So much to do today, this week…
Am I ready to take on the challenge?
Am I ready to get out of bed?
Oh, God, how do I even start?
“The God of my strength…”
Before I even crawl out from under covers, I call out to You.
I remind myself of who You are and what I you have promised.
You remind me of who I am, and I realize, it’s not so much about what I can accomplish today but more about what You can do… what You want to accomplish through me.
Much has happened in my life in the last few months, I don’t even know where to begin on this blog much less on daunting summer challenges of cleaning out closets, the basement, and the barn or planning out the next school year…
But, one thing is certain, a steady constant that not only quiets my heart and gives me direction, I start by seeking You.
Before I even “officially begin” my prayer time or Bible reading/study time in my cozy corner, I “warm-up” in the horizontal position.
Flat on my back, head still on the pillow, I pray those ugly, half asleep, mumble-ly prayers. With a half roll to my night stand, I blindly reach for the Word and pull it under the blankets with me. (I skip all the “devotional thoughts” of pre-digested and regurgitated scripture, what I call “decaf. scripture”, and go straight for the concentrated, caffinated, jump-start-my-heart, full-strength Word of God.)
I open my Bible or a book of Bible verses arranged by topic and consume a small but potent amount, just a Psalm or passage or a few verses. Then I close my eyes and wait. I take it in and mediate. I wait for the Holy Spirit to take it from my head to my heart and speak to me, bringing life to my drowsy soul.
I choose to “believe the word that Jesus has spoken” and then I get up and go on my way. — And, the whole world is different. I am changed and so is my perspective. Now I’m ready to intercede, study the Word, go for a run, drop my kids off at practice, take my son to the orthodontist, prepare for a tea-party, write an outline for a prayer event, plan another school year, sort through hand-me-downs, pack for a camping trip, … whatever!
Want a Bit More? Here’s a peek into what I’m doing first thing each morning:
Here’s a few more details about my most recent wake-up time with the LORD. I hope this will be seed for creative inspiration for how you might seek the LORD this week.
For the last couple months, I’ve been reading the gospels in the morning; sometimes it’s just one or two verses, sometimes a whole parable. I’m choosing to focus on Jesus first each day.
(and not just theoretically)
I’m letting the Holy Spirit teach me how to practically be “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith”. (Other translations say, “the pioneer”, “the founder”, “the source”, “the leader”, “the champion who initiates and perfects”, “the finisher”, and “the completer”… Gotta’ love that He’s out in front making the way for our faith and wrapping it all together, too! Our faith is secure. Before, behind, and beside us; He’s got us covered.) Verse by verse, I’m learning who He is, what He said, and choosing to follow His example.
As I ponder over the four gospels ever so slowly, I’m meditating and journaling on small passages using An Analytical Red Letter Harmony of the Four Gospels by Floyd Nolen Jones, which is available for free download in PDF several places on line.
I take one point (event/miracle/parable) from the outline (a 277 point chronological list of parallel passages) and then journal a few thoughts:
- What verses or phrases stand out or resonate with me from this passage today?
- Why do these strike me as profound or meaningful? (Do they teach me something about who Jesus is? Do they speak relevant guidance into the areas where I am seeking wisdom? Do they convict, comfort, or encourage me?)
- And then, after I listen for a while and meditated on what I’ve read and written, I write out a prayer in response to what the LORD has said to me.
As I go back with colored pencils, marking phrases and words journaled the day before (or as I re-read what I highlighted in previous weeks), I am doubly blessed.
This only takes a few minutes; so later, after I go for a run, wake up my kids, and sometimes even after I’ve gone to an early morning appointment, I still enjoy coming to my cozy corner to pray and working on a Bible study as I sip a cup of tea, or listening to a sermon on-line while I fold laundry, or gathering up with the clan for our daily Bible reading…
I’ve found that there is no substitute for reading The Word first thing in the morning, hearing from God Himself, without paraphrase or insightful expounding from another person. I want to start my day talking to God Himself and then hearing a word from God Himself.
[Before I drift off too sleep, I’ve been reading and meditating on a couple verses from a “promise book”, a book with scriptures arranged by topic. Why not start and end your day with the Word this week!]