Thursday, April 18, 2013

Early I Will Seek You

           What is your morning routine? We all have one. We get up in the morning; we make our coffee, exercise, check our emails and Facebook, and get our days going. Where is God in your morning? I ask these questions because yesterday, I was listening to the radio and the host was talking about her devotion time with the Lord. She talked about how she gets up in the morning, checks her Facebook, then her emails and then reads the short devotion that is in her inbox. As I thought about this, some conversations with other ladies about their devotion time came back into my remembrance. How do we spend our devotion time with God? What does it mean to have devotion time, and when should we have it? Is there a set amount of time that we should spend with God? Is there a book we should read during our devotion time? These are just a few of the questions that I have been asked over the years.
                Devotion is an appointed time set aside to worship our Lord and Savior. It is a time for prayer, a time for repentance, a time to seek Him and to draw near to Him. The dictionary describes devotion as a “profound dedication, it is the act of devoting time and energy; being ardently dedicated and loyal to” {something or someone} (parenthesis mine). Are you dedicating your time to God each and every day? If you were to look at your devotion time with God from the outside, what would you think of the time you have spent? Would you say you are devoted to God based on the time you spend with Him each day?
                “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” Psalm 5:3
                David writes that in the morning he shall go to the Lord God and he shall speak with Him, and he will look up to the heavens where the Lord dwells. How do you spend your morning? Is your voice to the heavens, are you looking up to the One who paid your debt and gave you the life you now live? The morning is new each day for us. The Lord God has given you another day to glorify Him, to draw close to Him, devotion time should be in the mornings.
                “Now, in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” Mark 1:35
                Jesus is our example of what true devotion looks like. He rose up before everyone else and went to a place to be alone with His Father. He made time; He sacrificed sleep so that He could spend some time with God before the day even began. I do understand how time can be a premium when you have small children. I too was once a mother of small children who demanded my attention at every moment. But over the years, I learned that I needed to set aside a time each morning to spend with my Lord. When I spent time with Him each day, the day that was ahead of me was much easier to face. The Lord God knows your day better than you do. He knows what is going to happen, who will need you and how you need to be prepared to face it. The more time you dedicate to Him in the morning, the more prepared you will be to face the day ahead.
                Having devotion time means that you will have to make some sacrifices. It may mean that you will have to set your alarm before the dawn, before anyone else in your house wakes up. It may mean that you will have to set some boundaries with your family. This was something that I had to do. I had to draw the line in the sand and tell my family that from this time to this time, mom was with Jesus and needed to be left alone. It took them some time to get used to not interrupting me, but after I stood my ground and they saw the benefits of my time with Jesus, they left me alone to be with Him.  
                We have to make a determination in our hearts to set aside time for the Lord God each and every day. The reason you are awake is to glorify Him, to seek Him, to know Him, to learn from Him and to grow in His grace. The sun comes up and it is a new day, a new day to praise the One who has planned your path for you. How can we know what the day will bring? How can we be prepared for the events ahead of us? It is only through the devotion time we spend with God.
                 Now that you have determined to set aside time each day, even if that means getting up before the sun does what should you do? Let’s look back at what Jesus did. He went out and departed to a solitary place. He found a place that He could be alone with God. We all need that secret place, that special place where we can sit and meet with the Lord. It can be your bedroom, your bathroom, anywhere in your home where you can be free to worship and praise God alone. When my children were little, sometimes my bathroom was the only place I could pray without being interrupted. You need to find a place that is comfortable, a place where you can be undisturbed and sit in His presence.
                Next, the question that is always asked of me is “what do I read?” For me, the only way to truly seek God is to seek Him in His word. There is nothing wrong with the devotions we get in our inboxes, or the books that we purchase for devotion, but this should not be all that we have beside us. Devotion is a profound dedication to God. What better way to know Him, to hear from Him than to read His word. If you are not sure where to start in regards to your devotion time, start in Psalms. David was a man who spent time with God, who devoted his mornings and his evenings to praising, worshipping, praying and seeking the Lord. I am not saying that devotions in our inbox are bad, and if you want to use them you can. However, don’t just take their word for it. Go to God’s word, look up the scriptures they have discussed, seek and search out what God wants to say to you, personally.
                Our devotion time is not all about us, either. We come to God in a humble spirit to receive from Him what He has for us today. “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You I do trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.” Psalm 143:8. David says to the Lord that he wants to hear from Him, he wants to hear His lovingkindness in the morning. David sought to hear what the Lord had to say to Him that day. A relationship is not only one sided. To have a relationship with someone you have to listen to them, hear them, and communicate with one another. Our devotion time should be focused on listening to what the Lord has to say to us that day. David asks the Lord to “cause me to know the way in which I should walk”. David knew that the Lord had already ordered his day, and it was in the quiet devotion time with God that he learned how to walk with God.
                So many times we sacrifice our time alone with God for a quick devotion sent to our inboxes. The time that you set aside to spend with God should be just that, time alone with God, with His word, as you pray and praise Him for who He is, what He has done, and what He desires to do in your life. We seek wisdom, we seek knowledge, we seek growth in our walks, but we are not willing to seek God in the early morning hours, we are not willing to sacrifice our time and spend a little time with Him.
                If you are struggling in your walk, and finding yourself withering, may I challenge you today to look at your devotion time? How is your time in the morning spent? Where is God in your morning? God desires that we seek Him first, and that we humble ourselves to receive from Him the plans and the thoughts He has for us today. Jesus spent time alone with God, even though He was God. He willingly sacrificed His time, just so that He could go and be alone with God. We search and we seek all kinds of things. We pick up our phones and read the quick 5 minute devotion in our inbox and walk away. But true devotion is a willingness to lay down your time, your energy, your plans and sit before the Lord in ready obedience to hear His words to us. He knows your heart; He knows the events that are before you, who better to go to in the morning than the One who created you, who loves you, and who died for you?
                If you are seeking a closer walk with God, then I encourage you to seek out a time in the morning, sacrifice if you have to, to spend time at His feet, listening to Him, reading His word, praying and thanking Him for being your God, your Love, your Savior and your Jesus. He deserves our time, our devotion, and all that we can give Him. It is our reasonable sacrifice.