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Let me show you something....

Truth be told, many of us are more concerned with a list of lessons we have amassed during the time we refer to a "living" life. What we need to be doing is asking God directly for lessons that would help us "live" life. Sometimes I think we approach things the first way - making mental note of what we learned FROM the moments we just finished living rather than making heart notes of what lessons God wants for us IN those moments. We get focused on it from a 'historical' perspective more than we are focused on it in the 'present' perspective. We might just be missing out on some of what God has for us in the 'living'.

God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response. (Psalm 119:33-34)

Most people know that I am a planner, so I value the "notes" and "plans" - the agendas, outlines, and even the doodled notes all help me to 'organize' my life. I think our psalmist was kind of that way, too. He was organized in his thoughts, skilled in the direction of his troops, and a great "commander" of his armies. You don't get people to follow you if you are haphazard about everything in life! Yet, we find him asking God (Jehovah) for some "plans" - the 'organized' instructions as to how he should proceed in life. Herein is a great truth - 'plans' are not 'well-planned' until they are aligned with the ones God has for us.

He looks to the one who is unchangeable in his promises, reliable in his expectations, and consistent in his justice. The "list" he hopes to hear God give him is first and foremost one that is consistent! It doesn't change tomorrow and then be something totally different the next. He is looking for something we refer to as "standards". The standards that God sets for living are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He knows he can stand on them - counting on God's consistent justice to evaluate his progress in life by those standards he has already established for "living" life.

When we are more focused on making the MENTAL notes of what we learned from living life, rather than getting the HEART notes of what lessons God wants for us to glean in living life, we get things backwards. Our purpose in asking for God's "list" up-front is to ensure that we might live IN the insight God gives us. INSIGHT is much better than HINDSIGHT! Insight is the ability to see (to discern) the true character of what life is dealing us - then making the right decisions based on what we know. Insight doesn't mean we know it all from the start, but we come to appreciate what God is doing as we are walking through it.

The goal of having such knowledge is obedience! Life is complex - there are really no "easy days". If we seem to be sailing through life, we are probably just oblivious to the dangers all around us! I have traveled through some pretty rough storms - snow flying so wet that you could barely clear the windshield, or dust rolling through so thick you could not see your hand in front of your face. In those times, I relied on those things that I was taught beforehand about driving in those conditions. It was in the lessons learned BEFORE the conditions arose that I was able to traverse THROUGH the conditions. I had INSIGHT. That is really what obedience is all about - learning the lessons before we have to put them into practice! We get INSIGHT by allowing that "sight" to be built deep within us through times of taking "in" God's Word, allowing it to affect our "planning" for life. When we face the "conditions" of life, we are better prepared for how to respond TO those conditions - obedience is the result.

One of Mom's favorite expressions is, "Listen to me!" It wasn't spoken often, but when it was, I knew that she was telling me something that would actually serve me well later in life. God gives us teachable moments much in the same way - times when he specifically says, "Listen to me!" In those moments, we need to have the heart response of gaining the insight he so longs for us to have. It will be that insight that gives us the foresight to miss the bumps and obstacles that our poor planning put in our paths. Yep, we learn from our mistakes, but wouldn't it be wonderful to learn how to avoid them BEFORE they have an opportunity to be made? When God inscribes his lessons for life on our hearts, our ability to LIVE life well is much better than any "mental notes" we might make along the way! Just sayin!

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