Are We Putting Jesus First?

Man reading

[This article was written by Jeffrey Burnett.]

Maybe it is just the fact that I am getting older, but life truly seems to get busier every year. There is so much to do and so little time to get it all done and some things just have to be put off until a later time. Our lives are filled with legitimate concerns that we wrestle with each day often leaving little time for thinking of spiritual things, and that is precisely the problem.

Because every person has a different set of obligations it is difficult to place these concerns in any order of priority. God demands that we work with our hands in order to provide for ourselves and for the needs of others (1 Thess. 4:11-12; Eph. 4:28). Paul told Timothy that “if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). Then there is the duty of parents raising children, not only being sure that they have clean clothes and good food, but bringing them up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This is a serious job that cannot be put off until tomorrow. Most of us, occasionally, need a break from work to simply relax or get some kind of recreation to just have fun. All of these things take up our time and somehow, we must find time to give to each item in keeping with its importance.Continue Reading

Resisting the Devil (Season 10, Episode 8)

Resisting the Devil (Season 10, Episode 8)

 
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Resisting the Devil (Season 10, Episode 8)

In this season, we’re discussing some lessons from Peter’s first epistle.

The devil is prowling around like a lion, seeking to destroy us. Yet we can resist him if we will remain firm in our faith. This episode discusses the threat of the devil and what we need to do to resist him.

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Through Many Tribulations (Part 3): Sacrifices

Through Many Tribulations

When we first read of Paul in the New Testament – then referred to as Saul – he was looking on with approval as Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:58-8:1). Following that event, he began a zealous campaign against the church that took him to Damascus in order to find “any belonging to the Way” and “bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2). While on the road to Damascus, the Lord appeared to him and told him to go to the city where he would be told “what [he] must do” (Acts 9:6). The Lord then instructed Ananias to go to Saul to deliver His message to him (Acts 9:10-12; 22:12-16).

Paul was “a chosen instrument” of the Lord’s (Acts 9:15). Specifically, this meant that he was “called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (1 Corinthians 1:1). However, this did not mean that the Lord was going to see to it that Paul had an easy and comfortable life as he served Him. Instead, He told Ananias, “For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). When we think of the sufferings of Paul, we typically think of the persecutions he endured [we will discuss these in the next lesson]. Yet there were other sacrifices that Paul made that would be included in the things he was going to “suffer.Continue Reading

Wherever the Tree Falls

Fallen tree

If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies” (Ecclesiastes 11:3).

Man often takes pride in his perceived ability to control events in his life and achieve his goals. While it is certainly good to work to improve ourselves and change our lot in life for the better, we must also understand that there are many things in life that are simply out of our control.
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Do Not Worry

Worried

Many of us find it easy to worry about things in our life. Matters that relate to our jobs, families, finances, and more can cause anxiety. But Jesus told his followers, “Do not be worried about your life” (Matthew 6:25). Sometimes this is easier said than done. But notice what Jesus said about this subject:

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not the life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25-27).

In these verses, Jesus asked three questions. As the master teacher, He was able to ask questions in a way that was more instructive than inquisitive. Notice the three points Jesus made that will help us deal with anxiety.
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The Uncertainty of Life

Standing in the Fog

Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).

We often like to plan for the future. It gives us a sense of security knowing what is coming next and working toward a certain goal. But we do not know with certainty what is coming next. Our best plans could be in vain. Many things could happen that are beyond our power to control that can completely change our life.
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