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Summary: Many have gotten their priorities confused. So much time is spent worrying about "things" that we lose sight of what truly matters. We seek gold while dismissing God. We seek health while neglecting holiness. (Powerpoints Available - #308)

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MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER

RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK

(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at mnewland@sstelco.com and request #308.)

TEXT: Matthew 6:26-33; Psalm 77:1-15

ILL. In the ancient Persian folktale, "Aladdin," Aladdin is the son of a poor tailor. After his father's death, a wicked magician, who claims to be Aladdin's long-lost uncle, persuades Aladdin to go after an old lamp hidden in a cave.

Aladdin gets the lamp, but suspicious of the magician's intentions, refuses to give it to him. The magician becomes furious at this & seals Aladdin in the cave, leaving him to die there all alone.

Well, to make the story shorter, Aladdin discovers that the lamp contains a magic genie with the power to grant wishes. And as Aladdin makes his wishes, he becomes immensely wealthy, marries the sultan's daughter, defeats a fiendish plot by the wicked magician, & lives happily ever after.

It is a fantasy that has captured the imagination of millions in many countries down through the centuries. Disney Studios took the story & made it into a hit animated movie found in the homes of many children today.

A. Why? Why the popularity of "Aladdin"? Well, I think there are a couple of reasons. First of all, we like to see the underdog come out on top, so we cheer for Aladdin.

Secondly, I think we like to day-dream about having our own magic genie, & having all our wishes granted.

But we're never going to have a magic genie. No one is going to appear suddenly & give us everything we want. It just doesn't work that way.

If we want something we'll have to work for it. If our hopes & dreams are ever to be realized, we have to put forth an effort to bring them to pass.

But I'm afraid that many have gotten their priorities confused. So much time is spent worrying about "things" that we lose sight of what truly matters. We seek gold while dismissing God. We seek health while neglecting holiness.

We seek the latest fashions while ignoring robes of righteousness, & many wonder why they can't seem to find happiness while ignoring God.

Of course, there are people hoping to "strike it rich," to make some "easy money," to win the lottery, to find the buried treasure. And they go through life, one day after another, hoping & worrying about what the future may bring.

Now with that in mind, listen to Jesus in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, & yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

Continuing on in vs's 28-33, "See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today & tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'

“For the pagans run after all these things, & your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom & His righteousness, & all these things will be given to you as well."

PROP. It sounds like Jesus is saying that we need to discard our worry beads, our nervous stomachs & our manipulations, & allow Him to take His seat on the throne of our hearts. If we do, "… all these things will be given to you as well."

I. SEEK GOD FIRST

Notice again, Jesus tells us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God & His righteous-ness, & all these things will be given to you as well." But that is hard to do, isn't it? We just naturally seek "things", not God.

But "things" can never give us direction in life. "Things" can never comfort us in a lasting way. "Things" are just things, but God is God!

So often we focus on what we want & convince ourselves that what we want will remove whatever troubles us, & therefore we'll be happy. But when we leave God out of the picture, we find that is not true at all.

Think about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what lay ahead - the cross, its pain, its shame, & its suffering. He wanted so badly for the cup of suffering to be taken away. And yet He prays:

"'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to Him & strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, & His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." (Luke 22:42-44)

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