Psalm 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
It shouldn’t take dire straits to cause us to get up early to seek God at the beginning of each day! Sometimes it takes desperation to get us moving, but that’s a major reason God allows trials in our lives. I’m reminded of the Andrae Crouch song, Through it All. “If I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that He could solve them. I wouldn’t know what faith in God can do.” We aren’t to complain at trials, but rather seek God for why He allowed them. Often they are a tool to show us how we need to choose to grow, to change. The more we follow such guidance, the less we will need such “goads.” (Acts 26:14) If we are faithful to start each day seeking God and what He wants of us in the day, and then end each day expressing gratitude to Him for all that He has allowed in the day, the less we are going to need sharp “course corrections” from time to time. That’s not at all to say that we will be insulated from all problems. Jesus promised us that “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) We have to endure the consequences not only of our own sins but also of the sins of others. However, it is all much easier to bear if we have established a firm habit of fellowship with the Lord.
I honestly don’t remember exactly when I established my habit of morning devotions. I know I tried to do so when I was in college, but that very quickly fell by the wayside. I’m sure it was after I had the dramatic encounter with the Lord that I keep referring to, when He showed me a mirror to see the state of my own soul, if only for a moment. That was in November, 1972, so it’s been less than 50 years in any case. Since at least 2004 I have been using the SOAP system of devotions, (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) as developed by Wayne Cordeiro, and it has been a huge blessing to me. Looking back at my notes from that year, they were very brief! I have grown, and I am grateful. Having the assurance that God indeed speaks to me and through me has been invaluable. As a pastor, I desire that assurance for each of the people in the church, but only a few have caught the vision. Those that have, however, I can depend on for just about anything, because they spend their days in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
Father, thank You for all that You are doing in this church. It’s exciting! I genuinely look forward to our business meeting on the 10th, when we will share and discuss what You have shown each of us about what You want to do through this church and the part You want each of us to have in that. I pray that each believer would seek You indeed with an open heart, so that You may guide us together into what You have planned, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!