1 John 1.1-2
no podcast on this Morning Briefing;
you will see why - please read.
just coming off a crazy three days
of speaking and teaching in Castro Valley, CA,
where I graduated high school and got to return
and speak in Chapel . . . AH-mazing, but
I am crazy wound up, so here we go . . .
In the last couple weeks, I have had numerous conversations with people near and far who are exhausted--some by their own thinking and emotions--anxiety, extreme stress, fatigue, physical pain, sorrow ... confusion, is there a cure for it? Well, God has a plan for us. When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment; his answer frames our remedy. He said, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: 'love your neighbor as yourself'. There is no greater commandment than this.'1
So when your mind is assailed, narrow your focus to these God-given priorities:
Like what I penned, God is at the center, the starting point.
#1. Love God well - honor him in thought, with your words, how you act
#2. Love those he gave you well. For goodness sake, do not make it a practice to give them your exhausted left-overs
#3. Be prudent with the rest of who you are . . . particularly guarding against distractions and detractors that would pull you away from your first two priorities.
Once again, I love how the apostle John started his letter, (1 John 1.1-2)--that he had the right to talk about Jesus because he had relationship with him and knew him . . . I want to tell you from my experience what has helped me love God, love others, and grow in my faith - guarding against distraction, detractors like worry and a whole lot of other things!
It was a long time ago when Dylan2 was just nine months old and my friend Kathy and I purposed to do something. We would get up and spend fifteen minutes alone with God before we went about our day, and support each other in doing it. We called and asked each other about our morning time, cheering for, but also, holding the other accountable for what we purposed to do. The goal was three weeks without a missed morning time with God; if there was a miss, the three weeks started over. That habit radically changed my life, as it is how I still start each day.
Shortly after that, I began writing my prayers in a simple, lined journal, so that I could stay focused. (there's that word again! What is your main focus daily? Hmmm) And if I got distracted or pulled away, I could pick up right where I left off. What a benefit!
Here's the format I currently use to focus my morning prayer:
(go ahead; print it out - use it)
Set Apart time with God Date: ____________
Choose a verse or verses, ask God to help you understand, apply
>Adoration: Our Father who art in Heaven . . . hallowed be
Appreciate God in your words:
>Confession: Forgive me of my sins . . . anyone you need to forgive?
>Asking: Pray for others' needs, specifically
Pray for yourself; be sure to ask God for wisdom, for favor
>Thanksgiving: I thank you, God, for ______, ________,
>Listening: Speak to me, Lord. I'm listening . . .
Give God some quiet in which to speak.
Write down what you sense he is telling you:
'Want to give God '15' in the morning? Prep a bit the night before; put your Bible, journal and pen near the coffee pot or where you know you they will be waiting for you in the morning, and so you won't get sidetracked looking for them.
'Know too much not to share? Why yes, I do! In the last couple decades, I have known so many who say their '15' has made them a radically different individual-more grateful, hopeful, faith-filled and mentally at peace. You see, when you get your cares out of your head and onto paper, turning them into prayers lifted to God, your relationship with God grows stronger and your faith deeper. Instead of racing thoughts pinging around in your head-distracting you or keeping you awake, your thoughts are ordered; they become objective prayers, not just subjective thoughts.
Focus, friend; start your day with some set apart time with God. Then you too will know too much not to share!
1 - Mark 12.30-31
2 - My third child, now 24 years of age