(Clark Tanner is the Senior Pastor at Beaverton Christian Church, 13600 S.W. Allen Blvd., Beaverton. He can be contacted at 503-646-2151 or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

How does one keep his heart right before God? Years ago that question led me to a little pamphlet, '7 Minutes with God,' published by NavPress. It's a short read, but it was a real encouragement to keep me faithful to a daily time with God. I appreciate it because it reminds me about repairing the cracks in my spiritual life.

The pamphlet includes this anecdote: 'In 1882 on the campus of Cambridge University the world was introduced to the slogan: Remember the morning watch.' Two students by the names of Hooper and Thornton realized their days were filled with what they called lectures, games and bull sessions. They knew unless something different happened in their daily schedules, their spiritual life would cease to exist.

Together Hooper and Thornton developed a plan to spend the first minutes of each new day alone with God, praying and reading the Bible. However, most Christians found it easier to talk about a time with God than to accomplish it. Thornton was determined to turn indolence into discipline. He invented an automatic, foolproof cure for laziness.

It was a contraption set up by his bed: 'the vibration of an alarm clock set fishing tackle in motion, and the sheets, clipped to the line, moved swiftly into the air off the sleeper's body.' Thornton wanted to get up to meet his God! He knew the early time with God set the stage for a right heart. Jesus said it best in Luke 6:45 'For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.'

Jesus was very specific in Matthew 6:1-15 that a right heart is essential for worship. We may fool each other when it comes to worship but we will never fool God. God knows our hearts. So where does the desire of giving to the needy, praying and fasting originate? I believe it comes from what Thornton called the morning watch. Isn't it true that focused minutes in the morning can change the entire day?

My desire is to have a passion for God like the one described in Psalm 42:1-2 'As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?' If our passion for God is as strong as a deer panting for streams of water, then we won't be doing 'acts of righteousness' to be seen by men but because we've come to know and truly worship God.

Ask yourself the following questions: How is your morning watch or quiet time? How strong is your desire to know more about God? What cracks need to be repaired in your spiritual life?

The Bible says, 'Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ' (2 Peter 3:18). If you have not already done so, I encourage you to organize your day so that you will have a special time to spend alone with God.

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