Tuesday, March 27, 2012

“The Promise of His Return”

Insights #13, March 31, 2012

First Quarter 2012 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"The Promise of His Return"
For the week of  March 25-31, 2012
For an 1888 message believer, the doctrine of the second coming of Christ poses a bit of a dilemma. We have no doubt about the fact that Jesus will return, literally, physically, visibly and personally to this earth to receive his waiting children. Yet, the subject becomes more and more difficult to discuss with each passing year. Why? Because we believe that the 1888 message was sent to prepare a people for translation, which is now more than a century overdue. Even the 1888 message itself was likely a little late in arriving if we take into account the ideal scenario presented in the Spirit of prophecy.
Let's review our past, understand where we are in the stream of recent history, and face the hope, the disappointment and perplexity associated with this precious doctrine.
In John chapter 14 we find a favorite Adventist passage which articulates Jesus' promise. "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3).  This is the "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13). It is a precious promise, an irrevocable destiny. We long to see the fulfillment of this promise. It is what enables us to understand the world and it gives meaning to our sometimes mysterious existence on this planet.
As we look back at Genesis we understand where we came from. We understand the perplexities, the problems the terrible situations that we sometimes face or perceive in the lives of others. Life is not without meaning to a Seventh-day Adventist because we know that there is a great controversy going on and we are at times the direct objects of Satan's malice. Although we do not fully understand the reasons for all that we are called upon to endure, nevertheless life has meaning, and there is always hope. Someday, every mystery will be explained, every problem will be solved, every disappointment will make sense. Everything will finally make sense . . . when we are finally home. That is where a bit of mystery and perplexity sometimes forces itself into our lives.
We know that this world is headed for the glorious return of our victorious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This event is inevitable and inescapable. He has promised to return--and given the record of the many prophecies fulfilled in the past, we are certain that this one will also be fulfilled in time. Time . . . that is the sometimes perplexing parameter of the situation before us. When will Jesus return? If we are honest that is the problematic issue that we face. Jesus has not told us when He will return, but He has told us that we should know when the event is near, "even at the doors" (Mark 13:26).  Further, He has given us the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy which have provided insight regarding this event. Inspiration reveals that He could have already come and in fact He should have already come by now. It may be helpful to review some of those statements.
The Lord designed that the messages of warning and instruction given through the Spirit to His people should go everywhere. But the influence that grew out of the resistance of light and truth at Minneapolis tended to make of no effect the light God had given to His people through the Testimonies. . . If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning.  But the work is years behind (Ellen White, 1888 Materials, pages 1129 - 1130, Ellen White, 1893 General Conference Daily Bulletin, page 419).
"If those who claimed to have a living experience in the things of God had done their appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would have been warned ere this, and the Lord Jesus would have come in power and great glory" (Ellen White, Review & Herald, 10-6-96).
"Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God" (Ellen White, 6 Testimonies, page 450, Ellen White, Australian Union Record 10-15-98).
"Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory" (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 633-634 - written 1898).
"Brethren and sisters, from the light given me, I know that if the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His Word, they would to-day be in the heavenly Canaan" (Ellen White, General Conference Daily Bulletin,  3-30-03).
In 1844 the servant of the Lord received a vision, in which she saw Christ go into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. As He was about to make that transition He was represented as saying, "Wait here; I am going to My Father to receive the kingdom; keep your garments spotless, and in a little while I will return from the wedding and receive you to Myself" (Ellen White, Early Writings, page 56). Because of the statements presented above, and others like them, we are forced to a realization that indeed the wedding should be in progress. But as of this late date, the bride of Christ has not yet, "made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7).

Jesus has promised to return. Yet we understand that the time of this event is not a fixed date on a calendar or an appointed time on some celestial time clock. The "time" appointed is the time when the bride is ready. As long as there is anything more important to the bride than preparing for the wedding, the delay must continue. The Lord is long suffering toward us. Time is not a real source of perplexity to Christ for "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8). He is eternal, and His years fail not. He is not pressured by time the way we are sometimes pressured. Yet, time is an issue, at least I believe it should be, for there is a real cost associated with delay.
"Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ's agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him" (Ellen White, Education, page 263).

Isn't it about time the bride began to look at this delay and "its relation to God"? Isn't time that the bride began considered the cost of the delay? Only then will she find sufficient motivation to make herself ready.
--Mark Duncan

Raul Diaz

Friday, March 23, 2012

1888 Insight:“Love Stories”

First Quarter 2012 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"Love Stories"
For the week of March 18-24, 2012
Editor's Note:  Because God's tender love for His earth-born "wife" was Elder R. J. Wieland's favorite subject, the following is adapted from of one of his messages.  This post is considerably longer than our usual "Insights" submissions, but we did not want to lose any of the passion and pathos Elder Wieland felt for the topic.  

Hosea is a captive to a love that he cannot forget.  For him love is eternal.  It's not because he has pity on Gomer as a decent man would pity a wounded creature, but wonder of wonders, he still loves her.  This disheveled wreck of a woman is only the empty shell of the beautiful girl he once fell in love with; there is now no beauty or charm to attract him.  She is in fact repulsive; but Hosea's love has never died in spite of her infidelity and insults. 
What did Hosea's undying love finally accomplish? There's a surprising ending, with lessons that the Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to understand.
When you truly love a woman who loves you and commits herself to you, and then she betrays you, your heart is broken. The sunshine goes out, and the darkness is a bitterness almost like hell.
To lose a loved one in death is painful, but rejection in love is more cruel, like having a limb wrenched from your body.  Friends can sympathize in physical or material pain, but rejection in love is intensely private.  A thousand faces cannot replace the beloved's.
The question we ask is, Can God feel such pain? And does He?
Hinduism, buddhism, Islam – yes, Christianity in general – have long assumed, that the answer is No.  He is impassible, imprevious to the heart-pain we feel.
We may rejoice that He "is touched with the feeling of our infirmities," but can we be touched with the feeling of His pain?
Christ's message to Laodicea stabs us awake. Here is a divine Lover who suffers rejection, based on the vivid scene of the girl who rebuffs her lover in Song of Solomon 5:2.  Hosea (about 785 B.C.) gives, the first portrayal in Scripture of a divine Husband enduring rejection by the "woman" to whom He is captive in His love.  Like Hosea, the heavenly Husband cannot forget and replace the one He loves. 
God permitted the hapless Hosea to suffer this crowning human pain because, He says, "this will illustrate the way My people have been untrue to Me."
Surely Gomer was wooed and won, and the evidence in the story must indicate that she was at first sincere in her love to Hosea, for he was ever afterward a heart-captive to his love for her.  The pain he later felt was the realization that she had at one time truly loved him; one doesn't feel pain when someone else's limb is wrenched from his body – you feel it when yours is.  Hosea and Gomer had been married and had become "one flesh" in love. And then she turned perfidious. That's why Hosea hurt so badly.
God, in His foreknowledge, saw what Hosea could not see in his courtship – the prostitute-to-be was secreted within the heart of the engagingly attractive girl he was doomed to fall in love with.  Probably she herself did not fathom what potential for sin was in her – the seed of lust yet hidden deep from the eyes of others (perhaps from our own as well) until it "has conceived" and "is full-grown." 
We see Hosea loving and marrying a beautiful girl, only to suffer anguish as he watches her become hard-hearted and faithless, like watching something precious sicken and die. Even in his presence she flirted with her paramours.  What pain!  But he couldn't find a new "love." He didn't even want to.  He loved her with a human love that reflected God's divine love for Israel – and for us.
He sought her out again at the slave-market. Seeing the disheveled figure sitting with downcast eyes, he felt something more than mere human pity: he discovered he still loved her with the love that first had led him to her.
Hosea does not force us to believe in an impossible marital bliss suddenly reinstated. "You must live alone for many days," her husband told her, not because she must atone for her sins, but simply because heart-healing takes time.  "I will wait for you," he says. 
The Good News implicit in the inspired story is that success came; there was healing.  "Love is strong as death,… Many waters cannot quench love."
Is Christ a captive to His love for His remnant church?
A church is a "woman," good or bad, a corporate body of believers.  If the object of Christ's love plays false to Him, can He simply shrug His shoulders and replace her with another "object [of]… His supreme regard" (Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles, page 12)?
Hosea couldn't, and neither can Christ. Offshoots of the Seventh-day Adventist Church proliferate because of a failure to understand this divine mystery of love.  They assume that Christ's outrage at her infidelity prompts Him to choose another to take her place.   But this can never be!
It may be hard for us to picture a grieving husband who not only loves his faithless wife but, greater still, also has the wisdom to "save" her.  Such was Hosea; and such is Christ. Not only a "husband" to her, He is also "the Saviour of the body" (Ephesians 5:23).  The glad news is that Hosea actually redeemed Gomer to a new life of purity and fidelity.  We see them walking off-stage hand in hand in a love that is fulfilled, secure at last in each other's fidelity.  This love is prophetic of God's at-last-vindicated divine love.
Gomer returned to Hosea "trembling, submissive," repentant, rejoicing the heart of the one who had loved her all along, as surely as Israel was to return at last to the Lord.  Let all listen who may doubt that a husband's love can win over a wife's infidelity! 
Jeremiah provides an insight here:  "I remember the unfailing devotion of your youth, the love of your bridal days, when you followed me in the wilderness…. Israel then was holy to the Lord." "She will answer as in her youth, when she came up out of Egypt" (Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 2:15, NEB).
His "Great Disappointment" – 1888
In her early days in the "wilderness," Israel was devoted to the Lord; and in the early days of the Seventh-day Adventist Church there was also a sweet devotion on "our" part to the Lord who had led "us" through the "wilderness" of the Great Disappointment of 1844 and in later years vouchsafed to "us" the proofs of His electing love.  It was exciting.  The healing of our Great Disappointment was delicious because fellowship with the Lord grew deeper in our understanding of the sanctuary message and "the blessed hope" it gave us.
Then came His "Great Disappointment" – 1888.  We have yet to appreciate the pain He felt, and does feel. "The disappointment of Christ is beyond description" (Ellen White, Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1904).
Encouragement for tired, perplexed Seventh-day Adventists
The prophecy implicit in Hosea has to be Good News for a remnant church that a century later is enmeshed in a vast worldwide lethargy, torn with dissension, suspicion, and offshoots.  As surely as Gomer at last responded to Hosea's undying love, so surely will the corporate church respond at last to Christ's undying agape.  Christ gave Himself in death for this church; His sacrifice cannot prove a failure; a repentant humanity cannot remain more faithless to Him than was the repentant heroine of the Book of Hosea to her earthly husband; God has faith in us that must not prove futile.
The success of the entire plan of salvation depends upon its final hour – Laodicea's repentance.  Gomer's repentance foretells Laodicea's repentance.  Christ "shall see the travail of His soul and be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:12).  "The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall.  It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out – the chaff separated from the precious wheat.  This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place."  "They will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him." There will be a response from "the house of David, and… the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (Ellen White, Upward Look, page 356; Zechariah 12:10-13:1).  It's a sin for discouraged Adventists not to believe the Good News in Hosea!
Speaking through Hosea, the Lord assures faithless Israel of a happy reunion:
"They will return to the Lord their God, and to the Messiah, their King, and they shall come trembling, submissive to the Lord and to his blessings, in the end times" (Hosea 4:5 LB).  Since agape is a love that creates value in its object, not dependent on its good qualities, it will create repentance within the church where self-centered fear or hope of reward have failed.
Although Israel's infidelity was atrocious, God's grace to her was greater: 
"The Lord has filed a lawsuit against you.… Don't point your finger at someone else, and try to pass the blame to him!  Look, priest, I am pointing my finger at you.… My people are destroyed because they don't know me, and it is all your fault, you priests.… O Ephraim and Judah, what shall I do with you? For your [conjugal] love vanishes like morning clouds, and disappears like dew.… I don't want your sacrifices – I want your love; I don't want your offerings – I want you to know me.…You refused my [husbandly] love.…I will cure you of idolatry and faithlessness" (Hosea 1-6; 14:4, LB).
Gomer represents the remnant church.
Gomer, sitting in the slave market "miserable, poor, blind, and naked," must have been the most pathetic of all the women of ancient Israel.  Scripture hints that Hosea had come from a "princely" family.  If so, he must have given her "fine linen, and covered [her] with silk" as the Lord cared for Israel, and "decked her with ornaments and … put bracelets upon [her] hands, and a chain on [her] neck" (Ezekiel 16:10; Hosea 2:13).  Yet now she sits on center stage in rags.  Not an earring left.
Again, Hosea is prophetic of Laodicea's poverty. 
The Lord intended was that the Seventh-day Adventist message, "the third angel's message in verity," should have lightened the earth with the glory of the everlasting Good News gospel, the magnificent fruition of the dreams of all the ancient prophets. In the 1888 message of Christ's righteousness were those "fine clothes" and "ornaments" of truth that would have sparkled in gospel "glory" (see Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers, page 63-69).  But that most precious message was resisted and in a great degree was "kept away from our own people" and "from the world," as Gomer despised the gifts her husband gave her (see Ellen White, 1 Selected Messages, page 234, 235).
Not only have we suffered a tragic loss, we have grieved the heart of Christ.  
Hosea sweeps back the curtain to reveal what was hidden from us – God's pain.  We treated Him as despitefully as the Jews treated Him, and as Gomer (in type) treated Hosea.  We "insulted" the Holy Spirit.  "The course pursued at Mineappolis was cruelty to the Spirit of God" (Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers, page 393; Manuscript 13, 1889) And Jesus, being still human as well as divine, intensely feels that "cruelty." Yet He is to become the wedded Husband to His corporate church!
Hosea has injected a new note into prophetic consciousness.
The sin of Israel was more than disobedience to the law.  It was the profound sin of heart-alienated, spiritual adultery.  There was a mysterious forsaking of love itself, a hard-hearted cruelty to the Divine Spouse, a flippant unconcern for His pain, a callous breaking of His heart.  Such is also the dark hue of Laodicea's sin, a trifling with His total heart-devotion that led Him to His cross.  In Hosea's day, their sin was Baal-worship; in ours, says Ellen White, "The prejudices and opinions that prevailed at Mineappolis are not dead by any means.… Baal, Baal, is the choice.  The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel" (Hosea 2:8, 13, 17; Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers, pages 467, 468).  Baal-worship is the worship of self, disguised as the worship of Christ.  This subtle and deadly infidelity is widespread in the corporate body.
So far, 150 years have passed since the sweet "espousal" of our denominational childhood.  Yes, there was love for Jesus!  The joy of that time of love is clear in Early Writings, and the first volume ofTestimonies for the Church.  But we have repeated Israel's alienation.  We can't understand the crudity of their idol worship, but it mirrors our own worldly self-devotion, an inability to feel for the pain that Christ feels.  Gomer can flirt with her lovers while her anguished husband watches helplessly.  She has no feeling for him, no inner sense or horror at what she is doing.
What can cause such infidelity?
She was married to the only man who had ever truly loved her, and who had ever awakened in her heart a true love response.  To turn her back on the true love of a faithful Lover whom once she loved, involves a tragic poignancy.  In 6000 years the Lord has had no problem as serious as His problem with Laodicea today.
But a change of heart is possible, and in the light of Hosea, it is certain. A much more abounding grace must be seen in the light of the cleansing of the sanctuary.  The Good News is that the coming of Christ is contingent on Laodicea's deep, heart-felt repentance. "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7).
Some have concluded from the painful facts of our past and current history that the Lord has cast off this denominated, organized church.
But they forget (or have they never understood?) the kind of love portrayed in the Book of Hosea
--R. J. Wieland

Raul Diaz

Thursday, March 15, 2012

“God as Artist”

Insight # 11, March 11-17, 2012

First Quarter 2012 Adult Sabbath School Lessons  For the week of March 11-17, 2012

In the beginning, God made everything beautiful. Every tangible, visible thing in the world was merely a reflection of the beauty of God’s character. It was when God made a man and a woman – beings whose nature and character were designed to be a reflection of His own – it was then that God called His work, “very good.” The outer beauty which Adam and Eve saw when they looked for the first time at each other was merely symbolic of the internal loveliness with which the Creator had adorned them.

All through Scripture, clothing is spoken of as representing character. Likely the garments of light worn by our first parents reflected the moods and feelings of the wearers – an ever-changing glow of complimentary colors communicating even more clearly than “body language” the thoughts and feelings of the wearer. Ellen white tells us that “the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character” (5 Testimonies p. 310). God gave Adam and Eve the “ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is, in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4). That ornament of inner beauty, expressed in the glow of health, the radiant smile, and the outer loveliness of clothing, form and feature, was the difference between the “good” of all God’s beautiful creation, and the “very good” of His crowning act.

When sin entered the world, ugliness came with it. Imagine trading a gorgeous, luminescent, perfectly fitting garment made of light for some tacked-together fig-leaves torn from a tree! And as the severed leaves of the trees faded and lost their color, so Adam read with sorrowful heart the beginning of the losses that would accrue to the human race through sin. Death and decay in nature reflected the death and decay of virtue in the human heart.

But wait! There is a Redeemer! Of Him, first of all, it can be said, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7).

Although sin had marred the most beautiful of God’s works of art, He was prepared to sacrifice His life in order to restore that beauty. He does not wait for the guilty pair to come to Him in repentance. No, indeed! He comes looking for them. He comes to every sinner with the solution to the problem of ugliness that they have caused. He comes, Himself, to sit again “for His portrait in every disciple. Every one God has predestinated to be ‘conformed to the image of His Son.’ In every one Christ's long-suffering love, His holiness, meekness, mercy, and truth, are to be manifested to the world” (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 827).

And, just as any photograph is made by letting the light from the desired object shine upon the film (or, in our day, upon the electronic apparatus behind the lens), the portrait of Christ is formed upon the heart by letting His light shine through our eyes into our souls. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Psalmist, ever a lover of the beautiful, looked to Jesus. The beauty He saw in the character of His beloved Savior constrained him, in the depths of his own wretchedness, to cry out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

In the Word of God is the beauty and strength – the power and love and goodness of the God who is willing to sacrifice Himself and all of the universe to re-create that beauty in you. Nothing but “the goodness of God” can lead you to repentance (Romans 2:4).

Psalm 29:2 says that holiness is beautiful. Isaiah 45:22 says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” So, early every morning, look to Jesus – let Him sit for His portrait in you. In His holiness, you will be beautiful – a gem of highest value in His crown. He will be able to pronounce His artwork in you “very good.”


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

“The Promise of Prayer”

First Quarter 2012 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“The Promise of Prayer”
For the week of  March 4 - 10, 2012
In the Morning
“Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalm  55:17).
     In the morning, when I rise,
     In the morning when I rise,
     In the morning, when I rise,
     Give me Jesus. 
     Give me Jesus,
     Give me Jesus,
     You can have all this world,
     Give me Jesus. 
These lyrics from a beautiful Spiritual (#305 Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal), echo both Psalms 55 verse 17, and Psalms 5, verses 1-3.  Psalms 5: 1-3 says, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
King David’s words could have easily been penned by the prophet and statesman Daniel. Clearly he was a man who lifted his voice to the Lord throughout the day, for in Daniel 6:10, it says “…. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed (the written legislation forbidding prayer to any god but the king, upon pain of death), he went into his house; and his windows being open (he was getting fresh air while he interceded to the God of heaven) in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
Many of us who profess to love the Lord, and who have time consuming responsibilities, often feel that we are too busy to pray, and that God ‘knows our hearts’.  But here is busy statesman Daniel, a man hunted and pursued because of envy by his colleagues and neighbors, kneeling to pray, three times daily, in the relative privacy of his room – with his windows open.  I would be remiss not to add that Daniel was, by faith even then, engaging in the principles of healthy living, for his windows were open, and we know in his early life that he championed the eating of a simple, uncomplicated diet.  Obviously Daniel was a man of faith and prayer.
For Daniel to exercise the faith that he did, he must also have been a man of the word, for ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 5:17).  How did Daniel, a captive of a conquered people, living in a political environment hostile to the true worship of God, have access to the Word?  While we may not know for sure what physical access he had to the written word, we do know that prior to being taken captive to Babylon, he had been trained by his godly parents to know and love God, and to respect and depend on His word.  Thus Daniel like David, could say, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalms 119:11).
Mary the mother of Jesus was also a follower of God who hid the word in her heart, for in Luke 2:19, the scripture says that Mary kept all these things (the things prophesied to her) and pondered (or considered) them in her heart.” When we Know the word, and keep it in our hearts throughout the day as Mary, Daniel and David did, when we consider and ponder its past meaning and context, it informs our ongoing prayers.  Praying the word is conversing with God.  This is the means of keeping the promises of God fresh in our minds.  This is living by faith—which is to say, living by every word that proceeds out of His mouth, for food, for clothing, for friendships, for love, for work (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4).
 “It is a wonder we pray so little! (When) God is so ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children… there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God.  What can the angels of heaven think when (we) humans are so poor and helpless and subject to temptation? God’s infinitely loving heart yearns toward us, ready to give us more than we can ask or think, yet we pray so little and have so little faith.  The Angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him.  They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet (we) the children of earth, who need so much the help that only God can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence” (Ellen White, Steps to Christ, p. 94 paraphrased).
The Psalmist has said, ‘My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord: in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalms 5:3).  “Why the morning,” you may ask.  “What is so important about the morning?”  It is because in the morning our minds are usually more rested, calm and free of cares prior to getting going for the day.  The early morning hours are usually quieter, allowing us to hear what the Lord will say to us concerning our circumstances for the day or the time.  In the morning, His special promises to us come unbidden (by us), as we wait on Him in expectation for His answers to our concerns.  
But oh how we hate to wait!  We have things to do, places to go, and people to see.  We must get going now!  We are controlled by the “tyranny of the urgent.’  But stop, and imagine if you will, the Psalmist David seeking the Lord early in the morning before running off once again to hide from murderous King Saul.  Think about the fact that David, the divinely appointed heir to the throne was running for his life for thirteen years!  In this context, our excuses of busyness fall flat in regard to missing morning devotional time with our Lord.  We may feel that we are being pursued by various agendas, plans, and the ongoing pressing needs of children, spouses and work – even church work, surely we are not being physically pursued so that our life might be taken.
Daniel knelt to pray three times a day under all circumstances.  In his chambers in his room, by his open window (not hidden away) he prayed even then being pursued by murderous neighbors.  You may say, “Well, he was praying for deliverance, for his life.”  Do we not need deliverance?  Is Satan not ‘a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour’ (I Peter 5:8)? Our only means of deliverance is hearing the Lord through the word for ourselves, preferably, in the morning.
Let’s not fall into the same trap that the Israelites did at Mount Sinai.  They told Moses to hear the word for them, and tell them what God has said.  They said, “If we hear, then we will die” (Exodus 19 & 20).  In the morning, the Lord wants to increase our faith, which comes by hearing the Word of promise which the Lord will tell us.  He wants to renew the impress of the law on our hearts and minds; that we might be willing to eagerly listen attentively to His voice, as He unfolds the gospel -- willing to do, even before we know what He is even asking of us (Hebrew definition of Obey -- Shama).  
There is a little known quote which seems appropriate to conclude our thoughts on prayer.  It is attributed to Ellen White in the Review and Herald, dated October 7, 1865. 
“Prayer is the answer to every problem in life.  It puts us in tune with divine wisdom which knows how to adjust everything perfectly.  So often we do not pray in certain situations because from our stand point the outlook is hopeless.  But nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26).  Nothing is so entangled that it cannot be remedied.  No human relation is too strained for God to bring out reconciliation and understanding.  No habit is too deep-rooted that it cannot be overcome.  No one is so weak that he cannot be made strong.  No one is so ill that He cannot be healed.  No mind is so dull, that it cannot be made brilliant.  Whatever we need or desire, if we trust God, He will supply it.  If anything is causing worry and anxiety, let us stop rehearing the difficulty and trust God for healing, love, and power.”
--Raul Diaz