Day 61: Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotions)

I hope you have discovered a lot about His kingdom. I hope you have found that you’ve worried less about getting food on the table and other daily worries while seeking His kingdom instead. I know that any epiphanies you’ve had, any comfort you’ve found, any changes you’ve made, come from the power of His word, and not from my little comments. Still, it’s been nice to search with a friend. Thank you!

As we finish our reading of all the “kingdom” verses, I ask you to continue to seek His kingdom by seeking its king. I leave you with (the resurrected) Jesus’s last moments with his followers. Do you think he was talking to them only or that he knew Luke would record it, and that we would read it, and that it’s meant for us, too? Acts 1:1-11 starts with Luke’s words:

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs,appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

M.L. Millard

*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.

Day 60: Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotions)

When Jesus was talking to Pilate (basically His trial) He said:

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

John 18:36

Jesus had stopped Peter from using his sword (18:11) when the officers from the chief priests and Pharisees had come for Him, because He knew it was His destiny to die for us.

Tangent alert. In theory, I extend this to mean that I should be a pacifist. Many don’t. In practice, one time I saw a young man knock down an older woman as he tried to rip her diamond necklace off of her neck, and if I had been close enough I knew I would have kicked his feet out from under him and tackled him. To be sure, there are other verses that lean toward pacifism, too, like not casting the first stone, loving and blessing your enemies…

But back to the only clear meaning. Jesus could have had his servants fight to save Him. Indeed, many of them at first expected Him to try to set up and rule a kingdom here on Earth at that time. Instead, He went willingly to the cross.

Amazing.

What kingdom statement will you use to replace your worries today? I think mine will be HIS KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD.

M.L. Millard

*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.

Day 59: Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotions)

If you’re interested in what Jesus said about the end times, Luke chapter 21 is a good place to look. I’m not going to write it all here, only the end of it.

And He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. Even so you, too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.”

Luke 21:29-31

As I near the end of this devotional, one thing I hope is that you have discovered lots of other things you want to read in your search for the kingdom. Don’t you want to read all of Luke chapter 21 now? Don’t you want to see what all the signs are? Didn’t you want to read all of Revelation and Daniel when we talked about them earlier? The sermon on the mount in Matthew chapters 5-7?

There are two other segments of Luke chapter 21 I want to include. They don’t use the word “kingdom,” but they give instructions, and I thought that might be useful or interesting to you.

“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.” (21:12-15)

“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.” (21:27-28)

And if you wonder how you’d lift up your head in such a situation:

But Thou, O Lord, art a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.

Psalm 3:3

What will your kingdom statement be today? Use it to replace your worries.

M.L. Millard

*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.

 

 

Day 58: Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotions)

Well, Friends, we’re nearly finished. We have read almost every verse about His kingdom. In our first 57 days together I think I only deviated (significantly) from what I’d written in the book version on two days. Today I do so again. I wrote the book version in 2014, long before the crazy election we just had. Long before I marched. Our worries have changed, but the nature of worry hasn’t changed. The nature of God hasn’t changed. God’s prescription for worry hasn’t changed.

I hope that our voices are heard. I hope that our checks and balances check and balance. But I don’t trust in those things. I trust in God.

That’s what I wanted to say instead of explaining the context of today’s verses. I present them here and trust God’s Spirit to say much more than I ever could about them.

And [Jesus] was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

Mark 9:1

“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Matthew 16:28

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is! or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” 

Luke 17:20-21

What kingdom truth will you replace your worries with today?

M.L. Millard

*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.

 

 

Day 57: Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotions)

Sometimes when Jesus is talking to the disciples, I wonder if what He says applies to all believers or just those twelve. Like here in Matthew 26:29. Other promises about heaven make me feel pretty sure that things like this will happen for us, if not this exact thing. At the time Jesus said this, it was a way for him to say that he was about to be crucified, but it also includes a very comforting promise. (P.S. if you are struck by the word “covenant,” may I suggest reading “Our Covenant God,” by Kay Arthur. She explains the word from the beginning of the Bible to the end.)

And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

Matthew 26:26-29

I don’t begrudge these first followers their time of communion with Jesus in heaven, I only hope I can join in, or that when Jesus is done, He’ll walk down the road to the smaller houses and pay me a visit when He’s done.

Here’s another one to the disciples:

“And you are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Luke 22:28-30

Typing this onto my blog I had a thought that I didn’t have. “Heaven needs judges?” Ah well, a thought for another time. This passage, by the way, was part of Jesus’s response to the disciples’ dispute about who among them was greatest. He was saying that here on Earth they should aim to serve, as He did, and that would be their greatness. Their reward would be in heaven, not in recognition here on Earth.

What will your kingdom statement be today? Use it to replace those worry thoughts!

M.L. Millard

*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.

Day 56: Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotions)

As you read another passage where Jesus talks about the kingdom, think of the phrase you’ll use to replace your worries today.

He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, and this is smaller than all other seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and rest in its branches.” 

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks of meal, until it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:31-33

I’ve always found it amazing how the kingdom has grown from just those first few followers of Jesus. There are believers in almost every corner of the world now. But what struck me THIS time is the fact that Jesus was RIGHT! Who could have predicted the exponential growth of the kingdom seed if he (He) was not part of God who sees time outside of time?

M.L. Millard

*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.

 

 

Day 55: Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotionals)

Today I’m going to give you all the verses about preaching the kingdom. Some are spoken by Jesus (they’ll be in quotes) and some are written about Him. In the book version of this devotional I wrote a paragraph after all these verses, but I’m not going to write it here. I’m not here to point things out about these verses for you. I only wanted, really, to compile all the kingdom verses in one place. Ask God to help you seek and find His kingdom as you read these.

But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”

Luke 4:43

And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

Matthew 4:23

And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

Matthew 9:35

And it came about soon afterwards, that He began going about from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with Him.

Luke 8:1

And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing.

Luke 9:2

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”

Matthew 10:7

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations, and then the end shall come.”

Matthew 24:14

“And whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.'”

Luke 10:8-11

What do you think? What will you remember about God’s kingdom today instead of worrying?

M.L. Millard

*New American Standard Bible verses used in the book version of this devotional with permission from The Lockman Foundation.