Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seek first his Kingdom: Choosing between Faith and Fear

The Buchan family has a lot happening right now:  we are seeking to move to a new location in Santa Rosa, California so that Bill can stop commuting weekly from Seattle to San Francisco.  Our daughters live in Seattle, Chicago and London so this adds another location to our already very spread out life.  I am leading Missio Lux through an important transition as together we discover how to continue to be faithful in God’s call for us to be a “dispersed faith community.”  I am also getting close to finishing the editing process of the Identity Book I wrote earlier this year; it should be out in print in early December.

I went through a period a few weeks ago where I was so overwhelmed I could barely get up in the morning.  I felt fearful, stressed out and anxious about how I was going to be able to do all that was in front of me.
I began to ask myself, however, how I could walk out the very thing I was encouraging you to do:  “to seek first God’s kingdom.”  The Lord was faithful to show me the way to do this and I’d like to share it with you.  I hope it will be helpful to an area of your life where you feel overwhelmed, or out of balance.

The first step is to examine priorities.  What’s more important?  Are you worshiping Jesus or the problem?  In other words, what’s occupying more of your thoughts:  the challenge or the answer to the challenge?  Make a decision to focus your thoughts on God’s ability to do the impossible.  The angel told Mary that “nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37).  It takes a lot of repetition to change your brain pattern but over time you will find it much easier to find the right focus:  on the Provider not the problem!
The second step is to incorporate a posture of celebration and thankfulness.  Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to “Be joyful always, pray all the time, and give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  When we make a decision from our will to thank God for the challenges, it takes us out of our place of worry and fear.  Our decision to trust God with our problem actually frees God up to move to answer our dilemma.  I find the more that I thank God for the challenges, the sooner I get to peace!

We found an amazing house in Santa Rosa. We felt confident that we be able to buy the house as there had been very little activity on it.  We were sad to discover that another buyer came in and bid for it the same day we did.  I got so stressed thinking the house may not be ours.  It wasn’t until a couple of anxious days later as we waited to hear their decision that I decided to come outside my emotions, and with my will thank God for the challenge. When I did, everything changed.  Amazingly, the timing of my decision to thank God and the owners choice was at the same time! The owners picked us saying, “We know they are the ones meant to have this house.”
The next step after examining our priorities and developing a posture of life full of thankfulness is to follow Scripture.  Paul outlined an excellent process to the church of Philippi in the fourth chapter:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-7
There it is:

Don’t worry:  pray instead:  the priority!  Focus on the provider rather than the problem.
           Tell God your needs and thank him for the challenge, developing your life of faith as you wait for God to bring the answer.

Remember the ways God has worked in the past and speak them to others.  This will build your faith and remove all fear from your thoughts!
            Develop your life of testimony:  review the ways in which God has been faithful     to you!  We have a testimony now about our future house in Santa Rosa; if we wouldn’t have walked through the challenge, we wouldn’t have known that it truly was the house God intended for us to have.

The outcome:  peace which goes beyond any circumstance.  The word guard here means to “prevent hostile invasion.”  The Lord guards our heart from the hostile invasion from the thief who comes to rob, steal and destroy us.  God does the opposite:  he gives us the life of heaven that we were meant to experience in the Garden before the fall.
The valuable outcome of this process is that our life of faith is built so that the next challenge becomes less daunting.  I am able to say that I am at rest and peace right now despite all that is happening around me because I have a list of testimonies for how God has worked in other impossible situations to bring about my best; and his best, the kingdom come!

Romans 14:17 says this, “For the kingdom of God is not eating or drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy!” 
Righteousness:  things being set right as we are in right relationship, peace and joy. 
There it is again, the priority:  it’s not about acquiring the needs the Father already knows we need:  it’s about seeking first his kingdom; which gives us righteousness, peace and joy.
It’s the treasure the whole world is seeking!

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