Monday, November 19, 2012

Always and for Everything

As we approach Thanksgiving it is good to be reminded that being grateful to God is a year-round mandate, not simply a Thursday in November when we stuff ourselves and watch football. The apostle Paul succinctly summarizes how believers are to behave near the end of his first letter to the Thessalonian congregation. Here we find three all-inclusive mandates supported by a final motivation.

I Thess. 5:16-18
"16 Rejoice ALWAYS, 17 pray WITHOUT CEASING, 18 in EVERYTHING give thanks; for THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD in Christ Jesus for you" (NKJV).

  1. Rejoice Always (v.16)

Constant joy comes when Jesus is Operating You.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit not a fruit of sin or self (Gal. 5:22). We cannot manufacture joy; it comes from God Himself. We can experience "happiness" when our "happenstance" is good. When things go right in our lives we can be happy, happy, happy (Duck Dynasty reference); but as soon as things turn (and they will) our happiness dissipates faster than a bucket of hot wings at a weight watchers convention.

Joy, on the other hand, is constant. It is not dependent on our changing circumstances (like who inhabits the white house) but rests instead on our unchanging Savior; the One who is the same "yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). The only way JOY can come TO THE WORLD is when they acknowledge that THE LORD HAS COME. So, LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING, and experience genuine joy (by the way, Christmas is now just 5 weeks away).

Psalm 34:1 says, "I will praise the Lord AT ALL TIMES I will constantly speak His praises" (NLT). This statement comes from a man (King David) who fled for his life and hid in caves for seven years. He experienced scorn from his wife, the death of his newborn son, the rebellion and death of his grown son, and scandals that would make you blush and STILL could praise the Lord. How? He looked FORWARD to Jesus. We are to be people of praise no matter our problems. Jesus is the reason for our joy! In Him we are saved, by Him we are sanctified, and from Him we receive every good and perfect gift!

The apostle Paul found JOY by looking BACK to Jesus who was the author and finisher of His faith (Heb. 12:1&2). Paul suffered through circumstances that would make most of us give up. In 2 Cor. 11:24-29, Paul summarized these experiences, "From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches" (NKJV).

How many of you have been beaten, even once, with a whip or with rods? Most of you've never been stoned (with rocks not weed). My point is that if David can praise God in the midst of his problems, and Paul can praise God in the midst of his perils, we too can praise God and rejoice in the midst of any possible circumstance. The command is to rejoice ALWAYS: in our prosperity, our poverty, our pleasure, and our pain – ALWAYS. How? Jesus. Rejoice in Jesus. Not only are we to have constant joy in Jesus, but we are also admonished to…

  1. Pray Without Ceasing (v.17)

Paul does not intend for us to be walking around with our eyes closed praying aloud. He's simply saying that we should always have an open line to God. We should always have that wireless connection open to Christ. A few weeks back we called prayer that remarkable conversation between God and man, through Jesus our intercessor.

In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul invites us to, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (NKJV). When we fail to pray we essentially let our guard down; that's when Satan will tempt and deceive to take us out of the spiritual battle. We must consistently and constantly cast our cares on Jesus though prayer and we will receive His peace that will guard our hearts, and His perspective that will guard our minds.

Paul saves the best command for last. It's one things to rejoice ALWAYS and pray CONSTANTLY about our problems, but it's quite another to give thanks for them!

  1. In Everything Give Thanks (v.18a)

What does "everything" mean? Webster defines "everything" as: all that exists, all that relates to the subject, all that is important, all sorts of other things – events, facts, or conditions. So, we are to give thanks for EVERYTHING in our life: the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad.

Surely this is a typo! Maybe Paul was just caught up in an idealistic frame of mind when he wrote to the church at Thessalonica! No, because he said it again to the church at Ephesus. Eph. 5:20 says, "And give thanks for EVERYTHING to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (NLT). Don't forget, Paul had been through the ringer of personal pain and persecution and yet he was a grateful/thankful person.

I mentioned King David's commitment to praise in the midst of his many problems earlier, and he too was incredibly thankful to God. In fact, his Old Testament book of Psalms is a grateFULL book in that 30 of its chapters are Psalms of thanksgiving (8; 18; 19; 29; 30; 32-34; 36; 40; 41; 66; 103-106; 111; 113; 116; 117; 124; 129; 135; 136; 138; 139; 146-148; &150).

A brief survey of David's life reveals that he was thankful in:

  1. Victory (The Pinnacle of His Life)

Psalm 188:21 "I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory" (NLT)! David consistently thanked God for the victories in His life. He recognized that any good that he achieved and any glory he received rightly belonged to God alone. It was God who helped him defeat the bear, the lion, and the giant from Gath. It was God who granted him victory in battle, and gave him money in the bank.

What keeps us from thanking God in our victory is pride.

  1. Tragedy (The Pit of His Life)

While David certainly questioned God during the low points of his life, he eventually thanked God for seeing Him through it.

In Psalm 56 David wrote, "Whenever I'm afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His Word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?"

You might be thinking, "How can I thank God for the tragic death of my loved one? How can I thank God for a terminal diagnosis? How can I thank God for a financially devastating event?" The answer to those difficult questions lies in knowing that you don't know everything. When we land in the pit we must remember that, "we walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7 NKJV). Faith is defined for us in Hebrews 11:6, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (NKJV). We may not see what God is doing by allowing tragedy in our lives, but we confidently hope that it will work out for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory. Romans 8:28 reminds us, "And we KNOW that ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (NKJV). There's a purpose to the pit you're in. We must realize, like David, that God has a plan and a purpose that we will not totally understand this side of heaven. When we don't understand, when we can't see His plan, when we can't trace His hand, we must trust His heart.

(The story of Joseph found in Genesis 37 is also a compelling illustration of thanking God for even the darkest moments of our lives. He went from being in the position of the preferred son, to the pit, to a slave Potiphar's house, to being falsely accused and imprisoned, to ruling in the king's authority. All the while God had a plan.

What keeps us from thanking God in our tragedy is limited perspective.

  1. Monotony (The High Plain of His Life)

There were times in David's life when things were good. I call it "the high plain" because a plain is a flat surface free from obstacles (like Kansas), but it also means something is monotonous, and predictable (like vanilla ice-cream, or Kansas). His Kingdom was established, His house was awesome, His health was great, His wife was hot (that's in the Bible – 2 Sam. 11:2c), His bank account was full, and His popularity was high. When things are clipping along swimmingly for us, day in and day out, the monotony of prosperity lulls us into a type of God amnesia. We begin to forget where all these blessings came from.

Success can often be the enemy of our spiritual growth. We begin to think that we're the reason things are going so well and good things become god things in our lives. We need to wake up, count our blessings, and give honor to whom honor is due – God alone!

What keeps us from thanking God in our monotony is prosperity.

  1. Malady (The Pain of His Life)

David didn't spend all of his time on the high peaceful plain of success; his family was a mess. Regardless of his political and military victories, David was losing at home. His family was full of betrayal, bitterness, hatred, and revenge. The king's kids were in chaos. This had to be David's greatest regret in life. It was the problem that continually preoccupied his mind and the pain that perpetually drained his strength. Yet, he thanked God.

The apostle Paul also lived with a "thorn in his flesh". We don't even know what the "thorn" was, but we know that he prayed fervently for it to be removed and God didn't (2 Cor. 12:7-9). Paul's responded with thanksgiving. In fact, he probably sang, "Your grace is enough!" He accepted the constant pain in his life as God's will and embraced it by God's grace.

What keeps us from thanking God in our malady is our perpetual problem.

After giving us these three all-inclusive mandates, Paul concludes with the motivation for our obedience...

  1. This is God's Will (v.18b)

The will of God is found in the Word of God. Once you receive John 3:16 ("whosoever believes in Him") and apply Romans 12:1&2 ("present your bodies a living sacrifice"), God wants you to live like 1 Thess. 5:16-18 ("rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks for everything"). Spiritual maturity is a direct result of doing simple things over time. Do you want to please God with your life? Do what He says. Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (NKJV). This passage of Scripture is not a suggestion it is a command: "Rejoice ALWAYS, pray WITHOUT CEASING, and FOR EVERYTHING give thanks!"

Questions to consider:

  1. Are you allowing a present circumstance to hijack your joy?
  2. How's your prayer life? When is the last time cast ALL your cares upon Christ?
  3. What do a thankful heart and a grateful attitude demonstrate to the watching world?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Abide in the Word

John 8:31-32

11 November 2012

Point of Emphasis:    Living in and out of God's Word

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31-32


We are at the end of our series on Scripture and our Life Group's time in 40 Days in the Word. This lesson's purpose is not only to culminate all of what we have studied, but also to bring application to the study of the nature of Scripture. As you lead your class through this text and this lesson please keep this in mind. We want to be a people and a church who lifts high the Bible for we believe that only by following it, as God's Word to us, are we able to live obediently in the world.


It is living in this world that is truly the heart of this passage. As an introduction, discuss with your class the way in which they live. What are the elements of their lives? What are their characteristics and idiosyncrasies? This can range from the type of home or car they have to the type of food that they eat to the entertainment they consume. All of these things shape us into who we are and a recognition of them is helpful, though sobering at times, for us to move forward.


Make the relation to the way in which we live in and out the Bible in our lives. Is it a daily consideration? Weekly? Monthly? The answer to that questions strikes at the heart of what it means to abide in the word of God.


Disciples Abide in the Word


This passage of Scripture is perhaps on the top of many lists of important Scriptures to memorize, especially, "you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." However, before we look at what it particularly means we need to see the context of this verse. In the Gospel of John this discourse is found within the seven "I Am" statements. These are affirmations by Christ on who he is. For our purposes this means that our text is found in the midst of important discussions on the relationship one has to Christ. Central to that relationship, as we have seen, is the relationship one has with Scripture.


This short verse from Christ is written to those who are believers and who want to be disciples. Though there is a great evangelistic or apologetic point to be made out of this text, in that Christ through Scripture makes man free, we must see that Christ is not addressing unbelievers or seekers. He is addressing those who believe in him. That is how verse 31 begins, "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him." These are words all of us who are Christians, and have been born again, need to listen to. We are the audience Christ is speaking to and we must listen up.


If we are to listen up, to heed Christ's words, it might be asked "to what end?" Why should I listen now. (Of course we should ALWAYS listen, but in our flesh we often marginalize truth). The reason is given to us by Christ: "you are truly my disciples." The purpose of listening to and obeying Christ and his word is to be true disciples. You may need to take a moment and define for your class what a disciple is. A disciples is a person who follows after their leader. Notice it is not one who agrees with the leader, but goes with their leader. Disciples of Christ do not just cognitively (in their mind) know Christ, but they know him by actively following him, serving him, being obedient to his will in their lives.


The way in which, then, one can be a disciple is quite simple: abide. This is not a word in our normal vocabulary, but it is one that we should pay close attention to. It is similar to the word "abode," a dwelling place. It concerns that in which we live. We do not just abide in houses, but also in thoughts and ideas. As Christians who are following after Christ we must become people who abide in his word. This means a few things: 1. That we know it. 2. That we believe it. 3. That we live it. Without the last point we are not abiding. Jesus also speaks of this idea in John 15:5-8.


"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will
ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Also we find the idea of abiding elsewhere:


"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36


"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." John 6:56


"I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness." John 12:46


The idea of abiding is one that is in direct relation to Jesus Christ. Just as we are saved and are united with Christ through faith, so too should we continue to live in Christ. The way in which we are to do this is by abiding in his word, in Scripture. In short, this verse means that true disciples know the Bible so well that they live it out in their lives. Let me clarify, this does not mean that one has to have great knowledge, degrees, libraries, or accolades. Jesus did not call the intelligentsia but fisherman and workers. Disciples are those who know the Bible and live the Bible, plain and simple.


Discuss with your class how they are or are not abiding in the Bible. What are some ways that they can abide more?


Abiding in the Word Reveals Truth


The second thing we come across in this text is what this abiding does for us: reveals truth. Humans have ever been on the quest to know more, to find more truth. One can look to the tower of Babel (Gen 11), Solomon's desire for wisdom (1 Kings 3), and even the purpose for the first sin (Gen 2) to illustrate mankind's desire for wisdom. The problem is that we often want to believe a lie instead of truth. For instance, In 1 Samuel 8 the nation of Israel thought they needed a King and in doing so were actually rejecting God. In 1 Kings 12 Rehoboam refused to listen to wisdom and divided the kingdom. These are examples of man seeking truth in his own eyes. The strivings for man's truth over God's truth is starkly seen in 2 Kings 22 when the Law is found again and the people realize their folly.


We are a people who are afforded something greater than those of the Old Testament. We have the complete Word of God in the Bible and we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us that helps us understand it. Though we still have the desire for knowledge, and must battle our flesh, what we have are the instructions for finding true knowledge. If we abide in Christ's word we will find truth. This is such a simple statement, but we know that it is not readily lived out in our own lives, let alone the world in which we live.


Simply put, what we must do is seek the truth found solely in Christ and then do it. We do this with the recognition that when we come to the Bible, as the word of God, we come to truth. There are passages that we try to divert from time to time (e.g. Gluttony), but the truth of Scripture is something we cannot refute. The easier thing to do is submit to Scripture and accept the truth it presents.


Discuss with your class truths of Scripture they have not wanted to believe. Ask what reasons arose that made them trust Scripture.


Abiding in the Word Provides Freedom


Finally, in this short passage we also see that true disciples who abide in Scripture and are granted truth will be provided freedom. This point should not be taken too lightly. As citizens of the US we often take for granted freedom, mainly because we have not been in real bondage, at least politically speaking. We are a blessed country and enjoy freedom, but perhaps do not respect it like we should.


This is also evident in our spiritual lives. What Christ has done is provided freedom from the greatest bondage the world has ever seen: sin. Yet, many Christians do not understand the freedom that they have in Christ. Perhaps this is because they have been saved for a long time and have little knowledge of the bondage of sin. Perhaps this is because many are still infants in Christ, and though unshackled, still dwell in the prison. Perhaps it is because fellow Christians do not look any different from the surrounding enslaved world. Whatever the reason is for the ignorance of freedom, we must make pains to understand the pain in which that freedom was bought. The saying is still true in the spiritual world: Freedom is not free.


In the context of this verse the freedom being spoken of us found only for those who abide in the Word of God. It is for those who are obediently living out the will of God in their lives revealed through Scripture. Specifically speaking, this means that by living in and out of the word one can be freed from depression, alcoholism, addictions to pornography, drugs, and tobacco. Abiding in the word provides freedom from gossip, backbiting, jealousy, and anger. Living out Christ's demands for our lives allows us to not worry about what tomorrow hold, but sets us to trust in the one who holds tomorrow.


Discuss with your class ways in which they are in bondage or have been in bondage and how Scripture can free them.


Encourage your class to live in the Bible by daily reading and prayer.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

God’s Wise Words


The Word of God is not only a storehouse of knowledge, but also a powerhouse of wisdom for every believer. In it, the Lord has provided everything we need to serve Him and others successfully. Whether we believe that or not is revealed by our behavior.

We can say that the Bible is of supreme importance in our lives, but unless we make its study and application a priority our actions do not support our claim.


The book of Proverbs was inspired through King Solomon. In the beginning of Solomon's reign as King of Israel, God appeared to him and asked, "What shall I give you?" Solomon did not ask God for wealth, honor, or even victory over his enemies; he simply asked God for wisdom (2 Chron. 1:7-12). God granted him just that. His book of Proverbs, inspired by God, contains some of that wisdom; 513 proverbs pondered by Solomon, along with some proverbs of others whom Solomon likely influenced are contained in this 31 chapter book.


Each proverb is a simple, moral statement (or illustration) that highlights and teaches fundamental realities about life. We should pay much attention to Proverbs considering they were penned by a wise man who was empowered by an all-wise God.


Proverb 7:1-3 instructs us about God's Wise Word.

"1 My son, keep
my words, and treasure
my commands
within you.

2 Keep
my commands and live, and my law
as the apple of your eye.

3 Bind
on your fingers; write
on the tablet of your heart" (NKJV).


In this passage we see, first…


  1. The Priority of God's Word


In each verse of this text there is an action assigned which emphasizes the priority of God's Word. In verse one –"keep", and "treasure". In verse two – "keep" again. In verse three – "Bind" and "write". Each of these illustrative words point to the priority that God's Word is to have in our lives: keep (be faithful to, conform to, and follow), treasure (collect & store up, hold as precious), bind (tie them to, fasten around), and write (to form by inscribing).


Similar words are used in relating passages:


Prov. 2:1-4
"My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you,

So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;

Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding,

If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord    and find the knowledge of God." (NKJV).


Proverbs 3:1-4

"My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands;

For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man." (NKJV).


Deuteronomy 6:6-9

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (NKJV).


God wants His Word (His commands, His law) to be: kept, treasured, bound, and written in our hearts so that it permeates every part of our being. When He is preeminent, His Words hold preeminence.


Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, "For where
is, there your heart will be also" (NKJV). When we treasure God's Word we put it first. In our "40 Days in the Word" study Pastor Rick Warren pointed out the fact that we all have 24 hours in a day; how much of that time do you spend in God's Word? We tend to take time for the things are most important to us (We take time to eat, sleep, and watch the game). We must prioritize and take time to treasure God's Word (I used "take time" instead of "make time" because none of us are capable of making time – that's a God thing).


This passage also reveals…


  1. The Placement of God's Word (Within you, the apple of your eye, on your fingers, on the tablet of your heart)


Each verse vividly describes where we are to actively: keep, treasure, bind, and write God's Wise Words.

A. As the apple of your eye (affecting your perspective)

The "apple" of a person's eye is his pupil. The pupil is the dark center of your eye that receives light and enables vision. As I was studying about the pupil and how it responds to light, I began thinking about the different kinds of light our pupils receive on a daily basis. It seems to me that most of it, these days, comes from a glowing screen.

Most of us are screen slaves. While at work, play, and rest (even worship for that matter) we stare at screens. The average American over the age of 2 spends more than 34 hours a week watching live television, says a new Nielsen report — plus another three to six hours watching DVR'd programs. That's a lot of screen time!

Studies are still being conducted on how much time we spend on our smart phones. But a recent study conducted by a British telecom service found that 37 percent of adults and 60 percent of teens admit they are "highly addicted" to the devices. It goes on to reveal that the vast majority of smart phone users (81%) have their mobile device switched on ALL of the time, even when they are in bed, with four in ten adults (38%) and teens (40%) admitting using their smart phone after it woke them. Over half (51 per cent) of adults and two-thirds (65%) of teenagers say they have used their smart phone while socializing with others, nearly a quarter (23%) of adults and a third (34%) of teenagers have used them during mealtimes and over a fifth (22%) of adult and nearly half (47%) of teenage smart phone users admitted using or answering their handset in the bathroom or on the toilet.

The Washington Post reports that we have all become so Internet dependent that we might as well be robots. A study reported that 53% of us feel upset when denied access to the Internet and 40% feel lonely if we are unable to go online. One person surveyed said that being deprived of the internet was "like having my hand chopped off." Others said it was akin to giving up drinking and smoking. Many of them experienced feelings of sadness or loneliness even if denied online access for a short time.

Our time tells us what we treasure. Our treasure then tells us what we trust. I wonder what our faith would look like if we spent as much time in the Scriptures as we do on our smart phones or in front of our televisions? Can you imagine if we as Christians were as addicted to having the Light of the Scriptures enter into our pupils (the apple of our eye) at the same rate and duration as the light of our screens? Perhaps we should occasionally "go dark" (turn off the glowing screens in our lives) in order to receive the Light of God's Word.

B. On your fingers (affecting your practice)


The familiar picture of someone tying a piece of string around his finger to remember something comes to mind. This word picture also implies that God's Word should be at our fingertips ready for use. When God's Word is a priority in our lives it will flow out in practice. True belief leads to behavior. God's Word, hidden in our hearts, flows out through our hands to those around us. Knowledge puffs up the knower (1 Cor. 8:1), but God's wisdom creates a worker who serves His Savior.


C. On the tablet of your heart (affecting your passions)


As a parent, I pray that God would write His moral law on the hearts of my kids. I like to think that my rules have reasons, and I try to explain that those reasons are to benefit my children ultimately. I set up boundaries in their lives that serve as guardrails to protect them from danger. Just like the guardrails on the highway, they are not down in the ditch; they're located up on the shoulder where one might "technically" drive. But for safety's sake, I place the guardrails a few feet from the ravine so that if they crash (and they probably will) at least they will just get a few bumps and bruises and not lose their lives.


I am praying that when the day comes for my children to leave the nest that they will have so internalized these guardrails that they will carry them with them throughout life as their own. In other words, that God would "write them on the tablets of their heart".

  1. The Power of God's Word


Why is it so important for God's Wise Words to have priority and the proper place in your life? So "that they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words" (Prov. 7:5 NKJV). God's Wise Words keep us from temptation. They guide us in the path of peace and purity in the way everlasting
(Ps. 139:24).


There's power in God's Word that will keep us from sin and make us like the Savior.

Psalm 119:9 says "How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word" (NKJV). Psalm 119:11 says, "Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (NKJV). Psalm 119:35-37 says, "Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way" (NKJV).


I am reminded of the words from an old Hymn, "When we walk with the Lord, in the Light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way. While we do His good will, He abides with us still; and with all who will trust and obey."


We were reminded last week that the Word of God is quick and POWERFUL (Heb. 4:12).


Because God's Word is powerful, it needs to be a priority in our lives and have that treasured placement so it will always be on our minds.


Questions for discussion:

  1. What are some ways that we can take time for God's Word?
  2. Share with the class how God's Word, hidden in your heart, has helped you in an everyday situation.
  3. Based on exposure time, what would you say is the "APPLE of your eye"?