One of my favorite books (besides the Bible) that has had the greatest influence on me spiritually is Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I would recommend it to anyone who craves to go deeper; deeper with God, deeper with who God created you to be and deeper with those God’s put in your life. It teaches how to create a space in your life where you can know and be known by the One True God. If you are up for practicing the Spiritual disciplines, I would highly recommend reading it with a friend. The first time I read the book was with my accountability partner and dear friend, Deb in 1995. Everyone should have an accountability partner!
Currently, I’m in a woman’s Bible study and we are studying the book. This is not a light, easy read, but a meat on your ribs, deep, rich, life changing study and like my sweet niece, Olivia, said at the age of three when Uncle Mike gave her a sip of his Mountain Dew, “I like it!”
This week we read the chapter on Simplicity. I love, love, love to journal, so as I read I write down what reaches out and tugs on my heart or challenges my mind. There were three quotes that I wrote down. This first one challenged my heart and mind:
“The person who does not seek the Kingdom of God first does not seek it at all.” Go ahead and reread that quote.
I spent time cross referencing the Kingdom of God (on my new favorite website www.biblos.com) and learned a few interesting facts.
- Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The “things”, food and clothing, were clearly stated in the previous verses. God’s righteousness goes along with His Kingdom.
- I Corinthians 6:9- “…the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
- John 18:36- God’s Kingdom is not on earth; it is somewhere else
- Matthew 25:34- His Kingdom is for us! It has been our inheritance since the creation of the world.
- Mark 1:15- Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.” I’m no Bible scholar, but it sounds to me like Jesus is the Kingdom of God. He announced this in Galilee right when started His ministry.
- Mark 8:31-9:1- Jesus was first talking to the disciples about His death, then to a crowd about salvation and He told the people if they were ashamed of Him in this world, “…the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when He comes in His Father’s glory. And He said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the Kingdom of God has come with power.” Did the Kingdom of God come with power when Jesus was crucified?
What response do you have to the original quote I shared: “The person who does not seek the Kingdom of God first does not seek it at all”? Does it stir a craving to seek God’s Kingdom first, before the things in this world that rob us of simplicity? What do you seek first? Take some time, grab a piece of paper and process through that question. Go one step further and write out your weekly commitments and schedule specific times each day to “Seek God’s Kingdom”. This challenge comes from Bill Hybel’s message at Willow Creek Community Church on February 24, 2013. Here is the link for the entire series. The message I referred to was week 2: http://media.willowcreek.org/weekend/simplify/#content
Don’t think I forgot about the other two quotes I mentioned from the book. I’ll post more on those soon.