Seek First the Kingdom

Today is Sunday, June 25, 2017. Day 21,654. Nine days until our July 4 holiday.

Last night’s Night of Worship was pretty amazing. I think there might have been a few less people there than previous gatherings, but there were also several that aren’t always there. The host cooked up a brisket for us to eat before the gathering, and it was delicious. We had some great fellowship, and then started the worship time. There was a lot more prayer in this one, and most of it was spontaneous, with various people simply beginning to pray after a song was finished. There was a lady and her husband, along with one of their friends, there. They have been to some of our gatherings, but not all of them. I think they live a good ways away, out in the country, somewhere. Anyway, it’s been a long time since I have encountered someone as intense as this lady, when she prays. I swear, when she was praying, I felt like I was floating, there was so much Spirit in the room! The whole night was really awesome. My fingers, on the other hand, are still numb from playing guitar for two hours.

This morning, we are getting ready for our regular, weekly, worship gathering. We worship with The Exchange, which meets at the Northpark YMCA, at 9100 N. Beach St., in Fort Worth, TX.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Psalm 100:4
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. 
I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

psalm 9:1-2
In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, 
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 56:10-11
And [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 
For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 
If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 
But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 
And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 
For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 
Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Luke 12:22-31
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 
to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, 
to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. 
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

Psalm 92:1-4
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name.
May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Lord, make me have perpetual love and reverence for you holy Name,
for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon
the sure foundation of your loving-kindness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

That passage in Luke (12:22-31) is standing out to me, this morning. Most of us are more familiar with the parallel passage in Matthew. I’m not sure why the Matthew passage gets more attention than Luke’s, but it does. The message is the same, though. Being anxious for things cannot help a bit. “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” As a matter of fact, we can quite possibly deduct hours from our life span by being anxious, if the “experts” are correct on the subject. Anxiety solves nothing.

Please note that I do understand that there are people who struggle with anxiety disorders. That is a totally different subject, and this does not apply to them. I’m speaking of those of us who simply worry about things. My mother used to call it “borrowing trouble.” She’s a worrier, too, just like me. But it accomplishes nothing whatsoever.

The big question is, how many of us, who call the name of Jesus, truly believe the words that he speaks? Do our lives demonstrate it? We claim to believe Jesus, but do we trust his words; do we believe what he says? I think the problem is that most of us believe in Jesus, but, in the deepest part of our hearts, we don’t believe him. I’ve struggled with this dilemma a lot, in recent months. I want to believe. I’m like the man whose son was possessed by demons. “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” he cried out to Jesus.

The key of both the Matthew and Luke passages is in that one verse. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.  (Luke 12:31) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

There’s the key. Seek the kingdom. Seek it first. Walk in the kingdom. If we truly believe Jesus, everything else we be taken care of.

Father, keep working in me to believe Jesus. Keep working in me to seek first your kingdom. Curb my anxiety. Help me believe and not worry. You are sovereign; you control all things; you will take care of me and us.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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