I don’t do Mornings
Many of us are familiar with the Old Testament account of the provision of Manna, a super-natural provision, supplied every morning for the Children of Israel after their escape from bondage in Egypt. We read from the story in Exodus 16 earlier in todays Service. God faithfully provided this “Heavenly Food” for 40 years, and yet many of its recipients grumbled and complained about it. Imagine just for a moment, if on hearing their complaints, (for Gods ears picks up everything)
God had responded with the words,
“from now on … I DON’T DO MORNINGS”.
Recently, someone asked me about my habit of waking early each morning, and about the health benefits of rising early, which I thought was an excellent question. Unfortunately, there are none, that I can boast of.
However, there are many other great benefits.
Now, let me first say that if you are a night owl, and that works for you, I think that’s great. There’s no reason to change, especially if you’re happy with it. But for me,
I am “A morning Person”, in other words I am at my best in the morning. Don’t expect me to be bright and breezy at 10pm or 11pm, in the evening, it is well past my bed time, for, for years now, in fact for all of my adult life, (when it’s possible)
I have followed the wise advise of my Grandmother,
“Early to Bed and Early to Rise…” Benjamin Franklin was famous for the notion that it “makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise” but I’m not convinced?
My Sermon Today entitled I DON’T DO MORNINGS
is intended to be a challenge to those of you who may miss
what I believe to be the very best part of every day?
Let us consider today then some of the things that the Bible tells us about the MORNING. Returning to the “Manna in the Wilderness” story, here we see a classic example of what the Psalmist calls the “Loving-Kindness” of God. Psalm 92:2
In spite of their waywardness, in spite of their grumbling and complaining, with the dawn of each new day, the provision of each new supply of Manna came. Remember, they were told not to try to keep or preserve one days supply until the next, for it would ROT! … only for the Sabbath, would God give two days supply in one. How rightly the Psalmist discovered that Gods Love and Kindness was “new every morning”. It is for you too! Every day, whether or not you notice it, or acknowledge it, or thank Him for it, every day Gods mercies toward you, are “new every morning”.
Moses, when he blessed the tribes of Israel just before His death promised them that “As your days, so shall your strength be” Deuteronomy 33:25. This does not mean days according to longevity as many suppose, rather the word “days” here refers to kind and not length. Whatever kind of day today will be, God will give you strength for it, and if you seek him early, you can tap into that source of strength right away. Moreover the Psalmist declares, “Evening, morning and at noon …He will hear my voice” Psalm 55:17 … and we used to sing in Sunday School “Whisper a prayer in the morning, whisper a prayer at noon, whisper a prayer in the evening to keep your heart in tune”. If you fail to seek God in the morning, you may fail to survive life in the day. If you fail to get up, dress up and stand up in the “whole armour of God” then you will experience defeat in the battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. I know from bitter experience, that no matter how early I get up, the Devil gets up long before me.
He has traps and snares and troubles all planned out for me, long before I set one foot on the floor. Remember that one of his names is “Lucifer Son of the Morning” Isaiah 14:12. So as much as possible I rarely move from my bedroom until I have first spoken with my Father in Heaven, and early in the morning, asked for His help, provision and protection for the rest of the day. The Bible is simply full of examples of those who rose early in the morning to be with God.
Abraham got up early in the morning, as did Jacob, Laban, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, and Job, and others who had discovered the benefits of greeting the dawn, and meeting the day, with God. The Bible speaks of the Morning light, the Morning Star, the Morning Watch, all with reference to waiting on God for leadership and light on the path of day. So then how important it is for us also to begin our day with God.
Let me share with you today the practical things you will miss if you don’t do mornings with God? Someone has said:
“There ought to be a better way of starting the day than having to get up?” … and my answer is YES there is!
First – Greet the day.
I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I say “wonderful” because I expect that if I have begun the day properly with God, then it will be wonderful. This does not mean that it may not be eventful? Nor do I suggest that there may be no problems to encounter, but having greeted the day with God and asked for his help, I know that he will be ahead of me in every eventuality. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. The Hymns writer could say “Count your blessings one by one and you’ll be surprised what God has done” …and that’s true.
I read recently something that that the Dalai Lama said, and I quote; ”Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others
as much as I can.’ “
That’s how God wants us to start too, to start positively, and not negatively. Many begin their day with a negative outlook they don’t expect that things will be any better, they don’t hope for change, they don’t dream, and usually they get exactly
what they expect?
Then, make an Amazing start.
As a younger man, before I entered the Ministry of the Church, I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself fed and watered, washed and dressed and ready – but then in to work late.
I had to run for the Bus, sometimes missed it, and would walk into work, looking exhausted, barely awake, grumpy and behind everyone else. Not a great start to any day. Now, I have a renewing and refreshing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m. that I’ve already made a head start on my day. There is no better way to start off your day than to wake early, in my experience.
Another blessing of the early morning is Quietness.
No neighbours yelling, no babies crying, no soccer balls, no cars or traffic on the roads, no television noise and no
phone calls. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favourite time of the day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read my Bible, hear from God, and talk with God, and when I can breathe in fresh air, without all the pollutants of the morning rush hour? It is truly a “Quiet Time”.
Sunrise, is something else many miss.
People who wake late miss one of the greatest glories of nature, repeated in full stereovision each and every day — the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colours start to creep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible hews. I like having an early morning walk during this time, and glancing around at nature, the trees of the field, the birds of the air, admiring all of the Creative handiwork of God. I can then look up at the sky in all its glory, for the Heavens declare the Glory of God (Psalm 19:1 ) and I can say to my Saviour,
“Thank You for this another glorious day!”
Then there is Breakfast.
Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast. We are told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry by lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sweetier, the better.
But eat breakfast, and you are satisfied until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more
enjoyable than scoffing something down on the way to work, or at your desk. And don’t forget at meal times to Thank God, He does give us each day our daily bread,
whether we are thankful or not.
I should also mention Exercise…
at this point. There are other times to exercise besides the early morning, of course, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s often liable to be cancelled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never cancelled. Our Bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and as Christians we should always be serious about diet and exercise. God wants us well, He wants us in tip-top condition. Over-eating and gluttony is sin, and a sin that few take as seriously as God does. If we have “Bread enough and to spare” which many of us do, it does not mean that we should always clear the table of every morsel? Purely from our health perspective, we should always rise from the table being able to eat more.
Then what about our Productivity.
Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of the day. I like to do some sermon or letter writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my e-mail or post. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when the evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend that time relaxing, and resting with family or friends.
If you’ve got Goals and Ambitions, and, you should. then there’s no better time to review them and plan for them
and do your goal tasks – first thing. You should have one aim or goal that you want to accomplish every day. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today should be and move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning.
Now let us consider your Appointments.
Let us talk about time-keeping in general. It’s much easier to make those early appointments on time if you get up early. Showing up late for those appointments is a bad signal to the person you’re meeting. Showing up early will impress them. Plus, you get time to prepare. Christians ought to be men and women of their word. The Bible says that what we do, should be done “decently and in order”
(1 Cor 14:40 )
God is not honoured by a “slap-dash” way of living, or “haphazard” time-keeping. God showed me many years ago that by arriving for work late, and still collecting my wages, I was robbing my employer of his time. You may not, and should not, have your hand in the ’till, but many Christians are stealing time both by being late, and by being dishonest in time-keeping records. Punctuality, is the mark of a well disciplined character. Punctuality for the House of God, and for your Church is also very important. Those who come in late show little regard for the House of God, or for the importance of Worship. These are practical matters, and we must not forget that God is concerned about every little aspect of our lives.
He has saved the “whole” person, not just the soul.
There are some who think these things should not be mentioned in a Sermon, but God is a practical God, and
has laid down rules and regulations for our health safety
and well-being, and if we neglect or ignore them
then we fail Him and we may fail others also.
For that reason, I wish to say a few words about
Personal Appearance, and Dress
Sometimes the Preacher must take the Bull by the Horns, so here goes ….
As I hinted a while ago, getting up late, rushing out for work or for Church, gives us little or no time to properly prepare ourselves. Some say that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and while it is not a Biblical truth, there is nevertheless truth in it. Soap is cheap and Water is Free
(at any rate it is now) and thus we are without excuse.
Many Christians focus on a “clean heart” but forget that they should also have a “clean body” (at least if they sit beside me in the Church). Then what about your dress sense or your general appearance. God forbid that we should come to Church as “movie stars” draped in diamonds and furs, but many of you come to Church as if God your Father was broke! Old Jeans, Old Shoes, Old Shirts, same as you wear for the football. Tidy yourselves up, tuck in your shirt, you are having an audience with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How dare you treat God as you might treat an Umpire or a Referee. If some of you were going to a wedding you would spare no expense on new clothes, shoes, hats and the like. God wants His children to look and act like Princes, not like Beggars. While it is true that God looks on the heart, it is not true that he is blind to the rest. God sees all of you and all about you. You are supposed to be an “Ambassador” for Heaven, but when are you going to start acting like one?
Returning to the Scriptures, and thinking of the morning, I am reminded of something that Paul the apostle says:
“Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch
and be sober.”—1 Thessalonians 5:6. Those who are half-hearted about their day will have difficulty getting out of bed. Those who are excited about life will rise early and get to it.
If you don’t do mornings then you are surely losing out on life. The most important part of the day for the Christian ought to be that “morning watch” that daily devotional
quiet time with God.
Who knows just whose lives you might effect by a simple prayer for them every morning. Many a marriage has been saved by the prayers of a neighbour, many a factory has been spared ruin by the prayers of the watchman or janitor. Many a School has produced a president or a prime minister by the prayers and influence of a teacher, and many a wayward son has been spared Hell because a Mother or Father knelt every morning, to include their name in a prayer to God. How do you begin your day?
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
The story is told of two men that lived in a simple country home in their boyhood, and they later became rich men, when they went away from home. They went occasionally to visit the father and mother living in the old homestead. And finally their father and mother, good Christian Parents, went to their reward in Glory . The sons did not know what to do with the old home. One of them said to the other, “If you’ll sell out your interest in it to me, I’ll tear down the house and build a summer home there, and let you come out to it when you want to.”
Accordingly they took a trip out to the old homestead to tear it down. Around that spot there swept many sacred memories. Then these two brothers, past middle life and rich, went into the house and looked around through it.
One walked up and down in front of the old fireplace and the other sat down. Finally one said to the other: “You know, Bob, what I’m thinking about? I’ve changed my mind since I’ve been here, I’m not going to tear down this old house. This house is going to stand here; it’s not going to be torn down.” “That is a strange thing,” the other brother said, “because when I was walking up and down in front of the fireplace, that is the same thing I was thinking about.” He looked at the chair in which his father used to sit. “Here is the old chair that father sat in when he read the Bible, when we had family worship. . . the chair around which we all knelt as father lifted our hearts to God.” The boys stayed there two hours to talk things over. Then they both got down on their knees by that old chair, repented, and wept their hearts out before God. They went back home, saved men, and gave their wealth to God and began to live for Heaven. Today that old house still stands. Not a single thing was moved out. It was too sacred to touch because of a father’s prayers that had been prayed there every morning and every night!
May God enable us all to whisper a prayer in the morning, whisper a prayer at noon, whisper a prayer in the evening and so keep our Hearts in tune. Amen