For the last twelve years, our family has been involved in moving into our new home. Okay, it's only been 2 weeks, but it seems like years. One of the things you realize when you move is that you have more stuff than you ever imagined. Much of that - is useless, or has outlived its purpose. So you toss it, give it away, or sell it. After all, the object is to move only that which you want or is necessary.
All throughout the process, whether consciously or not, you are setting priorities. The very first day, you make sure the beds are up and together, because you really, really, really want to rest. Then you look to see where the food went, and that which you didn't consume because of your ravenous work-induced appetite is placed right where you'll be able to find it a little while after supper.
Then you work out where furniture goes, where clothes are hung - and so on.
If you had to describe the key to the whole event it would be "First things first."
Today marks the beginning of the July 4th weekend. People from all over are headed to our area to enjoy the beautiful beaches and help us celebrate the birth of our nation. We'll all be caught up in grilling, fireworks, and enjoyment very soon, so I wanted to place a thought in our minds and hearts today.
What made America different? Why, among all the nations that have come and gone, is she looked to as a model - a lighthouse to the world - that "City on a Hill"?
You can look over the incredible beauty of our land. You can see the works of the hands and the warmth of the hearts of our people. You can measure our strength and the valor of those who serve her. But first things first.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...
As the men who "pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" wrote their explanation to the world in the form of a "Declaration of Independence", setting out on a course that would lead to America - before they unpacked their grievances with Britain, they found within them something pure and God-given.
Before one single battle was fought, before any laws were passed, before the first coin was struck, before a flag was flown, America wanted to be known as the nation who recognized that some things surpassed preferences, local culture, or national identity. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."
First things first.
So how can we incorporate that in our busy and hectic lives? How can we make sure we are living purposeful lives? That we are putting our energies into what matters, and holding as convictions those things that place us into the center of God's will?
19 "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. 20Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. 21Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. Matthew 6 (NLT)
"Wherever your treasure is..."
A friend of mine in California has five kids - all boys under 15. They play every sport known to man and some that they just make up. He lives in a nice neighborhood where people take great pride in the appearance of their homes and their yards. The wear and tear on his yard doesn't help him keep up. One night after agonizing over what to do about it, he went back inside and walked past the bedrooms of his sons as they slept. Looking at them for a minute, he left and went into his garage and went straight from there out to the lawn.
The next morning, his neighbors who passed by noticed the new sign.
"We're raising sons now. Grass later."
First things first. Make God the center of your life. Look to Him and through His Word at your life, your values, your desires. Set your priorities based on nothing other than your love and devotion to Him. If you love Him, you'll hold His truths to be "self-evident" and your life as the "evidence" of His love.
Grace! And May God Bless America.
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