it swirls about, ever returning to its circuits. 7All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they go again. 8All things are wearisome. No one can express them. The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9What has been is what will be, and what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun. 10Is there anything about which is said, “Look! This is new!”? It was already here long ago, in the ages long before us. 11There is no remembrance for former things, and things yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.
Search for Meaning in Life
12I, Kohelet, am king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13I applied my heart to seek and examine by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a burdensome task God has given the sons of men to keep them occupied. 14I have seen all the deeds done under the sun; and behold, all is meaningless and chasing after the wind. 15What is crooked cannot be made straight. What is missing cannot be counted. 16I spoke with my heart saying: “I have grown rich and increased in wisdom more than any who were before me over Jerusalem. Indeed, my heart has experienced much wisdom and knowledge.” 17So I applied my heart to know wisdom as well as to know madness and folly. I learned that this too was pursuit of the wind. 18For with much wisdom comes much grief, and whoever keeps increasing knowledge, increases heartache.
–from Ecclesiastes 1
When we keep our focus on God, He will keep our path straight! When we keep our relationship with Jesus, He is able to help us know the truth and the truth will set us free! Don’t lose focus! Don’t be distracted! Don’t miss out or forget His true love because you get off track or lose focus on that constant, sturdy, stable, and unmoving point! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! His Word is unchanging! So don’t lose your focal point! Let’s stay on track and within the love of God! Let’s allow it to flow into and through our lives into the world around us that needs it so much! Don’t lose focus!
Yeshua, the Ruach of Truth
1Loved ones, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2You know the Ruach Elohim by this—every spirit that acknowledges that Messiah Yeshua has come in human flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God. This is the spirit of the anti-messiah, which you have heard is coming and now is already in the world. 4You are from God, children, and you have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world, so they speak from the world and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; whoever knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
God’s Life-Giving Spirit of Love
7Loved ones, let us love one another, for love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9The love of God was revealed among us by this—that God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10This is love—not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atonement for our sins. 11Loved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is made perfect in us. 13We know that we abide in Him and He in us by this—because He has given us of His Spirit. 14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son as Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Yeshua is Ben-Elohim, God abides in him and he abides in God. 16So we have come to know and trust in the love that God has for us. God is love. Now whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
God’s Fulfilling Love
17In this way, love is made perfect among us, so that we should have boldness on the Day of Judgment. For just as He is, so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19We love, because He first loved us.
Love God—Love God’s Family
20If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother.
–from 1 John 4
Will you keep focused and be a good steward? Will you keep focused and allow God to work in and through you? Will you keep focused in order to stay on track? Will you be faithful with the little you have? Will you stay focused so that God can trust you with more? Will you keep leaning on Him? Will you keep your hope and your focus on Him? We can only have 1 focus point! We can only have 1 master! So don’t lose focus! Stay on track! It’s more than a play that you act out…God knows your heart! So we need to truly stay focused because He knows our thoughts, our words, our actions! He knows what is in our hearts! We only get one life to live! We only get one life to make a difference for eternity! So how will you use this life you have been given? As the treasure it is? Will you keep your focus on God and then do what He calls you to do?
A Lesson for the Disciples
1Now Yeshua was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a household manager, and this manager was accused of squandering his belongings. 2So he called the manager and said to him, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 3“Then the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I’m not strong enough to dig; I’m ashamed to beg. 4I know what I’ll do, so that when I’m put out of management others will welcome me into their homes.’ 5So he called in each one of his master’s debtors, and he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6“He said, ‘One hundred units of olive oil.’ “The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write fifty.’ 7Then he said to another, ‘Now how much do you owe?’ “He said, ‘A hundred units of wheat.’ “The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.’ 8“Now the master praised the crooked manager because he had acted shrewdly, for the sons of this age are smarter when dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9I say to you, make friends for yourselves from the wealth of the world, so when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal shelters. 10“One who is faithful in the smallest matters is also faithful in much, and the one unjust in the smallest matters will likewise be unjust in much. 11So then, if you cannot be trusted with unjust wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12Now if you have not been trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you anything of your own? 13No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
The Pharisees Listen In
14Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and sneering at Yeshua. 15But He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before the people, but God knows your hearts. For what is prized among men is detestable in God’s sight.” 16“The Torah and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since then, the Good News of the kingdom of God is being proclaimed, and everyone tries forcing his way in. 17But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for a single serif of the Torah to fail. 18Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. And he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. 19“Now there was a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen, living it up in luxury every day. 20But a poor man named Lazarus had been laid at his gate, covered with sores 21and longing to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Besides, even the dogs were coming to lick his sores. 22“It happened that the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. Then the rich man also died and was buried. 23And from Sheol, as he was in torment, he raised his eyes. And he sees Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his side. 24So he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! And send Lazarus so he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, because I am suffering torment in this flame.’ 25“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your life you received your good things, even as Lazarus received the bad things. But now he is comforted here, and you are tormented. 26Besides all this, between us and you a great chasm is firmly set, so that those who want to cross over to you cannot, nor can those from there cross over to us. 27“Then the rich man said, ‘I beg you then, Father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s house! 28For I have five brothers to warn, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29“But Abraham says, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.’ 30“But he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31“But Abraham said, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!’”
–from Luke 16