JESUS once said, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where the thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19, New Living Translation). In other words, don’t value dispensable possessions too much. That’s common sense, right? Evidently not, for JESUS wouldn’t say something if no one needed to hear it. It’s sad, but some people cherish their possessions more than the presence of GOD.
The Gadarenes, the supporting cast in today’s text, fall into this category. They witnessed the incredible power of JESUS: HE cast devils out of a demon-possessed man. They had the SAVIOR at their disposal, equipped to work miracles, but they begged HIM to leave. They were angry because their pigs had drown (see Mark 5:13), and they wanted JESUS to leave before HE caused further damage. They were so attached to their possessions that they missed an opportunity to enjoy CHRIST’S presence!
JESUS also said, “And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?” (Matthew 16:26, New Living Translation). So check your possessions; make sure you’re not so attached that you can’t part ways. It’s CHRIST, not material possessions, that makes the difference!
Many of us overcome our organizational deficiencies by creating “to-do” lists – a list of tasks to accomplish before nightfall. Some of our plans might include returning a call from the previous day, scheduling a routine maintenance service on our vehicle, or purchasing an ingredient for a special dinner entree’. But where does GOD fit into your “to-do” list? We can be so devoted to our daily plans that we miss opportunities to serve HIM.
That’s what happened to JESUS’ disciples in Samaria, the setting for today’s recharge. They had a short “to-do” list – buy food in the city – but it was completely consuming. They were so hooked on their plans that they tried to remove JESUS from a ministry opportunity! But JESUS reminded them of the most important daily task – fulfilling GOD’S will. HE told them, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of GOD, WHO sent me, and from finishing HIS work” (John 4:34, New Living Translation).
So as you begin each day, check your plans. Make sure you leave some room for GOD; HE may need you!
JESUS said, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:21, New Living Translation), and nothing exposes our treasure quite like our prayers. Think about it: we seldom, if ever, talk to GOD about things that aren’t important to us. Now for the tough part – think about your prayers. How do they flow? What are your routine requests? If GOD let you ask HIM for anything, then what would be your first request?
Solomon had the awesome privilege of asking GOD for anything he desired. As a king, he could have made some very selfish requests: “LORD, let me reign forever. Give me more money than I can spend. And, make sure my palace is so large that I get lost in it.” But, he didn’t. Solomon’s prayer was selfless and impressive: “Help me excel in what you’ve called me to do.” And how did Solomon pray such an awesome prayer? Simple: he loved the LORD!
If pleasing GOD is your priority, then it will show up in your prayers. So, check your prayers. When GOD hears your desire to please HIM, HE’LL bless you like you never imagined!
… and HE will give you all you need from day to day if you live for HIM and make the Kingdom of GOD your primary concern (Matthew 6:33, New Living Translation).
Most people begin the New Year with resolutions. Have you made yours? What are they? Maybe you’ve resolved to lose weight, exercise daily, further your education, or expand your business. Maybe you’ve vowed to create and adhere to a budget, use your time wisely, or appreciate the small things in life.
If you have access to your resolutions, then note where pleasing GOD falls on your list. We usually list our resolutions by their importance, so it’s a problem if pleasing GOD didn’t top your list. It’s no coincidence that the first commandment listed in Exodus 20 is “you must not have any other god but ME.” In a subtle, but serious way, GOD proclaimed HIS desire to be our first and only priority.
Certainly GOD deserves to be first in our lives, for “HE made us, and we are HIS” (Psalm 100:3, New Living Translation). Keep GOD first this year. It’s a resolution you’ll never regret!
GOD bless …