March 9, 2019

 

I have raised four girls whom I used to tell, “You can learn from my experience, or you can learn the hard way.” Unfortunately, some things we need to learn the hard way. I do believe, however, that one legitimate shortcut in life is to learn from the experience and example of others. So, with that in mind, I offer up the following, a record of my morning from which someone will perhaps benefit.

 

I first awoke shortly after 4:30 AM, used the toilet, and wondered if I should head to the Upper Room for prayer. I was very tired having stayed up late the previous evening. Immediately springing to my mind was:

 

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.

Mark 1:35

 

I believe I was being encouraged to go, but I asked if I could have a little more sleep. I climbed back into bed as the digital clock flipped from 4:44 to 4:45 AM. A few more than 90 minutes later I was awake again and prepared to leave. I got to the upper room at 6:40 AM. First light today was at 6:08 AM and the sunrise was at 6:37 AM. It was no longer “still dark”.

 

As I was driving the short distance, my attention was drawn to the song that was quietly playing on the radio; “Prize Worth Fighting For”, by Jamie Kimmett. I was hearing the final chorus of the song:

 

When every day is just another struggle

And every choice is an act of war

Gotta pray, gotta press on

To the prize worth fighting for

When it feels like I’ll never make it

When my heart’s crying out for more

Gotta pray, gotta press on

To the prize worth fighting for

 

Such is the gentle encouragement of my loving Creator. It was convicting for sure, but it was in the manner of loving encouragement to dig down a little deeper and overcome the flesh.

 

I arrived at the Upper Room and walked in to hear the song playing, “The Heart of Worship”, by Matt Redman. I first heard the chorus:

 

I’m coming back to the heart of worship

And it’s all about You,

it’s all about You, Jesus

I’m sorry Lord, for the thing I’ve made it

When it’s all about You,

It’s all about You, Jesus

 

So far this morning, my choices had been about me, not Jesus or His call upon me.

 

While in prayer one day, sometime this past year, I was recalling some choices I had made, and how I had sacrificed for this city and the Kingdom of God. I was made aware that every choice had an effect. Every choice, right or wrong, had a consequence, good or bad. Having previously heard the voice of God tell me, “You are anointed!”, and another voice of God, “You are anointed to bring the things of Anoka before the throne.”, I knew my choices and decisions had a weight to make an impact. I had been put in a position where I knew I needed to weigh every choice and decision carefully. “What would Jesus do?” was more than a catchy phrase for a bracelet. Jesus, my example, set the tone. I often site three examples in the life of Jesus that should be followed in my walk as a disciple. Jesus demonstrated how to sacrificially love others. Jesus displayed a life of intimacy in communion with Father, Almighty God. Jesus depended upon the leading of Holy Spirit for guidance and wisdom among other things. The one thing I strive for is to live “In HIS Heartbeat”. In that time of prayer, that communion with Father, I asked if “every choice I made affected Anoka in some way?” The only thing I sensed was “Yes.”

 

With authority there is also responsibility. Bringing this back to today, did I sin? I don’t believe so. Did I make the right choice? I don’t think so. Did I miss an opportunity to make a greater impact? Quite possibly. I am convicted, but not condemned. I now repent, and I am restored. My loving Father, Almighty God, teaches me once again about the importance of the choices I make. Every choice! As I am awarded authority I must also accept and carry the responsibility that goes with it.

 

I am a soldier in the Lord’s army, after all, and Paul reminds me:

 

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

2 Timothy 2:3-4

 

I chose not to suffer through my weariness, and my choice had been more pleasing to me than to Him. I was not the good soldier engaging in the battle as I decided to return to my slumber. I have had the honor of promotion through the ranks of soldier and I am in the thick of the battle. This is not the time to slack off, especially after the victories of the past two weeks.

 

A proverb has also come to mind this morning.

 

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an unarmed man.

Proverbs 24:33-34

 

~And~

 

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an unarmed man.

Proverbs 6:10-11

 

This proverb was important enough to publish twice. I ought to heed the warning. Demotion can occur more rapidly than promotion for the one who does not put forth the effort. This is not about the love of God. It is about the rewards being stored up in heaven and the privilege that comes with rank. It has to do with intimacy and relationship. It has to do with past works and suffering. Am I continuing to build upon them? Will I be casting them aside as if they are of no worth any longer? My desire is to press on and to finish as Paul expressed:

 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

 

So, in my life, “when every choice is an act of war”, I need to remember to “press on to the prize worth fighting for”. Not only for myself, but for my city, state, and nation; for those who come after me.