by pastor david
"And He [Christ] is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence."
What is the most important thing in your life right now? What do you want most in life? Most of us know what the answer should be but the issue is, what is really most important to you right now.
If you are not sure how to answer that question, just look to see how you are spending your time and your money. Based on where and how you spend most of your time, what or who is number one in your life right now?
I use the phrase number one because that is what the word "preeminence" means. The Apostle Paul told the church at Colossi that Christ was to have "preeminence" in their lives. What a monumental statement that is.
1. There Are Many Who Give Christ a Place in Their Life. (1:18)
Christ is on their list. To them Christ is just one of many things that occupy a place in their lives. He is right up there with P. T. A., Little League, golf, cooking, paying bills, working, and a thousand other encumbrances.
2. There Are Some Who Give Christ Prominence in Their Life. (1:18)
For them Christ is not only on the list but He is very near the top. He is right up there with family, job, and education.
To prove His prominence in their life, all you have to do is look for them on Sunday morning. Where will you find them? In church, where else? They may even give their tithes each week. Wow!
However, Christ will occupy only one place in your life and mine!
3. There Are a Few Who Give Christ Preeminence in Their Life. (1:18)
"That in all things He may have the preeminence"
In how many things is He to have "Preeminence"? The answer? "All things". Christ will never be satisfied with a place in your life or even prominence in your life. The only place for Him is "preeminence".
Turn to (Phil 2:5-11 NKJV), where we see …
(Romans 14:9 NKJV) "For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living."
If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all!
(Matthew 6:24 NKJV) "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
It is impossible to accept Jesus as Savior if you do not acknowledge Him as Lord.
(Romans 10:9 NKJV) "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
Who is this Person you are accepting? The Person is the Lord Jesus. "Jesus" is His name and "Lord" is His title. You cannot separate the two.
How does one keep the main thing the main thing? You do so by daily acknowledging Christ's Lordship in all your life.
Let’s take inventory. Is Christ Lord of your . . .
Christ must come first in your life. Your spouse must be next, followed by your children. Then, all the other people and projects that fill your life must be prioritized. In the Garden of Eden, Adam had a personal relationship with God first. Then, the Lord gave him Eve. Why didn't God create Adam, Eve, and 2.4 children simultaneously?
It is because God wanted Adam to enter into an intimate relationship with Him first. Only after God was preeminent in Adam's life did the Lord give him a helper, Eve. When Eve arrived on the scene, she knew immediately that the intimacy she experienced with Adam was rivaled only by the intimacy of Adam's relationship to God. Later, when children were born to Adam and Eve, they grew up knowing that God was to have preeminence in their lives as well.
Lord, on _________________ (fill in the date), I received You as my Lord and Savior. Today, I reaffirm my original decision. In my life, You have preeminence! Obviously, that does not mean I am perfect, as You well know. Yet, in my heart and hopefully in my everyday life, You are number one - the Preeminent One. Amen
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."
The words of Isaiah in this text have an immense prophetic interpretation for a future day. However, these Holy Spirit inspired words also have an intense personal application for today. Three questions are addressed in this brief declaration.
1. What Promise has been Expressed to the Christian? "You will keep him in perfect peace"
The Lord gave Isaiah a similar promise in (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV), where we read, "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Jesus reiterated this promise to His disciples in (John 14:27 NKJV), "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
The peace offered here is "perfect peace". Implicit in these words are . . .
Keep in mind that this peace is conditioned upon our faith in and our focus upon the Lord. Therefore, consider the second question addressed here.
2. What Priority must be Established by the Christian? "Whose mind is stayed on You"
Upon what is your mind focused?
May I ask another question? Upon what should your mind be focused? When preparing to build the magnificent Temple for the worship of Jehovah, David challenged his son Solomon and the leaders of Israel with these words, "Now set your heart and soul to seek the Lord your God." (I Chronicles 22:1-19)
The Apostle Paul's simple and succinct injunction is, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2 NKJV)
In this hectic and hurried world, it is very difficult to make the time to quiet ourselves alone with the Lord and truly focus on Him and all He has done, all He is doing, and all He will do for us in the future. Despite how tenaciously the devil opposes our time alone with the Lord and clamors for our attention, we must set aside a specific time and a special place to commune each day with our Supreme Love, the Lord Jesus. We must speak to Him in prayer and allow Him to speak to us through His Word.
A final question deserves consideration as well.
3. What Principle will be Embraced by the Christian? "Because he trusts in You"
It is often easier to trust Christ with our eternal souls that to trust Him with our temporal circumstances. It is very hard to hear the "still small voice" of God when inauspicious circumstances are screaming in our ears. This is the point at which it is essential that we set aside a daily time to meet quietly with our Lord in prayer and the study of His Word.
Pray the Psalmist's prayer found in Psalm 119:18, "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law."
King David's prayer in Psalm 141:8 is appropriate for anyone at anytime; "But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; In You I take refuge."
When our focus is on the right object, our faith will be in the right object. Our faith always follows our focus.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.
Lord let the light of your Truth penetrate the darkness that engulfs me just now. Even when Your radiance surrounds me, I can only see far enough to take one step at a time. Please guide each small step I take today. Theses things I pray in the Name of Jesus, Amen.
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'. So we may boldly say: 'The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”
Several years ago, I preached a series of sermons about various Bible characters that I called, "Lonely People". Little did I know that there would be many days when I would be one of those lonely people. There have been numerous times, even when a crowd of people surrounded me, that I felt dreadfully lonely.
Did you ever feel like this? As his UCLA football team suffered through a poor season in the early 1970s, head coach Pepper Rodgers came under intense criticism and pressure from alumni and fans. Things got so bad, he remembers with a smile, that friends became hard to find. “My dog was my only true friend,” Rodgers says of that year. “I told my wife that every man needs at least two good friends—and she bought me another dog.”
Loneliness is a growing problem in our society. A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the loneliest group of people in America is college students. Is that surprising? Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly.
Yet, I realize Jesus Christ understands exactly what we are experiencing at times like these. There was a time in Christ's earthly ministry when . . .
How wonderfully comforting it is to know that Christ understands exactly how we feel when that tormenting loneliness engulfs us like a dense fog on a rainy night.
What is a believer to do when he feels lonely, even though he knows he is not alone? The Bible teaches that there are three tremendous truths upon which we should meditate during these times of emotional despair.
1. There is a person to whom we can retreat when we are lonely.
(13:5a) "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"
The One who gives us this encouraging pledge is the Lord Himself.
This assurance comes from the God Who, according to (Titus 1:2), cannot lie. This guarantee comes to us from the God who is immutable (never changing). We are talking about a God from whose love neither you nor I can ever be separated (Rom. 8:38-39)!
Every believer can rely upon these words today, even though they were originally spoken to Joshua (Josh. 1:5). Notice in our text the personal relationship God has with us, implied in the words "I" and "you". God says to us today, "I want to be near you! I will always be near you. All you have to do is call out to Me and you will know I am near!" Jesus said, "The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (John 6:37 NKJV)
2. There is a promise upon which we can rely when we are lonely.
(13:5b) "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
The word "leave" translates the Greek word, "aniemi", which means "to send back, to relax, to loosen, not to uphold, to let sink". Two negatives in the Greek text precede it, which in English make a positive, but, in Greek only serve to strengthen the negative. It is literally, "I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you."
The word translated "forsake" is a compound of three Greek words which, when put together mean, "to abandon, desert, leave in straits, leave helpless, leave destitute, leave in the lurch, let one down." There are three negatives before this word, making the promise one of triple assurance. It is, "I will not, I will not, I will not let you down, leave you in the lurch, leave you destitute, leave you in straits and helpless, abandon you."
All of this means that when we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, God will come to our rescue!
(13:6) "So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
What a powerful testimony this is. Not only does the writer know these truths but also exuberantly proclaims them to all who will listen.
Make note of . . .
To point out how lonely people can be, Charles Swindoll mentioned an ad in a Kansas newspaper. It read, “I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5.00”. Swindoll said, “Sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But the person was serious. Did anybody call? You bet. It wasn’t long before this individual was receiving ten to twenty calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship”.
Please join me in this prayer.
Lord, thank You for this wonderful promise. It is so encouraging to me today. I have always known that You would never leave me - especially when I am going through difficult times, but today my heart rejoices because I feel Your presence so intensely. Help me to be always conscious of Your presence in my life. Help me to let You live Your life through me today. Empty me of myself and fill me with Your Spirit. Amen.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
For more than ten years, the Lord has been repeatedly emphasizing one essential truth in my life. Again and again, from a variety of Scriptures, God has been teachings me one simple and yet profound principle. That often-repeated axiom is this:
All that God does or allows is designed to drive us to greater dependence upon Him.
The wise writer of Proverbs, in Proverbs 3:5-6, under the inspiration and superintendence of the Holy Spirit, underscores this truth when he warns us, "lean not on your own understanding" and commands us, "in all your ways acknowledge Him". This is the essence of trusting "in the Lord with all your heart".
We might be tempted to question the accuracy of the truth stated above in light of the all the tragedies, troubles, and temptations in the world around us. However, in spite of how difficult it might be to believe what God is saying, these situations should always remind us that there is a God who is still in control of this universe and everything in it. To add an exclamation point to the original premise and to help us see the scale of God’s control over His creation, the Psalmist said, “The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood” (Psalm 29:10). There has never been devastation on the earth as horrific and deadly as the great Flood, recorded in the Book of Genesis, and the Psalmist David said that God was seated on His Throne, even in the midst of this catastrophic event.
If God allows such things as wars, disease, tragedies, and upheavals in nature like earthquakes and tsunamis, then He apparently does so for a reason. I would never pretend to understand all God's reasoning in these matters but one thing is clear from the Scriptures. God wants the men, women, boys, and girls He created to live in constant and trusting reliance upon Him.
Again, I do not pretend to know all the answers to those questions but I know that one of the benefits was a greater dependence upon God in the lives of those involved. I also know that what is true on an international, national, and Biblical scale is also true on a personal scale. Why is God allowing you to face the difficulties you are facing right now?
Think about it. What has God been doing or allowing in your life in recent days? Whether the things that came to your mind were good, bad, somewhere in between, please know that God has a purpose for your life and a plan to bring about that intended goal.
However, His purpose and plan for our lives will never be realized to its fullest potential until we learn to live in complete reliance upon Him. As we learn to live with increasing confidence in Him, we are progressively "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). This always brings glory to "the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise" (1 Timothy 1:17).
With this kind of dependence upon God and His sovereignty, there is always greater peace and more sublime tranquility than you have ever known.
"Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”
Prayer! Prayer is a very real concern in my own personal life. A survey by Christianity Today revealed that the average Pastor prays only three minutes a day. Another survey showed that 93% of students preparing for the ministry in a well-known theological college confessed that they had no devotional life at all! My only comment here is that the curse of prayer-less preachers is powerless pulpits and problem pews!
However, prayer should not only be the priority of ministers, but also the priority of the members as well! It should be the equal concern of both pastors and parishioners!
That being said, should not each of us set aside a specific time each day for prayer? It was the Apostle Paul who cried out, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering”. (Philippians 3:10) The only way to “know Him” is to spend time with Him each day – listening to Him through His Word and then responding to Him through personal prayer.
God speaks to us through His Word and we speak to Him in prayer. That is called a dialogue!
Henry Ward Beecher said, “Let the day have a blessed baptism by giving your first waking thoughts to God”. It was the great expositor, Dr. Stephen Olford, who said, “If we want to pray well, we should pray early”.
When do you pray? Jesus prayed the first thing each morning. For some, the question might be, “Do you pray?”
The great Biblical characters we so often look to as examples of Godliness, prearranged their schedules to give God the first hours of their day.
• Abraham rose early in the morning to worship. Gen. 2:3
• Jacob rose early in the morning to make his vows. Gen. 28:18
• Joshua rose early in the morning to sanctify himself. Josh. 3:1
• Gideon rose early to seek God’s answer. Judges 6:38
• Samuel rose early to ask for guidance. I Sam. 9:26
• David rose early in the morning to battle for God. I Sam. 17:20
• Jesus rose early to spend time with His Father. Mark 1:35
This kind of prayer calls for solitude and silence.
Dr. F. E. Marsh put it this way, “The shining face of Moses did not come from a hurried call to heaven’s gate; it was obtained by dwelling in the Lord’s presence for forty days”.
Please understand that I am not throwing stones of guilt at you. I am simply challenging and reminding us, myself included, of the priority and privilege of prayer. Church, can we say with Christ’s disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray”? (Luke 11:1)
“The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, and the Lord sits as King forever.”
2017 has been a year filled with natural disasters around the world. There have been hurricanes, floods, volcano eruptions, tornadoes, famines, and more.
Students of the Bible are immediately reminded of Christ’s prophecy concerning the end times, where such devastation is predicted in great detail. “Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:10-11)
As horrified as we are by the results of such events, they should never stun us. These are simply signs and warnings that the return of Christ is very near. However, these tragedies should also remind us of something else. We should be reminded that there is a God who is still in control of this universe and everything in it.
Please take a moment to read the eleven verses of Psalm 29, part of which is quoted above. As you do, you will discover that the Psalmist declares God is sovereign over the angels (29:1-2), over the waters of the earth and the thunder (29:3-4), over the wind (29:5), the ground (29:6-8), the fire and lightning (29:7), the animals (29:9a), and the forest (29:9b). Then, in worshipful response to such sovereignty, “In His temple everyone says, ‘Glory!’” (29:9c).To add an exclamation point to this pronouncement and to help us see the scale of God’s control over His creation, the Psalmist adds, “The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood” (29:10).
There has never been devastation on the earth as horrific and deadly as the great Flood, recorded in the Book of Genesis, and the Psalmist David said that it was the result of God’s omnipotent power.As we observe things like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, we often ask the question, “Why?” However, the better question would be, “What?” What is God trying to teach us? Is there a lesson in all of these events for us to learn?
On one occasion, a group of people approached Jesus and asked Him about two specific tragedies:
Christ’s response was remarkable; He said, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:2-5)
When inexplicable events occur, whether personal or global, whether close or far away, our first response should be to realize that God is calling us to repentance. The question in such cases is not, “Why did this happen to them?” but, “Why have such things NOT happened to me? After all, I am no better than they!”
As sinners by nature and by choice, we are all deserving of the wrath of God and if we spend one more moment on planet earth without His wrath being poured out on us, it is by the grace of our sovereign Lord. For that, we should be thankful. I am not claiming to have all the answers to the issues of personal and global catastrophes. Long ago, I accepted the fact that there are many things about God that neither I nor anyone else will ever understand. Nevertheless, the Bible is very clear in declaring that God is sovereign in all the affairs of men and that all He does or allows is for His glory.
All that Jesus does in the life of the believer is to drive him to dependence upon Him and to mold him into the image of Christ, which, in turn, brings Him the maximum glory and praise.
(Romans 8:28-29) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Jesus said that the proper response when tragedy strikes others or us is to repent. “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
A crisis is a call from God to draw closer to Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
Today, God is calling us to be increasingly Christ-like! He wants to pour out a Holy Spirit revival on you, your family, your church, and your country.
(2 Chronicles 7:14) “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
It is my prayer that this is what you want as well! Let us pray together to that end.
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.”
“Where was God when I needed Him?” Have you ever heard anyone say that or something like that? Perhaps there have been troubled times in your life and, before you knew it, that very question came bellowing from your lips.
Well, the Psalmist felt the same way on more than one occasion. The background for the passage above is intriguing. The year was 701 B.C.; the King of Assyria was a man whose name struck terror in the hearts of those in the Mediterranean world - Sennacherib. He intended to expand his kingdom. He had already taken Israel to the north and then his Assyrian troops surrounded the walls of Jerusalem.
They hurled their abuse and sent a menacing letter, which King Hezekiah spread before the Lord. The King left it all with God and he waited. The ominous moments ticked by. Then God intervened! One angel, in one night, and 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were slain. You can read the detailed account in 2 Kings 18-19.
When the break of day came, the men of Judah could hardly believe their eyes. It was a landscape of death. The Bible says, “Behold they were all dead corpses,” (2 Kings 19:35). It was a red-letter day in the nation of Judah and this red-letter Psalm was penned to commemorate it.
I have no idea what you are going through right now, but God does. 185,000 enemies may not surround you but it probably feels like it. Well, not only does the Lord know what you are facing but He also knows exactly what you are thinking and feeling right now.
The promise of Psalm 46 is that, for the believer, God is our source of safety and strength. “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”
His presence is the source of protection and power, so you can face your difficulties victoriously. We must accept this truth by faith and act on that faith, by trusting Him in and with every situation.
God’s presence is your source of protection and power.
Does life seem to be tumbling in around you? Is the battle raging? Is the storm blowing? Do you need to hide in the shelter of the rock? Well, do not forget that the Lord hides you, that He might help you! Follow the advice of the Apostle Peter, who said you are to be “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you”. (1 Peter 5:7)
Pastor David Boggs
I hope these occasional posts will encourage and challenge you as we grow in Christ together.
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