Putting Jesus First

Putting Jesus First

by Sarah Young

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310083702
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 08/22/2017
Series: Jesus Calling Bible Studies
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 120,372
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Sarah Young, the author of the bestselling 365-day devotionals Jesus Always and Jesus Calling®, has sold more than 25 million books worldwide. Jesus Calling® has appeared on all major bestseller lists. Sarah's writings include Jesus Calling®, Jesus Today™, Jesus Lives™, Dear Jesus, Jesus Calling® for Little Ones, Jesus Calling® Bible Storybook, Jesus Calling®: 365 Devotions for Kids, and Peace in His Presence, each encouraging readers in their journeys toward intimacy with Christ. Sarah and her husband were missionaries in Japan and Australia for many years. They currently live in the United States.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Putting Jesus First in Times of Busyness

Consider It

Back in the 1930s, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that future generations would work only about fifteen hours each week. Keynes had witnessed technological advances shrink the workday in his time, and he had every reason to believe this trend would continue. Keynes was partly right — leisure time for people in developed countries has, on average, steadily increased over the years. But today, people feel busier than ever.

What's the reason for this? Part of the problem seems to stem from the fact that our society evaluates us based on how much we are able to produce in a given day. We feel pressured to make every moment count — and fill every moment with a task to complete. As a result, most of us are crazy busy trying to satisfy all the demands.

What we desperately need is to ground ourselves in Jesus' standard for evaluating our lives. He's not all about how much we produce but about how much we love Him and other people. Putting Jesus first means putting Him first in the way we use our time. But how is that possible, given the way people around us (and a voice inside us) press us to accomplish a superhuman amount of things each day? This is what we will explore during this first session.

1.What does a typical day look like for you?

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2.Why do you suppose we tend to value busyness in our society?

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Experience It

"Approach this day with awareness of who is Boss. As you make plans for the day, remember that it is I who orchestrate the events of your life. On days when things go smoothly, according to your plans, you may be unaware of My sovereign Presence. On days when your plans are thwarted, be on the lookout for Me! I may be doing something important in your life, something quite different from what you expected. It is essential at such times to stay in communication with Me, accepting My way as better than yours. Don't try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you, and they are good."

— From Jesus Calling, January 20

3.What are some possible implications of recognizing Jesus as your boss? How could this perspective change your outlook on the tasks you strive to do each day?

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4.What is the value of being on the lookout for Christ when your plans are thwarted?

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"Be still in My Presence, even though countless tasks clamor for your attention. Nothing is as important as spending time with Me. While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you: transforming you by the renewing of your mind. If you skimp on this time with Me, you may plunge headlong into the wrong activities, missing the richness of what I have planned for you.

"Do not seek Me primarily for what I can give you. Remember that I, the Giver, am infinitely greater than any gift I might impart to you. Though I delight in blessing My children, I am deeply grieved when My blessings become idols in their hearts. Anything can be an idol if it distracts you from Me as your First Love. When I am the ultimate Desire of your heart, you are safe from the danger of idolatry. As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the greatest gift of all: Christ in you, the hope of Glory!"

— From Jesus Calling, March 27

5.Is it difficult for you to make space in your life to be still in Jesus' presence? Why would this be important? What would help you create this space in the midst of a hectic day?

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6.What's the difference between seeking Jesus for what He can give you and seeking Him for Himself? How can you know if you are seeking Him just for His gifts?

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Study It

Read aloud the following passage from Luke 10:38–42. As you read, note that hospitality was considered a sacred responsibility in the culture of the time, and women in particular were expected to provide it. Furthermore, it was unheard of for a woman to sit at a rabbi's feet as a disciple to learn from him. Jesus was radical in allowing a woman to do what Mary did — and even more radical for encouraging her to do it.

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

7.What did Martha think it meant to put Jesus first? What do you think of her view?

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8.What did Mary think it meant to put Jesus first? What do you think of her view?

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9.How would you evaluate your own priorities in light of this account? What does it say to those of us with busy and hectic lives?

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10.How, in practice, do you carve out time for Jesus in your hectic life? Is it possible for you to listen less to the voices that demand productivity and more to Jesus' voice?

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11.Take two minutes of silence to reread the passage, looking for a sentence, phrase, or even one word that stands out as something Jesus may want you to focus on in your life. If you're meeting with a group, the leader will keep track of time. At the end of two minutes, you may share with the group the word or phrase that came to you in the silence.

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12.Read the passage aloud again. Take another two minutes of silence, prayerfully considering what response God might want you to make to what you have read in His Word. If you're meeting with a group, the leader will again keep track of time. At the end of two minutes, you may share with the group what came to you in the silence if you wish.

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13.If you're meeting with a group, how can the members pray for you? If you're using this study on your own, what would you like to say to God right now?

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Live It

At the end of each session you'll find suggested Scripture readings for spending time alone with God during five days of the coming week. This week, the theme of each reading will focus on putting Jesus first in the midst of your busy life. Read each passage slowly, pausing to think about what is being said. Rather than approaching this as an assignment to complete, think of it as an opportunity to meet with the One who loves you most. Use any of the questions that are helpful.

Day 1

Read Revelation 2:1-5. For what good things does Jesus praise the church in Ephesus?

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Look closely at verse 4. As a Christian, how would you know if you had lost your "first love" — the love you had for Jesus back in your early days of knowing Him? What would be the telltale signs?

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What steps would you need to take to restore that first-love relationship with Jesus?

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Tell Jesus today that you want to love Him with a love that never fades over time. Ask Him to show you ways for fostering that deep kind of love for Him.

Day 2

Read Isaiah 30:15-18. Why are repentance and rest so important?

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What would quietness and trust look like in your life today?

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It's easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of activity, whether it's fleeing from enemies, as in this passage, or trying to get a million things done. What is the net result of trying to do everything in your own strength? What does God long to do for those who love Him?

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Consider what it would look like if you made resting in God and relying on His strength a continual pattern for your life. Take a few minutes today to step away from your schedule, put Him first, and just spend time resting in His presence.

Day 3

Read Exodus 33:12-14. What promise did God give when Moses expressed that he was overwhelmed with the task before him? How would this promise make a difference in your life as a follower of Christ?

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What gets in the way of rest for you? How can God's presence help with those obstacles?

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Why is it essential to put Jesus first in order to experience His rest?

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Ask Jesus to make you more aware of His presence as you go through your day — and to put Him first in your choices.

Day 4

Read Psalm 40:16-17. Why does it make sense that those who truly seek Jesus will rejoice and be glad in Him? How does putting Him first lead to joy?

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What is the value of seeing yourself as poor and needy when you go to God? Why is that better than going to Him with the attitude that you are strong and capable of achieving whatever you set your mind to do?

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What is the primary challenge you face in seeking to put Jesus first today? How can Jesus help you with that challenge?

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Make a renewed decision to seek Jesus throughout your day. Ask Him to show you what that will involve and what priorities you need to shift in your schedule.

Day 5

Read Psalm 119:10-11. What will it look like for you to seek Jesus with all your heart in this day?

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What is the connection between Jesus' commands to love God and others and putting Him first during a full day?

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Why is it so important to hide God's Word in your heart before you venture out into a busy day?

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Take a few minutes to hide verse 10 in your heart, and repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Look for ways to apply it as you do tasks.

CHAPTER 2

Putting Jesus First in Times of Anxiety

Consider It

Tune in to any newscast and it won't take long to realize the world is a scary, uncertain place. Whether it's hurricanes ravaging the coastline, outbreaks of disease in populated areas, or new threats of conflict across the world, the news stories that can produce panic within us just seem to keep on coming. We are more connected to events in our world today than ever before — and more nervous and on edge as a result.

Anxiety plagues so many of us today that it's almost become a way of life. We worry about our finances, our security, our health — and about the security, health, and welfare of our loved ones. We worry about losing the things we love. We worry about stepping into a new situation. We worry about what the future has in store for us. And as soon as we get past one anxiety-producing moment, the next one appears on the horizon.

How do we overcome this temptation to worry? By consciously putting Jesus first in our thoughts and actions and trusting that He is in control of the world. Jesus wants to give us a new perspective that will melt our anxieties away. In this session, we will listen to His voice and explore what He has to say about letting go of our worries.

1.Do you tend to worry about things? If so, what are some recent things you've been worried about? If not, how do you choose to deal with challenges or unknown situations?

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2.Why do you think the tendency to worry is so strong in people?

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Experience It

"Seek My Face, and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible. Let Me displace worry at the center of your being. I am like a supersaturated cloud, showering Peace into the pool of your mind. My Nature is to bless. Your nature is to receive with thanksgiving. This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world. Glorify Me by receiving My blessings gratefully.

"I am the goal of all your searching. When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied. When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life. I am still there, watching and waiting, but you function as if you were alone. Actually, My Light shines on every situation you will ever face. Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments. Let nothing dampen your search for Me."

— From Jesus Calling, January 19

3.How do you go about letting Jesus displace your worries?

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(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Putting Jesus First"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Sarah Young.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Session 1 Putting Jesus First in Times of Busyness: Luke 10:38-42 1

Session 2 Putting Jesus First in Time of Anxiety: Matthew 6:25-34 13

Session 3 Putting Jesus First in Times of Fear: Psalm 71:1-24 25

Session 4 Putting Jesus First in Times of Uncertainty: Job 28:1-28 39

Session 5 Putting Jesus First in Times of Longing: Isaiah 55:1-3, 6-11 53

Session 6 Putting Jesus First in Relationships: Genesis 37:2-7, 17-28 67

Session 7 Putting Jesus First in Finances: Haggai 1:2-11 81

Session 8 Putting Jesus First and Serving Him Alone: Isaiah 30:19-26 95

Leader's Notes 109

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