Monday Encouragement

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning”–Psalm 92:1-2

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ,

For some reason my mind was filled with the opening lines of a beautiful Christian hymn early today as I worked in my study. That a song might be reverberating in my head at the beginning of the day is not in itself unusual at all. There are very few days when this is not the case, and I’m all but certain that you share a similar daily experience.

But what was unusual was the song itself. Almost without exception, the music that fills my mind (and sometimes, even to a distracting degree!) is a tune that I have encountered somewhere along the way during the course of a day. But not today.

I have no idea why, but the words that that played on repeatedly in my mind were these:

When morning gilds the sky,
our hearts awaking cry:
May Jesus Christ be praised! (#167,Trinity Hymnal)

Of course, this is a wonderful old hymn, and like most of you I’ve heard it all my life. But with its surprising emergence in my thoughts this Monday, it has taken on a much deeper significance for me.

Clearly, the author of these elegant words was reflecting upon the language of the Psalmist (the Biblical text assigned to it in our hymnal is Psalm 34:1). As in the anonymously penned words of Psalm 92, it was in the morning that king David’s heart was turned upward in praise to the One whose covenantal love and faithfulness never fail. The acknowledgement of the Lord’s gracious posture towards His beloved people framed the rest of his day. Everything that might take place over the next hours of life was to be seen, experienced, and interpreted in the light of the unfathomable love of God and His unrelenting commitment to those whom He has saved.

However, I’ll be the first to admit that this is not always our experience as we awaken. Perhaps more often than not, our thoughts upon awakening take us far away from the love and power of our Heavenly Father. Anxious musings so frequently greet us as our eyes open. Our minds quickly move toward the contemplation of world events, family and work concerns, relational challenges, our sins and those of others, and a virtual catalog of unpleasant things that send us on our way in a foul or frightful mood. We don’t feel like giving our Lord praise.

But there is a lesson and a note of blessed encouragement to be found in the Psalmist’s words and in the reflections of this great hymn.

What if praising our Lord upon awaking is not a feeling that we wait for, but a discipline that we engage in? What if we don’t praise Him the first thing each day because we ‘feel’ like it, but we ‘feel’ like it because we praise Him? What if morning praise and adoration is an act of spiritual warfare, the taking captive of every thought to the service of Christ (2 Cor 10:5)? And what if the spiritual discipline of beginning each new day with uplifted eyes, adoring heart, and joy-filled voice is our Father’s prescription for our fears, our despair, our many anxieties, and our persistent temptations?

I am thankful for the way I was gently reminded of all of this today, and I want to encourage you to join me in the ‘warfare of morning praise.’

The old devil would love nothing more than for our first thoughts each day to take us far away from our Savior’s power and love. So let’s fight back, together!

Each new day, “When morning guilds the sky,” let us send our praises upward! Let us “sing praises” to His Great Name! Let us “declare” our Father’s “steadfast love in the morning”! And then, and only then, will the day be properly ordered and our hearts at rest!

I hope there is now a great old hymn bouncing around in your mind too!

I love you all so much, way more than my frail words could ever express!