The best life is a God First life

Category: Faith (Page 1 of 3)

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!

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!

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

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!

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’s purpose could be you

I find the book of Esther to be a very interesting story.

Although God is never mentioned by name, we find a great example of how God works through people to accomplish His purposes.

Unbeknownst to most involved at the time, it becomes very evident how several things come together to achieve God’s plan.

In this story, Esther had to make the decision not to be silent. She had to do what was right; this would require she risk her life. Mordecai pointed out if Esther chose silence, deliverance of the Jews would still come, but from another way. Through God’s Providence, we see evil and evil intent converted into justice for God’s people using Esther and Mordecai. (see Esther 1-10)

Who knows today how God is working through our lives to accomplish His purposes. In my mind, as long as we are pursuing good and willing to stand for righteousness, speaking up for Christ, showing our love for Him by keeping His commands, we offer ourselves as servants. Vessels to be used for God’s good purposes even when we never know it. We just can’t be afraid to speak up!

God is Great, God is good, God is love – ALL THE TIME

God First!

Learning what 3000 learned!

When the Church of Christ was first established in 33 AD, the apostles told their audience about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and many in the crowd listened. I would imagine they listened very intensely and that the more they heard, the more they realized the significance of what had been done. They were now comprehending the truth over a false narrative. They now realized the Jesus they hung on the cross was the actual; Son of God. This awaking prompted them to be concerned, to wonder, and to ask: “What shall we do?

“And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized (emersed) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 ESV

To repent from sin against God is to realize we are wrong and become remorseful. In this remorse, we understand our sinful actions move us away from God and towards eternal darkness. In this realization, we long never to make such bad choices again. Thus, in our desire to make it right, we repent, consciously taking steps in a new direction, walking away from the darkness of this world towards the forgiving light of Jesus.

Peter went on to say, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

Each of us is accountable for our own salvation; each person who heard this message had (and today, we still have) the ability to be saved by responding to the Word of God! (Below, many verses are listed that tell us how)

Choosing to follow God is not a forced decision; it’s an informed decision. God has given us reason and proof to believe. In today’s world, we all have access to God’s Word. So why not study the actual Word of God and find out if what we understand from others is what the Bible says? If not, be willing to change direction. When God’s Word is our foundation and not the words of others, it leads us to better discernment.

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:40-41 ESV

After hearing Peter’s answer along with more testimony and words to compel them, around three thousand souls came to understand that to be saved, they needed to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Scripture goes on to tell us those who did so were; added to the lord’s church.

Peter’s answer was good for about 3000 souls

Ever wonder why it’s not good enough for many today? Scripture does NOT say they were baptized simply as an outward sign of an inward decision. No, God’s Word says they were baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

Why do some discount the apostles’ answer and cling to claims invented by others thousands of years later? Claims such as; A prayer alone now saves you, or faith alone now saves you, or that baptism is a work, or that a symbolic baptism before you have heard the message of Christ or have any understanding saves you. I implore anyone who believes any of these ideas to please look closer at what scripture says on these matters. Find out what the bible says about how to be “In Christ.” Don’t believe me; believe God’s own words. Open your bible and study the God-breathed scripture. It is the Absolute Truth of God, and despite some opinions, take comfort in knowing the bible itself proves God and that all of scripture is God-Breathed.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:3-11
  • 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!

The well-being of others

Do you pray for the well-being of others? As I was praying for just that, the following question came to mind: What is the best thing for anybody’s well-being?

I concluded: The testament of Jesus pricks our hearts and opens our minds to God’s grace, His forgiveness, our repentance, and the love of God for us; it brings those who understand what Jesus has done for us an overwhelming desire to do His will and keep His commandments. This understanding stirs our hearts to take action. It makes us want to be “In Christ.”

According to God’s word to be in Christ, we must hear the message of Christ, believe, repent, confess Jesus as the risen Son of God, and be baptized into Christ in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of our sins. We need to realize that when we come up out of that watery grave, we are doing God’s will, we have ratified God’s Grace through Jesus, and by doing so, we are forgiven! At this point, we are free of our past sins, begin a new life as a new creature, and move forward in life as disciples of Christ, enjoying all the blessings that encompass our obedient faith.

Blessings like the knowledge that we now have never-ending life available to us in heaven, a spiritual world not made with human hands, where there is no more pain, tears, or death. That God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are now within us, helping us walk this world without being of this world. We can now take comfort in the knowledge that the blood of Christ continues to wash us even when we make mistakes.

So, What is the best thing for anybody’s well-being? The message of Christ!

With this understanding, I continue to pray that we all take time to learn and share the message of Christ for the well-being of all!

[Scriptures for consideration]

  • 1 John 5:3
  • Romans 10:17
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
  • 2 Peter 3:9
  • Acts 2:37-47
  • Acts 16:30-33
  • Acts 8:30-38
  • Romans 6:23
  • Romans 5:15-18
  • Ephesians 2:1-10
  • Luke 17:10
  • James 2:17-18
  • 1 Peter 1:17-25
  • 1 John 1:7

God First!

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