Friday, September 7, 2007

It's Time to Wake Up

by Karen Keim

Verse of the Week: Psalm 73:28--But as for me, the nearness of God is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works.

Okay. So here’s the deal. There’s three things I haven’t been very good at lately: 1) exercising; 2) eating breakfast; and 3) spending some good, quality time with the Lord. I have good intentions, mind you, to do all three better. But I just can’t seem to get there. Every night when I go to bed, I say to myself, “Now, I’m going to get up an hour earlier tomorrow and go for a walk, eat breakfast and spend some time with the Lord.” Well, guess what! Sleep (that’s spelled S-A-T-A-N) always wins. The alarm goes off that hour early, and I think, “Just 15 more minutes.” (Snooze) “Okay. Just five more minutes.” (Snooze) “Well, it’s getting too late now. I might as well just sleep until my regular time.” (And don’t tell me you haven’t been there, too!)

Well, guess what! This morning I beat satan two out of three!!!! Yea!!! Now, which one of those three do you think I just couldn’t work in? Yep, you’re right! EXERCISE! But I had my egg sandwich (with catsup) and I had some quality time with the Lord. And, boy, did He have some things to tell me! Here’s how it went.

I started out praising him for winning the morning battle, telling Him how awesome He is, read a nice little devotion – you know the routine. Then I picked up my Bible and said, “Lord, speak to me through Your Word today,” and I just popped open my Bible, feeling certain that whatever page I opened to, He would have some plain, simple message for me. Well, hmfph! I opened to Ezekiel 24, where God is giving Ezekiel the words He wanted him to say to the rebellious nation of Judah. It’s all that symbolic jargon. You know what I’m talking about, the kind where as you’re reading, you think, “Yada, yada, yada, whatever that all means!” I almost gave up on it and said, “Let’s try this again,” and opened to another passage.

But I remembered how I had asked Him to speak to me and felt that he had led me to the passage He wanted me to hear, so I kept reading. I get to the part where God tells Ezekiel that with one blow He’s going to kill the person that Ezekiel loves the most! I’m thinking, “Oh, dear, Lord, is that what you wanted me to hear? Is it my husband? Is it one of my boys?” I read on, and God told Ezekiel that He was making Ezekiel an example to the people of Judah of what he was going to do to them. He said (Ezekiel 24:25, God’s Word translation), “Son of man, on that day I will take their stronghold away from them. It makes them happy and proud. It is their hearts’ desire and the thing they love the most.” In other words, the thing the people of Judah loved the most was getting in the way of their obedience and relationship with God. Hmmm. “Is that what you wanted to say to me, Lord? What is the thing I love and desire the most? What is the thing You want me to give up before You have to take it away from me so that I will put You first?”

I laid my head back and closed my eyes and began to think . . . . is it my husband? Is it my son? Is it this, is it . . . and then all of a sudden, as I am about to drift off into my inner thoughts (okay, fall asleep!), it hits me! My eyes pop wide open and I almost laugh! It’s SLEEP! It’s as simple as sleep! (Stay with me here!) See, sleep is one of my favorite things to do. I took a survey the other day that asked, if you had an extra hour of time given to you, what would you do, and there were four or five options, like read a book, watch a movie, take a hot bath, or SLEEP! Mine was definitely SLEEP! I don’t know if it’s the empty nest thing going on or being married to a cop all of these years or just old age, but I just can’t seem to get enough sleep these days. I wasn’t always that way. Sure, I liked my Sunday afternoon naps, but given a choice of doing just about ANYTHING these days, I’ll choose sleep. And I do it well! I NEVER have trouble sleeping.

Now, if you are a person who has trouble sleeping at night (like my husband) you know what a blessing it is to be able to sleep without difficulty, and I truly believe it’s a blessing! But I’ve come to the point where, as I said, I would rather sleep than do almost anything else – including spending time with the Lord! It’s what He calls in this verse “my heart’s desire and the thing they love the most.” It’s what’s getting in the way of me being obedient and connecting with Him in the way He wants me to.

So what’s it going to take, Karen? Are you going to give it up willingly, sacrifice a little extra sleep for a little extra time with the Lord, or is He going to have to take it away from you by removing your blessing of being able to sleep with no trouble?

What about you? Maybe you think I got a little carried away here in analyzing what the Lord was saying. Maybe you’re saying I’m making it too simple, comparing something as BIG as destroying the nation of Judah with something as SMALL as removing my ability to sleep. But I don’t think so. God’s word meets us where we’re at, and He speaks to us in small, simple ways.

Father, thank you for your patience. Help us to put You first, making YOU and time with YOU “our heart’s desire and the thing we love the most”. We love you so much. In Jesus name, Amen.

Are you listening? Is there something you need to give up willingly so that you can be obedient to what He’s calling you to do? Is there something you need to be sacrificing so that you can spend more time with Him? I promise it will be worth it!

Power Verses:
Psalm 143:10—Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God. Let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground. (American Standard)
John 10:17—The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. (NLT)
Exodus 20:3—You shall have no other gods before me. (NIV)


Kathy said...

Karen, I think your perception is dead-on. First, you ASKED the Lord to show you. He doesn't disappoint when we want to know him better. Second, comparing the sacrifice of Judah's with giving up sleep seems legit to me because they're both geared toward surrender to God's Lordship. I love your insight AND your gift for laying it all out in such a friendly "Karen-like" way. How encouraging! Love ya, Girl!

starbeesmama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M. Milbourn said...

Wow! After writing that, it has to be time for a nap! :-)

Really, I am SO glad you shared!! I love this women's ministry blog!

Paula said...

This is a great 'wake-up' call (pardon the pun) for me. I was doing SO good this summer getting up early each day and spending time reading my bible and praying. And recently, for some reason, I've been so tired that I can't drag myself out of bed. I've even re-set my alarm clock for about 30 minutes later just for the extra sleep (and so I would just get up and not slam the snooze button). This morning, I got up, wandered to the kitchen, poured my coffee and went to the living room to sit with David (who by the way got up early to make that coffee!!) His comment to me was, 'Where's my girl who used to get up and read her Bible every morning?'
Tomorrow morning - I'm back on it. And I can assure you, the world will seem a whole lot brighter for the effort!

Thanks Karen for the simplicity. I too sometimes worry that I'm 'hearing' something so simple that any dork could figure it out. Then I wonder if I'm just 'working it out' to fit my own agenda. And then I come to the conlcusion that I AM the dork, and God has to KISS me frequently!

arlene said...

OUCH!!! Thanks, Karen ... just what I needed to hear!

Trish said...

When I woke up this morning I decided to read this weeks devotional. I was already wrestling with myself over reading chapters 1 & 2 of the book John has assigned to us or reading another book (fiction) strictly for pleasure. After reading the devotional I knew what I should do.
I just finished chapters 1 & 2 and thought WOW! I just had a conversation the other day with a coworker about church. I had brought up something about church and she told me that she went to the church of Jill. (reminded me of last weeks devotional) She had a previous bad experience when she visited a church. I only listened to her and try to tell her that not every church was that way and not every Christian acted that way, etc, etc. I came away from that conversation thinking that I should have said more. But now, after reading this book, I'm thinking, maybe I've just opened up a line of communication with her that could lead to something more positive, from me or someone else talking to her.
I'm glad I made the choice to read this book and not the other one that was only for my own pleasure.
Thanks for reminding me what my priorities should be.

Bethany L said...

You threw me for a loop there, I thought Kathy was writing...and then I got to the bottom where it said married to a cop all these years...I didn't know if Kathy was married to a cop??? She might be, but I wasn't aware...

Anyway, this is great. I love this blog! Keep up the good work. I used to write all the time before the girls were born, I should try this blogging stuff...see if it comes back naturally or not!

Fay P said...

Thank you Karen! As you know,I have a talent for putting other things first. You have inspired me to get back to my morning time with God!

Thank you all for this great site.
I have started coming here in the evenings and love the encourageing lift I get from the Word!
It is cool to see people you know too!
Keep up the good work!