Seek First

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

That is a command!

The Bible mentions a number of good things when we seek Him first: We find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13), We’re glad (1 Chronicles 16:10), We rejoice (Psalm 40:16), We don’t worry (Matthew 6:33-34).

How?

We’re humans, so we need to learn HOW to seek Him first. This is a process of becoming increasingly godly, habitually seeking Him first. How do we learn this?

First: We have to decide we are going to seek Him first. Determine. Resolve. Set our minds. This is probably the hardest step. The resolution has to stay in place regardless of temptations, habits, fatigue, whatever.

Second: We have to have Him top of mind. One way to do that is step 3, but you may have additional ideas. (This doesn’t mean we don’t pay attention to our families, our jobs, our schooling, but He is in mind throughout.)

Third: We need to study His Word and keep mulling it over. Memorizing is helpful and then we can recall what we’ve memorized and recite verses to ourselves.

Fourth: Pray! Pray He will recall Himself to our minds throughout the day. Pray that our resolution holds.

Impossible?

Seeking Him first is a daunting command, I’m actually overwhelmed thinking about how to do this. But He has commanded it, so I know He will enable me to keep His command. More than that, He has already given us everything we need for life and godliness. Already! (2 Peter 1:3)

So my first step is to set my mind to keep His command.

Just Cuz

God’s love for His children* knows no bounds; His love for His children is infinite and eternal. He has a plan to make us into the image of His Son, glorifying us, and He is working in us to that end. (Philippians 1:6, 2:13).

And there’s more!

We also experience special times, special instances of His love, just because He loves us. We’ll feel His love when we know we’ve done what He asked, or in a special time with a loved one, or a beautiful sunset, or just feeling especially well, or …. (you fill in that sentence!)

I am so grateful for what He has done to give me eternal life. I am also grateful for times of “just cuz He loves me.”

~~~

*God created all of us, but only believers enter into a Father/child relationship with Him. (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1-2)

Keep Going

Winston Churchill gave a famous commencement speech: “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

Jesus told us that also: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

The verb tenses are present, active, imperatives. So what Jesus said was:

Keep on asking.

Keep on seeking.

Keep on knocking.

Never give up.

Press on!

Flag of Hope

My dad was in the Navy in WWII, and was on the beach at Iwo Jima on D-Day. He and his men completed their mission, came under machine gun fire, their landing craft was disabled, and it took more than a day for them to make their way to a ship and then to get back to their own ship. All the time in wet clothes.

When the flag was raised on Mount Suribachi, the smaller flag and then the larger replacement flag, ships’ horns rang out. But there was more than a month left of hard fighting.

The flag on Mount Suribachi was not a flag of victory, it was a flag of hope.

We currently live under a flag of hope. God’s kingdom is in believers, and we know, we know, His victory is coming. We know Christ will reign.

But we are in a hard fight right now. Victory isn’t yet achieved, but victory is certain.

Press on — fight on — in hope.

Resolve or Repent?

MegRichardsPhotography.com

A cartoon character was turned away at the pearly gate. “But it wasn’t gluttony, it was just the munchies.”

We may excuse our sin. It’s “just munchies,” rather than a heart issue. We need to call sin, “Sin!” We need to name it.

We might “solve” the apparent problem without having a change of heart, without repenting where it is needed.

Perhaps we work on “curb appeal,” ignoring that we are building on sand.

Our New Year’s resolutions may indicate areas that need God’s scalpel, core issues that need honest examination and repentance, rather than just “improvement.”

Perhaps a goal for weight loss should prompt more than a resolution to stop eating so many carbs. Is there underlying sin? Is food a substitute for dealing with anxiety or anything other than seeking the Lord? People can be normal weight and still love food in a sinful way.

Perhaps a resolution relating to temper or speech has an underlying issue of anger, which needs confession and repentance. A person might solve their speech, but seethe underneath, and have their anger come out in other ways.

If you do New Year’s resolutions, there may be unexpected hints where you need to reflect and repent. At least, that is what I found.

~~~

This is not to dismiss resolutions! For example Ezra set his heart to study the law of Yahweh, practice it and teach it! Ezra 7:10

~~~

Father, please show me my sins. Please help me be honest with myself. Please help me not excuse myself or minimize my need. Please help me confess and repent. Thank You that You promise to forgive and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Good News! Rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

We are commanded to rejoice in the Lord. To rejoice in the Lord always.

We are to keep on rejoicing. (1 Peter 4:13)

Christmas is a great day to rejoice, a day to celebrate good news of great joy. (Luke 2:10)

Today we rejoice about unimaginable, eternal, stupendous good news!

God is with us (Immanuel) (Matthew 1:23),

God came in the flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory (John 1:14),

Jesus showed us the Father, being the radiance of His (the Father’s) glory and the exact representation of His nature (Hebrews 1:3),

Jesus is the Savior of all who believe (John 3:15).

These are truths, yet beyond our ability to grasp fully. But let’s try!

Rejoice!

This year, let’s determine to keep on rejoicing.

Get Ready for Good News!

Harry Durgin

Good news is meaningful and welcome when we’re suffering from bad news.

The last two weeks, this blog talked about the trouble in the world (What is Happening in the World?) and about death (Sudden Death). Sin abounds. Rejection of the Almighty, Creator God is rampant. Eternal condemnation awaits those who spurn God’s Savior.

Next Sunday, though, is Christmas!

Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)

As we prepare for Christmas, we need to see the glorious, awesome, stupendous, eternal good news in light of the enormity of the bad news. The more we understand the depth of sin, the more wonderful is the good news of God sending a Savior.

People need to know about the bad news before they know they need good news. They need to know they are sinners subject to the wrath of God before they know they need a Savior.

That is why God sent John the Baptist to make ready the way of the LORD (Matthew 3:3). Repent! John the Baptist said “Repent!” And he didn’t hold back, calling the Pharisees and Sadducees “you brood of vipers.” (Matthew 3:7)

For those of us who are believers (praise God!), we also need the good news of the power of the Savior, the good news of our indwelling Holy Spirit. We see the sin in ourselves and have both the desire and the ability, through our Lord, increasingly to walk in a manner worthy of Him. That is good news indeed!

Rejoice!

Sudden Death

Harry Durgin: Andromeda from his backyard!

A very fit marathoner died of a heart attack. A newly-wed man died in his sleep. A parking control officer was shot in his head from behind. And many more suddenly died.

Wham! And each woke up in eternity, some to eternal life, some to a resurrection of condemnation. Some to glorious good news, some to eternal disaster.

It is given to us to die once and then the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

We do not know when we’ll have our last day, so be ready.

If you have not recognized your sins against your Creator, have not turned to God in repentance, and have not placed your belief and trust in Jesus Christ, please deal with that now, while you have time. Be ready. Don’t die in unbelief.

If you are in Christ, hallelujah!

For believers, there is still a call to be ready. For however much time we have left, let’s seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Let’s pursue increasing godliness. Let’s whole-heartedly serve Him.

This season is a great time to proclaim Him. “Merry Christmas” can be the start of a conversation about the Lord. Asking the question: “Are you ready for Christmas” can lead into explaining why Jesus Christ was born.

Let’s get ready to celebrate Christmas!

What is Happening in the World?

Harry Durgin; The moon above Mauna Loa erupting taken from Pu’uhuluhulu at 7:50pm

A football announcer asked: “What is happening in the world?” The question followed the photo of a player’s cleats recognizing a recent tragedy. Then back to football, of course, with the question asked but not answered.

Secular fingers point at all the usual suspects.

Scripture gives us truth regarding God’s historical dealings with nations in judgment, information about today, and clarity concerning the future.

God firmly dealt with unrighteous nations and individuals. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we have every reason to believe He is currently dealing with nations and individuals who reject Him.

We are also shown that there is a point at which God gives up on sinful people who reject Him, and leaves them to the consequences of their own actions. “Leave them alone.” “God gave them over.” Or God kills them, like Herod, Ananias, and Sapphira.

We are told that things will get worse and worse.

But! Of course, Scripture also tells us of the glorious victory of Christ Jesus. We definitely can and should look forward to that in hope and belief.

In the meantime, we are to pray for individuals and nations. We are to mourn the abominations we see. We are to talk with one another, encouraging each other to stand firm.

And we must trust our Almighty God.

Press on!

WHY We Can Give Thanks in Everything

Harry Durgin

The Sunday before Thanksgiving I told you that I was going to list why we are able to do as God commands: Give thanks in everything. Sometimes, of course, it is easy to give Him thanks. Other times, though, the situation is so horrible, we can’t imagine doing so.

For Christians, here is what we absolutely must remember in order to give thanks in everything:

Our God is totally sovereign over everything and everybody all the time,

God is in control of what we experience (even though we are responsible),

God loves us with an everlasting love,

God promises to work all things for good, making us into the image of His Son,

God has a loving purpose for everything we experience,

God promises to make us more and more holy during our time on earth and to bring us to glory later, and

God is with us (and for us) always, giving us what we need to act righteously in every situation.

There are a lot of underlying details, of course. We continually need to develop our understanding of:

Who God is,

Who we are to God,

What God does for us, His children, and

What we “get” out of whatever God allows/brings into our lives.

THANK DON’T RESIST

Pray, of course, about whether the Lord wants you to do something to change the situation and He wants you to think, say, and do.

Remind yourself of the four points above and determine to believe He has a loving purpose for what is happening.

Determine to trust His loving sovereignty.

Obey Him by giving Him thanks.

(and keep developing this list!)

Thank You!