First Things First

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Put first things first is a tagline and principle I initially read about over thirty years ago where the author Mr. Stephen Covey discussed the habits of highly successful people. Prior to Mr. Covey’s book, C.S. Lewis also wrote about always prioritizing the first thing first. He added that when the second thing becomes the first thing in one’s life, one will lose out on both. However, when the first thing is pursued over the second thing, the second thing comes along in the process.

This same principle Jesus spoke to HIS audience some two thousand years earlier but added the main thing. After discussing the human aspects people pursue in this physical world, and the anxiety and stress one subjects themselves from the process, HIS sermon on the mount (Matt. 5–7) emphasized the primary first objective needs to be accepting God’s authority and value system in our lives.

When we come to realize God’s Kingdom is HIS way of governing people (also the spiritual realm) to live in harmony, and HIS moral character is the compass which provides boundaries to safeguard lives, plus HIS attributes highlight the priceless values to attain an abundant life, when followed as the first objective in one’s life, leads to a flourishing and fulfilling life for oneself and others. Outside of God’s Kingdom, people may steal their way to a better life at the expense of all others, but God’s selfless way allows everyone who participates to float toward the top.  

Life is a learning process preparing you and I for eternity. We gain a taste of HIS ways when we put into practice HIS governing principles being led by HIS Spirit under the tutelage of Jesus Christ. When we understand how HIS Kingdom operates and follow HIS examples of human relations and doing good work, plus focus our worship on HIM, we begin to reflect HIS ways which leads to a life of governing the self through the Spirit, serving others in Christ’s name, and producing Kingdom results in your corner of the world.

When one captures the vision of God’s Kingdom, begins to implement HIS ways of governing the self and others, and reflects Christ’s character in all matters, one is pleasantly surprised by how all the other secondary things fall into place. Put first things first and the rest will be added to you.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager, Faith-Integrator, Scribbler Learn & Grow:  

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Governmental Trap

1 Samuel 8:7, 10-18

 And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them…So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Governments are ultimately accountable to God (Romans 13:1). Christ-Followers are subject to governmental institutions per Peter’s letter to the Church (I Peter 2:13). When he wrote the letter, the emperor was a dictator ruling Rome. Yet Peter instructed the Church to enjoy their freedom to do good and put to shame the ignorance of foolish people. Christ-followers should be the most favorable citizens of a free world.

Yet governments are led by people. And people have the tendencies for corrupt behavior. As governments grow, corruption becomes more and more difficult to identify.

Back when Israel was a tiny nation being self-governed by the decree of one person (Samuel), the people enjoyed freedom and prosperity. However, when they complained that they wanted to be like the other nations around them with a King and his cohorts managing national affairs, God adhered to their request. But before then, HE instructed Samuel to outline the consequences of their decision.

Today’s Scripture shows what happens when one exchanges their personal responsibilities to a governmental body and how their individual freedom and prosperity dissipates. There is nothing new under the sun but technology and fashion. Governments have always existed in one form or another. But like Israel discovered, it was better for the people with less government and the acceptance of more personal responsibility rather than paying the price for a large overseeing body to manage national affairs.

The governmental trap is thinking the institution can do a better job than the collective individual who has personal investment in the outcome.

When the country’s workforce supports an incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy, it is only a matter of time for the nation to collapse.

Moral fiber is the glue that keeps relationships ongoing. When governmental distrust and bullying becomes the norm, than a revolution is waiting to occur. People will only tolerate mistreatment for a while. Then it gets ugly.

Personal freedom requires accepting personal responsibility for the outcome. Governments promise utopia and operate from a position of fear. Those who have found a leader in Jesus Christ as their King understand the difference between serving others or lording over others. Serving others is God’s way of leading. Lording over others is man’s inferior attempt to play god.

Allow God’s Kingdom to rule from your heart and set the boundaries of your actions and relationships and watch how your little world flourishes while those around you are burning with hatred and anger. God’s government is what we all need. But you first need to make the decision of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord in your life. When you do, and begin to imitate HIM and HIS ways, you will discover the difference between human governmental power and God’s gracious acts of justice, mercy, and forgiveness to engage people into a world that flourishes with freedom and fulfillment for all.

More God, less government is a better form of governance for all.  

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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Christmas: God’s Government Arrives 

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called[b]

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

As I age, the more aware this man becomes of the repeated theme of government between the pages of the Bible. From the Book of Genesis where God gives Adam & Eve domain of the earth to the last chapter of the Book of Revelations where the City of God merges heaven and earth together into one final chapter of mankind’s experience, how the theme of government shouts out throughout the pages of the best-selling Book.

Christmas reminds us of this purpose. Jesus Christ entered the world prophesied to become the long-awaited final King of Israel. And yes, we are still in the middle of that prophesy as we all await the return of the God-Man to fully establish HIS world ruling government. Yet there is much that must happen first.

Prior to HIS physical departure from planet earth, HE invested time and energy preparing and training HIS students for world change. His teachings, principles, and story are covered throughout the writings of the Bible. His eyes and purpose were focused not only on events during his stay on earth but for the eventual culmination of all history when HE returns to complete HIS Father’s mission for mankind.

Christmas is only a very small blip of events to remind us of HIS continual work throughout history. As a reflection of HIS Father, HE revealed and demonstrated what GOD is like. HE outlined the eternal mission and purpose of humanity. HE recruited a team to venture a new start-up, the Church. And every season under earth, HE continues to recruit, train, and lead fallible people to work alongside HIM preparing HIS children for their eternal assignment. He is preparing a people to govern and serve in the family business – the Kingdom of God.

Along with the Holy Spirit who inspires, encourages, and comforts us through our daily assignments, we are embryos being developed through the trials and tests of everyday life as we await our delivery into the hands of our eternal home. Yes, mankind is so much more than a cousin of the animal kingdom. You and I have been given the privilege of life as a gift. From life, we experience human trauma, but also the divine fruit of our heavenly Triune God. We have a small taste of eternity today, but live under its shadow waiting for the sun to fully arise.

Yes, Christmas is a reminder that God cares for you and I. He has a macro purpose for all humanity. The real joy is aligning our micro purpose with HIS macro purpose to live out each day colonizing our corner of the world for HIS glory.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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