Sunday, January 5, 2014

(40 Days of Focus) Day ONE: "First Things First"

Read: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need" Matthew 6:33 (NLT).
Think About It: One of the greatest pictures that is etched in my mind in terms of "seeking," is the hunt for the car keys, especially when time is short. It had been a long day and would promise to be an even longer evening as I had planned to drive to the nation's capital after church one Wednesday evening. My father-in-law's birthday was the next day, his health was in decline, and I was determined to be there with him. I had prepared to go to church with my family and leave immediately after. Before church, however, I had discovered I could not find my keys. I had been out all day and had not driven, so my recollection of where those keys were as far away from me as have been the Dallas Cowboy's chances of making the playoffs in the NFL. I looked everywhere for those keys, or at least what I "thought" was everywhere. I took my family to church with the hopes of finding them in my office. When they were nowhere on the radar, I returned home to continue to the quest. Failure was not an option, though it was fast looming as a probably result. Another hour passed me by as though I was a parked car on a major freeway. Of course without keys, that is exactly the state of being both my car and I would be! Then came the moment of truth and revelation. I was beginning to sink into doubt and despair. I was desperate. Though I had already prayed, I lifted my voice to God once again with a desperation unmatched by previous prayers. "God, I don't know what else to do!" was how I began. "I just need YOU." I looked up, and there were my keys sitting on top of one of my sons' dresser. I have no idea how it came to be that they ended up there, but at just that moment, I lifted my eyes, and there they were.
Going Deeper: To seek is to pursue. Nothing else matters over seeking the God of the answer rather than just the answer itself. Trust first in Him in everything and in all of your heart. Jesus addressed the age-old and current struggle with worry over circumstances in our lives in Matthew 6:33. He expressed the importance of seeking and pursuing God. There is no means of combating worry more effective than remembering who God is and seeking Him in prayer and in worship. Seeking "first" is all about priorities. "Above all else." We know that we should seek God, but to do it first and/or above all else takes that challenge to a new level. To be who God wants you to be and to do what He asks of you takes more than just deciding, but also determining with purpose to live within the grid of HIS righteousness. Righteousness has been simply defined as "rightness with God." What is right to me pales in comparison to what is RIGHT before God. Righteousness doesn't just happen. It is strategic and accomplished on purpose. "AND THEN" these things will be added. God's grand design and His personal desire is for you to have everything you need in this life to live this life both effectively and blessed. Seek Him first and above all, live every day in uncompromising obedience, and you will prosper in the blessings of God.
Next Step: Be reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6 as it calls you to "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and HE will direct your path and make the rough places smooth." Seek His face today for answers rather than resorting to your own understanding. Choose to put God first in everything you do today. Take a minute and make a list of all that you need to accomplish in the next 24 hours. Take that list, fold it up, and lay it down before God. Give it Him. Take a minute, even now, and remind yourself as you recommit to Jesus that it's all about Him today. Ask Him for wisdom to know what to do. Ask Him for the strength to do it, and also for the courage to follow through.

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