The best life is a God First life

Category: Eternity (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

Rainbows and Promises

Yesterday, The Morning light gifted us with the rainbow-colored patch seen in this picture. As I pointed it out to Virginia (my wife), I thought, how cool! Its presence then sent me down a pathway of thoughts I needed for the day.

Like the rainbow in the sky, this simple patch of colors reminded me of God’s promises. That God cannot lie and will always be with those, who love Him. How Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

While sipping my morning coffee, my mind kept highlighting snippets of God’s Word, “God is the God of All Comfort,” “the closer we draw to God, the closer God will draw towards us,” “Ask, and it will be given, Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will open,” “Pray without Ceasing!”

It is comforting to remember how much Jesus cares for us and tells us to be humble and cast all our anxieties on Him. This little patch of light reminded me that Faith includes Trust. “Never give up on doing good” Lean on Jesus, especially in times of trial when the challenges of life are heavy, and things don’t make any sense.

So much brought to mind in this little patch of rainbow light.

Jesus has prepared for those who love Him a place with many rooms where tears, death, mourning, crying, and pain will be no more. It gives me peace to remember this world is but a temporary home; our forever home is, as a song states: “Beyond the azure blue.” Scripture tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” All this world and its desires are passing away but, “whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

  • Hebrews 6:18
  • Titus 1:2
  • Proverbs 8:17
  • John 14:15
  • James 4:8
  • Romans 8:28
  • Galatians 6:9
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Galatians 6:2
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • John 14:1-3
  • Revelation 21:4

Flaxseed and Scripture

Some friends recently set a family goal to read one thousand books by the year’s end. As I am a slow reader, this goal is truly impressive. In fact, When I ordered the book in this picture, “The Utterance of God,” I ordered based on a friend’s recommendation and my interest in the topic. The book identifies and demonstrates numerous biblical proofs (many of which I was unaware) that what we read in the Bible is indeed the actual Words of God. The Bible claims this fact in 2 Timothy 3:16, where God tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed…”.

Recognizing, understanding, and comprehending these many proofs found in Scripture also solidifies God as the creator of everything we know and understand; therefore, we should do all within our power to follow Christ according to what we find in God’s Word.

This book was not yet published when I placed my order, it does have a nice size font, but still, I did not realize the book was over 500 pgs. Likewise, the Bible has over a thousand pages and three-quarters of a million words. Large books seem daunting to me. However, I have learned to take the Flaxseed approach to my reading.

Like the books above, Flaxseed was also recommended to me as having several health benefits for our bodies. When I ordered the Flaxseed, and it arrived, I thought, wow, that’s a lot of Flaxseed; how will I ever get through all this? Yet by using just a teaspoon at a time, I have now consumed the first container and am starting this new one; and am healthier for it.

Today, I am proud to report that I have read every word in “The Utterance of God.” Although parts of it were challenging to comprehend, much was very easy and extremely interesting. Moreover, I have gained considerably by being persistent in periodically consuming just a few pages at a time over months.

The result: Studying this information strengthened my understanding of God’s Word, increased my confidence when I thought I lacked none, and helped to embolden my faith.

Reading good books can provide several benefits for the health of our minds, and Reading God’s Holy Word provides nourishment for both mind & soul; it is life’s best guide. Following God’s Word according to God’s Word is to follow Jesus, and Jesus is our only way to spend eternity with God. John 14:6, Acts 4:2, 1 Timothy 2:5, John 10:9, John 1:14,

I encourage anyone reading this, take time to read the Bible, don’t decide in advance it’s too hard to understand, be persistent with yourself instead and commit yourself to at least a spoonful of reading per day. Before you know it, just like with the Flaxseed or the book I read, you will have consumed the whole book. It’s a blessing!

God First!

Why Rules Daddy?

As loving parents, why do we create rules? Is it for the fun of it? No, we initiate rules to help keep our children safe while teaching them to discern what’s right and wrong, safe or dangerous. However, if we don’t hold our children accountable for their actions, are we truly showing them, love? Are we really demonstrating love if there is no consequence for disobedience? Love is much more than hugs, kisses, smiles, jokes, and fun times.

Since the beginning, God has shown love and exhibited what love truly is. In Scripture, we find many examples that although God’s Love includes all kinds of blessings and kindness, punishment and expectation are not mutually exclusive of that love.

Meeting expectations helps build confidence, and punishment helps us make better choices on our lifelong paths. Godly punishment is not done out of meanness but out of love. Righteous punishment helps us learn and understand that we are accountable for our choices and, thus, deserve their consequences, whether good or bad.

Our Heavenly Father gave us free will that we might follow His instructions found in God’s Word (The Bible). His Son (Jesus) became flesh and demonstrated that love to the point of extreme pain and anguish when He was sacrificed for us. Jesus is the only sacrifice that could give us eternal life in heaven if we follow Him.

We may be adults in this world, but we should remember we are God’s children as Christians. I recently heard the point made that God has no Grandchildren. We are all his children, and he wants the best for us, similar to how we want the best for our children.

Since God created mankind, He has blessed, punished, and sacrificed that we might live eternally with Him. Therefore, God gave us every word of the bible, The God-breathed absolute truth for our benefit. God is Love, His precepts show that love, and in my humble opinion, our gratitude should make us want to excel in adhering to God’s Will by truly doing our best to put God First!

  • Proverbs 22:6
  • Ephesians 6:4
  • Hebrews 12:5-17
  • 1st John 4:16
  • John 14:6
  • Romans 8:12-17
  • Galatians 4:1-8‭‭
  • 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭
  • 2 Timothy 3:16

God First!

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!

When “Faith and Hope” are history

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

When this world is over and Jesus returns, we will “love” for eternity, but “faith and hope” will no longer be needed. Even in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man was concerned for his family, showing the love he still had in torment.

When this world is over; We will find ourselves in the moment of truth fulfilled. Then, “Faith and Hope” will no longer be relative.

At this point; The choices we make to follow Christ today according to God’s will, and Not ours, will determine our eternal destiny as we appear before Christ in the reality of our judgment to hear him say: Welcome my loved one or Depart from me, I never knew you.

  • Isaiah 26:9
  • James 4:12
  • John 3:17-18
  • Matthew 12:36
  • Matthew 7:19-29
  • Proverbs 21:2
  • Revelation 20:12-13
  • John 5:30
  • Luke 16:19-31
  • Romans 6:23
  • 2 Timothy 4:7-8

If the Truth was vanilla ice cream

Suppose “The Truth” was vanilla ice cream. When you add different toppings, the ice cream still has the same base but is no longer “just” vanilla ice cream. It doesn’t taste the same!

God’s word should taste the same to everyone; it’s God’s Word. Unity in Christ is not achieved by applying different toppings to God’s Word. Only by consuming it the way God gave it can we truly savor and appreciate God’s creation, God’s sacrifice, God’s will for us, and do so according to God.

When God’s Word is changed by adding different toppings to attract more people, by offering additional flavors that appeal to the lives some want to live rather than a life in pursuit of being Christlike; and doing God’s will above our own, it is no longer the Lord’s Church; it’s mankind’s church.

You can not teach variances of truth and have it still be the truth. When you add or take away from perfection, you make perfect; imperfect.

“God’s Word” cannot be followed by choosing the flavor of the month or a sprinkle of crunch.

That’s not what our creator gave us to follow. In Fact, God severely warns us not to add or take away from scripture. However; In the pursuit to gain followers many lose sight of sound doctrine and, don’t realize they themselves have become exactly what scripture tells us about when we read: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”‭‭ (John‬ ‭14:6)‬ ‭

According to scripture, there is only one way to be with God the Father, and that is through Jesus. Let us do all we can to pursue the teachings of Christ and avoid the temptations to add flavor to God’s Word.

  • 2 Timothy 4:3 (tickling ears)
  • Revelation 22:18-19 (warning)
  • Deuteronomy 4:1-2 (warning)
  • Deuteronomy 12:32 (command)
  • Malachi 3:6 (unchanging)
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (All Scripture)
  • John 1:1, 14 (Jesus was with God from the beginning)

God First!

Missing the mark so closely can have dramatic results.

One day while cutting down a tree on our property, I ”missed the mark” by a couple of inches and dropped a large dead tree in the opposite direction of my intention. My cut was slightly below the wedge I’d removed. I didn’t realize it until the tree clamped down on my chainsaw and became stuck in the tree. I shut it off and walked away with my brother. As we contemplated the next step, a branch fell from the tree. Shortly after, we watched as the whole tree slowly leaned and fell. The bar on my chainsaw now looks like a twisted metal pretzel.

It’s amazing to think about how “missing the mark” so closely changed the results so dramatically.

Thankfully, the result of that day’s mistake didn’t matter much, and nobody got hurt, but it sure reinforces the importance of “hitting the mark” when missing so closely can result in disaster.

It’s also important that we “hit the mark” in doing the will of God; being careless as I was today can have dire consequences.

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus said:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

We really have no excuses for not doing the will of God according to God’s will as we have the complete word of God (The Bible) readily available. However, we can only know scripture through study. It’s so important that we really can’t allow others to do it for us. We all need understanding as we are each responsible for working out our own salvation.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” Philippians 2:12 ESV.

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!

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