The best life is a God First life

Category: Jesus (Page 1 of 3)

It helped me overcome stress; Maybe it could help you.

I once found myself extremely stressed as multiple concerns snuck up, combined, and weighed me down. I remember feeling so distraught and so overwhelmed I knew not what to do. Then, I decided to write down my thoughts. Not for the purpose of sharing them with others but rather to take those muddy thoughts in my mind, organize them, and put them somewhere else. (like on paper) For some reason, doing this helped me considerably to think clearer in the following days. It helped me prioritize my thoughts and clear away the mud in my mind.

I still do this from time to time. In fact; If you’re reading this, you see I share some thoughts on my website and other social media platforms but certainly, not all.

I also have found that just as important as writing down those thoughts, to begin with, Is to read them back later, even if I find that what I wrote to be nothing more than incoherent Babel, which is embarrassing if I have shared it publicly (but that doesn’t matter).

What does matter is the point: writing down my thoughts and rereading them helped me clear my mind and get the garbage out. It helped me discern the issues and separate what I could control from those out of my control.

If you’re struggling in some way, maybe writing can help you also. So, take a little time and write for yourself, even if no one but you ever reads it.

Don’t discount prayer! I highly suggest pray, then write. Maybe even write out your prayer telling God what’s on your mind. This helps you recognize those anxieties you can’t control so you can turn them over to the one who can; Jesus.

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

I extend these thoughts in the hope that what’s helped me through some difficult times may help others.

God First!

40 Christians on a bus

40 Christians on a tour bus for the week, a day has come and gone. How many of us will get to know the bus driver’s name? Is he married, does he have children, is he a Christian? Does he believe in Jesus? Is he In Christ?

By the end of the week, will the bus driver think of us as “good samaritans”? As 40 Christ-loving, Christ-sharing Christians concerned for his well-being, for his soul, Christians willing to vest some of our vacation time sharing the love of Christ with this stranger, or will we be just another group of people he drove around for the week?

This is a challenge for all Christians as a group or as individuals. So that we plant the seeds of truth in all that we do, will those we meet know more about Christ’s love for them after we’re gone than they did before we met them?

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” – Mark 16:15

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. – John 13:34

Rhetorical question: How can we claim to love others and not seek every opportunity to share the most important message of our lifetime? The saving message of Christ, the message that can bring eternal life in heaven with our creator.

Let us plant Seeds in all that we do

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

God First!

Covid19 and Preparation

I’ve been enjoying life for almost 62 years, and while this may seem long to a 20-year-old, It’s very short in my mind. From time to time, I’ve seen and experienced many different Illnesses. I’ve either suffered or seen others suffer from diseases like flu, pneumonia, colds, diabetes, mono, dementia, mobility loss, hearing, eye issues, etc. I’ve lost loved ones to accidents, cancer, heart failure, liver problems. I’ve experienced a friend being murdered and know others who have lost loved ones to crime. Life is difficult at times.

Today we have the threat of Covid19, a manufactured virus that brings death and extreme anxiety as we fear the horrible pain, suffering, and loss it causes. Covid’s existence spurs division among family, friends, and countries. Many feel the need to isolate themselves and fear being around others. Hugs and closeness fade from reality into memories as fears of catching or spreading COVID reign and are adopted as the new norm.

Today, a scratchy throat, the slightest sniffle, sneeze, cough, or faintest fever insights worry and fear.

So, What do we do?

We take precautions, use hand sanitizers, wash hands, pay attention to distancing, some wear masks, and some fight over mask effectiveness. I think most who refuse mask mandates object most to the idea of governments’ abuse of power. (I’m not debating this here, just pointing it out)

All this said: I personally refuse to let fear control my life! Instead, I trust in God!

My Trust in God does not mean I will not die of this virus someday. It does not mean I will not lose loved ones to it.

One ICU nurse stated: “lt takes who it takes,” Since this is true of every ailment, it adds perspective.

I contracted Covid a few months ago, and it hit me hard. In 2019 I found myself close to death with blood clots in my lungs, and I’ve had other close calls with accidents. The fact is; We are going to die of something someday, and none of us know when.

So, what actions should we be taking? And what do I mean by “Trust in God”?

Some dare blame God for this evil virus, but no evil comes from God; evil is Satan’s territory. Some blame God for the death of loved ones. However, death is certain, and as stated earlier, “none of us know when,” so; rather than blame, why not prepare? How? By learning, sharing, and teaching others about Jesus. Jesus is the pathway to an eternal life where death, sickness, and pain have no existence. None!

This life is not the end; it’s the beginning!

When we are “In Christ,” We take advantage of the grace God has extended, our sins have been forgiven, and our forever home is with God. If we are in Christ and pursue a Christ-like life, we can live without fear of death. So why worry? In Christ, we can count it all joy; in James 5:16, God points out the prayers of the righteous avails much so let us live fully using our time to pursue righteousness and have our prayers well heard. There is great comfort in the confidence that our loved ones went on to paradise from this earth.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

Always be prepared

  • Matthew 24:36-51 (No one Knows the Day or Hour)
  • 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (Fight the good fight)
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (God of all Comfort)
  • Philippians 4:4-7 (The Peace of God)

In Christ

  • 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
  • Confession: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!

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 Key and the Thread

  • Unity with God’s Word is unity with God.
  • Unity with God’s Word is unity with others.

We find unity when we cumulatively do God’s will, seek and use God’s Word as our standard.

Unity among believers is not found doing our will; It’s not found dismissing any of God’s Word as unnecessary or not applicable today. Unity is not found by trying to improve on what God told us to do. However, unity is a key to spiritual growth; it’s a thread that binds us together as disciples of Christ in peace, harmony, and Love.

Unity in Truth is important!

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”

Jesus (John 14:15)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

  • Romans 14:19
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11
  • Acts 4:32
  • Ephesians 4:23
  • Ephesians 4:11-13
  • Matthew 18:19-20
  • John 13:35
  • 1 Peter 3:8
  • Philippians 2:2-3
  • Colossians 3:13-14
  • Ephesians 4:1-6
  • John 17:23
  • John 4:12
  • Galatians 3:26-28
  • Matthew 23:8
  • Psalm 133:1

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!

66 Books of absolute truth we should learn

We can never understand the whole truth if we only learn part of it!

The Holy Bible is the whole and absolute truth of God! It is 66 Books of God-breathed wisdom and instruction that our creator assembled for our betterment and understanding. The Old Testament has 39 books of ”before Christ” history, including hundreds of prophecies over hundreds of years about Christ. The New Testament has 27 books telling us of the Son of God, Christ. Telling us how to accept God’s offer of grace through our obedient faith in Christ and how we can each “put on Christ” or be “In Christ.”

Scripture defines “obedient faith,” telling us how to lay up treasures in heavenly places and have our souls live forever in a heavenly home not made with hands. God’s Word shows us how God extended us grace through Christ. It lets us know that when we hear the message of Christ, believe in Christ, repent, confess Christ as the living son of God, and make the decision to be immersed in the waters of baptism, we can be forgiven of our sins and walk in newness of life. (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-11)

New Testament scripture stresses the importance of sharing the gospel and teaching others, however; How can we teach what we do not know? We need to study! Our children need us to study! Why? So we can accurately teach them God’s word and spread the truth according to the truth.

It is through understanding and our obedient faith that we can know a peace beyond our understanding.

  • Don’t we want that?
  • Don’t we want that for our children and others?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:16-17
  • 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 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

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God First!

Injustice, Anger, and Control

Sometimes controlling anger to injustice can be a real challenge, and exercising control is not what we want to do; it’s like we’re choosing to absorb pain rather than do something to stop it. The pain can seem unbearable at times, but all things are possible with God, and it’s worth it to stay the course and follow the example of Christ.

Jesus exercised ultimate control; He could have called 10,000 angels at any moment. At any moment, Christ could have and stopped absorbing all the pain He suffered. However, Christ’s love for God and mankind proved greater than any temptation to lose control.

All that love for His Fathers Will and all of us had a tremendously positive effect. The trickle-down effect of Christ absorbing all that pain was our salvation. The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus demonstrate God’s love for us.  Every soul now has the opportunity and promise of eternal life when we accept God’s grace by our obedient faith; Heaven is our home. 

Jesus could have gotten angry and lashed out the way many of us might respond, He could have ended all of us at any moment, but instead, Jesus was consumed with love and compassion and exercised control.

Jesus had experienced pain and rejection before, but He knew; what He was about to suffer was far beyond all those previous experiences combined. This knowledge of what was to come had Jesus sweating blood on the Mount of Olives. He prayed for a different solution, but if not, he wanted to submit to God’s will, not his own.

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Luke 22:39-44

Jesus exercised submission to God’s will, but rather than show anger; He demonstrated love and constraint; Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I admit this is difficult sometimes, but if it were not for our betterment, Jesus would not have told us to do so. Also, keep in mind what Jesus says in Romans 12:14-21 and trust Him.

  • Matthew 26:53 (12 legions of angels)
  • Matthew 19:26 (all things possible)
  • Luke 1:37 (nothing’s impossible)
  • Philippians 4:13 (christ who strengthens me)
  • Matthew 5:39-44 (love your enemys)
  • Matthew 22:37-40 (All encompasing)
  • Romans 12:14-21 (I will repay, says the Lord)

God First!

Paths & Highways (Part 1)

My personal journey from a teenager till now involved many turns, curves, pains, peaks, and valleys. Many of my early life choices were enough to make even bystanders dizzy. I would strongly recommend against anyone following most of the roads I traveled in my early days. I started out being taught of the straight and narrow path and started down that path. However; As a youthful adult, I began testing the exit ramps to those wide-open highways; they looked fun and fast. Many on those highways crossed my path, and those on them appeared to be having a great time as they sped by me.

Although I was not hitchhiking, the path I was on sometimes felt slow and lonely; Those highway travelers did not appear to have time for loneliness, which looked appealing. It was during these lonely moments that more travelers seemed to stop with great big smiles on their faces, exuberantly offering me highway rides.

In the beginning, I accepted only a few short rides and found myself missing the peace, comfort, and contentment of that straight and narrow road, however; after a while, the short rides got longer, faster, and the adrenaline surged until eventually, I was navigating those highways myself, rapidly going nowhere fast, almost wholly losing sight of the straight and narrow road I once traveled.

Over a relatively short period of time, I had become one of those highway drivers with the big smiles in a  speedy convertible, offering rides to those I saw on that straight and narrow path. I spent years with the wind blowing through my hair on highways to nowhere, looking as if I was going somewhere fast. I found myself feeling trapped when I thought about it too profoundly, so; I chose Not to reflect.

Eventually, I would offer rides to some on the path I once traveled, and the denial of even the shortest ride reminded me of my early days; I found myself admiring their rejection of my offer. Their words of reasoning piqued my curiosity and helped me realize how confused and lost I had become. After a while, I began to long for the peace, comfort, tranquility, and surety I once had on that narrow path. Finally, I realized getting off those entangled spaghetti highways was necessary as they would eventually lead me into a void of permanent darkness.

It would mean dramatic change on my part, but I knew it was the right choice and began my highway departure. I started my departure with a commitment to change direction, to exit the highways. To get back to that one narrow path to somewhere again. The more I learned what that narrow path was truly all about, the more I questioned why I had ever allowed myself to accept that first highway ride.

I now have great admiration for those few who have stayed true to the narrow path most of their lives and seldom joined as a highway rider or driver; My experiences have taught me that our examples have tremendous trickle-down effects that influence others. So, if we care about family, friends, or people, we need to be mindful of our influence and do our best to serve God as Christ-like examples so that those following our lead will realize, we are going somewhere; we are on a path that leads to a heavenly home with our creator where there are no tears, no sickness or sorrow.

I am thankful for God’s grace and the path he set forward for any of us to accept. For it is by God’s grace through our obedient faith in hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, and being baptized for the forgiveness of our sins that we can have eternal life.

Matthew 7:13-14, Proverbs 3:6, Proverbs 4:26-27, Matthew 3:3

  • 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
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