Here I am at 4:30am, reading a devotion. My wife has an 8:00am doctor appointment. We had planned to awaken at 6:00am, get ready and get there early, as usual. There would be no time for my morning routine with our plans, but God had other plans. I awoke at 4:00am, clinched my eyes shut, and then awoke again at 4:30am. As Martin Luther said to his assistant, (quote not exact) “Wake me up early. It will be a busy day, and I’ll need even more time for prayer.” So here I am.
God has been preparing me all of my life for this early morning walk with Him. I love my sleep, but I have spent a lifetime getting prepared to be prepared. I guess the Eagle Scout never goes away.
What has changed in the past 10-15 years is the devotions. I was always a Bible reader. Why read someone’s interpretation of scripture when you could read the real thing? I mentioned in another post (I Have Been Had) that I rarely read devotions until my wife teased me about a book entitled “Praying for My Wife”. Since then, my devotion life has taken off.
Before I was laid off in 2014, I started the day with one devotion and Bible reading. When I was laid off at the age of 62, I thought I needed a miracle. I started reading a second devotion in the morning. I soon signed up for an on-line devotion, making it three devotions in the morning. Thus, when I spent about a year and a half doing contract work, I would wake up two hours early to read the Bible and read three devotions. I would then spend time sending out a resume or two before going to work. I would do this without the alarm going off. God was letting me know that this was important to me. The odd thing is that on one contract job (construction safety), we would pour concrete at night, usually starting about 4:00am. I would wake up at 1:30am before the alarm went off and start my devotions in the hotel bathroom, as to not awaken my wife. God seemed to adjust His wake-up call to my schedule.
Now that I am retired, I feel that the extra time on my hands needs to be spent with God. I have mentioned in many posts that God talks to you if you are listening. You have to know what the scriptures say to determine if it is God talking, so I have always had that in my life. But I did not spend enough time listening. I regret that.
Going to bed at night was always my battleground. I have had insomnia since my teen years, if not before. I was in second grade and my Dad and brother (for some reason?) were gone. My mother was afraid that I would be scared at night all alone, so she had me sleep with her. Frankly, I doubt if I would have known the difference. She said two things: 1) I sleep with a loaded German Luger under the pillow so don’t wiggle in your sleep. And 2) I have a slipped disc in my back (obtained when she was pregnant with me) and if you wiggle, I will be very angry. Being an expert in Logic, even at a young age, I drew the obvious conclusion. I don’t know, but that may have started the insomnia.
God put a burden on my heart to start doing a devotion at night. I now read two of them before bed. My insomnia is not cured completely, but I have no nights where I toss and turn for half the night. I have much fewer nights of the one or two hour struggle to fall asleep. And I have a lot of nights where I am asleep soon after finishing the devotions.
Why do devotions in the morning? You need to start the day focused on God rather than anything else. Rather than organizing the day with the things that need doing, have a moment with God. Once that is done, the long list of things to do won’t seem as insurmountable. You will have God’s strength within you to get them done. If you recognize God’s strength and praise Him as the tasks get accomplished, you have yet more moments of closeness with the Savior as the day progresses. That’s a part of what continuous prayer is all about, praising God for each little accomplishment.
The night devotions may not be necessary for you. As I said about my insomnia, the night devotions have helped me. I should have started the night devotions years ago. With more sleep, I would have been more energetic at work.
Regardless of how many devotions you read, you should never ignore daily time in the scriptures. I have often had special moments with Jesus as I read a passage. It seems that God had meant that passage for me alone. If you spend time listening to God, he will reveal that scripture to you as well. For you, it will also be personal.
Well, it’s now nearly lunchtime. The doctor visit went well. The early morning is catching up with me, and I’m getting tired. But I’m not ready for a nap. God has revealed a few more topics for future posts this morning. It is a great day when we have such a great conversation with the Creator of the universe.