Early Rising

I got up early this morning as I normally do and just really enjoyed my personal time with the Lord. I read for about an hour, and I spent some quality time in prayer. I feel spiritually renewed and ready for the day. I’m reminded of the time 23 years ago that the Lord said to me what’s first in your life you should make first in your day. It was the Lord’s personal challenge for me to change my lifestyle.
23 years ago God began to deal with me about spending personal time with Him daily. I was a Bible School grad, and was working on staff in a local church. But I had this deep inner dissatisfaction that I just couldn’t get a grip on. The Lord challenged me that if He was my LORD, then I was to give Him the first portion of my day. I had never been a “morning” person, but after God’s much persistent and daily dealing with me, I started rising early. I had tried this while in Bible school, and totally failed! My buddies and I got up at 4:30 one morning to pray like many of the seasoned saints of yesteryear had done. We were asleep in less than 30 minutes! This time, The LORD gave me a plan that would eventually change my life patterns. First, I made myself go to bed at least 10 minutes earlier than I usually did. Then I set my alarm 10 minutes earlier than normal. I heard one minister say that he read the Bible perched on the ledge of his bathtub so that if he fell asleep, it would hurt! I decided that I would walk back and forth while reading my Bible out loud. At first, I divided my time into five minute segments of reading and praying. I read out loud for five minutes, and then prayed for five minutes. I set my alarm each day to rise 10 minutes earlier. I knew that 21 to 28 days begins the formation of a new habit. I knew that if I missed a day, that I must start back the next day, so I continued.
What happened next amazed me. I found that in a few weeks, the 10 minutes no longer satisfied, and I was shocked that I actually wanted to get up even earlier! So I went to bed another 10 minutes earlier, and set my alarm 20 minutes earlier than normal. This pattern has continued over these years until now I’ve been rising at 4:30 AM for 23 years! I don’t have to; I want to, and that has amazed me!
Starting this habit of rising early brought to my life spiritual strength; closeness to my LORD; an ability to rise above carnal traits in my flesh; an ability to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in a greater way; and an ever deepening relationship to the Father that touches every area of my life. It seems like such a small discipline in the light of the results.
This early rising habit has saved my life, my marriage, my ministry, and continues to help me stay focused on seeking first the kingdom of God! I dare you to do this. You’ll never regret early rising, and the potential is that you’ll never be the same!

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