Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Loving God first

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalms 91:14-16 (NIV):

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Following Jesus Christ does not mean you get a free pass from danger. On the contrary, life is filled with danger, and there seems to be no way to avoid it—and no denial doesn’t really work. What God promises is that He will be there during times of trouble, and He offers His help. Contrast that with the world’s thinking: You must be strong to survive. “Everything’s riding on your shoulders, buddy. If you can’t cut it, you’re a failure—or worse—a loser! Now go get ‘em!” Very comforting.

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have that kind of strength. Sometimes, I want to think I do, but then, when I get through a trying week like I just did, I realize how much I need God’s strength in my life. Whenever I go through struggles, like divorce, my dad dying from lung cancer, unemployment, issues with my sons, relational issues—I always say the same thing: I don’t know how people deal with life without Christ in their lives. Those difficult times are reminders of our need for God, just as they were thousands of years ago in the time of Moses (author of Psalm 90).

Psalm 90 through 106 is a bundle of Psalms with a common theme—our submission before the almighty God. One of the key phrases in the first two Psalms is God’s love for us, but in 91, God is looking for reciprocation of that love. God is pleased with the anonymous author’s love and is rewarding him with a blessed life. In the end, he receives God’s salvation in return for loving the Lord.

That’s all God wants from us: to put Him No. 1 in our lives—not No. 2 behind work, money, toys, or any other worldly pleasures. He doesn’t want anything to come between us and our love for him. Putting God first in our lives doesn’t mean we will have a life without pain; it simply means that we won’t be alone in those trials. Not only will we have God in our life for guidance, we will have fellow Christians to walk with us through those valley times. My brothers and sisters are what got me through times such as last week in dealing with my step-son’s schooling issue. When that week was over, all I could think of was thanking God for his love and his goodness.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, thank you for your love and your goodness. Thank you for giving me patience and endurance. Amen

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