What is the first thing you do in the morning?
The morning alarm rings. You roll over and shut it off. Perhaps you need to hit snooze for another 10 minutes. Then you jump in the shower and get ready for a day at work. You grab a quick breakfast and you check the headlines so you know what is going on in the world. Then you realize time is short and you rush off to the job. Then you repeat this the next day…and the next…and the next.
So, what’s missing? The routine is normal for most of us. But think about it. Is this really the best way to start your day.
What would happen if you set your alarm for 15-30 minutes earlier? Why would you want to do that you ask? Because you could spend the extra time having a daily devotional time with God. You wouldn’t even need to change the rest of our morning routine. You could still shower, eat breakfast, check the headlines, and rush off to work. But the first 15-30 minutes would be spent on what is really important; your relationship with God.
You say you can’t do that because you need the sleep. So, how about if you plan for this by going to bed 30-45 minutes earlier the night before? I know this is pushing it and asking for too much discipline, but really…couldn’t you do that? Perhaps try it for this week.
Our relationship with God is by far the most important area in your life on which you must work. We live in a time when the Church is moving away from God and His Word. If you were to commit to spending just 15 minutes alone with God for the remainder of this week, I believe you would be among the 5-10% of Christians who have a daily time set aside for devotion to God.
The movement in the Church away from God started in the first century Church. Paul urged Timothy to remain in Ephesus so that he would “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). Evidently, there were men in the Church of Ephesus who were teaching false doctrines—doctrines that were different from Paul’s doctrine.
It seems easy for us to stray and to add to or subtract from what the Bible has to say. In fact, some taught fables, which caused disputes within the church. These false teachers were teaching fables—we don’t really know what those were, but Paul considered them false. Sometimes we are hung up on things that just aren’t that important.
Would you be able to recognize false teaching in the Church? Do you recognize it on television? It would be impossible for you to distinguish false teaching from true teaching if you did not foster a close walk with God. This is done by spending time with Him. This begins the first thing in the morning.
We do many things at TFL, but what we do is aimed at giving glory to God. We need to keep evaluating what we do against that standard. Paul tells us that the reason he gives the command to teach no other doctrine is “love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). We need to cultivate those things in our life–a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
This is done by having a daily devotional time with God. I would like to challenge you to start each day with prayer and even a short time of Bible reading.
What better way to do that than to start your day in prayer and in God’s Word. Each of us need to start the day with a time set aside for God.
Let me share with you a simple way to pray each day. It is easy, but it will change our life. I have shared this the past couple of weeks during our worship service. So, consider practicing it this week. The acronym is PACE. Your prayer will have four components.
P—praise God for your life and His guidance for today
Consider praying back a Psalm of Praise, such as Psalm 100:
“A Psalm of Thanksgiving. Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
Spend a 3-5 minutes giving praise to God. Praise the Lord because He is God. He made us—we did not make ourselves. We are His people and He cares for us as a shepherd cares for the flock. We can come before Him with praise on our lips. We can be thankful for all He has done for us. He is good and His mercy is everlasting. Praise God because His truth endures to all generations.
A—accept all that He has for you today–including His forgiveness
Now spend about 3 minutes accepting all the opportunities God has for you today. You might turn to Psalm 139 (this is too long to print here, so look at the passage in your Bible).
God knows you…He knows your sitting down and your rising up. He understands your thoughts. Where ever you go in life, God is there. He is concerned about you and your life. Accept what He has for you this day. Pray verses 23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Now accept what he tells you. Remember, you are His workmanship, created in Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). Accept what He has for you today and also confess any sins that come to your mind (1 John 1:9)
C—commit this day to the God
Spend another couple of minutes committing this day to God. God has opportunities for you this day. Commit to God that you will recognize all the opportunities He has for you this day. I have been thinking about this one in my own life. I am in and out of several business during the day. I am often asked, “What do you know today?” I usually say something trite like “Not much more than I knew yesterday.” Or I might say, “Today I am total blank and I don’t know anything.”
But, God is convincing me that these are opportunities for me to share my faith. So, I have decided that I am going to say, “I know there is a difference between heaven and hell, and how you respond to Jesus Christ determines where you will spend eternity. Have a good day!” This is my commitment for the week. What is yours?
E—embrace the day that God has planned for you
Now, spend a minute or so embracing this day. Consider your relationships with others. Do they need shoring up? Are you ready to tackle the day? I say embrace the day and go for it.
PACE is not new with me…I got it from someone else. But it is worth sharing. Practice it. Commit your day to God. I guarantee it will change your life. The plan cited above will take about 10 minutes. That leaves you 5 minutes to read your Bible.
Now go out and PACE yourself. What other activity could you give just 15 minutes a day of your day to that would change your life?