For almost 25 years I’ve been used to going to church early. It’s been the early service for most of my married-with-kids life. That has meant rushing to be there on time, making sure everyone has what they need. For many of those Sundays it’s meant playing my instrument in the church orchestra.
A lot has changed in the past few months obviously. First it was online church with less pressure to be out the door but still we chose the early service. We’re now back to in person worship but I’ve only played in service once, so we’ve decided to go to the later service. This has allowed me to rethink my Sunday morning habits and schedule. I’m an early bird and naturally wake up before 6 so if I don’t have to be at church until about 10, that leaves me some free time. And I love the quiet early morning hours.
For the past few weeks I’ve taken advantage by doing some prayer walking through my neighborhood and to the Dunkin Donuts . Dunkin is a mere half mile from the house so it makes for a nice turn around. I’ll walk slowly through the cul-de-sacs of my neighborhood and then head over for a coffee and maybe some conversation if the Lord gives me opportunity. There are always interesting people at the Dunkin on an early Sunday morning.
Last Sunday I settled on Psalm 115 for prayer and reflection. It was a wonderful reminder of the most important things – God is God, I am not, and I need to trust him.
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Reflection: I am ambitious and want to do things for the Lord, but he alone deserves the glory. Why? Because of his steadfast love and his faithfulness. Steadfast love. Faithfulness. I needed to stop and ponder those two rich and precious attributes.
“Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Reflection: This brings a smile to my face because no matter what this world says, no matter what accusations are hurled in God’s direction, he is sovereign above all. As Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is fond of saying, “Heaven rules.”
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” Reflection: Idols can be more than statues. They can be anything we look to for security and hope. Those who make them become like them. You become what you worship.
“O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.” Reflection: It amazes me how he repeats this three times. Hebrew poetry uses repetition for emphasis so I guess this is important! “Lord, how do I not trust you?” And faithfully and tenderly, the Spirit impresses something on my heart about having a hurried spirit, always wanting to do, do, do. I need to trust. I need to rest.
“The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great.” Reflection: God can never forget us, so what does it mean that he remembers us? It has to do with setting his favor upon us. And again, he repeats the refrain, ‘he will bless us’, four times! I am flooded with joy as I think about how the Lord desires to bless his people.
“May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Reflection: More blessing! My Lord is the One who made all things and he desires to bless. So I am led to intercede for my children. O how I long for them to really know this gracious God!
“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!” Reflection: There are some who will miss their chance to praise and bless the Lord, but, by God’s grace, I will not be one of them. I will bless the Lord all the days he’s given me.
That was a glorious morning spent. I stopped to really look at the beauty of his creation. I walked slowly and sipped the goodness of my coffee. And I lifted up my soul to my God in prayer, taking the advice of George Mueller who said, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.”