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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Kingdom Seekers"

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

I was speaking to a friend of mine who is dealing with some severe challenges in his business. I could tell he had a matter heavy on his heart.  We both have faith in the Lord and he said to me, "We're not supposed to worry are we?" He knew the answer to that but I believe was looking to me for some Scriptural encouragement. 

One of the great kingdom principles is stated in this familiar verse.  Jesus is preaching what we call the "Sermon on the Mount" and is summing up the portion dealing with worry, which is the longest single theme in the entire sermon.  Jesus addressed a condition so common to people of all generations. Though some worry more than others I've never met anybody who has never worried at some point in their lifetime.  But Jesus emphatically states, "Do not worry about your life" (Matthew 6:25).

I recognize that when I worry about a matter I am simply not trusting in God.  At any given moment I could list a number of very specific issues in my life that are matters of worry to me.  The underlying Greek word for worry is "merimnao", which can have the sense "to turn over and over in the mind."  That's just what I do, considering various courses and outcomes, turning the worrisome situation over and over in my mind.

Christ's prescription for worry is very clear.  "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."  His promise is equally clear, "all these things shall be added unto you."  "These things" refer to the basic essentials of life such as food and clothing.  Another promise states, "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Today let us indeed seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness. He ever remains a "rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).  Finally let me share a portion that I committed to memory many years ago that so powerfully addresses this situation.  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6,7).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer: Jesus, You know my tendency to worry and fret about circumstances and people dear to my heart.  Thank You for giving me Scriptural wisdom in how to deal with this ongoing weakness that robs me of Your joy and peace.  As I seek first Your kingdom I will look to Your Word rather than the unending problems that lead me to a worrisome state of mind.  As I read Scripture over and over that pertains to my needs, it replaces the time spent worrying over and over about the problems at hand.  Meditation on Your Word is similar to worry in that I turn Scriptural promises over and over in my mind.  You replace my worried thoughts with divine wisdom and peaceful reassurance as my heart is open to You when looking for answers to my problems.  Help me to seek You above all else and trust Your overflowing provision for all that concerns me today. 

One of the first Scripture verses I recall singing was called "Seek Ye First" and was based on the daily verse. We sing it often and I am sure many have memorized this verse just from repetitive singing. Here's a full mp3 audio version by a girl's choir in England.

The last couple of days we stayed with friends of ours on a mountain lake in central Pennsylvania.

Galen and Nancy
Galen and Nancy invited us to their home for dinner the very first Sunday we attended church when we moved to Pennsylvania nearly 5½ years ago. Galen is a hardworking farmer who has been the source of much inspiration in this series through the years.

SCW on water board
Although I did not feel I could get up on skis any longer I did manage to take a ride on the board behind the boat. That sure took me back to my teen years! Since the speedometer on the boat wasn't working we are not sure how fast we were going but Galen estimates it was under 100 mph.  (Stephen had to prove that he still had the ability to ride on top of the water.  The skis were a bit daunting since he last skied about ten years ago.  So the next best thing (and easier, I might add) was the water board.  Though he struggled somewhat to get on the board, the boat did pull him up and he had a great ride on the beautiful lake. Brooksyne)

Weber family at Raystown LakeHere's a photo of Brooksyne, Ester and me at an overlook on Raystown Lake.

Raystown Lake is a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. This photo just doesn't do this scene justice as we watched the sun set over the mountains and clouds on the still lake while we were on the boat.
Sunset over Raystown Lake

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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