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First Thoughts

bed with blue highlights


Have you ever given much thought to your first thought?  Have you ever considered the first ideas that flood into your mind as you wake up in the morning?  I’d like to think that my first thought each morning is focused on the Lord.  But that’s not always the case.

I like David’s thinking in Psalm 139:17-18:  “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them.  If I would count them, they are more than the sand.  I awake, and I am still with you.”  This Old Testament leader was fascinated with how many thoughts God has and apparently meditated on those thoughts as he went to bed.  Then – when he woke up in the morning – those thoughts of God were still there.  God was still there.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 to seek first the kingdom of God.  And one of the best ways to do that is to dwell on him from the moment you wake up each day until the moment you drift off that night.  Our first thoughts each morning should be centered on God.  For me, it’s often in the form of a prayer.  Before I move a muscle, I know – right from the start – that I desperately need him for everything.

I need his help in obeying, trusting and living for him.  I need his help to be a better spouse, a better father and a better friend to those around me.  I need his help with issues of health, aging, growing, and leading.  There isn’t a moment in time that I don’t need him.

I’ve always been challenged by our Lord’s words in the Beatitudes.  For instance, I long to see Matthew 5:8 fulfilled in my life.   Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  Purity can mean at least two things:  being morally clean or being completely focused on one thing.   When someone is pure, they are undistracted.  They are focused.  When someone is not pure, they are pulled in a hundred different directions and end up fooling themselves into thinking that they can focus on several things at the same time.

As Christians, we know that doesn’t work.  We can’t serve several different things at the same time.  Jesus made this clear in the Gospel of Luke when he said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Notice what Jesus didn’t say in that verse.  He did not say that it’s difficult to serve God and money.  He said, “You can't do it.  It’s impossible.  You cannot serve God and money."

Of course we could substitute anything for the word money.  You cannot serve God and your career.  You cannot serve God and your own personal dreams.  You cannot serve God and the good opinion of other people.  The point is simple:  to truly serve God you have to have a pure heart.  If you are going to serve him, He is the only one you can serve at all.

The best time of day to hit the “refresh” button in your mind is the moment you wake up in the morning.  Refocus on him.  Dedicate the day to him.  Acknowledge that you need fresh infusions of his grace and mercy in your life.

sunrise with wheat

It’s a new day – and you have a new need for him. You cannot live today on yesterday’s grace. 

I think that’s part of the meaning behind Jesus’ instruction in the Lord’s prayer.  In Matthew 6:11 we read, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  In the days of Jesus, people often needed to buy new food each day.  Prior to the days of refrigeration, many products only lasted one day.  So people would often go to the market – daily – for their bread and other products.  That's why Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God for their daily bread. 

At another level, this means that we need fresh servings of God’s grace, help and mercy each day.  When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” we are saying, “Lord, I need new help for this new day.  Not only do I need new servings of food to strengthen my body, I need new supplies of your grace to strengthen my spirit.”

We would all do well to begin each day with a focus on the Lord.  Even with your head still on the pillow, make your first thoughts, thoughts about him.





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