Seek First

Anna Marie Magyar Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

Welcome 2018!

The start of a new year can be filled with such excitement and anticipation for all that is to come. We make plans to improve our lives or to step outside our comfort zones, so that this year can be the best one yet. However, this time of year can also be filled with post-holiday lulls or stress, and anxiety over many things the new year brings to mind.

In Mathew 6:33, Jesus states:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

I am not known for my patience. When I am passionate about something, my mind begins to run with ideas, plans, and other thoughts for the future. If I see someone in need, everything in my being begins to adjust and determine the best ways to help them. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but it’s the first, and most important step that I can often miss fully pursuing: seeking Him first.

Jesus says this verse above in the midst of encouraging listeners not to be anxious about their lives or meeting their individual needs (Matthew 6:25). Jesus beautifully puts things into perspective as He shares God’s faithfulness to clothe the grass of the fields, the lilies with beauty, and to provide food for the birds of the air. The Message translation says that the birds are “carelessly in the care of God” (Mathew 6:25-26).

Jesus then lovingly asks “Are you not more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26, NKJV). God cares for the lilies and the birds, how much more will He provide for His chosen people, His children!

As you look ahead to the New Year, what things come to mind that may cause worry or anxiety? The start of a new semester? Fear of failing the same resolution we had in 2017, but saw little success with? Meeting a financial need, or seeing healing for a loved one? The list is unending and varies for each person, but the solution, our starting place, is always the same: seek first.

Jesus goes on to state what may seem obvious, but is something I believe we all need to clearly hear and to be reminded of: “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:32, NKJV). No need of ours comes as a shock to our faithful Father, in fact He sees them all before they arrive at our doorstep, and He has already prepared the means to fulfill this need for us.

Our role is not to stress over these things, but to start by seeking Jesus first, and His Kingdom. Then, we will see His faithfulness as He brings his peace, love, and provision.

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.” 

Psalm 5:11 NKJV

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar


Wife. Cat mom. Lover of Jesus, coffee, and all things Disney. I was a student leader in my BASIC group at the College of St. Rose and have continued to help with the group as a co-adviser.

It’s Sufficient

Anna Marie Magyar Advisors & Student Leaders, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” -2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Can I confess something to you? Just between us friends? I am on my fourth cup of coffee…Don’t judge me; it’s been a long week (it’s Wednesday).

This summer, I was believing God to provide in a big way. I reminded myself of his past faithfulness, agreed with others in prayer, and believed I had heard from the Lord that He would meet this need.

One night, I was struggling to go to sleep as “what-ifs”, and feelings of worry flooded my thoughts. I was restless and without peace. Rather than distracting myself with Netflix, I got out of bed and went to sit with the Lord. I journaled the simplest prayer, “Lord, I trust you, but, right now I need you to encourage my soul.”

I opened the Bible, awaiting the Lord’s response. I was planning to turn to the Psalms where I often receive great encouragement, when I opened to the book of Esther. Sensing there may be a reason for this, I began to read Esther 1, and wow, talk about a word in season!

In chapter one, we are first introduced to King Ahasuerus who was throwing a feast for all of his officials and servants. The guest list for this party included “military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces” (Esther 1:3b). This feast was seven days and was the continuation to 180 straight days of the king showing off his awesomeness.

At that time, Queen Vashti was hosting her own party for all the ladies. However, at the end of the seven days, King Ahasuerus decides to show off what he felt was very beautiful to “behold,” Queen Vashti in her royal crown.

When she refused, the king was furious and embarrassed. Those closest to King Ahasuerus essentially looked at him and said “So you just gon’ let her do you like that?” The Bible states King Ahasuerus’ response was to “give her royal position to another who is better than she” (Esther 1:19b). This is what opened the door for Esther, a beautiful Jewish girl whose influence as queen would lead to the rescue of God’s people.

After I read this, I was hit with the question “where was Esther in all of this?” I doubt she had any clue she’d end up as queen and the great impact she’d have on her people. I am sure she had no idea we’d be reading about her life thousands of years later.

And this is when the Lord spoke to my heart.

Through this story in chapter 1 of Esther, the Lord showed me how He is opening doors for us before we even have a clue we will need them. Before we even pray to God for something, I believe He is making moves to meet our needs, teach and grow us, and to use us in mighty ways for His kingdom.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8

In our greatest need, to be made right with the Lord and have relationship with Him, He pre-planned and set into motion the answer to this need. Friend, I do not know what you are going through right now. I am unaware of the healing, restoration, or answers to prayers you are waiting on. I may never know the dreams you are consistently bringing before the Lord, waiting on Him to bring them to pass. But one thing I am absolutely confident in is God’s undeniable faithfulness to meet all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

Let me encourage you to be honest with the Lord. Ask Him to give you hope, strength, and grace in every season. Share your heart with a trusted mentor or friend who can pray with you as you hold on to the promises of our God. Press in.

He is faithful. He has opened doors before we ever knew we needed them. He will do it again.

The Lord was opening doors this summer I did not expect, and He provided in a big way! I am thankful for this, but honestly, I am more thankful for what I learned about His character in the waiting season.

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar


Wife. Cat mom. Lover of Jesus, coffee, and all things Disney. I was a student leader in my BASIC group at the College of St. Rose and have continued to help with the group as a co-adviser.

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoying The Journey

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Phil Blair.

Phil BlairPhil Blair attended SUNY Cortland with the intent of studying and pursuing a career in Adolescent Education of Chemistry. It was there that he felt God’s gentle, yet persistent call into ministry. In the exciting journey God invited him on, he found himself as a student leader in his BASIC chapter for the following semesters filling multiple roles throughout. Today Phil finds himself on leave from classes while actively serving in Jesus’ local church. It is there where he finds the outlet to reach the Cortland community, the place that he now calls home. Meanwhile he still advises the new leaders on campus and lives each day falling more and more in love with God and His beautiful design. 

Have you ever been set out on a task and asked yourself, “Ok, so I know the desired outcome, but how in the world do I get there?” If you’re anything like me, you have likely spent countless hours agonizing over the best route or the best plan of action. You may have even been wise enough to call out to God and beg for instructions. But again, if you’re anything like me, verse 105 from Psalms 119, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” rings frustratingly true.

God simply calls us to be faithful and trust as He provides a lamp and not a giant flashing spotlight. Often God will only offer us a small snippet of a grander design. The good news is that we are certainly not alone in our frustrations. The better news is that I think I have personally found a means of coping with this struggle and wanted to share it with you.

God’s word makes it clear that He’s called us to a life of faith and trust, which requires us to keep our eyes constantly fixed on Him. We might find ourselves wanting to get our BASIC group to a new level of maturity or striving for a personal breakthrough of some sort.

We spend a ton of energy drawing the most logical and “straightest” line from point A to B. We make strategies and plans hoping that we will get where we want to be with as little challenge as possible. But I dare you to be bold and challenge the “logical.” Sometimes God calls us to do things differently.

Take Tarzan for example. When he finds himself wanting to get from one side of the jungle to the other he doesn’t spend his time and energy planning out a straight route, building bridges, or cutting down trees to make his logical path possible. He instead simply reaches out and grabs a vine and swings! He takes the next available option and trusts in his internal compass to make the best decisions to take him to his intended destination.

Now I know, the planner inside of all of us is freaking out! If you were to look at Tarzan’s path, it would most likely zig zag, loop around, and maybe even backtrack. In the end, there might have been a much simpler and easier way for him to arrive.

I have struggled with this and maybe you have too. The desire to know exactly what to do next sometimes cripples us from moving at all. In God’s beautiful sovereignty, He gave me an opportunity to take a step back and witness firsthand how much slowing down and enjoying the journey teaches you character.

In this season of my life, I have simply been obedient to follow where God is leading, no matter how illogical it seemed. Honestly, at the start, it was more out of exhaustion and confusion than any gallantry or wisdom. That is the beauty of it all, that is exactly the place where God becomes so very real to each one of us.

I felt like Tarzan, just reaching out for the next branch, not really sure what would come next. In this season of complete submission, I was given an opportunity to be part of a teeny tiny men’s morning Bible study at a local assisted living home. That’s where I met Fred and Harry. They taught me something important about life and journeys and Tarzan.

Fred can be best described as a silent man, somewhat somber, and all in all very dignified. Harry, his best pal is just the opposite. Harry is the ruffian, the class clown, the life of the party, and one of the best story tellers. Often, I would find myself sitting in wonderment listening to the two navy men swapping stories and reminiscing about everything from deployment shenanigans to heart wrenching stories of their last moments with their wives.

One sunny morning in mid March, I had the pleasure of hearing a particular story of a cross country trip Harry found himself on and a hitchhiker he met along the way. The story itself, although funny, was nothing groundbreaking. I don’t know what it was about that day or that story, but later I was impressed with the importance of the journey and the adventure. The importance of taking in experiences everywhere you go and learning as much as you can along the way. The importance of just living and not planning all the time. The importance of just going.

Hey, that sounds familiar doesn’t it? Kind of reminds me of God’s design for our lives and God’s call to Abraham in Chapter 12 of Genesis. He presents Abraham with the simple, yet terrifying, task to just go. Just go and don’t worry about what lies ahead, don’t worry about whether you feel this next step lines up with where you think you’re headed, just go and keep your eyes fixed on him for the next step. Just reach out and grab the next vine.

The reason I chose this topic to share isn’t because it’s the newest trend or the easiest thing to grasp. This was (and continues to be) one of the hardest leadership characteristics I strive to learn. I assure you it has also been the most fulfilling. So, I want to encourage you to join me. When you let go and let God, the most extraordinary things always tend to happen.

About the Author

Sam DiStefano


Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.