Is God a priority in your life?

Most people would say finding a job when your unemployed becomes a priority. When you are in great pain, finding relief is a priority. If, in the middle of the night, your are awakened by water dripping in your face because of a roof that is in need of repair, repairing the roof becomes a priority. In life, those matters most important and urgent to us, are the ones to which we attend. How important is God to your? Is He a priority in your life?

Are You A Doer?

  • (James 1:22 NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
  • (Rom 2:13 NJKV) “for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.”

These verses indicate how important it is that we be an active participant in God’s church. Many churches today have too many members sitting on the sidelines. The big question is why do so many Christians try to just get by and just do the minimum? Unfortunately, to many Christians, God is not a priority in their life. Their actions indicate this very clearly. Therefore, we ought to ask the question, what is involved in being a Christian?

It is more than attending services a few times a week. It is more than remaining morally pure. It is imperative that we go beyond superficial perceptions of what a Christian is. To a Christian, God must be the most important thing in his/her life. To emphasize this, look at Mk. 12:30, “‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” In order to better understand this, look at these illustrations:

  • A man who never wants to be with his family–Is his family a priority in this man’s life?
  • A man is constantly late for work, takes long breaks and lunches, and leaves early every day. Is this man wholly committed to his job?
  • A man one day a week speaks sweetly to his wife, tells her how much he loves her, takes her out to dinner and takes care of all her needs. But, the other six days a week he ignores her, refuses to take care of any of her needs and in many ways tries to act as if he isn’t married. Can it honestly be said this man loves his wife?

Another important aspect of being a Christian is being willing to serve others. It is interesting to note, the criteria for judgment found in Matt. 25:31-46 is serving others. From this, it would appear God places a very high value on service.

Do you find Bible study a delight or drudgery? Notice what David said in Psa 1:2 (NKJV) “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” People use many excuses to justify their failure to study the Bible. “I don’t have the time.” I don’t understand what I read.” “It’s boring.” Friends, it all comes down to a matter of motivation. Let me illustrate this point. Your boss calls you into his office and offers you a huge promotion. Your salary will increase significantly. The only question your boss asks is would you be willing to attend a special night class that would take about a year to complete. You respond by saying, “Certainly.” You see; motivation is everything.

In 1 Pet. 2:21, we are instructed to follow in Christ’s footsteps. In Matt. 16:24, Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” One little mental exercise that often helps to determine if I should do something or not, is asking my self the question, “What would Jesus do?” To fully understand this, let’s take a look some different scenarios.

  • Your tired, you’ve had a hard day, you would like to stay home and not attend mid-week Bible study. What would Jesus do?
  • Some one approaches you and begins to tell you about the terrible things someone you know has done. You know this is gossip, but it sure is interesting. What would Jesus do?
  • Someone has hurt you terribly and you have hard feelings for that person. This person comes to you and seeks forgiveness. However, you don’t know if you can forgive them. What would Jesus do?
  • Young people: You’re at one of your friend’s houses. You didn’t know there would be alcohol and other drugs at the party. It seems as if all your friend are drinking and having a good time. One of your friends hands you a beer and says, “Here, have some fun. One beer isn’t going to hurt you.” You begin to think your friend is right. What would Jesus do?

We all know the reaction of Jesus would be to do His Father’s will. What about you? Are you a Christian? Is God a priority in your life?

A Time to Reflect

Another Year is upon us. And, once again, we are faced with the idea of “What shall we do with this new year?” What will we do different in 2019 than we did in 2018, or the years before that? What will this year bring? Joy and happiness, or sadness and sorrow? Some of this will depend on us and our plans for the year!

We also know that there are some things that will happen that we have no control over. But, we also know that how we respond will make a difference. We can control our attitude and response to these things, or we can allow the problems to affect our attitudes. Which will it be?

One of the ideas we find in scripture is the that we have more control over our thoughts and emotions than perhaps we think. Consider again how Paul and Silas rejoiced in prison and sing psalms and hymns to God (Acts 16:23-26; esp. v. 25). Or how Job, with all of his problems, kept his faith in God, even though he would have liked an explanation as to WHY he had to suffer.

New Year’s gives us an opportunity to engage in introspection and reflection. Can we look honestly at this last year and say that we have improved spiritually? Have we learned some new things that will help us in our jobs or in our relationships in our family? What about our relationship with Jesus? What about our relationships with our brethren at South Cobb? Is the church better today because we are better and stronger Christians? Have we helped to build, or become a tool of Satan and tear down?

What did you do wrong this year? What did you do right?

Did you start off with good intentions – such as being a daily Bible reader? Did you allow the things of the world to cause you to lose focus on eternity? Did you accomplish anything this year that brought you closer to God and His Son? What would you have done differently? What will you DO differently this year that might cause you to become a better Christian?

Paul stressed constantly that Christians should live a certain way to exemplify Christ in them. One example is in Ephesians 4:1-3, where he emphasized that that we are to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I’m not sure about what you think, but just these verses will keep me busy this year. How about you? What are your goals this year?

WILL YOU HELP ME BE A BETTER CHRISTIAN THIS YEAR? Will you ask me how I am doing spiritually? Will I offend you if I asked you the same thing?

We live life one day at a time – we need to break down what we plan to do for the year one day at a time. We need to make a list of what we will do and then go from there! So, what will you do TOMORROW (if God grants us tomorrow) to be a better Christian? And how will you build on that the day after, and the day after, and the day after . . .

Your Mindset Determines Everything

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). A Christian is to be spiritually minded which means their mindset is what it ought to be! Paul again states this concerning our mindset, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus”(Phil. 2:5). Christ had the proper mindset! In Colossians 3:2 Paul says, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” In order to set my mind, I must have the proper mindset and this simply means that I’m keeping God, people, and things of this world in their proper place in my mind!

Why Is This So Important?
In the Bible the words “heart” and “mind” are often used interchangeably and involve a person’s intellect, volition, and emotions — it’s much more than just our physical muscle known as the heart. Jesus stressed the importance of having our hearts (minds, intellects, emotions) in the proper place (Matt. 6:21). So according to Jesus, where my mindset is will determine where my treasure is which will in turn affect the way I live in this world. Paul stated the same thing when he told us to set our affections on things above! Paul was in essence reminding the Colossians and all who read his letter today that one’s mindset must be in the right place.

This Answers Many Questions
1. Why is it folks will dress up when going to parties, or funerals, or weddings and yet give little regard to their appearance when coming to church? THEIR MINDSET! They have unknowingly placed parties, funerals, and weddings on a higher level in their minds than they have given to almighty God!
2. Why is that children are taught to say, “Yes sir” and “No sir” and “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” to their elders and yet speak of God in terms of “you,” “the man upstairs,” or “him”? THEIR MINDSET! They have placed giving respect and honor to men of this world on a higher level in their minds than they have given to almighty God!
3. Why is it folks can’t make it to service but one time a week and yet they can attend a ball game and sit and watch a double header, or not miss one single meeting at school or work or even in some cases attend these functions sick? THEIR MINDSET! They have given things of this world a higher position of importance than they have given to almighty God!
4. Why is it that folks respect the laws of this land and readily accept their responsibility to obey them and yet try to disprove the law of God and show little regard for God’s authority today? THEIR MINDSET! They have brought God down to man’s level and in their minds they no longer respect and honor and give God the important position that he deserves!
One’s mindset will determine how he dresses, how he speaks, how he lives day to day, and, more importantly, where God stands in relationship to himself. For you see until I have placed God first and foremost in my mind as being the awesome supreme being that he truly is my respect and regard for what his will is will not be what it ought to be! In other words it could be said that my mindset is not right.

Where Is Your Mindset?
Can it be said that you are spiritually minded? Has your thinking become like your Savior’s? If the answer is yes then that means your affections are on things above and others will notice this because your dress, your speech, your very attitude towards God’s holy word will reflect these very things.

Where Is Your Mindset Today?
Get it right,
Put it right,
And keep it right!
Your mindset determines everything!

Truth Magazine Vol. XLIV: 20 p23 October 17, 2000 (Adapted)

Whose Responsibility Is It?

We have all heard the old expression, “Do as I say, not as I do,” used by people more than once. It seems to be one of the favorites of those who send their children to church, but never manage to attend themselves. People, especially parents, never seem to accept this does not work. Children will almost always emulate what they see their parents do.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is easy to lose sight of important things, while spending too much time on unimportant things. Families find themselves struggling to make ends meet. They are up to their ears in debt. Both parents work outside the home. The children are either at the baby-sitter or more than likely they are “latch key kids.” Either way parents are shirking the responsibility of raising their children, because they are not the ones raising the children. They are allowing someone else to do what God has ordained for them to do (Eph 6:4).

Do you ever wonder why there is so much crime and violence in the world? Perhaps we need to look at the examples our children have placed before them. The news media reports only violent crime. Rare is the time when good things are reported. Entertainment on television is not much (if any) better, with such as, “Power Rangers,” “Bart Simpson,” “Bevis and Butthead,” “Ellen,” and MTV. The movies must, they claim, portray life “as it really is,” with all the violence and sex they can muster.

These are the examples children are left to learn from. Mom and Dad are never around to instruct the children, so they find their instruction wherever (movies, TV, back allies). And moreover, when Mom and Dad do get home, they are not married, they just live together. What kind of example does this set for children when they see their supposed role models living in violation of God’s word (Heb 13:4)?

Solomon wrote in Prov 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” How can you “train up” a child in the right way is you yourself are not walking in the right way (Jer 10:23)? Parents today, all too often, want someone else to accept the blame for what their child is doing. We hear phrases such as, “It’s just human nature,” or “That’s not my responsibility.” How about this, “I just don’t have the time.” So, someone else gets to set the standard.

Perhaps they just don’t believe in spanking a child when it does wrong. After all, psychologists tell us spanking will warp the child’s psyche and he/she will grow up maladjusted. Yet all through God’s word we are told the parents responsibility is to discipline their children (Prov 29:15; Prov; Prov 13:24). Even Eph. 6:4 (already quoted earlier) carries the idea of disciplining the child when necessary.

It is a shame more parents don’t understand they have the obligation to set an example for their children. The prophet Eli not only lost the life of his sons for not disciplining them when they were disobedient, but also lost his life (1 Sam. 2:12-17; 22-34; 4:11-18). Because of the choices Lot made, he caused his daughters to commit fornication (Gen. 19:30-38). One of the first things done by Noah after leaving the ark was to plant a vineyard. There was nothing wrong with planting the vineyard, but Noah got drunk on the drink made from the fruit of the vineyard. This act caused his youngest son, Ham, to sin (Gen. 9). All these children had to make their own choice but look at the influence exerted by their parents.

The apostle Peter says in 1 Pet. 2:21 that Christ is to be our example. The apostle Paul says, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Paul was trying with everything he had to do the will of God, and we would do will to follow his admonition. Following examples and imitation are how children learn to do things in life. They imitate what they see others doing.

If, by your actions, you are not setting a good example for your children to follow, do not be too surprised when they go wrong. Parents, it is your responsibility to set the example for your children and to discipline them when necessary. God commands this. And if you shirk that responsibility, you are going to have to accept some of the responsibility for the awful consequences of where your children spend eternity.