The best life is a God First life

Category: Obedience (Page 1 of 7)

NOT EVEN 10, Maybe toleration led to apathy

Not even 10 Righteous were found in Sodom and Gomorrah.

1. “And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Genesis‬ ‭18:20-21‬ ‭NASB

2.” Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.” Genesis‬ ‭18:25-26‬ ‭NASB

3. “Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten. Genesis‬ ‭18:32‬ ‭NASB

‬‬Ever wonder how many righteous built the cities?

What happened?

Maybe toleration led to acceptance followed by apathy till no one cared about doing what was right, All the way to the point they convinced themselves there were no absolutes to right and wrong. Void of God maybe they relied on their wisdom rather than following God’s.

Sounds eerily familiar to the attitude of many today.

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!

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

Be Prepared to Protect and Fight!

If we don’t know what tools we have or how to use them, It’s like taking a water hose to a house fire and telling a fireman you have it under control.

Satan’s easiest targets are those ill-prepared to fight. Satan has been honing his skills, enticing, tempting, and deceiving us to the point that many don’t even recognize sin, but call evil good and good evil. Being prepared does not come by osmosis; it takes action on our part. God’s Word is our tool, sword, and shield of armor against the evil one.

Taking time to hear the gospel of Christ and practice it in our daily lives is how we build our faith. It’s how we help our children, friends, and families and build our country towards a better tomorrow.

Faith comes by hearing, which leads to understanding and increases our desire to do God’s will in every way. When we have God’s will in our hearts, souls, and minds, we will have every desire to love God with all of our strength and keep his commandments.

We DON’T have to be easy targets for Satan if we will pick up our sword (The Bible) and take action for good, one day at a time. In doing so, we learn how to apply the defenses of God’s love to our lives and be examples that will help others do the same.

Small ants carry tiny pieces of dirt, and by themselves, this could seem so daunting and pointless, yet in time as more ants carry, they build large mounds of protection for the colony. Knowing God’s Word is our protection; let’s learn and share piece by piece helping to protect ourselves and those we love.

  • Isaiah 5:20
  • Ephesians 6:13-20
  • 2 Timothy 3:16
  • 2 Timothy 2:15
  • Romans 10:1

God First!

Learning from “Junk Mail.”

Today I read what I normally dismiss as “junk mail.” It was from a natural gas competitor to the company I’ve been using for years. Typically, I throw such advertisements in the trash; however, this promotional from “Walton Gas” sparked my interest. I realized I had no idea what I was paying per therm. So, I got out my last bill and quickly came to the conclusion I must be misreading it. Hence, I called “Consolation Gas” for clarification of the statement.

I was shocked and frustrated that we were put on a monthly rate by default since our contract expired sometime back. A rate within two cents of being double the contract rate. This means I have been paying hundreds more for gas than was necessary simply because we did not sign up for a two-year obligation that locks us into a fixed rate.

As I thought about this, I realized It’s My Fault, not the gas companies. I did not take the time to learn or understand how it works. We probably received notices letting us know the contract was expiring, and I paid little attention or put it off until I forgot about it. The offer to lock into a new contract at better rates has always been available to me; however, I paid dearly because I failed to spend time and effort understanding how it works!

I have now invested a little time to learn how it works and took action by locking into a 24-month contract at a rate that was pretty much half what I was paying.

Although God’s Word is not “Junk Mail” as with my gas company experience, it often lays on tables, in bookshelves, and in cabinets untouched and forgotten by many, as if it were.

As someone who once didn’t but now does; study God’s Word, I find numerous similarities between my experience above and how I and others often approach the Word of God by casting it to the side.

For example:

  • Over thousands of years our creator has given mankind the opportunity to know His love and desires for our well being. But, we must study and act.
  • God has given us insite to know His creations, past plans, some future plans, actions and sacrifices for us. But, we must study and act.
  • Through God’s Word we can know and understand that nothing done by God is an accident but rather part of a plan to give us eternal life should we accept God’s offer and commit to do His will above ours. But, we must study and act.
  • Through God’s Word we can know the Son of God who was with God in the beginning and part of the world’s creation. But, we must study and act.
  • Through God’s Word we learn that Jesus’s life, death and resurrection offers eternal life to all mankind through God’s grace and sacrifice. But, we must study and act.
  • Through God’s Word we find out how to embrace God’s grace and offer of eternal life and how through our study we can know what obedient faith entails. But, we must study and act.
  • Through God’s Word we find out how to discern what is true and what is false teaching. But, we must study and act.

The list of things we can know and understand from God’s Holy Word is without measure; however, if we never take the time to learn the details as I did with the Gas companies offer, we will miss out. It’s never too late for anyone on this earth to start learning, studying, and taking advantage of God’s incredible offer.

God’s offer of eternal life is unmatched and not nearly as difficult as the unlearned; unknowing often assume it to be. So I implore you, spend time studying the one book that leads you to eternal life in heaven. As you do, you will find you want to act on your discoveries. Who’s fault will it be if you ignore God’s offer by failing to learn how to accept it, What it entails and how to submit to God’s loving will for us.

Hear, believe, repent, confess Jesus as the Son of God, be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and live faithfully till we leave this earth for eternal life with the Godhead and our co-disciples of Christ.

Below are some scriptures to consider…

God First!

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!

The fall of Jericho in today’s world

In the Old Testament book of Joshua, we read about the miraculous Fall of Jericho. As I thought of this story, I imagined how this might go over in today’s world?

Although this was before Christ when God Spoke directly to some, through prophets, angles, and in dreams, can you imagine if today’s technology and media had been there? Can you visualize how social media and the news would explode with interviews, conjecture, ridicule, and laughter run-amuck touting these people as crazy who say their God, “The One and Only God,” told them to do this, and the city would fall to them?

If today’s media had been around, we would watch as TV news personalities mocked the ideas of those believers; we would have a continuous live feed as they marched around the city once a day for six days, staying quiet, and on the seventh day march around it the city seven times with priests blowing trumpets.

Can you imagine everyone’s profound astonishment when as they all yelled at the sound of the last trumpet, we watched those thick city walls fall flat, letting them take the city?

Can you imagine the wall-to-wall coverage? Can you imagine the shock to all the unbelievers?

Now, If someone in Joshua’s camp had treated the Word of God given to Josuha, the way so many treat God’s Word today, given to all of us, someone might have said; “This is ridiculous; we don’t need to spend 6 days marching around this city. God loves us; he is here for us because we are his people! So let’s just advance on the city and take it; God will provide.

Do you think the walls of Jericho would have fallen had they done their own thing? Had they done anything less than God commanded? I don’t.

Today many believe and teach others that God loves them so much that he does not mean what he says in Scripture. Thus, they can live as they wish, treating sin as if the word itself was wrong rather than actions that go against God’s will. In doing so, they attempt to justify their actions by twisting God’s word; many try to make their will God’s rather than seeking to make God’s will theirs.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

  • Joshua 6:1-27
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:4
  • Matthew 6:33-34
  • John 14:15-31
  • John 13:34-35
  • John 14:6
  • 1 Peter 1:23
  • Acts 8:36-38

God First!

Do we really believe God? If so, who will humbly reason?

We have no shortage of knowledge at our fingertips, yet we have a vast shortage of open minds. Minds willing to humble themselves in the discussion and reasoning of God’s Word.

Instead of being offended when something flys in the face of what we currently believe, let’s go to Scripture and let the complete words of God be the final answer.

Why not let scripture do the talking, that we may learn more fully? Let’s study the whole truth so that we may unite with scripture, rather than trying to force pieces of scripture to unify with our feelings and current understanding.

This is the example the Apostle Paul gave us; he went into the synagogs to reason.

While in Thessalonica, Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I proclaim to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded…” Acts 17:2-6 (Paul reasoned from Scripture yet not all were persuaded)

Later in the town of Berea, Paul went into the synagogue to reason, and God’s word points out of those in this synagogue, “Now these Jews were more noble than those of Thessalonica; They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Why were they considered more noble? because of their open minds and eagerness to know the truth)

By approaching God’s word with an open mind, we will indeed do our best to learn. So, let’s do so eagerly examining scripture to see if; what we understand is so.

2nd Timothy 2:15 tells us: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:33‬ tells us: ”For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,”

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”‭‭James‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”‭‭ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬“

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”‭‭ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:9-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

(God’s word is complete)

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!

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