Archive for August, 2008

Early Will I Seek You

August 27, 2008


My church group did something this past week that we haven’t done in a long time.

We rose before the sun came up to meet together for prayer. And we did it every day for a week.

It strengthens you in a deep place to see your brothers and sisters rise and meet together before the rest of the world wakes up.

Well, maybe not the WHOLE world. I saw a video today of Morgan Spurlock’s Thirty Days documentary, where he tosses a Christian from West Virginia into a practicing Muslim family in Dearborn, Michigan for a month. One of the first things we see is a flabbergasted guest witnessing the 5:30am prayer time that Muslims around the world observe. He was impressed. Most Christians can’t imagine having a reason to rise so early just to pray.

But there’s something about mornings. Just as the manna came down first thing in the morning, and you had to gather it right then, so there is something that happens in the morning inside your own soul. There is an opportunity to gather up your insides and place them in the presence of God. There is a chance to be with Him in a way that will be hard to accomplish for the rest of the day.

Don’t get me wrong: His presence can be known the rest of the day, too. His presence can be “practiced” anywhere and anytime. He goes with us wherever we go. But when it’s still dark outside, and the kids are still snoozing, the world around you is, as the Celts would say, thinner. It’s easier to focus your attention and speak with the Lord.

And another thing I noticed: After a week of rising and doing this with my church, I find it much easier to refocus my attention back to the Lord at all the other times, too.

It’s like your spirit is getting exercise.

I’m sure this is old news to people who have been doing this for years. But I’m one of those people that has to experience something myself or else I don’t really believe it.

Now if I can just remember it.

I’ll still have four energetic little angels at home that need my attention whenever I’ve got a free moment. And work and projects still demand so much of my attention that my spirit isn’t getting nearly enough “exercise.” But I see the value of what I’m missing, and that’s a start.

I feel no condemnation about whether or not I’m using this discovery enough–guilt is a very inefficient motivator, you know. Makes you spin your wheels for little benefit. But with renewed mind, I will set my face in this direction:

Early will I Seek You.

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Becoming a Nobody

August 19, 2008


The church I’m a part of has been reading through John’s Gospel together for the last couple of months. I’m always impressed by the Lord’s ability to breathe life into the Scriptures time and again when His people come to Him with expectant hearts. It seems that every week someone different brings something from his or her experience that matches what we’re reading at the time.

What struck me this past weekend was how Jesus’ disciples were getting worked up about his announcement that he was leaving them. They were troubled for a lot of reasons. But I’m becoming increasingly aware of one reason in particular that I would not have understood in the past.

After he leaves, how would they become important people in God’s kingdom? Each one of them wanted to sit at his right hand when he came into power. Each one wanted to be somebody special. And Jesus was their ticket to greatness.

I have observed that this ulterior motive runs underneath more than anyone can see on the surface. I have also observed that God is not very fond of this mentality. He rather ruthlessly eliminates your chances of being something great… IF you’re lucky!

The thing is, sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He DOES make someone great. I suspect one of two things is happening there. Either that individual has earned His trust through years of testing and “education” at His hand, or else he/she has no such experience and He is just giving him/her what he/she deserves. A rather empty trophy and 15 minutes of fame. But when the lights fade and the cameras turn off, nothing is left but a stinging awareness that only God is great. Human greatness is an oxymoron.

He that will gain his life must first lose it. Trust that He will do what is right.