Make Time To Be Still

woman standing in front of body of water during dawn

I want to encourage you to focus on a spiritual principle that is true all year long, but that is especially necessary during this holiday season.  The Christmas season is a joyful time for many, a heavy emotional time for others, and a very busy time for just about everybody.  Our normal life and work responsibilities continue, and yet we add more events, gatherings, shopping responsibilities and so much more to our schedules.  The opportunities for us to serve others are tremendous, and yet, if we are not careful, they can lead to such exhaustion, stress, and frustration that the spiritual meaning and purpose of this season no longer affects our heart.  The reason for the season may be on our lips and in our songs, but we are too overwhelmed to allow it to move our hearts.

That is why I want to give you (and myself) a reminder to make time to be still.  To be still physically, and to be still spiritually before the Lord.  It might be harder than ever to make time for this during the Christmas season, but it is more necessary than ever.

There were many times in which God’s people faced an enemy and God told them (as a nation or army) to be still, to stand still, and to see God fight for them and deliver the enemy into their hands.  But this principle of being still, in our heart, soul and body, is also a very personal one, that we tend to neglect, and it always has a detrimental effect in our life, our relationships, and our walk with the Lord.

Take a moment to read these passages that talk about being still, about quietness, and about internal rest.  Each gives us an important principle about being still.


Being still reminds us of who is in control

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.


Being still is about connecting with God

Psalm 4:4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.


Being still allows us to hear the voice of God

1 Kings 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.


Being still is what leads to spiritual strength

Isaiah 30:7 For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.


Being still is a personal choice

Psalm 131:2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: My soul is even as a weaned child.


Being still is a priceless blessing

Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.


Being still leads to spiritual rest

Exodus 33:14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Matthew 11:28-29 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.


At different moments in the ministry of Jesus, with the crowds around Him, and the constant movement, we read that Jesus “stood still” (Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:49) and interacted personally with specific individuals and their need.  Even Jesus made it a priority to be still, to be quiet and wait before the Father, often rising long before daylight.

This is also why the principle of the sabbath is so necessary for us as human beings, and for our spiritual walk with God.  We must be intentional about making time to be still, to rest and to be at rest.  Otherwise, we begin to pay for it in many different ways.  And if that is true all year long, how much more during one of the most busy and stressful times of the year.

So, let me encourage you to make time to be still.  How?  You may need to get up earlier than others in your house.  You may need to remove certain apps from your phone, turn off your notifications throughout the day, and keep your phone far away when you are spending time with the Lord.  You may need to block off a day, or even half a day, with no outside agenda, maybe to sleep a little longer, or even nap.  You may need to turn off the music or radio in the car and give your heart and mind the gift of silence, to listen to the Lord, as you commute.  You may need to go for a walk and seek to quiet your heart from the constant list of tasks and to-do’s.  Whatever you need to do, make time to be still, to slow down, to commune with the Lord.  Allow the Word of God and the Spirit of God to do a work of renewal, refreshment and rest in your soul this Christmas.

What are some practical ways in which you have learned how to be still before the Lord?  Share them in the comment section below.


Praying for our Missionaries

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Every time missionaries step foot in our churches, they ask us to pray for them.  Every time a missionary sends a letter, he or she mentions some specific prayer requests.  Yet, since it can be difficult to track all of the individual needs of each missionary that we support, we tend to pray something like this, “God, bless our missionaries!”  Am I right?

A few months ago I ran across some words written by the original pioneer, church-planting missionary, the Apostle Paul.  In his letter to the Christians in Rome, he asked for prayer in some specific areas:

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. (Romans 15:30-32)

I believe that we could have a powerful impact in the lives of our missionaries if we were to specifically intercede for them and ask God to grant them:

  1. Deliverance. Paul was under genuine threat from the unbelieving Jews in the Jerusalem area.  He also faced dangers and threats elsewhere in his travels.  The same is true for all of our missionaries.  Some live in areas of political and social unrest.  All of them live a lifestyle of constant travel, which poses its own risks.  We all face spiritual assault from our enemy.  We must pray that our missionaries be delivered from danger.
  2. Acceptance. Paul was involved in a commendable effort to bless the saints in Jerusalem.  Churches across the first-century world had partnered together (through Faith Promise!) to bless the suffering believers in Israel.  And yet, even though these ministry intentions were good, it did not guarantee that it would be well-received.  Missionaries give of their heart, time, and resources to bless the people they are ministering to around the world.  They travel the country sharing their burden and the cause of world missions with pastors and churches.  These efforts and intentions are amazing, and yet, it does not guarantee that they will be well-received.  We must pray that our missionaries’ efforts and service be accepted.
  3. Joy. We would like to assume that Paul was always filled with joy as he traveled and served the LORD.  But if you have been involved in ministry for long, you know that there are countless circumstances and experiences that drain or steal our joy.  And when we aren’t serving with joy, it can become miserable!  Missionaries (as anyone else) need God to be their Source of joy, and to lift them up as they press on in carrying out the will of God.  We must pray that our missionaries be filled with joy as they serve.
  4. Refreshment. Serving God in any ministry, and in any location, can be exhausting physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  That reality is exponentially greater when a missionary is far removed from his family, home church, and native culture.  The isolation can be brutal at times.  Even when missionaries return for “furlough,” it is often far from a time of rest and renewal, as they need to report to their supporters, which involves constant travel.  We must pray that our missionaries intentionally seek times of personal, marital, and family refreshment while they are on the field, and especially while they are on furlough, and we must be their greatest cheerleaders as they do so.

Yes, we want God to “bless our missionaries.”  But I invite you to take Paul’s prayer requests, and make them a regular part of your prayer for missionaries.  The impact will be greater than you can imagine.

The Key to a Powerful Prayer Life

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I believe in the power of prayer.  I believe that you believe in the power of prayer, or you probably wouldn’t invest the time to go to a prayer meeting, or to spend personal time in prayer.  I imagine that you could tell stories of answered prayers in your life, and you can probably quote some verses that refer to the power of prayer.  But let me challenge you to dig into a verse that gives one of the keys to a powerful prayer life.

In the last chapter of his epistle in the New Testament, James pens an entire passage that illustrates the power of prayer, when we are going through trials, when we are sick, or when we have sinned.  He even gives an example of a powerful prayer warrior named Elijah.  But all of these thoughts culminate in the phrase at the end of vs 16: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Let’s dig into those words, and try to discover the key to a powerful prayer life.

Digging Into The Text

An important part of studying a text is to define the words, not so much in the secondary language (English), but in the words originally used by the author, and inspired by God Himself.

  • Effectual fervent – In English these are two words, but they are translated for a single word in Greek.  These two words appear in the KJV in other places, but are not always the same original word. James uses the word energeo, which means to work, function, produce, be in action.  In other parts of the KJV New Testament energeo has been translated “accomplish,” “brought about,” “effective,” ” effectually worked,” “performs … work,” and “works.”  The idea is pretty clear.  James is referring to prayer that actually accomplishes things, that gets things done in the spiritual realm.
  • Availeth – The word James used is ischyo, which means to be strong, powerful, mighty; to be capable of, to be healthy.  In other New Testament places it is translated into English as “able,” “strong enough,” can do,” “healthy,” “overpowered.”  That power and potential is intensified by the word “much,” (Gk poly: many, much).  In other words, prayer can reach a place of great power, tremendous might, incredible strength.
  • Righteous man – These two words also come from a single Greek word: dikaios.  It speaks of a person who is righteous, just, and upright before God.  It speaks of someone’s personal relationship with God.  The other phrases in this verse revolve around this one, point back to this one.

So, as we bring these words and definitions together, we see that prayer has unbelievable power and potential to accomplish great things, to perform unbelievable works, to be incredibly effective in someone’s life and in the Kingdom of God.  But here is the key: it all revolves around a person’s relationship and standing with God.  They key to a powerful prayer life is your own walk with God.

God Promises to Bless the Righteous

All throughout the Scriptures you read of promise after promise, blessing after blessing, that are directed at the righteous, the just, those who are upright before God.

  • Psalm 5:12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
  • Psalm 34:15, 17, 19 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. …The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. … Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
  • Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
  • Proverbs 11:28, 30 He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch. …The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
  • Proverbs 15:6, 29 In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble. …The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
  • Proverbs 21:21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

There are so many more passages we could read, but you get the point.  There is a direct link between the righteous (those who pursue righteousness and godliness in their life) and the promises and blessings from God.  And those promises include your prayer life.

The term righteous does not speak of people who are perfect or sinless, but of those who have humbled themselves before God in repentance, and have been clothed by the righteousness of Jesus.  Righteousness always comes through repentance and faith, not just to be saved, but also to walk uprightly as a Christian.  These promises are for believers who walk in submission, obedience, and humility before the Lord Jesus Christ.

You want to have a powerful prayer life like Elijah?  A prayer life that gets amazing things done?  The most important thing you can do is examine your heart before God (Psalm 139:23-24).  So, how is your walk with God?  Perhaps before asking God to do anything for you, the best place to begin is by asking God to look inside you.  “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Getting To Know Our Shepherd Through Prayer – Part 1

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Psalm 23

One of the beautiful things about prayer is that it allows us to get to know the LORD. Maybe not when our prayers are just long “wish lists” or special orders that we place in God’s inbox. But when you and I spend time with our Father, our Abba, our Daddy, opening our heart, expressing praise and thanksgiving, seeking forgiveness, wisdom, direction, encouragement, and so much more, we come to experience our Heavenly Father in a personal way.

I believe King David experienced the LORD like this. He spent hours and days, from his boyhood years, out in the fields with the sheep, probably talking to the LORD, singing to the LORD, crying out to the LORD. And through all those daily, personal experiences in prayer, David got to know the LORD, not just as God, Creator, and King, but in a role that he understood well: the role of “shepherd.” In the most famous psalm in all the Bible (the one Spurgeon called “the pearl of the psalms”), David helps us also to get to know our Shepherd through prayer.

When I became the pastor of Vandalia Baptist Temple, I inherited the Shepherd Staff from my predecessor, Troy Todd.  It is a large, wooden staff that symbolizes my role in serving this local church.  The Bible uses the word shepherd to describe the role of a pastor. But on a much higher level, the Bible compares the LORD to a shepherd, and even describes Jesus as the “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4), far higher than any earthly shepherds or pastors.

Over the next few posts I want us to look briefly at this beautiful psalm, which helps us to get to know our Shepherd a bit better, and reminds us of how we can experience Him personally through prayer, just like David. David begins this psalm with two phrases that set the stage for everything else:

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

David expresses that:

Our Shepherd is a personal shepherd (vs 1a)
David uses the holy name of God: Yahweh (translated “LORD” with all caps in the KJV; at times, “Jehovah”). There was no doubt who he was referring to. In fact, the name Yahweh, Jehovah, LORD is understood by many to be an Old Testament reference to Jesus Christ, God the Son, the Creator Himself. So the New Testament references to Jesus as the Good Shepherd, or the Chief Shepherd, are no coincidence (John 10:11, 14-16; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4). He is the same Shepherd that David got to know in a personal way.

The LORD wants to be a personal shepherd to you. David said, “The LORD is my shepherd. I am a shepherd, but the LORD is my shepherd.” He says so with confidence (not “if” or “I hope”). He speaks in present tense (“is”). David was looking out for his father’s sheep, and caring for them in so many ways, but David knew that there was Someone who was looking out for him, who was caring for him in countless ways. That was the inspiration of this psalm. God wants to have a personal relationship with you, as your Shepherd. Not just as your Savior, but as One who is an intricate part of your daily life. Someone whom you spend time with every, single day. This is not a chore or a burden; it is a priceless blessing. The LORD is a personal shepherd, and you can experience that through prayer. Prayer makes this more than theory; prayer makes it a reality.

Our Shepherd takes care of our needs (vs 1b)
The fact that the LORD is our personal Shepherd means that He is there to meet the needs that we face. “I shall not want.” The word want refers to being needy or destitute (Merriam-Webster). David uses the Hebrew yiqtol, which refers to being devoid of, having too little of, or being deprived of something. A shepherd takes care of the needs of his sheep. And having the LORD as our Shepherd is an implied promise that He will not allow us to be deprived and destitute of life’s essentials.

While you and I struggle to distinguish between wants and true needs, God repeatedly promises to meet the needs of His people (Matthew 6:31-33). Jesus reminds us that our part is to seek God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, but His part is to take care of life’s essentials (Philippians 4:19). Our seeking the LORD, seeking the Shepherd, is done through our personal prayer life (Matthew 7:7-11). When we seek the LORD in prayer, we have no legitimate reason to worry. He is our Shepherd; we shall not want.

You and I can get to know our Shepherd through prayer. We will get to experience the LORD in a very personal way (“my” shepherd), and experience Him meet the needs in our life, family, home, church (“I shall not want”). Are you praying – really praying? Are you getting to know the Shepherd, or are you just going through the motions? Let me encourage you to give yourself to prayer; not just to give God a “wish list,” but to know Him and experience Him as your Shepherd.

In what ways have you gotten to know the Shepherd through prayer?

Remember Where The True Battle Is

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Ephesians 6:12

As you and I face the trials and adversities of life, it is very challenging to keep the right perspective. We live, move, work, serve, and struggle in the physical, material world, so that is how we tend to look at things. But the Apostle Paul reminds us that the true battle, true warfare, true struggle is not physical at all: it is spiritual. And this kind of battle is fought on our knees.

The Human Perspective

We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” This statement seems to contradict everything we face. Our conflicts and challenges are often with other “flesh and blood” human beings! Our health struggles are with our “flesh and blood” bodies. The financial needs and hardships we face are in the “flesh and blood” material world. Even as Christians going through life and ministry, the natural human perspective is that we are facing “flesh and blood” adversaries or opposition. And that affects our attitudes, and even our prayer life. But Paul is trying to get us to see another perspective.

The Spiritual Perspective

In these verses Paul is introducing the concept of the armor of God (vs 11, 13). He describes the Christian’s armor of defense and weapons of attack. Our life is held together by truth, just like a belt. Our heart is protected and kept pure by the righteousness of Jesus. Our feet are covered with the Gospel that we take everywhere we go. Our faith in God and His promises protect us like a shield from Satan’s flaming arrows. Our mind and thoughts are protected by the truths of salvation and who we are in Christ. Our offensive weapon is the mighty Word of God. All of this armor is then empowered by the Christian’s prayer life (vs 18).

You see, God’s perspective on life is that it is a spiritual battle, a spiritual war, that is raging against Satan and his demonic forces and strongholds. Our enemy is not our brother in Christ, our spouse, our boss, our co-worker, our neighbor. Our enemy is not our physical body, or the IRS, or electric company. Our enemy is the god of this world, and it is a battle for the glory of God to shine in our life and in the world. And it is a battle that is fought on our knees in prayer.

I don’t know the struggle you are confronting right now, but just remember where the true battle is. Remember that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Let’s take our burdens to God, call upon Him for victory in every battle front, and invite His glory to shine and cast out the forces of darkness.

Remember Your Father’s Heart

Luke 11:5-13

Have you ever heard anyone ask, “Do you know who you’re talking to?” Or simply say, “Remember who you’re talking to.” Every once in a while we need people to remind us of who we are are talking to. Maybe we are talking to our parents, our boss, a police officer, or the President. Depending on who that person is, it will affect how we address them and speak to them.

Believe it or not, the same is true with prayer. When we open our heart before God, we are speaking to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Almighty God who is holy, holy, holy, the King of Kings. He deserves our utmost respect, reverence, and godly fear. However, if we are born-again believers, God is also our Heavenly Father.

When Jesus was giving His disciples a lesson on prayer (Lk 11:1-13), He gave them a model prayer (as also recorded in the Sermon on the Mount). However, Jesus then closed by teaching His followers to remember their Heavenly Father’s heart (vs 5-13). When we pray, it is important to remember what our Heavenly Father is like, and what He is not like. You see, that affects how we approach Him when we pray. We need to remember that:

1. God is not bothered by our ongoing requests (vs 5-8).

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

We all know what it’s like for someone to come to us at a bad time asking for a favor. We want to be kind and helpful, but sometimes it is just not a good time! Ever been there? But that is never the case with our Heavenly Father! He doesn’t see our prayers as a nuisance or irritation. You may feel like you are asking God for the same things over and over again, and that you are driving Him crazy. But that’s not true! It is never a bad time to pray. In fact Jesus reminds us that:

2. God invites us to make personal requests (vs 9-10).

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Just like in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock, with specific, personal requests. James even wrote: “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (4:2). We could study the difference between these three commands, but the point is the same: God will answer! Jesus even says it is true for “every one.” You may think your request is too small, or maybe too big, but don’t keep it to yourself. Go to your Heavenly Father in prayer and ask Him! Seek His face about it! Knock at the door of God’s throne room! Don’t ever feel hesitant to make your requests known unto God (Php 4:6)! He invites you to, with a personal promise. Jesus then explains that:

3. God wants to give you what is best (vs 11-13).

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

I find it strange that we often feel like God would do something to us that we would never dream of doing to our children. Some people believe that God is out to get them, or that He takes pleasure in making us suffer or do without. Jesus knew that some people have this misunderstanding of God, thinking that they could pray for bread, fish, and eggs, and God would answer by sending stones, snakes, and scorpions. That is not our Heavenly Father! If you and I want to give good things to our kids, God’s desires are infinitely greater. Our Heavenly Father puts every earthly father to shame! It may not always feel pleasant at the moment, but God will always do what is best for His children. We need to remember that.

Don’t believe the distorted views that many people have of God. When you spend time in prayer, you need to remember your Heavenly Father’s heart. He wants to hear from you. He invites you to come to Him. He delights in giving you His best.

An Answer To Prayer (video)

It was into one of the darkest moments of national history that God shone a bright light. He raised up a man who would be faithful in the midst of an ungodly world. He would lead God’s people spiritually, morally, politically, and see them transition toward becoming a nation led by a man after God’s own heart. The man whom God would raise up for this unusually dark moment of history was a man by the name of Samuel. It is his life and story that I begin to look at in this new message series entitled, “Samuel: Faithfulness In Ungodly Times.”  Listen to this message, and share any comments you have in the space below.

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Thankfulness and Thanksgiving



Thankfulness and thanksgiving ought to be a natural part of the Christian’s life. We have experienced the grace of God in ways that we will never fully comprehend. We are all natural-born sinners, deserving of judgment, condemnation and Hell. And yet God loves us unconditionally, sent His Son Jesus to carry our judgment on the Cross, and offers us forgiveness of our sin and eternal life with God in Heaven. No matter how hard, painful or unfair our life in this world may be, God has already showered us with far more than we deserve. And yet our Heavenly Father often gives so much more. He gives us food, shelter, clothing, and many times gives us transportation, health and even wealth. We are so blessed!


If we truly understand God’s grace and blessings, we will be thankful. But we must also go the next step and express it. We need to give thanks (aka thanksgiving) to God in worship, praise and testimony. We need to give thanks to those in our life who have blessed us, loved us and served us. That is why it is such a recurring theme in the Bible:


Psalm 136:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: For his mercy endureth for ever.

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.


As we approach a national season of thanksgiving in America, let me encourage you to make thanksgiving a regular part of your life, as you worship God, as you share testimony in prayer meetings, as you interact with people every day, and as you pray to your Heavenly Father. He is indeed good, and His mercy endures forever!


Seeking God – Like David

Prayer is at the core of the Christian’s life, and at the core of a church’s ministry. Much can be done without prayer (and sadly, it often is), but it is done in the flesh, trusting in talent, skill and determination. But not seeing the power and glory of Almighty God.

If we are going to experience God in a real and powerful way, we have to seek Him in prayer. That has been our focus in recent weeks during our prayer meetings at Vandalia Baptist Temple. We have been meditating on several passages of Scripture that refer to “seeking God” or “seeking” in prayer. What we have observed in each case is that seeking must be intentional, requires effort and sacrifice, or it will never happen on a consistent basis!

Our next passage is found in Psalm 63, one of my favorite passages of Scripture. We know from the last verse that David wrote this while he was king of Israel. But it was at a low point in his reign, probably during Absalom’s rebellion. King David had fled Jerusalem for his life, and was hiding in the wilderness of Judea, away from the Holy City and the tabernacle. But no matter where David was, he had a heart for seeking God. Notice what he writes:


O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:

My soul thirsteth for thee,

My flesh longeth for thee

In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

To see thy power and thy glory,

So as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Psalm 63:1-2


Seeking was a priority

What I love about this passage is the word early. Not because I enjoy getting up when I’d rather be sleeping, but because it reflects David’s priorities. Of all the things that pulled at David’s life, schedule and physical body, seeking God was at the very top. He was intentional about putting his time with God before everything else – and that makes a difference. When our day begins with other things, it is inevitable that our time with God will get crowded out. So we must decide if it is important enough to us to sacrifice some of our sleep time (or to go to bed earlier) to make it happen.

Some have interpreted the word early to mean “early in life” (i.e. childhood), which certainly is important, and was true in David’s life. But in the rest of the psalm David writes about remembering the LORD while on his bed, and meditating on the LORD in the middle of the night, so it certainly was a regular part of David’s personal habits. It was a priority.


Seeking was about God

That sounds obvious enough, but notice what David was thirsting for and longing for: seeing the power and the glory of God. He had experienced it before “in the sanctuary,” and he longed to see it again. When you experience God’s glory in your life it fills you beyond description, but makes you want to experience it again and again. David was hiding for his life in a desert; He longed to see God’s power and glory again. So what did he do? He committed to seeking the LORD.

David knew from experience that God’s “lovingkindness is better than life” (vs. 3). That experience moved his lips to praise God and bless God. It moved his hands to be lifted in God’s name. It caused his heart to “rejoice in God” (vs. 11). It was all about God.

Too often our seeking is not about God, but about us. We pursue God for what we want out of it. There is something we want from God, so we ask for it, seek for it, knock for it. But what we fail to realize is that the thing is not what we really need. What we need is Him. When we seek the LORD for who He is, in all His power and all His glory, it has a way of taking care of everything else in life.


So let this be a challenge to us today. Make seeking God a renewed priority in your life, but also in your day, schedule, commitments. Sacrifice for it. Plan for it. Schedule it. Make it come first. And when you meet with God, make it about Him: His power, His glory. That will satisfy our soul like nothing else. 

Lessons Learned

 I believe it would be fitting for me to share some personal thoughts and lessons learned from the opportunity our church, Vandalia Baptist Temple, recently had to host the World Baptist Fellowship Fall Meeting. The emphasis of this “semi-annual” meeting is always world missions, which is very close to my heart. My wife Megan and I accepted the opportunity with “fear and trembling,” and wanted to give our best for the Lord and His servants. We felt so inadequate, but trusted God to put people in place to help accomplish the task.

It was an overwhelming experience to see God at work. And that reminded me of some important truths:

  1. Planning is important, but God has to meet with us. We did our best to prepare and organize what we thought would be a blessing to God’s servants. Not everything came about the way we wanted or planned. But we knew that if anything of eternal value was to happen, God had to do it, and anoint every speaker, song and service with His Holy Spirit. I believe He did – to His glory!
  2. Prayer makes all the difference. If God has to meet with us and do a supernatural work, then we have to seek Him in prayer. Not just talk about it, but do it. Each service provided us the opportunity to pray over our pastors, college leaders, and missionaries. What a thrill to hear the voices of God’s servants joined in intercession! I believe God’s presence was tangible during those sacred moments.
  3. Teamwork is essential. I know the host pastor often gets much of the “thanks,” but an event like this is never the work of one person, just like every other ministry for the Lord. I could not have done it without my wife, our staff, and our amazing church family. But beyond that, we received constant encouragement, advice and assistance from our Mission Director and fellow pastors. Teamwork is indeed essential, and it is something which I believe God blesses.
  4. There is so much to be done. As I opened my heart and shared ideas for our fellowship to engage the next generation of missionaries, I seemed to have “hit a nerve” (in a positive sense). There is a growing sense of urgency to take whatever steps are necessary to be more effective in world evangelism and in reaching the next generation for Jesus Christ. We face many challenges as churches and as a fellowship, but God has not called us to a task for which He will not equip us. May we work together, pursue excellence, and focus on the cause which unites us all as Great Commission pastors, missionaries, and churches.

It was our honor to serve the World Baptist Fellowship through this meeting. The 26 missionary families and dozens of pastors who came were such an encouragement to our people. God even used this meeting to lead our congregation to its highest Faith Promise commitment in our church’s history! I appreciate every word and expression of gratitude and encouragement that we have since received. God has branded these truths on my heart, and for that I praise Him. Let us “SO RUN” (I Cor. 9:24).