GOD FIRST


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

GOD FIRST
=========
For I am not
ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings
salvation
to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Romans
1:16

Eighteen-year-old Nina lives in an Asian country where Buddhism is
the faith
of the majority. Since her mother is a devout Christian, she is
constantly
exposed to stories and lessons from God’s Word. At school, her
faith in Jesus
Christ is often tested. Because Nina showed great aptitude at
school, she was
selected to be part of a team that would compete in a high
school annual
science competition. On the day of the competition, however,
the Vice
Principal, a very strict disciplinarian, decided to take the team to
the
Buddhist temple first. Nina fidgeted anxiously in her seat while aboard
the
school bus with her teammates.

As she tried to figure out what to
do upon arriving at the monastery, the
first of the Lord’s Ten Commandments
resonated in her mind—no other gods,
except Him. I can’t disobey my God,
after knowing who He is, she thought. Nina
felt trapped and confused. Obeying
God meant disobeying the Vice Principal.
Nina uttered a silent prayer. “God,
you changed the hearts of many kings
before, surely you can do it again!
Please Lord, speak to his heart!”

When the team reached the temple,
everyone entered except Nina, who stood at
the gate. As Nina’s teammates came
out of the temple, the Vice Principal
approached Nina with a stern look on
his face. “Why did you not come in the
temple with us?”

“Sir, I was
born a Christian. When my mother gave birth to me, I was weak and
at the
point of death. Christians prayed for me and God heard their prayers,”
shared
Nina.

“You could have just entered with us and not participate in the
ceremonies,”
explained the Vice Principal, whose face and tone softened. Nina
knew then
that God had just answered her prayers.

“I did not have
peace in my heart. I felt that I would be disobeying God if I
entered the
temple, sir,” Nina responded. The Vice Principal did not pursue
the matter
any further; neither did he chide Nina for it. The team placed
third during
the science competition.

Nina testified during a youth training program
that Open Doors organized. “I
was surprised to see how God suddenly changed
his heart; he rarely speaks that
way to students. He is often firm and
strong…His wife has had many
miscarriages. I’m praying for his wife to have a
baby soon. I’m also praying
for him to know Jesus Christ. I’m sure it will
happen someday!”

RESPONSE: Today I will put God first in every situation
I face.

PRAYER: Pray for all young Christians who face the cultural
challenges against
putting God first.

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