Seeking a New Kingdom: A New Beginning
I am so excited to share with you “Seeking a New Kingdom: A New Beginning” today. I met Tabitha Roberts at our church during one of our Freedom semesters several years ago. She is an amazing woman of God and her beautiful smile and tender love for others will quickly captivate you when you meet her. Find out more about her in the short biography below and check out her blog reconciledgrace.blogspot.com.
Hi, I’m Tabitha Roberts. I’m a “Yes” girl to open doors, losing my grip on my life to surrender daily to Jesus’ plan. I love tea not coffee, all shades of blue, and nature, especially oceans and mountains. I play the piano, write on my blog “Reconciled Grace”, and read books with real pages! I’ve been married to Scott for 15 years – not a fairytale, but an epic love story of brokenness, grace, and reconciliation. We have two wonderful children. Joshua – now a teenager who has a stomach that is a bottomless pit, who is more often than not singing and playing Fortnight, who is a deep thinker and asks lots of questions; and Peyton – 10 going on 16, is all about unicorns & slime, girl drama, and prefers to write her thoughts; both challenge me as a mother to lay aside my expectations and learn to adjust. I’m an Elementary School Teacher and I just enrolled with Liberty University to pursue my life-long dream to become a Marriage & Family Therapist. Our family has lived in six states, learned lessons along the way about life, friendship, and finding our identity in Christ. Silke is an integral thread in my journey to freedom, while we lived in Florida, her spiritual wisdom and compassion led me to seeing myself in the Father’s eyes. She has blessed me to my core and I will never forget it.
SEEKING A KINGDOM: A NEW BEGINNING
Life is cyclical. The earth spins around the sun, each day rotating with sunrise and sunset, marking another day. Seasons come and go and come back again, in the same order, for the same length of time. Each year we celebrate the same holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It sounds easy and predictable, but that is nothing like reality. Reality is unexpected happenings, spiritual seasons, trial and error, brokenness, and thanksgiving.
Life is anything but boring and mundane. There are opportunities set before us every day. I know I’ve gone without seeing these opportunities because I’ve gotten caught up in me. Self-focused. I become driven by what I need to do to make my life feel better, or ignored it all together to numb out the overwhelming responsibility of being a wife, mother, and teacher. Even when I run off the rails and get side-tracked, Jesus lovingly pursues me and draws me back. We were not created for isolation or self-service. There is a kingdom we belong to that gives us a bigger purpose.
Peter, Andrew, James, and John were ordinary fisherman. They were on their boats casting nets and working with their fathers to pull in their livelihood. It was just another day, or was it?
“Follow me,” he (Jesus) told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:19-20 CSB
There was no hesitation. The Bible says they left their nets, “Immediately.” This is a new way. To hear God’s call and instead of analyzing and making a pros/cons list of should I’s, just go. This may not be a drastic call, like moving across country or going on a mission’s trip. The call could be to contact a friend and pray with them. Make a pot of soup for a colleague who is going through a difficult time. Spend time with your child who is acting out and needs positive attention. Can we be people who say, “Yes!” to the kingdom of God?
Jesus, after being baptized by John, 40 days of fasting, and calling his disciples to follow him, began to preach his first sermon. Within the message, Jesus gives us the cure for our anxiety:
“Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:25, 33
But it is so easy to worry! Right now I’m worried about several things: my dad’s failing health, my husband needs a crown and possibly a root canal which costs a lot of money even with insurance (and they don’t do payment plans), a sister who is severely depressed and teetering on the brink of hopelessness. I’m worried that some of my dreams will never come true – that we won’t get out of debt, which we won’t ever get the house we need in order to foster or adopt. I’m worried that I am failing as a mom. I’m worried that I’m building feelings of resentment and not forgiving my husband. I’m worried that I’m missing opportunities because I’m focused on all the things!
I have to remind myself to stop and pray. Part of seeking the kingdom is praying. So I lay these worries at Jesus’ feet, and struggle to leave them there. I wrestle with it over and over, until finally I can let go and trust in a Good, Good Father. What it all comes down to is, I need to believe that God has good plans for me. I need to remind myself of the good He has already done. Reflect upon the memorials and testimonies. David needed these reminders through being hunted by King Saul, to facing armies in war, to the betrayal of his son, to dealing with his sin of adultery and murder; David focuses on the character and goodness of God.
I will declare all your wondrous works. Psalm 9:1
I will sing to the Lord because he has treated me generously. Psalm 13:6
The Lord is my Shepherd; I have what I need. Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – who should I dread? Psalm 27:1
For you are my rock and my fortress; you lead and guide me for your name’s sake. Psalm 31:3
For the word of the Lord is right and all his work is trustworthy. Psalm 33:4
Yes, there will be losses, pain, regrets; that is the rhythm of a broken world, but Jesus uses the good, the bad, and the ugly to make us beautiful. Each decision we make forms and shapes our character. We were created for this kingdom that is not of this world.
It goes against what we desire and our selfishness, to lay ourselves aside, and to seek God’s kingdom first. We don’t have to sort it out when we know what is right, just go and do it. What are you seeking in 2019? Is it a new job, a relationship, health, or fitness? Let’s put this resolution first on our list: Seek the Kingdom. Seek God and His righteousness. Watch as your eyes are open to opportunities, to people who are hurting, to share the love of Christ. Say, “Yes!” to open doors, and together let’s bring the kingdom of God to earth!