Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekends are for Listening and Paying Attention

With just one week to go until my first triathlon, I spent the day practicing an open water swim and playing some transition games with fellow tri athletes.  Afterwards we enjoyed good food, fellowship, and devotions.  We were reminded that just as though we need to physically train consistently, we also need to spiritually train consistently.  I need to be in the Word everyday, learning and listening to it's instruction.  Just as it has been so important for me to listen to our coaches as I train for my frist triathlon (for safety and so that I may do the best that I can), I also need to be listening to God (for safety and to be all that He has designed me to be).  During our family devotions we have been reading through the Proverbs.  Numerous are the verses that call us to listen to, study, and memorize God's Word.

"Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
   and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
   and a chain to adorn your neck." (1:8-9)

"My son, if you accept my words
   and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
   and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
   and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
   and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
   and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
   from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." (2:1-6)

"My son, do not forget my teaching,
   but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
   and bring you peace and prosperity.
 Let love and faithfulness never leave 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.
 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight." (3:1-6)

"Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
   pay attention and gain understanding.
I give you sound learning,
   so do not forsake my teaching.
For I too was a son to my father,
   still tender, and cherished by my mother.
Then he taught me, and he said to me,
   “Take hold of my words with all your heart;
   keep my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom, get understanding;
   do not forget my words or turn away from them." (4:1-5)

"Listen, my son, accept what I say,
   and the years of your life will be many.
I instruct you in the way of wisdom
   and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
   when you run, you will not stumble.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
   guard it well, for it is your life." (4:10-13)

"My son, pay attention to what I say;
   turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
   keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
   and health to one’s whole body." (4:20-22)

"My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
   turn your ear to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
   and your lips may preserve knowledge." (5:1-2)

"Now then, my sons, listen to me;
   do not turn aside from what I say." (5:7)

"My son, keep your father’s command
   and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Bind them always on your heart;
   fasten them around your neck.
When you walk, they will guide you;
   when you sleep, they will watch over you;
   when you awake, they will speak to you.
For this command is a lamp,
   this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
   are the way to life" (6:20-23)

" My son, keep my words
   and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
   guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
   write them on the tablet of your heart." (7:1-3)

"Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
   I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true,
   for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just;
   none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right;
   they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
   knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
   and nothing you desire can compare with her." (8:6-11)

“Now then, my children, listen to me;
   blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise;
   do not disregard it.
Blessed are those who listen to me,
   watching daily at my doors,
   waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
   and receive favor from the LORD.
But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
   all who hate me love death.” (8:32-36)
Woah!  That is quite a few times in such few chapters that God calls us to LISTEN and PAY ATTENTION!  I am quick to think of our children as I read these verses.  After all, I spend much of the day teaching them to listen and obey.  But, oh how I also need to hear and listen to these words!  I need to be making it my priority to carve out time to spend listening and paying attention to God in His Word and in prayer.  "M" sings a song at church that is just as applicable to us adults.  The basis of the lyrics are: "Read the Bible and pray everyday and you will grow, grow, grow.  Don't read the Bible and forget to pray and you will shrink, shrink, shrink."

To help the little ones remember what we have been learning during our devotions, I put Proverbs 8:33 to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb":
"Listen to my instruction, my instruction, my instruction
Listen to my instruction and be wise.
Do not disregard it, disregard it, disregard it
Do not disregard it, says Proverbs 8:33!"

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