Monday, February 7, 2011

Paying Attention

Our dog is a wonderful dog. Sweet. Kind. Lovey. However, her puppy-like tendencies unnerve the family.

She loves to shred; it is her weak spot, an area she falls short, and requires grace and teaching. One would find,being in our home, if you do not pay close enough attention, something is bound to be stolen or shredded or both. I am not proud of our Maggie's antics, but I am a realist, knowing this is normal, and that as we teach her, she is making improvement.

A few days ago, a small hat was the victim of puppy wreckage and squeals of horror pealed through the house as the little girls discovered the chewed remnants of a Victorian riding hat that once sat atop of American Girl, Felicity's head. The elder daughter, head down and quite unhappy stated she "hadn't been paying attention." How often do we begin with the pristeen hat, untouched... and in our lack of attention end up with a ruffled pile of felt and feathers? As we stare at the "mess", we wonder what if I HAD been paying attention?

The Lord speaks to us, booming bold and loudly or sometimes in just the smallest of whispers, laying on our heart something He deeply desires to teach us. Are we paying attention? In this day and age, it becomes harder and harder to remain focused on things of the spirit and easier and easier to become concerned with the things of the world. Cell phones beeping, computers reminding us of meetings, engagements and plans, children vying for our attention, jobs and professions that exhaust us mentally, physically and spiritually. Focus becomes an issue. We stop paying attention. Our quiet time with the Lord becomes a momentary blip in our endless stream of "what needs to get done" and "who needs to be where." But the truth is God has appealed to us and anticipated our lapses in focus. The author of Hebrews calls his readers to listen carefully to the truth they have heard as not to be lured by false teachings.

"Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." Hebrews 2:1

Listening to Christ means not merely hearing the message, but also maintaining obedience to His will. We must be ready to carry out His instructions. If we are not paying attention, we run the risk of not only missing His message, but also falling away from His will for a given situation. We are reminded in Proverbs 4:20 "My son, attend to my words; incline thy ear unto my sayings." Though intended to impart wisdom for young men at that time, we recognize this verse as a body of believers; remembering that remaining focused to God's word and message is paramount to the health of our hearts.

Our attendance to His word and commandments does not assure us that no trials will come upon us. Our paying attention gives us the confidence and comfort that regardless of circumstances, we will be adequately armed for the process and outcome. We may even miss some of those chewed up hats and shredded napkins that cross our paths.

Is God calling you to pay attention? Is there a specific area, He desires to speak to you about? Praying we are all more aware of the messages He is sending and the need for our obedience.


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