Tag

priorities

It was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right at work. Ralph had lost sale after sale and was three hours late for his lunch.

He sat down on his favorite stool in his favorite diner waiting to place his favorite order. When the waitress asked for his order, he said meekly, “Please, I’d like two things: an order of pot roast and a few kind words.”

Looking at him kindly, she replied, “The kindest words I can think of right now are, ‘don’t order the pot roast.’“

Offering “kind words” is the responsibility of every Christian every day. Everyone we meet needs words of strength, hope and encouragement to meet the challenges they face. Life for most of us has various shades of difficulty each day.

But what are the kindest words we can ever offer anyone? Perhaps they are these: “Don’t forget the next world while living in this one.”

It is possible for each of us to place our values in the wrong things. No one is immune from being caught up in the moment when we are vulnerable and weak. How sad it will be if we live our lives and, at the last moment, discover life’s greatest mistake: we did not include God in our plans.

Jesus asked, “How do you benefit anything if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul?”

Prayer: We pray, Lord, that we will recognize our greatest need: first to accept You as our Savior and then to bring others to a knowledge of Your saving grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Scripture for Today: Mark 8:34-38  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Lord Nelson was England’s most famous naval officer. He was highly esteemed for his inspirational leadership and brilliant grasp of naval strategies and unconventional tactics. His supreme knowledge of warfare at sea enabled him to win many significant victories for England. In fact, in one battle, with only 27 small vessels he destroyed 33 large battleships of Napoleon.
In spite of his brilliant career as a naval officer, he suffered from seasickness all of his life. Yet, he refused to allow this serious condition to become an excuse from what he believed he was called to do.
This is a significant lesson for each of us. All of us can find excuses not to do something whenever we want to. Whether we “talk” ourselves into a headache or turn a small task into an overwhelming, mountain-sized, life-threatening project, we can always – if we want to – find a way out of doing what God calls us to do.
Imagine standing before our Lord someday and hearing Him ask: “Do you remember when I asked you to teach Sunday school and you said you were too busy?” Or: “Can you explain why you didn’t have time to help with Vacation Bible School...sing in the choir...volunteer to work at the homeless shelter...feed the poor...go to camp with the youth...contribute more…or…?”
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to serve You as You deserve. May we not look for excuses to refuse Your call, but to look for opportunities to serve You constantly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
A young man had just completed college and was having a difficult time adjusting to his new job. In his frustration he decided to speak with his pastor about the problem.
After a few moments of polite conversation he said, “I'm having a difficult time at work. My problem is learning to allow myself to be in second place.”
“No,” said his pastor, “the real problem is learning Who to put into first place.”
Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
To “seek the kingdom of God above all else” means to put God first in our lives. To do this we must fill our minds with His Word, our hearts with His love and commit our entire being to doing His will and serving Him. It is all too easy in life to allow our priorities – our hobbies, our work, our friends – even our families – to slip into first place.
We have all heard the phrase that “life is choice.” And it is. Unfortunately, we often do not consider the consequences of our choices and allow God's Kingdom to be dethroned by the things of this world.
Prayer: Our Father, help us to make every effort to not only seek Your Kingdom but to place it above everything else in our lives no matter what it costs us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Jimmy came home from school with a scowl on his face and anger in his voice. As he opened the back door, he began yelling, “It’s not fair. I’ve been punished for something I didn’t do!”
Wanting to comfort him, his mother said, “That’s terrible. What didn’t you do?”
“My spelling,” he replied.
Jimmy had probably done all of his other homework assignments. But somehow, he neglected to do his spelling.
On one occasion when Jesus was addressing the teachers of religious law He said to them, “You are careful to tithe the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law – justice, mercy and faith You should not leave undone the important things!”
Could it be that we are like Jimmy? We pick and choose to do certain things required of Christians, but omit doing the things we do not enjoy doing - like spelling lessons? All of us can be obedient and disobedient at the same time! We may gladly give 10% of our income in tithe but refuse to extend a hand or a heart to someone who is sick or suffering, hurting or in need. Leave nothing undone
Prayer: Lord, may we realize that our obligations to You include loving the unloved and helping the helpless. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 23:23-24 But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Henry Ford was a master manager. One of his habits was to visit his executive officers in their offices.
He was once asked a most interesting question: “Mr. Ford, why don’t you have your executives come to your office rather than you going to their offices?”
“Because,” he replied, “I can leave the other fellow’s office a lot quicker than I can get them to leave mine.”
Henry Ford understood the value of time: Time is a precious gift, pure and simple, and it is to be used wisely. Once gone, it can never be reclaimed or replaced. It cannot be recycled or replenished and it certainly cannot be stored up for the future.
But there is more for the Christian. Paul says that we are to “make the most of every opportunity.” We are to seize the moment when God presents us with an opportunity to work for Christ and serve others who He brings into our lives. Each day He provides us countless opportunities to share His message and be a witness to others about His grace by showing them His love and concern.
Unfortunately, there are many who profess to be His disciples yet refuse or deliberately avoid opportunities to serve Him. How many times have we been asked to teach, to sing, to visit, to work for the good of others through our church only to refuse the opportunity? We are on His “clock.” We must use our time wisely.
Prayer: Lord, impress upon each of us the importance of every minute of every day and every opportunity to serve You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:15-21 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Leland Stanford has been highly recognized for his business ventures, political achievements and interest in education. His only child, a son, died at age fifteen. He was so overwhelmed by this loss that he once cried out, “I have nothing to live for.”
One night while sleeping he had a dream. His son seemed to be saying to him, “Live for other children.” As a result of this dream, he endowed Stanford University to honor his son and other children.
Many times we are threatened by events that are truly overwhelming. Tragedy strikes, disasters invade our lives and everything we counted on for our security seems to collapse. Could it be that God is trying to get our attention?
Jesus once said, “If you give up your life for My sake and the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.” The message is rather simple and straight forward: “Allow Me to control your destiny and direct your life. Let Me lead you each day as you share My message.” However, what may sound simple is not always easy.
There is always a battle between Someone and something. But if we willingly center our lives on Him and worship and serve Him, we will discover true life.
Prayer: Father, to say we will surrender to You is easier said than done. But give us no peace until we try. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Mark 8:34-38 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Today

September 23, 2015
A young Marine was leaning against the side of his tank early one morning during the Korean War. He was eating beans from a can with his penknife. It was cold and foggy and the silence was frightening.
A reporter, aware of the impending battle softly asked, "If I were God and could give you anything you wanted, what would ask for?"
After a lengthy pause, he answered, "Today!"
All that any of us have is today. Few of us, however, realize the importance of each day that God gives us.
The Psalmist said, "Teach us to make the most of our time..." Time is a gift and we must be aware of each tick of the clock and moment of the day. Once gone, time can never be reclaimed or recycled. What we have done with it becomes a part of history.
Realizing the significance of time and the uncertainties of life should help us put our priorities in order. The first is our relationship with God. Is it all that it can be? Second, is our responsibility to others. Is there someone, somewhere who needs God's message? And, finally, do I need to make things right with others?
Prayer: Lord, may we see the value of time in light of eternity and use it wisely to Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Dwight Eisenhower once said, “I do many things that are urgent but few things that are important.”
What a most revealing statement from one who successfully served his country as a general and president. It would be good to make it a question for each of us to ask ourselves everyday: How do I separate the urgent from the important?
Or should we begin with the question: What is the difference between something that is urgent and something that is important?
Something urgent suggests I must give my immediate attention to an event that is happening now! Important, on the other hand, means that something of significance, value or consequence to me is occurring. I quickly answer a ringing phone because it is annoying and gets my immediate attention. I answered it with urgency, but the call may not be important.
Our Scripture for today talks about the difference between urgent and important. The Rich Fool was overly concerned about wealth and was in a hurry to expand his financial worth. But Jesus said, “Guard against greed and focus on your relationship with God.”
We must always make certain that our number one priority as Christians is our relationship with God. We must constantly focus on Him and closely follow Him every day by communicating with Him daily, reading His Word and investing time in prayer.
Prayer: I ask, Father, that in Your power and through Your strength, You will always be first in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 12:14-21 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

Quite frequently a dear, young friend who is very concerned about my health comes to my office to visit me. Each time we meet he “reviews” my work schedule and responsibilities in great detail. He wants to know what time I get to work and what time I leave; what I did on each Saturday and Sunday since we last talked. He wants to know the last time I preached at a church, where it was and how long it took me to drive to and from it. His questions are not meant to be invasive or abusive. He is concerned about my health and wants to know whether or not I am taking proper care of myself.

After we conclude his lengthy interrogation, he looks at me and makes the same statements every time we visit: “You’re working too hard. You’re working too much. You need to go on a vacation or you will kill yourself. Why do you work so hard? Do you want to die?”

Each time we have this discussion I give him the same answer: “Dear friend, I am going to die. But I do not know when. So, I want to get as much done for the Lord as I possibly can. But I promise I will care for myself.”

And then I remind him of Psalm 103:15-16: “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

Our days may be few or they may be many. But one thing is for certain: We have fewer days to serve Him after today than we did yesterday. We must make each one count for our Lord. 

Prayer: Help us Lord, to realize the importance of each day knowing that we have no assurance of tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:15-16 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
“He who runs from God in the morning,” said Paul Bunyan, the author of Pilgrims Progress, “will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” In other words, if we want to sense the presence of God, the guidance of God and the strength of God throughout every minute of every hour of every day, we must begin the day with God.

Rarely do we begin any day without some idea of the things we intend to do or where we plan to go or what is expected of us. And although we may not go through a formal planning process where we establish prioriies and allocate certain amounts of time for each of them, we have some idea of what we are going to face.

That is why David, in his infinite wisdom that came from God said, “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly!”

How presumptuous of Christians who profess our dependence upon God to make plans without Him, to set goals that exclude Him or make decisions without His advice. Beginning each morning with God and presenting our “agenda” to Him for His blessing is the proper thing to do. When we offer our thoughts and plans to God and seek His directions we are saying to Him: “Lord, what I face today may be beyond me, but it is not beyond You. Therefore, I need You to be with me in everything I do, to walk with me wherever I go and to put Your words in my mouth before I speak.”

Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize how inadequate we are to face life without Your goodness and guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 5:3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.
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