Take 5 (January 2-6, 2017)

Bill Tanzey • Pastor of Community Ministries

5 Disciplines to Separate the Unimportant From the Important in 2017

MONDAY: Approval – Seek To Please God Rather Than Man

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Galatians 1:10

We live in an age where we can be trapped into identifying our own self-esteem by the approval of others.We can find ourselves changing our behaviors, our conversation and even our appearance in order to please others. This need for approval can be welded into each decision we make. If you go to bed at night basing tomorrow’s happiness on the approval of others, you will never be happy. Paul understood that if our self-worth rests solely on others, we will soon waste away. It is impossible to please the masses. God calls on us to please Him. There is only one condition to that approval: Faith! If we seek pleasure in leading lives that please Him, He gains great pleasure in blessing our desires, not our performances. Men ask that you perform; God asks that you be yourself.

Ask God for fortitude to please Him more.

TUESDAY: Ambition – Climb the Right Mountain

Psalm 43:3

Mount Everest towers five and one-half miles above the earth. For centuries it lured climbers who unsuccessfully attempted to top Everest, many losing their lives. Thin air and avalanches brought failure and death to many mountaineers attempting to climb that treacherous mountain. Finally,when Sir Edmund Hillary and his party inched up the face of Everest to reach its top in 1953, his response was somewhat surprising. Fifteen minutes after they arrived, Hillary realized they had to face the dangerous trek back down the mountain– with the raw fury of storms and dangers. The point: No matter what mountain we climb in life, we never stay at the top. When that mountain is selfish ambitions, it always crumbles. The psalmist tells us the only mountain worth climbing is the one that ascends to the Father!

Read Psalm 43:3 aloud 3 times, and confess to God if you have been climbing a mountain of selfishness.

WEDNESDAY: Intentions – Be Filled With God’s Intentions; Not Just Good Intentions

Mark 8:33

Peter was filled with good intentions, but they weren’t God’s intentions. He couldn’t accept the idea that Jesus would have to suffer and die. Those thoughts were contrary to his image of the Messiah. Thus, he took Jesus aside and reproved Him for His agenda! Jesus would have none of it. He forcefully refocused Peter on God’s intentions. The things of God supersede the things of men. Our preferences can be the easy path. Not so with Jesus. Peter vacillated between the things of God and the things of men. We all do. It’s the easy way. But it’s not God’s way. Good intentions are high-risk. We need to examine our plan: Have we been pursuing our plan and not God’s plan? Have we vacillated? Do we need to recalculate our plan with God?

Ask Jesus to show you where you have erred in your plan and place it under Him.

THURSDAY: Obedience – Choose To Be Obedient at All Times

Philippians 3:16

Okay, your author readily admits that none of us have the total picture of God’s will in our lives. The truths we have today are not as clear as the truths we will have tomorrow. What we are today is not what we can be tomorrow. So we have two choices when we have limited godly information: (1) stop and wait; or (2) move forward. The apostle tells us all are to keep advancing by pursuing God’s will. Don’t mark time until you have a full knowledge of your Christian growth! Obey to the degree that God has revealed to you! While you or I strive for more knowledge, this passage says: Use true knowledge that has been granted you, however limited. That knowledge is entrusted to you by God Himself, and not using it is tantamount to insulting our Heavenly Father! Our potential and two bucks can buy you a cup of coffee. Use what God has given you!

Pray: “Father, help me live up to what I have already attained.” Amen.

FRIDAY: Devotion – Be Fully Devoted To the King

1 Kings 11:4

Is your heart fully devoted to the Lord? We can be semi-devoted to many things, but He wants our total devotion. The Lord loved Solomon deeply; so much that he was blessed upon measure. King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all other kings of the earth. (1 Kings 10:23) You see, unlike David, Solomon placed many things above Yahweh, including riches and sex. Solomon remained true to God for many years, but drifted away precipitously. He intermarried with the culture of the world, and by so doing, rejected God his Father. Ultimately he married those who worshipped Ashtoreth, the goddess of sensual living and sexual license. In our day, Christians can likewise lose their devotion to God. Flee from the gods of this broken world. A total surrender of devotion to Him blesses us beyond any measure. Oh, by the way, it is easier to continue with the Lord than to try a comeback.

Pray with me: “Dear Father, help me surrender everything to You.” Amen.