61: Morning Worship and a Bible Challenge for Rookies
When I began praying for God to help me love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength a few years ago, God answered in a way that surprised me. I was simply wanting to fulfill the great command to love God with everything in me. But God had other things in mind. Through a variety of mediums; sermons, scriptures, and biblical illuminations, He communicated to my mind, heart, and spirit, how much He liked and loved me.
At first I was blessed beyond words at this outpouring of affection and lived in the glow of this revelation for days and weeks. Then I noticed that after the first blush, I began to forget this new information, and had trouble believing what I had learned. I also noticed that it wasn’t long before I began to fall back into my default settings. In order to remember what God has done, I took up the practice of journalling and recording insights the good Spirit had made real to me. I frequently read these passages and special times of inspiration so I don’t lose what I have been given. Or as the Spirit through Paul says,“Let us hold true to what we have attained.” Philippians 3:16
God has brought me to a good place in my relationship with Him and I don’t want to lose what I have been given. In John 15:9 the incredible truth of God’s love is articulated in the words of Jesus: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” I have been basking in His affection, and am focused now on staying there or as Jesus puts it, “Abide in my love.”
I have a tendency to peddle hard, then coast. Since I know my proclivities, it is vital to me, to be proactive in seeking God. I have never been a planner or scheduler, but prefer variety in my life. I love the fact that no two days are alike. Not surprisingly, daily discipline has always been hard for me. But after 60 years of experience, I am finally developing some regular habits, because I know that I need them.
Paul encourages the Philippians to work out their own salvation. I apply that to designing a program to enable me to daily abide in the care and affection of God. To that end, I have found that the most important time of the day for me is my daily time set apart for drawing near to my Dad. I am purposely not getting too specific about how much time I spend or when, because I think it is helpful for each one of us to work out our own salvation with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
God knows our schedule. He is aware of how many children we have at home and what our responsibilities are. He made us and knows whether we are morning or night people. He is cognizant of how much sleep we need. I have to continually remind myself that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. A few months ago, God made me know when to get up. Since I have been following His direction, my time of contemplation and study has improved and I have not been as sleepy as I anticipated.
My first activity when I awake is to read a Morning Worship Meditation, pausing at each point, to reflect, and pray. Over the past two years I have assembled six of these. that take me through one week. (Two of them are added below.) They each have several categories. The first one is “Draw Near”, then “God’s love”, followed by “Present”, which is short for “Present Yourself”. There are fifteen sections in all each one having a scripture. This exercise has helped me quiet my spirit, focus on God, soak in the truth, and prepare to meet God.
After I complete a morning worship page, I read scripture following my daily reading plan. Depending on my time, I sometimes pray, or worship with the help of sacred music (with my headphones to not awaken the household), or study. I change up the order frequently as I don’t want this time to become a stale ritual. I see the value in being disciplined, but also want to have a fresh connection with the living God.
The primary difference between my morning worship now, and my Christian life to date, is that I really believe that God likes spending time with me. I know He enjoys our times of regular communion. So much of my Bible reading for decades has been motivated by a sense of duty. I knew I needed to read scripture, and like exercise, I appreciated the results, but I was usually relieved when I had completed the assigned portions. Now I relish meeting with Him and am sad when it is time to eat breakfast and re-enter the human race.
I hope these two attached pdfs will bless you in your times of preparing for the day by connecting with our living God. If you would like for me to send you numbers 2-5, just ask!
Bible Challenge for Rookies
Mark your calendars for the first Bible Challenge of 2015. It will begin March 20, the first day of Spring, and end on April 28, 40 days later. It will be for people who have never had a consistent time of family worship. Details will be forthcoming in the next newsletter and on our Facebook page.
Sign up for the Building Faith Families newsletter to get Steve’s messages sent to you monthly.