The best life is a God First life

Category: Jesus (Page 1 of 5)

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

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!

Taken back in time

Imagine you are taken back in time as an outsider, yet, unseen by any, and walking right beside Jesus as He carries the cross, to “Golgotha.”

Imagine witnessing firsthand all the hatred. Seeing the blood and torn flesh. Seeing Jesus mocked, ridiculed, and spat upon.

Imagine the sign smugly placed above His head in laughter “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

You watch helplessly, as you see the spikes driven through His hands and feet; You hear the heart-wrenching thud of the cross as it is stood up and dropped into its hole. You see the body of Jesus, torn and bleeding. You find yourself listening intently to the few words He speaks, and you understand them all. Then, just before He proclaims, “It is Finished,”

Imagine Jesus looks directly at you! Tears in His eyes and says: I’m doing this for you! will you; love me, and keep my commandments?

Today, God’s Word is at our fingertips. Shouldn’t we try our best to live according to God’s will? Through God’s wisdom, everything we need to know to keep the commandments of Jesus is found in the God-Breathed Words of the Holy Bible.

Let’s put our wisdom aside and pursue the Wisdom of our Creator. It’s not found in one verse or chapter; it’s found in the 66 inspired books God gave us!

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

John 14:15

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life

(John 3:16)

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

1 Peter 3:21
  • 2 Timothy 3:16
  • Matthew 27:1-66
  • Ephesians 5:15-21
  • Isaiah 5:21

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!

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!

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!

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

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

The blessing of direct prayer

When we approach God’s throne in prayer, we often bow our heads, close our eyes, and kneel. I love doing these gestures as doing so signifies respect, honor, and glory to God. These gestures also help focus our attention solely on the prayer and can be great examples in teaching our children to pray and respect our Heavenly Father.

This said; Prayer has no limits! We can pray anywhere at any time in any situation or environment. We don’t pray to impress those around us; we pray to have time with our creator, say thank you, or ask for help.

God is family, and no one loves us the way God loves us, and no one has the ability to help us more than God does. So, we can pray out loud or in our mind without a single word spoken, with our eyes wide open, driving down the road, cutting grass, fishing, hunting, cooking, walking the dog, or holding the baby.

God has given each of us the avenue of direct prayer through the name of Jesus, his only begotten son, so why not take advantage of this incredible opportunity and pray often? God wants to hear from us!

  • Luke 12:34
  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • Matthew 6:7
  • 1st Thessalonians 5:17 (pray without ceasing)
  • James 5:13
  • John 5:15
  • Ephesians 6:18
  • Mark 11:24
  • Romans 12:12

God First!

« Older posts

© 2022 Advocate for Christ

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑