Category: Priorities



You know, we’ve heard many of the old Bible stories since childhood. We’ve heard them so many times, in fact, that they may seem to be just that: simple childhood STORIES – But God recorded all of those for real and specific purposes:

1) They’re real, historical recordings.

2) God is still using them to tell us His Old, Old story.

For a moment, I want to think about the story of the old, wizened prophet, Daniel as he, in Babylonian and then Persian captivity, was accused and sent to be executed – in a den of lions. And while observing this, let us see the deliverance of the Lord for Daniel – and in doing so, let’s see what God has for us as well.

In studying the true-life story of Daniel and the Lion’s den, we can see the enemy’s forces at work in the lives of the people of God

AND

we can see the deliverance of an individual dedicated to Godliness and integrity: old, wizened, Daniel, as he keeps himself true to his God.

AND

We can also see that God has that same purpose for each of us:  as we keep our trust in Him, He still delivers us today.

 Of course, this story is presented to us in Daniel 6. and, rather than tell it, I encourage you to read it again – in a trusted, easy-to-read translation – and then think about these things:

Life-Principle #1: God sees the enemies in your life and He gives you His deliverance when you put and keep your trust in Him.

Life-Principle #2: You can serve God as a young person OR as an old person (or anywhere in between); age has no boundaries for the servant of God.

Life-Principle #3: If you, like Daniel, desire to have an excellent spirit within you, God will open amazing doors before you. How do you get an excellent spirit? You spend daily time in relationship with the Lord and with His community, His people, His church.

Life-Principle #4: Wow! Think about this: It is a great thing when people such as Daniel possess such great character—such impeccable character — that they can’t be accused of doing anything wrong– except in matters relating to their faith. Let that be a challenge to each of us today.

Life-Principle #5: Faith is not believing through lack of evidence or in spite of evidence; faith is believing and obeying, even through and in spite of consequences.

Life-Principle #6: God’s servants are, in a very real way, immortal, until God’s work in them has been completed. In other words, if God is not finished with you yet, you need not fear death.

Life-Principle#7: If your faith cannot be tested, your faith cannot be trusted.

And with all these thoughts in mind, I really would like for you to take these words with you throughout this week:

  1. Determine to serve the Lord with an unwavering faith
  2. Know that He has a purpose and will for you.
  3. Know that He has you and your care in the center of His hands
  4. Know that ALL things work together for His good (Romans 8:28).

 

On a Different Note:

This past week reminded me of the need for setting and following priorities.

Thursday was a Jr. High football game in Perkins/Sandusky. Cheri and I didn’t get to go to see our grandson, Isaac, play. His team won by four touchdowns; he scored three of them. I really would have like to have seen that.

Friday, we had dinner with Dave and Jacquie at their house. They are getting ready for their seasonal move back down south in a few weeks. We were honored to have been invited and we are so glad we went over and spent close to six hours with them. Good, trustworthy, and Godly friends are difficult to come by. I’m glad we went.

Saturday, another grandson, Christian, played Jr. Varsity football over in Apple Creek. Cheri and I knew it was going to be a busy day BUT, we were determined to go and see him play. Although he did not get a whole lot of playing time on the field, we both beamed with pride as we sat in the stands with our son and daughter and one of our granddaughters, Piper. We treasure such family times.

Then we rushed back from Apple Creek to Mansfield so that I could pick up my guitar and drive to Ashland to play with my son, Jamie, as he and I ministered in a time of street ministry to the addicts in particular. It is always a wonderful thing to minister with any of my family, and Jamie is particularly anointed in playing piano and leading in worship; I got to be a part of that.

And Sunday, Cheri and I ministered God’s Word in two services. Those are always special times to me – times when we can stretch out a little in our giftings – and times when we can watch what God is doing through us. I don’t take for granted the anointing we have; so we treasure them and seek to be good stewards of those giftings.

And then, I just get to take care of Cheri. She is my gift from God and I get to pamper her a little and take care of her. She is really doing great and looking to be perfectly fit and healthy; she wanted so badly to go to church Sunday night – to be a part of the dinner-on-the-grounds and to sing with our church at the hymn-sing – but she was tired and struggling with some of the after-effects of her radiation treatments – so I asked her to stay at home. Sometimes, it’s just nice to take care of your mate.

My friends, we must be good stewards of the time, of the gifts, and of the giftings that God has granted to us. As we prove to be faithful and as we prove to be good stewards, His grace seems to increase.

 


The Bible tells us an important story concerning the place of the delivery of Jesus by His mother, Mary.

3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. (Luke 2:3-6 NLT)

no room 4The Bible tells us that during the birth of Jesus, there was found no room for Him in the normal lodging places.

Certainly there are many facets to this story than can be exhaustively discerned in this blog; the question that I want to confront each of us with is this: Is there room in your heart for Him?

Many images are found throughout Scripture of times when God’s chosen people had no room in their lives for God … and times have not changed so much as many may think.

There is a popular video that is found on the internet and in popular leadership books concerning the placement of many objects in some type of container. The objective is that as we fill the container with instantly gratifying things, we do not leave room for the important things; conversely, as we cleanse our lives of the instantly gratifying things and begin to place those things of greatest importance to our lives in the container, more room is left for the other things.

Here is one of those brief videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmV0gXpXwDU

no room 2downloadWhile this video is particularly focused on time management, the principle shown carries over to relationships, particularly our relationship with Jesus Christ.

And rarely is this more evident than at this particular season of the year.

As we approach the season known for the birth of our Savior, we also face the season known for the hustle and bustle of shopping, eating, going, and everything else.

The pertinent question I want to ask in this hour is this: Is there room in your heart for our Savior this season … and all other seasons?

At Christmas time, I often listen to a local radio station that features 24/7 Christmas music well before Thanksgiving day. They are a commercial station which means that commercials are interspersed throughout their daily playlists. That’s not a problem; that is how they are sponsored and I get that. However, there are a few commercials that play throughout the day that feature one of these “hey-let’s-rattle-off-the-legal-details-as-quickly-as-we-can-because-it-has-to-take-place-but-we-don’t-want-to-take-up-precious-airspace-for-those-important-but-minute-details.” When I hear these, I am quickly made aware that these folks are rendering their own version of what is really important for Christmas. One of these ads tells me that they KNOW what my wife wants for Christmas; diamond jewelry. Another soon beckons that I NEED a new car for Christmas. And yet another tells me that I need the latest new toy.

no room 3And immediately after we have experienced a time of giving thanks to God (aka Thanksgiving), we enter into the season of the self: Black Friday, Cyber Monday … and who knows what we will come up with next. These are all days when retailers supposedly offer their best pricing for the entire year. What actually takes place though, is that we see signs of the self-indulgent greediness of our modern society. Have you seen videos clips of the fight scenes in some of the stores over TV bargains or other electronics deals. http://socialnewsdaily.com/45985/5-of-the-best-in-store-fights-from-black-friday-2014/

Even though I am appalled by these signs, more so I am faced with the understanding that all of this is a characterization of another distraction from our relationship with God.

While I could drone on concerning these various situations, I want to focus on my premise for writing this paper: to ask if there is room in our hearts for God this Christmas season (or any other time, for that matter.)

Have you found yourself without time for prayer?

Have you found that church is often difficult to attend because it is so early in the morning (or late on a Saturday afternoon … or conflicting with a child’s rehearsal/practice)?

Mary and Joseph found a place of shelter where the Christ-Child could be birthed.

If we will diligently seek, we, too, will find a place for relationship with Christ in our hearts and in our life-situations.

no roomSo again I ask, is there room in your inn?

Is there room in your heart for Christ this Christmas season?

Is there room in life-situations for Christ to be honored, adored, and proclaimed?