First Things First
Lord God, I look forward to this time with You now. May our time together please and honor You.
Read Mark 3:7-19
 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.  When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.  Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.  For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.  Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”  But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.  Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.  He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach  and to have authority to drive out demons.  These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter),  James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”),  Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot  and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did evil spirits react to Jesus?
As Jesus departed toward the sea, the crowds, like relentlessly rolling waves, converged upon him (7,8), threatening to crush him (9). People flocked from near and far to see him (8). Those seeking healing strained to touch him (10); even evil spirits acclaimed him (11). One thinks of modern-day rock stars surrounded by clamoring crowds that reach out to touch their hero or to beg for autographs, with reporters hurling questions and the paparazzi clicking away! Yet Jesus refused to be carried along on these waves of urgent excitement. It was not the urgency of the crowds that drove Jesus, but the importance of seeking his Father’s will. Mountains (13) were, typically, places of prayer and divine revelation, and Luke 6:12 indicates that Jesus spent a whole night in prayer before appointing the twelve. Those whom Jesus chooses must also put first things first: they are called first to be with Jesus (14a); from this, all other activities flow (14b). There are so many distractions that threaten our proper priorities. Have you distinguished between what is important and what is merely urgent? To what extent are you focusing your time and energy on what is important in God’s eyes?
Examine your life and your priorities. Where does your relationship with Christ rank? How does your life reflect that priority?
Lord Jesus, help me recognize and overcome any distractions that would keep me from putting my relationship with You first.
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