Five Steps to a G.R.E.A.T. Day, Part 1:
"G" and "R"
June 6, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
Praise to God for His Everlasting Mercy
1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
5 I called on the LORD in distress;
The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
6 The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is for me among those who help me;
8 It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes.
24 This is the day the LORD has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
29 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
The Bible says: This is the day that the Lord has made, and it is! Today is an unspeakable gift. Just as the credit card company says, it is priceless! And it is. It is God’s gift. But the Scripture goes on to say, Let us rejoice and be glad in it. It is one thing for God to put it before us. It is one thing for God to give us 24 hours of this wonderful day, but we have to do something about it. If today is going to be a great day, it is up to us. We have got to seize this opportunity to make today a great day. What I would like to do this morning and for the next few weeks is to explore this topic: how can we make every day a great day.
I propose to you an acronym. A formula based on a five letter formula. This is the acronym-G-R-E-A-T. I invite you to begin a great day by thinking about this acronym, and by attaching a meaning to each letter.
Today we will look at the first two letters, “G” and “R”. When you wake up in the morning that is the time to make your decision that you are going to take this day, this priceless gift from God, and make it a great day.
We will think about each of these letters individually. Let’s start with the letter G. “G” is the first letter and it stands for God. Put God first in your day. Put God first in your week. Put God first before your meals. Put God first in any situation that arises that needs an important decision. Put God first. “G” stands for God.
I see by your honored presence here that you have put God first in your week. You have decided to set aside at this hour, on this sacred day, to put God first. You have come to church to recharge your spiritual batteries, to listen to the Word of God and see what God has in store for you. This is a personal tribute of your love for God. I salute that, my friends. When you get up each morning, I invite you to make that decision, to plan to put God first in your week. Sunday is going to be the morning for church just as you have done today. I honor you for that. Decide that Sunday is the Lord's Day, and that you will honor Him by coming to worship.
Put God first at the beginning of your day, when you first wake up. If we put God first when we first get up in the morning, our day will be on the right track. Pray to Him, let his Love surround you; let that prayer be one of positive energy. Let God infuse the Holy Spirit into your heart, recharge you and tell you how much He loves you. Let God tell you what a great day He has in store for you; let that be your first thought. Let your day begin with prayer to God.
I remember when I was boy; there were times that I would get up very early, before the sun rose. I would see a light on in the kitchen, and I would make my way downstairs. I remember so clearly what I would see. My father, who rose a great deal before dawn to get ready for his work at the General Motors factory, would be there on his knees, on the kitchen floor, leaning against a kitchen chair as a prop for his arms as he would pray to God. He would pray every morning to the Lord, very quietly, in Polish. He would say the Lord’s Prayer, The Apostles Creed and the Ten Commandments. Every blessed morning, he began his day with prayer. Let’s do that, also. Put your hands in a prayer position, remember the Lord, and take some time to listen for His words of love to you. It is a great way to begin the day.
Begin your meals with prayer. Take a moment to thank the Lord for what you have. It makes the food taste better; it makes the folks around the table more loving. Do you have a prayer that you say before your meals? If you don’t, may I make a suggestion?
All it takes to have a family prayer is to have one person volunteer to be the leader. The leader simply says the words, Are you ready? Are you ready? Then everyone says together, Thank you God, for everything. Amen. (Pastor Tony asks for a volunteer from the congregation. The volunteer says, “Are you ready, are you ready?” and the entire congregation responds, “Thank you, God, for everything. Amen.”)
If you want to expand upon that, you can have one person say an extemporaneous prayer. For example, Thank you God for this beautiful day, for the summer sun, for the food we are going to have, and the love we share around this table; and we all want to say together: thank you, God, for everything. Amen. It is not difficult to do. You may have another prayer you like to say - that's wonderful, too. The important thing is to decide to have a prayer - and do it.
If you are in a restaurant and you are by yourself, why not take a moment to fold your hands, close your eyes for a minute and offer a prayer before the food comes? It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, just a quiet prayer. You may ask, “What if somebody notices me?” Well, that is good! Isn’t that good that someone notices and thinks, “That person is praying.”
There may be times when you are in certain company and it just doesn’t feel right to be public about your prayer. That is okay. Take a moment and commune with the Lord by yourself, but begin the meal with a prayer. Please make a personal commitment to thank God for the food that is before you. Make a personal decision early in the morning to begin your meals with prayer. “G” means put God first.
What does “R” stand for in our acronym? “R” stands for remember. The Scripture tells us: Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits…O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good… His mercy endures forever. Remember your blessings. If you get up and are a little depressed in the morning or you are worried about things, think of three blessings, three things in your life that you are thankful for.
Here are three of mine.
1. I am so thankful for my health, thank you God, for my health. It has been five years since the cardiac event and I have never felt better.
2. I am thankful for my family and my friends and the people who love and support me.
3. I am thankful for you, my wonderful church. I am thankful for the incredible privilege of being your pastor. What a blessing!
So think of three, whatever they are for you. Think of three blessings that you might thank God for today.
“G” stands for God. Put God first. “R” stands for Remember. Remember your blessings. We will look at the rest of the acronym in the coming weeks. I want to leave you with one thought. The word God, G-O-D, and the word good, g-o-o-d, are cognates. They are born of the same linguistic root. God is good! When you pray, let it be a joy! When you pray, it should feel good! When you pray, think about how loved you are. Don’t let prayer be a chore. Don’t let prayer be a burden. Don’t let it be a guilt thing. NO! The heart of the universe rejoices when you pray. It is a joy. God is good. Prayer should feel wonderful and church should feel great. Let every contact you have with God be a blessing and feel wonderful.
Begin your day with putting God first and remembering your blessings.
More next time.
God loves you; I do too. Have a wonderful week. Amen.
© 2010 Anthony J. Godlefski