Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 20, 2015 … Putting God First

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 140

Devotional Song: ... GO TO THIS LINK  … Please take the time to take in a video of Fernando Ortega singing Give Me Jesus, proclaiming our need to look to and seek Jesus, no matter the circumstances of life … every moment of every day … all the days of our life.

Highlight Passage 1st Corinthians 3: 5 [ESV] … 
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 
… Putting Jesus first … not other men.
Highlight Context - 1st Corinthians 3: 1-9 [ESV]USE THIS LINK
… Paul warning to focus on Christ and not on men, like Apollos or himself.

Reference Passage #1 - Matthew 6: 33 [ESV] … 
33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (i.e., worldly needs) will be added to you. 
… Focus on Christ and His kingdom; and all our needs will be ours.

Reference Passage #2 - Luke 9: 23 [ESV] … 
23 And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. …” 
… Jesus, … on how to be His disciple … to deny self and follow Him (and only Him).

Reference Passage #3 - 2nd Corinthians 5: 9 [ESV] … 
9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him. 
 … Focus on pleasing God with our lives.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, C.P. Hia, took his readers today (me) back to the letters of Paul to the church in Corinth, who were being led astray and dividing by following men like Apollos or Paul and arguing over the leadership of these mortal men. Paul in the highlight passages above (see 1st Cor. 3: 1-9) was strongly exhorting the church (and yes, you and me today) to get their focus on Christ … by being HIS disciples [as He taught it in Luke 9: 23], rather than identifying with human teachers/leaders.

 And the timing of this teaching today was auspicious - for me - because just yesterday I was teaching a small group of men, using another devotional teaching by Dr. Robert Jeffress, who was quoting yet another teacher, Dr. Bill Hybels, both of whom were exhorting Christians to PUT GOD FIRST, at the center of our lives (see attached photo). And Hybels wrote that one can answer three questions to see if we are focusing on Christ #1 or allowing our SELF to become our “god.”

Here are the three questions: …
Question #1What or whom did you find yourself thinking about in your free time? … His point - if or when our minds settle, do we focus on our own desires or do we focus on what Jesus teaches … “to seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness,” (see Matthew 6: 33 above). Because if our default thinking is toward SELF, then “self” is our #1 “god.”
Question #2 Whom are you trying to impress? Hybels’ point - if we’re living to impress others in this world, our focus in not on pleasing God [see 2nd Cor. 5: 9 above].
Question #3 For what or whom are you living? And I think the point is obvious to the discerning Christian. If we’re chasing after wealth, power, control, or worldly influence, we’re certainly not doing what God’s word teaches in many of the reference passages above … i.e., to focus on living for #1 - GOD!

Perhaps it’s a good to me to do the Hybels self-inventory and see if God is truly #1 in our lives.

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … whatever it takes, bring YOU into my focus as #! in my life!! Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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