Giving Jesus First Place

Giving Jesus First Place

Philippians 2:9-11

When Christ has first place in our lives, we will experience many blessings. These include a . . .

Quiet spirit. As we turn our attention to the Lord and meditate on His Word, He leads us beside quiet waters, where we find rest for our soul (Ps. 23:2). TheHoly Spirit will help us shut out the noise of worldly distractions so He can provide assurance of our Father’s love and support. With a quieted heart and mind, we will be able to discern what God is saying to us.

Stronger faith. Studying the Scriptures will enlarge our view of God and give us insight and direction. Reading how the Lord has helped others, we will gain confidence that He is at our side, enabling us to meet life’s demands. Our faith will grow as we follow His direction and watch how He works on our behalf.

Purified heart. Like a mirror, the Bible reflects back to us who we truly are and reveals where we need to change. When we confess our sin, God promises to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Prepared mind. We don’t know what’s in our tomorrows, but God does. He wants to prepare us for the future, both the joyous times and the hard ones. Through the Holy Spirit’s ministry, we will be equipped for whatever life brings (2 Peter 1:3).

Paul’s life demonstrates what it means to give Jesus first place. Because the apostle made Christ the Lord of his life (Gal. 2:20), he knew joy amidst trials and received the strength to face turmoil and difficulty. These blessings will also be ours when we make relationship with Jesus our highest goal.

Charles Stanley

Copyright © 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc.www.intouch.org.

Just God

Just God
Psalms 94:16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? [or] who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
After spending some significant time in the Psalms, it starts to strike you that they’re written in a rather solitary way. It’s really just the Psalmist and God, one-on-one. There’s no appeal to a pastor, priest, or any other person for that matter. There’s no dialog with other friends or acquaintances. The Psalms strip away everyone else and leave man standing alone with the Lord. We see this depicted very vividly here in Psalm 94. Notice in the verse above how the Psalmist is asking himself who would rise up and defend him against the evildoer and enemy. And notice the answer: Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence. Psalms 94:17 (NKJV) Much is to be learned from those three words, “Unless the Lord.” They represent the radical reliance inside the Psalmist’s heart. Again, everyone else is stripped away, and it’s just God who is left. There’s no appeal to man or hope placed in him. Everything hinges on “unless the Lord…” That’s actually a very healthy place to be. It’s good to be in that spot where we aren’t looking to man or the things of this earth for our answers. It’s far safer to dwell in the place of being fully focused and reliant on God, of having complete conviction that apart from Him there’s absolutely nothing to hope in. Jesus spelled this out for us in no uncertain terms: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NKJV) All-sufficient Father, may we be and stay in that place where our appeals and expectations are in You and You alone.

– Bob Coy

Punishment

I was thinking about how some things have changed over my lifetime, specifically I was thinking about corporal punishment: spanking. There’s probably no one reading this that hasn’t a time or two (or 100) experienced an old fashioned spanking. Now, let’s be clear here: I’m in no way referring to real child abuse and there is no excuse for it. That being established, I doubt any one understood or thought of the punishment as good while it was being administered. But in hindsight we know that we likely deserved it and it was for our own good.

Today society views spanking in a totally different light. Most often striking a child for punishment is scorned now and often called child abuse. Parents are vilified for correcting their children, even though it is for their own good.

Society, or the world, today do the same thing with God, saying He is a monster, vengeful, even denying His existence saying things akin to if God were real He wouldn’t punish mankind, not if He loves them.

The world vilifies God for punishing sin, not unlike it does parents for correcting children, today. But unlike societal views on issues, such as corporal punishment, God nor His Word changes. Scripture is clear that sin requires punishment: either we take it ourselves or we accept by faith that Christ Jesus did for us.

Peter and Paul

The other night I happened across the movie “Peter and Paul” on television. I had seen part of it many months back but not the last half; it was originally a two part mini series. This night both parts were on back to back so I recorded it to watch the next day.

To make these events of their lives and the early church into a motion picture it was necessary to take some creative license with certain things, in particular personal interaction of folks, conversations had, and things of this order. Watching these things unfold on tv made me think and wonder just how the specifics went, what the actual conversations were, and how closely were the portrayals of the personalties of those represented.

While these “small” things are some of things that Scripture is silent on and they make no difference in our faith or Christian walk, I can’t help but to be intrigued by what they may have really been. To me, it’s a wonderful thing to know we will be with those and many other saints that have already gone on. I can only imagine what it will be like to be able to, perhaps, ask Peter how some event played out. Or maybe to ask Paul what exactly his thorn in the flesh was. And most exciting of all, to be able to thank and praise and worship Jesus face to face with all those who have already gone and those that will follow. Truly, what a day that will be, as the old song says, when my Jesus I will see!

The Ambush Scene

I was watching a tv show the other night when a fairly common scene played out: the ambush. Many movies and television programs use the ambush scene in one way or another, from venerable western movies to the action-drama series of today. Why is the ambush scene so often used? I think because it is effective because it is real.

From the ancient days to modern day, being bushwhacked by the enemy has always been a real threat. From the soldier in combat to the traveler on the back roads, the danger of those lying in wait to attack when you are least expecting it and most vulnerable was and is a reality. And it is no less a threat to us everyday in our Christian walk: the adversary lays waiting, in diverse places and ways, looking for the opportunity to bushwhack us. God’s Word tells us to be vigilant, sober minded and awake, spiritually, among other things so we can recognize these ambushes when they come. And we would do well to heed His Word, here and in all things.

Christ Jesus told the disciples they were going out into the world as sheep among wolves. I believe that is no less true for us today than it was for them.