Did you have a super Sunday, or did you exchange it for an evening sitting in front of the TV?
If your congregation doesn’t have evening services that’s one thing, but if you belong to a congregation with elders who have deemed it fit to have an evening service and you skipped it to watch a game – well, you need to consider your spiritual priorities and obligations.
And by the way, I had a super Sunday…and I was still able to make it home in time to watch the entire second-half of the game.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV)
When you hold a Bible in your hands, do you know how much it cost?
I’m not looking for a fiscal answer. The Bible cost more than any financial total that can be tallied.
Long before any red-letter edition was published, pages of the Bible were colored red . That’s because the book we can hold in our hands cost men and women their lives. Some died at the hands of false-Christians and others at the hands of violent unbelievers. Regardless of who took their life, men and women of the past gave their life because they had faith, a desire for the common man to read the word of God, and a love for God’s message.
Consider that, and then consider how the church has a hard time getting Christians to show up and study the Bible today. Some congregations don’t even have Bible-study classes. Brothers and sisters – that’s a problem!
The Bible is the best-seller that most Christians aren’t sold on studying. Do you see the irony?
Wake up, get up and show up at Bible-study tomorrow.
“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word. Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” (Psalm 119:15-18)
The seeking of Mt 6.33, of God’s kingdom and righteousness, is no half-hearted search, like a husband looking unsuccessfully for his socks only to appeal quickly to his wife for help. It engages the entire being, to “pursue” (NET) or “strive” (NRSV), exactly as love for God should be with the whole mind, heart, soul, and strength. Less than this is not an effort worthy of God.
Warming a pew for a few minutes on a Sunday morning (or even three times a week) is not the equivalent to this seeking, either. Ritualistic believers who think these minimal requirements will get them under the wire will be spewed out from the Lord’s mouth come judgment day.
Let no one deceive himself. Make no mistake about it.
The Lord Jesus wants disciples of his, followers in his footsteps to carry the cross, not adherents to a religion, nor believers in rote and ritual. The distinction is well made by use of the word “seek.”
One of my elders spoke up with an interesting take on Matthew 6:33 last night.
The verse says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
The comment on the verse, or something very very similar to it, was, “The problem is that people think that God should make them number one on his list instead of us making him number one on our list.”
The comment is true indeed. Often times, perhaps even in our own mirror, it’s not very hard to see people who think that God should “drop everything” for them without the individual having any interest in picking up a single cross for Christ (Matthew 10:37-38).
Seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness is truly a mighty call from the highest points of Heaven that still finds its way into the deepest valleys of the Earth. It’s a call that urges us as followers to find ways to put God and his ways first in our life. It’s a call for priority. And that means it’s a call that distinguishes the difference between what we believe God owes us and what we owe God.
Before I finish my thought I want quickly point out that it is God indeed who has taken the first step in every way that’s needed to secure a right relationship with him (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:19). But to say that no reaction from our side of the relationship is needed misses the point of a relationship…especially when it comes to the Lord and disciple variety (Luke 6:46-49).
On a session of the television series Family Feud the question was asked, who do you turn to to make the most important decisions in life? One hundred people had been interviewed and their answers were first- spouse, second- parents, third – boyfriend/girlfriend, fourth – children, and fifth – God. God came in last. Are you surprised? I’m not. God comes in last in most lives today. God ought to be the first one consulted in making the big decisions of life. It is a matter of priority. The reason many do not consult God first is because God is not first in their lives. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he said, Love God first. God should and must come first in our lives. Any other place than first place is the wrong place. This is Just-a-Minute
Sometime ago, Gary Lutes and his two sons were rescued from a West Virginia cave after being lost for five days without food and water. They suffered from dehydration and hallucinations while hop ing for rescuers. They sat quietly quoting scripture and praying for help. Gary later reported, “It sure made things seem insignif¬icant, things I felt were important before. Job, pressure, things like that. I thought to myself if I ever get out of here, what do these things mean?” When we are flat on our back, that is when we look up. Psalm 120 says, “in my distress, I cried to the Lord and he heard me.” Why does it take some kind of tragedy or desperation to get our attention? We need to pause and think, and consider what deserves first place in our lives. This is Just-a-Minute.
“Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both morning and evening sacrifices” Ezra 3:3.
I can think of no better description of what it takes to be a Christian in today’s world. The refined remnant was returning from 70 years of exile. They knew their sin and God’s grace that allowed them to return to Jerusalem that was laid waste. Continue reading