Words of Life ~ ATTENTIVE

(We are blessed to have Valerie Caraotta as our guest writer for this week’s Word of Life. Visit her Facebook page and encourage her to start her own blog at WordPress.)

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When I studied the word attentive, what struck me most was our responsibility and necessity as believers to heed the Word and draw closer to the Lord. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia describes ATTENTIVE as: Expresses the direction of thought and interest towards some one point.

The KJV, from which we find our list of Words of Life, uses the word ATTENTIVE six times. We will look first at the five references found in the Old Testament.

Old Testament H7183
Strong’s Concordance defines ATTENTIVE; qashab kash·shäv’ attentive.
The same word is used for attend; to hear, hearken, incline, heed (you can find these references at H7181).

Three of the verses are prayers that appeal to God for Him to be attentive to His servants.
 Nehemiah 1:6 is a prayer for the sins of the children of Israel.

Let your ear now be attentive and your eyes open that you may listen to the prayers of your servant, which I pray before you at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you; both I and my father’s house have sinned.

Then, in Nehemiah 1:11, he prayed before he went before the king of Babylon that God would grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer. He prayed again before he answered the king’s question of his sadness which was for the affliction of his people in Jerusalem.

Psalm 130 is a short Psalm of degrees and worth reading these eight verses to understand where the Psalmist is in relationship to the Lord.

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. Psalm 130:1-2

The fourth reference is also from Nehemiah after he had come to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall — when the people were attentive to the book of the law.

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. Nehemiah 8:3

Elihu speaks of the power and greatness of God in Job 36 and continues in Job 37:

At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. Job 37:1-2

“The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silent before Him“ Hab.2:20 — evidence of souls that long to be attentive to his Word and promptings.

Attentiveness is not forcing God but posturing ourselves so that when He speaks we are more apt to hear.

Samson was spiritually blind before the Philistines blinded him physically. He didn’t know the Spirit of God had left him. How long does the Lord have to be absent before we miss him? Being aware of His presence in our lives requires our constant attention.

New Testament G1582
Strong’s Concordance defines ATTENTIVE ekkremamaie k-kre’-mä-mäi to hang from, hang upon (the lips of a speaker).

There is only one reference to the word ATTENTIVE in the New Testament.
The chief priests were already envious of Jesus’ popularity and when He turned over the money tables in the temple, they sought to destroy him.

And could not find what they might do; for all the people were very attentive to hear him. Luke 19:48

Are we carriers of the anointing to break yolks off others or mere noise — clanging symbols that have no eternal significance.

Where is our zeal? Did we once burn with passion to spend time in His presence and Word? Has it waned over time or do we love Him more today than ever?

The more attentive we are to the presence and activity of God, the more clearly we will discern His will. He is our Father, attentive to what we need before we ask (Matt.6:8)

We may not perfectly interpret God’s will, but it pleases Him when we stay in His Word, desiring His presence as we grow in our relationship with Him.

As believers, we are called to cultivate attentiveness to God. His Word and prayer are given for us to gain His perspective. This is vital because, in our own thinking, things may appear right, but the wisdom gained from above is far greater than we can imagine. In His leading, we can accomplish more in less time and gain strategies we need for the hard issues of life.

Dear Father in heaven, how blessed we are to have ears to hear – ears that are opened to your calling. We praise you for wisdom and knowledge through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and your Holy Spirit. Draw us closer so that we do not miss anything you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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The Essence of Contentment

The essence of contentment is distilled from the presence of the Father in His own children. It is a seventh sense that comes from the new birth. The birth of God’s Spirit within us springs up to eternal life with a new heart and a new spirit directing our course of life here, preparing us for the eternal glory with the Father and His Son. Most of us have something of our parents that is reflected in us, some trait or expression.  The same is true of our relationship with our heavenly Father who, in Christ revealed Himself.  We, too, as His children will exhibit His character, when by His Spirit and His written word we become more and more like Him.  He is content to have desired us, and sired us for His own family.

We are continuing to learn and proclaim the legacy of God’s kingdom through our books and here on God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory as He is leading and teaching us. We are each given short-term goals but none of us have arrived at His planned destination. We are learning to live in this wilderness of oppression trusting His Word, His presence and His power with us (Ephesians 3:20-21).93854-004-7fcc6b28

The Sixth Sense

We are normally born into this world with five senses. I believe that “faith” is a sixth sense that comes with the new birth. Regeneration brings us in faith and repentance to citizenship in God’s kingdom. There is a sense of new life, a difference from what we lived before. Faith brings a sense of distinction from the old life that we knew. Although it is a new sense of its own, it is connected to the other five senses. Faith is a spiritual sense that comes about through our physical senses of seeing, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

Faith comes by hearing the gospel, the good news of Christ and our redemption (Romans 10:17). We read God’s Word and the Holy Spirit moves with our spirit to know that we are God’s children (Romans 10:17, Ephesians 1:18). We touch and hold His Word as He teaches us (Proverbs 4:13; 1 Timothy 4:16; Philippians 2: 14-16). We “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8; Matthew 4:4). We become a sweet fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15). These are but samples of how God uses the senses He created in us to birth us to a living hope and the inheritance that we have as joint-heirs with Christ. (1Peter 1:3-4)

Faith Leads to Contentment

Faith then affects how our senses are used to lead us and grow us in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and conform us to His image (2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:28-29).

bridge-of-faithFaith becomes the bridge, the means to the whole of God’s kingdom. Here is where we connect faith and contentment, contentment being the seventh and complete sense in communion with the Father.

Remember the diagram of oppression, adversity, and contentment from an earlier post. Our Father uses faith to bring us out of the state of oppression, through adversity. We would rather say that His presence and power lift us above the adversity and brings us to the state of contentment. We do not escape adversity, but learn to live in conformity to the image of Christ. His Word and faith in His Word train our senses.  By these we are enabled to accept and live unmoved by our circumstances. We are being trained and we practice keeping our senses focused on God, our Father and our hearts centered in Christ and His promises, as we are led by the Holy Spirit.

Dear Father, Thank you for filling us with your fulness and spreading your love in our hearts; for becoming life to us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Continue to fill us with your Holy Spirit,and to work your contentment in us.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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