Setting Your Priorities in Order


photo credit: mosaicnashville

photo credit: mosaicnashville

 “For what is a man profited,

 if he shall gain the whole world,

  and lose his own soul?

  or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

 Matthew 16:26

“What is this life worth to you?”

I am sure that if I were to ask this question to a group of people that I would get as many different answers as there were people in that group.

Different people value life in different ways. If asked to prioritize your life and the things in it, I am sure that each of us would come up with a different list.

How does God teach us we should prioritize our lives? Where does He say we should place our value?

In this particular section of Scripture Jesus was talking to his disciples about this very thing. In Matthew 16: 24 Jesus told his disciples this:

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross, and follow me.”

1 John 2:15 tells us:

” Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.

If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Too many times we place our priorities in the wrong order. We place value in the wrong things.

As a young married couple, my husband and I got our priorities out of order. We did not listen to God’s word, and we did not allow God to lead in many of our decisions.  This lack of commitment to the ways of God often left us arguing about money and struggling to make ends meet.

As we have matured and grown in Christ, we have resolved ourselves to a new set of priorities. We are learning more and more every day to live within our means, and not beyond them. We are learning to do as the Bible tells us in Matthew 6:19-21:

” Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,

whehttps://encouragementforeveryday.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=782&action=editre moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Learning to live this way has taken time. It has taken commitment and discipline on our part to do as we have said we would do.

One thing I am learning personally is this:

“You can never out-give God.”

I have heard this said all my life, but I never really understood it until I tried it for myself. It was a big step of faith for me to give when I did not think that we had it to share, but God has ALWAYS been faithful to supply our needs and bless as we step out in faith and do as He has commanded us to.

I would like to be able to tell you that as soon as we got our priorities is order everything was instantly fixed,but that has not been the case. We are still working on getting our feet under us after making some unwise decisions, nevertheless God has been faithful to supply our needs. Slowly, by God’s grace, we are beginning to re-prioritize our lives. I can tell you that it feels great to know that we are doing the things that God has told us to do. God is blessing us every day.

As I write this morning, I am reminded of the story that Jesus told in Matthew 25: 14-30

I do not want to be like the man who was lazy and hid his talent. I want to give when God tells me to give, I want to share what God has blessed me with, and I want to minister, for the glory of God, to the best of my ability.

I want to encourage you today to take a minute and look at your life.

What does your priority list look like? Have you laid up for yourself treasures in Heaven, or are your treasures here on this earth? I would urge you to step out in faith, adjust your list of priorities if necessary, and then trust God to meet your needs.

In the end, when we are in Heaven together, the things of this world are not going to matter anyway.

I want to be able to look into my Father’s eyes and hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” ( Matthew 25)

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God-sized Dreams: Worth the Risk


*I can not write about living my God-sized dream this morning without taking a moment to say a prayer for the people in Oklahoma who are living out their worst nightmare. As you go about your day, today, please keep them in your prayers*

dreams2

 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Any dream that you dare to dream comes with its own amount of risk.

 

I find comfort in the promise that God will be with us. God has plans for our lives. (Jeremiah 29:11) The question is this: Will we accept the challenge, and take  the risk?

I have just recently set out on the  journey to my God-sized dream and already there have been risks and setbacks.  There have also been many successes and blessings from God. I believe that anyone who is living a God-sized dream will experience successes and failures.We are called to be faithful to continue even through the failures.

When I answered the call to this ministry there were many questions to which I did not have the answer. I can still remember the day I brought this to my husband. I can only imagine how I must have sounded as I tried to explain what God had placed on my heart. I would love to be able to tell you that I had it all planned out, and that I was able to bring him a pretty wrapped package of exactly what my dream looked like and exactly how it would turn out, however, this was not the case. When I approached my husband with the call that I felt God had given to me, the only answer I had for him was, “God has called me to write.” I want to remind you that when I told him this I did not have a computer and the only internet access I had available was on my cellphone. Even with all the questions, my husband was very supportive and he has been cheering me on from the very beginning.

Since that day, God has blessed us in so many ways. A dream that started out with more questions than answers has grown into a journey with endless possibilities. There are still questions yet to be answered and roads yet to be taken, but I am excited to see where God is taking us.

I can not say that I have come across anyone who disagrees with what I am doing.  I have been blessed with a wonderful group of family and friends that are very supportive.  I was very careful in the beginning of this journey to surround myself with people whom I trusted, and in whom I was sure I would find the support I needed to get started. I can not thank them enough for all of the support and encouragement.

The riskiest part of this Journey, for me, has been the lack of knowledge in writing and setting up a blog. Again, God has blessed me with people who have been able to encourage me and help me in these areas. I still have many things to learn, but I am an eager learner and I look forward to the things that God has planned for me. I  have also had to learn how to keep myself emotionally and spiritually fed so that I may continue to encourage others, and God has been faithful in His promise to never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:8) Every time I go to God in need of renewal, He brings peace to my heart, and He renews my spirit.

I look forward to taking the rest of this journey with each of you. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and support me with your prayers. I pray that this ministry will continue to bless lives and encourage hearts.

Whether you are just getting started or have been living your God-sized dream for years, I encourage you to stick with it. It will be worth the risk.  If God has called you to do a job, He will continue to bless you with the things you need. I pray that we will continue to remember to encourage each other and hold each other up in prayer. We each may have different callings and cover many different topics, but we all have the same common goal: to minister for God’s glory, and to lead people to Him.

God bless you as you continue on the journey to your God-sized dream. I pray that God will bless and empower you to do what He has called you to do.

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No Cost Too Great


photo by: Flickr

photo by: Flickr

6″And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” 10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

                                     Matthew 26:6-13

How much does this cost? This is a question that we hear a lot these days due to the economy. We oftentimes find ourselves asking it as well, whether it be paying bills, buying groceries, or even taking the kids out to eat.

I believe it is a legitimate concern since we want to be good stewards with the blessings God has bestowed upon us. But what about when it comes to our service for God? Do you ever find yourself asking, “What is serving God going to cost me?”

When this thought first crossed my mind, my immediate response was, “Of course not!” but as I searched my heart further and I was honest with myself I discovered that, yes, I do ask this question more times than I should.

It should not matter what serving God will cost us. We are so important to God that He sent His Son to die on a cruel cross for our sins. We should be willing to give up anything that is needed of us in order to serve God.

As scary as that sounds, I have grown to understand that we can not out-give God. Whether we give of our time or our finances, God is faithful to supply our needs.  Philippians 4:19 says:

“But my God shall supply all your need

according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

The lady in this story was giving to God all that she had. She did not consider the cost. She did what she could to bring honor and glory to God.

As I read this Scripture and have continued to ponder it in my heart, I have discovered some changes that need to take place in my own way of thinking. Possibly you have too.

I pray today if you find yourself concerned with the cost of ministering for Jesus or serving Him, that you will think back to these verses and remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. John 3:16 tells us:

by: depositphotos.com

by: depositphotos.com

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

I have made the commitment this morning to stop focusing on what serving God will cost me. I do not want to be so concerned with the cost of serving God that I miss an opportunity to bless others. I want to share God’s love with those around me no matter what I must give up.

I pray today that you will join me in this commitment. I can promise that you will not be sorry. I am reminded of the Scripture that is found in Matthew 6:19-20

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,

where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy,

and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

One day all these earthly things will pass away and all that will matter is what we did for God’s glory.

There is a quote that I was recently reminded of as I helped one of my students work on a literature report. It is by Jim Elliot,  a missionary who was killed while ministering to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Jim said:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep

to gain that which he cannot lose.”

I pray that these words will find you encouraged and inspired this morning to continue to minster for God’s Glory.