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“Seek Ye First”

February 24, 2018

“Seek Ye First” 

In 7th grade I tried out for the junior high basketball team and to my surprise made the cut. I was issued a uniform, purchased some basketball shoes, and was given the traveling schedule. As the season progressed I quickly became aware that although I rode the bus, wore the uniform, and hung out with the team, I was nothing more than a glorified bench warmer. Every game I would sit on the sidelines cheering on my teammates, and occasionally my coach (possibly out of pity) would put me in for a few minutes. Although I was on the team, you could say I didn’t contribute much.

Even though I look back now and laugh at how much pride I took in my “yeah, that’s right, I’m on the basketball team” junior high mentality. I am so quickly reminded that, that small window of my life quickly passed and really did not matter too much in the grande scheme of things. This simple recollection of a junior high memory draws such a parallel with our place as believers in the Kingdom of God.

“But seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” -Matthew 7:33

As much as I pray “Lord, just like you raised Lazaruz from the dead, I am believing that you can resurrect my GPA…” or another reoccurring prayer “God, my bank account is a little low right now, so if you could just multiply like you did the loaves and the fish I would be oh so grateful.” As real and worrisome school, money, friendships, and work, can be, these things all have one common denominator and that is that they are temporal. I too find myself caught up in the trivial things of life, often devoting my time, thoughts, and passions, to things that will be left for dust when that trumpet is sounded.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away.” Luke 21: 33

Jesus’ short 33 years on earth gave us such direction and inspiration in how to behave in a kingdom way. Loving sinners, healing the outcast, showing mercy to those who did not deserve, these were all actions that defied odds and gave us the precedent in a Kingdom lifestyle. Jesus taught to save, he gave moral teachings, extended Himself to others and sent His followers out into all the world. Jesus was building up a kingdom, not an earthly kingdom with swords or shields, but a kingdom which would be fulfilled. He spoke compassion, cared for the ones forsaken, and preached the Gospel. The beautiful thing about Jesus is that His death and resurrection was only the beginning of what He had come to earth to do. His whole earthly ministry was preparing and opening the door for a sweeping revival that would be fulfilled under the the apostles of Jesus and even us today. Upon return Jesus gave us the Great Commission, which sets the stage for our purpose and propels us straight into the book of Acts.

I have to often remind myself that as believers we are apart of the greatest “team” that this Earth has ever seen. No sports team, club, social group, or political party, has such an impact or influence as the body of Christ in His kingdom. The Bible is known as the most sold book in all of the world. Globally, thousands and thousands are coming to know Christ and receiving His spirit every single week. We are a part of something so much bigger than our selves. We get to be a part of His Great Commission process and contribute first hand to something that will long outlive us.

The problem with the eternal plan of God is that so often we don’t make it internal.

God has a specific and unique plan for each believer in the Kingdom of God, but its up to US to personalize our role and contribute. We see how each disciple in the scripture came from a different background, saw life different, but all had one universal action… they forsook all else and followed Jesus. If we want to see the scripture “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” why don’t WE take the initiative and be the physical hands and feet of Jesus to help usher that unto the earth. Kingdom work that is personalized is not a force easily shaken.

“What Can I Be Doing In the Kingdom of God?”

  1. But Him first in all we do (our time, our money, our thoughts).
  2. Be a proponent of the Gospel…live it out and walk in salvation.
  3. Be the hands and feet of Jesus (working in charities, helping the less fortunate).
  4. Live with extended mercy and grace, the world doesn’t need our fleshly condemning, but the mercy of God that is new every morning.
  5. Get involved in our churches…plugging ourselves in gives connection and strength to the body of Christ.

Jesus has already told us in His scripture that if we will FIRST seek Him and His Kingdom all the other trivial things of this life will be supplied and taken care of. The beautiful thing is, we have assurance and protection under the Kingdom of God. We don’t have to worry about what the future will hold, or how a need will be met when we are living intentionally in His kingdom. Our main job as beings on this earth should not be our work or our self promotion, but rather being humble enough to subject our plans/desires/wishes to first propel His kingdom. Kingdom work is servant work. Servant work is not always glamorous or caught on camera for all to see, but we aren’t living for ourselves for ourselves or others… but for our Master.

& some day when we stand at the gate of heaven we will hear “well done thy good and faithful servant…”

ABOUT THE WRITER: MADISON GADDY

Madison Gaddy is a “woman of faith” from the great state of ARKANSAS. She is currently studying psychology at the University of Central Arkansas, and plans to pursue her passion in counseling. She loves all things flower and plant related, and enjoys a good cup of joe. Traveling has become her greatest joy, and she is so excited to work in Tanzania, Africa this summer on the Next Steps program.

@madisongaddison

P.S. Madison is a inspiration in everything she does always uplifting others. She is beautiful inside and out! I am very blessed to know her and for the memories we have made-priceless. Madison’s next adventure is to Tanzania and she is selling these darling handstiched hats in an effort to fundraise. If you’re interested please contact Madison on Instagram at her handle above. -Alexa Sue-Anne Dudley

Featured Writers

Surely, God Doesn’t Care Who I Marry

February 9, 2018

 

Surely, God Doesn’t Care Who I Marry 

“Be patient as I prepare him as well”

I was just merely 15 years old when God spoke these exact words to me.

I never expected for God to care about who I want to spend my life with. I never expected God to care who I thought was cute, or who gave me butterflies. He’s the creator of the WHOLE EARTH! Why was my emotionally driven, boy-chasing, immature heart even thought about? SURELY He has better things to attend to. God quickly shifted my thinking.

At 13 years old, I made a list of what I wanted in a spouse and I prayed over it.

My Future Husband:

blue eyes

loves God more than he’ll ever love me

sing and play instruments

 

There were some other details I put in there and I said, “Alright, Lord. This is exactly what I want. I dare you to provide it. I challenge you.”

(oh, how brave I sound, as if God couldn’t do it)

Fast forward 2 years, and God speaks to me. That one small sentence gave me so much peace, but it also gave me one of the largest revelations I’ve ever received. This powerful word from my creator told me 4 things.

 

1. BE PATIENT

We must never try to step ahead of the hand of God. He is God. We are not. Let God do the thing He has always done: provide. Quit trying to reach the destination and start learning in the journey.

 

2. He already has someone picked out for me

HE CARES. We must never forget that God knows exactly what He is doing. Every single small detail (even the ones we don’t notice) is for a specific purpose and plan. He is the Author and the Finisher. Which means He wrote this life you’re living in and saw it PERFECT for you. He knew you could handle it. He sees all and He knows all. Therefore, He sees your future spouse, too. Exactly where He’s at, what He’s doing, and where’s He’s going.

 

3. God is preparing and molding him perfect for me

A relationship is more than kissing, hugging, and compliments. If that’s all you want a relationship for, then you’re missing the point of what you really need. Ladies, a man was created to lead you. How can he lead you through this life, if he can’t even lead himself? Watch what direction he is walking and that is going to be the exact place he’ll be directing you. Deny all you want, but you can’t change how the Creator created us. What business does a godly woman have with an ungodly man?

 

4. God is also preparing me and molding me for him

The key to every relationship is not what you get, but what you can give. God hears your prayers, I promise He does. Also, know God is working on you. It is absolutely not wrong to desire a partner in this crazy adventurous life. Desires ARE NOT WRONG. They only become wrong when you desire it more than the God who created you with those desires (idolatry). If you’re in a place where you desire someone to hold your hand and give you a couple smooches, maybe consider you’re not quite in a place where you are prepared for the man God has set aside specifically for you. You can’t expect for this future spouse of yours to measure up on every bullet point on your checklist and you not measure up to anything on his. You can’t expect for him to have all these things to offer and you have nothing. What business does a godly man have with an ungodly woman?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

ALL, see that word in there? Yeah, that means everything. Even the way that dude makes your heart feel. He even wants you to submit those feelings to Him.

There were many times where I left the plan of God and put matters into my own hands. That just put me 20,000 steps behind. There were many times where I felt like God had forgotten about the prayers (hence the whole “playing God” act). But through submitting myself over and over and over and over again, God led to me the most perfect, enthusiastic, outgoing, and HOLY GHOST filled man I could ever ask for. And guess what? Blue eyes? CHECK. Singer and musician? UH, yeah. I think he sings to me more than he speaks to me. Loves God more than he could ever love me? DEF CHECK.

First Date: December 27, 2016

Started Dating: April 9, 2017

Engaged: February 3, 2018

Wedding Date: June 30, 2018

 

When God provides, He provides BIG TIME.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20

Blessings,

ABOUT THE BLOGGER: REGAN HAMPTON

Regan Hampton is a 19 year old “woman of faith” from Arkansas. Regan is the daughter of a pastor and for the last two years has served as a Youth Pastor ministering to the most interesting and unique group of young people. She is currently finishing her last semester of Biblical Theology with Purpose Institute. She loves being a barista at Neighbor’s Mill Bakery & Cafe. Regan’s biggest passion is traveling the world doing missions work.

Instagram @r.e.h.gan

Regan and Ethan got engaged at a quaint little coffee shop. Their first date was getting to know each other over coffee! How precious and GOALS right?!!!

P.S. I have been SO blessed to travel all over the United States and internationally with my sweet friend Regan Hampton. (We actually spent a few days in NYC together arriving not really knowing each other BUT we very soon became the best of friends) She is a doll and I am so thankful for her friendship! Regan will be marrying her sweetheart this summer and I am so delighted to be sharing in her forever as a bridesmaid! From Madagascar, Africa all the way to Arkansas! Love you, sweet friend! Thank you for sharing your story as it something we all pray SO intentionally about. -Alexa Sue-Anne Dudley

Featured Writers WOMEN OF FAITH

Learning in Laughter and Pain

February 3, 2018

Learning in Laughter and Pain 

“I’ve learned in laughter and pain how to survive…”

It’s not just lyrics to “On My Knees” by Nicole C. Mullen, it’s a real challenge and life lesson. We’ve all made mistakes that have taught us so much. Some helped us make big changes, while others assisted in small changes. These mistakes have helped us get rid of toxic people & relationships, and others truly helped us see who we are meant to be. No matter what it is, we face challenges daily. Personally, through emotions, we fight against the things that cause us pain and some days, let’s just be honest, it’s hard to see the bright side or think positive.

It’s okay. Cry it out.

Let the pain completely release itself from your body every now and then through prayer, meditation, or any other event that helps purify and strengthen your mind. Dealing with self confidence can be a major daily struggle, (myself included) and sometimes we feel that confidence is controlled by the way others treat us or don’t treat us. NEWS FLASH : This is a tough pill for some of us (us…me…so me) to swallow, but your heart is controlled by YOU . You decide what is going to affect the way you feel each day in some aspects, and you should do your best to control the way you react to the way others can make you feel. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. It may be a process, but remember everyday is a milestone and you should be proud of your progress no matter how “unextravagant” it may seem. (I made that word up because I like the way it sounds. Call me Madam Seuss, but it works.)

Pushing through the pain with VICTORY in mind is the only way you’re going to see success. The end goal is where your focus should lie, but more importantly, the daily goal. How can you make your situation better in the present time? What can YOU truly do to help yourself? Who do you rely on for your happiness? Who you do rely on to feel comforted and at ease? Learn to depend on yourself and GOD by finding ways that work for you. This way, you’re in control. Take control & drive wherever you want!!! (I GOT THE POWA) & don’t lose it!!!

Learning in laughter carries us farther than we expected.

Being able to laugh through any painful, stressful, or difficult situation is always so relieving. Find ways to make yourself laugh & don’t be afraid of what others think because really… WHO CARES. “You do you, boo.” That’s what my friends used to tell me when I would apologize for something silly I did. That was when I realized there’s no longer any reason to apologize. Why change yourself for everyone else when you can change yourself to someone YOU love and feel happy with.

Purify your mind & heart with things that genuinely make you feel good inside.

Blessings,

ABOUT THE WRITER: HANNAH KATT

Hannah Katt is a 20 year old “woman of faith” from Arkansas. She studied at Indiana Bible College. She enjoys being a nanny (to 3 little boys), playing the piano and baking (just being in the kitchen)! Hannah’s biggest dream is to travel out of the United States “my toes will touch African soil, Hawaiian sand, and the steps of Machu Picchu in Peru“.

Instagram @Hannahkatt

P.S. This is my first guest writer for 1998miss.com and I couldn’t be any more thrilled to have my best friend writing! -Alexa!