Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Seek First The Important Things!

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Think about this for a moment. What is the most important thing in your life? Think before you answer – and don’t give me what you wish were most important or think should be most important. Someone once said if you want to know what is really important to a person – just look at the person’s checkbook. I’ll add – take a look at their credit card bills and their online spending too! Do we spend more money on things that are really only peripheral things in our lives? Do we own that boat or does that boat own us? Are our hobbies that important to our lives?

The Sunday School answer – of course – would be Jesus! Jesus should be most important in our lives. We have been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb and He owns us – 1 Corinthians 6:20 – you were bought at a price. At least – God should own us – but at times we act as if we own ourselves. At times we act as if we are more important than God. Continue reading

Advertisements

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning and Setting Priorities

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

In a few weeks I will turn 57 – I can hardly believe that I am really that old!  When I started into ministry at 21 years of age I never thought about being 57.  I just attended the funeral of a friend who was 93 – so I guess I’m not that old!  But then again!!

Setting priorities in life is not something we should put off til later!  Setting the path we will walk – even if we adjust our path along the way is very important.  As we travel this terrestrial ball – and live the life God has given us – we hope that we learn what is important in life – sooner rather than later – and set our priorities in proper order.  We learn – we hope – that our relationship with God is most important – because that is eternal rather than time limited.  We also hope we learn that family – in most cases – is very important and will – normally – stand with us to the end.  We hope that we learn that true friendships are hard to find – that relationships are worth nurturing.  We also hope that we learn that work is often merely a way to provide for the family – even if we believe we make a difference in the world with our jobs.  That last one may be a little strong – but many of us get caught up in our careers and forget the first three I named – God – family and friends – putting work above them.

Paul – the noted author of Philippians and an Apostle of God – wrote that he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  Even when we have our priorities right – circumstances can happen in our lives – some of our own doing and some not – that impact the way we live and feel about the life we live.  Some even get to the end of life – or at the halfway mark – and look back and regret the priorities they set in life.

In context – this is what Paul wrote: Philippians 4:4-13 – 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Some key thoughts in those verses and favorites too – I know you picked up on them.  It starts with rejoice in the Lord always.  Rejoice in God – no matter the circumstances.  These verses are where I get my saying happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived.  We are to be in joy in the Lord always – even when the circumstances don’t line up.  Yet Paul takes it a step further and reminds us that even in the worst of circumstances – we should have joy in the Lord.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus… I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I want to encourage us today – that even if the circumstances of life haven’t lined up for us – and we could run a litany of circumstances that could go or have gone wrong in our lives – we can not only have a joy in the Lord but learn to be content in our life’s circumstances as well.   Paul ends this section of Scripture with a verse that many of us have memorized – but maybe didn’t know the context – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

My prayer for us today is that we will continue to grow in our walk with Jesus – and learn through the years what is important and to keep God and family above the rest!  It is never too late to learn this my friends – we cannot make-up for the mistakes we’ve made in the past – but we can certainly live going forward with the right priorities and the right heart!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

Tweet this Blog Post

February 16, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , | 6 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: