Summary: In life of faith, in following Christ as our Master, we are faced many times with tough calls, what can we do and how can we decide what to do, how can we cope.

God’s Priorities in a Pressure Cooker world

By Andrew Chan, PBC, Vancouver, BC, August 15, 2001

I Peter 3:13-19

A group of friends went deer hunting and paired off in two’s for the day. That night one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of a 200 pound deer. The group asked, "Where’s Ah Fatt?" The lone man replied, "Oh, Ah Fatt had a stroke of some kind. He’s a couple of miles back up the trail." "You left Ah Fatt laying there, and carried the deer back?" "Yeah, it was a tough call," nodded the hunter, "but I figured no one is going to steal Ah Fatt."

In life of faith, in following Christ as our Master, we are faced many times with tough calls, what can we do and how can we decide what to do, how can we cope. Sometimes we feel like compromising our faith? This may or may not surprise you but I do! Especially, feel intimidated, put down by the powerful, the famous, the elite, the boss, your peers, your co-workers, your finance. Like on a hot summer day, all you want is relief. Like you and I we all need help to ward off the temptation to give in. Some take vacations, but come back face same old pressures. Can’t afford long vacation, some go to the beach for the day, and yet can’t seem to get away. Battling the traffic just to get to your favorite spot on the beach, has already wrecked your nerves. Then the crowds get to you. Then, you decide just cross the border, things quieter there, get to the Peace Arch border crossing, there is a line-up 5 kms long of cars trying to get across. Suddenly all your sanctification is lost. Perhaps u do not have a well-thought out plan. Just get by with no focus other than to get relief. God is not in the picture, what preoccupies their thoughts are like the Rolaids ad “How do you spell RELIEF.” Let me suggest that u can spell it with setting the right priorities.

Whether we consciously think about it or not, we all live according to priorities. A "priority" is that which is "of first importance." When we speak of "priorities" we mean those things that we place a higher value on and attempt to attain or fulfill in the course of our daily decisions and activities.

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." You see, this is how many good folks try to live out faith, God comes last all of a sudden, as they enter the public arena.

Many go about life with the wrong priorities. Many feel they have to keep up with the Wongs next door. So they set their priorities consciously or not, as they move in to that neighborhood, to have money, success, comfort, perhaps to stay in the game further they pursue a good name, fame, reputation. It don’t matter if they run a huge debt. After all, those seem to be the measure of “success.” Then, perhaps only when something tragic happens, they begin to reassess their priorities, choosing to focus instead on those things in life that really are the most important. They realize the importance of health, family, good friends, their faith. For instance, it was reported that eleven millionaires went down on the Titanic. Major A.H. Peuchen left $300,000 in money, jewelry, and securities in a box in his cabin. "The money seemed a mockery at that time," he later said. "I picked up three oranges instead." When faced with certain circumstance, we can see very clearly what truly is important in life and what is not.

The question is "how can we get our priorities right from the start" instead of waiting for some kind of "wake up call"? It may be a tad late when the wake –up call suddenly comes. Prayerfully, this message will help you to discover and determine God’s priorities for you life. So, what are God’s priorities for your life?

To discover, I want to transport u back in time. To the days when Peter wrote these words: 1 Peter 3:13-18 to get his readers to prioritize. Lets’ read it. Realize that world is much like ours, intense pressure cooker world, Christians are persecuted, killed, property confiscated, tortured (1:6,4:12-14). Tired out constantly being challenged to stand up for their faith. These Christians are in place where they are quickly facing wake-up call, what is the advice given to live out their faith practically? Like today, many would like to persuade us to abandon the Lord Jesus Christ, friends try drugs, sex, belittle Christians, get into get rich quick schemes, try a religious sounding formula for success, religious counterfeits like Mormons, JWs. Let’s listen in to see how Peter the Apostle offer tips to his readers to rise above the pressures they’re facing.

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