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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Journey to the Cross - Hearing Aids - Morning by Morning

Do you need a hearing aid? My daddy claims he doesn’t and I laugh and say, “You may be right but wear it anyway.” Sometimes, he complies.

The season of Lent is a time to grow closer to Jesus and to listen carefully for His voice. For the next four days, we are going to talk about ways to hear Him, starting with morning by morning.

“But I’m not a morning person,” you cry. “I don’t need this particular hearing aid. I pray at night.” I’m glad you pray at night but that’s the 4th day of this hearing aid series. During this Lenten season, I beseech you – regardless of how your feel about morning, put on the morning hearing aid anyway. If you wear this hearing aid for 30 days, like my daddy, you may take it off, but you’ll never again doubt that you need it.

Morning Meditation

Read Psalms 5:1-3
Ps 5:1-3
Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. KJV

Sit quietly where you can see outside.
• Give ears to the word of God.
• Consider His meditations.
• Ask God to hear your prayers.
• Notice the signs of morning – possibly the golden and red sunrise, dewdrops glistening on the ground, birds frolicking, flowers bursting with color, or tall trees stretching out their arms to God.
• Sit quietly and listen for the voice of God.

Morning Prayer

If you’re not morning person, ask God to help you with the discipline of beginning your day with meditation, prayer, and Bible Study.
• Thank God for morning.
• Ask God for ears to hear as you go throughout your day.
• Tell God your joys, fears, and needs. Praise Him in everything.
• Pray for knowledge of God’s will for you today and the power to carry that out.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.

Morning Bible Study

Do you wake up in the morning with God on your mind? Are you thrilled to have an entire day before you to walk with God? Do you get a rush of excitement as you prepare for your sweet morning time with God? Are you willing to go to any lengths not to give up that morning thrill?

People who have disciplined themselves to early morning devotional time report the answers to the above questions as a resounding yes. I know this because I’ve traveled across America asking people about their time with God. These “morning people” all say pretty much the same thing. Their spiritual morning time goes through the following 3 stages:
Stage 1: The Struggle – they try repeatedly, only to fail. Everything gets in the way and eventually they give up. Guilt goads them into trying again but it seems hopeless. Some stay at this “on again off again phase” for years and some never move past it.
• Stage 2: The Habit – Eventually, it becomes a habit. The time may seem dry and dull but they persist. Temptation to stop whispers in their ear but they’ve come too far to stop now. They continue out of obedience, not quite understanding why. Some make it to this stage, only to tumble back to Stage 1. Some give up completely. Others hang in there long enough to move to the next glorious stage.
• Stage 3: The Adventure – If we obey long enough, one day we will wake up excited about our time with God. We will hear God’s voice in the morning and it will minister to us throughout the day. We will understand God’s will for us and the power to carry it out will be ours. Life will become an adventure as we walk through each day under the authority of the voice of God. We will go to any lengths to make room for that special time of our day.

The Bible uses the words “morning by morning” at least six different times. The writer Charles Spurgeon wrote a devotional book entitled “Morning by Morning.” If you search Google for the words “morning by morning” you get 94,000 hits, with most of them being spiritual.

Read Ezekiel 46:13-15.
Ezek 46:13-15
Every day you are to provide a year-old lamb without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD; morning by morning you shall provide it. You are also to provide with it morning by morning a grain offering, consisting of a sixth of an ephah with a third of a hin of oil to moisten the flour. The presenting of this grain offering to the LORD is a lasting ordinance. So the lamb and the grain offering and the oil shall be provided morning by morning for a regular burnt offering. NIV

What time of day were the sacrifices to be made?
• How many times was “morning by morning” used?

Read Psalms 143:5-12.
Ps 143:5-12
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah. Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant. KJV

What does the Psalm writer meditate about?
• What other word is used that could mean the same as “meditate?”
• What time of day does the writer hear God’s loving kindness?
• What does the writer ask for his day?
• Take a moment to pray this scripture as a prayer

Read Isaiah 50:4.
Isa 50:4
The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. NIV

What time of day does the Lord give the instructions?
• How are we to use our instructed tongue?

Read Mark 1:35.
Mark 1:35
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he (Jesus) went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. KJV

What time of day did Jesus pray?
• Jesus was fully God and fully human. Why do you think He prayed in the morning?
• Many say they are too busy to have a morning time with God. Are you daily activities more important than Jesus?

Are you convinced that time with God “morning by morning” is important? Statistics tell us that only about 15% of Christians spend regular quiet time with God. After traveling across the country several times talking to people about their relationship with God, I believe those statistics.

When I first began my missionary journeys, I expected to find Christians content and non-Christians restless and unhappy. That was not what I found. If anything, Christians struggled more because they knew they were supposed to be trusting God with their circumstances.

What I did observe was that the 15% of Christians who had a disciplined intimate morning time with God had the promised peace that passes all understanding. These Christians exhibited a heavenly perspective as their face glowed with the knowledge that God was bigger than anything they faced. If you don’t believe the word of God, believe the witness of His people. Give yourself the gift of time with God, morning by morning.


My 82 year old daddy is one of the most interesting people I know. At the mention of his name, people’s faces light up with a particular expression that is a combination of amusement, affection, and respect. He loves a practical joke and has a quick teasing humor. When I wore my new suede pink jacket with a fuzzy collar, Daddy looked me up and down, eyes twinkling and said, “You look like a poodle.”

His spiritual gifts are service and generosity and he spends his days serving others by caring for their yards, fixing their cars, or just doing the next right thing, whether people want him to or not. When Daddy starts cutting grass, he can’t seem to stop and it isn’t unusual for him to continue up the block and into several neighbors’ yards. He’s the only person I know who sometimes cuts grass in a tie, dress shoes, and dress pants.

He’s also stubborn and fights the use of his 2 hearing aids. With them, he keeps up in conversations and notices everything around him. Without them, he lives in his own world and misses the nuances of social interactions. I’m constantly saying, “Daddy, put on your hearing aid!”

Daddy constantly argues, “I don’t need them! They don’t do any good.”

On day in frustration I said, “Daddy, when you don’t wear your hearing aid, people treat you like you’re old. They don’t look at you and don’t talk directly to you. Sometimes your responses don’t have anything to do with the conversation.”

Knowing that my spry father could never be old, I thought my words would have an impact. I should have known better. Daddy just grinned and said, “I’ll just have to keep quiet.”

When we put on our spiritual hearing aids for God, others see the difference in us, often before we do. Like my daddy, we can be in denial about the good it is doing us. If you don’t believe morning time with God has an impact , try it from now until Resurrection Sunday and ask those closest to you if they notice a difference.

This morning devotional series, Journey to the Cross, uses the same format every day. It’s a format I was taught years ago and I’ve been using it daily since 1979. I think of my meditation time as listening to God and my prayer time as talking to God. I study the word of God to hear His voice and understand His nature. I focus the end of my quiet time trying to apply what I’ve learned to this one day. I get up and go into my day, feeling prepared.

There is a link to this 4-step format on my website, The format is as follows:

Step 1 – Meditation (5 minutes)

Be still before the LORD” Psalms 37:7
Sit quietly
• Focus on a scripture
• Listen to God

Step 2 – Prayer (5-10 minutes)

Pray in the Holy Spirit Jude 20
Praise – Tell God Thank You
• Pain – Tell God Your Problems
• Please – Ask God for what you need.
• Ask God to interpret the scriptures you are about to read

Step 3 – Bible Study (15-20 minutes)

So that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Rom 15:4
Study the word of God
• Use supporting materials like Bible studies, Christian inspirational books, devotionals, or other denominational materials

Step 4 – Application (1-5 minutes)

Here I am, I have come to do your will. Heb 10:9 (1-5 minutes)
Ask God what He wants you to do with your day, month, life
• Journal your thoughts, plans, goals, and prayers
• Pray daily for knowledge of God’s will for you and the power to carry it out.

Commit to giving God at least 30 minutes of your morning. Use this or any other format that includes meditation, prayer, Bible Study, and application. Try this morning “hearing aid” for 30 days and if you don’t like it, you can get double your deafness back.

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