A little over a year ago I posted this ★ Thought for the Day – Why to Love Mornings ★ about how each day is a clean slate to start over and move on from past mistakes. Today I want to explore why else mornings are important. As you might expect, it has to do with God. Our church has been going through a devotional call “Pathways” by Russ Barksdale, (click here to download the first 2 chapters,) in it he said,
“The God of the universe called me into a love relationship with Him and He is not satisfied with surface stuff.”
When you think of a relationship, what is the foundation? You may say getting to know the person, or spending time with them, or having shared interests in common. And I would agree with you that all are critically important, but I think that communication is the most important aspect of a healthy relationship…not just for information exchange but as a vehicle to grow closer to one another. The same is true with a relationship with God. Some of you reading this may know exactly where this is going, but the answer for others may seem unnatural or unknown…the answer is a quiet time with God in which you read the Bible, pray, journal and listen for God to speak to you. God is “not satisfied with surface stuff.” That statement led the men in our lifegroup to discuss this issue…the this question was asked and I want to pose it to you…
“If time spent pursuing God = time spent loving God, how much do you love God?”
He responded that “apparently not very much”…Knowing him as I do, that response is him being way too hard on himself. The question is one, I think we don’t just answer once, but should respond to daily because I think if we are honest; every one of us could answer the same as my good friend. Another member of our group responded that you need to look at the definition of pursue, which is…
To follow; to go or proceed after or in a like direction.
He continued on saying that the,
“Bible says if you Love Me you will keep my commandments.
Everything we do and say, or don’t do, and don’t say, throughout the day shows God, and the World that we are pursuing God and that we Love God.
Keeping commandments = Love for God….this is the pursuit!!!
I love that so much, a quiet time with God is a pivotal component of pursuing God. Back in 2010, I had a conversation with the Men’s pastor at Gateway Church, Todd McIntyre that changed my life. Besides helping me to see the need to reconcile my relationship with my estranged father, who later accepted Jesus as his savior as a result of our conversations, (you can read more about this from the ★ Thought for the Day – Never Fatherless ★,) Pastor Todd also opened my eyes to the need for a quiet time and to develop a spiritual discipline of a daily time with God. Within the 3 part series that he preached where he said:
For me I have found that starting my day pursuing God is. I am not naturally an early riser, but I found that unless I set that time with him the start of the day, something else always would get in the way. There’s so much in life that will keep us too busy to read the Bible. So much in life that will distract us from praying. So much in life that will push aside the time to journal. So much in life that will drown out the voice of God!
The purpose of the quiet time is to silence the noise and center your life God and getting to know who His Son Jesus Christ!
Rising early to spend time with God has always been influenced by what Mark 1:35 (NASB) describes of Jesus’ own disciplines.
“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”
Mark 1:35 has always been a rallying call to me to push through the fatigue of getting up early. As I wrote about in the previous post (★ Thought for the Day – Confidence IN WHOSE You Are ★), King David was a man after “God’s own heart,” in Psalms 5:2-3 (NLT) he said,
“Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.”
Jesus rose early and King David met with God in the morning, so I too choose that time of day as well and wait expectantly for Him to speak with me. I don’t tell you this to impress you or show off but to motivate you to carve away a piece of the day for God, away from the hustle and bustle and noise. It does not matter what time of day that you spend time with Him, just that you do. Oftentimes people find it hard to put aside the time to do it and so when they don’t, Satan comes in to condemn us. Part of the exchange with the men, was this quote from Rick Warren,
“Jesus doesn’t want to condemn you; He wants to change you. He wants you to know him and he wants you to love him as much as he loves you.”
What a powerful statement and truth which reminds me of a Sonicflood song that was popular when I first was saved, called “I want to know You”…
I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more”
The key for me, is to push through the fatigue when the alarm clock goes off, I need to get up and start the day off with God (and a BIG cup of Joe…aka as coffee for my southern brothers…Hahaha!) I love this quote from Russ Barksdale,
“Jesus doesn’t want to condemn you; He wants to transform you.”
Our quiet time with God, getting to know Him, getting to know Jesus and what He taught in the Bible is intended to transform us. We need to not allow Satan to get us down if one day or one week is not as good of a pursuit as the previous one, but just keep chasing after God. (See Romans 8:1-2 as well.) As I was reading Deuteronomy 17 that same morning as our group text occurred, I saw a parallel to what God commanded the king to do (see 17:18-20) and what our quiet time should be. Reading the bible daily is not supposed to be drudgery, and certainly not intended to be out of compulsion, “oh I have to get up early and spend time with God,” rather it should be out of love with an attitude that “I want to get up early to make sure I spend time with God,” like the Sonicflood song so proudly declares. So how about you? Are you spending time chasing after God? Are you building your life on Him? If you are reading the bible, are you changing any behaviors? Knowledge without application is pointless. In the last exchange with my brothers in the lifegroup, this great point was made,
“I think what you get back in terms of revelation is the time you put in communion with Him whether early or late in the day. Knowledge must transfer from the head to the heart, from belief to faith.”
“Knowledge must transfer from the head to the heart,” and a consistent quiet time every day, regardless of time of day, is the process by which that happens! Martin Luther said,
“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.”
That really captures the heart of God, as we seek God with all our heart, He will willingly open up the treasures of heaven and meet us there! As I was discussing this Thought of the Day with my 14-year-old daughter, God spoke so clearly to me through our conversation. She said,
“In order to silence the noise, you need to know ‘whose you are.’ And in order to know whose you are, you need to ‘silence the noise.'”
It is the great paradox, one which if we could grasp, our lives would be forever changed!!
Maybe you are reading this and not only have a quiet time, but you have never made the decision to follow Jesus, today you can change that today! Check out our next post called ★ Thought for the Day – Accidental Existence? ★ and if you are ready to make a decision today…
Below is a prayer you can pray to start your relationship, the words you say really don’t matter, there is nothing special about them, but the emotion and belief in your heart does. Make this your prayer today:
God take this broken, sinful person and forgive my sins. I want a relationship with you I am in need of a Savior. I believe that Jesus came to die for my sins and that He is the bridge that brings me to eternal life with you forever. Please forgive all my sins. I accept the free gift of eternal life and know that I can never do enough good deeds to earn that salvation. In Jesus Name I pray! Amen!
Please contact me if you have any questions about your new life in Jesus Christ, I would love to discuss your decision more. God Bless!