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.

Image: Google

The Idolatry of Technology

Not wanting to write this article, I have tried to stuff it in the back of my memory bank, but it keeps recycling to the front. I have wanted only to write about the kingdom of God’s grace, the goodness and the glory of our God, and Father. My leadings by His Holy Spirit are as quoted in Isaiah 50:4, “Morning by morning He wakens my ear to hear, as those who are taught; that we may speak a word to the weary.”  This is one of those mornings.

So as I begin, it is with the prayer that it will serve as an encouragement for us all who live in this new world of technology. When I say “new world” I an not referring to the “new heavens and new earth” that is prepared for us as God’s children, but the world that has so changed in this one generation that it seems like a totally different world than the one in which I grew up.social-impact-of-technology-social-isolation-3-638-1

Please hang in here with me, while I try to keep this to a minimum. In this world of technology we are trained to scan as quickly as possible what is before our eyes. If it doesn’t jump out at us and grab us and hold us in its grip and convince us that we need it, we quickly move on. If you don’t have time to absorb this whole article, please bookmark it and come back to it, and for the related articles.

We could write a book on idolatry ~ the idolatry of frivolity, of biology, even of theology, but our main concern is the great hold that technology has taken on the world. This is to such a degree, and in so short a time, that it behooves us to take a closer look at this phenomenon that has taken place.

The systems of the world are now ruled and governed digitally. There is no way to get around it. Even people who do not have computers have cell phones. Everyone is dependent on technology in some way, even without knowing it. The world is totally immersed, beyond the point that I can even express it. “The web” is a true description of the internet; I have been caught in it many times.technology_addiction_by_vilusa97-d4q9wfk-900x516

We have a world of information at our finger tips, a fulfillment of Satan’s promises to Eve ~ that we can be our own gods.

We continue to encounter the changes that have taken place. In calling Apple and AT&T last week, I was talking to the robots that say that they “are able to understand full sentences.” They were typing what I was saying, yet not understanding what I needed. The first time I was not getting any help so I hung up, then realized that I had to learn how to deal with these robots. Getting upset with them is no different than getting upset with a real person. The second time I learned that you have to confuse the robot, so that they will connect you to a human representative.

Jerry and I went to the library yesterday. From the front of the library we could hear the woman from the back who was leading a very young children’s story time. She was keeping the introduction lively (no wonder our children are hyper). Then she asked them, “What is technology?”

In a discussion with the librarian, who was hearing the same things, she related a recent news item about robots that could replace those of our family members who have died, so that we could still talk to them when they are gone.

All this has led me to think of the Old Testament description of idols.

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” Psalm 115:4-8

Those idols, made by human hands, could not speak, see, hear or move. Now robots make them and they can speak, hear and move, and they are becoming our gods, engaging our minds, our hearts, our money, our devotion.

Technology is making our culture an automated society. Our devices are our friends, the implements in which we put our trust. They are small enough that we take them everywhere we go.  Many would be lost without them.

image-20150303-31825-1dc6u5cAnd we are becoming like them, less human and more robotic.

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8

According to this reference, here is the greatest concern: In an automated society (even as Amazon is introducing a grocery store for those who need to quickly shop without having to deal with people) we are giving up the beauty of communication with other human beings. We are inventing devices that satisfy the human desires, devices that entertain us and inform us, but that cannot love or be loved. We are replacing that which is eternal through a relationship with God and other members of His family, with devices that continually have to be replaced. We are being conformed to, and teaching our children to depend on, technology. Our lives are centered on our devices, devices that can become the instruments of our vices.

Twenty years ago when Jerry and I built this house and moved here, my prayers were answered as I asked that he would be willing to leave our TV behind. My addiction to television and the understanding of its influence on me is a means of understanding the influence of technology. Television was just the beginning, and another subject I won’t get into here.

“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. “1 John 5:21

Two things I would like to leave with you, and from your own thoughts and prayers I ask for your comments.

First: We must, as God’s people step back and view our world through the lens of His Word. We must pray in the Spirit, and with understanding of the world in which we have to live. He has put us here, and by His light, brought us from the darkness into His light, for a purpose. We must perceive from His view how to live free from the idolatry and to teach our children how to live in obedience of faith as heirs of the kingdom of God, and pilgrims here on earth. Let us observe our children’s patterns now, and how they will look as adults. Will they act like robots or will they have learned the steadfast love of our heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and be able to teach their children?

Second: We must learn how to deal with the fast pace of technology by the wisdom and knowledge of God, and to lead our children in this culture according to His will.

Just as the industrial revolution changed the way everybody lived, and set forward a new era, we must see technology for what it is, and pray to our heavenly Father for guidance through this new faze. Eventually, the battle will be won in the heavenly places. He has not given us this culture to allow it to rule over us, but that we may be able to use it wisely to promote His kingdom and for Him to receive the glory.

Dear Father, keep us, by the power of your Holy Spirit, and speak to us through your Word.  Give us the wisdom of Christ our Lord through whom  we have new hearts and new life.  Make us your light in the darkness of this world.  Enable us to use our resources for your kingdom and your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Images from Related Articles:

Responsible Development of New Technologies

Mankind’s Physical Crutch ~ Technology

Are We Being Too dependent on Technology

Reminders for the New School Year

 The spirit of the world says:

“In everything you do ~ HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!

The Spirit of God says:

“Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” (Shorter Catechism)

Anything less than this is a waste of the precious time and talent that God gives us here on this earth.

Years ago, when asked why children go to school, my young granddaughter replied, “So that we can get a job, make money, and buy what we want.”

God’s mandate for His children is for us to learn of Him and so live in accordance with His will and plan for our lives. He gave us minds to receive His instructions and hearts for Him to write on.

This does not mean that we bring children up in ignorance of what is needed for survival and success in this life. The hope of the whole word of God is for growth in the wisdom and knowledge that is above this world, a wisdom that enables the children of God to succeed and flourish in this life above all the wisdom of the world. It is the knowledge of the Most High God who created and sustains with all His provisions and protection. It is His Spirit working in the spirits of His children to know Him, fear Him, and love Him, to obey, worship and serve Him.   This is His working in His children for His own glory. Very few people in this world would pass God’s SAT. There is no equal balance between the two worlds, but there are certain things we should consider as we think about how and what we learn in this life.

FUN is not a Biblical concept, but it has become the center of our culture. It is antithetical to Biblical understanding of true life. In the following parts of this article, we will look at God’s mandate for His people concerning education and life.

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Music for God’s children ~ Whether Therefore ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

Dear Father, your promises are revealed in your word, promises for an abundant life bound up in your Son, Jesus Christ. Draw us by your Spirit to see all things in light of your glory, the means of our joy and happiness in this world and the next. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Movement

Activity is a manifestation of life. Activity is movement, or motion—the opposite of stillness. imagesActivity is movement in a certain direction, for a specific purpose.   This movement is a result of the act of God as He breathed His own Spirit into a form, which He made from the dust of the earth. The soul, or the being, called man, is the result—God’s act of creation. His Spirit, His breath, breathed into man from the beginning, has continued throughout the generation of man; although the guidance that came with it—the wisdom—of His Spirit was taken away in Adam’s willful disobedience to God. Non-the-less, the power of life—activity—remains with man.

In the deception of sin that comes with every life born into this world—that “lies in wickedness”—man is unaware that the life within is guided to move in a certain direction. Unregenerate man, unknowingly, moves in the direction of destruction. The spirit of man, without the wisdom of the Creator, has no Life force within him. All that is left to Adam’s generation is the motion toward death.

The guiding force of the Creator within man is always moving forward and upward, toward heaven, toward Himself, bringing those who have been regenerated with His Spirit closer and closer to Him, WHO IS LIFE, and the giver of life, the sustainer and nourisher of Life.

“Ye must be born again,” are the words of Jesus Christ—“the wisdom and knowledge of God”–speaking to man, to turn us back to God, so that He can give us His Spirit, His Life-force that turns us from the direction that our sinful nature is taking us—from death. Our spirits are regenerated; our eyes are opened to see the cliff that looms ahead in our path; our ears hear the words, “Stop.” “No,” “Turn around,” “Look at Me,” “Come toward Me, and Live.” Our direction is changed, for He reveals Himself in Christ, as everlasting Life, generated by an everlasting Love, moving us ever and always by His Spirit that dwells within, through Christ—–into a body of believers, His church, the “body of Christ.” It is here that the Word of God, in power, is given in His “grace and knowledge” in the “measure of faith” to each one who comes in obedience to His Word. It is here that the heavenly Father meets the needs of all His children. Without each other we will still be going in the wrong direction. With each other—“members one of another”—is the safety the Father gives us here on the earth. It is in the family environment, as His people, that He pours down the blessings that He has “prepared for those who love Him.”  F.R. 2/01

Dear Father, continue to move us, by your newborn Spirit within us, toward Christ and you, to accomplish all for which you created and redeemed us.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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