“Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:21-22)
In my Bible reading, I was once again reminded of an important truth, if I am truly acknowledging the Preeminence of Christ in my life, I must be willing to give up anyone or anything to follow where Christ might lead, and if I do, I will be blessed on both this side of eternity and the other side of eternity [Mark 10:17-31].
I think if most of us were honest, brutally honest that is, we would have to admit there are certain people and certain things (prosperity and possessions, popularity and prestige, safety and security, comfort and convenience, parents and peers, friends and foes, etc…) in our lives that we simply refuse to “let go” of, and because of this, our walk with Christ is hindered, our growth in Christ is stunted, and our work for Christ is thwarted.
Was this not the Rich Young Ruler’s problem?
According to Jesus, the Rich Young Ruler had only ONE THING that kept him from following Jesus and finding true fulfillment and fruitfulness in life. For him, it was his prosperity and his possessions. And once again, if we are brutally honest, far too often, this is our problem also.
It might not be a bad idea, as we are still in the beginning days of a New Year, to BE HONEST with ourselves and ask this one question, “Is there someone or something that I need to “let go” of today in order to know, love, and serve Christ better, and to follow Him more closely?”
What is your “ONE THING” today?
O Lord, help me to submit to Your Lordship and be willing to give up anyone or anything that hinders my walk with You, stunts my growth in Christ, and thwarts my work for Christ and the cause of Christ!
“The center and the circumference of the Christian life is none other than the person of Christ. All other things, including those related to Him, are eclipsed by the sight of His peerless worth. God put an image in our galaxy to demonstrate what Christ is to us. We call it the sun. Without it, no life can exist on planet Earth. We are dependent upon the sun for everything. And just as the sun is the center of our solar system, Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of God’s universe, and even our lives.”
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:34-35)
In my Bible reading, I was, once again reminded, if I am truly acknowledging the Preeminence of Christ in my life, I must recognize that God’s purpose and plan will not always make sense to me, nor will it necessarily be comfortable for me, especially when it comes to Christ’s call for me to deny myself and take up my cross [Mark 8:31-38].
In these days when so many of God’s people are crying out for their personal rights, and in many cases, demanding their personal rights, it might be wise for those of us that are following Christ to keep in mind that our only true right is to deny self, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus.
The life of a follower of Jesus was never meant to be a comfortable, convenient, safe or secure life. The life of a follower of Jesus always was meant to be a life of consecration, commitment, and compassion for others, as we follow Christ wherever He might lead and obey whatever he might heed.
When it comes to the Cross, A. W. Tozer is right on target:
“The cross of Christ is the most revolutionary thing ever to appear among men. The cross of old Roman times knew no compromise; it never made concessions. It won all its arguments by killing its opponent and silencing him for good. It spared not Christ, but slew Him the same as the rest. He was alive when they hung Him on that cross and completely dead when they took Him down six hours later. After Christ was risen from the dead the apostles went out to preach His message, and what they preached was the cross. And wherever they went into the wide world they carried the cross, and the same revolutionary power went with them. The radical message of the cross transformed Saul of Tarsus and changed him from a persecutor of Christians to a tender believer and an apostle of the faith. Its power changed bad men into good ones. It shook off the long bondage of paganism and altered completely the whole moral and mental outlook of the Western world. … We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do—flee it or die upon it. And if we should be so foolhardy as to flee, we shall by that act put away the faith of our fathers and make of Christianity something other than it is. … If we are wise, we will do what Jesus did: endure the cross and despise its shame for the joy that is set before us. To do this is to submit the whole pattern of our lives to be destroyed and built again in the power of an endless life. … The changed attitude toward the cross that we see in modern orthodoxy proves not that God has changed, nor that Christ has eased up on His demand that we carry the cross; it means rather that current Christianity has moved away from the standards of the New Testament. So far have we moved indeed that it may take nothing short of a new reformation to restore the cross to its right place in the theology and life of the Church.” – AW Tozer
May God help all of us to present to a dark and dying world a true picture of what the life of Christ and a follower of Christ is and not this cheap American imitation!
O Lord, help me not to simply sing about clinging to “the old rugged cross,” but help it to become a reality in my everyday life. Like Paul of old, help me to present myself as a “living sacrifice,” help me to “die daily,” by denying myself, picking up my cross, and following You!
“When the moon eclipses the sun, it is a wonder to behold. When anything eclipses Jesus, it is an atrocity to eradicate. … After all, Christianity is the worship of Jesus Christ. It’s the worship of Jesus Christ exclusively, and it’s the worship of Jesus Christ comprehensively. He alone is worthy; He alone is God; He alone is the infinite sacrifice made for the sins of those who would believe. But it’s comprehensive as well, which means that every part of our being should be engaged in the worship and honor of Jesus. If Jesus is who the Bible says He is, if He did what the Bible says He did, He is worthy of absolute, complete, exclusive, comprehensive attention and focus in our life.”
“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. … And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Genesis 32:24, 27-28)
In my Bible reading last night, I was reminded that if we truly acknowledge the Preeminence of Christ, we shouldn’t be wrestling with God, but we should be surrendering to God.
Jacob was an interesting character to say the least. Unfortunately, most of us are just like Jacob and we spend much of our lives trying to cleverly navigate our purpose and plans for our lives, rather than submitting to God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Like Jacob of old, if we are running from our past, fearing what is in store for us in our future, or simply struggling with trusting God, we need to get alone with God and have a “life-changing experience.”
As one Bible commentator said concerning Jacob and this passage:
“All along Jacob’s life had been the struggle of a clever and strong, a pertinacious and enduring, a self-confident and self-sufficient person, who was sure of the result only when he helped himself-a contest with God, who wished to break his strength and wisdom, in order to bestow upon him real strength in divine weakness, and real Wisdom in divine folly.”
One Bible blogger wrote these following words:
“For the last two years, I have been wrestling with God. I have wrestled night and day, asking for a fresh vision of who he is and what he wants for my life. I’ve had a particular situation that has caused me to lose many nights of sleep—nights spent wrestling with God in prayer. I’ve begged God to give me clarity because I know that God is the author of peace and not confusion. I’ve spent countless hours crying, seeking God’s face. And I’ve finally reached a place of blessing—a place of peace where I know God has revealed himself to me, a place where I can walk forward in confidence knowing that he is in control.”
Folks, I don’t know about you, but I am thinking that the past ten months and with all that has gone on in our world, has surely been ordained of God and, no doubt, to “break us,” and to “remake us” into the men and women that He wants us to be.
So, here’s the question: “Has it worked or are we still wrestling?”
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23-24).
O Lord, break me, mold me and make me after Thine own will. Help me to quit wrestling with You and help me to simply surrender to Your will every day!
“God is not so much about fixing things that have gone wrong in our lives as He is about finding us in our brokenness and giving us Christ. When Christ is not central and supreme in our lives, everything about life shifts out of orbit and moves out of kilter. So, for Christians, our first task is to know Jesus. And out of that knowing, we will come to love Him, adore Him, proclaim Him, and manifest Him.”
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11).
As you probably know, the church at Corinth had a boatload of problems. Oh boy, that might be the understatement of the year. Yet, it would appear that ALL of their problems stemmed from two sources, and these are found in 1 Corinthians chapters 3 and 13. First of all, the church at Corinth wasn’t focused and properly founded upon Christ [1 Corinthians 3:1-14]. Secondly, the church at Corinth was not motivated by love [1 Corinthians 13:1-13].
In today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 3:1-14, I was reminded what happens to a family, a church, or even a Christian movement when it takes its eyes off of Christ and focuses its attention and affection upon anyone or anything else [Colossians 3:1-2; Hebrews 12:1-2; Philippians 3:7-15; Jeremiah 2:13].
We eventually become distracted, detoured, disoriented, and almost always end up being divisive!
Just think about the days in which we live. Our country, and, in far too many ways, our churches are in a mess. We have become focused upon so many different things. Can anyone say, “politics”? And, by the way, that is just one of many!
I remember reading these words a few years ago and, at the time, they seemed so relevant. I have to be honest with you, they seem so much more relevant today than they were at that time:
“The body of Christ is at a crossroads right now. The two common alternatives are to move either to the left or the right. It’s our observation, however, that we are living in a unique time, when people are frozen as they look in either of those directions. When they look to the left, they decide that they cannot venture there. When they look to the right, they feel the same. … If the church does not reorient and become Christological at its core, any steps taken will be backwards.
Christians have made the gospel about so many things—things other than Christ. But Jesus Christ is the gravitational pull that brings everything together and gives it meaning. Without Him, all things lose their value. … It is all too possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue, or gift, yet miss Christ, who is Himself the embodiment and incarnation of all of these things. Seek Christ, embrace Christ, know Christ, and you will have touched Him who is Life.”
We might want to hang that quote on the fridge for awhile.
There are three questions worth prayerfully pondering and sincerely asking ourselves this morning: (1) Is Jesus Christ the overwhelming love and passion of my life? (2) Have I become distracted and disoriented? (3) Is Jesus Christ Preeminent in my life or simply prominent in my life today?
There is a huge difference!
As one author noted, “When we dethrone Jesus Christ from His rightful place, we tarnish the face of Christianity and redefine it out of existence.”
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:16-18).
“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not” (Genesis 28:15-16).
A wonderful Lord’s day yesterday! I am looking forward to a great week ahead and there’s no better way to start the week off than by making a few important decisions, beginning with a short, but much needed fast from Social Media. Definitely need one after the events of this past week!
In my Bible reading from last night (OT) and this morning (NT), there were a few thoughts that really stuck out:
First of all, if truly acknowledge the Preeminence of Christ, I need to come to grips with the fact that I am often right where God wants me (even if I might not want to be there), right where God has led me, and GOD IS WITH ME, and sadly, I might not even recognize it [Genesis 28:10-22].
Secondly, if I truly acknowledge the Preeminence of Christ there will be times when I will find that the Spirit of God leads me into the wilderness, but I can rest assured that He will always be in the wilderness with me and will be guiding and caring for me [Mark 1:12-13].
Thirdly, if I truly acknowledge the Preeminence of Christ, when Jesus calls me to go somewhere or to do something, I won’t debate, argue, nor will I put it off until later, I will simply obey [Mark 1:16-20].
Fourthly, if I truly acknowledge the Preeminence of Christ, like my Lord Jesus, I will also understand the importance of solitude and time with the Father [Mark 1:35].
Fifthly, if I truly acknowledge the Preeminence of Christ, I need to understand the importance of unity in the church. A UNITED CHURCH is a HEALTHY CHURCH [1 Corinthians 1:1:10-17].
Lastly, if I truly acknowledge the Preeminence of Christ, I need to occasionally evaluate my preaching. Biblical preaching is preaching CHRIST and the CROSS OF CHRIST [1:18-31 & 2:1-5].
O Lord, help me in these trying times! Help me while I am stuck here in. America, while there is so much chaos and confusion, division and, in some cases despair, to recognize that You are still in control and thatYou have me right where You want me for this season of my life. Help me to be faithful to point others to Christ and the cross of Christ in these times!
This past year (2020) was the longest year of my life. Not sure, but I this past week has definitely been one of the longest weeks of my life. What has been transpiring over the past few years, and what transpired in D.C. this past week, should be beyond disturbing for all Americans, and especially Christians in America. And yet, I just have to remind myself daily that God is still on his throne, Christ is still Lord of all, the Holy Spirit has not left us, the word of God is as true today as it has ever been, and GOD IS STILL GOOD!
God is good all the time. All the time, God is good!
In my Bible reading today, there were a few thoughts that really stuck out and helpful:
First of all, as a follower of Jesus that claims to truly recognize the Preeminence of Christ, I need to get back to digging, and in some cases some serious re-digging, building “altars,” and calling on the Name of the Lord, if we are ever going to see a true revival in our homes, our churches, and our land [Genesis 26:15-25].
God knows we all desperately need a revival in our homes, churches, communities, and our country, but that revival needs to start in my heart!
Secondly, and so relevant for the days in which we live, If I truly submit to the preeminence of Christ, I have a choice to make, we all have a choice to make in these politically divisive days, will we choose Christ, or will we lower ourselves and choose the political zealots of our day [Matthew 27:15-26]. Sadly, throughout history, many of God’s good people have chosen the political zealots of their day!
Thirdly, as a follower of Christ that claims to submit himself to the preeminence of Christ, like the Apostle Paul of old, I must commit myself to the cause of Christ “around the corner” and “around the world,” and give myself to being an encouragement and an example to the people of God [Romans 15:1-3, 14-33].
O Lord, help me to do some re-evaluating and re-digging in my life. Revive me again, that I might rejoice in Thee, and Thee alone! And Lord, help me to be an encouragement and an example to others, especially during these troubling times!
Well, the first complete week of 2021 is coming to a close today. What a start! The political scene is in shambles, as a nation, we just had our worst COVID week of the entire Pandemic, and the divisiveness in our country, and in many cases, in our churches is getting worse.
Yet, despite all of these things, it is good to know that God is still on his throne, Christ is still Lord of all, the Holy Spirit has not left us, the word of God is as true today as it has ever been, and GOD IS STILL GOOD!
Nothing like starting the day off with God, especially during these trying times and difficult days. A few nuggets of truth this morning:
*If I truly know and love the Lord Jesus and if I am truly acknowledging his preeminence over my life, I will wisely invest my time, talents, and treasures for Christ and the cause of Christ [Matthew 25:14-30] and I will gladly care and help the poor, the needy, and the helpless, or “the least of these” [Matthew 25:34-40]!
*If I am truly acknowledging the preeminence of Christ over my life, I will submit my will to his will, even if it might be painful and doesn’t fit my personal agenda [Matthew 26:39-42].
*If I am truly acknowledging the preeminence of Christ over my life, I will be careful not to judge my brothers and sisters in Christ, leave the judging to God, and if I “must judge,” I will be certain to deal with my issues first [Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 7:1-5; John 8:1-11].
O Lord, in these troubling times help me to stay focused upon You, help me to grow in my knowledge and love for You, help me to be a wise steward over all that You have entrusted into my care, help me to be totally submitted to Your will for my life and ministry (even if I don’t “understand it” or “approve of it”), and deliver me from a judgmental spirit!
In my Bible reading this morning, there were a few great truths worth prayerfully pondering and applying:
First of all, if I am truly (key word there) acknowledging the PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST (this year’s theme), like Abraham and Sarah of old could surely testify, I need to remember that a PREEMINENT CHRIST will always DELIVER ON HIS PROMISES, but in HIS time. Of course, I must do my part, by remaining FAITHFUL and going FORWARD (Genesis 21:1-7).
Secondly, if I am truly acknowledging the PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST, I am going to love Christ above everything and everyone else. And, I am going to have to love people [Matthew 22:34-40]. There’s really no getting around it!
Thirdly, if I am truly acknowledging the PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST, I am going to be careful to not fall into the trap of the Pharisees, which is so easy to do, and make my Christian experience all about the externals, rather than the internal, judging others more than I judge myself, and lacking the love and mercy of Christ in my life [Matthew 23.
Fourthly, if I am truly acknowledging the PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST, I should be longing and looking for the return of the Lord [Matthew 24:36-51].
While we definitely live in unstable, unpredictable, and often uncomfortable days, we must never forget that serve a stable and predictable God, and we can trust him with our hearts and lives.
O Lord, help me to believe and trust Your promises even when everything around me appears to be going “wrong,” help me to love You and others, deliver me from the Pharisaical spirit that rests so comfortably in my heart, and help me to get back to the place where I recognize that this is not my home and I truly long to go home and look forward to Your return!
Glad yesterday is over, or is it? 🙂
Well, regardless of what comes our way today, it’s always good to remember that this is the day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it. So thankful for God’s word and the comfort, conviction, and challenges that it brings my way every day, including this morning.
In my Bible reading this morning, there were a few great truths worth prayerfully pondering and applying:
First of all, those that truly acknowledge the PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST will be submitted to the PRINCIPLES OF GOD’S WORD and they will FLEE FROM THE PERVERSIONS OF THIS WORLD [PRO 7].
Secondly, those that truly acknowledge the PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST will truly VALUE the PERSON OF CHRIST, far above the prosperity, popularity, power, and the pleasures that this life has the offer [Matthew 19:16-30]!
Thirdly, during these dark, divisive, disturbing, and discouraging days, we might want to remember that CLEANSING THE CHURCH might very well be the prerequisite to CHANGING THE COUNTRY [Matthew 21:12-13; 1 Peter 4:17].
And, of course, cleansing or changing the church actually starts with CHANGING ME!
Not sure about you, but it’s so very easy for me to get my eyes off of Christ, the cause of Christ, and those things that are eternal and focus on the temporal or that which is not eternal [COL 3:1-2]. This is especially true in America!
O Lord, help me to be focused upon You today! Help me to be grounded and guided by the truths of Your word, flee from the things of this world, and be far more concerned with You cleansing and changing me than I am about Your cleansing and changing others!
Genesis 17:1-2, And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Genesis 18:22-25, And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
In my O.T. Bible reading, I continued reading about the great man Abram (later Abraham). His life, while definitely having its ups and downs, is a great example of a life lived by faith. Abram was definitely a man that lived by faith and understood the importance of hearing and heeding the Voice of God. In chapters of 17 -18 of Genesis, I was reminded of this important truth: Like Abram of old, those that truly know, understand, and submit themselves to the Preeminence of Christ will also understand the importance of both faithfulness AND intercession in their lives (Genesis 17:1-9; 18:16-33).
God is looking for a people that not only will LIVE FAITHFULLY, but a people that will PRAY FERVENTLY. This is especially true in the dark and discouraging days in which we live!
When you think about the events of the day today here in America, in fact, when you think about the events that have taken place over the past few years in America, along with the country’s constant and continual spiral away from the word and ways of God, and when you think about the great needs “around the corner” and “around the world,” it often leaves you feeling helpless.
So, what shall we do in these days?
Possibly we should follow the example of the man Abram, Live faithfully and pray fervently!
God has been looking for faithful and praying men forever. Will we choose to be such a man or woman?
Ezekiel 22:30-31, And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
O Lord, we live in dark and discouraging days! At times, we feel such a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Often, we feel as if there is nothing that we can do. Help us to be found faithful in such days and, help us to be prayerful in these days!
Genesis 13:17-18, Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
Hebrews 11:8, By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
In my O.T. Bible reading last night, along with my Gospel’s reading of Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33) this morning, among other truths, there was one very important truth that seemed to stick out and I thought I would share it with you this morning. In fact, it goes along with our reflection from yesterday about the call of Abraham:
Those that are SUBMITTED TO THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST IN THEIR LIVES and SURRENDERED TO THE CALLING OF CHRIST ON THEIR LIVES never really get too comfortable in this world and are ready, willing, and able to change where they are living and what they are doing at the slightest nudge from the Spirit of God.
In fact, it isn’t until, like Abram of old, we are willing to REMOVE OUR TENT FROM OUR PLACE OF COMFORT, STEP OUT BY FAITH, and GO FORWARD TO THE LAND OF OUR CALLING (even we aren’t quite sure where we are going or what we will be doing), that we are able to experience the greatest measure of God’s true blessing!
The true Christian life is a life of faith and the best way to spell faith is RISK!
If we aren’t willing to leave our comfort zone, if we aren’t willing to make some changes, including changes of long standing attitudes, possibly change the way we have done things for years, and maybe even change geographical locations, we can pretty much count out the blessing or miracle that God has in store for us. I like what one author wrote concerning Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on the water.
Put yourself in Peter’s place for a moment. You have a sudden insight into what Jesus is doing—the Lord is passing by. He’s inviting you to go on the adventure of your life. But at the same time, you’re scared to death. What would you choose—the water or the boat? The boat is safe, secure, and comfortable. On the other hand, the water is rough. The waves are high. The wind is strong. There’s a storm out there. And if you get out of the boat—whatever your boat might happen to be—there’s a good chance you might sink. But if you don’t get out of the boat, there’s a guaranteed certainty that you will never walk on the water. This is an immutable law of nature. If you want to walk on the water, you’ve got to get out of the boat. I believe there is something—Someone—inside us who tells us there is more to life than sitting in the boat. You were made for something more than merely avoiding failure. There is something inside you that wants to walk on the water—to leave the comfort of routine existence and abandon yourself to the high adventure of following God. So let me ask you a very important question: What’s your boat? – John Ortberg
O Lord, I find myself constantly getting comfortable, in fact, far too comfortable. Please help me to be sensitive to the nudges of the Spirit each and every day, and help me to be willing to lay it all on the altar, regardless of how painful “surrendering all” might be!
“We may feel a nudge about a need, but then excuses pile up and our insecurity and fear hold us back.”
Genesis 12:1-3, Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Hebrews 11:8, By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
In my Bible reading this morning, among many other truths, there was one very simple and yet very important truth that seemed to stick out and I thought I would share today:
Those that are SUBMITTED TO THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST IN THEIR LIVES will always SURRENDER TO THE CALLING OF CHRIST UPON THEIR LIVES.
Abraham had no idea where he was going and to be honest with you he really had little to no idea what he would be doing, but he chose to obey the call of God upon his life.
How about us today?
It is good to keep in mind that the BLESSINGS OF GOD UPON OUR LIVES are greatly dependent upon our OBEDIENCE TO THE CALLING OF GOD UPON OUR LIVES!
O Lord, help me to know, understand, and submit to Your calling in my life, and yes, even in the midst of these difficult days and troubling times!
In my Bible reading this morning, among many other truths, four very important truths seemed to especially stick out and were definitely worth pondering:
First of all, like Noah of old, those that have truly acknowledged the Preeminence of Christ have intentionally chosen to live GODLY LIVES in the midst of GODLESS TIMES, and as a result of this decision they, along with their families, are blessed by God [Genesis ch. 6-8].
Secondly, the man or woman that gives himself to becoming a man of mercy and truth, trusts in the Lord with all of his heart and acknowledges him as the Preeminent One, will find that God will direct his paths [Proverbs 3:3-6].
Thirdly, if a man or a woman truly understands and acknowledges the Preeminence of Christ, which would include His holiness, they will humbled to the point of recognizing that they have little room to judge others, especially before they have first judged themselves [Matthew 7:1-5].
Fourthly, if a man or a woman truly acknowledges the Preeminence of Christ they will be committed to the cause of Christ “around the corner” and “around the world” [Matthew 9:37-38].
O Lord, give me the strength and the wisdom to live in such a way that pleases You and draws others to You. Lord, help me to be a balanced Christian, a man of mercy and truth, a man that is quick to judge himself and slow to judge others, and help me to be more committed to the great work of the harvest in 2021 than I was in 2020!
In my Bible reading this morning, among others, two very important truths stuck out:
First of all, while reading Genesis 6, I was reminded that since the fall of mankind, evil and wickedness have always been a part of our world (6:5), but like Noah of old, those that have understood, acknowledged, and submitted to the preeminence of Christ, have made the intentional choice to LIVE DIFFERENTLY and SHINE BRIGHTLY (Genesis 6:8, 9).
Secondly, while reading Matthew 6, I was reminded that those that truly understand, acknowledge, and submit to the preeminence of Christ, intentionally choose to treasure Christ far more than any personal prosperity they might have (Matthew 6:19-24, 33)!
Two Questions definitely worth pondering today:
“Do we love and treasure Christ more today than we did at the beginning of 2020? Are we living more differently and shining more brightly today than we were in the beginning of 2020? “
O Lord, grant me the grace to treasure and love You above everyone and everything else in this life. And Lord, help me to live differently and shine brightly in a dark and desperate world!
A great start to a New Year, and a new theme “The Pre-eminence of Christ.”
In my Bible reading this morning, I am grateful that I was reminded on day number one of a New Year to place, or keep God in “the beginning” of every area of my life and ministry, to be careful to keep a clear distinction of the light and the darkness in every area of my life and ministry [Genesis 1], to avoid the whispers of the evil one [Genesis 3], to live daily in a spirit of repentance and surrender [Matthew 3:1-8], and to live my life by faith and not by feelings [Romans 1:17].
O Lord, at times in 2020 it was difficult to live as consistently as I should in Your presence and be as given completely to Your purpose for my life, my marriage, and my ministry as I should have been. I CANNOT blame my circumstances and I cannot blame others, but I must look into the mirror of Your word and see that I HAVE BEEN MY BIGGEST PROBLEM IN 2020. Help me to give myself to knowing, loving, and serving You in a deeper way this year than ever before. Help me to surrender myself daily and completely to You and Your purpose for my life!