What is the Top Priority in Your Life?

You need to decide what comes first in your life…..

A devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3 NIV)

It seems as if there are many distractions now in our lives that can take top priority instead of doing God’s will. It is very easy to let activities take over our lives so that anything related to God gets put on the back burner. It is time for you to reflect on what takes up most of your time and thoughts. Is God still the one you are giving top priority to in all you do?

I am reading a wonderful book called Gods At War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart by Kyle Idleman. It is a very convicting book. It makes you face what is first in your life and really take a look at how much time you spend doing things like: scrolling Facebook, playing video games, watching tv, checking the internet,  or even letting your work take up most of your time. Is something taking up so much of your time that you are neglecting serving the Lord in a way that He wants you to? Has something else taken first place in your thoughts other than the Lord? Are you obsessing over something that can be very harmful to you? Has something taken up so much of your time that you are neglecting reading the Bible and praying? These are all pretty difficult questions, but need to be asked so you can stop some pretty harmful behaviors.
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NIV). God does not want you to have any idols in your life that you worship over Him. He wants to be number one in your life. So you need to decide what comes first in your life and if it isn’t God, you need to take some time praying about that. Then make the changes you need to make to draw closer to Him and do His will.

Dear Lord,

It is very easy to get so busy that we forget to put you first in our lives. Help us to truly take stock of the time we spend on unnecessary things and commit ourselves to stop putting these things first instead of you.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

“Never Forgotten”

a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

Never Forgotten: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I am away I am still with you” (Psalm 139:17-18 NIV).

Broughton grains of sand Large

Are you feeling as if you have been forgotten by God? Be assured that God is still there for you and loves you tremendously. When I was in high school and college I had to rely a lot on other people to drive me places. We only had one car and my dad or mom always had it for work. There were many instances when someone was suppose to pick me and had forgotten me. Every time I was forgotten I felt like I must not be worth anything or people would remember to pick me up. It was a blow to my self-esteem every time it happened. To be forgotten can be heart breaking.

I know there are those of you reading this that have felt or are feeling forgotten, as if nobody cares about you. Please know that God does care for you and about your life. You are worth so much to Him and He wants you to know this. After all He knew when you were formed: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know full well” (Psalm 139: 13-14 NIV). After all Jesus said that the very hairs of your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:30)

You have a purpose that only you can achieve. You have special abilities that were given you at birth. Pray and ask God how they can be used to glorify His name. Never feel like you are forgotten. You are a child of the King, an heir to the Kingdom of God. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs– heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:16-17 NIV).

Dear Lord,

Help us to always know that we are special in your eyes, even when we feel we are not. You love us and have a plan for us. Help us to always remember that we are your children and very precious.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

“Have Courage, God is With You”

A devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton…..

“Be strong and courageous, Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

 

Is there something happening in your life right now that requires courage? Do you have feelings of discouragement? Are you terrified?

Sometimes when circumstances seem totally out of our control it is very easy to become discouraged and terrified. This is the time when your faith in God is tested. We are not promised a life that is filled with no problems or sicknesses. It is our faith in God that sustains us through these difficult times. It is the courage we receive from our faith that helps us through each day.

There are many examples from the Bible of people who had to have courage and trust God. Joshua had to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land with God’s help. The odds were against them, but God had told them not to be afraid and they believed Him and went ahead to conquer that land. Esther stood up against the king in order to save her people and could have died in the process, but she trusted in God and her people were spared. David slew a giant with a sling and a stone because He knew God was with Him and would give Him the courage to do it. Peter stepped out on the raging waves because Jesus called him and he did not sink until he took his eyes off Jesus. These are only a few people in the people who trusted the Lord and found courage.

Please know that the courage displayed by these people in the Bible is still available to you from God. His strength and courage lies in you through the Holy Spirit and is able to help you at all times. Trust Him to fill you with peace instead of terror and discouragement. Call upon Him and tell Him your needs and He will give you strength. One of my favorite verses helps me when I get discouraged, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10 NIV). Take courage, God is with you.

Dear Lord,

There are many times in life when we can get discouraged and spiral downward into depression. Help us to call upon you knowing that you will give us strength and courage to carry on. We know that your love never fails and will sustain us even during stressful times.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

 

“Think on These Things”: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

We have choices in what we think about. We can sit and think about all the troubles, struggles, faults in others, and negative things in life or think on the many blessings that we have and praise God for them….

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28 NIV).

Are you craving rest for your soul? We have a camper on Indian Lake and that is where I like to go to get away and get closer to God. You might say it is my sanctuary. I find myself able to concentrate on the Lord better there among nature and quiet. But it is all about perspective also. I anticipate going there to unwind, pray, and get closer to God. That is my mindset when I set out to go to the camper and the lake.

Now I would like to discuss with you about perspectives and concentrating on thoughts that are restful. My camper has a large deck and we have very comfy chairs on it. Now I could sit and stare at the side of the neighbor’s camper and not exactly find peace, but if I move down about six feet I can sit and see a beautiful gazebo and think of Thomas Kincade pictures.

Broughton Gazebo
This is a choice I can make and needless to say my choice is always to sit and gaze at the gazebo. There is a plaque about prayer in the gazebo so when I stare at the gazebo, I am immediately reminded of my Savior’s love for me.

Broughton Come Unto me
We have choices in what we think about. We can sit and think about all the troubles, struggles, faults in others, and negative things in life or think on the many blessings that we have and praise God for them. You must be able to choose your thoughts just as easily as you choose a candy bar. Throw away the negative thoughts immediately and replace them with thoughts of God’s love for you, and His peace will fill your heart and soul. It is easy to dwell on the negative thoughts which will only serve to bring your spirit down to depression, but you may choose to say, no, and switch channels in your mind to how God has helped you in the past. One verse that helps me remember what to think upon is: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

So the next time you are tempted to slip into the darkness of negativity, remember that God loves you, and if you call upon His name, He will surely answer and give you rest.

Dear Lord,

It seems that it is very easy for us to think on negative things instead of praising you for the blessings you have given us. Help us to be thankful in all situations and learn that your peace is always there for us no matter what the circumstances. Help us to remember the words of Philippians 4:8 and think on those things.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

” Encourage One Another “

A Devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV).

 

Have you ever needed encouragement or do you need it now? We all go through times in our lives when we need someone to encourage us. You may be feeling that you need someone to encourage you right this moment. Problems, illnesses, money issues, and worries can totally overtake us so that we feel there is no hope. It is very likely that sometime in your life you will say, “Why is this happening to me?”. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33-34 NIV). Yes, you will have trials, but Jesus will give you the peace you need to get through it.

 

How you handle your trial and the way you show others that your faith has not wavered and that peace is still in your heart is a great witness to others who are going through a trial themselves. This trial and how you handle it with faith can show to others how Jesus can help them and give them strength also.

 

The point I am making is that you need to reach out to others after you have gone through a trial and help them. It is very easy to say to someone, “I am so sorry”, but if you can tell them that you have gone through it too and that God helped you and strengthened your faith through it, you can really show compassion to that person in a special way. There are so many people who feel all alone in their distress. You are the one who can be the beacon of hope for them, and you can tell them how His peace was there for you in the middle of your storm. As the above verse says, “we are to encourage the fainthearted and help the weak”.

The Good Samaritan story comes to mind. Here was a man who was lying by the road all beaten up and half dead. There were several men who just passed him by and did not help him at all. But one Samaritan stopped, bandaged his wounds and took him to an Inn. (Luke 10) We are to be like the Good Samaritan. We are to help others and encourage them when they are fainthearted. Please do not walk by or ignore someone who is having trouble. Be the one to encourage, listen, and show compassion.

 

Dear Lord,

Help us to encourage one another. Help us to tell others how you helped us overcome despair by giving us your peace. Help us to share how faith in you has helped us get through our tough times. Give us a heart that is full of compassion.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

“Sacrifice”: A Devotion by Anne Elaine Broughton

It is so easy in this world of “It’s all about me” to forget that there are others around you who are suffering. Jesus’ ministry was one of giving to others. He told us to “treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12 NIV). It is so important to remember that we are here to be a servant to others.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present you bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1 NIV).

“Sacrifice”: A Devotion by Anne Elaine Broughton

With Lent in progress, I know many Christians give something up as a sacrifice during this time before Easter. For some people it is sugar, chocolate, goodies, TV time, Facebook time, just to name a few.

It seems like a minor thing to give up something like this compared to the sacrifice that Jesus did for us on the cross. I would like to propose to you that you give up something more important than food or time spent with social media etc. I propose that you give up your time to help others in some way every day during the Lenten season and even beyond that time. Some ideas of service can be calling someone who is sick, visiting a shut-in, sending cards to those who need encouragement, knitting something to give away to the homeless shelter, smiling at people wherever you go, helping people get their groceries out of their cart or into their car, or taking food to someone who is ill or is alone. These are just a few things you could do for others. The list is enormous. Each day is a new opportunity for you to show others God’s love in a real act of sacrifice.
Broughton Romans12 1

It is so easy in this world of “It’s all about me” to forget that there are others around you who are suffering. Jesus’ ministry was one of giving to others. He told us to “treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12 NIV). It is so important to remember that we are here to be a servant to others. It is through our giving to others and compassion that people can see Jesus working through us. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV). By doing for others every day, you will be letting your light shine for the Lord.

There is another point to this: you are not to brag about what you have done for others. Jesus said, “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who see what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4 NIV).

My challenge to you is to look for ways to help others every day and then do it. Pray and ask God to show you some need and then act on it. Everywhere you are, there are people who need encouragement.

You need to be the one to step up and care.

Dear Lord,
Help us to be the living example of Christ and encourage others as we prepare for Easter. The sacrifice that Jesus did for us on the cross cannot be taken lightly. Help us to sacrifice some of our time to help others. Help us to be your light to those who need hope.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

“God Will Strengthen You”: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

When my father was dying of cancer I worried about how my mother would ever handle being the care giver and watching Dad die a little every day…..

 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 KJV).

 

This was Paul’s testimony of what Christ did for him in very dire circumstances. Yet he could state that Christ gave him strength and that he learned to be content in all circumstances. (Philippians 4:11) Paul faced tremendous opposition for his testimony about Christ. He was flogged, stoned, and in danger constantly. Yet, he could state that he could do all things through Christ.

When my father was dying of cancer I worried about how my mother would ever handle being the care giver and watching dad die a little every day. I told her that I was worried. She said, “Ann, you should know that God is giving me the strength to handle this.” She had peace that only God could give her during a very stressful time in her life. To me she was such a great witness of how his strength is perfect when our strength is gone.

I have seen it in my own life. I could not have taught special education for thirty years without the strength I received from Christ. The above verse was one I recited daily while I was teaching. He gave me strength, wisdom, and patience to do my job and try to meet my students’ needs. It was very stressful at times, but I would pray and feel his peace envelop me right when I needed it. It was only with His strength that I did my job.

I do not know what you are facing right now, but I do know that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Please know that Christ is there for you in every circumstance and will carry you through it. Just surrender it to him, and watch what happens. You will be amazed by the outcome. Then please tell others about how his strength helped you. You can lighten somebody’s load of care and guide them to the one who can give them peace.

Dear Lord,

We know that we will face times in our lives when we will need to rely on your strength to manage trials. Help us to trust that you can do this for us. Help us to believe that we can do the impossible with your help. Then help us to share with others how you gave us strength to carry on.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Do Not Worry: A devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

Have you ever found yourself in a wave of anxiety? It can be a very scary feeling. Long term anxiety can make you very ill. I went on-line and checked out the WebMD site about worrying. If you are in a constant state of worry or anxiety it can cause serious health issues such as:

Do Not Worry: A devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).

Have you ever found yourself in a wave of anxiety? It can be a very scary feeling. Long term anxiety can make you very ill. I went on-line and checked out the WebMD site about worrying. If you are in a constant state of worry or anxiety it can cause serious health issues such as:

  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Digestive disorders
  • Muscle tension
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Premature coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack

So you see worrying and being anxious can be a life threatening thing. I do not know about you, but I have a tendency to worry. I worry about other people too. I take on their burdens and have a tendency to worry about their problems. I worry about things that might happen in the future also, which is totally out of my control. So I did a search for the word worry in the Bible. I wanted to see what Jesus had to say on the subject. Jesus gave great advice about how to deal with worry.  “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27 NIV). “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV). The whole section is well worth reading: Matthew 6:25-34.

As I pondered the worrying dilemma, I remembered listening to Jill Briscoe, a Christian speaker and author, speak of worry. She said that there are plenty of things to worry about, but she has dedicated a portion of her morning to praying about her worries and giving them to God. Then she did not think about it for the rest of the day. She trusted God to help her and those people she was worried about. It is a good idea, especially when you have no control in the situation. I am doing this now, and have greater peace of mind. You see, when you surrender all of your worries to the Lord, He gives you peace to fill your heart instead of anxiety. This is a promise from Jesus. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV). Peace is wonderful when you are in a panic mode because of worry and stress. All you have to do is give your worries to God and ask Him to fill you with His peace. I have felt this peace and can tell you that it is real, but you must surrender your anxieties to Him.

Dear Lord,

It is very easy to get all caught up in worrying and anxiety, some of which that are totally out of our control. We know that you do not want us to worry, so we surrender our anxiety to you. We trust you and know that you will give us strength and peace to carry on.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

broughton philippians_4_6_7_by_weathergirl2006-d51pmjm

Press On

For some of you today, pressing on toward the prize of heaven seems difficult. You may be feeling as if there is no hope and that the future seems bleak.

Press On: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3: 13-14 NIV).

For some of you today, pressing on toward the prize of heaven seems difficult. You may be feeling as if there is no hope and that the future seems bleak. I want to reassure you and encourage you that our sight, no matter what our circumstances, needs to be centered on Christ and the prize of heaven. Please do not lose faith when you are feeling like nothing seems to be going right for you. God still loves you and wants you to have peace in the midst of your problems.

I especially like when Paul says that he forgets what is behind. It is very easy to wallow in our past sins or self-pity from bad experiences. This only will make you depressed and feeling like a failure. All of these thoughts will make you feel hopeless and not able to really feel God’s peace. You must not let these negative thoughts of your self worth stifle your faith in God. If you start thinking about your failures or other bad experiences that have happened in your life, you can tailspin into total depression and darkness. The minute you start thinking these things, stop it, and pray for God to help you to stop thinking negative thoughts. Read the Bible for encouragement of his love for you. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who failed, but were able to repent and God used them in mighty ways. Paul was a murderer, but he changed completely when Jesus appeared to him on a road. After that he preached about Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and was the main writer of the letters in the New Testament. He knew he had to forget his past. His life was made new in Christ, and he knew that heaven was his goal. He was pursuing that prize with all of his heart.

My friend, no matter what you are facing, you are not facing it alone. God is with you. He will give you the strength, peace, and courage to face the hurdles that are in front of you. Press on, knowing that your prize is eternal life.

Dear Lord,

Sometimes life seems difficult. Problems arise, our past convicts us, and we feel hopeless. Help us to turn to you knowing that you love us and want us to have peace. Let us be still and know that you are God and that we should continue to strain toward what is ahead: heaven.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

 

 

Seek the Lord Earnestly: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

Have you made your list of resolutions for the New Year? It seems everyone has good intentions at the beginning of the New Year, but oftentimes we get lazy and forget about the list. Usually at the top of the list is for people to lose weight and exercise.

Seek the Lord Earnestly: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV).

Have you made your list of resolutions for the New Year? It seems everyone has good intentions at the beginning of the New Year, but oftentimes we get lazy and forget about the list. Usually at the top of the list is for people to lose weight and exercise.

Well, today I will challenge you to put seeking the Lord and His plans for your life as the number one item on your resolution list. After all, that should be your first priority.

The Wise Men or magi of the Bible certainly put the need to find the Christ child as their number one priority. These men were not even Jews, but were astronomers and had seen the star and had researched that a King of the Jews was to be born. As soon as they saw the star they headed to Jerusalem, which was very far away. It might have taken them many months to get to Bethlehem, as the Bible says that “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:11 NIV).  Jesus was no longer a baby but a child and later King Herod commanded that all boys 2 years and under should be killed, so we know that Jesus was a young child. So these men traveled earnestly to find Jesus for a long period of time. They let nothing stop them. Their mission was to see Jesus and give Him gifts.

My challenge to you as we start the New Year is to earnestly seek the Lord with all your heart every day and give Him the gift of yourself in service to others. You have a special gift that only you have, and you must seek the Lord to help you see it and use it for Him. Every day, take time to pray, seek the Lord’s will, read the Bible, and then go out and serve Him in whatever He leads you to do. There is so much need around us that it should not be hard to find a way to serve. People need hope. They need to know that people care for them and that God loves them. So many people are lonely and sad. You can be the one that turns a life from despair to happiness just by caring and sharing what the Lord has done for you. This could be the greatest year ever in your life if you just step out in faith and seek the Lord earnestly.

Dear Lord,

As we approach a New Year, let us strive to earnestly seek you every day. Help us to put seeking you at the top of our to do list every morning, so that we can serve you with the gift you have given us.

In Jesus name,

Amen