Morning Moment: Return
The word for today is RETURN.
“You welcomed him back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold on his head.”
Psalms 21:3 NLT
The Seclusion 2020 is in full mode in many places. Workplaces are shuttered. At 7-11, people silently stood six feet apart even as they moved through the store. At the park, people wave with a quietness and a respect and a look that says, “I want to say more. I want to come closer. But, I am doing my part to help stop this evil.” And I call you to Return.
It has been my discipline since 1997 to pray seriously every day. Sometimes that is 30 minutes and sometimes 3 hours. It has been my discipline since 1976 to read my Bible and meditate on the words every day. Starting in 1997, I began praying with the book of Ephesians daily. That lasted three years. Three years. One hour a day. I kept handwritten notes that I still have. My life changed. At the time, I was full time in ministry as the Director of Operations of a large multi-cultural church. At the time, I was suffering the greatest challenge of my life with my hormonal system completely out of wack causing emotional roller coaster. At the time, I made many mistakes and did many things right. Every day was chaos and adventure. Return.
The result of the discipline was success. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. Those three years led me into a life change. The ministry went from one church ministering across the city to many churches and ministering across the United States. The ministry went from being my full time to being my parttime. The impact is still changing families. Return.
In this chaos of the Seclusion 2020, I took time to examine. In the 1970’s my personal relationship with Jesus taught me basic Christian disciplines of study, prayer, reading, devotion, giving, serving, fellowship, witnessing, and worship. In the 1980’s the Holy Spirit became a great friend and spoke many specific foundational visions into my life. In the 1990’s, the Lord stretched me to see the fullness of the gospel and His intensity for all peoples. In the 2000’s, the Father walked me into places in the community that had been segregated and expanded the reach of family fixing. In the 2010’s, missions to Mexico and to state legislators consumed my life and the Lord stretched me into the struggling and broken on a full time basis. In the 2020’s, we shall see. What a start to this decade! Return.
Like many of you, I ask the question, “What will we look like when we come through this, Lord? What’s next?”
So yesterday I made decisions on what I will not be doing and listening for His voice for the next stage of the journey. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Fills my heart with longing. I love Him more and more. And today He says, “Return.”
Return to His beautiful disciplines of study, prayer, reading the Bible, devotional time, memorization, meditation, serving, giving, singing praises to His name, witnessing, fellowship, and worship. Return to Him.
Desire becomes determination becomes discipline becomes delight becomes desire becomes destiny. Our desire to growth leads us in Christ to a changed desire that matches His destiny for us. Return
Return to giving Him the first hour of the day. Return to what you know works.
In the Seclusion of 2020, domestic violence and child abuse are rising. Loss of connection to support groups will see a rise in slippage backwards into alcoholism and other drugs. Suicide most likely will rise. Social anxiety will heighten. Except for the ones who return. Return to Him and daily disciplines that help you hear His voice.
When this is over, He has a plan to restore prosperity and success. It will happen in the quiet hours we spend returning to Him.
So, I started by dusting off my prayer notes from Ephesians. I created a prayer outline for intercession during that time and keep printed copies so I can take more notes. Yesterday, I returned to allowing Him to change my direction and shutdown the voices of so many that want me to do something for them versus what the Lord wants done. In the 2020’s, the Father says, “Return”.
Return to the basics. Let Him take you on an incredible journey that shadows all your prior life. This is the hour of destiny, when He prunes what is not needed, quiets your mind and heart to listen, and puts a crown on your head for the future. Return.
Oh, the picture. I took it 10 years ago when I was in another period of change. The Lord blessed my family with a lake lot and I built a stone patio for prayer under the trees. On that patio, I spent many hours returning and I do not regret any decisions. I left the corporate hustle and dedicated my remaining years to face to face intervention in the family struggle. I became a full time missionary to fractured families. It happened on that patio in return.
We are Family.
You are Loved.
Jesus is Our Strong Tower.
Pastor Phil Larson