The best life is a God First life

Month: August 2021 (Page 1 of 2)

If we truly believe God’s Word is

When I compose writings for spiritual consideration, it’s not about what I feel; it’s about what God’s Word actually says. Is that not what we should want to follow? It’s what I try to convey in my efforts and is why I repeatedly encourage self-study. If we truly believe “God’s Word-is-God’s Word,” then the truth is right before us. If we don’t believe so, then we call God a liar. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Often, I list scriptures for references in my writings in hopes the reader will review the scriptures and maybe even go a step further by reading and studying the context of the verses.

I strongly encourage study and dialogue; I don’t have all the answers but am willing to help find answers.

Got questions? Let’s study!

God First!

Learning what 3000 learned!

When the Church of Christ was first established in 33 AD, the apostles told their audience about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and many in the crowd listened. I would imagine they listened very intensely and that the more they heard, the more they realized the significance of what had been done. They were now comprehending the truth over a false narrative. They now realized the Jesus they hung on the cross was the actual; Son of God. This awaking prompted them to be concerned, to wonder, and to ask: “What shall we do?

“And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized (emersed) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 ESV

To repent from sin against God is to realize we are wrong and become remorseful. In this remorse, we understand our sinful actions move us away from God and towards eternal darkness. In this realization, we long never to make such bad choices again. Thus, in our desire to make it right, we repent, consciously taking steps in a new direction, walking away from the darkness of this world towards the forgiving light of Jesus.

Peter went on to say, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

Each of us is accountable for our own salvation; each person who heard this message had (and today, we still have) the ability to be saved by responding to the Word of God! (Below, many verses are listed that tell us how)

Choosing to follow God is not a forced decision; it’s an informed decision. God has given us reason and proof to believe. In today’s world, we all have access to God’s Word. So why not study the actual Word of God and find out if what we understand from others is what the Bible says? If not, be willing to change direction. When God’s Word is our foundation and not the words of others, it leads us to better discernment.

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:40-41 ESV

After hearing Peter’s answer along with more testimony and words to compel them, around three thousand souls came to understand that to be saved, they needed to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Scripture goes on to tell us those who did so were; added to the lord’s church.

Peter’s answer was good for about 3000 souls

Ever wonder why it’s not good enough for many today? Scripture does NOT say they were baptized simply as an outward sign of an inward decision. No, God’s Word says they were baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

Why do some discount the apostles’ answer and cling to claims invented by others thousands of years later? Claims such as; A prayer alone now saves you, or faith alone now saves you, or that baptism is a work, or that a symbolic baptism before you have heard the message of Christ or have any understanding saves you. I implore anyone who believes any of these ideas to please look closer at what scripture says on these matters. Find out what the bible says about how to be “In Christ.” Don’t believe me; believe God’s own words. Open your bible and study the God-breathed scripture. It is the Absolute Truth of God, and despite some opinions, take comfort in knowing the bible itself proves God and that all of scripture is God-Breathed.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:3-11
  • Grace:Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:24, Titus 2:11, Acts 15:11
  • Belief/Faith:Hebrews 11:1, John 8:24, Romans 10:17, Acts 3:19
  • Repentance:2 Cor. 7:9-10, Luke 13:3-5, Acts 17:30
  • Confess:Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 12:8-9
  • Baptism by immersion for forgivness of sin:Matthew 16:15-16 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Matt 28:18-20, Ephesians 4:5, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12, Acts 8:36-39, Mark 1:9-10, John 3:23

God First!

The Key and the Thread

  • Unity with God’s Word is unity with God.
  • Unity with God’s Word is unity with others.

We find unity when we cumulatively do God’s will, seek and use God’s Word as our standard.

Unity among believers is not found doing our will; It’s not found dismissing any of God’s Word as unnecessary or not applicable today. Unity is not found by trying to improve on what God told us to do. However, unity is a key to spiritual growth; it’s a thread that binds us together as disciples of Christ in peace, harmony, and Love.

Unity in Truth is important!

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”

Jesus (John 14:15)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

  • Romans 14:19
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11
  • Acts 4:32
  • Ephesians 4:23
  • Ephesians 4:11-13
  • Matthew 18:19-20
  • John 13:35
  • 1 Peter 3:8
  • Philippians 2:2-3
  • Colossians 3:13-14
  • Ephesians 4:1-6
  • John 17:23
  • John 4:12
  • Galatians 3:26-28
  • Matthew 23:8
  • Psalm 133:1

The well-being of others

Do you pray for the well-being of others? As I was praying for just that, the following question came to mind: What is the best thing for anybody’s well-being?

I concluded: The testament of Jesus pricks our hearts and opens our minds to God’s grace, His forgiveness, our repentance, and the love of God for us; it brings those who understand what Jesus has done for us an overwhelming desire to do His will and keep His commandments. This understanding stirs our hearts to take action. It makes us want to be “In Christ.”

According to God’s word to be in Christ, we must hear the message of Christ, believe, repent, confess Jesus as the risen Son of God, and be baptized into Christ in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of our sins. We need to realize that when we come up out of that watery grave, we are doing God’s will, we have ratified God’s Grace through Jesus, and by doing so, we are forgiven! At this point, we are free of our past sins, begin a new life as a new creature, and move forward in life as disciples of Christ, enjoying all the blessings that encompass our obedient faith.

Blessings like the knowledge that we now have never-ending life available to us in heaven, a spiritual world not made with human hands, where there is no more pain, tears, or death. That God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are now within us, helping us walk this world without being of this world. We can now take comfort in the knowledge that the blood of Christ continues to wash us even when we make mistakes.

So, What is the best thing for anybody’s well-being? The message of Christ!

With this understanding, I continue to pray that we all take time to learn and share the message of Christ for the well-being of all!

[Scriptures for consideration]

  • 1 John 5:3
  • Romans 10:17
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
  • 2 Peter 3:9
  • Acts 2:37-47
  • Acts 16:30-33
  • Acts 8:30-38
  • Romans 6:23
  • Romans 5:15-18
  • Ephesians 2:1-10
  • Luke 17:10
  • James 2:17-18
  • 1 Peter 1:17-25
  • 1 John 1:7

God First!

Why would you want to cheat yourself like that?

As I pondered my answer, I realized; this is exactly what we do when we don’t take advantage of opportunities to grow in Christ and build on our relationship with Him.

What happens when we make time to attend as many studies as possible? We draw closer to God, and He draws closer to us; we get to know God and fellow seekers of truth better and our actions demonstrate where our heart’s desire resides.

My heart’s desire once demonstrated my love for; time, eating, tennis, TV, relaxation, fun, laughter, etc. I made time for all these things because my heart’s desire once put them on a pedestal. During that period of life and without realizing it, I was not putting God First, but rather at My convenience.

In a discussion about not attending Sunday bible classes, Worship service, and other growth and edification opportunities such as Sunday evening or midweek bible studies, a friend asked me: Why would you want to cheat yourself like that?

As I thought about his question, I realized the validity of his point. That’s exactly what we do. If I don’t prioritize these opportunities, I’m cheating myself. But, that’s not all; I’m cheating others, starting with my family, those who may follow my lead or depend on me to get them to and from services. So, bottom line, I asked myself, What kind of example am I being?

By not prioritizing my attendance at every opportunity, am I not short-changing family, friends, and myself by not leading us toward spiritual growth? When we don’t attend, we miss out on knowledge, better understanding, fellowship, and growth opportunities. In addition, we miss out on being examples to others. Examples that demonstrate our gratitude, understanding, and belief that God should be first in our lives.

I now look forward to every opportunity to increase my understanding of Scripture and to grow through the uplifting unity of fellow believers by sharing and growing in the truth of Christ with one another.

If you are not attending at every opportunity, I offer this for your consideration…

Why would you want to cheat yourself like that?

God First!

I wrote most of this before the COVID-19 virus, which forced us into our homes to worship online. Yet, the point is still the same. Are we prioritizing our worship time and Bible study? Are we taking advantage of every opportunity for spiritual nourishment? Do our loved ones get to see our commitment by our actions? If not, Why would we want to cheat ourselves like that?

66 Books of absolute truth we should learn

We can never understand the whole truth if we only learn part of it!

The Holy Bible is the whole and absolute truth of God! It is 66 Books of God-breathed wisdom and instruction that our creator assembled for our betterment and understanding. The Old Testament has 39 books of ”before Christ” history, including hundreds of prophecies over hundreds of years about Christ. The New Testament has 27 books telling us of the Son of God, Christ. Telling us how to accept God’s offer of grace through our obedient faith in Christ and how we can each “put on Christ” or be “In Christ.”

Scripture defines “obedient faith,” telling us how to lay up treasures in heavenly places and have our souls live forever in a heavenly home not made with hands. God’s Word shows us how God extended us grace through Christ. It lets us know that when we hear the message of Christ, believe in Christ, repent, confess Christ as the living son of God, and make the decision to be immersed in the waters of baptism, we can be forgiven of our sins and walk in newness of life. (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-11)

New Testament scripture stresses the importance of sharing the gospel and teaching others, however; How can we teach what we do not know? We need to study! Our children need us to study! Why? So we can accurately teach them God’s word and spread the truth according to the truth.

It is through understanding and our obedient faith that we can know a peace beyond our understanding.

  • Don’t we want that?
  • Don’t we want that for our children and others?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:16-17
  • Grace:Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:24, Titus 2:11, Acts 15:11
  • Belief/Faith:Hebrews 11:1, John 8:24, Romans 10:17, Acts 3:19
  • Repentance:2 Cor. 7:9-10, Luke 13:3-5, Acts 17:30
  • Confess:Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 12:8-9
  • Baptism by immersion for forgivness of sin:Matthew 16:15-16 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Matt 28:18-20, Ephesians 4:5, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12, Acts 8:36-39, Mark 1:9-10, John 3:23

God First!

Painful Anniversaries

Some anniversaries are heartwrenching as we recall moments in time that shattered our hearts, such as; terrible life-changing accidents or the passing of loved ones. August was once a month of celebrated births for our family but now includes the dates of painful loss that tears at our very being. One August, I found myself praying for emotional strength and comfort that only God can provide for my loved ones in the coming days. As I prayed, I found myself stating, ”Father, please help all my family and us in these coming days as I don’t know what to do” as I spoke these words, it dawned on me, I was doing it!

Nothing is more powerful than God’s help, whether He provides comfort to our hearts and minds beyond our understanding and/or places projects and people in our lives to help us through.

Praying is so simple one might diminish its value in their minds and forget just how powerful communicating with our creator truly is. Scripture tells us the prayers of the righteous are the most powerful.  This tells me If I want my prayers well heard, I will pursue righteousness with all I have to give. Scripture also tells and demonstrates that the closer we draw to God, the closer God draws to us. 

Let us Pray often with righteous prayers from loving hearts then, trust God!

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8

“Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.” Zachariah 1:3

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.Mark 11:24 ESV

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16 ESV

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”. –John 15-7

God First!

Cherishing moments each day

There are a couple of things I look forward to and cherish at the end of every day.

  1. A Peppermint Kiss

Every night, just before we go to sleep, I brush my teeth, then bid my wife goodnight with a peppermint kiss.

 2. Time with God

The time I take time to pray.

I pray for many who might read this and for many who might not. I pray for my family; and Church family. For those I know are sick or coping with loss. I pray for our leadership and our country and for those who do not know God. I pray for the elders of our congregation that they make good decisions on how to best shepherd the flock and spread the message of Christ. I also pray for the preachers and the teachers in the Lord’s Church to successfully study and share God‘s Word, according to God’s Word. Finally, of course, and not lastly, I pray for my wife and thank God for my life and the blessings therein.

Take time to pray; it’s worth the effort, it’s worth the time!

God First!

The Mirror of Reflection and Growth

Our dual battle between good and evil starts with the desires of our hearts and minds. (James 1:15) When we act with goodness, we glorify God. When we act on evil desires, we sin against God.

Our actions show our heart so let us not be afraid to better ourselves by embracing the mirror of reflection and growth.

Let us ask ourselves daily:

  • Are my actions demonstrating where I know my heart’s desire, should be?
  • Am I proud of my actions?
  • Would Jesus be proud of my actions?
  • Did I reject temptation?

If the answer is “Yes” then you do well if your answers are “No” remember God forgives, He even forgets, If bad habits have formed it’s not too late to replace them with good habits. Scripture tells us to repent, which means: To change direction. There is never a better time to change direction than the moment you realize you need too and reflection helps us get to that point.

 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21

God’s word tells us how to focus our minds and hearts, how to overcome the temptation to sin. (Philippians 4:5-9)

  • Hebrews 8:12
  • Matthew 5:44
  • Matthew 5:16
  • Matthew 22:37–39
  • Grace: – Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:24, Titus 2:11, Acts 15:11
  • Belief/Faith: – Hebrews 11:1, John 8:24, Romans 10:17, Acts 3:19
  • Repentance: – 2 Cor. 7:9-10, Luke 13:3-5, Acts 17:30
  • Confess: – Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 12:8-9
  • Baptism by immersion for forgivness of sin: – Matthew 16:15-16 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Matt 28:18-20, Ephesians 4:5, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12, Acts 8:36-39, Mark 1:9-10, John 3:23

AdvocateforChrist.com

God First!

Injustice, Anger, and Control

Sometimes controlling anger to injustice can be a real challenge, and exercising control is not what we want to do; it’s like we’re choosing to absorb pain rather than do something to stop it. The pain can seem unbearable at times, but all things are possible with God, and it’s worth it to stay the course and follow the example of Christ.

Jesus exercised ultimate control; He could have called 10,000 angels at any moment. At any moment, Christ could have and stopped absorbing all the pain He suffered. However, Christ’s love for God and mankind proved greater than any temptation to lose control.

All that love for His Fathers Will and all of us had a tremendously positive effect. The trickle-down effect of Christ absorbing all that pain was our salvation. The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus demonstrate God’s love for us.  Every soul now has the opportunity and promise of eternal life when we accept God’s grace by our obedient faith; Heaven is our home. 

Jesus could have gotten angry and lashed out the way many of us might respond, He could have ended all of us at any moment, but instead, Jesus was consumed with love and compassion and exercised control.

Jesus had experienced pain and rejection before, but He knew; what He was about to suffer was far beyond all those previous experiences combined. This knowledge of what was to come had Jesus sweating blood on the Mount of Olives. He prayed for a different solution, but if not, he wanted to submit to God’s will, not his own.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Luke 22:39-44

Jesus exercised submission to God’s will, but rather than show anger; He demonstrated love and constraint; Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I admit this is difficult sometimes, but if it were not for our betterment, Jesus would not have told us to do so. Also, keep in mind what Jesus says in Romans 12:14-21 and trust Him.

  • Matthew 26:53 (12 legions of angels)
  • Matthew 19:26 (all things possible)
  • Luke 1:37 (nothing’s impossible)
  • Philippians 4:13 (christ who strengthens me)
  • Matthew 5:39-44 (love your enemys)
  • Matthew 22:37-40 (All encompasing)
  • Romans 12:14-21 (I will repay, says the Lord)

God First!

« Older posts

© 2021 Advocate for Christ

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑