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Monday, January 19, 2009
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"Paying More Careful Attention"
"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).
Yesterday, early in the church service, I prayed and ended my prayer with "Amen" as most all of us do. A three year old, using her little girl voice, boldly followed my "Amen" with her own crescendoed solo of "A-men!" It brought a chuckle throughout the congregation. Brooksyne and I reflected on this humorous moment on the way home from church.
Since this is only our third Sunday at the church we're still meeting some people for the first time. When we tried to shake three year old Kayla's hand she turned the other way on her daddy's lap. We tried to learn her name but not a word would cross her lips. She was so timid that she refused to communicate one on one, but she had to be listening pretty carefully to the prayer to properly respond in the manner that she did!
Today's Scripture warning from the book of Hebrews is so pertinent today. Paying attention is hard work. There are so many distractions. I came across this illustrative photo several years ago in a minister's magazine. Thankfully I have never encountered inattentiveness as extreme as this but it does illustrate the many distractive elements in modern life.
In fact those who know me personally may recall that I am easily distracted. I'm not alone. I'm sure as a child I would have been quickly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, a relatively recently discovered psychological ailment. It's popular now to assign this "disorder" to every problem child. I sure was hyperactive and they needed to keep me away from the Kool-Aid. I almost got kicked out of Sunday School and recall causing grief to my Mom. Over the years I recognize the challenges inherent to my personality and with God's help I attempt to discipline myself to pay attention and overcome. And now in my mid-fifties I've been functioning, providing for my family and seeking to serve the Lord daily.
People seem to like names for problems so I'll devise one that I believe is very common today, even among believers. Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder (SADD). Not paying attention affects every area of our lives, but so often neglected is spiritual attentiveness. The answer for this "disorder" is not a drug prescribed by a therapist. If so, Christian bookstores would stock their shelves full of these self-help drugs. Instead the answer is applying our hearts and minds so that we are obedient to the Scriptures. I like the way the writer of Hebrews uses the 1st person plural; "We must pay more careful attention." That speaks to me of personal will, personal responsibility, and applying personal discipline. SADD is a sad excuse.
A rather obscure verse in the Old Testament describes the people's response to God's Word during a time of revival as "He (Ezra) read the Book of the Law aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law" (Nehemiah 8:3). A mark of genuine revival is giving proper respect and attentiveness to God's Word!
God has called and equipped us to be overcomers in all areas of life including inattentiveness. Depending on the issue some have more overcoming than others but God is able and willing to meet us in our place of need. Today let us heed the clear warning of the Scripture and let us "pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Without it we would walk in darkness and be led astray. We want to give attention to Your Word but follow its instruction so that we will not drift from the truth. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: I was moved by the further response of the people as Ezra opened the book and read to them: "The people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, 'Amen! Amen!' Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground" (Nehemiah 8:6). Perhaps this is the passage that prompts some churches to stand during the reading of Scripture. But I especially note the people's physical and verbal response – they lifted their hands and responded together, "Amen! Amen!" followed by bowing down in reverence and worship to God. Most all of our readers have had access to God's Word all our lives, can read it anytime we want, and yet we often neglect to do so. I think of those in closed countries who don't have access to Scripture and how they are so eager to hear or read the Word. I pray that in my heart I would heed the Scriptures more and be genuinely mindful of the privilege we have of possessing our own Bibles for inspiration and instruction.
Ester's sleepover friends this morning.
They're also her Bible Quizzing teammates.
Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"
Video version 1 A beautiful violin instrumental version followed by the song.
Video version 2 An acapella version by Selah.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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