Robert Morris — The Everyday Battle
Today's message is entitled, "The Everyday Battle". The everyday battle, and let me tell you something about this battle, it's the easiest battle to win. Easiest. The only way you lose this battle is by not showing up. That's the only way. If you just show up, you'll win this battle. And here's what I want to show you, Luke 15:31, this is the older son had just complained to the father that the father had never given him anything, and we saw that wasn't true, but here was the father's response. Luke 15:31, "And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours". You're always with me, and all that I have is yours.
You might even want to memorize that verse, and just think about God saying that to you. You're always with me, I'm always with you, I'll never leave you or forsake you, He said. I'm always with you, and all that I have is yours. Okay, so, we know the older son had a bad attitude toward the younger son, we know that, we've already read that, but why? I believe it's because he failed the everyday battle, and here's what I mean by this. He was living in the house with the father, but I'm not sure he was communing with the father. He said, you're always with me, I think he was with him, but he wasn't with him.
You know what I mean by that? Exodus 25:22, God talking about the tabernacles said, "And there I will meet you, and I will speak with you". Okay, here's the everyday battle, are you really meeting with God every day and speaking with God? Are you talking with God, or are you talking to God? It makes a difference. Now, the problem with this meeting with God every day, when we talk about it, is that we relate it, many times to two words that we've heard before, and those two words and conjure up all sorts of ideas and images to us. Those two words are quiet time.
Back in the 80s there were a lot of manuals about how to have a quiet time, I think they should have named them, how to have a busy time. Because, I can remember getting one of those and I had to pray for a certain number of people every day, and I had to read so many scriptures a day, and this was supposed to relieve my stress. I got behind in my prayers, I got behind in the scripture reading, and I got more and more stressed out. And yet, I was supposed to be having time with God.
Now, I believe in praying and reading your Bible every day, every day. I believe it's a great discipline to have, but I want to ask you a question. Let me tell you a little something before I ask this, something that happened to me. I wear a reading contact in my left eye. I wear this so I can actually see my notes without having to make the font 18. So, I can actually see my notes in one eye, the other eye, I can see you. It works out pretty well most of the time, okay. But sometimes I don't put my contacts in, and I went upstairs a while back, that's where I like to have my quiet time to this room, and I went up there to have my quiet time and I thought, "Oh, if I don't have my contacts, I have to have reading glasses. Oh I don't have my reading glasses". And the Lord said to me, "So"? He said, "I like for you to read your Bible every day, but are you telling me that if you don't have your reading glasses you and I can't just talk"?
Here's what I'm talking about, are you meeting with a person every day? Not going through a regiment of what you're supposed to pray about that day and how many scriptures you're supposed to read. I'm asking you, are you meeting with a person? A person who loves you, and whom you love. Okay, or another way to say it is, the older brother, again, he was in the house. I wonder how many believers are in the house but not talking with the father. Missing it, and I want you to think about through this message, I want you to think of it as a marriage, because you're married to Jesus, we know that. But I want to say this, if you treat your earthly marriage like you treat your heavenly marriage, then you're going to have marriage problems. If you only spend as much time with your spouse, and are only as open and honest with your spouse as many people are with God, and spend as little time with your spouse as you do with God, you're gonna have marriage problems.
So, I want to talk to you about a quiet time, and before I do, I actually have four sub points. Four parenthetical points, alright, and then four main points. So, let me give you my four sub points first, and here's what they are, they're under a heading, Four Myths About a Quiet Time. Four Myths About a Quiet Time, okay, here's the first one, this is a myth, your quiet time must be between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Okay, this is not in the Bible. I thought okay, everyone this spiritual, they do it at 4:00 a.m. so I'm gonna have my 4:00 a.m. quiet time. I fell asleep on God. When I woke up, I felt like He was just looking at me like, "Really? I'm that boring? You fall asleep on me"?
But it wasn't bad, I mean, it wasn't like, you know, you know how you get in your trouble, you know, when you fall asleep when your wife's talking. It wasn't like that. Here's what He said to me, He said, "Go back to bed". He said, "You're incoherent at this time, I can't understand you". And so I said to Him, "Lord, but will you be open later"? Because you know, you've heard this, you've heard — have you ever heard someone say, "Yes, I was spending time at 4:30 with the Lord this morning". Doesn't that just make you want to punch 'em? Okay, I know there are some early risers and you like to spend time with the Lord in the morning, but leave us alone, okay?
And again, think about a marriage. Your wife comes in to give you a kiss, "I'm sorry, I can't kiss, it's after 6:00 a.m. We only kiss from 4:00 to 6:00". Okay, now I believe you ought to schedule a time, and I believe for me I feel like the Lord said it's the first of your day. I think it's like tithing, when you give the first 10% to God, the rest is blessed. I think you need to give the first of your day, but for some of you, you need to get some coffee first before you try to make sentences, okay.
Alright so, that's number one, here's number two. Your quiet time must last at least an hour. And there's nothing in the Bible about this, it doesn't have to last an hour. I know you've heard someone say, "Yes, I spend three hours with the Lord every day". Okay, that person is unemployed or doesn't have children. You agree? We don't have young children now, our kids have young children, so sometimes Debbie and I — we just laugh you know, it's just — "Parker don't hit your brother. Parker, get off the roof of the house, Park..." You know, it's just funny to watch our kids chase our grandkids around, but I can remember having young kids and how hectic it was. I can remember, you know, when they'd go to sleep, wasn't that a great feeling? "Are they asleep"? "Yes". "Yes"! "Yes"! "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I'm free at last".
You know, but you don't want to do it loudly, you don't wanna say, "Yes"! you know, cause you're yelling. You know, so. Okay, alright, that's number two, here's number three myth about a quiet time. Your quiet time journal must sound like the Bible. Many of you know, pastor Olan is one our apostolic elders, he was my pastor at Shady Grove church, and so in the elder's meetings back then he would, many times read some of his journal. His journal sounds like my utmost for his highest, that's what his journal sounds like. And so he'd say let me read y'all what I wrote in my journal this morning. He read this passage and I just thought, "Wow, that's phenomenal". I thought, "I wonder what I wrote in my journal".
So I flipped over, I had it with me, here I had one entry in my journal, here's what it said. "Try not to be a jerk today". Okay, so it doesn't have to sound like the Bible. Here's the fourth myth about a quiet time, your quiet time must be every day. Now, again, I think you should pray and read your Bible every day. I'm talking about spending time with God. What if you have an early morning flight? What if something's happened the night before and you know, you're up late doing some plans or something, or reports you had to do. Here's what I'm just simply saying, it's a marriage. Yes, it should be the first time, yes, but to really spend time, it might not be every day.
So, let me give you, years ago, I told the Lord, "Lord, I don't know how to have a quiet time". So He gave me four guidelines to help me, and I use these to this day, so I'm gonna give you these guidelines. Yours might not be exactly like this, but I think the principals will help you, alright, so here's number one, quiet your mind. Quiet your mind. See, the battle's in our minds. I mean, here's what happens, you've had this. You're trying to spend time with God and your mind says, "Hey, hey, hey, you need to pick up your suit from the cleaners. It's been there seven months. Hey, hey, hey, where are y'all going on vacation? Hey, hey, you better get some reservations. Hey, hey, hey, hey, what do you think that meeting's about today? Hey, hey, hey"! That's what it's like up here if you don't know.
Sometimes in my quiet time, literally, it takes me, sometimes about three to ten minutes to try and blank my mind so I can just talk with God. Sometimes, I hate to tell you this and give you this mental image, but many times at the first of my quiet time I put my fingers in my ears like this. Now, just remember that's the way — that's what you look like right there. See, I couldn't even hear if you laughed at me, see. I just — you have to close everything — it takes me — I have to quiet. Psalm 62:1, David said, "Truly my soul silently waits for God". Psalm 62:5, "My soul wait silently for God alone". In the Hebrew this word silently means shut up. No, it doesn't really. Quiet your mind.
Here's number two, focus your mind. Now, I put these in points that maybe we could remember, but this isn't the way the Lord first gave it to me. The Lord was telling me about quieting my soul and just trying to get to where there aren't any thoughts running through my mind as the first step, and then the second step, I said, "What do you want me to do next", and he said, "Sing". And I said, "Have you heard me sing"? And He said, "Yeah, and I love it".
The Lord showed me something about this, I was at a church years ago and they were a start up church, and the worship team was awful. It's just a fact, it's just true. They weren't sorta bad, they were like awful. And I said to the Lord during that worship service, I said, "Are you hearing this"? And He said, "Yeah, it sounds great, doesn't it"? I said, "Lord, it doesn't sound great, it sounds awful". And He said to me, "You remember that verse that man looks at the outward but God looks at the heart"? He said, "I not only look at the heart, I listen to the heart". He said, "I've heard people sing that had terrible voices, but their hearts are great and it sounds beautiful". He said, "I've heard other people sing who have great voices, but bad hearts, and it's horrible".
So, I sing in my quiet time, now, I don't sing out loud, because dogs howl, babies cry, so I don't sing out loud, but I sing. Actually, when I sing in my quiet time I sound just like Thomas Miller, sound just — I'm really good, I just want you to know. But I said to the Lord when the Lord said sing, I said to Him what some of you would ask Him then, I said, "Okay, what song do you want me to sing"? Here's what He said, "The one you wake up with". Now I want you to think about this. If you start thinking about this, there are many, many days you have a song going through your mind, is that right? Here's what the Lord said to me, He said, "Every day His mercies are new, every day". He said, "Every day, I give you the key into the Holy of Holies".
It's clear, Psalm 100:2, "Come before His presence with singing". This is the Bible. Come before His presence with singing, again, not — it doesn't matter how you sing. Just think of a worship song and sing it in your mind to God. Okay, sing the song you wake up with. Let me clarify that, don't sing Hotel California in your quiet time, alright? That's not a good quiet time song. But a worship song, you can put a CD on, you can put it on your phone and put your earphones on. Think about, the last two points, we're gonna get to 'em, it's basically prayer and reading your Bible last two, but I'll say it differently. But I want you to think, I can't really do those, I can't really pray and read my Bible unless I do this first.
This is how I enter His presence. I slow down for a little while, quiet myself, stop thinking about other stuff. And sometimes I'll have my phone there with the little note thing open because if there is something I think, "Oh I've got to call that guy today", I can write it down and then go on. But then when I go into worship, His presence will fill that little room and I can spend time with Him.
So, focus your mind, here's number three, pray your mind. Pray your mind. This is very simple. Pray what's on your mind. Now, you have to understand, I'm talking about a quiet time right now, I'm not talking about intercessory prayer, something totally different. If God's called you to be an intercessor, I want you to pray for all the details, I want you to cover everything in prayer, and you may spend much more time in prayer that an another person. Now, I'm not talking about that right now, I'm talking about every believer spending time with Jesus every day. Spending time with a person, talking to a person.
So, when you pray, just pray what's on your mind. You don't have to pray for world peace if world peace isn't on your mind. If it is, pray for it. Pray for your family, pray for your business, pray for whatever meetings you have that day, just pray. 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Casting all of your care upon Him, for He cares for you". This is what you do every morning. You will be shocked how it will change your day. Casting, this word casting means to throw. Throw it on God.
Listen, you were not designed to carry, you were designed to cast. You're a sheep, sheep were not designed to carry burdens. You've never heard someone say, "I'm going on a safari and I need to rent some pack sheep". Sheep don't carry burdens, shepherd carries the burdens. Shepherd leads them beside still waters and to green pastures. The shepherd does that. We just follow the shepherd. So, you cast it. Here's the problem.
I was praying with a lady at the altar one time and she said to me, "I've just got this huge burden, it's just this huge burden. I've had it for months now". And I just said to her, "You need to give that to the Lord". Listen what she said "Oh I've done that many times". And here's what we do, here's what we do. We say, "Lord, I'm just laying this at your feet God, I just can't carry it anymore, Lord. I'm just laying it at your feet. I'm just laying it at your feet, God, I'm laying it at your feet, God. I'm just laying it at your — well, if you're just gonna sit there. Prayer is the transference of a burden. Let me say it another way, if you come out of your prayer closet and you're still burdened, you didn't pray, you just griped.
So, pray your mind, and here's number four, renew your mind. Renew your mind, and of course we renew our mind by God's word. So, read somewhere in the Bible and read a version that you can understand. Okay, right now I'm reading through The Message Bible. I love The Message Bible, I'm just having a blast. You know, you're reading these scriptures and I'm thinking, "Now I've read something real similar to that in the Bible". And then I think, "Oh, this is the Bible, it's just a different version of the Bible". I just read through.
When the Lord convicted me, I told you several months ago that the Lord had convicted me this summer of drive-thru quiet times. He said, "I'm tired of you having drive-thru quiet times. I want you to come in and have a meal with me". And so a few weeks after that I told Debbie, I said, "I'm gonna go upstairs to have my quiet time". I went upstairs and an hour and a half later, I came back downstairs. Now, this is what she said, now this is telling, this is telling on me. Here's what she said, "Did you start working on your message"? You see what she was saying, not in a mean way, but she was just like, you're up there an hour and a half. I said, "No, I was just having my quiet time".
I didn't know it had been an hour and a half. That's what I'm telling you, it's not boring when you're actually spending time with Him, but if you're trying to go through a list or fulfill a duty, I've had times like that. I've made those commitments, I'm gonna pray 30 minutes a day. I'm gonna pray 30 minutes a day. I get up there and pray everything I can think of and then go, "Only seven minutes. Twenty three more minutes, what am I gonna do"? Okay, that's not what God wants, He just wants to talk to His kids.
If I could help you in any way, if you would just make a commitment. I'm just gonna spend some time with God every day, or every chance I can. Some days maybe I can't, but most of the time, first of the day I'm gonna spend some time with God. Can you imagine how it would change your life? I wonder what God wants to tell you tomorrow. I wonder what problems in your marriage He wants to take care of. I wonder what problems in your business He wants to take care of. I want you to see Him in a room in your house, sitting there, every morning, hoping that you don't walk by that room. Just dreaming that His son, or His daughter would open the door, and come in and sit down and say, "Good morning, dad". And just take a few moments to talk to Him.