Thursday, December 08, 2005

Seek First the Kingdom of God

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness..."

About a year and a half ago in May of 2004, I bought 4.5 acres of land halfway between Grand Rapids (where the believers are) and where I work. I would have a 20 minute drive to work and "only" a 20 minute drive to see believers. I had talked everything over with several of the brothers here and instead of living right in the town where I work, I decided to "sacrifice" so that I could be close to believers. I was seeking first his kingdom...

The house that we built was the perfect house for us. It had open spaces to promote togetherness in our family. We designed it so that we could have lots of people over for fellowship and even put a large parking pad on the side of the driveway. (By large, I mean large enough to hold about 10 cars.) I had all kinds of ideas of how living in the country would be good for my children; from raising chickens to chopping wood, I was going to teach them responsibility. We were seeking first his kingdom...

By the time the house was ready, one year ago, in December of 2004..... God made it clear to us that we should SELL it! "Oh no", was my initial reaction. Furthermore, God made it clear that we should move the city of Grand Rapids to be very near the believers. "Oh no." I didn't like the city! And I certainly didn't want a 40 minute commute to work. It was as if God was saying, "Nice try; you were trying to seek first my kingdom, but since your heart is right I'm going to lead you in such a way that you can seek first my kingdom the way I want you to."

I learned quite a bit about seeking first God's kingdom. Even though I thought that I had God's best in mind, I didn't go far enough. By May of 2005 God brought us to where we currently live--right in the city of Grand Rapids, about 2 miles from downtown. This was the last place I wanted to live.

But by the end of the summer, God had moved upon the other believers here to want to live closer together. And now we all live within 3 or 4 blocks of each other. Close proximity has really helped us to carry out sharing life ("fellowship") with one another in real, practical ways (see "Practical Daily Life in the Kingdom" Part 1 and Part 2 for examples).

And now, I really enjoy living here in the city! Wow! I am so surprised. But I have this strange peace and joy. I really like this house! But I NEVER would have designed a house like this. This is NOT what I THOUGHT I would like. But God knows best, that's for sure.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov 3:5-6).

I had a lot to learn about what seeking first God's kingdom meant in that situation. And I suspect I have a lot more to learn!

Whoever is reading this, would you consider one thing? Do you go all out in pursuing the will of God? Empty yourself of your own thoughts and preferences and see if there's more for God to show you. You just might be surprised.


Wind said...

Good word!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how you totally and utterly destroy the Bible on your site by misinterpreting just about every passage quoted!!!

You don't actually understand what the "Kingdom of God" even is or was supposed to be. It's supposed to be a "literal physical kingdom", something you can look at, put your hands on and see it ruled by Christ. It hasn't come yet dude we're still waiting for it, it will be ruled by a ruler...Christ at His 2nd coming.

I hope you can think about that, you're not living in the Kingdom...if you are the Kingdom is pretty small - 3 or 4 blocks. I could say much more on that but I fear I'd just be confusing you.

Go study "the Kingdom", what it was supposed to be and what it was supposed to look like. I hope you will see it's not some mystical gathering of people but a physical place that will be some day, that hasn't come yet and that will be ruled by Christ's physical presence on a physical throne. I think you are allegorizing much of what you read in the Bible and it is leading to many false ideas and false interpretations.

So detrimental that it made you move from your dream house on 4.5 acres with a 10 car parking lot and chicken coop to a stinky city with a small house you probably don't like if you're really honest with yourself.

If this is all just your opinion or if you believe you were lead in your own heart by the Lord I couldn’t really disagree with you. However, when you use the Bible to justify your actions, beliefs, values, etc, THEN I can question your motives and decisions. I can disagree how you use or MISUSE the Bible in your quotes to justify your actions.

P.S. what are your thoughts on capitalism? What are the bible's thoughts on capitalism...? Doesn’t the Bible say in Matthew that we should sell all and give to the poor? Doesn’t that say we shouldn’t have anything…that God will provide? He told the disciples to take no thought for tomorrow!!! Give me some guidance because I’m about to sell my 1.5 million dollar house on E-Bay and give the money to Russian Jews so they can fly back to the Holy Land!!! I’m going to “put them on Eagles wings” Airlines back to the “REAL KINGDOM” – In Israel.

Your friend - The Raphen, sprinkling seeds on dry dirt.

Quote the Raphen never more!!!

WebServant said...

The attitude conveyed by your comment speaks for itself. Very sad.

While saying that the Bible is misquoted, all you offer is your own opinions.

Of course, Christ will come and rule... this I don't deny at all.

I'll pray for you.

Anonymous said...

Dude, it's not that it's "misquoted"!!! This just speaks to your utter lack of understanding what you read which demonstrates my point EXACTLY.

Here is what I said, noted above...

"I can't believe how you totally and utterly destroy the Bible on your site by misinterpreting just about every passage quoted!!!

If you can read it, it says " MISINTERPRETING just about every passage QUOTED!!!"

Misinterpretation is different from misquoting, feel free to look up the definition on Again, this just speaks to your lack of ability to properly comprehend what you read. It bleeds into your understanding of what God is doing today or not doing today and your understanding of His word. How are we to value your opinion when you can't read and understand plain English? What about reading your Bible and understanding's much more complex...?

I may seem mean spirited...that's true, I am mean spirited and that is truly a fault with my character but then again I'm only human and a sinner saved by grace. Thank God almighty that Christ died for my sins and I'm saved by Grace!!! Can I get a witness...? Thank God I’m not under the Law continually trying to live up to an impossible standard!!!

I won't pray for you, I hope for you. I hope you can better come to evaluate the Bible and truly understand what it says or means. Not that any one of us have all the answers but there is a track so to speak, a direction and I think you are going in the wrong direction, you've went in the wrong direction. It happens, it's happened to me at times.

Good luck with that! Kingdom of God doesn't exist today dude!!! It's not in GR nor is it in Israel. There are more Jews in New York than in New York the Kingdom?

Again, good luck on evaluating your interpretations, I hope you can step away from them and think critically, compare Bible verses with Bible verses, contrast them as well. I hope you can find the right track and begin to go in the right direction. How do you know I'm not sent by the almighty to shed light on your situation...? Mostly, I apologize once again for my rudeness. I’m having a bad day and I’m not trying to attack you personally.

Your friend - The Raphen, sprinkling seeds on dry dirt.

Quote the Raphen never more!!!

WebServant said...

Raphen--please don't sin against God by openly and knowingly being "mean spirited". :-(


WebServant said...

Of course, I forgive you.... I look forward to having a dialogue via email.

light said...

our words should be for building up , so if a brother is indeed going the wrong way.. i know the word of the lord says to pray for one that is sinning not death... so i will pray for(Raphen) in Heb 10:26 on speeks on just trying to human not christ like... love for you both bro vince (mo)

Anonymous said...

I have to say I undeerstand the point you were trying to share,I am touched to know there are true brothers in christ that move when the spirit says to move. You did well in listening to His still small voice. He says "HIS " sheep here HIS voice and follow it.Don't let the mocking that comes from the spirit of the enemy bring you down.JESUS says LOVE is the greatest gift of all& w/o it we're empty, are works are dead if we here only & do not crucify "our" flesh[not literal]LOL!mAY gOD BLESS YOU.