If Only -- No Excuses by Laura Shaw
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"For in Him we live and move and have our being."
Acts 17:28a (NIV)
comes when I can savor in each one, read each line as if I were having a conversation with that sender,
and then respond personally in return.

Yes, you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

What do you do when you hear, “Excuse Me. The Holy Spirit needs your attention”? Seriously, think about
this. I’ve been mulling it over myself for several days now. Some of the ways I jotted down that he prompts
me are as follows:
“Excuse me. Microsoft Entourage needs your attention.”

Yes, I have a computer that talks to me. Every time I hear this robotic message, it
means I have an email in my inbox. I’m always so excited to see what is waiting
there for me—(most of the time anyway).

When I’m away and those messages stack up, however, it’s not nearly as fun. I
find myself having to skim or speed-read. My responses back are shorter and
less personal, and sometimes I even get one confused with the other. The joy
•        Pray for him or her.
•        Get down on the floor and play with your children.
•        Calm down. Don’t get upset.
•        Call him or her.
•        Send so and so a note.
•        Say “no.”
•        Say “yes.”
•        Be quiet.
•        Quit worrying.
•        Don’t eat that.
•        It’s not about you.
•        You can do this if you’ll trust Me.
•        You do your job, I’ll do Mine.
I could go on and on. I wish I could say that each time I hear His message, I respond immediately. But so
often, I let them stack up, leaving them unattended--sometimes even unopened--out of sheer overload.

When He gave me this message through the powerful voice of His Word, it got my attention:
This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God, who
teaches what is best for you,
directs you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a
river, your
righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
Isaiah 48:17-18
If only I had paid attention. If only.  Notice what it said the benefits would be: peace and righteousness.  In
other words, if I respond to His messages, I will have His peace of mind and spirit flowing through me,
AND I will know the right thing to do and when to do it. Once again, He blows me away with His love, care
and concern for the way I live my life. He truly wants a fruit-filled relationship with me.

How does this apply to you, friends? Could you take a moment to ask Him what messages you have
been ignoring from Him? Would you jot some down, mull over them and pray about how He is directing
and teaching you through them?

Let’s keep each other accountable as believers in this area. Though He wants us to walk in freedom, He
does not want us to ignore His guidance in it. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves living the “if only” life when
we could have been experiencing His righteous- and peace-filled living. The Holy Spirit has my attention,
how about you?