Have you ever tried to drive your car with an empty tank? Did you ever teach a lesson or make a presentation without preparing ahead of time? Have you tried to make a wonderful meal without any of the ingredients on hand? How did those things turn out? Preparation in our approach to many important aspects of life is crucial. If we have a certain desired outcome we want to achieve, there are steps we must take to get there. Fill up the tank. Make the power point slides. Purchase the right ingredients. The same is true of our hearts. If we start our day without first getting our heart in order, how likely are we to respond out of anger to our kids, get easily annoyed with our spouse, give a flippant answer to a legitimate question.
Having a consistent quiet time with the Lord each day has been a life-long struggle for me. I go through seasons when I’m rock solid. I have a good habit going. I have meaningful encounters with Jesus, and I look forward to my times with him. Then something happens to get me out of my rhythm, and it takes forever for me to get back on track. I have fits and starts but then nothing. Ahhhhh! It is so frustrating. I can tell (and probably so can my husband) when I have spent too much time away from the Lord. I eventually find my way back to a consistent routine of Bible reading and prayer but too often it takes a while to get there. Any of you with me?
But it makes sense to fill ourselves up first before we pour out, doesn’t it? If I have nothing to give then what I offer are yesterday’s leftovers (some people like leftovers, I don’t). My giving is lukewarm at best. But, when I give from a full spirit that has been filled by the Holy Spirit, I reflect more of Jesus and less of myself. I notice it. Others notice it. The heart of Jesus smiles as he sees me responding in love, with grace, patience, and words of kindness. I find that if I refuse to allow anything to distract me first thing in the morning, making time before others are awake, to quiet my heart and talk with Jesus, I have that focus for the entire day. For some, mornings are too hard so an evening time of quiet and reflection may work best for you. Regardless of the time of day, the important thing is to get your heart in order. Keep short accounts with the Lord. Ask him to show you areas you need to confess. Give him your schedule for the day and ask him to change it as he sees fit. Pray for those in your household to meet him in a fresh way. Pray for the strangers you will encounter to see Jesus in you. Praise him for his loving kindness. If we never pause to seek God’s direction for our day, how do we know where he wants to lead us?
In his book, “Hope for Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith”, Billy Graham penned the following excerpt:
“Therefore, I live for today- certain of finding at sunrise guidance and strength for the way
power for each moment of weakness, hope for each moment of pain, comfort for every sorrow, sunshine and joy after rain!”
Let’s be certain to receive the strength and power we need for each day. Fill up your tank so you have what you need to get where you need to go.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
To share your thoughts on this blog, ask a question, or offer feedback please click the Contact Me button at the top of this page.