Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who Are You Listening To?

Snowy creek in my neighborhood.
In 1 Kings 12, the newly crowned and wet-behind-the-ears King Rehoboam consults the elders who had served his father Solomon. They confer and give him wisdom on the issue, but he’s not sure he likes their answer. He then asks his peers for a second opinion. He favors the answer of his pals – more money, more power for him – so he acts on their advice.

If you’re not familiar with the outcome, read the story of how that one decision led to the division of the kingdom, and ultimately to the demise of the nation of Israel. Heavy!

So, who do we listen to these days?

I had to ask myself if I am seeking wisdom from the best sources. Do I allow current thinking to shape my mind and influence my decisions? Do I “go with the flow,” pick the most popular answer or the one that seems easiest or somehow beneficial to me? Or am I making a conscious effort to explore the issue and its possibilities, get in the Word, study God’s wisdom and character, seek His Truth and listen for what God would want me to do?

Where else can we get solid counsel? As many admired leaders have shared, the secret to success is to surround yourself with wise and positive people. I would much rather take advice from someone whose wisdom is tried-and-true, or even someone who has failed and learned, than someone who has only grandiose ideas.

What kinds of media, television or online sources do we allow to creep into the sacred ground of our sound minds? Are we walking with authentic role models with character and integrity? Or are the personalities we are letting in dragging us down, slowing us in a quagmire, draining our energy?

I am inspired and strengthened by the positive, uplifting music, prayers and promotions of my favorite Christian radio station. I am encouraged by the praises and perseverance of authentic and thoughtful friends striving to make a difference. I am blessed by those who passionately pursue the heart of God in their daily living.

With the ubiquitous influence of today’s media streams threatening to mold our values, shall we borrow the words of our faith-filled ancestor Joshua: “Choose carefully whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

Lord, help me keep my ears tuned to you, my heart sensitive to your ways. Give me wisdom to navigate the distractions and to recognize wisdom and truth when I see it.

What’s your advice? How do you ensure you are getting godly counsel?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Bookends of Life

On Saturday, my cousin was laid to rest. The age of 52 seems way too early to say goodbye, but God has a time for everything and He had called Tim home. The wonderful childhood memories of hide-and-seek, ice fishing with lots of cousins and uncles, watching The Wizard of Oz year after year, playing "button-button-who's-got-the-button?" and Christmas visits came alive again in my mind.
Oh, the joy of having cousins!

The joy of having cousins, the gift of fond memories, the difficult times that demand a deeper trust in God... I'm still counting my blessings -- in all things.

Then, that same afternoon, we learned we will be grandparents again! David was patiently showing us something on the computer when I realized the wallpaper pattern was taking the shape of an ultrasound image (squeals of delight)!! He and Debbie have been so eager to start this new chapter in their lives, and we are thrilled for them.

The hope in tomorrow, the excitement of new experiences, the sweetness of a baby... the blessings continue.

I try to grasp the brevity of life. Wasn't it only yesterday I was cozy with my cousins watching the Wicked Witch of the West? Now I'm looking back to a "Kansas" I can no longer enter and looking ahead to a place I cannot yet step into. I can only live for today, embracing the richness and having no regrets.

In one day I have experienced so many emotions.

Thank you, God, for the whole range of life. You have a time for everything... A time to be born and a time to die... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance...(Eccl. 3).