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More than just awake

At nearly 101, mom sometimes has moments when she gets a little concerned about the 'other people' in the house. In actuality, there are no others around at that time, but somehow she thinks others should be here and she wants to know where they are sleeping or why they aren't eating with us. It is understandable since she has my sister here some of the week to be with her while I am at work. I have to remain alert to these changes in mom because if not addressed calmly and quickly, she will become distressed and worried about 'the others'. She will get down on herself for 'being daft' and then she will be worried he mind is going. Usually a soft answer, reassuring her everyone made it home safely and will be safe and sound in their own beds tonight is enough to settle her spirit, but I must remain alert to these sudden changes. Alertness is the ability to be keenly aware of your circumstances - so in tune with what is going on around you that nothing misses your focus. Rarely, if ever, do we enter into this realm of "alertness" - we almost always miss something despite our efforts to do otherwise! In fact, we most often think of alertness as being awake! God expects more, though. He expects us to be aware, not just alert!

God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. (Romans 15:4 MSG)

Paul is describing a condition of heart and mind which is fully aware and attentive to the move of God. In the stillness of the moment, there is a keen awareness of his voice. In the hubbub of a busy day, there is the attentiveness to his Spirit's nudges. Two "tools" are utilized to give us this ability to be both aware and attentive - the steadiness of God's calling and the totally personal counsel of the Word. The first describes the continually steadying effect of his voice in our lives. There is nothing more uplifting than the sweet sound of his whispers of delight he takes watching over our lives. The second describes the Word of God as our personal place of counsel. In the Word, we find encouragement for living, warnings against unwise choices, and examples of both. His calling is both constant and steady. His Word is both warming to our spirits and personal in its touch. Both are to be the hallmarks of God's action in our lives. They are to "characterize" us. They come to represent God's activity within us, moving us to behave in ways which are not usually customary for us. Both are intended to keep us alert for what God will do next.

Most of us would love to know what the future holds. We can! If we come to embrace his steady, constant calling (listen well to his voice), and embrace his warm, personal counsel in Scripture (do more with the Word than just read it). We need to see and respond to the leading of a dependably steady God - a warmly personal God. Most of us lack this kind of dependability in our lives, though. We struggle to find spiritual footing most of the time. God gives us this kind of "footing" through the counsel of his Word and the direction of his still small voice. God's desire is to get "personal" with us. We often resist this kind of "closeness" in relationship with him because we might be afraid of what he will find out about us! Don't we realize he already knows it all anyway? There is nothing hidden from him - even what we do in secret is an open book to him.

When someone whispers we have to be close enough to them to hear the stillness of their voice. If we never let ourselves get close enough to God to actually hear the steadying effect of his call in our lives, how will we ever develop the alertness and attentiveness he desires? We can have bookshelves filled with all kinds of books written to help us through life's darkest challenges. If we never open the cover of the most important one (The Bible), how will we ever discern the wisdom contained in the many other books on the shelves? Isn't it time to get personal with God? Don't fear his closeness - embrace it! It is a closeness like no other you've experienced. You can trust him with anything - even your short-comings! So, be alert, but also become very aware - he is here right now. Just sayin!

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