The best life is a God First life

Category: Blessings (Page 1 of 3)

Love of Sports, Love of God

A lot of people get very excited about sports. It’s a topic of numerous conversations. Seldom am I with a group of men where sports is not immediately part of the conversation or dominates it.

Many parents rightfully recognize the benefits of raising their children to grasp the positive principles of sports and start them playing very early in life. Lifelong friendships build as parents help each other with rides and mutually encourage their children and each other.

As a result, Money, Time, and Schedules are eagerly manipulated so that parents can be supportive of events, practice meets, or games by their presence, and the value of teamwork is fortified. Families unite in sports talk, laughs, jokes, etc., discuss sports greats, sportsmanship, teamwork, missed opportunities, and often spend countless hours watching professional sports together.

These bonding moments are excellent training and contribute to building solid friendships and good character in our young adults to help them navigate life.

Isn’t this precisely how we should prioritize, teach, and share Christ in our lives?

Shouldn’t our conversations and social media posts include glorifying and sharing the blessings of Christ and showing concern for others?

If we showed our love for God the way we show our love for sports, how would our lives change?

What would it look like if our interest in God took priority over our interest in sports?

  • Would we start our children attending bible classes early in life?
  • Would we prioritize our schedules to ensure committed involvement in Church activities?
  • Would we prioritize teaching our children the love of Christ?
  • Would we encourage their understanding and development of leadership skills?

Imagine how excellent this world would be if the same effort we put into sports were put into following and sharing the message of Christ?

We would excel at learning everything we could about our creator. Jesus would be prominent in daily conversations and taking His name in vain, absent.

Instead, we would seek to be as Christ-like as possible, making every effort to do God’s Will according to what God tells us in scripture and our time would be arranged so that we could be involved in as many good works as possible.

If the world were to embrace God the way many embrace sports, we would put our service to God above all else, and our children would take notice. Just as they will notice, if we make exceptions, making exceptions sends the message that we believe it’s ok to deprioritize God from Time to Time, and that’s never ok!

Sports may bring a lifetime of happy moments but should never take priority over God, where blessings go far beyond this lifetime and lead us to our eternal home, a glorious place without tears, pain, or woes.

God First!

  • Acts 20:32
  • Jude 1:25
  • 2 Timothy 3:15-17
  • 1 Corinthians 14:26
  • Philippians 3:21
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  • Romans 1:12
  • Ephesians 4:15-16
  • John 3:16-17
  • John 17:3
  • Matthew 6:23-24
  • 1 Timothy 1:17
  • 1 Corinthians 2:9
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6
  • Luke 15:7
  • Matthew 7:21-23
  • Matthew 25:46
  • Philippians 3:20-21
  • Revelation 21:9-12
  • Revelation 12:4

Time and Love

Yesterday’s lesson from the pulpit was about showing brotherly love to one another. One of the points made is that being the recipient of such love reminds us we are loved. This is true whether the love expressed is on a grand or minuscule scale.

Whether it’s a card, a visit, a gift, or simply a caring wave from across the way, showing our love for others can make a positive difference in someone’s life while at the same time making one in ours. Don’t discount the little stuff, like a simple phone call. It says we care enough to call.

Let’s take time to reach out, don’t think of the call as obtrusive but rather inclusive. You’re not making a sales call; you’re making an “I Care Call.” Why wait for sickness or turmoil to make a call. If they can’t answer, leave a short message; if they are busy, simply let them know you are thinking of them. The call says: We care!

Phone calls are such simple actions and easy ways to do good and express Christ-like love for others; you never know how much your phone call could mean in someone’s day or even how it could provide comfort precisely when someone needs it most.

Time is one of the most precious gifts we can offer others. It’s a reminder that they are loved.

  • Hebrews 13:16
  • Philippians 2:4
  • Galatians 6:2
  • John 15:12
  • Proverbs 3:27
  • Acts 20:35
  • Galatians 6:9-10
  • Matthew 5:16
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:15
  • Hebrews 10:24
  • 1 Corinthians 11:1

God First!

The Best Part of our Story

I don’t like giving “Off-the-cuff” answers to questions as my response often seems inadequate; I prefer to think before responding. Last night was no exception when a young man asked: “What do you think is the best part of being married for so long?(We must have really looked old, to him) I had just met the lad about 90mins before when Virginia and I were standing at the restaurant counter reviewing the menu. We were trying to decide, stay or leave.

It was Valentine’s day and our Anniversary. So far, the evening was not going according to my plan. I intended to have an early dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, but we started late. The restaurant website indicated they were NOT booking reservations, so I assumed “first come, first serve,” but when we arrived, I saw the dreaded sign at the doorway “call for reservations.” It was about 5:30 PM; the place was almost empty but, they would not seat us. This snafu put me under pressure to find someplace quickly; Virginia was hungry, and I still hoped to beat the main crowd.

We found a restaurant we had never tried before. It was not fancy nor the type of food we typically eat; In fact, entirely out of the norm for us. It was a family-style Cuban Restaurant called Papis. We entered and talked with a young man behind the counter, mentioned it was our Anniversary, looked at the menu, got his recommendations, and decided to stay. They sat us in a quiet booth where we enjoyed some flavorful dishes. Although we were apprehensive at first, we found that being out of our norm added to the evening and made it even more enjoyable and memorable by night’s end.

We showed our waitress a FB picture I’d recently posted of us over the years. Then, before we left, she presented us with a complimentary dessert, one of our favorites, “Flan.”

As we were leaving, Virginia went to the lady’s room as I waited at the counter. I thanked the young man for his food suggestions and began some casual conversation when he asked: What do you think is the best part of being married for so long? (I was not prepared for that question). I thought for a brief moment looking for a quick answer and said: Contentment – We are both very content with each other now. Then, a short moment longer, I added: When you’re young as you are, jealousies, and things like that, often get in the way, but with a good wife, you don’t have to worry about that. Shortly after that response, I finally hit the nail on the head and Stated: but actually, the best part was when we decided to include God in our lives and live that type of lifestyle. The young man acknowledged my final answer and said: Really? Yes, Really!, Putting God first is the best thing we ever did for our marriage. The young man then thanked me and said: I really appreciate it. I wish my last response had been my first so I could have expanded on it.

Choosing to make God’s Word “The Standard” for our lifestyle has been the most important decision Virginia and I ever made in our marriage. I could expand for hours on all the facets of why our marriage is strong, but the bottom line is: The decision to put God First has by far been the best part of our story!

  • Matthew 5:6
  • Acts 5:29
  • Proverbs 16:3
  • Matthew 6:24
  • Galatians 2:20
  • Galatians 6:9-10
  • 2 Corinthians 8:6
  • Acts 10:35
  • Matthew 13:44-46
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Proverbs 19:14
  • Proverbs 31:10
  • Ephesians 5:44-33

God First!

It’s been over a year!

Well, It has now been slightly over a year since I decided to purchase and create a website called “AdvocateforChrist.com,“ along with the supporting aids needed to help me write and secure the site. I now have 165 posts to date.

I did this for two reasons:

  • First and foremost, as a means of sharing God’s Word and the beautiful blessings derived from following Jesus. To follow Christ according to His Word is by far the best life one can choose to live and the best advice one can give. However, It is a choice!
    • In my writings, I often present my thoughts with supporting Scripture to persuade readers to pursue God’s Word independently. I don’t want readers to simply adopt my thoughts but rather encourage them to go to God’s Word and check them out. God’s Word is where all truth originates.
    • The Bible is where one may learn the Truth of God’s Word more fully. Self-Study and self evaluation is essential! Satan has spent thousands of years twisting the truth with partial truths starting with Eve, persuading people to adopt manufactured ideas of God’s Truth. Our best defense to being misled in what God’s Word says is to have personal knowledge of God’s Word.
  • Secondly, I began this effort as a result of the encouragement I received. So many reading my post on Facebook kept suggesting I do more. I am grateful for all those uplifting and encouraging words. To all who have motivated me to do more, Thank you! I pray and hope my efforts are fruitful to someone, somewhere.

Last year, many of the advocateforChrist.com posts were a combination of new efforts and works I had written in years past. I would review, modify, and use grammar software to improve the previous post. I quickly realized that formulating, writing, and running my thoughts through grammar-checking software takes time, whether new or old ideas. At this point, I have now posted most of my previous social media posts onto the Advocate for Christ site. Going forward, it is my hope to post at least two or three times a week in 2022.

How can you help if you find these posts thought-provoking and beneficial? I’m glad you asked! 🙂

  1. Go to https://AdvocateforChrist.com and sign up to receive the post via email. Reading them on the website is easier than reading them on Facebook, plus; The scriptures link to an online bible for quick review.
  2. Like them, Love them, comment, and share them. (Once in a while, I write one worthy of sharing). With social media algorithms, Your likes, love, comments, and shares help others see them.
  3. If you have accounts with MEWE, Parlor, Aggos, or Instagram, I also post many writings or memes on those sites and welcome your likes and shares.
  4. Reach out in the comments section on Advocate for Christ or social media. Extend your thoughts, questions, and applicable humor.
  5. By all means, If you feel I am in an error of Scripture, contact me. Let’s have a private discussion.

God First!

Wayne R. Johnson

What is the only gift we can give God that God Wants?

Jesus tells us; the greatest “commandment” is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. In other words, we are to love God with all of our beings, with everything we have to offer. Jesus goes on to tell us the 2nd greatest “command” is to love others as ourselves. Jesus added a new command “…Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Did you notice these are not request?

They are commands. Why are they commands? One thought is because they are good for us. God does not force us to love Him or others. He leaves that to our choice. However, God has given us overwhelming incentives and reasons to love Him and absolutely no reason not to love Him.

Jesus tells us, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” So this is our opportunity to show our love and gratitude by doing our best to keep His commands.

IF we love him…” The word “Love” is so loosely defined in our cultures today, it’s often confused with all sorts of selfish temporal feelings, desires, wants, and infatuations. Jesus’s command to love is not a pill we take for temporary uplifts; no, It’s the kind of love God has demonstrated to us, one that never ends. It’s unchanging and committed. It’s lifelong. In fact, it is never-ending, eternity long.

God first loved us and gave His son for us. So why would we hesitate not to do our best to show our love for Jesus in return by keeping his commandments?

I can think of only one thing we have to offer God that God cannot give himself; what would that one thing be? _ _ _ _

  • Mark 12: 30-31 (Greatest commands)
  • John 14:15 (keep His commands)
  • John 13:34-35 (new command)

Jesus said to him“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[a] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14:6-7

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

God First!

Little by little

Have you ever opened your mouth and said things you didn’t really mean to come out the way they did? Well, I did this recently. I listened to a presentation regarding the ongoing efforts of one of the missionary works our congregation help’s support and was amazed at all the accomplishments of this ministry. It touched my heart with the desire to help them continue and do more to the glory of God.

In talking with the missionary, I asked what the best way to give additional help is? right after his answer, I made my regretted statement to the effect: “I was not as blessed as others, “financially, but….”

Instantly, I did not like my statement and how it sounded as I am fully aware that I am very blessed, including financially, when compared to many in this world, and I thank God daily for every blessing.

I was trying to convey that I realized there was a great need for the help they were providing and appreciated seeing how they were helping. Recognizing this made me wish I had thousands upon thousands I could offer to help meet the overwhelming needs.

I didn’t want my question to be misleading as to what I meant by: “additional.” So, I attempted to clarify my question poorly and decrease any expectation of grandeur I may have accidentally implied. I hope I never make such a foolish statement again!

This scenario did remind me of a question my wife once asked me. I had just recently started going back to Church services, and she was not yet going but saw a check I had written, and asking very pointedly, she said;

What are you trying to do, buy your way into heaven?

Well, honestly, no, but my donations at that time were very sporadic, so for us, the check she saw looked big. My wife began attending, studying the bible, and later chose to be baptized according to Scripture.

As our faith and understanding grew, we realized although sporadic giving was helpful, it was not nearly as much as it seemed when we wrote the occasional check. So together, we budgeted a small amount for weekly giving. In comparison to previous years, we found that by doing this, we were helping far beyond those periodic checks just by giving a small amount each week that we could manage.

I should have remembered this lesson before my regretful statement to Mani. And, I pray God continuously blesses those who can write the large checks and that they will never give up doing so.

I need to keep in mind that if I budget small amounts, I can still help in significant ways, and if others do the same, we can all humbly make a vast difference within our abilities. Then, as our blessings increase, so can our help.

In the end, those small amounts can help spread God’s Word, Save lives and bring soul-saving truth to the masses.

Galatians 6:9-10 says:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

To God be the glory,

God First!

The prayer that started my change in direction

Life can be really hard sometimes, and when we live by our own standards, we are ill-equipped to deal with all the hardships. I lived by my own standards for a number of years. Yes, as a baptized believer, my standards had been influenced by the teachings of God, but instead of submitting to God’s standards, I strayed and created my own, which did not include putting God first. Instead, I was wise in my own eyes, putting worldly desires, worldly goals, worldly satisfactions, me,  family, sports, and TV before God and His will.

Eventually, I found myself in several situations where my standards were not good enough. I had no real answers. My solutions were Band-Aids, not fixes. Finally, I found the foundation of “my standards” to be rooted in the sand. My life felt like a leaf floating In the wind.

I am so very thankful that I knew where to turn. Thankful that I had been exposed to God and His Standards while younger.

Not only could I pray for God’s help but, I could choose to “change the direction of my life” (repent) and follow the standards of life that God, set before us. Through Jesus, and God’s perfect and complete Holy Word (The Bible), we can be complete.

I found myself humbled through turmoil beyond my control. Turmoil, I so much wanted to control. I had to realize that God was the only answer. God is the only being with the ability to help in all situations.

I started my change with a deeply heartfelt and tearful prayer. That night, I made the decision to turn my troubles over to the Lord while at the same time deciding I wanted to be an advocate for Christ (a disciple). I wanted to pursue righteousness way beyond ”my standards.”

I had read part of a verse in the book of James that said: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” And I wanted my prayers to have great power. I wanted and needed God’s help.

That night, I did not give up on any of my concerns; rather, I sought the most powerful help available to all of mankind, and through the name of Jesus, I approached our Creator.

Since that night, the changes I’ve chosen to make in my life have helped me establish a firm foundation. To grow healthy roots in healthy soil, creating peace And joy within. My understanding of God’s Word blossoms continuously now, as it would for anyone who chooses to seek God through His Word. It just takes study, effort, and action on our part.

God’s all-powerful and just standards have now replaced the insufficient and weak standards I once created for myself.

The bible lets us know that hardships fall on the just and the unjust as rain does the fields. Having God in the forefront of our lives gives us a reason and strength to embrace all that life offers, good and bad, and be able to count It all, joy!

There really is a peace beyond understanding, and it is attainable when we decide to deny ourselves and follow Christ.  I now use the two words “God First” all the time. It is embroidered or printed on many of my clothes as my spirit-wear. A constant reminder to me and others that putting God First is the most important thing we can do, teach and share.

There’s a reason why loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength is The Greatest Commandment.

God First!

The blessing of direct prayer

When we approach God’s throne in prayer, we often bow our heads, close our eyes, and kneel. I love doing these gestures as doing so signifies respect, honor, and glory to God. These gestures also help focus our attention solely on the prayer and can be great examples in teaching our children to pray and respect our Heavenly Father.

This said; Prayer has no limits! We can pray anywhere at any time in any situation or environment. We don’t pray to impress those around us; we pray to have time with our creator, say thank you, or ask for help.

God is family, and no one loves us the way God loves us, and no one has the ability to help us more than God does. So, we can pray out loud or in our mind without a single word spoken, with our eyes wide open, driving down the road, cutting grass, fishing, hunting, cooking, walking the dog, or holding the baby.

God has given each of us the avenue of direct prayer through the name of Jesus, his only begotten son, so why not take advantage of this incredible opportunity and pray often? God wants to hear from us!

  • Luke 12:34
  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • Matthew 6:7
  • 1st Thessalonians 5:17 (pray without ceasing)
  • James 5:13
  • John 5:15
  • Ephesians 6:18
  • Mark 11:24
  • Romans 12:12

God First!

30 Characteristics of Agape love

  1. Unconditional
  2. Without expectation of reciprocation
  3. Desiring good for others
  4. It’s eternal
  5. We desire it
  6. It has no evil in it.
  7. It covers a multitude of sins
  8. Provides motivation
  9. Brings peace
  10. It is a choice
  1. Fruit of the Spirit
  2. Not resentful
  3. Love is God as God, is love
  4. It’s forgiving
  5. Selfless
  6. Patient
  7. Kind
  8. Not envious
  9. Not boastful
  10. Not arrogant

  1. Not rude
  2. Does not insist on its own way
  3. Not irritable
  4. Does not rejoice in wrongdoing
  5. Rejoices in the truth
  6. bears all things
  7. believes all things
  8. hopes all things
  9. endures all things
  10. LOVE NEVER ENDS.

Agape love is choosing to love unconditionally; it never changes. We should love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

  • 1st Corinthians 13
  • Galatians 5:22-23
  • 1st Peter 4:8
  • 1st John 4:8
  • Philippians 4:8-9

Relationship bliss

It’s not luck; It’s caring!

From time to time, people have commented on how lucky Virginia (my wife) and I are to have a relationship that works so well, and while I appreciate their words, I also know it’s more than luck. I believe it’s largely due to our aim to please, not just ourselves, but each other.

Our daily actions are mindful, considerate, and inclusive of each other, so we end up doing many things together rather than taking part in the “ME Me me” attitude of today’s culture, which is destructive to relationships and opposes the teachings of Christ.

In today’s environment, it’s all too common to exclude loved ones from our lives with individual activities that distract rather than encourage communication and interaction. Yet, our time together is one of the most valuable earthly blessings we have. Seize its blessings with every breath you take!

  • 1 Peter 3:7
  • Proverbs 3:3-4
  • Proverbs 30:18-19
  • Song of Solomon 8:7
  • Ephesians 4:2
  • Ephesians 5:1-33
  • Philippians 2:1-30
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  • Romans 13:8-10
  • Mark 12:31
  • John 15:12
  • Matthew 22:37-39
  • Colossians 3:4-8
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
  • 1 Corinthians 16:14

God First!

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