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?

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Bearing The Marks Of Jesus

A body was stoned and left, in all appearances, as dead on the outskirts of the city of Lystra (Acts 14:19). Shortly before this event, this man had been exalted and proclaimed as a god, but he refused the worship of the inhabitants (Acts 14:14). Paul and Barnabas vigorously restrained the people from unwanted and undeserved adoration as gods. Instead of accepting exaltation as a god, they had directed the people to the one true God, “who left not himself without witness” (Acts 14:15-17).
Along with the angered Jews of Iconium, the Jews whom Paul had enraged at Antioch, made it their duty to travel some 130 miles to stir up the people of Lystra. They did not consider Paul and Barnabas being chased from their own cities as sufficient punishment, but wanted Paul adequately “marked” for preaching about Jesus. Later, Paul describes his scars as, “for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus,” (Galatians 6:17).
Paul’s experience was not unlike another Man who endured the pain of the cross, and despised the shame, but looked beyond the suffering of the cross that men might be reconciled to God (Hebrews 12:1-2; Romans 5:8-10; Ephesians 2:13-16; Colossians 1:20-22).
Jesus’ body bore the marks of the nails in his hands and feet and a Roman sword in his pierced side. The reason that Paul called the scars he bore the “marks of Jesus” was because they were identifiable with the righteous cause of Jesus. He had shared in some small way the same kind of suffering that Jesus had endured (cf. Mark 10:38-39; Mark 13:9; Matthew 10:17-18).
There are some folks who go looking for suffering. They seem to think that when they are obnoxious, rude and arrogant, and then suffer because of their own wrong doing, they must be blessed of heaven (cf. 1 Peter 4:15; Matthew 5:10-12). But whatever marks they bear are not the “marks of Jesus.”
Suffering for the sake of suffering may comfort the masochist, but it has no value beyond the salving of a perverted conscience. Seeking suffering is like spilling water to quench a thirst.
Brethren, if we are righteous, suffering will come (2 Timothy 3:12). However, in whatever form that suffering occurs, let’s not be terrified by the enemy. Rather, let us wear the “marks of Jesus” as a proud soldier displays his medals. The scars considered as shameful by the world, should in reality, be considered as evidences of courage by the Christian (1 Peter 4:13-19).

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Another School Shooting

There was another “mass shooting” at a Florida Junior High School yesterday. It is truly a sad day when we read news stories such as this. Should they happen? What can be done to stop them?
Many will now call for more gun control. Perhaps that may help, I don’t know. But this is not a debate about gun control. I will leave that up to the politicians.
One person asked why God allowed things such as this to happen. I know this is going to sound flippant to many, but perhaps we should look at the fact that God is no longer allowed in schools. Neither is he allowed in many other areas of our society. Perhaps if we look at some of the things God has to say about society when this happens, we can better understand why these things actually happen.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of My people And direct their desire toward their iniquity. And it will be, like people, like priest; So I will punish them for their ways And repay them for their deeds” (Hosea 4:6-10 NAS95).
God reprimanded His people for forgetting Him in this passage. While we may debate exactly who His people are, the point of this is that when God is taken out of peoples lives, there is a price to pay. Notice closely what is being said. God is not going to help those who forget Him and leave Him out of their lives.
The Israelite’s were continually turning their back on God and we can over and over again see the results of the disobedience. “Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; And their honorable men are famished, And their multitude is parched with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem’s splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it. So the common man will be humbled and the man of importance abased, The eyes of the proud also will be abased” (Isaiah 5:13-16 NAS95). Should we think God has changed His mind about disobedience?
Society to accepts many things which are disapproved of by God and then wonder where God is. The New Testament also tells us what will happen when we leave God. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:20-32 NAS95). Also, consider, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NAS95).
Understanding society engages in, and approves of, many things God hates and then wonders why so many horrible things that happen in society. Perhaps we need to consider the God is more important than the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:18-21). We have an obligation to teach our children about God and see that they follow His dictates (Ephesians 6:4).
If we want school shootings (and many other evils) to stop, it is time to put God back in His rightful place.

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