The best life is a God First life

Category: Encouragement (Page 1 of 2)

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!

Abundance of love

To have an abundance of money is not something I can truly understand, however; having an abundance of loving and caring brothers and sisters in Christ is.

We are so blessed to be servants among servants for the Lord. We love our brothers and sisters in Christ both near and far and pray consistently for your well-being and success in sharing the message of Christ.

LOVE is so much more than a mere word

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV)

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV)

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” (1 Peter 4:8-10 ESV)

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

God First!

God is in control

We are extremely blessed to have the Bible. When we study God’s Word, we find those involved in the stories we read know only what is before them. However; We, get to see the plans of God come together over and over as we read through scripture. God has given us 66 books of God-breathed evidence and instruction to help us understand that putting our faith, hope, and trust in God is absolutely the best commitment we can make and share with others, especially those we hold dearest to our hearts.

The evidence we find in God’s Word, our surroundings, and science proves God exists. It proves God is our creator and is everywhere, all-knowing and all-powerful; it proves God is in control!

God’s word gives us comfort in knowing that by following the teachings of the new covenant, we can have eternal life in heaven.

This world is not our home; we are just passing thru

  • 2 Timothy 2:15 (study)
  • Romans 10:17 (Faith comes by hearing)
  • Hebrews 6:17 (God is unchanging)
  • Ephesians 1:11 (God is in control)
  • Matthew 6:1-34 (the kingdom of God)
  • Romans 6:1–4 (baptism)
  • Hebrews 13:14 (this world)

God First!

It’s “My Life” I’ll live it like, I want!

“It’s “My Life” I’ll live it like, I want!” What teenager hasn’t made a similar statement. What adult has never said a similar statement? Few, I’m sure. Before COVID-19, when entering worship, someone often handed out a list of prayer requests gathered by those working in prison ministry.

Later, when reading the request before praying for them, I noticed a high percentage of those requests from prisoners were for loved ones. Many seemed concerned about how their absence via incarceration had caused hurt, physical stress, pain, and financial burdens, negatively affecting those that love them: their parents, wives, children, grandparents, etc.

While behind bars, the concern for loved ones seems to be at the forefront of their minds. I don’t know what got these people in prison, but I do know; our actions affect those we love, and we should consider that when we start thinking, “it’s my life, I’ll do what I want.

No matter what time of life we’re experiencing at this moment, young, old, or in-between, we are examples to those around us, and when we make bad choices, those choices can easily create unnecessary burdens on our loved ones.

Jesus knew what He was talking about when He commanded us to love others as He loved us. Jesus is the ultimate example for our lives, and when he walked this earth, he lived accordingly. If we follow this command to “love others as Christ loved us,” then “living our life like we want to” will mean: living our lives understanding that what we do affects those we love. Regret is avoidable!

  • John 13:34
  • Matthew 15:16
  • 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Ephesians 5:1-33
  • Romans 12:1-21

God First!

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!

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?

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!

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!

Improving on Gods ways

When we worship according to God’s word, we don’t offer strange fire. In other words, we don’t try to improve on the Lord’s commands no matter how well-intended and innocent we believe our hearts and minds to be. Doing God’s will is what pleases God! Scripture is riddled with examples of this point. Jesus says, “if you love me, you will keep My commandments.” Jesus does NOT SAY: if you love me, you will attempt to improve on my commandments.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we should realize that attempting to glorify God in any way other than what God laid out before us by command and example in New Testament scripture is really an attempt to glorify ourselves. No matter how unwittingly.

Does anyone really believe their ideas are better than God’s? To me, attempting to conform scripture to today’s culture is foolish and backward thinking. It’s also dangerous thinking that puts souls at risk.

Instead, we should be doing all we can to show our love and respect for God, By making sure we are not ourselves doing as Nadab and Abihu did in doing their own thing rather than what God asked.

STRANGE FIRE(unauthorized)

‭‭“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'” And Aaron held his peace.”

Leviticus‬ ‭10:1-3‬ ‭ESV

Let’s diligently work to spread God’s word according to God’s Word and help our families, culture, and society understand and want to conform to God’s ways remembering that heaven is the ultimate goal and available for all who will follow Jesus and keep His Commandments.

God First!

What’s depression look like?

It’s not always the person that looks depressed that needs a listening ear; it could very well be the one with the biggest smile.

Scripture tells us to carry each other’s burdens. To encourage one another and build each other up. If you’re dealing with a difficult struggle, you don’t need to carry it alone. In fact, let me encourage you to share it with a trusted brother or sister in Christ. They love you! So, let them share your burdens, listen to you, pray with you, let them be there for you. Jesus Command’s us to love one another as Christ loved us. In this and many other scriptures, Jesus wants us to be there for one another; on the other hand, Satan works to make us feel alone and bring us down. Christ wants us to be prepared with the whole armor of God, That we may fight the internal spiritual fight against the unseen enemy and win.

Scripture tells us,

“humble ourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you,”

“… If God is with us, who can be against us!“

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

James 4:10, Romans 8:31, Ecclesiastes 4:12
  • Galatians 6:2 (Share burdens)
  • 1st Thessalonians 5:11 (encourage/build-up)
  • John 15:12 (Command to love)
  • 1st Peter 5:8 (satan)
  • Ephesians 6:10-20 (armor of God)

God First!

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