Kenneth Copeland - First Things First
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Now then, Matthew chapter 6, the 33 verse. 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you, take therefore no thought for the morrow. For the morrow will take thought for the things of itself, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof". Now there's a revelation right there. How do you take a thought? You have to say it. If it's just a thought, reject it, and it dies stillborn. But once you say it, it becomes active.
A number of years ago, when I had that disc explode in my back, I never experienced pain like that. And the Lord reminded me of that. Where is pain? It's in that thought life, you can prove that, they put you to sleep and operate on you. And I just started saying it. I do not take the pain saying, I do not take the pain saying, thank God. I don't take the pain. Amen. And I set out there in the backyard with two heating pads on that left leg. And I took the sash out of a couple of old bathrobes I had and tied them on there and turn the heat up just as high as I could get it trying to match that other pain. And I sat out there in the backyard praising God, just as loud as I could. And I learned this from Keith Moore and thank you sir, very much. I said, "My right leg doesn't hurt. My arms don't hurt. Nothing but one leg".
What is this? Why I'm carrying on about one leg? I've got two. And so my hands don't hurt. I don't have a headache, glory to God. Isn't this wonderful? Then I had that pain came, and I, glory to God, look at the grass. I glorify God. I take this thought. And as long as I would do that, it didn't hurt. Then I'd say, "Oh glory". and boy, back it'd come. Don't take the thought. Don't take it.
2 Corinthians 10 will tell you what to do with a thought. Cast it down, bring it into captivity, jail it, and don't let it out of jail. All right. That's not my subject, but okay. That's free of charge. Seek ye first, first things first. First things, but not what you think is first. Not what I think is first, but what God says is first. It may come as a real revelation to you. He's smarter than all of us put together. And He knows what He's doing. He's been at it a long time. And He's good. And everything He says is good. And everything He does is good. And He's trying to get the good to us and get the bad off of us.
But now there's a real key here. And I don't want you to try to read it on the screen. Of course you can, if you'd like, but I want you to hear this from the Classic Amplified. And I want to go down, let's take verse 25. "Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy, anxious, and worried about your life". What'd He say? Stop it. He didn't say try to stop it. He said quit it. Stop that. Don't be doing that. Well, brother, no, don't start, well brother, just stop it. How do you do that? Yes sir. It's stopped right now by faith. That's the Word being final authority. That's the Uncompromised Word. Yeah, it's stopped. Okay, now Lord help me. But it's stopped. Right now. "About your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, or about your body". Ah, get your body off your mind. "What you shall put on, is not life greater in quality than food and the body far above and more excellent than clothing"?
Now, a lot of people put this first. No, no, no. Go around all that. Seek first things first. "Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns. And yet your heavenly father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit, one measure, cubit to his stature or to the span of his life. Why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field, and learn thoroughly how they grow. They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificent excellence, dignity and grace was not arrayed like one of these. But God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green. And tomorrow's tossed into the furnace. Will he not much more surely clothe you? Oh, you of little faith. Therefore, do not worry and be anxious, saying, 'What are we have to eat? What are we going to have to drink? Or what are we going to wear?' For the Gentiles, the heathen"...
Are you a heathen? No, I am not a heathen. Out in West Texas, we don't say heathen. We say heathern. I'm not a heathern. I'm a good old boy Christian is what I am. "Your heavenly father knows well that you need them all. But seek, aim at, and strive after first of all his kingdom and his righteousness," listen to this, listen to me. "His way of doing and being right," that hit me like a hammer. First time I ever read that in the Amplified. The first Amplified, the Classic, they fixed it and ruined it. Don't fix something that isn't broken. His way of doing and being right. Let's do it the way He does it. The way He says do it. Seek that first.
So how do I read that? What is the most important thing to this ministry? And what is this ministries job? Meet the needs of the people. Where are the flaws? We were a million dollars behind. This was back in the very early days. We were a million dollars behind. And I pulled every string, and it just wasn't doing any good. And we were still getting behind as we went. So I did back then, what I still do now, I went up, went to our little prayer cabin over in Arkansas, went over there by myself, and stayed over there for three or four days or so, never less than three days. When you need the wisdom of God, take longer if necessary, but don't you ever try to do this in less than three days. Fast if you have to, I've done it, time and again. And I've never gone the whole three days without an answer.
And that's what happened this time. And I just prayed in tongues. I prayed in tongues, and I prayed in tongues and I prayed in tongues. And the Lord said, "You don't need a million dollars". I said out loud, "Well, you could have fooled me". "No," He said, "You don't need a million dollars". See, to me, that was first, but no, that was not first place. Very clearly He said, "You have a problem in your ministry. And when I tell you what it is, you will remember when I told you to do it, and you just sloughed it off and didn't do it anymore. And until you get rid of that, I could give you a million dollars and it'd go away". It was when the Lord spoke to me, George, very plainly, and said "Tithe the ministry". And I thought tithe the ministry, well that's good, but I mean, all of it's His, isn't it? And that's as far as I went. And while I was on that trip, and He said, "Listen to this, do government employees tithe"? Yeah.
Well, isn't that the government's money that they get paid with? Oh, I see it. Well, of course, once that money comes into this ministry, then it must be tithed because I said, "It's all yours". He said, "No, I want my tithe". And when I did, I mean, it was shocking that million dollars just came jumping in there. I mean, it was like it was overnight. But I was not seeking first the kingdom, I was seeking first the Kenneth. But I had a problem. I didn't know what it was, but when I sought the King, He told me what the problem was. Hallelujah. We had a $6 million deficit on our television bill one time. Boy, that was wicked, wasn't it George? Now up until then, of course television structure was different then than it is now. And all of our television was on broadcast stations back then. And our television bill was very large. And we got behind on it, and oh, it got on me.
I said, "Lord, theoretically here I'm in debt". And it just kept going behind. More behinder and behinder and behinder until it got behind, we were $6 million behind. And that things coming due every month. Well if you get $6 million in there, you still got to have 6 million more because you still got to be paying the bills. So I didn't know. I did not seek first like I should have. To me, that was first. So now George being CEO, and we have a board meeting coming up, and the process, each department, including the television department would send him their report. And then during the board meeting, George would give the entire report of all the departments. Well, he had given me the report. I didn't want to read it. I'm going to have to stand up there and tell our board members that we've had the worst year we've ever had in our lives. And I don't want to read this thing.
And I waited until about midnight the night before that board meeting, Gloria was already in bed. Well, I'm going to have to read this thing. So first department, well, best year we've ever had. Second department, most wonderful year, third department, great year. TV department, in the red six million. And I looked at that. I said, "Lord"? He said, "Yes, yes, you had the best year you ever had. And you didn't know it, because if you will notice, the only department that's behind is the TV department. And that's the one you tried to carry. And you carried the care of it instead of rolling it over on me". I said, "Huh? It's rolled". I woke Gloria up, got her in there. I said, "Look at this. We've had the best year we ever had. And I was so stupid, I didn't know it. I didn't seek first". And then we rolled the care of that $6 million on there. Now the board meeting was in May, I think.
George Pearsons: We going into that board meeting in January. And they were telling us that to get back on track again, from an accounting standpoint, a natural standpoint, it would take anywhere from a year to a year and a half or two.
Kenneth Copeland: I was thinking two years, because you're catching up all the time.
George Pearsons: So while you and Gloria were praying where the staff was concerned, in December of 1989, I gathered them every day, every day, every morning in the atrium. And we just decided to praise God that we were completely out of that debt situation. We just did it. We laid into it. You laid into it. We crossed over into 1990. By the time we got to March, all of the accounts payable were caught up, and on July the 10th of 1990, at nine o'clock in the morning, it was paid in full.
Kenneth Copeland: It was paid in full.
George Pearsons: They came in with a check, Jan came in with a check and said, "We are completely caught up". That was a supernatural manifestation of acceleration of provision.
Kenneth Copeland: Now, up until then, we had always paid the TV bill in two pieces, because this thing was what? 30 million a year or something like that. We started paying the TV bill in one check. Because finally, I sought first. Luke 6:27, then we'll close. Thank You, Lord. Well, after this, I do have another scripture I'll give you. Luke 6:27. Now this is in the same area, but Luke expounds on this.
Now wait a minute. Yeah, Luke 6:27 through 38. "But I say unto you, which hear, love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto them that smiteth thee on one cheek, offer also the other and him taketh away the cloke forbid not to take a coat also, give to every man that ask of thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask him not again. And as you would, that men should do to you do also to them likewise. For if you love them which love you, what thank have you for sinners love those that love them. And if you do good to them which do good to you, what thank have you, for sinners also do even the same. And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thank have you, for sinners also lend the sinners to receive as much again".
But, now listen to this, forget about the verses and the numbers. Listen to this. "Love your enemies and do good, lend hoping for nothing again. And your reward shall be great. And you shall be the children of the highest, for he is kind," here we are again, he is so good. "He is kind, unto the unthankful and to the evil, be ye therefore merciful as your father also is merciful. Judge not, you will not be judged. Condemn not, you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give unto your bosom for with the same measure you measure with all it'll be measured to you again".
If that doesn't say it, I don't know how to say it. Amen. A good God, and a bunch of people that will obey Him, and not get all bent out of shape over any of it, and just keep smiling. Amen. And now, thank You, Lord. Turn with me to the book of Colossians. Has this helped you today? The book of Colossians. The book of Colossians was one of those that shocked me beyond measure when I first began to read through it, it was hard for me to have a concept like this. And this is, this is something, hey partners, are you listening? This is on the prayer list, on the letter.
Chapter one, nine, 10, and 11, "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding". Glory to God, "that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness, giving thanks unto the father, which has made us able to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints and light", oh, look at this 13th verse, "who has already delivered us from the power of the authority of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son"?
We moved in. He translated us. That happened instantaneously when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And in the dear Son, dear there is agape. We're citizens of the love kingdom, because it's Love's kingdom and He's whoa, glory to God. We were born into the love kingdom. And love has everything. So seek first His kingdom and His way of doing what's right. And it'll all be added to you. Listen to me, listen to me about COVID-19 sufferers, oh, quit seeking the government so much. Seek first the kingdom. He can get things to you that you have no idea how he's going to get them there, but he can do it. He will do it. He's good.