July 22, 2013
Each morning is a powerful gift that holds unlimited opportunities for each of us. A new day dawning … a fresh start … a chance to wipe the slate clean … a day that God and you can co-author.
So are you a morning person or a night owl? How well do you take advantage of the chance at life each new day offers? On the flip side, how often do you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? I myself love to stay up late. I hate getting “cheated” by missing out on something or losing my relaxation? Sleep is not really relaxation time because I sleep so deeply when I hit the pillow. My body awakes consistently at 5:45 a.m. My fresh start is a bit fuzzy ‘til I shake out the cobwebs. But after a shave and shower I’m fully awake, ready to spend time with the Lord and get a clear view of what He has planned for that day.
Even those with the deepest faith occasionally awaken in a foggy, frazzled state of mind. On the most demanding and trying days, they may even wake in a state of unbelief. You see, our natural state is to get caught up in the minutiae of life and the stressors of the preceding days, losing sight of God’s big picture and plan for us. Starting the day with these tangled thoughts and a mindset of subtle distortion will lead to a day of struggle and poor decisions.
The foundation of good decision-making is perceiving all your daily situations clearly … with eyes that see the truth. That is how the truth sets you free. God and Satan are fighting for the ultimate trophy … your soul. The major battlefield is your mind. It’s the only battlefield. Your mind is your emotions, attitude, viewpoint, knowledge base, and ultimately, Command Central for each decision you make every day. Satan, our Ultimate Adversary and Great Deceiver, has only one weapon – deception. He is always trying to distort your lenses so you can’t see God’s truth.
Your challenge and responsibility is to untangle your thoughts each morning so that your mind is aligned with the truth of God’s Word. You might think you don’t have time. That’s exactly what I used to think. But after wasting much of my day with tangled thinking, I realized I must spend time with God untangling my thoughts and priorities at the start of the day. Otherwise the day will be wasted or even worse, chaotic and painful. Investing a little time provides great returns and saves me so much time, not to mention all the emotional energy I would have wasted on heartache and frustration.
Today, if you started off with Stepping Stones or a similar discipline, good for you. But if not, then tomorrow, don’t reach for coffee (the Christian drug of choice), food, or the morning paper to get you going. Cast your eyes clearly on the grace that comes to you through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Put on the full armor so that confidence, peace, joy, good decisions, and a desire to excel can replace inadequacy, stress, poor decisions, and fear of failure. Focus your thoughts on Your God, Immanuel – God with you. Set aside time each morning for this vital task. Prepare for battle by putting on the Armor of God. (See the Spiritual Basics link below). The lenses you use to start and determine the day are your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I know that you want me to live this day cheerfully as one of Your followers. But I often wake wondering if I can make it through this day … wondering if I’ll be able to cope. I realize that this fear is a form of unbelief. Help me with my unbelief today, my Lord. I know that when I begin my day with a muddled mind, I ask myself the wrong question, “Will I be able to cope with the troubles I face today?” With You alongside me, guiding me, strengthening me and encouraging me … I can conquer anything that comes my way … even the troubles I avoid. So today, Father, as I work to untangle my thoughts … I give you thanks for providing Your armor, Your Holy Spirit, and Your son Jesus, to save me in this battle. I will focus my thoughts on who You are: Immanuel – God with me. I pray this in the name of the Ultimate Lens Cleaner, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – Amen!
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 1 Peter 1:13-15
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7