Pay Attention!

pay attentionRecently I was faced with a bit of a challenge.   I thought I had handled the situation well until I found out that I caused someone that I love dearly much angst in the process.  I wrestled with it – disturbed in my inner man.   I knew that what I was perceiving from the Lord was right – it had been confirmed on many fronts.  But I missed something in dealing with it.  What did I miss?  How did I commit such a grievous act against someone dear to my heart?  Many of you reading have already jumped ahead of me and know what I’m about to say — I fell for the enemy’s trick and let my heart guide my actions!  My own deceitfully wicked heart!!!

Understand me well, it was the Lord who was giving me insight and discernment into the problem but because the issue was something that was a personal one — my words took on the tenor of that trickster, our accuser, satan.  Even without knowing it, I was sprinkling every conversation with words that pained the heart of someone I love.  I wasn’t paying attention!  The danger here was that in missing the signals,  – I may have impeded the ability of someone to hear what the Lord was saying to them.  You see – it was never about me!  But I made it ALL about me!   (Think Abraham and Sarah; God said baby – but he didn’t say ANYTHING about the maid servant!)

I learned a valuable lesson:  Just as my discernments are not based on the perfunctory impressions of this world – neither must my actions be.  I have a strong gift of discernment, and it is strengthened by my deliberate authentic intimacy and close relationship with God.  You see:  this matter was close to my heart and though I had been praying to see clearly — I neglected to pray that He would guide my actions in bringing resolve to this.  1 Thess 5:17 comes to mind!  Pay Attention!

Having the gift of discernment means nothing at all if my actions or words ruin the message.  My prayer today is that I will grow in grace so that not only my mind can perceive but so that my words and actions will always be seasoned with grace.  I pray that I will learn AGAIN to wait on the Holy Spirit’s promptings in all things and at all times so that I can have the privilege of watching Him work in miraculous ways in me, through me, all around me, and especially apart from me!  May I never again be deceived into following this wicked and deceitful heart of mine (Jeremiah 17:9) – but lean in and listen to what He says even beyond what he reveals to me as His will.  Praying that I will pay attention and take care with my words.

I apologized to my loved one a million times and in a million ways – and I do hope the relationship was not damaged beyond repair. My prayer for each of you is that you will never become a gospel vigilante — as the Lord reveals His will to you; remember to wait and only speak what He would have you to speak – and only do what He would have you to do.  Avoid the sin of thinking more highly of yourself than you ought (Romans 12).  Pay Attention!

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear” Isaiah 11:2-3

Turning the Page

ImageI love to read.  I love real books, e books, kindle books, you name it – I enjoy reading and the imagery it brings to my mind.  I enjoy entering into the story and can hardly wait to turn the page.

Last night – my baby boy, Jeremy, graduated from high school – the end of a chapter in our families life.  And I find myself reluctant to turn the page.  I mean – who really knows how that next chapter will start?  Will there be new villains? Will there be mysterious strangers? Will there be love? Will there be conflict? Will there be success? Failure? Fear? Wealth? Poverty?

Unlike a book – the future demands that the page be turned – I don’t get to put the words “The End” wherever I want them.  So this morning, I sit – savoring this last page of the chapter.  Reflecting on all of the wonderful characters I have been introduced to along the way.  Smiling about the first time I saw his face, the first time I held his 9 lb 1 oz body in the cradle of my arms; the first step he took; his first word; his first love (Nana); and I also think about his last day with his friends; our last trip to Senegal; his last weeks as a resident of Africa; his last night at Hala’s/Saiku’s/Baafi’s/ Martin’s etc.

As I prepare to turn the page – I am just a little excited because I know that our God holds the future and that He knows the plans he has for Jeremy and for all of us!

As the hymn reminds us:

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.