From: Rich Carlson
Date: November 4, 2019
Subject: It's November 4; Good Morning Union

“When you are in your bed, search your heart…”     Psalm 4:4

I think, after being inspired by the Worship Summit our church sponsored this past weekend,  I’m going to spend some time in the Psalms for the month of November. Don’t know if you remember or not but I think I told you last year about a fun way I have to focus my devotional time in these songs (that’s what the word “psalm” means—song!). If you are having a hard time in your devotions knowing where to spend your time in God’s word, try looking at the day of the month, (today is the 4th), then read the corresponding psalm (Psalm 4) and every 30th psalm after that (so today with be Psalm 4, 34, 64, 94, 124), and you will read the whole book of psalms in one month!! How do you like that! J Or just read one a day and you have your devotional schedule all set for the next 5 months!!

So as I looked at today’s psalms I was captured in the very first one. David was pretty honest with God and was not afraid to plead with Him, argue with Him, find joy in Him, and even sometimes get frustrated with Him! He was apparently having a tough day the day he wrote Psalm 4, but the most amazing recurring theme I see so often in these songs of David and others, is that no matter what the emotion he usually seemed to find resolution as he shared his heart openly with his God. THAT could be a good ah-ha lesson for today!

I find direction in this psalm for a healthy spiritual activity for my night time routine. I think this might be where we get the idea of saying our prayers before we go to bed. I would like to suggest that maybe I should WAIT to say my night time prayers until I am IN bed, and the lights are out, and I’ve put away my electronic distractors, and I am ALONE—with God. At THAT point my prayer is less about the “missionaries around the world,” or my need to get a good grade on the test I didn’t study for, or my need for a new friend or a new car. It’s more about “searching my heart.” No masks to hide my pain; no cover ups for my insecurities; no more lies or deceptions about who I really am, no more pretending or playing; this is the real thing—quiet and focused time with God. It’s a time to “search my heart.”

And the really cool conclusion of David in Psalm 4 and for me each night, is in verse 8; “I will lie down and sleep in peace….” If I end my day focusing on all the problems or questions, no wonder it’s hard to sleep! But if I choose to be silent in my heart, and listen to God the result, according to David (and me) is that I can sleep in peace. The problems will still be there in the morning, but I’ll have had a good night’s sleep so I can more clearly tackle them—in the morning!

And the reason David gives that he can “sleep in peace,” is because “You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” When I can turn off all the distractors and “say my prayers” before I go to sleep by being silent and letting God remind me of His presence and His power, I can sleep in peace, and safety, knowing “You alone are God.”

Sweet dreams tonight as you practice “saying” or not saying your prayers, but being silent,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day:      “A mistake that makes you humble is better than an achievement that makes you arrogant.”


PS        Operation Christmas Child starts today!! Pick up your box at Campus Ministries, fill it with fun stuff, and return it to Campus Ministries by the 15th!! The only real limitation is, no war or violence-directed toys. Pick a gender, pick an age, then fill the box with school supplies, combs, brushes, toys, balls, little stuffed animals, or whatever you think would make a little child happy at Christmas!

PPS      Also today we are starting “Share the Warmth,” to collect winter outerwear to share with Matt Talbot Kitchen and People’s City Mission for the homeless who could use and extra layer of warmth at this season. Bring your coats, gloves, hats, scarves or whatever you want to share with the struggling folks in Lincoln. The collection happens this week so get started sorting your things today!!

PPPS    In recognition of National Stress Awareness Day, Amber and her Human Development folks are sponsoring service dogs from 12-2pm in the Atrium. Come pet a dog, lower your stress, and feel better about yourself. You’re worth it!!