Disclaimer: A lot of reading and backstory, jump all the way down to the bottom if you want, I won’t be offended.
Day 2 of my Choosing Each Day: God or Self? Bible study from you version.com started at about 1:05am for me this morning. My youngest son is sick, “likely just a viral infection” the doctor said, since flu and strep tests came back negative (THANK YOU, LORD!). Because he is not feeling well and under the weather, the recommended medicines were rest and hydration. So, we’ve been letting him sleep outside of our typical structure because sleep is the foundation to the healing process as doctors say. Which, by the way, if this is true, why do they wake you every 2-3 hours during your hospital stay? Hmm.
If you were to become ill 2,000 years ago in the empire of the Ancient Greeks, you would have sought out an Asclepian physician. The Asclepians were priestly healers and the immediate predecessors to the better-known Hippocrates (of Hippocratic oath fame). Your medical management would have included an invitation to a private coastal villa for a retreat with plenty of rest and sleep for five or six days. A subsequent interpretation of your dreams from that time of restitution would be seen as divine inspiration to guide your treatment course.
5 or 6 days of plenty of rest or sleep?? Are the Asclepians and their Grecian villas still around? Forget Disneyworld, I know where my next vacation is going to be! Oh man, I’m getting way off topic…
Back to the story, my wife is sick as well right now. We were concerned because they both were under the weather around the same time but, once again, the doctor ruled out the major bugs going around this time of year and chalked her suffering up to a pretty bad case of allergies, otherwise known as cedar fever, aka, the plague of Central Texas during this time of year.
So, how does all of THAT fit into this study and the reason for divulging too much? Well, like I said earlier, my day started at 1:05am with my bedroom door shutting from my wife, being an amazing wife and returning with a peanut butter sandwich for my son, who is sick and on an odd sleep schedule right now. I know she didn’t wake me on purpose, she was actually in and out of our room catering to my son most of the night! Whether it was a cup of water, taking him potty, another snack, more motrin, she was likely in and out about a dozen times before this last time woke me up.
During times like this, we try to strategize and prepare for the battle that is coming. You may be familiar with this battle when you have a sick child, it’s called, “being able to care for your sick loved ones without losing your mind”. As a parent, you will need to change your cycles as well which means there will be lack of sleep and sacrifices made (no, not the Isaac kind although, we do have a history of “sleep eating” in this family). Speaking of sleep deprivation, there’s a reason it’s used on prisoners around the world…it is a scary-powerful tactic that can break a person, ruin a marriage and misconfigure your face to where every small child will hear you for miles around! I’m joking of course but, if you are going to suit up for such a battle, you have to have a method to be able to fall asleep when necessary so you can wake when necessary (my method: look up “10 hours of ocean sounds on youtube, I don’t think I last more than 5 minutes).
So with our youngest asleep by 7pm, we both knew he would likely be waking up anywhere from 10pm to 1am. Well, I say, “we” as my wife and I are usually a team (team is too gracious for my contributions…she does 99% of everything and I might be able to handle the 1% she left for me to do. Not that she thinks I’m incompetent but, she is just that awesome and handles the vast majority without keeping score.) during these times and we have our process ironed out but, with her down for the count, I knew I needed to take action and do what is necessary. So, I went to bed around 8pm. “Wow! What a sacrifice!” you might be thinking but I’m not mentioning this for my own attention, just setting the stage to show you my process to rest up because I will need energy later. I realize 8pm might be perfect or even late for some of you, it’s actually a little early but not by much, I prefer to be in bed at 9 so it’s all good and, once again, I’m sharing more than you want to know.
Now we are all 3 asleep so waking up whenever our youngest wakes up and needs attention or necessities, I should be in good form at least. But, I must be a heavy sleeper because I could tell from the cups and the crust on a paper plate and the fact the bathroom light was on that she instinctively did what a mother does and catered to our son while I slept. Once I was awakened, I assured her, “I have it from here” and…sorry, no joke, quick diversion…it’s now 3:05am and he was asleep about 20 minutes ago so I came out to the living room to dive into my study but I heard the pitter patter running in the hallway and he came out here asking for a bean burrito lol! Of all things…oh well, maybe that means he’s feeling better and the bean burrito should be filling and help him get back to sleep. Bean burrito delivered and he’s laying down with that sleepy look in his eye again, we’ll see if it holds. Meanwhile, mom is sleeping through all of this thankfully. I will probably want to crash again around 8pm tonight so I’m doing what I can, when I can, with what I have. Napping won’t be an option today (busy work schedule) so I pray that it works out a bit similarly tonight with a bit more sleep and then everyone heals quickly. Not that I mind trying to laughably fill her shoes in any way. Believe me, my wife is Mrs. Amazing and when I try to fill in and serve the way she serves, it is nowhere close!
Ok, let’s get back on track with the study and how it’s going, shall we? Today’s devotional really hit home this morning, I immediately went into the posture and prayer I should have defaulted to much earlier in the “day” but even more so, in my life.
Remembering from the day before in the study, Joshua 24:15 reminded us, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Today’s devotional included these words: “How might this choice play itself out, especially first thing in the morning? It seems that most people usually spend a few minutes gathering their thoughts for the day before they get out of bed in the morning. In these moments it can be a temptation to choose to think first about our day, our schedule, what we need to do, who needs to be where, etc. Before we know it, we can fall prey to the lies of the enemy and begin dreading our day or feeling overwhelmed by it, and then try to tackle it as soon as our feet hit the floor.
What if, instead, we were to choose the Lord? What if, by God’s grace, we would choose to fight our sinful flesh, put it to death as God’s Word instructs us, and set our minds on His way instead of allowing our thoughts to run amok? Practically, what would this look like?
We would begin by thanking the Lord for the gift of a new day and acknowledge that He alone is sovereign, that He alone is in control—not us. And then by His grace we would put aside our thoughts, our concerns, and our agendas and draw near to God by spending time in His Word and in prayer.”
After reading that far into the devotional and feeling hit upside the head with the reminder, I immediately went into prayer and did just that. It felt great, it felt natural and it made me think, “why don’t I do this already?” I know I have done this in the past but not only did it forcefully come about once I was reminded like this or convicted but it was also very short-lived I hate to admit. I am praying for God’s intervention to wash my selfish heart and help me assume this posture naturally. To make it my natural state when I wake and at all times in between.
My pastor recently preached on a “Journey To Freedom”, a very encouraging and refreshing journey through the steps of salvation and ability to grow in your faith that will only come when you have freedom. I’m paraphrasing and simplifying it more than it should be, it’s an incredible multi-part study that I encourage you to check out, it will likely be the best use of your time! – Journey To Freedom
There was something very impactful that was said, more of a challenge to me, that went along the lines of, “Fall in love with your Bible.” Psalm 119:97-100 was referenced:
97Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
This particular scripture hit me hard in a number of ways. First of all, these verses were already highlighted in my Bible…BY ME! I don’t remember doing it, not sure why I did it, maybe for the same reasons I went to do it again when I saw the words up on the projector! I thought to myself, “Oh! I want to remember this and read it later!” but come to find out, I must’ve had that same revelation at some point years ago too!
Another way this scripture shook me was, I thought to myself, “You know, I used to read my Bible a LOT more than I do now…why is that??” That was a scary question but a wake up call that I was thankful to be alive and breathing to realize, therefore, that’s why I’m here writing about it, digging in to make the changes! Thank you, Pastor Peter for shaking me awake once again and giving me that nudge I needed (or as you say, “spur along” but that just sounds PAINFUL lol)!
Side note…it’s now 4:19am and the youngest just came out here to be on the couch with me so I’m going to try to wrap this up now so I can love on him and pray that the day is filled with restoration for mother and son.
There were 3 passages today and I’ll try to verbalize what I got out of each one through this method.
- Because of our depravity and failure to live in the Law, we were doomed for eternity. Through Christ Jesus, God has set us free.
- The Law was weakened by the flesh so He sent His Son for our salvation.
- To live in the flesh is death but to live in the Spirit is life!
- To live in the Spirit is to be a Child of God!
- Our natural, sinful state is to follow the flesh and obey what the flesh wants.
- We are set free and no longer under this law, we know what the fruits of the flesh and the Spirit look like, pursue the latter!
- If you belong to Christ Jesus, you have crucified the flesh!
- Since you have been raised with Christ, set your mind and heard on things above, not on earthly things put these things to death or they will put you to death!
- Clothe yourself with the virtues of the Spirit with the binding of Love, which holds it all together.
- And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Well, there you have it…what seemed to be an inconvenience to me (waking at 1:05am for the day) has turned into a rich time to spend in the Word, prayer and service to my family. If I would have followed my flesh, stayed up late serving myself, therefore, waking up late to only serve myself more (and very shabbily as usual), I wouldn’t have this opportunity to write down my thoughts. Thank you, Lord for this day for it is pregnant with opportunity to serve and be your vessel to help guide others to You!