My parents and Grandma taught me a classic bedtime prayer originating from the 1700’s.
“Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Please watch me safely through the night
And wake me with the morning light.”
There are many variations to the prayer. I added my own version that I taught my children and now my grandchildren. I added to the end of the prayer, “Tomorrow is another day in which to excel.” There is always room for improvement and tomorrow is a new day – a new opportunity to do better.
How do we do things better? How do we excel?
Acts 1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
As we know, for forty days after his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus appeared on different occasions to his disciples. At last, on the fortieth day, Jesus gathered his disciples together, promised them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and was then “taken up” or “lifted up” in a cloud.
“I was feeling down,” we say sometimes, “but now things are looking up.” Happiness makes our spirits “rise” We feel “uplifted.” I found myself saying this past week, sunshine lifts my spirits up. When we are “lifted up” we are in a better place in which to excel. I want you to think on this. This will lift you up! These are the words of God, your father.
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
I am familiar with all your ways. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:30 9 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
You were made in my image. Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
In me you live and move and have your being. For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
I knew you even before you were conceived. JEREMIAH 1:4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalm 139 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
How do we do things better? How do we excel?
We know that God is love. God loves you. He always has and he always will. He gives you everything you need to lead a full and productive life. He gave you the comforter, the Holy Spirit, to give you guidance.
DIRECTIONS TO HIS HOUSE (by Georgy) Make a Right onto “Believeth Blvd.” Keep straight and go through the Green Light, which is Jesus Christ. From there, you must turn onto the “Bridge of Faith,” which is over troubled water. When you get off the bridge, make a Right turn and Keep Straight. You are on the “King’s Highway” – Heaven-bound. Keep going for three miles: One for the Father, One for the Son, and One for the Holy Ghost. Then exit off onto “Grace Blvd.” From there, make a Right turn on “Gospel Lane.” Keep Straight and then make another Right on “Prayer Blvd.” As you go on your way, Yield Not to the traffic on “Temptation Ave.” Also, avoid SIN STREET because it is a DEAD END.
Pass up “Envy Drive,” and “Have Avenue.” Also, pass “Hypocrisy Street,” “Gossiping Lane” and “Backbiting Blvd.” But you have to go down “Long-suffering Lane”, “Persecution Blvd.,” and “Trials and Tribulations Ave.” But that’s all right, because VICTORY Blvd. is straight ahead!
Of course, there is an easier way…
Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through me.