I am a notetaker. This skill began in high school, was developed during college lectures, and refined as a journalist. In my role as author, some article interviews were recorded if I needed specific quotes. However, I became skilled at capturing details on a notepad when writing for a community newspaper published by Feather Publishing, my employer for 19 years. Without this skill, I would have to spend hours transcribing meeting tapes, a tedious task.
Although I no longer work for the newspaper, notetaking continues to be valuable as I make time for online classes and conference workshops to learn new writing techniques and venture into the world of book publishing.
Yet the greatest blessing of gathering notes is the voice of God found within the Scriptures taught each Sunday morning. I write the points I want to remember in journals designed for notetaking at church because I know if I don’t record them many will be lost. Sometimes I receive general direction, but other times God is specific. (Journals purchased from Christianbook.com)
Feb. 27 my pastor continued teaching through the book of Mark. A point of discussion was Mark 7:6-7—”He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” NKJV
Jesus is speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees who were trusted to teach the Word of God. When we don’t read and apply Scripture correctly it fails to produce the results God intends. Its purpose is to slice away all that is not of God, so we are changed by His instruction. We become the person He designed.
Hebrews 4:12—”For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” NKJV
The teaching prompts me to think about commandments of men versus commandments of God. And it is not always in the words found on paper, those “do and don’t” Scriptures, but direction given by God according to His Word. Answers come in a variety of ways—while completing pages of a Bible study; listening to a teaching; praying; during early morning devotions.
This Sunday the Lord is instructing me to be careful. Watch the counsel I receive and make sure it is from Him and not mankind. There is not a specific situation named.
The COVID vaccine is a good example. We are instructed to get one by government officials, but I wanted God to tell me whether it was right for me as a survivor of cancer. I asked God in the beginning to direct me, to give me clarity on whether to be vaccinated. In August, my brother became highly stressed when a good friend was hospitalized with COVID and nearly lost his life. At that time the Lord gave me the Scripture 1 Cor 8:9 “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” ESV. I went to be vaccinated Aug. 15, the day before my brother’s birthday. When I gave him a small gift, he said the fact I was vaccinated was the only present he needed.
Now, I am eligible for a booster but am not convinced it is a good decision considering my medical history. Thus, I am covering it in prayer. I hear the shots may be damaging to cells and would like to see a few reports from studies. God healed me from Lymphoma but during the time of my cancer He instructed me not to eat sugar. And in line with that, I quit coloring my hair not wanting toxic chemicals on my scalp. I switched to Burt’s Bees makeup and consistently flush my body with lemon water.
Often directives given by mankind are harmless and might even seem good. Yet before responding, we should pause and seek God’s counsel. The answer may come during the Sunday sermon. But even if it doesn’t, God will surely teach you. Make note of it.
Considering Your Ways:
1-Do you seek God’s counsel when deciding? I mean really seek an answer, waiting until you hear God’s voice? Keep a notebook at church, for your answer could come during a sermon.
2-Think back over the past month. Have you made any major (or minor) decisions apart from God? Who was your counselor?