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Posts Tagged ‘rightful place’

First Things First

September 12th, 2011

“Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 144:15 NIV

“A successful life is about keeping the main things the main thing, and first things first.”

My thoughts today are about “first things first.”

When God is given His rightful place in your life where He should be, so much else is right also. When you are willing for God to be less than He is, you lose a lot more than you intend. Life can be so full and satisfying but foolish people settle for less, not because more wasn’t available to them but because they would not let God be God. “That in everything Christ might have the supremacy.” Read Colossians 1:16-22 NIV.  You will never successfully set the terms for God to be in your life; because He is God, He comes on His own terms. As King David discovered, the good news is this: “Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!” Psalm 144:15 NIV.

Growing up, I remember my Dad saying, “First things first!” I wanted to do things my way. I wanted to do what I enjoyed first, then find time for what he asked. Trust me, dad did not find that acceptable. I grew to understand my Dad was teaching me that life has order, and no person can arbitrarily decide they want life to work a different way than God says it will. Life is about “keeping the main things the main thing, and first things first.” If you change the proper order, everything that follows is “out of order,” not just the next thing but everything. Have you heard that phrase? When a judge announces someone “out of order” he declares a person’s behavior is unacceptable and with consequence within the realm of his courtroom. When something is “out of order,” it is not working reliably as intended.

I really do not enjoy assembling things with many pieces, big and small. I have learned not to buy a product that clearly prints on its box, “some assembly required.” In my impatience to just get it done, I fail to fully read and follow the directions (assuming they actually were understandable to a person without a mechanical engineering degree who did not design the product originally). The problem? There is always an order to the process of assembly. Things go together as they are supposed to, not in the order you prefer. Life is like that as well.

Here’s how life works; it is not as complicated as people make it to be. With authority, God says life works best with “first things first.” Jesus describes the everyday needs and concerns for which people work and worry – food, clothing, housing. With authority, Jesus says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry . .” Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV. The qualification? “. . if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matthew 6:33 NLT. Concern yourself with what concerns God, and God will concern Himself with the things that concern you.

The result? “Then our sons . . will be like well-nurtured plants; our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace . . our barns will be filled with every kind of provision . . our sheep will increase by thousands . . oxen will draw heavy loads . . no breaching of walls, no captivity, no cry of distress in our streets . . blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.Psalm 144:12-15 NIV. Blessed families, adequate finances, growing resource, successful endeavors, safety, freedom, and harmonious community are God’s provision.

My prayer for you today is that you understand and follow God’s order in all things.

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

January 28th, 2010

“It is God that makes us able to do all we do.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 New Century

“Success is unjustified pride until you honor God for it and serve Him with its rewards.”

My thoughts today are about “credit where credit is due.”

I have found that a person is more likely to claim “I did it!” when there is a success, than when there is a mess. It seems everyone is ready to take the credit for anything that turns out well. Maybe too ready. Is that the reason people can be a little too slow to share the credit with others who contributed significantly to their effort and its result? There is a familiar expression that is good to keep in mind, “Credit to whom credit is due.”

Someone cleverly observed that if you ever see a turtle on top of a fence pole, you can rest assured he didn’t get there all by himself. When you are eager to gratefully recognize the invaluable help you have been given to get where you are today, you are ready for even greater success. How does that relate to everyday life? Let me aask you this: have you given God His rightful place in you life – the place He deserves?

Here’s the real truth. Anything good that comes your way has come with God’s fingerprints all over it, whether you noticed that or not. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father . .” James 1:17 NIV. Your success is only unjustified pride until you honor God for your accomplishments and serve Him with its rewards. There should be a sense of Godly fear to presume the credit that God alone deserves for the good that you enjoy. “Our only power and success come from God!” 2 Corinthians 3:5 NLT. Can this principle be any clearer? When you truly give God all the glory, your lifestyle will sincerely reflect humility and profound gratitude and generosity.

The Bible says, “Give to everyone what you owe . . if respect then (give) respect, if honor then (give) honor.” Romans 13:7 NIV. Surely, if that is the common courtesy that you owe others, you and I must owe such clear testimony of God for His manifold blessings and grace. Paul had it right when he wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you never fail to honor God with what He gives you.

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