The best life is a God First life

Category: Burdens (Page 1 of 2)

Offer to pray with someone.

The day I wrote most of the following, I had the urge to ask someone if I could pray with them (at that moment). Pray with them, not just for them, about concerns weighing heavily on their heart. For some reason, I felt awkward about extending this offer of prayer and instead offered to include them in my prayers.

After they left, I reflected on that moment and was disappointed in myself. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer and that God hears and answers prayers, but I’d missed the opportunity to share that understanding one on one.

There are several benefits to praying with someone, rather than just for them. First, in praying with someone, we step out of our shells and open our hearts to their needs; by doing so, we display Christ’s love for them through the prayer. We show compassion and real interest in their situation as we demonstrate our faith and trust in God’s ability to help them and build a closer relationship with that person. Christians care about others!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Praying for others is good; praying with and, for others, even more so!

I have been asked personally from time to time, “Can we pray about this? as I shared concerns. I’ve also been told impactful stories of how such an unexpected prayer moment inspired a person to begin a dramatic change in their life and move towards Christ.

For all the above reasons and many more, I believe there is a lot of good in praying with others and making such prayer a habit. It’s one I hope to develop more fully.

In Acts chapter 4, the disciples prayed for boldness. As I grow stronger in Christ, I pray God will help me overcome any hesitations, great or small, and that I will serve Christ with all boldness.

God First!

If I never make a difference, it won’t be because I didn’t try!

  • James 5:16-18
  • Ephesians 6:19
  • Ephesians 5:2
  • John 13:34
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

Let Go and Trust God

Forgiveness is natural for the good heart, like the heart of a child. Children forgive and move on. But, unfortunately, it’s often not so quick for the adult heart. A Heart cut deep and fractured with lifelong pain needs to know how to lean on Jesus, trust God, petition God in prayer, and have our prayers well heard. We need to let the God of all comfort help us! Let Him mend our brokenness and restore those childhood hearts.

The evil one will do all he can to inflame our wounds and focus our minds on wrongful thoughts; Satan’s Will” is that we are consumed and devoured by hate. He wants to steal the joy, satisfaction, and hope we get from striving to do God’s Will” and follow the teachings of Christ. Satan knows there is no joy in a heart consumed by hatred.

We do, however, have a defense! We can become spiritually equipped to cope with wrongs and the injustices of this world, but are we? Only God can truly help us in all situations, but we must be willing to let Jesus be our Shepard. It doesn’t take great physical strength to let Jesus carry our burdens. It takes faith and commitment to follow God’s will, not our will.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV.

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 ESV

God’s will, leads to salvation; Satan’s will, leads to destruction. However, we have the freedom to choose, and by God’s grace, we can all have forgiveness by our obedient faith. So – Let go and Trust God.

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!

Why?

In the book of Job; Who brought all the calamity to Job? It was NOT God. Who blamed God? It was NOT Job. Who believed Job would NOT turn from God? It was NOT Satan.

Job’s friends were wise, and much of their logic was sound. Their problem was that they misapplied their wisdom by trying to force it into Job’s situation, making assumptions, and leaning on their own understanding. They tried to deduce answers and assign blame, which made God angry with them.

When we lean on our own understanding and try to force it into God’s Word, we find ourselves missing out on the wisdom and love found in God’s Words. We miss out on the understanding and peace that can only come from listening and applying the Words of God rather than applying our own.

Scripture tells us to study. It tells us how to become” In Christ.” Jesus said: if you love me, you will keep my commandments. God’s Word is the way to wisdom, understanding, and peace.

God is Love, God is Good; Satan is the evil one!

  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-17
  • Acts 2:38
  • Romans 6:1-23
  • 1 Corinthians 15:22
  • Job 1:1-42

God First!

Even in death, Stephen was Teaching!

As I listened to a lesson by Kyle Rye this past Sunday, the following thoughts came to mind. In all that we do to the end of this worldly life, Christians should strive to follow the example of Stephen and teach God’s Word in all we do down to the very end. Even in death, Stephen was teaching!

Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 7:58-60

In Acts 7:59, we are told: “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

  1. Here we see by Stephen’s words and example what faith, trust and commitment entails as he called out “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
    • Stephen did not beg them to stop or try to take back his words but rather; demonstrated by example his belief and trust in God.
  2. With a loud voice Stephen teaches them and us as he identifies their action as Sin
    • In verse 58 we find that Saul, later named Paul was present.
    • In verse 59 whether Stephan’s killers knew at the moment or realized it sometime later, Their actions were NOT Justice, but Sin. Among his last words Stephen called them out on this. Certainly, this did not escape Paul as he later grew in understanding.
  3. In death Stephen teaches forgiveness
    • In verse 60 we find Stephen asking God not to hold this sin against them. In making this statment we learn Steven did not leave this world with a grudge or hating those who were taking his life, but rather; Stephen left demonstrating compassion for their ignorance and love for his murderes, as he appealed to God for them to be forgiven of this sin.

I can only imagine how Paul may have reflected on these memories later in life. How they may have burned in his heart, knowing he could not change what he’d been part of, yet these memories likely became fuel. Heartfelt fuel that helped push him to teach and share Jesus no matter what the worldly consequences may be.

Paul later stated: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

God First!

  • Colossians 3:13
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • Hebrews 13:14-16
  • Matthew 6:21
  • Mark 16:15

Be Prepared to Protect and Fight!

If we don’t know what tools we have or how to use them, It’s like taking a water hose to a house fire and telling a fireman you have it under control.

Satan’s easiest targets are those ill-prepared to fight. Satan has been honing his skills, enticing, tempting, and deceiving us to the point that many don’t even recognize sin, but call evil good and good evil. Being prepared does not come by osmosis; it takes action on our part. God’s Word is our tool, sword, and shield of armor against the evil one.

Taking time to hear the gospel of Christ and practice it in our daily lives is how we build our faith. It’s how we help our children, friends, and families and build our country towards a better tomorrow.

Faith comes by hearing, which leads to understanding and increases our desire to do God’s will in every way. When we have God’s will in our hearts, souls, and minds, we will have every desire to love God with all of our strength and keep his commandments.

We DON’T have to be easy targets for Satan if we will pick up our sword (The Bible) and take action for good, one day at a time. In doing so, we learn how to apply the defenses of God’s love to our lives and be examples that will help others do the same.

Small ants carry tiny pieces of dirt, and by themselves, this could seem so daunting and pointless, yet in time as more ants carry, they build large mounds of protection for the colony. Knowing God’s Word is our protection; let’s learn and share piece by piece helping to protect ourselves and those we love.

  • Isaiah 5:20
  • Ephesians 6:13-20
  • 2 Timothy 3:16
  • 2 Timothy 2:15
  • Romans 10:1

God First!

Problems come and go.

Today’s problems sometimes seem insurmountable, but so did several past problems; if you think about it. Many issues that once daunted our thoughts are now; no more than distant memories.

With God’s help and our trust in God, we can resolve and overcome difficulties, even count them all Joy as our faith is strengthened by trusting God. God tells us to ask for help, to lay our burdens on Jesus, of whom we have been given the avenue of prayer, by praying in Jesus’ name. As disciples of Christ, we are told to believe, and our request will be answered, that “…the prayer of the righteous person has great power as it is working”.

God wants us to accept his Grace through our Obedient Faith so we can look forward to an eternal existence with Him—one without hardship, without pain, where there are no tears, full of joy and song.

Our short span is but a speck of sand in outer space yet a spec God deemed worthy of Christ- His only begotten son who died that we might be forgiven and live forever with God!

Whatever we do; Include God and seek to pursue those things he asks of us in Scripture. Not adding or taking away from His Word.

  • James 1:1-8
  • James 5:16
  • Matthew 21:22
  • Matthew 6:34
  • Revelation 21:4
  • Matthew 19:26
  • Hebrews 13:14
  • John 3:16
  • Deuteronomy 4:2
  • Revelation 22:18-19

GOD FIRST!

It helped me overcome stress; Maybe it could help you.

I once found myself extremely stressed as multiple concerns snuck up, combined, and weighed me down. I remember feeling so distraught and so overwhelmed I knew not what to do. Then, I decided to write down my thoughts. Not for the purpose of sharing them with others but rather to take those muddy thoughts in my mind, organize them, and put them somewhere else. (like on paper) For some reason, doing this helped me considerably to think clearer in the following days. It helped me prioritize my thoughts and clear away the mud in my mind.

I still do this from time to time. In fact; If you’re reading this, you see I share some thoughts on my website and other social media platforms but certainly, not all.

I also have found that just as important as writing down those thoughts, to begin with, Is to read them back later, even if I find that what I wrote to be nothing more than incoherent Babel, which is embarrassing if I have shared it publicly (but that doesn’t matter).

What does matter is the point: writing down my thoughts and rereading them helped me clear my mind and get the garbage out. It helped me discern the issues and separate what I could control from those out of my control.

If you’re struggling in some way, maybe writing can help you also. So, take a little time and write for yourself, even if no one but you ever reads it.

Don’t discount prayer! I highly suggest pray, then write. Maybe even write out your prayer telling God what’s on your mind. This helps you recognize those anxieties you can’t control so you can turn them over to the one who can; Jesus.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7

I extend these thoughts in the hope that what’s helped me through some difficult times may help others.

God First!

Worry changes nothing! (Except maybe our health)

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

While it’s true that we need to prepare and be prepared, it does absolutely no good to worry. Worry changes nothing! (Except maybe our health).

With or without worry, we will still have to navigate through each day’s trouble on that day. While this seems easier said than done, all things are possible with God. The key is to be “In Christ” and allow the God of all comfort to be with us in every trial.

Include God in everything: Pray

“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
  • Matthew 6:34 (worry)
  • 1 Peter 5:7 (turn burdens over)
  • 1st Thessalonians 5:16–18 (response)
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (Comfort)

In Christ

  • 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!

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