Do you count your sleep hours?

Since I graduated college, I have now gone home and am currently working to save up some money. I’ve been working about 60 or 70 hours a week, and it’s been a little fun. I’ve found that sleep is a necessity, so I try to get as much as I can. Over time, I started to count the hours that I would get to sleep.

I’d be going to bed and I’d be like, “Oh, so I’m only getting 6 1/2 tonight.” Or “I’m getting  a full 8 so tomorrow should be a good day!” I began to measure and predict how the next day would go based only upon my hours of sleep. I started getting frustrated when situations worked out so I’d get less. And I became stressed, when I knew I would have to go without a good rest for several days. Well, to make a long story short- I was completely in the wrong.

I really don’t know what I was thinking!

God’s in control. He had given me that schedule, and He knew how much sleep I’d be getting. Who was I to think that God couldn’t help me out and get me through the day on less sleep? I mean, think about it, when Joshua needed to get things done, he didn’t ask for more sleep, only daylight. God gave Joshua the strength to continue into battle for almost an entire second day. So why not me?

I challenge you, if you find yourself gauging your next day based on your hours of sleep (like I did), make a change! I’m not telling you to go without sleep because, “God will sustain me,” but if you find yourself being unavoidably sleep deprived, don’t just expect to have a horrible day and “just get through it.” Expect God to do something great. Ask Him to give you the energy you need to accomplish His work for His kingdom. If you ask in faith, I know he will provide.

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” – John 15:7

So next time you go to sleep, don’t be counting the hours, be counting on His power! 🙂

Do you focus on what He takes?

When Job experienced great loss, he fell down and worshipped God. He said, ” the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” It is interesting to note that Job first recognized that all that he had was from the Lord. He said, “The Lord gave.” Job did something that most people would not, He focused on what God gave, and because of that, He saw what God “took” in a proper light.

In Psalm 3:5, David says, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve rarely found a person (including myself) who is truly thankful that God sustained them when they wake up. Usually they focus on their stressful day, their lack of coffee, their manner of awakening. They focus on what God takes, or just anything He didn’t give.

Through this verse, we can learn much from David. That line about God sustaining him in his sleep, when do you think that was written? It wasn’t written while he was lounging in luxury in his palace just trying to find a Hebrew rhyme to put in his next album hit. No, it was written while he, the king, was on the run. His own son had turned against him and was threatening his life.

This ancient king found occasion to thank the Lord for sustaining him in his sleep, while he had his throne taken from him, his son rising up against him, and his very life in danger. He did so because he focused on what God had given him.

If a man in such conditions could still find it in him to sing the praises of God, couldn’t we?

” I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” – Psalm 34:1

Late to bed and early to rise probably isn’t God’s plan for you

Being exhausted seems to come with today’s culture. Most urban areas live a fast-paced sleepless existence. We thrive on power naps, energy drinks, and weekends. But is this really God’s plan for us?

If we think about the garden of eden, we can judge that God’s first people were pretty relaxed. Even afterwards, they were most likely farmers and therefore had a very relaxing day. It seems that we have brought this fast paced society upon ourselves. Is there anyone in the Bible who would relate to us?

The closest I could find was in Psalms 127:2. This verse says, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." I’m sure you might be thinking, "well, that’s it. We can all sleep in from now on." Well, not exactly. This verse has a very specific application. It has to do with the "bread of sorrows" that is mentioned.

‘Sorrows’ there doesn’t necessarily mean sadness. The word here means pain and toilsome labor. It has the idea that a person is physically bringing themselves pain. In some instances, the word was used to describe a woman giving birth. This labor is pretty intense.

What God is essentially saying is that you don’t have to wear yourself out. It is not His will for you to burn out while trying to feed your family, or simply trying to serve Him. As the verse says, "He giveth his beloved sleep." God wants you to have a life that is not full of stress. He wants you to have rest.

If you are wearing yourself out, you may be serving in a way God does not want you to serve. God may have other avenues for you to use to serve Him. Perhaps you are serving where He wants you, but you need to relax and cast your burdens upon Him. I challenge you, seek the Lord when it comes to your work schedule. Allow Him to direct your paths.

Remember, God gives His beloved sleep.

"The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." – Proverbs 10:22

Early in the morning . . .

You will find that many people do what is most important in the morning. Many people do nothing in the morning and we can safely judge therefore that nothing is important to them. I speak this by permission. (Clarification: That was a joke) Putting jokes aside, we can find that many people will do what is most important, in the morning.

Now, using that idea (however flawed) we can deduce that if a person is willing to get up early in the morning, then whatever it is must be extremely important. Taking that in mind, let’s look at this scripture. “And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.” – John 8:2

Let me clarify again, I’m not trying to pass judgment on those who sleep late or those who aren’t morning people. If you’re not a morning person, realize for a moment how important something would have to be for you to get up in the morning and leave your house for it.

I just want to point out two ideas to you. First, that these people in John 8, were passionate about learning from Jesus. They got up early to hear from Him. What a rebuke to us who treat the Bible as something to be lightly esteemed. I am convicted myself, even as I type this.

The second thing I wish to show you is that Jesus was passionate about teaching those who would listen. Notice, He didn’t go banging down doors and waking people up. Jesus went to the synagogue. A place where you would expect Him. And He allowed the people to come to Him. Jesus made Himself available.

So, in conclusion, I would challenge you to inspect your life. Maybe you naturally sleep in the morning. Maybe that is as it should be, or maybe you should stop hitting the snooze. I don’t know your schedule, and I’m not judging.

I would just suggest to you: Make God your priority, because He’s made you His.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” – Jeremiah 33:3

Like doing it in your sleep . . .

Do you remember learning to brush your teeth? Or how about walking? When you were young, you had to think about those things. Now it is different. You can wake up, get dressed, take a shower, brush your teeth, and do so many other things even before you "wake up." You did all this using a part of your brain that has learned to do certain things "on it’s own." To say it simply, you didnt have to think about it. You just did it. Those things came natural too you.

Oftentimes in our Christian life, we try to train ourselves to live right. We can focus on doing right so much that we can even get stressed trying to remember everything. Do you know that God has provided a way for you to live your Christian life without thinking about it? Galatians 5:16 says, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

You see, if we walk in the spirit we will live holy lives naturally. We won’t have to think about living right, we just will. And in the end, we can truly say that God is the one who changed us. You see, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13 In order to live right naturally or "without thinking about it" we have to walk in the Spirit.

I would like to challenge you to focus on God throughout your day. Sing praises to Him to yourself, or out loud. Read your Bible often. Ask God to teach you to walk in the Spirit and put on the new man and new nature he has provided for you. If you will allow God to be a major part of your life and walk in the Spirit, you will do right, without thinking about it.

"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." – Ephesians 4:24

Lessons from sleep

Have you ever been annoyed that you have to sleep? There are some days that I hate the fact that I need to sleep. Think about it. If you spend 8 hours a day sleeping. . . For ever 24 years you live, you will have spent 8 years in apparent uselessness. However, we all know that sleep is not useless. Without sleep we could not function. It is sleep that energizes, repairs, and empowers us to continue our daily lives. It may seem like we are doing nothing, but really we are accomplishing far more than we could ever accomplish by staying awake. Many times, our spiritual walk can have a strange parallel with this idea. For myself, I can get into a mindset that I need to always be doing something for God. But the Christian life isn’t about the doing.

When we examine biblical examples we find that Moses spent 40 years in the desert being a shepherd before God called him to lead Israel. Israel itself was in bondage for over two hundred years before God delivered His chosen nation. Because of the fast-paced world we live in we may question, “Why? Why didn’t God work sooner? Why such a long wait before God did anything?” The answer is simple. God is doing something. Just because we can’t see something happening, doesn’t mean that nothing is.

I read an illustration once about a little girl that planted a seed. After some time she became impatient as she waited for the plant to sprout. Her grandmother explained to her that things were happening that the girl couldn’t see. There was nothing that girl could do to make the seed sprout faster. All she could do was wait, have faith, and continue to water the seed. Our spiritual lives can be very similar to this story. It may seem like nothing is happening, and God is not working, but in reality, God is working things together so that when his plan manifests, it will be better than we could ever imagine.

So when you go to sleep tonight, remember these lessons:

  • Just because it seems like nothing is happening, doesn’t mean that nothing is.
  • That something that is happening, is what God is working, and what God is working, none other could accomplish.

In short: Trust God to do his work, even when you don’t see it.

“Be still and know that I am God”  -Psalm 46:10

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  -Philippians 2:13