Time With God
“I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.” Psalm 119:147 NKJV
1. Set a Regular Time
Psalm 119:147a – “I rise before the dawning of the morning, …”
The Psalmist has a regular time designated for meeting God. He rises early in the morning. While rising early in the morning is good the key is to have a regular time.
While the implication is the Psalmist does it every day, that isn’t stated. What is important is to do it consistently. Don’t let Satan get you down when you miss a day by hearing a voice criticizing you or telling you you can’t do it since you missed a day.
I like the term regular as opposed to daily. Surprisingly I find Sunday the most difficult day of the week to spend personal alone time with God. I don’t let Satan defeat me when I don’t read and reflect on the word of God on the day I go to church and participate in Bible study and corporate worship.
Don’t let Satan focus on the one or two days in seven you miss. Instead, rejoice in the time you spend with God.
Also, you don’t have to get up before sunrise to meet God. I recommend a regular place and time. I have joked with friends saying God knows where I am going to be and when I am going to be there for my regular time with Him.
2. Share Your Heart
Psalm 119:147b – “…And cry for help;”
Part of my time with God is reading His word. I remember when I was younger the minister would suggest we read the Bible through each year. We would be given plans that told us what we should be reading each day. For years I failed miserably.
My late mother suggested I don’t put so much pressure on myself to check off reading three or more chapters a day. She told me the first time she read the Bible through took her five years. She started at Genesis and read sometimes a few verses and other times a few pages.
Each day, she would leave a bookmark where she had finished reading. She did this for days, then weeks, then months, and finally five years later she had finished reading the entire Bible. She started over the next day and this time it was only two years before she finished making it through. By the time she was 80 years old, she was reading the Bible through a couple of times a year.
She said God honored her feeble efforts over the years by having the word she needed for each time she approached His throne of grace.
She taught me how to tell God how I loved Him, to cry out and confess my sin. She taught me 1 John 1:9 (author’s paraphrase) – “If I confess my sin He is faithful and just to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.” She also taught me to thank God for all He did for me and my family as well as to pray for others.
3. Hope in God
Psalm 119:147c – “I hope in Your word.”
My pastor and the late Dr. Calvin Miller taught me how to have hope.
I remember worrying about getting a church and having a ministry when I first attended seminary over four decades ago. My pastor had the word I needed to hear. He said God doesn’t call a person to ministry without having a place for them to serve. He shared Genesis 12:1 (NKJV) – “Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house To a land that I will show you.”
My pastor said, “God told Abraham to go before He told Him where the journey would take him. God will be as faithful to you.” Later when I began writing the same pastor told me, “When God tells you to write, write. He’ll take care of the audience. He may be having you write for your personal growth or to influence the masses. Sometimes it is just for one or two people who need to hear the word you are sharing. He told me to give equal attention to writing a column in a church newsletter as you would to writing a book with a million-dollar advance.”
Later, the wisdom of his words found an example when I was attending a writing conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the late 1980s. I was in a session with the late Dr. Calvin Miller. He shared how his book The Phillipian Fragment began as a series of weekly pastor’s columns in the church newsletter. An editor who was on the mailing list read them and approached him about turning them into a book.