Tag Archives: seek first the kingdom

Focusing On Heavenly Things

One of the things I talk to people about pretty often is dreams versus goals. All of us have dreams whether it’s a nicer house, car, job, vacation, etc. We love to dream because it’s easy. It requires nothing of us to think of what could be. What we don’t like doing is setting a goal, planning, sacrificing and working towards it. That requires focus and determination through distractions and disappointments, but it’s the only way to turn dreams into reality. I have several highly motivated friends who are wired to be goal oriented. They write them down, put them where they can see them, talk about those goals and think of ways to accomplish them. It’s hard to have a conversation with them without their goals coming up. They’re always on their mind. They don’t just dream. They do.

When I read Colossians 3:2, it reminds me of my goal oriented friends. It says, “Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]” (AMP). When we have our mind set on something and we habitually think about it, we can’t help but move towards it. God is wanting us to not just have our mind set on things here, but to also be consumed with heavenly things. How often do you think of heavenly things throughout your day? How often do you consider what it would look like if His Kingdom were to come and His will were to be done on earth as it is in Heaven? We need to be thinking of those heavenly things first and seeking them for our world constantly.

We quote Matthew 6:31, but do we really hear what it’s saying? Read it again. Jesus said, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.” We need to be thinking of His Kingdom first instead of our own. It is the most important thing. We like the last part of that verse where all these things will be given to us, but the price for that is to be constantly keeping our mind habitually focused on the things above (His Kingdom). God has no problem with us working on our own goals and living the life He created us to live. However, that needs to come secondary to His Kingdom. We need to be living and thinking with eternity in mind and focused on the things God desires.

Photo by Chetan Menaria on Unsplash

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Be Encouraged

As I was reading about Moses delivering God’s message of freedom and deliverance to the Israelites, I came across a verse I didn’t remember. In Exodus 6:9 it says, “So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery” (NLT). That last sentence struck a chord with me. How many of us are so discouraged with how life is going right now that we can’t hear what God is trying to tell us? How many of us are so distracted by everything that’s going wrong that we can’t see what God is trying to do?

I’ve been there. It’s a tough place to be. When you’re where you thought God told you to go and nothing is going right. In fact, things only seem to be getting worse. I understand that place because I’ve been there. Today, I want to bring you some of God’s promises that you need to hear and hold onto. Don’t be so discouraged and distracted today on the things that you miss what God is saying to you. Read these verse. Repeat them out loud if you have to. Then stand on them and believe that God is going to make all these things you’re going through work together for your good.

Here are some promises of God in the Bible to encourage you.

1. Praise the Lord, my soul! All my being, praise his holy name! Praise the Lord, my soul, and do not forget how kind he is. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He keeps me from the grave and blesses me with love and mercy. He fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.

Psalm 103:1-5 GNT

2. So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:31-34 NLT

3. The Lord who created you says, “Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.”

Isaiah 43:1-2 GNT

4. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who has no might He increases power. Even youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, But those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.

ISAIAH 40:29-31 AMP

5. Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! GOD is here, right here, on his way to put things right And redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”

Isaiah 35:3-4 MSG

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

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When I was in the eighth grade, the 3rd generation of Nike Air Jordan’s came out. I wanted them badly, but my parents couldn’t afford them. They were $100 which was an unheard of price for shoes back then. I went out and mowed lawns all over the neighborhood just so I could buy them. One night, on an overnight basketball trip, someone pulled the fire alarm. The first thing I did when I woke up was to look for my shoes. It wasn’t to try to get out of the building. My desire to be seen with a cool pair of shoes was greater than my desire to get out of a burning building.

We all know the phrase, “Keeping up with the Jones’.” We would probably all say we don’t try to, but what if we looked it it a different way? What if we looked at it as wanting what God didn’t give us? Whether we’re doing it to try to impress other people or because of our own greed, it’s wrong. It’s easy to see this in other people, but difficult to pinpoint in our own lives. We reason with ourselves that we deserve it, or that it will make us happy. So we begin to want things that we don’t have and then do what it takes to get them. The problem is we then have two categories of items: what God has given us and what we’ve gotten for ourselves. We remove God from being our provider.

Hebrews 13:5 says, “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, ‘I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you’” (MSG). It’s not wrong to want to better yourself or your life or to have nice things. It becomes wrong when that’s all we think about and it takes the place of our desire for God. When we want the creation more than the Creator, we have our priorities out of alignment. If we will seek first the Kingdom of God, all these things will be given to us. What are you seeking first in your life?

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash


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How To Never Stop And Still Find Rest

This is a guest post from Chris Brown, Missions School Director with Coreluv.org. You can visit his site BrownsMission.com to follow his journey.

Hebrews 11:6 reads, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (NLT). In Chip Ingram’s book, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, he points out that the later half of the verse is as equally important as the first. When we step out in faith, to fulfill the work He called us to do, our lives must be marked with an active faith. It is the only way to truly know Him and have a genuine, intimate relationship with God. While his love is unconditional and unending, His pleasure in us is limited by our faith in Him. 

We must seek Him first (Matt 6:33) and stop seeking the things, career, people, and possessions that only serve to ensnare. Yes, it goes against our very nature, but we must resist the urge to take a break from God, and instead, fan the flame of our love for Him and smother-out our love of self. Solitude with God is the fuel of longevity and success in the Kingdom. As we pour ourselves out in service to God, we must not give into the desire to take a break and escape – for fear of burnout. Instead, we must withdrawal only to “sincerely seek Him” and to receive the rewards of endurance, peace, faith, strength, restoration, and joy that He gives. 

Live your life seeking Him above all things and never let anyone or any circumstance tell you that HE is not enough or able to be all you will ever need. Vacations and sabbaticals will come and serve to make us stop the busyness of life, regroup, and connect with friends and family. But they should never entail absence from God or our service to others. They should actually provide us the time and opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the biggest possible way! So GO – pursue God and find your rest in Him.

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Worried About the Wrong Things

I got corrected by God this morning. In my prayer time, my mind was busy going on about all the uncertainties in my life. My mind jumped from my job to my car to my future to my family. I was all over the board with questions seeking answers. “What about this? How do I handle that? When will I know about the other?” My mind lit God up with question after question without pausing to listen. My mind would dream of what could happen in each situation. “Why can’t that happen, God”, I asked.

God quietly answered back, “You need to be more like Mary and less like Martha.” Immediately my mind went to the story where Jesus had come to their house. Jesus was in the living room teaching and Martha was busy in the kitchen preparing a meal. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet hanging on every word when Martha poked her head out of the kitchen and said, “Hey, Jesus, tell Mary to get in here and help me.” His reply to her was what He was telling me.

In Luke 10:41,42 He said, “Martha (Chris), you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it.” I love knowing the details, especially when my future is at stake. I get worked up and worry about them. Jesus simply reminded me that it’s in His hands. I can relax. What I need to concentrate on is sitting at His feet and listening to His every word. That’s where peace is. That’s where my answers are.

It’s when I seek Him first that all these other things are added to me. It’s not when I seek the answers for everything on my mind. It’s when I seek Him. God’s desire for us is to sit at His feet and to learn from Him. Somehow my time with Him gets hijacked by my thoughts and concerns. Instead of listening to His every word, I speak out of turn and try to make my petition known. I want someone to come help me.

Today, after that correction, I sat down and listened. I quit trying to bombard Heaven with all my requests. I quieted my mind, focused on Him and listened. He spoke peace into my life this morning. He’s aware of my needs and dreams. He needs me to be aware of His. God wants to share His needs and dreams with you too. He wants us to be concerned with what concerns Him. He wants us to be His hands and feet. That’s what it is to seek first His kingdom.

Where are you today? Is your mind filled with all of the what if’s? Are you having trouble worrying about all the details too? Jesus said there is ONE thing to be worried and concerned about. That’s sitting at His feet and learning from Him. Take time today to put aside your dreams, needs and concerns. Ask God what His dreams, needs and concerns are and how you can help Him. You’ll find that peace you’ve been looking for and the answers too.

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