Please welcome Carol Kinsey to my blog this week. Carol is giving away a copy of Until Proven Innocent so be sure to leave a comment as well as your email address.
Venti Focus in a World of Grande Distractions
It was crowded in Starbucks today. I don’t know when I’ve seen so many people in our local coffee shop at one time. There was literally only one seat and it was a small round table right by the window. I was thankful to just get a seat. Coffee shops are usually great places for me to get things done. I had a lot of writing to do today—a church newsletter, blog article, and more edits on my newest book manuscript. I was a bit overwhelmed with all I had to do.
I pulled my Bible and computer out of my bag and set them on the table, hoping to focus. But I couldn’t. Dozens of conversations whirled around me while I tried to still my heart.
My attention was snatched away by the many voices and snippets of discussions. The people sitting closest to me were studying together. Without trying, I could hear them discussing thyroids, adrenals glands, symptoms of problems and potential cures. Others were talking about their day, greeting each other, laughing. A barista called out a name. A woman complained about her drink. The whole room was in chaos.
It hit me that too often my mind is like that Starbucks. Chaotic. Concerns, thoughts, deadlines, worry, and responsibilities become voices of life vying for my attention. It’s not what I want.
I took a sip of my mocha and tried to think about the last time I’d been still. Really still. God’s word tells us in Psalm 46:10a to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (ESV). I love those words. They express the desire of my heart. But my actions don’t always reflect my desire.
Sometimes I feel so distracted that I lose sight of my real focus.
In Matthew 14:22-33 we read about Jesus walking on the water. In verse 28, Peter says to Him… “Lord, if it’s you - tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus replies to Peter saying, “Come.” “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (NASB).
I can relate to Peter. He wanted to get out there and walk on the water with Jesus… do something great! Walk boldly with Jesus! But he got distracted.
I’m reminded of the old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus “… look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
In a world full of busyness and distractions, how do we make sure our minds are on the right things? How do we maintain our focus? How do we make sure our eyes are on Jesus and we don’t sink?
When our eyes are on Him we maintain our focus! That’s what Peter did when he first got out there on the water and started to walk. After he got distracted, he started to sink. But when he cried out to Jesus, Jesus rescued him.
The room was still crowded but I opened my Bible to Daniel 9:3-4. “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed…” With all these distractions whirling around me, I needed to give my attention to the Lord God, seek Him by prayer and supplications—and confess.
Funny, but as the realization began to dawn on me that each of those people kind of represented a distraction in my mind and all I needed to do was lay them at His feet something changed. One by one I prayed for them. In a matter of minutes what was chaos and craziness became quiet and calming. My mind was like that too. As I lifted each care of the day to my Father who knows me, the chaos in my mind was replaced with calm.
· Do you ever feel distracted—like there are so many things going on around you that you lose your real focus?
- What distractions do you need to lay at His feet today?
· What are some helpful ways you’ve learned to keep your focus on Jesus in the midst of the distractions around you?
It's not easy being a teenager in foster care. Tormented by verbal abuse and the threat of being separated from her brothers, Hailey knew something had to change. Hoping to find the peace they long for, Hailey, Hayden, and Grant, and their foster sister, Kyra, set out on a journey that would change their lives forever. Can Hailey keep her family together by running away? Will God heal their hurting hearts and help them find the love they long for? Hailey hopes to find protection under the shadow of a steeple.
Until Proven Innocent
Bethany Young is running from the law. Accused of a murder she didn’t commit, Bethany’s life is in the hands of one of her accusers. Embarking on an irreversible journey, Deputy Tanner Brenly and Bethany work to unravel the secrets that tangle her life. How can Bethany prove she’s innocent when all the evidence points to her? How can she expect Tanner to believe what even she cannot prove? Together, Bethany and Tanner must wait and trust in the Lord - until proven innocent.
Trey Netherland is undercover. Rainey Meadows has been deceived. She wants answers. He wants the bad guy. Together, Rainey and Trey find themselves in the heart of Columbia both searching for different things. As Rainey struggles to learn who she is, Trey is torn between the lies he’s told and the Truth that is fighting to reach his heart. Tangled in a dangerous plot, can Rainey trust the man whose lies put her heart in turmoil? Will Trey finally cry out to the only One who can truly set him free? There is only one Truth and it’s in Him they find Greater Love.
Carol Kinsey lives with her husband and their two daughters on a farm in rural Ohio. She and her husband have been involved in youth ministry for over twenty years and currently serve at a small country church, which inspired her first novel, Under the Shadow of a Steeple. She has also published Greater Love, Until Proven Innocent, and a writing curriculum, Creative Writing Through Literature. Her newest novel, Witness Protection, is scheduled for release this summer.
Carol is a member of ACFW and co-founder of the Writing Family. She speaks on developing the writer in yourself and your child. Along with her fiction, Carol is also published in several nonfiction venues. She has a passion for writing exciting Christ-centered fiction that uplifts, encourages, and gives glory to God. You can learn more about Carol by visiting her website carolkinsey.net