Encouraging Devotions Blog

“Seek First His Kingdom”

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During these trying times of food, water, and possible clothing shortages, I'm reminded of a memory verse that I have used on many occasions.
 
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The first thing that I think of is "what things" are being referred to? 
Matthew 6:25 explains, "For this reason, I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

The first thing Jesus says is don't be worried about your life as to what you will eat, drink or wear. As Christians, our lives are in His hands, so we don't need to be worried or anxious or fearful because He loves us. If we are afraid, we need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The next thing we aren't supposed to worry about is food, water, and clothing. So just the fact that Jesus said not to worry about these things should be enough for us. To give us an example of what He means, the Creator of all things talks about how He takes care of lowly birds of the air.

Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 

If He takes care of birds, how much more will He take care of us?

Matthew 6:27 "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 
Will worry add to your lifespan? No! Worry accomplishes nothing.

Matthew 6:28-30 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? 

Even Solomon, considered the richest man ever to live, couldn't out-clothe God. How simple is it for God to clothe a field and us? You of little faith! An admonishment from our Lord for worrying.

Matthew 6:31-34 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Are we actively seeking His kingdom and His righteousness? How do we do this? By staying in His Word, prayer, witnessing, and fellowship (even if that means through technology). If we can only do one of these, He will still reveal His kingdom and righteousness. 

Even though the grocery shelves are bare and fellowship isn't what we're used to, God is still in control, and He loves us more than anything!

Be of good cheer friends, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Perfectly Calm

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On that day, when evening came, He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?" They became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"

- Mark 4:35-41


It's crazy how quickly we can lose faith. Perhaps even now, amid this pandemic, you have struggled to believe that God will be faithful. One thing we have to understand and can learn from our story above is that Jesus knows. Jesus knew, as He sent his disciples into the water, that a storm would come. God uses storms in our lives for His purposes! This was not an ordinary storm; the fierce gale referred to here would have represented a tornado-like whirlwind, perhaps somewhat like the kind of whirlwind some of us find ourselves in today. Whether that be concern for our health, financial issues, job status, fear, or worry. Let me assure you, just as Jesus said, "let us go over to the other side," He has a plan and a purpose for whatever you may be going through right now, and He will get you to the other side!


Sometimes we might say as the disciples did, "Jesus, do you not care?" However, we can see from this story that Jesus not only cares but allows us to go through storms so that our faith might be built. We, too, can stand in awe of Him as He says, "hush, be still," to the storms in our lives... Jesus can make everything perfectly calm.


It's not necessarily going to be fun while we wait for Him to do this, but we can have inner peace. James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."


This joy is not outward laughter. The word joy here is an inner attitude of rejoicing in one's salvation, regardless of outward circumstances. In this, we can rejoice! Let us be people who do not have to be corrected by our lack of faith and, in contrast, be men that can have faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, and without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

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