Paying attention to warning signs

Warnings. Words of advice. Gut feelings. Cautionary tales.
 
Do we pay attention? Do I listen to others’ counsel and pay attention to their experiences?
 
As an English teacher I heard students’ arguments against reading fiction: “But it’s not real, Mrs. McHenry. Why should I have to read it?”
 
Here’s my thought: we can either read about others’ experiences and learn from them or we can experience them ourselves. Frankly, I’d rather do the reading.
 
We can learn from Jeremiah’s story. He was a prophet during the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, through the reign of Zedekiah until the captivity of Jerusalem. Unfortunately for him, his words from the Lord to the kings and commanders were of the doom and gloom type.
 
Of course, no one wants to hear that they’re going down the wrong path . . . so the kings didn’t listen to him. Even worse, Jeremiah was thrown in prison and even into a cistern. Out of sight, out of mind?
 
But isn’t that what we do? When others counsel us not to do something we know we shouldn’t, we don’t want to listen to them either. And then we pay the consequences.
 
Toward the end, the commanders again asked Jeremiah for God’s direction. And God said, “Do not go to Egypt.” Nonetheless, the people did and paid the consequences.
 
What is our “Do not go to Egypt” word from God today? Perhaps it’s one of these (and I’m mostly speaking to myself here, believe me!):
 
– Do not dwell on social media.
 
– Do not waste money online on stuff you do not need.
 
– Do not respond sarcastically to your family.
 
– Do not procrastinate the hard work you know you need to do today.
– Do not soothe your emotions with food.
 
Oh man, that last one! I have put ten pounds on during this stay-at-home mess, and I’ve got an aching hip and knee. Extra weight is hard on the joints, and there’s a simple solution: take off the weight. So, I’m back on the wagon . . . pray for me!
And I will pray I am a light and an encourager to lift someone else up.
 
Keep #LookingUp!
 
Janet McHenry is a speaker and author of 24 books–six of those on prayer, including the bestselling 50 Life Lessons for Grads, which provides real life lessons from recent college graduates they had to learn the hard way. More info about Janet or her books is available here: https://www.janetmchenry.com
 
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