The Bare Soul - October 5, 2008
Awakening

Psalm 139:18b - When I awake, I am still with You.

I vividly remember particular mornings after I recommitted my life to the Lord. Having struggled with alcohol for years, it was such a relief to sense the presence of the Lord when I awoke. Many days I defined the presence of God by merely the absence of craving alcohol when I opened my eyes from a night's sleep. Ask any recovering alcoholic or addict -- it is truly a miracle to not want to use or abuse substances. For truly, the most natural thing for an addict to do is otherwise than to stay sober. I remember in the early days, weeks, and months of my sobriety that I would sometimes be disconcerted about going to sleep, thinking that God's presence in my life was an illusion and that it might disappear as a vapor come morning. The glorious truth is that He has been there as my Comforter and Friend, every morning, for the past 16 years. He has never let me down in all that time.

Of course, God is with us all in some manner regardless whether we are committed to His Son, the Lord Jesus. He will always be there beckoning us no matter if we are walking with Him or away from Him. He will be there every morning whether we realize it or not. For many of us who have fought to avoid God, mornings are not always that pleasant. There can certainly be a feeling of impending despair when one awakens and they sense a loss of hope. Oftentimes, we can wake up with the same things swimming in our brains from the previous night's tossing and turning. It is quite certain that worry and despair over a situation has never changed the outcome of any such predicament, yet we too often yield to its negative power. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that when hopes are dashed or there seems no reason to continue on, then it can literally make the heart sick with sorrow. Conversely, however, the same verse tells us that when our desire is fulfilled it can be a tree of life. It is a wonderful thing to wake up with an optimistic understanding that the Lord has good intentions for those who trust in Him.

Has God put one of those dear souls in your life that seems to be one of the cheeriest folks on the planet, morning after morning without fail? They can roll out of bed and even without a jolt of caffeine they can greet the day with a smile and a joyous attitude. Before I knew the Lord, I thought these type of people were "put-ons", that no one could be that hopeful and cheery at 6 a.m. in the morning! However, the more I grew in the Lord and realized that He desired good for those who love Him, my attitude began changing. I began to understand that one can choose their attitude, especially if they are empowered by the Lord. Many years ago, I read a very simple quotation from a man that I respected greatly. His name is Moishe Rosen, founder and leader of Jews For Jesus. I was reading through one of his newsletters and these words jumped off the page: "Those who love life rise early". This concept astounded me; that if someone loved life and desired to do all they could for the Lord and His Kingdom, then their day should start with a heart full of hope that would propel them to welcome the morning. Before I go much further with this, I will confess that I am not always an early riser (especially on the weekends). However, the deeper meaning of this implies that those who love "Life" will ensure that they will meet their Savior when they do awaken and that they will do all for His glory throughout their respective day.

It takes a certain faith and assurance to be able to lie down at night and to know that all is well. David's Psalm 3 is all about divorcing oneself from the onslaught of the day's wickedness and lying down to rest with the assurance that the Lord is watching over. He states in verse 3: I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. He goes on in the next verse to proclaim that it doesn't matter if tens of thousands are set against him, that the Lord is his shield and protector. Like David, we must first know that we are rightly related to Him. Then, we must learn to trust by giving Him our troubles every evening before we retire. Lastly, we must thank Him for watching over us though "the terrors would seek to stalk us by night". Every one that is a believer has the heritage to be able to awaken with a new hope and desire to serve the Lord. He is the one who gives us rest, and that rest is for a reason -- to unburden us from unnecessary worries and unreasonable demands that we place upon ourselves. For truly, Jeremiah summed it up in Lamentations 3:22-23: The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Lord, we commit our lives to You afresh. We thank You for the rest that You desire to give each and every one of us, to awaken us every morning with a joy for life, a new resolve to love You and others, and a deep gratitude for where You are bringing each and every one of us who trust in Your Son. In Jesus name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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