May 6, 2016


Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

I have written and even preached on this verse, because it expresses an essential part of my lifestyle. Right now the wording of the Japanese translation particularly impresses me. Expressed in English, the second half of the verse comes out as, “At dawn I make preparation (make an offering) for You and am on the lookout.” Getting up early to spend time with God can indeed be a sacrifice. I am reminded of David’s words at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite: “I will not sacrifice to God that which cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24) We tend to give to God only what is convenient, or what feels good at the moment. The focus of society is on making things easy, but sometimes the sports training motto is true: no pain, no gain. The widow’s offering also comes to mind. (Luke 21:1-4) Our gifts to God are far more meaningful when they really cost us something, in time, effort, or what have you. The flip side of that is knowing that we don’t do such things in a vacuum; God pays attention and will respond. The NIV captures that with “wait in expectation.” Sometimes God surprises us when He speaks to us, but we are more likely to hear Him accurately when we are expecting it. Making time every morning to pray and get into the Bible isn’t an obligation, it’s a privilege, and the benefits are beyond expressing in words.

I have had morning devotions as the cornerstone of my lifestyle for many years now, and I am deeply grateful. It is especially when I feel least like doing it that I know I need it most. Sometimes I have to sit quietly before the Lord for a while before I can even muster the presence of mind to pray, much less focus on the Bible to read it. Those are my times of greatest need. I have to prepare my heart and mind to fellowship with my Lord and receive what He has to say to me. However, all my years of experience have taught me without question that He is absolutely faithful, though I am not. I mess up more times than I like to think about, but He never misses a beat. I can indeed approach Him every morning with full expectation that He is going to meet with me, and that is glorious indeed.

Father, thank You for Your grace toward me. Thank You for loving me despite my failures and my petty rebellions. Thank You for preparing the way for me to come to You through Your Son, my Lord Jesus Christ. Help me be more effective in drawing others into Your way, so that they too may walk with You in the light of life, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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