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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Good Morning Lord

“Blessed be the name of the LORD
from this time forth and for evermore
From the rising of the sun
unto the going down of the same
the LORD’s, name is to be praised.”
Psalm 113:2-3 NIV

I have known about the Lord for as long as I can remember. At age twelve I began to want to be counted with those who called themselves Christians. In my twenties and thirties I began to want to know the Lord, and in my forties I wanted to please the Lord. In my fifties I began to want to walk with the Lord. Today I find that I still want to walk with the Lord every single day. I remember when my thoughts about God began to fill more and more of my day. I am now at a point that even before the sun comes up, most of the time I wake up and my first thought is of the Lord. When I end my day he is also my last thought before I fall into deep sleep. Over the past few years, it seems that God is not just satisfied to have a good portion of my daytime thoughts, but now he is milling around through my mind as I sleep. Sometimes he even wakes me up and I feel an immediate urge to pray for the person he brings to my mind. Or if I am having a fitful sleep, God wakes me up so that I can give my fear to him in prayer.
“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same” has taken on new meaning for me! As I open my sleepy eyes first thing in the morning my first thought is, “good morning Lord” and my next thought is thank you Lord for the gift of rest. My next thought is coffee – coffee – coffee! My heart then goes to delight because I am anxious to sit in my cozy chair, or go out on my back porch and spend time with Jesus. “Quite Time” used to be an activity of duty for me, a job that I must do if I was to please God. But now it is the time that I look forward to each day. The garden of my heart is a place where I can connect through the power of the Holy Spirit with the God of the universe. I have no need of a minister, a priest, or any other mediator. In simple conversational prayer I boldly approach the throne of grace. I pray…God listens. I listen…God speaks. I read his Word…he speaks again. I question…he shows me how I can apply the message found in the Word to my life. I am challenged by the Holy Spirit…I respond. Mental imagery also allows me to sit and talk with Jesus, the Master Gardner, who resides in the heavenly garden of my heart. I look forward to this time with God and I feel cheated if life interferes and I have to miss spending time with my Lord. For me I need this time at the top of my morning because if I am anxious…he calms me down. If I am fearful…he suggests that I trust him. If I am angry…he says I must forgive. If I am in need…he promises to provide. If I need love or comfort…he is more than enough. If I am sad…he gives me joy. If I am stressed…he gives me peace.
I used to feel guilty that I spent too long reading, praying, writing, or studying God’s Word. I no longer feel that guilt. It is true; I am in another season of my life now. There are no toddlers to feed, children to put on the bus, or a job to rush to. During those days, God met my needs in other ways. I learned to pray quickly in short phrases like, “Help me God!” “Please take care of _____.”  “Forgive me Lord.”  “Please don’t let that person take my parking place.” “Help me to find some inexpensive clothes for my growing children.” “Please take this headache away.” It was always more about my immediate needs and the needs of my family. I also learned to carry a small devotional book in my car so that I could grab a bit of the Divine as I waited, and waited, and waited. There always seemed to be so many things to wait for. I waited for doctors, orthodontists, children to come out of school or their many other activities. Thank goodness for those days when books  filled my time instead of cell phones. I know for a fact I was living the “grab and go” lifestyle for my Christian life. Praise and worship songs on the radio served as my springboard for praise. Sunday wouldn’t be much different. It was full of rushing to and from church. Serving at church, making dinner and then rushing back to church in the evening! I soaked the sermons up like a hard dry sponge that was begging for water. Still, God was good and I seemed to grow in my faith.
I am so thankful that God leads his children along. He knows which life cycle we are in and exactly what we need to equip us for our life stage. But life is ever changing. It makes perfect sense to me that the amount of time that I am able to spend walking with the Lord should also be adjusted to fit the next phase of my life. There is always more to learn and new ways to learn what God so anxiously wants to share with us.
Our “quiet time” which can often be less than quiet, needs to undergo God’s spiritual scrutinizing from time to time. If we are to step up the pace and raise the bar in our spiritual life it will require us asking God how we should be spending our time with him. Simply ask him if you should remain in the “grab and go” phase, or if it is time to move on to  the “semi-quiet time” phase, or climb higher still by entering the very “private closet of quiet time” phase, or if it is time to accept the challenge of the “dig deeper and study” phase. It might also be good to spend a little time evaluating your prayer time. Is God calling you, as he does me, to spend more of my prayer time in praise and worship and less of my prayer time asking? Has God given you a particular burden to hold up in prayer? Or have you learned the blessing of silent prayer as you wait for God to speak? Without a doubt, God always wants us to bring him all our concerns. I have found that when my prayers are self-centered, God misses out because my praise and worship is non-existent. The truth is when our praises and worship goes up to God, he responds and his blessings fall down upon us and our fellowship is sweet.
It is the Holy Spirit that prompts us to raise the bar in our “Quiet Time”. He knows when the time is right and when our heart is ready to receive more. He doesn’t want us to stay in the “grab and go” phase forever. God's prompting is his invitation for us to learn more about him, experience a new life changing spiritual truth, and enjoy a new level of fellowship with him that often blows our socks off! I don’t want to miss this learning experience. Do you? I want to always be sensitive to these promptings. We should be honored and excited when God invites us to climb higher. He invites us to  allow our heart to dance with him as we are caught up in the heavenly presence of His spirit.
Today my heart sings. Good Morning Lord! “From the rising of the sun, to the setting of the same.” Thank you Lord! Good night, Lord! “May your name be praised.” The sunrise reminds me of all the hope I have as a believer.  The sunset is a visible reminder of God’s faithfulness to me even when I am in a “grab and go” situation. “The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom…morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.” Isaiah 50:4 NIV
No guilt, no excuses. Simply know that God loves you and the first chance you get he is waiting eagerly to reveal more of his truth to you. He is anxious to fill you with his love, joy and peace. He desires to walk with you through your day in a sweet spirit of intimacy. God has a plan for your life and he needs you to sit with him a spell so he can reveal it to you event by event. If you are discouraged or overloaded, God wants to love on you and encourage you. God wants to redirect your thinking when you are loosing your focus, and he wants to replace the stress you feel with his peace.
Not one of God’s children has ever reached the summit of “quiet time”. There is always more to be learned and experienced. This friendship with Jesus is real and it is yours for the taking. So as soon as you hear his call, draw near to God and know with assurance that God will draw near to you!

  1. Which “quiet time” phase best describes you?
    • Obligation
    • Learning How
    • Grab and Go
    • Semi-Quite Time
    • Private Closet
    • Dig Deeper
    • Can’t Get Enough!
    • What changes could you make in order to get the most out of your current level of “Quiet Time” 
  2. Are you satisfied with your level of “Quiet Time”? Do you want more?
  3. Will you find time to ask God if he wants you to remain where you are or if he is ready for you to move to a new level of blessed and exciting fellowship?
  4. Will you prayerfully ask God to help you obey the promptings of his Holy Spirit?

Dear Lord,

I am both relieved and excited to know that you have a plan for my “quite time”. I am reassured to know that you are always willing to meet with me regardless of my phase of life. You know my schedule. Thank your for being a very present help in trouble and meeting all my needs throughout my busy day. When it is time for me to begin or move on to the next phase of my quiet time, I pray that you will place a desire in my heart to know you more. I pray that I will hunger and thirst after you and that I will not push you aside. Help me not to procrastinate. Lord, I am confused. Sometimes I do not feel qualified to learn on my own. Lord I am afraid I will become frustrated when I don’t understand something in your Word. In addition, there are so many Bible studies, good Christian books to read, sermons to listen to, and praise and worship music to sing to, and of course there is that big thick Bible that I need to read from cover to cover. God, I am overwhelmed! My time is so limited, what should I do? Lord, I will lay out my Bible and all of the other printed devotional books and Bible studies that I have been collecting. Now Lord, I will humbly ask for your guidance. Holy Spirit please impress upon my mind, your top two choices to be used for developing my “Quiet Time”. Father, you know what lies ahead of me in the near future and you know exactly what I will need for the journey. I trust you to choose wisely for me. After I have been led by your Spirit, I will do my best to obey. Lord, you have promised that if I will seek you I will find you. I am going to trust you for understanding. Tomorrow is a brand new day. I can’t wait to say…”Good Morning Lord!”…then see where you will lead me.
It is in your name I pray. Amen.