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Friday, July 29, 2022

Sunset on trail
Sunset on the walking trail across from our home. We had the pleasure of seeing a doe both coming and going on the trail but couldn't get a photo. The dogs were sure excited.

"Distracted Living"

Message summary: Paying attention is a practiced discipline of the heart and mind and is essential to staying on course in life. Today, in the midst of so many distractions let us heed the clear warning of Scripture and let us "pay most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).

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"For this reason we must pay most careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it" (Hebrews 2:1).

Malcolm Burleigh
This morning I was listening to a teaching video by Malcolm Burleigh, the executive director of the mission I serve with. He shared that July is "cellphone courtesy month" which I was not aware of. He pointed out that, "What I am distracted by is never as important as what I am distracted from".

Life is full of distractions, more than ever it seems. Distractions can have many consequences, including the aspect of how we relate socially. Have you ever watched people around a table all glued to their cellphones rather than talking to one another face to face?

We visited with my elderly, almost 90 year old, cousin Anna Lee early this week at our family reunion. Ester recalls a meal with her several years ago in Tulsa when she firmly insisted every cellphone be put away before we sat down for our meal so we could visit undistracted. That's a good idea!

Among the dangerous perils we face in life is distracted drivers. Nine people are killed in traffic accidents every day due to distracted driving according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About 1162 are injured daily. Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, applying make-up or eating while driving are just a few examples of distracted driving.

But we can also be distracted in many ways leading to inattentiveness and there are so many more sources of distraction it seems!

In life it's important to know why we do what we do and at times we need to be reminded of that. Our daily text begins with "For this reason" which is based on the fundamental teaching in chapter 1 concerning that God has spoken to us by his Son.

"For this reason (that God has spoken) we must pay most careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it."

Paying attention is a practiced discipline of the heart and mind. There are so many distractions in life and they seem to increase daily especially in our electronic age. Electronic gadgets continue to appear that supposedly make us more efficient with our time and many do, but in reality they also may clutter our schedules and distract us even more than the pre-computer age.


I came across an illustrative photo many years ago in a minister's magazine (above) that I've posted often. It shows inattentive congregants who are distracted in various ways. Thankfully in my preaching I have never encountered inattentiveness as extreme as this, at least that which was visible to the eye, but it does illustrate the many distracting elements in modern life.

The Holy Spirit-inspired writer of Hebrews addresses distractions and states concerning our attention to spiritual things, "We must pay most careful attention". The word for attention has the meaning of being in a continuous state of readiness to learn of any future danger, need, or error, and to respond appropriately - keep on the lookout for, be alert for, be on one's guard against. Bible teacher David Guzik writes, "Give the more earnest heed has not only the idea of hearing carefully, but also in doing what we have heard".

The focus of our attention is to be on "what we have heard". Of course in context this refers to spiritual truths. The Amplified Bible states, "the truths that we have heard". Prior to the printing press and certainly at the time of the New Testament having one's own personal Bible was not possible. But they gathered and heard the Word. Today, most all of our readers can do both; gather with other believers to hear the Word expounded and also individually study the Scriptures on our own.

This warning from the book of Hebrews is so pertinent today. Paying attention is increasingly difficult, especially due to the many distractions, no matter what age you might be. Those who know me know personally know 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 as they called it back then in the sixties. I needed to recognize the challenge and discipline myself to pay attention and overcome.

Since people like names for problems I've devised 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 often neglected is spiritual attention. We believe one of the greatest marks of the revival described in Nehemiah's time was the attention people gave to the public reading of God's Word and their heartfelt response that followed.

The answer was not a medication or a therapist but a call of Scripture.  I like the way the writer uses the 1st person plural; "We must pay much closer attention". That speaks of both the will and discipline. SADD is a sad excuse. God has called and equipped us to be overcomers. Depending on the issue some people have more overcoming than others but God is able. Today let us heed the clear warning of Scripture and let us "pay much closer attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).

As we grow older there may be a tendency to pay less and less attention to that which is already familiar. But giving our undivided attention to spiritual truth, both basic and more advanced, really needs to increase throughout life if we are to be mature and faithful believers.

The concern of the writer is that they will not "drift away from it" (what they had heard and been taught). The book of Hebrews is full of encouragement to stay faithful. Bible teacher David Guzik writes, "Drifting is something that happens quite automatically when we are not anchored to anything solid. If we are not "anchored" in the superiority of Jesus, we will drift with the currents of the world, the flesh, and the devil. One doesn't have to do anything to simply drift away."

May God help us to overcome distracted living.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily 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 acknowledge there are many distractions that can get us off course. We want to give attention to Your Word, respect its message, and follow its instruction so that we will not drift from the truth. We want to be just like the people in Jerusalem who listened carefully, gave reverence, and responded in repentance to the reading of the Scripture in Nehemiah's time. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Just As Good"  Video  Chris Renzema

Hay ride
Mule-drawn hay ride on the Old Windmill Farm early this week at our family reunion.
Click on photo to enlarge

Sunflowers abound in our area and more than likely your area as well.
Don't they make you smile?

Lancaster County camel
Returning from our Steincross family meal near Leola the other night we passed a rather unusual sight in Lancaster County. We pulled the car to a stop and got a photo of this camel in the dark of night (amazing what the new camera phones can do). These camels (there were several) might be the ones used by the Sight and Sound Theater but grazing on pastureland when "off duty".

Lancaster County view from Sight and Sound parking lot
Lancaster County farm view from Sight and Sound parking lot.
We have been to Sight and Sound many times but never recall looking out west from their parking lot.
Click on photo to enlarge

Lancaster County view
A Lancaster County farm view on May Post Office Road south of Strasburg, PA.
Click on photo to enlarge

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Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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