For Lord’s Day, May 13, 2012
In my private morning devotion, I noticed something when singing a Psalm. It’s getting better with repetition. Now, I’m not commenting on how it sounds, especially early in the morning. But I had sung it with Jennifer going to bed the evening before, and earlier that day too. It’s a Psalm that’s ministering to me right now. But I noticed this morning that the more I give myself to it, the more it gives itself to me. The more I work with it, the more I internalize it. Practice makes perfect, as they say. And the more we pursue perfection until the resurrection, the more of the next life we enjoy on this earth.
It got me thinking about Elijah praying for rain. I took a while:
… And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand … And it came to pass … that … there was a great rain … (1 Kings 18:42-45)
Beloved, seek the Lord’s showering of holiness in your life by pursuing Him diligently, with your whole heart. Don’t give up. Keep trying. I believe those who just won’t quit are the ones who get the most blessing. Don’t expect miracles the first or second or third time. Discover the glory of plodding and see what God produces in your life day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.
Pick a Scripture and read it seven times and pray over it seven times (maybe in one day or maybe over one week). Or sing a psalm of the month seven times and work on memorizing it together over the month. I’m not suggesting a magical conjuring formula here, but simply the marvelous method of Scriptural meditation. Remember that this was Isaac’s evening example to us a while back, and along came Rebekah in the caravan.
Such dedicated devotion is what we call spiritual “disciplines”. Godliness comes with exercise (1 Tim. 4:7). In his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney (the same fella who wrote the Family Worship book we studied last fall in the men’s group) lists the following spiritual disciplines/exercises to consider: Bible Intake, Prayers, Worship, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship, Fasting, Silence and Solitude, Journaling, Learning, and perseverance in them. Perhaps you would be helped by considering one of these activities and giving yourself to it in special dedication for a month and see what happens. I bet you’ll feel a holy mist come over you if you do, and that you’ll like what you see it grows for you inside and out. In particular, look for that spiritual fruit you said you wanted to see more of back during January family visitations (and what exercise we thought might help it grow). Keep cultivating and don’t give up. You’ll be so pleased with the fruit it bears by year’s end. Don’t let the fact that they’re green and small right now set you back. Growth is happening within, and more grows better with cultivation.
Here are some other Scriptures to motivate you toward what will greatly benefit you, your family, and your church:
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: (Proverbs 2:1-11)
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you … (James 4:8)
Pray for spiritual rain to grow spiritual fruit in your lives, beloved. Pray again and again. Meditate more and more, on the same things. Pursue God. You will be especially blessed the more you go after His presence in your life.