The best life is a God First life

Category: Growth (Page 1 of 4)

Ignore them or get to know them

If you want to become close to someone, do you reach out by ignoring them? Do you talk to others, or do you talk with them? Many people say they believe in Jesus; some will even shout it from the rooftops, yet few truly spend time getting to know our savior. Jesus is the Word and has been with us since before creation.

When I speak of knowing Jesus, I’m not talking about feelings, like listening to music, watching a movie, or something that makes us emotional. No, I’m talking about getting to know Jesus through His Father, His life, His Words, His message and, His example. I’m talking about getting to know God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit through the God-breathed words of Scripture.

Ever had a best friend? (I hope you have) How did they become your best friend? Was it because other people kept telling you about them, or was it because you personally spent time with them and got to know them?

Personally, spending time with someone is when we truly get to know them rather than just what others think of them. So, likewise, God’s living Word is how we get to know God. As we spend time in those inspired God-breathed words, we draw closer to God, and He Draws closer to us.

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

If we are in His word daily, it’s only natural to reflect in our daily conversations and how we conduct our lives. Is He?

What an opportunity we have to have Jesus as our best friend!

  • 1 John 4:8-19 (Love Love Love)
  • Romans 5:8 (showed His Loves for us)
  • 1 John 3:16 (Laid down his life for us)
  • James 4:8 (Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you)
  • John 1:1-17 (Jesus was with God in the beginning)
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 (Do your best and study)

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!

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!

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!

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!

Doing our part – takes work!

Believers in God don’t sit around waiting on God to provide everything for them!

No, that would be sluggishness (laziness) and is not the role we find endorsed by God in Scripture; God expects us to work! It would be misrepresentative of scripture to believe it’s all about what God can do for us when so much is about what we can; Go and Do!

God expects us to do our part in providing physical and spiritual nourishment. God has given mankind a working role since the beginning. (Gen.2:15) Throughout Scripture, we find being a sluggard has been condemned while effort has been rewarded. (Matt.25:24-30)

Working towards righteous goals may take much patience; on our part, and we should be mindful of that fact that seeing the full results of our efforts may never happen; even so, in our ongoing, consistent unrelenting effort, we can know that working for good; will reap good in time if we don’t quit.

How can we know this? Because God tells us so.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for, in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

If we do our part, God will always do His!

  • Proverbs 18:9
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10
  • Proverbs 26:14
  • Proverbs 26:16
  • Proverbs 24:30–31
  • Mark 16:15-16

(Several proverbs address sluggards)

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
« Older posts

© 2022 Advocate for Christ

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑