Friday, March 10, 2017

Giving God first consideration

From: Francis Harper

Dear Ones,

We must reserve time in our busy schedules to sustain ourselves spiritually and assist others to do the same. Jesus said to Peter, “When you are converted, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:32). Jesus said further, “And what I say unto one I say unto all . . .” (Mark 13:53 IV; 13:37 KJV).

I recently encouraged a new convert to remember to take time to attend church regularly, to help his family grow in the Lord. He said, “Yes, we will have to ‘make time’ to do this.” He was saying their time was always filled with other things, so they would have to make time by removing something of a lower priority.

The Lord should take first place in our lives. We need to give God the first part of every day, the first day of every week. The first part of our income, first consideration in all of our decisions and first place in our hearts.

I try to reserve the first part of every day for the Lord. It is usually quiet at our place of business from seven until nine a.m. This is when my mind is the most alert. My comprehension and interpretation of the Scriptures is best during the early hours of the day. My communion with God in prayer is best before my thoughts become cluttered with handling the duties and cares of life. I have also noticed that I am more apt to receive inspiration from the Lord in the early morning hours. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:31 IV; 1:35 KJV).

Giving God the first day of every week is a commandment we should faithfully obey. Some churches hold their Lord’s Day service at various time to accommodate the people. One lady said she likes to attend on Saturday evening to “get it out of the way!” Evidently she had other things to do on Sunday. How do we properly observe the Lord’s Day? What motivates us to give God the first day of every week? Is it merely to fulfill an obligation, or do we go to the house of the Lord, as we sing: I was glad and my heart did rejoice at the sound, when the blessed invitation I heard; ‘Twas the voice of the many redeemed, and they said, let us go to the house of the Lord. With songs of thanksgiving and praise, let us go to the house of the Lord. Do we go only for the fellowship with our brothers and sisters? Or, more importantly, do we go for the fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? Hopefully, we go for the fellowship of both.

I have learned that by giving the first fruits of our increase to the Lord we receive blessings of far greater value than that which we have given. See Malachi 3:8-10. “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty . . .” (Proverbs 3:9-10). The old adage is true: “You cannot out-give the Lord.”

Giving God first consideration in all of my decisions has proven to be a wise principle by which to live. “Counsel [with] the Lord in all thy doings and he will direct thee for good” is the good advice Alma gave to his son, Helaman (Alma 19:69).

Giving God first place in our hearts pleases him more than all other things we do for him. He asked Simon Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter answered, “Yes.” Then Jesus asked him to feed his sheep and lambs. Above all, Jesus wants our hearts.

My love to all,
Francis Harper

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