Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hey Alma...Check Your Battery!

Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold, 
for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. 

As a mom with three boys, I have been trying to learn to tune-out.  I am not trying to be a tuned-out mother, but you have to learn to tune some things out for your own sanity and so that they will learn to work things out on their own.  But the fact is, I have yet to perfect the tuning-out that my own mother was so, incredibly good at.  You know if you have, Mom, MOM!!!  My kids, however, do not approve of my tune-out venture. If I am distracted or ignore them even a little when they are trying to get my attention, they are relentless.  In fact, my sweet little Sebastian has even come over to me, patted me repeatedly on the arm and said, "M-OM!  DO YOU HEAR ME???  I was CALLING you!"  Maybe I'm getting better at it than I think...and maybe my Middle Son is gonna lose a hand if he keeps that up! No te metas conmigo!

Ever feel like you've gotten a little TOO good at tuning-out?  Ever have one of those moments when you know that God isn't just gently calling your name, but patting you repeatedly on the forehead to get your attention?  You know...those times when that still, small voice is just too still and small for your distracted and ignoring ears and it takes some serious stomping and shouting to wake you up?

This has never happened to me...I'm just askin'! (Thanks Mark)  

Well, the truth is, this has happened to me more times than I care to admit.  Quite often it happens when I stray from the basics.  Lately I have found myself fumbling through my quality time with God.  With school, and a new born, and the kids, and my marriage and so on, it's easy to get distracted and marginalize my prayer time.  Or I will thumb through the familiar pages of Scripture without really taking the time to digest the Words therein.  I know that the more I do that, the more my ears grow weak to His words.  Why is it that I allow myself to go through the motions without really listening?  A weak, lackluster spiritual life just makes me weak and lackluster in every other area of life.  And yet I do it anyway!

But, there is too much that needs me to be strong in every way to let myself dwell in this pattern.  What I need is a wise approach to getting back into the meat of the Word.  What I need is a hearing aid..with a STRONG battery! So, I go back to the basics of an old fashioned quiet time.  A quite time in my teens consisted of a time of prayer and meditation and a focused time in a devotional book by Oswald Chambers called My Utmost for His Highest or using some reading plan.  One of my favorite plans for going straight to the Scriptures is The Proverbs Plan.  Yes, I admit it, I am a Proverbs junkie!  But it is, after all, the Book of Wisdom.  Did you know there are 31 chapters in the Book of Proverbs?  What makes this great is that by reading one chapter a day, you can read through the book in a month, thus, The Proverbs Plan!  In case we've all forgotten, a wise approach to reading the Bible is not holding it in your hands, letting it open, and reading where you land!  A wise approach is diving into God's Word and reaching for every morsel you can get.  I love Proverbs because it seems as though it doesn't matter how many hundreds of times I read it, it speaks to me in a new way.  Remember that wisdom is more than's the maturity to know how to apply that knowledge.  And as I grow and mature, the Words of Proverbs have taken on new meanings. 

You know how I said that God sometimes has to speak a little louder to get my attention?  Well, I included the above Proverb for that very reason.  I have been wrestling with my own selfish desires...letting my priorities and my self sit squarely on top of my desire for Godliness and glorifying Him.  This morning I opened to Proverbs 8 (as it is the 8th of January) and here were His Words.  Take a second and read them again.  Funny thing is that my nickname of sorts is Jewels.  Not Jules, the way most "Julie"s would spell it but Jewels because my dear friend Nesha always said, "I like to spell it this way 'cause you're like a jewel!" (It's way better in her thick Texan accent!)  So here are God's words to me telling me that, in no uncertain terms, Wisdom is better than ME!  Yeah, I hear ya, Lord....LOUD AND CLEAR!  

The thing is, there are always going to be distractions and things pressing for our priorities, but sometimes we need to practice tuning-out those things and turning up our hearing aid.  Prayer and studying His words are the way to be completely tuned-in to Him. Our growth, our maturity in the Lord, and our desire to glorify God have got to come first.  We have to want wisdom more.  More than silver. More than gold or anything else.  Yes, even more than ourselves.

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