Starting Each Day Right
This [day in which God has saved me] is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Dead-end jobs. Strained relationships. Feelings of emptiness. Too often, we dread getting up in the morning to face another day of struggles and disappointments. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Perspective makes all the difference, and if we have a strong sense of hope in a God of infinite possibilities, the whole world opens up to us.
Imagine Jesus’ disciples getting up each morning. Do you think they dreaded the day? Not a chance! As they sat by the fire while munching on their fish breakfast, they probably looked at one another as if to say, “I wonder what He’s going to do today!” Whatever it was, it would be fantastic!
Every day was amazing. They watched Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead, cure lepers, argue with rigid religious leaders, laugh, cry, teach thousands, calm storms, cast out demons, pray all night, and get away to relax. As they packed up their meager belongings to hit the road, we can almost hear them say, “I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen today.”
He’s with us, too. We don’t walk on dusty roads in Palestine, but Christ is with us in the boardroom, the bathroom, and the bedroom. He has made each day- including this day- for each of us to experience His presence and His power. The disciples often didn’t understand what He was doing, and there will be times we don’t get it, either. But each day is a gift from God for us to watch Him in us, around us, and through us.
I’m convinced that millions of people today don’t know the Lord because of the long-faced, poor, suffering-little-me, self-sacrificing, tell-everybody-all-their-troubles Christians who act like their second birth was just as painful to them as their first one was to their mothers.
There’s an old saying: Begin well, end well. That’s certainly true with how our day begins. I think most of us are aware that as the day progresses it quite often presents challenge, stress, and things that may bring anxiety. The secret to having a good day is to begin it well. One of the best ways to begin well is by starting our day with the presence of God. Benny Hinn a few years wrote a book titled “Good Morning, Holy Spirit.” The premise of the book was to welcome the Holy Spirit in our day just as we would do so for friends and family. As we set aside time each day at the beginning to sit with the Holy Spirit, we receive several benefits. First, we find that as we meditate on the goodness of God and lift our hearts to Him in praise and adoration, we are reminded of His power, majesty, and love. We think about all the times He has answered our prayers and met our needs and in doing so remind ourselves that just as He brought us through every other day, He will also bring us through this day. The psalmist reminds us that the day we are facing has been made by God and because that is so, it is also ordered by God. The Bible teaches that the steps of God’s children are ordered by Him. Every thing that the day will bring- whether good or not so good- never catches God by surprise.
Jesus, as He gave the model of prayer, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, taught us to begin by remembering who God is. We begin by thanking God for being our Father. Think about that for a moment. The Creator of the universe is also your Father. This is no distant God, disconnected or disinterested in the lives of His children. This is the God described in the old hymn, “In the Garden” who “walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His own.” Beginning our day by reminding ourselves not only of the great and mighty power of God that will be more than enough to manage whatever our day brings, but also reminding ourselves that He is a caring Father gives us the courage to get out of bed and face the day with anticipation of what God will do in us, around us, and through us. From dread to excitement, we face a new day; not because we’re sure everything will work as we planned but because we know that our Father will be there with us. The prayer continues by recognizing that God is in heaven, above all things and His view is to see the whole forest and guide us safely through the trees. And then the prayer reminds us that we have been given a name to drop- Jesus, who said that anything we ask in His name we would receive.
As we begin our day with God, James reminds us that those who draw near to God will also experiencing God drawing near to them. What a great way to start our day! As we go through the day, we will find that at every point, the nearness of God guides us, strengthens us, encourages us, and provides for us.
But what about those mornings when we know the day before us is going to be challenging and perhaps filled with pain or sorrow? How can we then rejoice? Paul,in his letter to the Thessalonians tells us to “ give thanks in everything.”
“in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Never should we read this as “for” everything give thanks. There are many Christians who drift through life and make an assumption that everything that happens to them is somehow the will and plan of God. They will say something like, “I know that God has a purpose for this, so I must endure it because apparently He’s placing this on me.” I know that sounds well but we mustn’t forget that the devil also brings into our lives his trials and temptations. From the beginning, Jesus knew that He had come to give His life as a sacrifice for humanity but on the two occasions that the crowd tried to end His life, He resisted. When He came to the cross, He made a powerful statement, “No man takes my life, I lay it down…” By beginning our day with God, we should discover His direction and will for us and whenever the devil tries to place on us what God has delivered us from, we should resist. James says it this way:
“So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.”
But what about when we are given “a cross to bear?” This brings us back to 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks.” Even in the darkness we can find something to be grateful for. Grateful that God is with us and for us. Grateful that He hears our cry of distress. Grateful to know that the storm won’t last forever. We look to Christ who taught us how to go through the storm:
[“looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”
We begin our day with praise, thanksgiving and faith by looking beyond the moment and thinking of all that God has prepared for us in the future that is yet to come. Without being morbid, let me say that every day that passes for the child of God, they are one day nearer to being fully with Him- the joy that is set before us.
So get up and get going today, rejoice in the presence and grace of God knowing that “if God be for us who can be against us.”
Dr. John Thompson