Monday, April 23, 2012
HOW TO GET YOUR WEEK OFF TO A GREAT START
"It is good to praise Yahweh, to sing praise to Your name, Most High, to declare Your faithful love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night..." (Psalm 92:1, 2 HCSB)
Some will start their day by saying, "Good morning, Lord!" Others will say, "Good Lord--morning!" The former hear the clock alarm as the dinner bell summoning them to come and feast on heavenly manna, while the latter hear it as a church bell summoning them to trudge to a funeral. We can throw off the blankets, seize the day and secure our opportunity, or pull the covers over our heads, let the day grip us around the throat and shun the responsibility.
It's a choice.
We may not have a choice about all that happens to us as our week unfolds, but we do have a choice about the attitude we have as our week begins. Psalm 92 tells us how to get our week off to a great start.
LOOK UP AND WORSHIP!
The psalm begins,
"It is good to praise Yahweh, to sing praise to Your name, Most High, to declare Your faithful love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night, with a ten-stringed harp and the music of a lyre." (Psalm 92:1-3 HCSB)
I can't think of a better way to begin the week! The alarm awakens us and our eyes open--look up! Transform your bedroom into a tabernacle and begin to praise the Lord. I would caution you that if others are asleep in the house, you might want to make melody in your heart, rather than sing in the shower! God knows our thoughts and delights when those first thoughts are directed toward Him.
It is hard to restrain the song. It wells up in our soul, and the next thing we know, it overflows from our lips. God is so good! He faithfully watched over us as we slept--our eyes closed, but His were ever open toward us. He will be faithful to lavish his love on us as the new day dawns. No circumstance we face can change that! Listen to Paul's song of praise:
"Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:
Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, [hostile] powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" (Romans 8:35-39 HCSB)
If you want to get your week off to a great start look up and worship! Then, LOOK BACK AND WONDER!
"For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy
because of the works of Your hands.
How magnificent are Your works, Lord, how profound Your thoughts!
A stupid person does not know, a fool does not understand this: though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be eternally destroyed.
But You, Lord, are exalted forever.
For indeed, Lord, Your enemies--indeed, Your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.
You have lifted up my horn like that of a wild ox; I have been anointed with oil.
My eyes look down on my enemies; my ears hear evildoers when they attack me." (Psalm 92:4-11 HCSB)
The inspired author cannot contain his gratitude over the goodness of God! As he looks back at what the Lord has done, he finds his vocabulary strained to encompass the majesty of God's glory and multiplicity of His grace. These verses call to mind the Messianic title Isaiah expressed, "Wonderful Counselor," when the psalmist shouts joyfully, "how profound Your thoughts!"
We can face the week ahead with delight rather than dread, if we will look back with discernment at the week that is past. As the old song exhorts:
"Count your blessings,
Name them one by one;
Count your many blessings,
See what God hath done."
That isn't to say that we may not have faced gut-wrenching problems and heart-breaking pain. The psalmist acknowledges he has enemies that have attacked him and that he lives in world filled with evil. Life can be tough. Many weeks may be hard. What did you go through last week? I dare not minimize the difficulty as though it is trivial. But, the wonder is, whatever we went through--we got through last week! The Lord brought us through it.
You get your week off to a great start when you look up and worship, look back and wonder, plus LOOK AROUND AND WITNESS!
"The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, to declare: 'The Lord is just; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.' " (Psalm 92:12-15 HCSB)
There is a permanency about the child of God. The palm and the cedar are evergreen; they are particularly impervious to the attack of the elements and insects. The righteous are that way. This is in contrast to the wicked, who "sprout like grass" (v.7) but are soon cut down.
This permanency is connected to the believer's planting--their roots are in the powerful presence of God. This gives stability in the storms that howl around us. Battered, buffeted, bent, but not broken because our roots have wrapped around solid rock--the Rock of Ages!
Our permanency and planting lead to our productivity--even in old age, still bearing fruit! I will confess that the older one gets, the greater the challenge is to rise from the bed. Joints creak and pop, bones are stiff and pain can plague every step across the bedroom floor as we stumble toward the bathroom. But, what recharges the batteries and rekindles the fire is the decision to declare, "The Lord is just; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."
The secret to fruitfulness is abiding in Christ (read John 15). Today we can bear witness to Him and have an opportunity to make an eternal difference in somebody. That's exciting! Not all the difficulties of humanity, nor even the demons of hell can stop us, if we decide to do this.
Have a great week!