By Mandy Nevarez

I asked the Lord to give me a word for this new year, and new decade. I felt like His response was immediate, and it was like He had already been speaking it to my spirit and I had not been paying attention. I know some theologians teach that God does not speak to his people anymore, but the truth is, I believe, we have stopped listening. He told me to “Focus.” I thought instantly of where my focus had been this past year, and I know I was distracted by many things. God wants and deserves all our attention. The culture we live in today is very distracted with smart phones, TV and the internet. We are bombarded with images and ideas that can be so ungodly, and yet the world wants to pass it off as normal. It takes a conscious decision each day to readjust our focus upon the Lord and let ourselves be still. 

It was the psalmist who wrote, “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10). It wasn’t a request, it was instruction, and it is for our benefit. Our minds become so cluttered, confused and unhealthy. Mental health issues are at an all-time high, and I believe it has a direct correlation to where we place our attention. 

When the Lord impressed this word upon me, the story of Mary and Martha came to mind. In Luke 10:38-41 (NKJV), Jesus tells this story of two women:

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary chose the good part and it was not going to be taken from her. Now before we are too hard on Martha, the truth is that most people have been guilty of allowing the cares of this world to crowd in and take our attention from the Lord. Even in our service to the Lord, a person can become overwhelmed with the work and miss the presence of God available to them in that moment. In all of her busyness and distress, Martha missed the fact that Jesus, the God of the universe, was sitting in her living room. The difference between the two women was that Mary recognized the presence of God and gave him all her attention.

When was the last time you sat at the feet of Jesus? I want to challenge all who may be reading this to make room for the presence of God in your life today. Allow His spirit to be your guide and sanctuary from a world that would overwhelm and distract. If you do not know Jesus in this way, you can know him today. I invite you to put your trust in Him. 

Mandy Nevarez is one of the pastors at New Life Assembly of God. Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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