Who Loved Who First?

Did I love God first?

Or did he love me first?

God’s Word is very clear that he loved me first.  Before I was a tiny newly-fertilized egg inside of my mother, God knew me and loved me. 

As I read the words Moses said to the Israelites in one of his last addresses to them before his death, I am reminded of how this verse changed my life.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut. 6:5.

God challenged me over 30 years ago to put him first in my life.  I was what I would call a ‘cultural Christian’ at the time.  I went to church, served at church, gave to the church and said I loved Jesus.  But there were things in my life – like my family, my career and what I wanted –  that had a higher priority than God.  When I hit 30 and I finally reached all my goals of what I thought I should have and own at that age, I was surprised to find that I felt empty.  Over worked and over stressed.  And very empty.

Then God opened my eyes to this verse and challenged me with it.  I knew something had to change so I did some heavy-duty thinking.

What would it feel like if I loved God with all my heart?  What did I need to change so I could love God with all my soul?  What would my life be like if I loved God with all my strength?  How could I ignore the distractions of this world and the strong desire to do what I want to do so I could love God first?

The emptiness was eating me up so I took the challenge.  One step at a time, God showed me how to change my priorities and put him first.  I gradually put him first in every area of my life and I learned the huge lesson that the commands God gives us are for our own good.  As I moved closer to God, I watched him help me be a better wife, a better mother, a better employee, a better friend, a better neighbor, a better sister, a better daughter…you get the idea.  Everything was better because he was in the middle of it. Everything was easier because he was there helping me. He gave my life meaning and a purpose. Real joy gradually crept into my life.

Is there an empty place in your soul that God is longing to fill?  Are you just checking the boxes in your Christian life or do you have a daily, intimate relationship with God?  Have you made the decision to put God first in your life?

God desires to be first in our lives because he wants to give us strength, peace and purpose for our journey.  He wants to make it all easier and more worthwhile.

Doesn’t that sound good?

Thank you, Abba Father.

Carefully Consider

My priorities are important to God.  When he tells me, “love me first”, he means it.  If I miss that, I can expect consequences.

God explains this to me in Haggai when his people had their priorities messed up. “Give careful thought to your ways.  You have planted much but harvest little.   You eat but never have enough.  You drink, but never have your fill.  You put on clothes but are not warm.  You earn wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

God’s people were selfishly putting their own work in front of finishing God’s temple and they were paying the consequences.

Painful consequences.

I don’t want these words to describe my life so I need to carefully consider my priorities.  I need to choose God first and prioritize his purposes and his plans.  That’s the only way I’m going avoid harvesting little or feeling like I never have enough.

When I can change my self-centered thinking to God-centered thinking, it’s not hard to stay in line with his priorities.  I know he loves me with a perfect love.  He wants the best for me and nothing is impossible for him.

After careful consideration, I choose God.  I choose his priorities.

Amen, let it be so, Abba Father.

Think About It…..

Consider it…..

Give it careful thought.

This is the direction given by God to the Israelites about their priorities.  They had been very busy building nice houses for themselves and they had put off rebuilding God’s temple.Sept 26 2014 Think about it

The temple continued to lay in ruins while the Israelites went about their normal lives.

They were planting a lot but only harvesting a little.

They were eating, but they were never full.

They drank, but it was never enough.

They put on clothes, but they were never warm.

They were earning money, but it immediately disappeared into a purse full of holes.

God was telling them that he was withholding his blessings from them because their priorities weren’t right.

What about us?

Is it time to re-evaluate our priorities to make sure they are matching up to God’s?

Are we experiencing all of the blessings God has for us?

* Contentment because what God has already given us is enough?

* Fulfillment because we know we are busy completing God’s purpose for our lives?

* Peace because we have given God control over our lives and we’re trusting him?

* Joy because we are experiencing the love God has for us every day?

* Strength for each day and every situation because our lives are built on our Solid Rock?

God has these blessings along with a storehouse more, just waiting for us.

We thank you for your abundant blessings, dear Father!