Friday, November 20, 2015

November 20, 2015: Primary Focus

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 323  

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a video of Clay Crosse, Bebe Winans, and Bob Carlisle singing… I Will Follow Christ, … declaring for the second day my devotionals what should be the PRIMARY pursuit of all Christians … to follow Christ … to seek His will and His way … from His instruction Book, … His living word!!

Highlight Passage:   Galatians 1: 10  [NKJV] …  
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. 
 … Rebuilding the Temple, upon return from Babylonian captivity, God’s people followed God’s instructions from His word.
Highlight Context – Galatians 1: 6-10 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK  …  
… Paul’s primary focus was ALWAYS on His calling … to share THE Gospel.

Reference Passage #1 - Psalm 119:9-11 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK
… Getting God’s word deeply into our hearts helps us retain our focus preeminently on Christ.

Reference Passage #2 - Proverbs 3:5-6 [NKJV] …  
6 Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. 
… Our primary focus should always be on God’s will … and not our own or that of others.

  Reference Passage #3 - Luke 9: 23 [NKJV] …  
23 Then He (Jesus) said to them all (His followers). “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. … “ 
… Jesus’ directions to His followers … to follow HIM … as their primary focus in life.

Reference Passage #4 - 1st Corinthians 11:1 [NKJV] …  
1 Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 
 … Paul encouraged others to follow His lead … ONLY because the Apostle knew he was following Christ

My Journal for Today:  Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Jaime Fernandez Garrido, used a pertinent illustration to teach about spiritual priorities. Garrido writes … Peer pressure is part of everyday life. Sometimes we base our decisions on what other people will think or say rather than on our convictions and on what will please God. We’re worried that we’ll be judged or made fun of. 

And today’s ODB teaching is not only a challenge for teenagers (as in the attached photo). Peer pressure is a common malady for all of of sin-ridden mankind. We so often look to focus on the opinions of others to lead us in our own decision-making.

 The Apostle Paul dealt with this a lot in many of his letters because new Christians, especially Jewish Christians in his day, were often confronted with orthodox Jewish leaders who felt that the only way to truly follow Christ was to focus on God’s law and do life “the traditional Jewish” way. And Paul, as he developed a close, intimate, and deep relationship with His Lord, recognized his calling to reach out to Gentiles. And in doing so, he became confident in telling other Christians that they could follow him, as an Apostle, because he knew that his primary focus was on being and becoming like Christ (see 1st Cor. 11: 1). But even more than following his Apostleship, Paul wanted Christians to develop their own Christian focus … i.e., to develop their own close and abiding relationship with Christ.

As Christian disciples, I think you’d agree that we desire to follow and focus PRIMARILY on Christ’s commands (see again the words of Jesus I quote most often in my devotionals - see Luke 9: 23 above).  In fact, I REALLY hope we all have that one memorized and internalized. Because if you’re like me, it’s all too easy to try to impress others as we confront the questions and decisions of life. And I will pray below that we all go deep in our relationship with Christ so that we will seek His will, focus on HIM, and follow His ways, … primarily by using His truth (i.e., God’s word) to lead us.

My Prayer Today:  Oh, dear Lord, … Help all who read here today, and yours truly, to focus on YOU and to avoid doing life by following others or our own will. … 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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