“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8
Yesterday we examined God’s attributes and were reminded that our all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God is just the one we need throughout our day to fight off our enemy the devil who seeks to ensnare us with his wily schemes. We must consider the present time–each 24-hour period–for the days are evil and each day has enough trouble of its own. Including God in your daily routine will prepare you when something unexpected happens, when you must face difficult decisions, and when temptation to fall into sin is at hand. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour. Don’t let the devil make you his next victim! Remember God during each portion of the day. Today will will take a closer look at how to include God in our waking hours.
The morning is a time of preparation. There is uniqueness and potency in the morning. What you do during this time will help set the tone for the remainder of your day. C.S. Lewis stated in his book Mere Christianity:
“It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”
It is easy to be distracted in the hustle and bustle of the morning. The above quote leads us to our first point: Our early morning devotion time demonstrates our dependence on God. We need to tell Him before we tell anyone else anything, “God, I depend on you.” Jeremiah 10:21 says, “The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the LORD; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.” A man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his own steps. The leaders of Israel were not thinking clearly. Some of us are leading and providing for others. We are not designed to carry the full weight of life on our shoulders. It is prideful to launch out on any given day of our lives without first declaring our dependence on God. Sometimes our actions show just how much we think we can handle the day by ourselves. But then there comes that day when we cannot handle what comes our way, and we don’t know what to do. It was never meant for you and I to carry the weight of our lives without consulting God! We don’t even have a guarantee we will be alive tomorrow. Thus we must carpe diem–seize the day! James 4:13-17 says, “ Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.'” God wants to support us, make the path for our feet, and give us the strength we need to make it through each day. We need to seek after the Lord’s will for our lives, not create and pursue our own agendas.
Praying and studying the scriptures in the morning prepares us for the unknown. There is no greater wilderness, no greater thing that is not a sure bet, than the day ahead of us. Proverbs 27:1 says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” As we go into each day it can be comforting or terrifying to realize that God is already there and knows what we don’t know. When we make plans, we make assumptions about our lives. God can change our agendas. Many times, when the unexpected occurs, we overreact instead of responding biblically. We run rather than stand, or vice versa, and we default to fear rather than trust. Why would we not want to call on a God of unfailing love, declare our dependence in the waking hours, and admit that only He knows what is coming?
The morning hour is the best time to get dressed. We take a lot of time to get ready in the physical realm. Many of us would never go out the door without looking ready to face the day. There is a cleansing power found in God that can wash us of the grime of the world in the morning. We should also remember to get ready in the spiritual realm. God has designed a custom-made powerful wardrobe just for us! Ephesians 6:10-18 says:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Like any article of clothing, God’s wardrobe won’t look good until you put it on. It does no good just hanging in the closet. Our battle is not against an unfair teacher, a cranky boss, a fussy child or aggressive teenager, an unrealistic parent or spouse, bills to pay, or even the weather; we are fighting against our enemy, the devil. Our enemy is well stocked and resourceful. The enemy has a plan and hates that we love God and He loves us.
The morning hour helps us best serve our loved ones. The Bible says Job was blameless and upright, and he feared God and shunned evil. He had a strong relationship with the Lord and in his day he was considered one of the greatest men among all of the people of the East. Job 1:5 describes one of Job’s regular customs. It says that “early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’” We can stand in the gap for our loved ones and cover them. We don’t know everything our loved ones face when they are out in the world each day, but we can pray for God to protect them and to forgive them for any wrongdoing.
The prayers of the morning hour open our ears to God’s voice. Isaiah 50:4 says, “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” There are many voices squawking at us throughout the day. Like C.S. stated, we must listen to the still, small voice of God. In the morning hour before anyone or anything else is vying for your attention, God can bless you. It is wonderful to have an instructed tongue so that we can encourage one another. There is no more joyful thing than to be the recipient of someone else’s encouragement.
Why, when you have an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God, would you not want Him with you by invitation and spoken request? Why do we think we can go into all of the tough areas of life thinking we can handle them in our own strength? Without this morning time of preparation, we go out unprepared for what is to come with ears that aren’t sensitive to His voice, and launch into the day unclean and undressed. Sadly, we do not cover our loved ones in consistent prayer, and we only react and fall down. Ask yourselves: Is this acceptable?
Try all these aforementioned things starting tomorrow morning. Those of you already doing these things, stay the course! Watch the difference. Watch God be magnified. Watch His enemies be scattered. Watch strength, joy and power flood your hearts! Remember to make morning YOUR personal time of preparation.
“Just Give Me Jesus” sung by Jeremy Camp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=empiUulYcDs