Day 40 of the Best of my Life – (prayer day)

So many rocks…

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rocks

“What do these stones mean to you?” – Joshua 4:6

…making a choice, day after day after day, to seek the LORD, to put the “important” in my day before, as Charles Hummel put it, the “Tyranny of the Urgent” takes over.

40 rocks… for 40 days, that’s a lot of days, a lot of potential for progress and distraction.

I wanted a visual reminder, a rising thermometer of sorts to mark the days, to correspond with filling my life with “best day” disciplines.

[ Like the classic illustration of putting (rocks) the most “important” things into your day first before all the (sand) “urgent” fillers, if it’s not done intentionally, the “important” things won’t fit if we try to cram them in at the  last minute.]

So, one at a time, I filled a jar with river rocks, made smooth over time, like familiar habits developed through steady discipline, with rough edges slowly being worn away.

One by one, choice after choice, discipline after discipline, intentionally adding, intentionally pursuing “best” choices.

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For me, stones are symbols:  reminders of a foundation, a truth, something sure and solid, strong and steadfast.

One stone upon another, adding, building, like the walls along our property and through the woods stacked by hardworking farmers from generations long past.  I think of Nehemiah motivating his neighbors to build a sure and steady defense from their hounding enemies.

Stones are referred to hundreds of times in the Word of God…

  • as names for Christ: the Stone the Builders Rejected, the Cornerstone, the Solid Rock, the Rock of Ages,…
  • used in building walls, alters, the temple,…
  • mentioned in parables and prophetic messages,…
  • representing the Tribes of Israel, the People of God,…
  • used for memorials, landmarks, foundations, warnings, boundaries,…
  • as key elements in stories from the Resurrection of Christ all the way back to Moses and the LORD providing water for His people…
  • as weapons to slay a giant, as an instrument for murder in the killing of Stephen,…

Heavy, rough, ridged, resolved.  For me, rocks are enduring reminders of the scripture.

What do you want to remember from this brief 40 day season?

If, like David, you were going to come away with five smooth stones, or even just one, since that’s all it took to kill Goliath, which stone/stones would you select?  What handful of ideas will you take with you to make your own to fight against the attacks of the enemy?

There were two underlying sub-themes in these 40 days, though not expressly spelled out until now, and they were chosen because of their lasting and proven benefit to my life:  fellowship with God and fellowship Christians.

  • Fellowship with GOD requires nothing more than ME and HIM.  All that is really needed is for me to be aware of His presence, but that over-simplification barely scratches the surface of what could be through prayer, Bible study, and worship.  The tools and resources available for us are infinite!  From intercession to setting goals under the Holy Spirit’s leading and praying over dreams, from cleaning out house in prayer and blessing our family as a gift unto the LORD, the nearness of God and His inspiration and power are essential for a “best” anything.
  • Fellowship with other believers extends through the centuries as we read what our brothers and sisters wrote and as we write to leave our stories for others, but on a much more intimate level, the LORD has given us one of our greatest resources in friendship!  The more frequent, honest, and vulnerable the fellowship, the greater potential for encouragement.  To connect with those older and wiser, to become older and wiser ourselves and then mutually encourage our peers, pursue those younger believers in whom we see a need, and also intentionally leave behind an invitation through our testimony and legacy for those that might later follow in our footsteps is to explore the commonly uncharted areas fellowship and venture into the vast possibilities of discipleship that are as varied as there are people and personalities.

What challenges or illustrations have stuck with you from the past 40 days, and how do those concepts relate to pursuing God or connecting with others?

Today’s challenge (the final challenge) is:

SCHEDULE a PRAYER DAY

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  • Having a daily prayer time is so important and such a powerful blessing!  Yet, life is busy, and to maintain a daily habit, we can’t remain in our prayer closets all day without neglecting the equally important commands of loving our neighbor, especially the neighbors living in our own house.
  • So, having a Sabbath for prayer day, where we set aside ordinary work for the purpose of prayer and seeking the LORD is unspeakably rewarding and a surprisingly practical blessing as we receive guidance from the LORD.  If you were a teacher, you could compare daily prayer to a planning period and a prayer day to a team meeting, a chance to meet and go over ideas and schedules for the next week and month.
  • And, saving the best for last, having an annual, personal prayer day or prayer retreat is more than a luxury.  A day to seek the LORD really is essential.  I don’t know how I got along without it before, and I have no intention of every going back. To follow with the analogy, it’s like a teacher going away for a conference or instructional workshops (when they are done well) which can breath new life into a weary teacher, giving her a fresh outlook, new ideas and tools, encouragement, perspective, and a much needed break from the daily classes and students.  It takes the nearness of God to a whole new level, and it can set the direction for the rest of the year. Prayer can change how we think and how we plan.  Regular focused times of prayer really can change your life!

Today, I want you to look at the calendar and select one day out of the next 365 that you will give completely and entirely to the LORD.

I want you to schedule itMark it down Tell your husband this date; get it on his calendar.  If at all possible, make plans to either go away ALONE (not with girl friends unless they’ve agreed to the same goal and will also be spending their day seeking the LORD rather than visiting with you) or plans to send your family away where you can have your entire house to yourself (I actually prefer the latter).

From a superficial perspective, this may seem a frivolous waste of time, maybe even selfish.  But, seeking the LORD and interceding on behalf of others is one of the most unselfish and eternally productive things you can do.

I challenge you to give it a try.  Though it may initially be difficult to pray or stay focus for an extended amount of time, I’m sure you will find it to be most rewarding and addictive if you persevere, especially if you prepare by gathering your tools, and developing a habit of daily prayer.  Sometimes I find it to be near impossible to guard that day, but once I begin, I never want to pull myself away. Then, all year I’m longing to return to that unhurried place of prayer and rest.

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Meditate on these verses:

  • Isaiah 26:4 (AMP) – “So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].”
  • 2 Samuel 22:1, 32 (Living) – “No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.  —  For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock?”
  • Psalm 18:2, 31 (Holman) – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. — For who is God besides Yahweh? And who is a rock? Only our God.”
  • Psalm 62:2 (KJV) – “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”  (other translations: “I will not be shaken.”)
  • Luke 5:47-48 (NAS) “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.”

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A Few Bonus Thoughts for Day 41, 42, 43, 44, and the Rest of Your Best Days… 

You’ve come so far, but where will you go from here?  Momentum will only carry you as far as you can coast, but the slowing to an inevitable stop is not God’s will for you! You are designed for the glory of God.  Don’t settle for mediocre or compromise.  This is the time to fight for your family in pray and face the enemy head on with the power of the Word of God.  Life is too short to make plans and just get by without seeking the LORD first.  We need His counsel; we need wisdom before we set out each day!

If you are in the second half of your race here on earth, it is all the more important for you to intentionally leave a legacy of faith by making the second half of your run stronger than the first.

No matter how far you’ve come, “the best is yet to come”.  There is more to know!  There is more to experience!  There is greater faith, deeper fellowship.  Glory is at stake; higher praise and purer worship.

  • — If today is the day you see the LORD face to face; “the best is yet to come” for you.  That ultimate reward will be worth every hour of endurance and long-suffering down here.
  • — If the LORD chooses to leave you here and today you have the opportunity to tell someone how they can get out of the rat race and into the rest of daily living in the presence of the Prince of Peace; that is the best!
  • Today you might enter the darkest valley of the shadow, and through it find a handful of discouraged and weary souls that need to be told of the only true Rescue Hero.  If that’s what He brings, embrace the gift of the best of this day and the grace and strength that He’ll bring with it.
  • —  If you are in the will of God, today is filled with the best the LORD has for you and leads to His best for you tomorrow!

The best is yet to come.  Just as sure as dessert promises to be sweeter than the previous courses (of bread, soup, salad, etc…) , and every part of this life, though entirely unique in its flavor and purpose having potential to be a favorite, our God is known for His grand finale.  What’s more impressive than the Revelation of Christ?

Until your last BEST DAY here on earth, expect the LORD to draw you nearer, take you deeper, use your life however over-looked or little known for the glory of His name.  Little is much when God is in it.  What’s called humble and insignificant here is called the greatest of all in the Kingdom of God.

Our hearts are to be filled with great anticipation of a “Best Day” still to come, and we are to live hopeful and full of the Spirit’s fruit (of joy and peace…) in the ever increasing light of that great day!

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day…”  Proverbs 4:18

As you move on to days 41, 42, 43, and the rest of your life, continue your “best days”… until the LORD returns of calls you home.

The best days are the seeking days, the in-His-presence days.  Good becomes better and better becomes best with every act of obedience to His commands, every gift He gives that we open, every resource and discipline we apply.  In the grace of knowing our Messiah and Savior, Jesus Christ, none of these are an impossible burden, instead, they are our good and when experienced, they become our delight!

Keep moving forward.

Keep seeking!  Keep finding!  Keep sharing!

Don’t look back, turn back ,or back-slide.

Hold On and Press On!

Greater things are yet to come.