Choosing a Centerpiece

Choosing a Centerpiece

November 11, 2013

“He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do.” Hebrews 3:2 (MSG)

I thought my Thanksgiving decorations were securely packed away last year, but when I pulled out the decorative cornucopia something was different.

Apparently a few hungry mice had nibbled on the Styrofoam bread loaf and plastic apples, thinking they were a tasty treat.

I had planned on putting the cornucopia in the middle of my dining room table, like I always do. But lack of proper packing had taken its toll, and my centerpiece was now full of holes.

As I assessed how to repair the damage, I felt a holy nudge on my heart. It was a prompting me to consider if I was concerned about the right centerpiece for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

The previous months had been full of busyness and challenges. My heart had been burdened at times. I’d fallen into a pattern of focusing on my problems and to-do list instead of taking time to give thanks to God for His goodness in my life.

I intended to make Jesus the center of my attention, but didn’t keep that commitment. My distracted focus reminds me of the Christians to whom the author of the book of Hebrews wrote.

These believers were in danger of losing their focus on Christ as their deliverer. People had begun putting their trust in prophets, angels, and even Moses. So in Hebrews 3, the people are reminded that Jesus is the only one worthy of trust and is where our faith should be centered.

The writer of Hebrews wanted Christians to stop putting themselves, other people, or material items, at the center of their attention, and instead draw their gaze back to Jesus.

Just like the people of that time, we can quickly get distracted, become busy, and inadvertently make our obligations and celebrations the focus of our attention. We gradually become self-centered instead of Jesus-centered.

Hypothetically, we may put Him in a box in the attic of our heart, only pulling Him out when the time is “right.” This eventually leads to a life off-kilter and a heart full of holes, as challenges and pressures nibble away at our joy and peace.

It’s one thing to believe in Jesus. It’s another to make Him the center of our lives. When we make that important choice and remember to focus on Him and be thankful in all things, our hearts and lives stay in balance.

This Thanksgiving (and every day), let’s praise God and commit to making Him our focal point. When we choose to make Jesus the emphasis of our holidays and our lives, we are blessed with the most beautiful centerpiece of all.

Lord, I never intended to put You on a shelf and allow life’s distractions to alter my attention on You. Give me the spiritual desire to stay intently focused on You during this holiday and into the new year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles is a wonderful resource about peace and eliminating chronic stress. Order before December 20th to receive a signed copy!

Avoid seasonal stress and make Christ the center of your holiday this year with practical tips from Tracie. Sign up for her “Managing Holiday Stress” Conference Call series by clicking here. And don’t miss out on the LIVE Facebook holiday party. Join the fun by clicking here!

NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women is the perfect tool to re-focus on Christ.

Reflect and Respond:
Consider what areas of your life need to be more Jesus-centered and less self-centered.

How can you make sure your attention stays on Jesus and not on life’s distractions?

Power Verses:
Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (NLT)

Psalm 117:1-2, “Praise the LORD, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. For he loves us with unfailing love; the LORD’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the LORD!” (NLT)

© 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. This reminds me of a story I heard years ago: watching her grandmother pack up the nativity set after Christmas, a child asked, “Grandma, are you putting Jesus back in the closet for another year?”

    That’s not the legacy I want to leave my children and grandchildren. Thank you for the reminder, Tracie, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  2. Thanks Tracie! I got it! I’m going to stop and make Jesus the centerpiece of my life. (Not just during the holidays).

  3. I have actually been scanning Pinterest like a crazy woman looking for the perfect center piece to make for my table. What a great reminder this morning on remaining focused on Christ. I think I will not have a centerpiece and my empty spot will remind me who should be there and what a great conversation starter for those who sit around my table. Thank you Tracie for sharing with us this morning.

  4. Thanks I needed to read this. My husband is only 28 and is having decreased kidney function. I was only 30% last month. We went back to the doctor Friday and it had increased but only 39% according to blood work and 46% according to urine. I praise God for the increase but I cant stop dwelling on the situation. My husband is a great man, husband, and father. I just can’t believe something like this would happen to him. He is having no trouble trusting God in this situation and I could really learn from him. I know that God will heal him but i still focus on the negative. I need to put God as my focus of attention and not the situation. Please pray for my family, especially my husband. Pray that God will heal his body. Thank you so much. Praise be to God!

    • Cindy,

      I’m praying for you, your husband and your family as a whole. Keep these verses in mind: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, present your requests to God. The peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!” – Philippians 4: 6-7

    • Cindy, I am agreeing in prayer with Britany for you and yours! Our God is FAITHFUL and MORE THAN ABLE to do what He has said He will do. You are a “daddy’s girl” and He takes pride and joy in giving you your heart’s desire. Because they are His too!

  5. Thanks so much for this today. I had a fun get away weekend with my girlfriends and this morning when I went to pray, I realized that I had put Jesus on the “back burner” all weekend because of the fun and shopping we had done. I know without Him I have nothing. Thanks for reminding me that “stuff” is never more important than the love and mercy that Jesus bestows on me each and every day.

  6. I have been buring myself in God’s Word daily for quite sometime now and I realize why. My spouse is unemployed for tthe second time this year. He was down-sized from a company that he had worked for ten years in March. Then a few weeks later was offered a new positon, that fell apart in September. He has been looking for work again now since Sept. It is almost nine weeks now.

    I own the book you wrote and intend to put it on his desk to see if he just might try to read it. We are both Christians and have vowed since the first and last time to give it to God and trust “In His timing rather than ours.”
    I have to be honest somedays are easier than others and God always seems to put somethng in our path, a book, a phone call, an e-mail, a friend sending a card. It is such a blessing to see God is working in the midst of what could instead be a time of “Hopelessness and Defeat”. We are both “Tusting in the LORD with all of our hearts and leaning on Him for nderstanding and allowing Him to guide our paths.” We know we are never alone. Thanks for caring and being there reaching out to us and others during this time of need. Mary Kaiser

    • My heart goes out to you. I prayed for you and your husband and am believing that His Will shall be accomplished and a wonderful thing will happen through this time of trusting and waiting on God! With Christ all things are possible!

  7. A great reminder! I needed to hear this! Im so thankful and just humbled and in awe of how faithful God is and His great love for me! He never moves away, its me that moves. And yet He’s always there with open arms, welcoming me back into His Holy presence! What a faithful and loving God I serve! Oh how I love Him!

  8. Thank you Tracie! Wow, how it felt like you (Jesus through you) were speaking right to me this morning. I have been so overwhelmed by the weight of the world and being busy, I commit to let God be my centerpiece and I too am so quick to break that when it gets so crazy. Thank you again. This brought me great encouragement today!!!
    Blessings,
    Heather

  9. I just bought your book as well for my iPad! Stressed Less living. I can not wait to start reading it!

  10. Tracie, Thank you for this reminder as I have been focussed on the preparation to be thankful (Thanksgiving Day Celebration) instead of focussing on actually being thankful.

  11. Thank you for sharing your heart and a small part of your life with such humility. May God grant your request for a more focused and devoted heart. Thanks. :0)

  12. This morning as I was on my way to take a young lady to her classes at the local community college (I do every Monday just to bond with her and make sure her week starts out right with love and encouragement.) my car started acting crazy. As I exited off the highway onto the exit ramp, the noise (that has been going on in my car for months now) got louder. I made a mental note to text and tell my husband when I got to Sherron’s house, when I felt a and heard something like a stripping of gears, metal against metal sound.. My car began to slow down even though I was trying to accelerate and then I had to push hard down hard on the brakes to get the car to stop. Fortunately I was able to come to stop sign and put the car gear in park but the car was still drifting forward. I had to keep my foot on the brake as I came to that stop sign with oncoming cars coming from both my right and left. I called hubby and told him where I was (had just left him at house as he was preparing to go to work) and what had happened. He told me to turn the car off and he would be there. And so I sat…to wait. My immediate thoughts were, ” I told him about this weeks ago and he has done nothing. Now, what may have been an easy fix costing a little, NOW is probably a Big Fix costing Big $$$$ which we don’t have. Why doesn’t he listen to me? Okay, he’s going to get a loud, I TOLD YOU SO when he does get here”. Now it is 39 degrees on the outside but it was probably 100 degrees on the inside as my attitude, frustration and anger got hotter and hotter! A man stopped and rolled down his window to ask if I was alright (God bless him). I thanked him and told him I was and that my husband was on the way. And so with nothing else left to do but pray, that’s what I began to do. A small whisper touched my cold ears and said, ” you could tell your husband off, wagging tongue and finger at him OR you can think about what could have happened and thank me because it didn’t. You could’ve been on a major interstate. You could’ve been miles away from home. Your husband could’ve been out of town. The brakes could’ve sopped working altogether, It could’ve….. ” Okay, God I got it was all I could say. My husband came and drove my car to the shop while I followed behind in his. As we were tansporting what I may need from my car to his he said, ” Wow, I was trying to wait until I finished this job and get paid so I could put your car in the shop but it caught up with me instead”. When we got home , I kissed and thanked him as he went on to work. Then IT came…SHAME. I felt so ashamed. Ashamed for trying to blame him and for not appreciating how ward he works to make ends meet. I felt ashamed for putting my trust in man and not trusting God in the first place. Husband is not my source (he’s a resource) and he’s not my provider (he’s a re-vider). For one moment, Jesus was not the center of it all. I felt like the disciples on that ship in a storm, thousands of years ago, awaking a snoring and soundly asleep Jesus and asking him if he even cares that we may all drown. Jesus was at the center of that boat, he was IN the boat with them so they COULDN’T perish. He was in the CENTER of the high winds, crashing waves and the churning waters! Thanks, Tracie for the “in my face” reminder that had Jesus not really been the center of my life, I may not have ben sitting here in my recliner posting and able to share. #IAMNOT UNFORGIVING, UNGRATEFUL, nor UNAPPRECIATIVE! Because it could’ve been WORSE! “Jesus, KEEP being the center of my life because it is all about YOU!” Hope you enjoy this song. It’s one of my many favorites! :-)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQspvrTBd6E

    • Alright, was just working on my verse chaining of Romans 8:1, when I got the call from hubby. Car repair (transmission related) is going to cost $3,000!!!! Sooooooo, When….I don’t know where the $$$ is going to come from, Then…I remember that my God will fill every need I have according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) #IAMNOT anxious or doubting!!!! I am #movingforward FROM…fear TO…faith! Don’t tell me that these studies are not RIGHT ON and timely! They are and I am thanking God that I will continue to “preserve them” for such times as these! Thanks P31!! :-)

  13. Tiffanie Young says:

    WIth all my stuggles I am learning to thank God for the every day little blessings in my life. My prayer is that when this stormy season is past, that I will not forget and place Jesus in a closet until I am feeling sad or stromy again, that I will take these lessons and keep them close to my heart every day until my last.

  14. I have actually been scanning Pinterest like a crazy woman looking for the perfect center piece to make for my table. What a great reminder this morning on remaining focused on Christ. I think I will not have a centerpiece and my empty spot will remind me who should be there and what a great conversation starter for those who sit around my table. Thank you Tracie for sharing with us this morning.

  15. Thanks! A content heart is always a nice center piece :)
    I have been so encouraged by Proverbs31 Ministries.
    2 Corinthians 4:8-10:8, exactly describes where I am right now. I am so blessed! We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
    Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles was my first OBS. Excellent book :)

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