Put GOD F.I.R.S.T.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33 KJV).

Who or what is first in your life? OH, GOD, of course we say!! But is He really? Stop and think about the last three decisions you just made; large or small. Hmm… Did you get direction from GOD, or did you just decide? Which way did you go to work or school today? Did you ask GOD which road to take? Did you hear HIS still small voice say “turn this way?” Or did you just by rote go the way you always do? What if GOD had wanted to show you something different on the way in today? Or better yet, for those that got stuck in traffic, did you sense a small nudge or thought that might have been directing you to take another route? Yes, these things may seem trivial, but if GOD is SOVEREIGN (and we believe that HE IS) is HE not then concerned about or over EVERY area of our lives? Even down to what we eat or wear. Just something to consider. Sometimes we do things just out of habit, when GOD desires us to seek HIM first in everything; to depend on HIM and seek HIS face for wise counsel! Now those were the small things, or seemingly small to us. How about the larger things? When was the last time you consulted with, or better yet, sought GOD for what HE wanted to do in your life in a particular situation? Put GOD FIRST! FIRST MEANS FIRST!! In ALL things!

There are over eighty (80) references in the Bible to seeking God, His Word, and His face. (Yes, we did count them in Strong’s Concordance). Seek means to search or look for, to desire, to go after or pursue. First means before, at the beginning, the number one position, place or on top. Kingdom denotes that there is a sovereign, royal power or authority; and as it pertains to Christians, the rule of Christ in the believer’s heart, where GOD reigns.

So, let’s seek GOD FIRST! Not second or later. Not as an afterthought when our plans didn’t or don’t work out quite the way we thought they would or should. Also not in an attempt to pimp GOD, having our own agenda and trying to get GOD to co-sign on it. We must Seek GOD FIRST! Then after seeking, we must obey the instructions we’ve been given.

So what does this look like practically?

F – Faithfully – functionally (every day), fiscally (not just money, but counting the cost for and against), and futuristically (looking to the future – beyond today and tomorrow). “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice” (Ps 55:17 NKJV). “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me’” (Luke 9:23, NKJV).

I – Intentionally – It must be an integral part of planning (not haphazardly, but focused, clear view of intent, not by accident, or by osmosis, thinking it’s just going to happen. Be intentional about it. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14 NKJV). It’s a stretch and a press!

R – Rigorously – Honestly pursue putting GOD first. Rigorously means it’s going to take some effort. If Olympic athletes train for something temporal and fleeting (knowing somebody’s always going to come along and break the record), how can we not rigorously pursue that which GOD has set before us? “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Heb 12:1 NKJV).

 S – Strategically/Sacrificially – Don’t just beat at the wind or run around thinking that you’re going to hit the target of putting God first.  We must be strategic. It’s going to cost us something. Our instructions and the battle plan for putting God first is the Word of God. Our hope is secure; we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us. We have the power and we have the authority to live exactly as God commands us to live. Holy Spirit is inside of us and He is teaching us and empowering us to live full, abundant lives, in JESUS’ Mighty Name. “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air” (I Cor 9:26, NKJV).

T – Totally/Trustingly – Since God created us, we should be able to trust Him in and with everything. He knows everything we need, and he has promised to take care of us as His children. “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us. Selah (Ps 62:8 NKJV). “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (I Pet 5:7 AMPC).

Father GOD, in the Mighty Name of the Lord JESUS, help us to seek, put and keep you first in ALL things; the big, the small and the in between. Help us to rely on You first, not as an afterthought. May we, according to Psalm 139:23-24 ask You to search us and show us where we fail to put You first, and then repent, allowing Holy Spirit to move us toward our destiny of excellence for You and Your kingdom, in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.

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Minister Tracey Cleveland

Minister Tracey Cleveland

Minister Tracey Cherry Cleveland is the youngest of five children born to William and Reatha Cherry in Philadelphia, PA. She was reared in a home full of music and the Word of GOD. She has been singing and playing the piano and violin since the age of seven, and accepted JESUS CHRIST as her personal LORD and SAVIOR at the age of ten. She has been gifted to teach, counsel, and exhort others from the Word of GOD both formally and informally. She received her certification in Biblical Counseling from the Christian Research and Development Institute in Philadelphia, and a Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling from Faith Bible College & Seminary in Washington, D.C. She has served in various capacities throughout her Christian life, including Sunday School Superintendent, Bible Study Teacher, Instructor at Bible College, Minister of Music, Choir Leader and pianist. She is an anointed worshipper and is part of the Worship Arts Ministry and Ministerial Staff at First Church of Christ Holiness, U.S.A, under the Pastoral leadership of Elder Dr. Ralph A. Martino, Sr. She is married to her Boaz, Wilbur Cleveland, and they have one daughter and two sons.
Minister Tracey Cleveland

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