The best life is a God First life

Category: Encouragement (Page 1 of 3)

Phone calls are a way of doing good!

Doing good does not require wealth or gestures of grandeur. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with such efforts as they can help the masses, but doing good can also be something as simple as a greeting, a smile, or a phone call.

Did you know that it’s good for someone with dementia-type issues to receive 2 or 3 phone calls a day? Phone interactions engage the mind and brighten both the caller and recipient’s day. As I ponder this revelation, it makes sense that doctors would include phone calls among the list of recommended efforts to battle forms of memory loss such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Simple phone calls are ways of doing good; They can help friends and family battling memory loss, not to mention the depression that can sometimes accompany the challenges of each day. Phone calls, text, bible classes, Church services, prayer, games, and puzzles are all activities that engage the mind—these efforts, along with healthy foods, exercise, vitamins, and medications, can help slow memory decline and improve the lives of those living with such issues.

Both of my grandmother’s and my dad had dementia of some type, which makes me a candidate for such problems myself someday. However, had I realized the impactful role a simple phone call a day could make, I would have probably made a nuisance of myself calling dad daily to chat a few minutes.

So, I invite you to consider the following; Take time to identify a few people and add their phone numbers to your contact list? Then, make a point to reach out to someone on that list each day? Spend a few minutes checking on them to see how they are doing. Even if the conversations seem difficult at times, the call alone demonstrates the fact that they matter to you!

Whether it’s a dementia patient, grandparent, parent, sibling, or just someone you know doesn’t get out much, Phone calls or even texts are ways to do good by engaging them in life; it’s very easy for people in these situations to become reclusive and for others to unintentionally follow the adage “out of sight out of mind.”

Phone calls may not seem like much, yet such actions demonstrate the mind and the heart. They show you care enough to give a little time.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Galatians 6:9-10, Which states in part, “let us not grow weary of doing good.”

Communication is free, and it’s an opportunity to do good!

  • Hebrews 10:24
  • Ephesians 2:10
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:13
  • John 13:34
  • 1 John 4:8

God First!

Encourage and build-up

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11-22‬ (‭NASb)

God First!

God Knows

“In a world that blames God for disasters, yet credits luck for life’s blessings, we need reminding that the Lord alone is the universal Maestro. Evil and suffering are not from his hand, yet he is mighty enough to work the worst of circumstances for our ultimate good and his own exalted glory. It is ours to choose whether we will cooperate with his unfolding redemptive drama—whether we will submit our lives to his will. Each step taken and a word spoken should be a confession of just who is crafting our life’s story.”

Above is an excerpt from the book: The Epic of God – by Michael Whitworth; the book is an in-depth look at Genesis that I found very interesting. I introduced the book to my wife and happened to reread the introduction when the above excerpt stuck out to me. I posted the above in 2016 on Facebook – I wonder now as I see it in my FB memories if God knew I would need this reminder later in life and that I would share it with all who read my articles (of course, he did).

  • Psalm 139:4
  • 1 John 3:20
  • Hebrews 4:13
  • Isaiah 51:3
  • Psalm 119:76
  • Matthew 5:4

Children need interaction more than a distraction.

Our children are the future! So we need to invest in the next generation. Help them be better than us. The investment needed most is our time. Children need our time. We need to teach, lead, listen and pray with them. Children learn not only by our words but largely by our examples. They need to see Christ in us all the time.

In our high-tech world of conveniences and distractions, money is often thrown at children at a very early age instead of our time—money for electronic games and entertainment. Some electronics are marketed and purchased in the name of education. Unfortunately, many adults fall prey to using these electronic gadgets as child sitters. When this happens, what the child learns most, is “how to be alone,” – distracted from human interaction.

Children need us to invest our time. They need us to have listening ears. They need our attention and direction. Of course, we all enjoy games and entertainment, but our play needs to be balanced, not all-consuming.

Children need interaction more than a distraction. They need our personal efforts as much as possible, helping them learn how to study and the importance of balancing priorities. This hands-on effort helps our children realize they are loved.

Children need our time and discipline in love to learn to share it with the next generation and build a better tomorrow.

God First!

We NEED TO “ARM OUR CHILDREN!”

We need to arm our children; We need to arm them with the teachings of Jesus Christ that they may learn love, strength, honor, respect, compassion, humility, and thankfulness. As our children and we grow in the knowledge of God’s love, it creates a natural zeal to Love and serve our creator. To keep His commandments with all their Hearts, Soul, Mind, and Strength, and Love others as Christ loved us.

Arming our children with the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, is the best way to help them protect themselves. As parents, we strive to protect our children, teach them right from wrong, caution, and self-control, how to be strong yet humble so they can achieve success in life’s challenges. There is no better foundation to provide them than the foundation of God.

Loving God and having His Word in their hearts as their guide helps provide our children with the knowledge they need to make better choices throughout life. It helps them know where to turn to find answers and seek help from Scripture and through prayers. In addition, God’s Word helps them make the right choice when they encounter situations where bad choices may have lifelong, negative impacts.

Our children need to see the adults around them demonstrate how to love one another as Christ loved us in all our actions. They need to see us show respect for authority, respect for others, love, and compassion. Our children need to understand that actions have consequences; if we want good consequences, we need to input good actions.

  • 3 John 1:4
  • Ephesians 6:17
  • Proverbs 22:6
  • Ephesians 6:4
  • Isaiah 54:13
  • Deuteronomy 6:7
  • Psalm 78:6
  • Romans 9:8
  • Matthew 22:37
  • John 13:34

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!

One of the best things my brother did was; hurt me with love

One of the best things my little brother ever did for me is something many would not understand, and some would disagree with. Admittedly, when he decided to take action, I myself thought he was being ridiculous. I understood his intent but gave little thought to the strength and courage it took him to take the stance he took toward me. I know now he did have sound reasons for his actions, but I was so wrapped up in my life, I wasn’t willing to listen. So, I acted as if it was “his” choice and dismissed his decision when down deep, it bothered me.

At that time in my life, I was a young baptized man with a “milk feed” understanding of scripture. Although I knew better, I had allowed myself to slowly become consumed in worldly ways. Although mindful that I was on the wrong path, I chose to ignore my bad choices rather than change direction. Instead of turning back, I stopped referring to myself as a Christian and convinced myself I did so because I did not want to seem like a hypocrite or bring reproach to the Lord’s Church.

For some reason, I convinced myself this was logical, but in reality, I didn’t want anyone to convince me I needed to change. So, I wouldn’t give them the chance. Instead, I ignored or avoided them and, in effect, ignored and tried to avoid God. I would smile, cut jokes, “always had to go,” anything to avoid giving birth to a serious conversation. In latter years I came to the realization that by my choices, I had been denying Christ, turning my back on His love, and crucifying Jesus yet again. (Oh’ how much this hurts to think about now.)

My parents and brother tried to talk with me about my choices and what God’s Word says about my decisions, but I would have nothing to do with it. These conversations were like the plague to me. I didn’t want to risk changing my lifestyle. I wanted to ignore them. I feared conflict because it might lead to a sense of accountability or change, and I feared change might rock my relationships.

I was a cowardly man who perceived myself as a strong and good man. I played a dangerous game and gambled my soul, thinking, “God will take me back when I’m ready.” This was arrogant and foolish. I somehow thought if I died, I could explain to Jesus how things came about and, because of His great love, Jesus would cut me a break. He would understand and forgive me. I think I actually thought myself so sly that I could talk my way out of eternal punishment by pleading ignorance.

Deep in the recesses of my mind, I wanted to follow Christ and secretly hoped I would man up. I recall praying from time to time that it wouldn’t take some great loss or terrible event to get me serious about changing direction.

The truth is, it was not really a gamble at all; had I died at that time of my life, I was lost for eternity. My keen wit and ”worldly sorrow” would NOT have saved me. It would take ”Godly Sorrow.” Why? Because Godly sorrow leads to repentance. I was wrong and needed to realize it; since I was already baptized, I needed to repent (change direction), ask forgiveness for my sins and, live for Christ; rather than self.

Spiritually I was worse off than a Non-believer. I was a baptized believer who chose satan’s offerings over God’s grace and Christ’s Sacrifice.

My brother’s efforts were done out of love and designed to help me see the seriousness of my condition when he informed me that he would not bring his family to my home. He was, in fact, ”disfellowshipping me.” To many, this sounds horrible, But it wasn’t! It was an extremely difficult act of concern and love for my soul. And what I needed. He was also protecting his family from my worldly influence because condoning my chosen lifestyle inferred acceptance of that which goes against the teachings of God.

Unfortunately, my brother’s actions alone did not get me to change, but they did prompt me to take pause and give some attention to the seriousness of my soul’s condition. Years went by where I missed out on opportunities to influence my nieces in positive ways because of my choices at the time, not my brothers. I chose a lifestyle I knew was contrary to scripture, contrary to living for Christ; I was living in sin, and very importantly, “I knew better!” My brother’s action was a blessing; it was one of the best things he could have done. It was far from the first or last thing he tried. He did continue to reach out to me, and we would talk from time to time about scripture. We would still see his family on special occasions. My brother’s influence and his actions at the time helped lead me back to Christ and an eternal home with God. Today, We are the best of friends and both brothers in Christ.

Since my repentance several years back, I have studied diligently, I have come to realize how little I understood of God’s will, His Grace, His forgiveness, and the importance of ”my role” in God’s plan. We cannot just receive; we must give!

I wish I had been consuming both the milk and ”the meat of Scripture” when I was in my youth; Thankfully, I knew enough to realize that as Godly sorrow took hold, I truly had no excuses. I knew enough to know I needed God’s forgiveness and that for me as a baptized believer of Christ, that meant change (repentance), asking forgiveness of God and the Church.

With today’s understanding of Scripture and God’s love, I cannot fathom living and NOT doing my best to put God’s will first in my life; after all, God’s will is the best will!

Love is sometimes difficult, it sometimes hurts, but love always wins in the end. God’s forgiveness and God’s eternal home is available to all who will follow Him and pursue doing God’s will over our own.

God First!

  • James 4:17
  • 2 Peter 2:21-22
  • Philippians 2:10-11
  • Revelation 21:8
  • Romans 12:2
  • Ephesians 2:8-9
  • Hebrews 2:3
  • 1 Peter 2:2
  • Hebrews 6:4-6
  • 1 Corinthians 3:2
  • James 2:18
  • Hebrews 11:6
  • Luke 8:13
  • 2 Peter 3:18
  • John 15:1-6
  • 2 Timothy 3:12
  • 2 Timothy 4:10
  • Galatians 5:4
  • Matthew 22:23-33
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
  • 1 Corinthians 5: 1-13
  • 2 Corinthians 2:1-17
  • Hebrews 12:1-29
  • Galatians 5:1-26
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

Edge walking, Fun or Peril

Some like to walk on the edge, and in doing so, make it appear fun, liberating, and exciting rather than extremely hazardous. Like-wise, many Christians attempt to walk on the edge of God’s Word and, in doing so, make it seem to those doing their best to walk on the safety of God’s firm foundation; they are somehow missing out on some of life’s enjoyment.

  • Why do those who walk the Edge of God’s Word want to bring others there too?
  • Why do so many accept their invitation and walk the edge behind them?

One simplified answer to these questions is a lack of understanding; scriptural understanding is needed for building strong faith. We can’t trust God and then distrust or discount God’s Word and/or the warnings found therein of the eternal peril associated with edge walking. We can’t be lukewarm and expect anything less than to be; spewed out. (Revelation 3:15-20)

Some discount their actions with the phrase “God loves us” as if that fact (and it is a fact) means God does not mean what he says in scripture. This statement implies that because God loves us, He will not really allow anyone to spend forever in hell; however, is that what we find in scripture? No.

Instead of edge walking, let’s strive to walk together with our brothers or sisters in Christ. First, let’s follow the pathway of strength and righteousness found in the knowledge and practice of God’s Word, holding securely to the extended hand of Jesus that we may be secure in our footing. Then, being strong in our faith lets us extend our hand in Christian love for others to hold; and instead of being influenced, let’s influence and encourage others who might be walking the edge to walk on the safety of the firm foundation of God’s Word.

When we walk the pathway that God’s word lays out, there is no doubt of our salvation; yet, when we walk on the edge, we are but one misstep, one loose footing, one heavy wind, away from certain eternal death.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Hebrews 10:26-31
  • 2 Peter 2:20-22
  • Colossians 2:2-8
  • Acts 11:23
  • 1st Thessalonians 5:11
  • Acts 14:22
  • Ezekiel 18:24-26
  • Matthew 7:21-23
  • Matthew 18:6
  • Colossians 2:2-8
  • Jeremiah 50:6

God First!

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