First_place_in_everything!
by John Maniatty

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth,visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. Colossians 1:16-18

When I was about seven years old I began to give my 'heart' away.
 
It started out innocently enough. First, I gave a piece of my heart to my television heroes: the Maverick's, the Cartwright's, Captain Kangaroo and Superman. They became my friends and I wanted to be like them.
 
As I grew older I discovered sports, giving a piece of my heart to each of my favorite teams: the Giants, the Yankees and the Celtics (when I was a teenager, much to my fathers chagrin, I took my heart back from the Yankees and gave it to the Red Sox!). I played football, baseball and basketball, desiring to be like all those men whom I watched play. Many times as I played, I pretended I was one of them, scoring the final touchdown, hitting the winning homerun or swishing the final basket. I was a hero, at least in my own mind.
 
About the time that the Beatles came along I discovered romance. I began to give pieces of my heart to the girls that liked sports heroes (I never told them about Captain Kangaroo!). Of course, I quickly found out that I needed money to entertain young ladies, so money also got a piece of my heart.
 
Along came drugs. Whatever was left of my heart I gave completely to marijuana, LSD, speed, THC, Thai stick, just about anything that would help me forget the pain of feeling so empty (when you have given away as much of your heart as I had there is not alot left inside of you to keep you company). Many of my friends thought of me as heartless, and with good reason. I had given it all away, piece by piece, trading my heart for what I thought of as pleasurable. However, I found out that the pleasure was only temporary.
 
Finally I met Jesus. I expected a perfect life from that time forward. A popular bumper sticker of that day more aptly describes my life, “Not Perfect–Just Forgiven!” I remember looking into my wife Debby’s eyes. They were full of the Love of Jesus! As I wondered why I could not love the same way that she did, the Lord began to show me! I had given my heart away, piece by piece, and now it was time to begin taking it back, piece by piece! Over the years that followed I began to take those missing pieces back and give them to Him to make new again. He wanted to have first place in everything.
 
My life with Jesus has been an incredible journey. Along the way He has often times showed me other parts of my heart that were not His. These He has asked for also, and year by year He has come to have first place in many more areas of my life. A flower child of the sixties, finally growing up-in Him!
 
There will come a day when the growing will be over. The apostle John wrote, “when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” I long for that day. Until then my cry remains, “Change me, Lord, change me!”



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NOCOMPROMISE
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