Kingdom Living: What’s In It For Me?

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. — Matthew 6:33

We’ve all got them…priorities. From the moment we wake up to the time we fall asleep, something is fighting for our attention. The question is what will be our greatest priority? We all make time for what is important to us and we seem to always have time to do what we love…so where is the priority of God’s Kingdom for you? This is what we must reconcile.

Jesus said this during what’s known as the Sermon On The Mount. He is talking to His disciples and many people from various backgrounds and levels of devotion. As Jesus gives His discourse, He drops this phrase which surely struck some to the core.

What’s in it for me?

Many may seek God for what He can do for them. It’s the “what’s in it for me” mentality. Sadly there are many who only turn to God when times are tough…maybe that’s why times are always tough? Because it’s the only time they look to God? Something to think about…

Anyway, when God’s Kingdom is our priority, that means that we are not looking at everything from our perspective but from God’s. God’s Kingdom is not about “us”. God’s Kingdom is about God. As much as God loves us and cares about us, we are not the center of His attention. God’s glory and His will are at the center. A kingdom focused person will have to set aside the idea of what’s in it for me and embrace that regardless of whatever we get out of it, God will not only be getting first priority but all the glory.

When you hear seek God’s Kingdom first, what does that mean to you? How have you been suffering from a “what’s in it for me” mentality?

What are you seeking first today? Whose kingdom are you seeking, yours or God’s?

 

 

 

What’s Important To You?

what's important?

Read James 4:14

It’s funny how we all complain how there’s never enough time…but if we were honest, we all make time for what’s really important to us. We waste more time than we think we do and we use time for many things that have no return on the investment. This week, why not watch your time and see ho much of it goes toward things that are not really that important to you, or things that won’t matter to you a few weeks from now. You only get a certain amount of time. Use it well for the things that really matter. It’s one thing you won’t ever regret.

Christmas Surprises: Luke 1:16-17

christmas devotional thought

 16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,17and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

Luke 1:16-17

Advent is a time to prepare the way for The Lord. In the same manner that John The Baptist was the forerunner, Advent serves that purpose as we approach Christmas each year. With 12 days left to go before Christmas, how do you need to prepare to celebrate and worship the newborn King? Here are a couple of suggestions to consider.

Prepare Him room.

 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7 NIV

When Mary and Joseph were traveling, time came for her to give birth but they found no room for themselves in the inn. How horrible to have been the innkeeper, realizing at some point that there was no more room for the mother to give birth but a lowly stable?

How much room are we giving to Christ this Christmas? Is our heart more like a stable for Christ or a home? How would you best prepare for Christ to take up residence in you? How can you prepare your life as worship for the King?

Prepare the way.

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” John 1:23 NIV

3 A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5

When John the Baptist came onto the scene, he was preaching this message: prepare the way of The Lord. Every valley was to be raised and every mountain leveled so as to give the King a straight path to walk and travel. What needs to be leveled in our oaths today? What needs to be raised up? What is obstructing the King’s path to our hearts and lives? Are we somehow preventing others from finding their way to Jesus this Christmas?

Prepare a people.

John the Baptist was used to bring people together and ready them for the message and the salvation of Jesus. He diverted attention off himself to Christ as evidenced in his preaching and his life, (John 3:30). He was used as an example of a godly leader, radical preacher, spiritual family member and ministry partner of Christ. God used him greatly to proclaim and promote the coming of Christ. How can God use you this Christmas season? As a godly leader? Radical preacher? Spiritual family member? Ministry partner? Let God be glorified through you this Advent season. Prepare yourself and others for the coming of The Lord!

Creative Spiritual Insights: No Substitues?

 

Jesus was the ultimate stand in, taking our place when it mattered most!

 

Accept no substitutes is a phrase we have all heard and even used as a way of life. But Jesus is one substitute that we need to accept! As a follower of Jesus, we must realize that we cannot substitute anything for Jesus…no matter how good it is or seems. Nothing compares to Him. We must protect our relationship with Him and not allow anything to take his place in our lives.

 

Jesus wants to be the first and foremost love in our lives. Because he took our place and died for us out of great love he desires that we live out a life of love for him on earth. He doesn’t want us to do things because we are obligated but because we love.

 

Watch out for how and what you may replace Jesus with in your life. Keep Jesus first in all things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What competes most for your attention and affection of Christ?

 

Would you say Christ is first in all things in your life?

 

If not, where is on the list at this time?

 

How can you go about having Christ first in your life? How can you ensure he stays first?

 

How can you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? What does that look like for you?

 

30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ Mark 12:30

Creative Spiritual Insights: Dissatisfaction

 

“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is not part of the Christian faith.

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

  • C. S. Lewis in “The Weight of Glory”

 

There is no doubt that I can become so enamored by things of this world that I miss all that God really has for me. Solomon was certainly dissatisfied with this world when he said:

 

 2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecc. 1;2-3, 14

In what way have you been chasing after the wind?What things have you used in this life to try to satisfy yourself?

 How have you become dissatisfied with life? Self? Work? 

What do you think would bring you satisfaction?

How can your dissatisfaction be used to motivate yourself or others in life?

How is satisfaction different from contentment? Is there a difference? 

How can you become more content in your situation? 

22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Philippians 1:23-24

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were 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. Philippians 4:10-12

 

 

Creative Spiritual Insights: The Main Thing

 

 

It’s very easy to misdiagnose the problem or focus on the wrong things. People can spend their whole lives working toward a goal or an end that doesn’t satisfy them or provide any kind of contribution that outlives them. It is a question of what is urgent or what is important. It is a question of what is paramount or what is pressing.

Jesus was constantly faced with many pressing needs and overwhelming pains of people. Even though he was filled with compassion and often interacted with people, healing them and changing their lives, he was unable to do that for each person he encountered. Moreover, this was not his primary reason for coming anyway. His primary mission was not physical healing but rather spiritual. He was not to be deterred from fixing that problem. Even though people wanted to usher him in as the reigning King then and there, Jesus kept his face and heart set toward Jerusalem , the place he was going in order to die. He was out to solve the sin problem once and for all! Every pother problem stemmed from this one. To deal with anything less was to treat the symptom and not the problem.

 

What things seem to distract you from the main goal?

What can you do to keep the main thing the main thing?

What do the symptoms of your problem seem to be pointing to as the main issue?

What remedies do you need to take to ensure that your remain focused and on track with solving the problem?

Is there more than one problem?

Is there more than one remedy?

 

For mankind, there is only one remedy and His name is Jesus! Because Christ kept His focus, He was able to deliver us. He has solved our problem!

 51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Luke 9:51