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Jesus at the Center - A Devotion

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Mark 11:8-10 (NLT)
Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!”

Jesus at the center of it all…Jesus at the center of it all…from beginning to the end…it will always be it, it’s always been you Jesus. Jesus. This has to be my most favorite worship song ever written. It vividly expresses my heart’s desire even on the days (everyday) when I mess up and must dive back into His Mercy and Grace to stay in His Presence. It comes to mind when I am ready to let my emotions get the best of me or lose my temper. It has become the underlying melody that the Spirit hums inside me so that when I think everything is falling apart still keeps me moving along. Working in customer service on a daily basis, I am challenged to treat others as I would like to be treated rather than reacting to how they approach me. An older gentleman yesterday came to register for school. He was clearly agitated and overwhelmed by the process of admissions. I had noticed him before with his overgrown beard and rumpled clothes. I must admit I wondered if he was actually homeless. He unceremoniously dumped his paperwork (all of it) on my desk and asked for the guidance counselor who had been assisting him who was out with a cold. He did not take the news well. As I tried to make some rhyme or reason out of the paper pile, he became impatient until he was shouting at me. I could feel my own impatience rising up inside me. I was ready to react rather than respond to his rudeness. I slid back in my chair ready to stand and deliver. I really believe that the Spirit of the Living God held me in that chair. The Lord than gave me a brief but solid word about compassion and forgiveness. Then I could swear He pushed my chair back in my desk. I opened my mouth but the words I wanted to say had all dissolved. I asked the man firmly but kindly to please calm down so that I could assist him completely. I apologized (yes- I apologized) for his noticeable frustration but that I was having difficulty completing the task with him yelling. He immediately calmed down and apologized as well allowing me to assist him. Clearly headed to an altercation, the Spirit living inside of me produced a response rather than a reaction. It is based on His Proximity in my life. Every day is filled with choices for people to make. The primary choice that we make is between life and death. This is decided by whether we accept Jesus Christ to be the center of our life. After that has been decided, we choose to live in blessing or cursing according to our words and deeds. Life is centered around choices that we make and are affected by each outcome. What a difference it would make if we chose to center everything we do and say on the Word, Will and Way of Jesus.

In a day when people did not have Dillards, Nordstroms or the local mall with thousands of clothing options, they still chose to lay their garments before Jesus Christ to walk on. In the city there were no trees to gather branches to hail the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet they ran and cut branches running back to give Him honor. I have not found an account of anyone hopping in their F-150 truck to ride out to the edge of town with a chainsaw. There was effort in their worship and yes, even sacrifice. But with Jesus in the center, and all the people around Him in their proper place it did not matter. The people praised God in His Midst. They worshipped from humble, giving hearts not looking to receive in that moment just give Him what was due. It is time to put Jesus at the center of it all. Our life, church, work, and every daily activity and action. Every word that we speak should be wrapped in truth AND love as it is given to us from above. Our primary motivation should be to keep Jesus at the center of it all even on those days when we cannot see Him or hear Him knowing He is with us always even to the ends of the earth. (Matthew 28:20)

Proverbs 3:3-6 (NLT)
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people and you will earn a good reputation. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.

To find favor with God and people, we must become like Jesus Christ who is loyal and kind. The problem is this world is a dog-eat-dog society with every man out to get his fair share. There is an overwhelming sense of entitlement born by our sinful human nature. God put the Tree of Life and Knowledge in the center of the garden knowing full well what we would choose. (Genesis 2:9) Only when we make it a point to put Jesus Christ at the center of our life, including every facet and detail, will we make a better choice in His Mercy, Grace and Love. His Blood is the source that saves us from the penalty associated with our disability to make good choices. In fact, if people could see themselves from the inside out as the Lord does then I think we would stop picking apart everyone else’s sin and repent from our own. A single sin even the smallest transgression in our life nailed Jesus Christ to the Cross. We get so caught up with the splinters in our family, friends, co-workers, strangers and even enemy’s eyes that we miss the plank in our own. (Matthew 7:1-5) Sin is the problem overall. We have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. The only way to recover from this fatal error is Jesus Christ. Accepting the Lord and putting Him in the center of everything we do and say will allow us to choose life and move on to better decisions. From the moment that Jesus Christ becomes our Savior, we must fully depend on Him. Why? We are all dead men and women walking to the grave until the Blood of Jesus reversed our death sentence. When we decide to make Him Lord of our life, the blessings will begin to overflow.

As the people did when Jesus walked to the Cross, laying down their garments and waving branches cut with their own hands, it is to time to seek the Lord. Put a little effort into living a holy and consecrated life imitating God with Jesus Christ as our example. (Ephesians 5:1-2) Jesus was tempted by the enemy just as Adam and Eve in the garden. But rather than relying on human understanding, Jesus depended on the Word of God to deliver Him and it did. (Matthew 4:1-11) But notice this, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit. We must live Spirit-controlled lives fortified with the Truth which is the Word of God. It is the weapon that will bring down every stronghold in our life. It is a weapon against sin (NOT OTHER PEOPLE). No I am not yelling at you just simply interjecting a strong point. Too many times we judge other people according to God’s Word rather than moving past the sin part to the loyalty and kindness produced by faith in the Unfailing Love of God that produces grace and mercy as a result of His Compassion. Stand firm on the Word of God and do not back down, but use care not to try to take out other people with it. The Truth stands firm on its own and needs no argument or dissertation to prove it. Whether or not one chooses to believe in God, Jesus, His Word or His Spirit does not invalidate it in any way, shape or form. He is the Beginning and the End. God was here before we came into the world and will remain even if we die in disbelief. Our relationship with Jesus Christ and belief in the Word of God will definitely rub some people the wrong way. I am not exactly sure why when they have the same choice that we do – they can choose to believe in Jesus Christ and step into a brand new life or remain subject to sin. They are allowed to choose cursing over blessing if that is their desire. I hope that they do not but if they do – it is still my job to love them like Jesus Christ. Respond to them as He would when Jesus is the center of my life.

Nothing else matters,
Nothing in this world will do
'Cause Jesus You're the center,
Everything revolves around You
Jesus You,
At the center of it all,
At the center of it all!

Psalm 112 (NLT)
Praise the LORD! How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

Center is defined as the source of influence, action or force. What or who for that matter is the center of your life? Fill in the blank. “Everything I do, I do it all for ________________.” Whoever that person is other than Jesus Christ will not ever get the full benefit of your love until Jesus is the center of it all. Until you can honestly say, “Everything I do, I do it all for you Jesus” you will never fully benefit from your choice of life when you asked Jesus to be your Savior because He is not the Lord of your life yet. Those who make Jesus Christ Lord of their life will be good children, friends, spouses, parents and overall people. There is nothing good inside of us until Jesus Christ becomes the source of influence. The center is a point, place or person upon which interest and emotion is focused. Jesus Christ must be the principal navigation point of our life. If we can just move closer to Him, we will have all that we need as our source of life. Now we do not have to expect anything from this world or all the people in it. We have more than enough to give physically, emotionally and spiritually because God’s Resources are limitless. Our purpose will be fulfilled. Our promises delivered as we move deeper into the Presence of God by faith and confident hope in Jesus Christ. You cannot get there on your own but must choose to allow Jesus Christ to be the center of it all and remain focused.

Revelation 22:1-3 (NLT)
Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life. If God’s Word is true, then that means that the water of life is already flowing. My Bible says that God is on the Throne with Jesus Christ right next to him which means the water of life is flowing steadily. It also tells me that thanks to Jesus (Ephesians 3:12) I may now enter the Presence of the Lord boldly and with confidence as it says, “Come boldly to the throne of our Gracious God!” (Hebrews 4:16) Gracious means that He is giving. On either side of the river grew a tree of life (more than one). I believe that the “fresh crop” is the new grace and mercy that I need every single day filling every moment including every breath to keep Jesus in the Center of my life. What will happen if I do? I will be healed and delivered. There will no longer be a curse on my life. I am free to worship God with my life because the Lamb is right next to Him providing all the grace, mercy and love that I need to move closer into the overflow of God’s Presence. Why is this important? Because when we depend on life and the people in it to complete us with love, joy and peace, our life will be filled with deception, disappointment and defeat. We will be brokenhearted because people cannot get past their own sin to love us like Jesus. We must put Jesus Christ at the center of our life doing whatever it takes to come closer to Him each day. The Lord really is all that we need. This is discovered by faith that becomes confident hope as we learn to love and trust Jesus more and more. God doesn’t expect you to get it all right the first time or people would be struck dead the moment they stepped up to give their heart and life to Jesus Christ. There is potential for fulfillment in your life if you will make Jesus the source of your life. It begins with baby steps. When we take each thought and compare it to the Word of God before it becomes an action. It means inspecting each word for relevance and wrapping it in real love before delivering it. It is to become more concerned with the sin in your life before deciding to judge another. Sin is covered by love – flowing down from the Cross of Jesus Christ. To approach sin any other way is useless. If people cannot see the Love of God in you and through you – then it is definitely time to go deeper in His Word and move closer into His Presence until Jesus is the center of it all!

Ephesians 2:4-7 (NLT)
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

From my heart to the Heavens,
Jesus be the Center!
It’s all about You,
Yes it’s all about You!

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