Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Father We Thank Thee"1 (Lyrics)
Perhaps she wasn't my first case of puppy love, but she's the first I remember fawning over and daydreaming about.
Dad was preaching at a small-town church in low-country South Carolina. I was approaching my teen years — not particularly looking for love, but not running from it either. As was so often normal, he stayed just long enough for me to make a few friends, Cathy among them. I didn't pay her much attention while living there, but once we moved … Ouch! … the love bug nibbled. Before long, I was writing her endearing letters and driving twenty-five miles to court her. Our romance didn't last long, but at the time, she had my attention and my heart.
Serving God with a clear conscience gives God the same. He is "the God I serve with a clear conscience" (2 Timothy 1:3a NLT).
Matthew 22:37 – Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind." (NLT)
When an expert in religious law questioned Jesus about which was God's most important commandment, He informed him that loving God supremely and others accordingly topped the list.
I've discovered that putting first things first spiritually often conflicts with my pre-arranged priority list and involves rearranging my schedule to fit God's. Left to myself, I will — although unconsciously — leave God completely out of my agenda, or if I include Him, put Him somewhere in the evening hours after the most pressing and urgent matters are attended to. Living the good life entails operating according to God's standards, not mine — although hopefully they're similar. Loving God immeasurably will alter my attitudes, actions, and priorities. God's goals for me will come first, and when I pursue them, the needs of others will become important to me as well. Let God help us all put first things first.
Prayer: Father God, we confess how easily we often jumble our priorities and leave You out. Motivate us to put You first in every endeavour and to love others with the same love that You love us. Amen.