But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 59:16
Thanks to the internet most people are aware of many other countries’ religious customs, and how theological rule often dominates the land. It doesn’t matter if you believe in a deity or not, it’s a fact that many more humans do believe in something higher than themselves than those who don’t. Perhaps what is not known by all but only to those who do travel the experiences and sweet sounds of church bells, adhan, puja, orthros, or aleinu in the mornings and evenings. The visitor wakes up hearing the natives’ custom prayer or song of thankfulness to their god before they even start their day. One can’t help but notice the mood and loyalties this invokes in the people in that country.
Like I said – many other countries. It does not seem to include mine, as much as I love this country. I’m not here for the purpose of promoting other religions or ecumenicism. I just wanted to give you a quick list of the world’s main religions that include morning worship as a normal and essential start to their day. I’m sure there are many other morning worship practices I know nothing about.
I live very close to Philadelphia. It is a parade of zombies here on most mornings – especially Monday, half alive and slurping down expensive lattes as we crawl like doomed cattle into the city. No one smiles, and there are always the cusses and horn honking, making that bottle-necking traffic jam even more aggravating. Nothing new to any city dweller or suburbanite, I’m sure.
I was one of those ‘prodded cattle’ in earlier years. I never felt like I had much to look forward to on the first round of the rat-race. At the same time I hated rushing my life away as I counted down until Friday. This only magnified how ungrateful I sounded. Add to that how the days are already too short for all the things I want to do. Then holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, July 4th blur right by us thanks to the marketing maniacs.
S. L. O. W. I. T. D. O. W. N. What’s the rush?
RAT RACE – DAY 1
The guilt started RIGHT HERE WITH ME in bad attitude.
Here’s a practical look at this day. If I live to be 75 years old, that will equate to approximately 3900 Mondays from birth until death. That is a BIG number of days, which actually equates 10.68 years of my life complaining, whining, grumbling, wishing, dreading.
That’s just for one day of the week!
With basic math, Mondays look different now, don’t they? If I live that long, I will go to the grave thinking, ‘What could I have done with that wasted time period for myself, my family, friends, even God?’
We have all been blessed with so much wealth and convenience in our busy lives, and the more we seem to get, the more we want, and the more we complain. What happened to us so that we skip through the week and count down until………
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)
What if we start each week day like this, a song and a dance like on Fridays? What would life be like if we ALL started each day like they do in other countries’ customs with a song and dance to God in thankfulness for what we already earned and for those we love INSTEAD of the usual rushing around and yelling at the kids to hurry up, then racing to work? We’d see the condition of man’s heart change for the better very quickly, that I can guarantee!
I wanted to find out what a change of attitude would do for one soul – starting with ME!
I woke up one Monday morning determined to get back on track with praying and reading the Word daily as the first thing upon waking If I continued to ‘schedule’ it in the evenings, my time in meditation would fall through the cracks from fatigue, busyness, distractions or worries. What great things can be done now for the One who gave me all these days and blessings? This was a fresh new week and I wanted to grow closer to the Lord and do many great things. No complaining was allowed, even in my head, I vowed! (rhyme not intended…lol)
I got an answer immediately!
Just by random choice I opened to Luke, since it is what our local church is presently studying together.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)
The first verse struck me wide awake and with immediate urgency to pay attention. I know, our regular jobs are not even close to the tasks the followers of Christ were involved in, but still- Jesus gave POWER to his disciples for doing the missions assigned to them. Before they took one step on their own path to do God’s work, they were already filled with the undefeatable Spirit of God for their success and safety. That’s more effective than an espresso and a Red Bull! Who wouldn’t be motivated by the King sending you on a mission, with the blessings and provisions to do it well?
But this does apply to us today as well, along with:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)
Why is that significant and why does it apply to our present modern lives? Because I know that He has plans for me. And He has plans for you as well. The best part is – I can’t fail when He goes before me. God gives power to those who work for Him, as stated above. He also gives protection, wisdom, peace and connections. This does not just pertain to the mission field, but your walk in faith in general (well, not illegal/immoral stuff). In spiritual maturity the knowledge that the mission field INCLUDES where you work and the attitude you show to your co-workers and boss MATTERS!
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however,it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)
The rest of the chapter in Luke was about trusting God for every single need.
He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:3-6)
This may not pertain to your daily activities but the point is, God provides if we would just trust Him and worship Him instead of our continued groveling and worry.
Most of us have to work in order to sustain ourselves. But maybe we can use those 3900 days that were previously lost to us in exhausted grief, and turn them around to face something else bigger and better than ourselves. Perhaps you can have a family or friends volunteer night, game night, church or hobbies together.
Most important, whatever you do or when you do it, start EACH day with more gratitude and joy and you will begin to enjoy each day more. Maybe others will be moved by your faith and want to follow Christ as well.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13