Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)


For the 23 years that I have known Jesus, He has spoken to me in unique ways – through His Word (of course), through things written on billboards, through coincidences that are not coincidental, and many other unusual ways. I wasn’t surprised that my topic for this message began to form as I watched the behavior of my dog Kona.

Okay, yes, I am an obsessed dog mom. Kona is the one who comforts me on days the pain seems too much to bear. She spends the day beside me when I’m too exhausted to do anything but sit in my recliner. Kona is a true retriever and I think the only thing she likes more than playing fetch is getting belly rubs. She loves her rubber ball, and if she can’t find it, she falls apart. She becomes inconsolable. You would think that her life was ending with all the whimpering and moaning and crying.

It occurred to me that God was using her to teach me a lesson. When Kona says, “It’s important to always know where your ball is,” she knows her priorities. Do we?

“Your priorities must be God first, God second, and God third, until your life is continually face-to-face with God.” (Oswald Chambers)


I can’t say that I was taught that God is first, second, and third, but I certainly know that He needs to be first, numero uno, King always. I believe God’s order of things is God, spouse, children, the rest of the family, work, then everything else.

I remember telling Rick before we married that he would never be number one in my life – number two, yes, but he would never take Jesus’ place. At times, I’ve had to repent for letting Rick sneak up the ladder into first place. Worse than that, the restoration of my health takes over my priorities more and more often. Every time that happens, things start getting a bit wonky. Problems arise seemingly out of nowhere.

Too often we awaken worrying about the same things that made us toss and turn throughout the night. That’s not at all what God desires for us – as Jesus makes clear in the Beatitudes.


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers 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 and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—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, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34) 



When Rick and I were in preparation training for missions work, one of our trainers told a story about a man whose job was to drive a boy with learning challenges to and from school each day. Every morning the boy would roll down the car window and wave happily, even when there were no other people or cars in sight.

After a few days, the man asked him “Timmy, who are you waving at? I don’t see anyone.”

Timmy replied “I’m saying good morning to Jesus. Everybody should.”

Timmy, like Kona, knew it was important to know where his ball was. He knew his priorities. Do we? Are we following the most important commandment?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 4:6)



Father God, forgive us for placing anyone or anything above You. Help us to keep our focus on You, first, last, and always. May we hold you in your rightful place, above everything else we love, even above our quest for health. You are our everything. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


What is the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning? Is it:

  • how to make it through the day with as little pain as possible?
  • how to handle the kids’ schedule, all the drop-offs and pick-ups?
  • the bills left unpaid on your desk?
  • how much money you’ll earn this week?
  • Perhaps, like me, sometimes you wake up just longing for that first cup of strong coffee.

I challenge you (and myself) to give our first morning thoughts to the Lord.

“As God is exalted to the right place in our lives, a thousand problems are solved all at once.” (A. W. Tozer)

Yellow Bubbles
Karin Fendick

Karin Fendick

Chronic Joy® Staff Writer and Prayer Team

Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord, saved by grace, a worshiper, a poet, a broken heart, a lover of words, His work in progress on the Potter's wheel. She is hungry for truth and amazed by love. After five years in Africa, Karin and Rick (her beloved husband of almost twenty-five years), are back in rural Canada, where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. She is the author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).

52 Questions of Jesus

Of the 307 questions of Jesus recorded in the Bible, 52 are listed here - one for each week of the year.

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