Today Is the First Day

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Today Is the First Day is a 365-day devotional with 80 key Scripture verses that will encourage and inspire you as you walk in the Word. Whichever area of your life you would like to improve -- spiritual, physical, mental or emotional -- interacting with the truths in this book is a giant step toward your goal.
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Overview

Today Is the First Day is a 365-day devotional with 80 key Scripture verses that will encourage and inspire you as you walk in the Word. Whichever area of your life you would like to improve -- spiritual, physical, mental or emotional -- interacting with the truths in this book is a giant step toward your goal.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830730650
  • Publisher: First Place 4 Health
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Today is the First Day


Regal

Copyright © 2002 Carole Lewis
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0830730656


JANUARY 1

New Year, New Life

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

I love the fact that God is a God of new beginnings. What this means to me is that God created us so that we can always start over.

This grace-the ability to begin again-was built into things when God created the world. Think about it. His design included the first day of each year, the first day of each month, the first day of each week, the first hour of each day, the first minute of each hour, the first second of each minute!

Too often we give in to a defeated mind-set, instead of seeing each moment as hope filled. We stay stuck in the past, instead of living in vital fellowship with the God who is the God of new beginnings.

I have learned in First Place that I need to give God the first part of each day by spending time with Him, reading His Word, listening to His voice and praying. New beginnings come whenever I seek Him. On those days when I don't seek Him first, I get stuck. On my own, I resort to old habits, and my life goes out of control again. But when I realize what I'm doing, He always allows me to start over.

As we begin this New Year, let's take time to remember the word "first." Let's ask ourselves, Who is in first place in my lifetoday?

If God is in His rightful spot-taking first place in my life-then I become obedient to Him, and I know what's right for me to eat, to say, to do and to be.

PRAYER

Help me learn to put You in first place in my life in everything I say and do. Help me remember that You are in first place today, not me.

Journal: Confess areas in which God is not in first place in your life. Thank Him for giving you the opportunity to start fresh.

-Carole Lewis

January 2

Whom Does God Love?

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

Today is my birthday. The thing I always love best about my birthday is that for one entire day I am special.

Friends will call and ask to take me to lunch. My family will give me presents and fix my favorite dinner. Sometimes I receive a surprise bouquet of flowers. As for me, it doesn't really matter how much or what is done for me on this day. What is important is that I just know it's my special day.

Since my birthday comes so soon after Christmas-just one week-it must not have been easy for my parents to make my birthday special. My parents must have been tired of hoopla and celebrations and shopping for just the right presents. Yet they loved me so much that they took care to see that my birthday was always a special time, and they helped me know that I had a special place in their hearts.

When we give God first place in our lives, we treat Him as if every day is His birthday. We give God the place of special importance He deserves. Our thoughts center around what would make Him happy today, and we set about doing those things that please Him.

Giving God first place means finding out whom He loves and loving them too. It means finding out where He loves to go and going there too. How do we learn all these things about God? By reading, studying and memorizing His Word.

As we seek to know God in His Word, each day offers us the fresh start we need, because the more we learn about who He is, the more we learn how to give Him first place in our lives.

PRAYER

Dear Lord, help me learn everything about You so that I can please You with my life. I want my life to be a present that only I can give to You.

Journal: Consider how you can make your life a present for God today. What specific things will you do to make today His day all day?

-Carole Lewis

January 3

All These Things

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

What are "all these things" that God offers to give us when we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness?

The apostle Paul tells us that God will give us the fruit of the Spirit, which is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control" (Gal. 5:22-23). If my life possesses all these spiritual qualities, then I truly have "all these things" because my life is richly blessed and in balance.

As wonderful as spiritual fruit is, these are not the only things God gives His children. There is much more.

As we give God first place, He will also make us into better spouses and parents, children and siblings. By giving Him first place, He restores even the most broken relationships. He will also meet our financial needs. As we give Him first place, He restores financial stability and well-being, even for people who have been teetering on the edge of ruin. I've had the blessed privilege of watching God turn a variety of seemingly hopeless situations into fruitful experiences of abundance and peace.

When we give God first place in our lives, He takes care of "all these things" that we want and need. That's because by giving God top priority we remove ourselves from the decision-making process. We stop demanding and insisting that things be done our way and instead learn to ask what He wants, what He thinks and what He would do in a specific situation.

As we learn to do this, we finally allow Him to give us all things, including the blessed, peaceful, ordered lives we have always wanted.

PRAYER

Dear Father, help me today to quit worrying about all the things in my life that need fixing and help me trust You to fix them. Help me to seek You first in everything I say and do.

Journal: Tell God the "things" you need in your life. Confess the places where you have had little success trying to fix these things. Tell Him specifically how you will give Him first place today.

-Carole Lewis

January 4

Eyes off the Scales

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

Shortly after I became a new believer, I gave birth to my fourth child. I was already overweight from a lifetime of food problems and several pregnancies that came quickly one after another.

Of course I had made attempts to lose weight. But the programs I tried caused me to focus on myself and on the weight I had to lose. Oddly enough, I found that the more I focused on the numbers on the scale, the heavier I became. I came to believe that it wasn't going to be possible for me to lose weight. And I felt hopeless.

When a friend told me about the First Place Bible study, I attended with her for one reason: I wanted to lose weight. Little did I know what God had in store for me. Not only did I lose weight, but I also gained far more than I could ever imagine: I gained a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

What made the difference? First Place taught me to set my primary focus on Jesus. As I practiced the principles of the First Place program, I realized that God is the One-the only One-who can meet all my needs. My weight was still an important issue-but only of secondary importance. Now my relationship with the Lord was put in its rightful place: first place.

Today I can say that the more I have grown in Jesus Christ, the less I have actually come to weigh on the scale. I have maintained my weight loss for seven years now.

God did this in my life. He can do it in your life too.

PRAYER

Lord, forgive me for all the things I place ahead of You. Help me to get my focus right and put You in Your rightful place. When You are first in my life, then You will give me victory with my weight and with other life issues.

Journal: What holds first place in your life? In what ways have you tried to achieve weight loss before and failed? What would it mean to you to give Jesus first place?

-Roberta Wasserman

January 5

God's Desires

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness." I know why God impressed this Scripture verse on the founders of the First Place ministry to make it their first key verse. God has continually brought this foundational truth back to my mind to teach me the one important lesson He wants all of us to know. We can read, study, go to seminars and conferences, and earn degrees; but the most important lesson God wants us to learn in our Christian walk is this: We only grow in spirit as we learn how to live daily in a consistent and loving relationship with the God who created us and the whole universe.

I must confess: It is still beyond my comprehension that the King of kings and Lord of lords is interested in every detail of my life. It's amazing that He desires a personal love relationship with me-but I know that He does! And it pleases me that every time I get just a little too far away from Him, my loving Father gently corrects, convicts and draws me back to Himself.

As a believer, I often tried to resolve my struggles and fill my needs my way. Today I know that when I look to my Lord first for all my help, He will show me what He wants. As I obey, His desires become my desires-that's when everything else in my life falls into place. He gives me the desires of my heart-because they are His desires.

PRAYER

Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You. Always turn my eyes back to You, seeking You first for help in every area of my life. May my desires be Your desires.

Journal: What is the most important thing or person in your life? How could you truly seek to give God first place in every area of your life?

-Janet Kirkhart

January 6

Faith To Embrace His Promises

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

Matthew 21:22

Whatever I believe in, I am passionate about. What's more, if I know God is also passionate about the same thing, then I can pray passionately about it. Belief, passion, faith-these three things go together.

I have faith, for instance, that God wants to answer my prayers. This comes from my passionate belief that He is interested in everything that lifts Him to the position of first place in my life. Therefore, I can be passionate about prayer, rather than coming at it half-heartedly-which is often how we pray when we don't really believe that God hears or when we really don't have the faith that He will answer.

I also have a passion to see First Place utilized in the lives of people all over the world. I pray boldly for this every day, having faith that God will hear and answer.

In order to believe that God will hear and answer our prayers we must ask ourselves some questions: Is my prayer in line with what God's Word teaches? Will the answer to my prayer honor and glorify Christ? Will people come to know Christ personally through the answer to my prayer?

Praying in faith, boldly, is not always easy though, is it? I know this only too well. We at First Place experienced two very difficult years during our transition from one publisher to another. We didn't have tangible proof that First Place had a bright future. But we prayed, believing that God would do mighty things with His First Place program. Why? Because First Place is not built on a personality but on giving Christ His rightful position in our lives. And sure enough, during those rough two years, people continued to have their lives transformed when they learned how to give Christ first place.

If your prayer life lacks passion, then it's time to reexamine your beliefs and priorities and ask God for increased faith to believe His promises.

PRAYER

Dear Lord, help me to always keep Your priorities mine. May my faith today be equal to Your power to answer my prayers.

Journal: List your current prayer requests and compare them with the three questions above. How do they match up?

-Carole Lewis

January 7

If You Believe, You Will Receive

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

Matthew 21:22

There I was, racing to the hospital with my husband gasping for breath beside me. His lips were turning blue. Fervently I prayed for God to get us to the emergency room safely-and in time.

When we arrived, the nurses and a doctor looked at each other. "Heart," the doctor said. "Get him started on oxygen." I watched my husband's gurney disappear into an examining room while I was left to answer questions about insurance.

Then came more delay as I was left to sit in the waiting area. What was going on? My thoughts raced anxiously. But as I sat there, words from a Scripture verse I had memorized during the study Giving Christ First Place came up from the depths of my spirit: "If you believe, you will receive."

The peace of God rose within me. Anxiety slowed and then drained from me. I could think. I could believe. My husband would be all right.

Continue...


Excerpted from Today is the First Day Copyright © 2002 by Carole Lewis
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
How to Use This Book
Section 1 Giving Christ First Place January 1-February 15
Section 2 Everyday Victory for Everyday People February 16-April 1
Section 3 Life Under Control April 2-May 17
Section 4 Life That Wins May 18-July 1
Section 5 Seeking God's Best July 2-August 16
Section 6 Pressing On to the Prize August 17-October 1
Section 7 Pathway to Success October 2-November 15
Section 8 Living the Legacy November 16-December 31
Memory Verses
Endnotes
Contributors
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