Matthew 6:33-34 (AMP)
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
In the midst of everyday life with all the stress of schedules, routines, careers, education, religion mixed together with family life, human beings get lost in the shuffle of the rat race. In a country such as America, the pursuit of wealth is masked by a title called the middle class who are more than surviving but always attempting to build a better life for the next generation than the one before. Innovation has created a drive-thru society that is now progressing to an online world. We can sit on the Internet at home and have everything that we need delivered to our doorstep without ever leaving our home. Business is conducted via the World Wide Web so no one really has to interact with each other anymore. Just try to call customer service and make it through the automation to a person, if you survive the prompts the wait time will be too long since anything over a minute is unacceptable. People have forgotten how to live in the midst of trying to make a better living. Families are dysfunctional and disconnected. I am just as guilty as the next person. Many years, I had a home business working at home to care for our small children. When everyone went to school, mom went to work. The mom who went to work got promotions along the way and somehow fell into the rut of career woman rather than working mother. Cancer changed all that. When our son was diagnosed, the corporate ladder I was struggling up suddenly fell apart leaving me wondering why I ever invested all those long unnecessary hours away from my family to pursue something far less worthwhile or rewarding. My personal schedule and routine instantly interrupted by diagnoses, chemo, radiation, appointments and testing. I am not thankful for the cancer that has attacked our son’s body over and over – not at all. But I am thankful for the Goodness and Favor of God that has changed us in this long process of healing and deliverance. No, I am not talking about from cancer. Healing and deliverance from stress and worry about unnecessary things that had caused me to forget how to live.
Seek, aim at and strive after the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness – FIRST. His Way of doing and being right and then everything that we constantly worry about will be given to us besides those things that we are too busy to think to ask for. (Ephesians 3:20) This is not a lesson beating up hardworking people who are struggling to get by. It is not a berating of those who are really trying to make a better life breaking the generational curse of poverty. It is simply a reminder from the Father to His Children that we don’t have to worry and stress over everyday life and forget how to live anymore. We came to Jesus in pure desperation. Faith in Jesus Christ has put us in right standing with God our Father which means that we don’t ever have to worry about another thing but rather shift such burdens onto Jesus Christ. (Matthew 11:28) The Lord has proven that He is more than capable of carrying your burdens and overcoming every fear.
John 16:33 (AMP)
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
The enemy is working overtime not only to rob you of Eternal Life, but if there is any way that He can distract us from living for the day than he will. Fear robs us of precious moments that faith would prosper if given the chance. Doubt distracts us from the Lord is doing to promote self-help which is futile. Our only hope in this life or forever is Jesus Christ. Outside of His Work on the Cross, we have no future. Those who seek the Kingdom of God make a commitment to live a life of faith. Moment by moment turning every worry, care and burden over to Jesus Christ. Will that change the circumstances of life? Will it solve every problem? Will it change the course of today? Not necessarily. Jesus told us that there will be tribulation, trials, distress and frustration in this life, there is no avoiding such matters. But He went on to say that despite all these “things” going on around us that we may have “perfect peace and confidence”. Why? Jesus overcame this world depriving it of is power to harm you and has conquered it for you. To live this life and prosper all that I have to do is believe this to be true. To say I believe is one thing to mean it requires a change. When we believe our faith becomes confident. Confident hope never leads to disappointment. Confidence is not displayed by what we say but how we live.
John 3:16-17 (AMP)
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
Before our son’s last official relapse of cancer, things seemed almost normal again. He looked great. Seemed to feel better than ever. When it was time for his three month checkup, we were confident that the worst of this disease was behind us. The appointment confirmed that all the tests had come back negative so far but that the PET scan results were not available. Nevertheless, the doctor was quite certain that everything would be fine. We rejoiced as we headed back to “living” our lives without this disease. The next day the doctor called to share the PET scan results with me at work. When I heard her voice, I knew immediately something was wrong. Before she even started she said, “I am so sorry.” My shoulders slumped as I slowed my pace headed for a chair. Before I made it she said, “It’s back and much worse than before.” To my knees, I went literally. The cancer had spread from throughout his body. I was devastated and mad at the same time. Devastated for obvious reasons. Mad because I had let my guard down. It challenged my faith and confidence in God as my strength and energy ran dangerously low. I didn’t feel like we were running the race of faith anymore but crawling helplessly along. PET scans are a love/hate relationship for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. They can have polar opposite effects in our life. But my God is constant. His Love for me never changes. As I learn to have faith in Him alone, my life is renewed, restored and revived. I am able to live because He lives. I can face tomorrow because He lives. The words to the old hymn resonates in my soul today as my confidence in God’s Love grows stronger each day.
The trouble with people is that we tend to ignore and avoid God until He is the only answer. We go to church, fellowship in Sunday School, volunteer in youth and do all the “right” religious things but until He is all that we need – we miss out on all that He is. God’s Love for “me” alone is so great that if no other person existed that He would still send His ONLY Son to die for my sins and restore our relationship. I have five precious children. One might think well if you lose one child you still have four others. This would be the consideration of compromise. God gave me five beautiful children and sent HIS ONLY SON so that not only will I have eternal and abundant life but so that they can have the same by faith. We call on the Name of Jesus. We confess that HE is the Son of God, died for our sins and rose on the third day – Hallelujah Amen. But do we live like it? Or have I like so many other people forgotten how to live making my relationship with the Father resemble my career and/or social life. Am I working my connection to God or simply using His Name to get out of jams? Do I know God? Do I understand how very much that He loves me? Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate fifteen years of marriage. When I had known him a short time, God revealed to me that he was the one for me. Ironically I was not in a right relationship with the Lord at that time having deviated after a divorce that left me with three wonderful children but no need for that “kind” of love. We married soon after that and went on to add two more kids to the mix. I can say that I loved him then and he loved me. But now after fifteen years with this man including all the ups and downs associated with blending a family as well as the stress and struggle of the last three with our son, I know that He loves me. It gives me confidence so that I do not worry when we are not together that he is unfaithful or forgetful of our love and commitment to each other. Have we forgotten how much God loves us? Such thinking will allow worry and stress to take over our life and doubt destroys our faith leaving nothing for us to build upon until all is stripped away…
Jesus did not come to condemn the world. So if He did not come to deal the final blow of our death sentence caused by sin what did He do? The opposite of condemn is to approve. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin so now we can live in the Presence of God once more. He has freed us of the burden of our life no matter how hard we try to reassume it. He has given us everything that we need to live and prosper according to His Riches in Glory. Christ in us will raise our standard of living to His Glorious Standard once more. We have everything we need to live a godly life but have we forgotten. The first thing the enemy does when bad things happen to God’s People is to question God’s Love for us. This lie destroys people because of a lack of knowledge. It is simply not true. There will be tough times while we finish our course on the earth. Being saved does not instantly deliver us from trials and tribulation. Faith empowers us to overcome in the Name of Jesus Christ. When faced with daily challenges, it is an invitation to further explore the glorious life including the future and hope that God has prescribed for us. Confident hope allows us to seek the Kingdom of God first when all hell is breaking loose around us. This is what it means to live. Have you forgotten today?
Matthew 16:24-26 (AMP)
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?
Yesterday when we arrived in clinic, the doctor came racing down the hall to share with me news of our son’s latest PET scan. This is a different doctor than the one who has been overseeing his care as he prepares for the bone marrow transplant procedure that begins today. She said, “So the PET scan, it’s completely clear.” All the disease that only further confirmed his need for this procedure was gone with the preliminary chemo preparation that he had been given. Now obviously a clear PET scan is always good news. She seemed perplexed that I was not surprised. As the nurse reiterated the results much more slowly so that we could let it sink in, she explained that she had danced in her office when she saw them. That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t worried about the scan at all so when they shared the results I was not surprised at all. Somewhere in this long and tedious journey our faith has come to expect the Lord to work on our son’s behalf so when the good news came it only added to the joy that now exists naturally from our faith that has now become confident hope. To deny myself of worry is to disregard, lose sight of and forget the cares of this life and put all my expectation in Jesus Christ. This allows my faith to promote His Intervention in our life so that we begin to expect not just good outcomes but miraculous results because we now identify with the Kingdom of God and not anything we can do. You don’t have to make a better life, the Lord will gladly give it to you. Will seek the Kingdom of God FIRST today? Those who do will remember how to live and have abundant life.
I Peter 5:6-7 (AMP)
Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.