Summary: 1- Analzye everything 2- Evangelize everyone 3- Scrutinize yourself

INTRO.- ILL.- The founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, was asked by a reporter about his order of priorities. "I believe in God, my family and McDonald’s," he said. Then he added, "When I get to the office, I reverse the order."

When many people enter the public arena their priorities change and they put God on the shelf. He may be something of a priority on Sunday morning and truly a priority when they’re experiencing some serious problems, but otherwise, He is out of sight and out of mind.

What are your priorities in life? More than likely they won’t change much in the new year. We tend to get in a rut, good or bad, and stay there.

Your priorities depend on who you are and where you. Everyone has priorities in life, but not all priorities are good in the eyes of God.

ILL.- recently released it’s annual predictions of the types of resolutions people were expected to make for 2005. They break down as follows:

* 22% of resolutions involve health and fitness

* 18% career

* 15% personal growth and interests

* 11% personal finance

* 11% time management and organization

* 8% family and relationships

* 6% education and training

* 5% home improvement and real estate

* 3% recreation and leisure

Did you notice of that none of these resolutions had anything to do with God? Most people were concerned with their health and fitness, which tells me they want to live longer and better. Most people’s priorities are tied to this life and this life only. They don’t often think in terms of the next life and how it can be better than this life.

The spiritual and/or eternal part of life needs to become more of a priority with all of us. Each day we should think about eternity and how much better life will be with the Lord and His people. I know this is hard to envision or think about, but we are encouraged in scripture to do this.

ILL.- I recently took a survey to determine how long I might possibly live. It’s on an internet site called How old do you think it said I would live to be? Or how old do you think I will live to be? How old do you want me to live to be? 94.7 years is what it read, but I doubt it!

Life is getting longer, but it’s still short at best. Eternity is forever. If we are going to spend forever somewhere else then it only makes sense to prepare for and look forward to that place.

God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. I Tim. 6:17 And there is nothing wrong with enjoying these things! But God wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives. We need to focus more on the Giver than the gifts!

Every time we enjoy something in life, whatever it is, we should praise the Lord for it, saying, “Thank you, Lord!” Thank you for being so good to me and giving to me. This is a priority that we all need in the new year. More thanks. More praise. More expressions of appreciation to the Lord.

In the new year, let’s work at including the Lord in everything we do, every aspect of our lives.

I Cor. 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Some day (in heaven) our lives will be surrounded by God. We need to get a good start on this relationship right now. We need to allow the Lord to be a part of everything in life: marriage, family, children, work, fun times, etc.

ILL.- For example, you should really never set down to a meal without saying, “Thank you, Lord.” You should not rise in the morning without whispering a prayer, without talking to the Lord. In fact, we should be in constant communication with the Lord as though He is our best friend AND HE IS! There is no one who knows us as well as He does and still loves us passionately and compassionately.

We should never go to work without asking for the Lord’s wisdom and strength. We should not deal with people without the Lord’s loving heart working in us. We should desire to deal with people as the Lord would and pray that way.

ILL.- I read that one old recipe for rabbit stew starts out like this: "First catch the rabbit." That’s putting first things first. We need to do this in the new year. Spiritual priorities should be first on our list. Jesus said to “seek first” the kingdom of God.

PROP.- Here’s a list of priorities for this new year. Analyze, evangelize and scrutinize.

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