I bet I walked five miles today…
…inside my house.
When I really go to battle with God in prayer, I can’t be still.
In the early morning while it’s still dark outside, I have an appointment with God that I just can’t miss. But once in a while, I hit the ground running in the morning, and when I do, that hollow feeling settles in my spirit. “Something’s missing.” I miss having that time when I let God’s Word take root in me and do what nothing else can. It reproves, corrects, encourages, washes, comforts, heals, convicts, prods, and amazes. What a treasure it is to me!
I have a sense of awe and reverence when I open the leather cover to my reading, and there He sits faithfully waiting to feed me the nourishment I need for the day. It is like no other written work, penned by many, this one lone book of many books, the inspired Word of God. It is so powerful, so profound, so relevant for this very moment in time. We need only to open up a longing and thirsty heart to it.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
After the morning rush of packed lunches, filled coffee mugs, and hugs the house gets still and quiet until I am moved to confession, surrender, intercession and worship. My house becomes a woodshed sanctuary with a white flag waving. Me and Jesus have a “sure enough come-to-Jesus-meeting” and today we had a lot on our agenda. But it’s not over until He has me right where He wants me: a fully surrendered follower, devoted to obeying Him when it’s uncomfortable. If this meeting with God is only happening once-a-week, on the other side of stained glass windows it’s not happening enough. The christian life is a life of daily surrender, just as God refreshes His loving kindness and makes new His mercy to us each morning (Lamentations 3:23).
It’s all a wonderfully painful process of confessing my sin, acknowledging His forgiveness, letting go of my understanding and laying down everything. It’s the most liberating thing I do all day.
The only other option I have is to be bound by the chains of sin, failure, defeat, grief, unforgiveness, anger, rejection, self righteousness, hurts, habits, and hangups. Talk about a life of slavery! I think I would rather be a slave of the cross of Christ; wouldn’t you? “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)
Having time like this when my kids were small was very difficult most of the time. I remember. If this is true for you, don’t loose heart. Be content to have a brief devotional in the morning and do a few things to keep God’s Word fresh on your mind throughout the day. Cell phones make this easy! We can also memorize scripture with our kids and post it around the office/house in strategic places. Keep worship music playing. Steffany Gretzinger is one of my favorites. For more time in prayer, stay a attuned to Him throughout the day and pray as He brings needs and sins to your attention.
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body. (Proverbs 4:20-22)
The enemy never lays down his weapons! That’s why it’s so important that I keep my weapons handy. When I mess up, the Holy Spirit is quick to point it out. In those moments He brings back to my mind His words that I read while the sun was rising; and in the warm light of the afternoon sun I remember and thank Him for being so real and personal to me. I am humbled by His reproof, I repent and fellowship is restored. If humility doesn’t describe my position before a Holy God, I am in the wrong place.
Thoughts, attitudes and actions that rise up out of my pride and selfishness against the knowledge of God, I am much quicker to recognize and take captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
I have a choice. I can choose fellowship with the tempter or the Wonderful Counselor, the father of lies or the Everlasting Father, the prince of darkness or the Prince of Peace. The choice is clear!
On days like today I’m only minutes or hours away from encountering God that morning instead of weeks, months ‘or years. Getting back in step with Him is easier when He’s just one step away,…
…but the fact is, He’s always just one step away! That, my friends, is the beauty of the cross.
I’m not content to stay the same, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s sunrise;…
…to encounter God is to be changed.
For a brief devotional plan consider reading one section of Psalm 119 each day. Each section is just eight verses long. Meditate on the passage and write down words and phrases the Psalmist uses to describe God’s Word or words that describe his response/attitude towards it.