Those of you who follow this blog and our ministry, know that we strongly recommend having a quiet time with the Lord in the morning. Obviously, there is nowhere in the Bible that commands that this be the only time for prayer and meditation on God’s Word. Consider the following verses that Isaiah wrote prophetically of the Lord Jesus.
“The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward” (Isaiah 50:4–5).
Notice what was happening during this time with God:
The early hours are the best hours when our minds are fresh and before they are cluttered with things we face in the world every day. I trust you will find wonderful communion with the Lord as you make this your daily habit.
The teaching of Jesus in Luke 16:1-13 is often overlooked. You could sum up these verses in two words: “faithful” and “dishonest.” The point of these verses is summarized in verse 10; ““One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”
We have often been led to believe that the bigger the job, the more we can show our abilities and prove our worth to others. The opposite is true in God’s eyes. He is looking at how we handle the “very little” things in life. They may in fact be things that no one else sees except God.
This principle is further confirmed in Luke 19:17; “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’” Notice how God expands responsibility based on being “faithful in a very little.”
The opposite is also true. Anyone who is dishonest in small things will do the same in bigger responsibilities. John Hyde pointed to two conditions that are necessary for God to use us. “Obedience in everything, even in the least, surrendering up our wills and taking the will of God. The next step is purity. God wants pure vessels for His service, clean channels through which to pour forth His grace. He wants purity in the very center of the soul…purified by the fire of the Holy Spirit.” (Praying Hyde, page 47). What color are your “very little” things in life?
Consider the implication of these two verses on our witness. “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26–27).
John Hyde (Praying Hyde) asked the question at a convention; “Is the Holy Spirit first in your pulpits, pastors? Do you consciously put Him in front and keep yourselves behind Him when preaching? Teachers, when you are asked hard questions, do you ask His aid as a witness of all Christ’s life? He alone was a witness of the incarnation, the miracles, the death and the resurrection and ascension of Christ. So, He is the only witness!”
As we consider both the Scripture in John 15 and the words of Praying Hyde, we must conclude that we cannot be an accurate witness unless we have become a witness for Jesus through being filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:2; 4:33). When this takes place, His power is evident in our witness and we will see God work in others.
John Hyde went on to say that God would be mocked “until we had all learned this lesson as to putting the Holy Spirit first at all times, God would not give any fresh message” (Page 40).
In the last few years, the Lord has impressed on my heart the prayerless state of the church. Here in America, the midweek prayer service has almost become a standing joke because so few come, and in many churches, prayer meetings have been discontinued.
I have been convicted that if no one else came for prayer in our church, I would be there. The excuses for not attending are always personal and selfish reasons. Francis A McGaw in his book Praying Hyde, points out some of the reasons why we struggle with this critical habit.
“It is self in some shape that comes between us and Him [the Lord]. So, self must be dealt with as He [the Lord] dealt with it. Self must be crucified, dead and buried with Christ. If not ‘buried,’ the stench of the old man will frighten souls away. If these three steps downward are taken as to the old man, then the new man will be revived, raised, and be seated. Then Christ will be lifted up in our lives, and He cannot fail to attract souls to Himself.” (page 62).
As we have continued to gather a few each Sunday morning for a half hour of prayer, we are seeing God answer our prayers in amazing ways. It was not a sudden revival of prayer, but a slow, gradual rise in interest and commitment. Numbers have increased, including some from our youth. We are very intentional about asking God to work in souls for salvation and discipleship growth. As we pray, God is doing the work in souls!
Many express that the most difficult hours for them are at night when sleep flees and they have no rest of mind, and that results in no rest of body. This causes other problems because they seem to be in constant turmoil; seeking solutions and finding none.
When David was in the wilderness of Judah, there must have been times that he found himself alone and in need of comfort, peace of mind, and rest. In one of these situations he writes; “when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night; for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy” (Psalm 63:6–7).
It was in those “watches of the night” that David found comfort by meditating on the Lord in the “shadow” of God’s wings. So strong was this comfort from God that he could “sing for joy.” For some, darkness brings fear, tension and lack of rest, but David knew that for God, “the night is bright as the day for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:12). That brought him rest.
If you are one who struggles with the hours of darkness that come each day, let me suggest that you learn to meditate on verses of Scripture like these in this blog. There are so many verses in the Bible that God uses to bring rest to the spirit and quiet to the mind. Commit these verses and others to memory and ask the Spirit to use them to dispel dark thoughts and replace them with the peace and joy of God’s presence.
I am challenged by David’s openness to the Lord about his meditation. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). These two parts of our body cannot be separated. As Jesus is dealing with the self-righteous Pharisees, He says to them, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34). What was in their hearts was spewing out hatred in words against the Lord Jesus. Their words and actions revealed their heart.
Solomon understood what happens in the heart of man has a direct effect on the life of a person. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The meditation of the heart plays a critical role in what we say and do, and the ultimate outcome of our lives. There is an eternal aspect to what our hearts meditate on.
As we saw in the first reference (Ps. 19:14), David wanted the Lord to look at what was going on in his heart and making sure it was “acceptable in [His] sight.” Through his meditations, David learned to “fix” his eyes on God’s “ways” (Psalm 119:15). I would call this kind of meditation, ‘active thinking with the heart.’ It is far from the world’s idea of meditation, but exactly what we need.
Taking time to observe the Word of God by daily reading its pages and providing the right kind of material for our hearts to meditate on, will then inform our words and actions with truth so we speak and act as God wants us to.
From as recently as 1955, meditation has taken a very interesting road which does not follow the biblical idea. Many have taught that meditation is emptying the mind, visualization, channeling, achieving a higher level of spiritual awareness, and even becoming one with nature and being god. None of these follow the biblical model and meaning.
When Joshua was given the role of leading Israel into the promised land, the Lord told him; “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
The word “meditate” means to “ponder, give serious thought and consideration to selected information, with a possible implication of speaking in low tones reviewing the material.” That is far from the meaning false teachers have given it. For Joshua, this serious consideration of God’s Word would result in obedient following what Scripture taught.
David asked God to examine his meditations; “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Instead of ‘emptying the mind,’ David wanted to be sure that he put the right kind of thoughts and information into his mind so they would guide and control his words, actions and life.
We get the same idea in Psalm 119:15; “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” I trust you will become a person who will meditate daily on God’s word and then obey it.
So often I have returned to Psalm 19 to remind myself of how amazing the Bible is. David knew this perhaps more than any Old Testament saint. With the isolation of being a shepherd, being chased every day by his boss, and realizing failure in his own life, there was nowhere to look for consolation and help than God’s Word. Read David’s words below and let them speak to you.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:7–8).
Like David, I have experienced times when my soul was dry, my heart for the Lord had lost it drive, and difficulties sucked life out of everything. It is the Word of God that revives my heart and soul. Often, I face very difficult circumstance when trying to help others and I need wisdom from the Lord. His Word provides wisdom this world can never give me.
The sorrows and pain I see in the lives of others at times steels my joy. I must quickly return to the promises and purposes of God to restore His joy in my heart. There is never a day I face that I don’t feel the need of instruction from Scripture. That is where I go to find wisdom and enlightening that is reliable and true.
Where do you go when these needs affect your life?
This picture has given all of us great inspiration, and speaks to all of us about what really matters. Most parts of the world have been influenced by Western values; placing more importance on money and possessions, all of which will be destroyed. Each of us need to carefully evaluate what we consider valuable and important in our lives. That is what we will invest in.
James makes a great observation; “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5).
Where does their faith come from? Paul helps us answer that question; “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The woman in the picture lived in very simple circumstances, but she was feeding her soul and faith with the Word of God. If she had nothing else in the world except her Bible, it was more valuable than the whole world because it made her rich in faith. Those riches do not fade or pass away!
What would you list for your riches?
It is not often we come to you with an urgent prayer request, but this is one of those times. Tim has just left for Thailand, so this turn in Mason’s health will be a major concern for him.
“Please keep Mason in your prayers (Tim & Edith’s great grandson, if you remember he is the little boy with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning, he has half of a heart). He tested positive for RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) today. He has been admitted to New Hanover Regional Hospital and they will be in contact with Duke Hospital on plans for his care. On top of RSV he also has an ear infection. Please pray for our baby boy, that he can fight this off soon.”
Paul reminds us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). I know the family will greatly appreciate your prayer support.
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