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Pastor Ron Johnson

Living Stones Church, IN

“I am the First … Besides Me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6

First place.

It’s the finish line of the American Dream. Everyone wants to win, to achieve, to be the best.

Over the Christmas holiday, I engaged in a spirited battle of the classic war game RISK. It was the perfect storm for me and turned out to be the worst nightmare for my opponents. A fortuitous deal of the cards, combined with a crazy hot streak with the dice, led to a blitzkrieg victory! In a ridiculously short time, I made the smooth transition from breakfast to global dictator! Unfortunately, what works well in board games does not fly with ultimate things.

Fortunately for you and me, I do know the difference between fantasy and reality. I am not really the ruler of the world, and neither are you. The first-place ribbon in the category of ULTIMATE REALITY rightfully belongs to only One–GOD.

In his “Introduction to Genesis” in The Message Bible, author Eugene Peterson writes:

“First God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we’ll never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God.”

That’s the vision and the challenge–to live God-immersed lives.

No margins. No compartments. No weekends. No part-time positions.

As we launch into another new year, we need a fresh surrender of our lives and ministries to God. It all belongs to Him, and it all exists for His pleasure and glory.

When He’s at the helm, we are free to serve with joy, to lead with great faith, and to stay fresh and free amidst all the challenges of this life.

Who takes the first place among all the people, passions, and priorities of your life?

The answer to this simple question can make all the difference in the world.

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