The best life is a God First life

Category: Personal (Page 1 of 2)

Personal testimony of the author

Beauty In The Wake of Storms

There is great beauty in the wake of the storms; the loss of life is horrible, The destruction of property, livelihoods, and displacement of families is heart-wrenching, yet we find great beauty shining through the masses doing all they can to help. It’s in these troubled times that we get to see what’s really at the hearts of most people. They are not concerned with the color of your skin, your beliefs, or how you live your daily lives, no! They come together performing searches, opening their homes, businesses, church buildings, etc. They come to rebuild; they gather and send supplies for storm victims from all over our nation to help out.

In the Wake of Storms, mankind acts with compassion, concern, and love for one another. This is the America of the masses. The America that cares about people, about the well-being of those hurting and in need.

This is where we see America’s greatness and the love we have for one another that’s truly at our very core.

It’s here we see the love of God in and through the people acting in unity.

God First!

It’s “My Life” I’ll live it like, I want!

“It’s “My Life” I’ll live it like, I want!” What teenager hasn’t made a similar statement. What adult has never said a similar statement? Few, I’m sure. Before COVID-19, when entering worship, someone often handed out a list of prayer requests gathered by those working in prison ministry.

Later, when reading the request before praying for them, I noticed a high percentage of those requests from prisoners were for loved ones. Many seemed concerned about how their absence via incarceration had caused hurt, physical stress, pain, and financial burdens, negatively affecting those that love them: their parents, wives, children, grandparents, etc.

While behind bars, the concern for loved ones seems to be at the forefront of their minds. I don’t know what got these people in prison, but I do know; our actions affect those we love, and we should consider that when we start thinking, “it’s my life, I’ll do what I want.

No matter what time of life we’re experiencing at this moment, young, old, or in-between, we are examples to those around us, and when we make bad choices, those choices can easily create unnecessary burdens on our loved ones.

Jesus knew what He was talking about when He commanded us to love others as He loved us. Jesus is the ultimate example for our lives, and when he walked this earth, he lived accordingly. If we follow this command to “love others as Christ loved us,” then “living our life like we want to” will mean: living our lives understanding that what we do affects those we love. Regret is avoidable!

  • John 13:34
  • Matthew 15:16
  • 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Ephesians 5:1-33
  • Romans 12:1-21

God First!

If we truly believe God’s Word is

When I compose writings for spiritual consideration, it’s not about what I feel; it’s about what God’s Word actually says. Is that not what we should want to follow? It’s what I try to convey in my efforts and is why I repeatedly encourage self-study. If we truly believe “God’s Word-is-God’s Word,” then the truth is right before us. If we don’t believe so, then we call God a liar. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Often, I list scriptures for references in my writings in hopes the reader will review the scriptures and maybe even go a step further by reading and studying the context of the verses.

I strongly encourage study and dialogue; I don’t have all the answers but am willing to help find answers.

Got questions? Let’s study!

God First!

The well-being of others

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Scriptures for consideration]

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

God First!

Why would you want to cheat yourself like that?

As I pondered my answer, I realized; this is exactly what we do when we don’t take advantage of opportunities to grow in Christ and build on our relationship with Him.

What happens when we make time to attend as many studies as possible? We draw closer to God, and He draws closer to us; we get to know God and fellow seekers of truth better and our actions demonstrate where our heart’s desire resides.

My heart’s desire once demonstrated my love for; time, eating, tennis, TV, relaxation, fun, laughter, etc. I made time for all these things because my heart’s desire once put them on a pedestal. During that period of life and without realizing it, I was not putting God First, but rather at My convenience.

In a discussion about not attending Sunday bible classes, Worship service, and other growth and edification opportunities such as Sunday evening or midweek bible studies, a friend asked me: Why would you want to cheat yourself like that?

As I thought about his question, I realized the validity of his point. That’s exactly what we do. If I don’t prioritize these opportunities, I’m cheating myself. But, that’s not all; I’m cheating others, starting with my family, those who may follow my lead or depend on me to get them to and from services. So, bottom line, I asked myself, What kind of example am I being?

By not prioritizing my attendance at every opportunity, am I not short-changing family, friends, and myself by not leading us toward spiritual growth? When we don’t attend, we miss out on knowledge, better understanding, fellowship, and growth opportunities. In addition, we miss out on being examples to others. Examples that demonstrate our gratitude, understanding, and belief that God should be first in our lives.

I now look forward to every opportunity to increase my understanding of Scripture and to grow through the uplifting unity of fellow believers by sharing and growing in the truth of Christ with one another.

If you are not attending at every opportunity, I offer this for your consideration…

Why would you want to cheat yourself like that?

God First!

I wrote most of this before the COVID-19 virus, which forced us into our homes to worship online. Yet, the point is still the same. Are we prioritizing our worship time and Bible study? Are we taking advantage of every opportunity for spiritual nourishment? Do our loved ones get to see our commitment by our actions? If not, Why would we want to cheat ourselves like that?

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

Broken hearts and pain, for what?

Our hearts and the hearts of family and friends can be broken, torn apart with sadness and pain by the actions of one alcoholic drinker. One drinker behind the wheel can take a life. One drinker with loose lips can destroy relationships; one drinker, not exercising self-control, can start a fight that ends or lames a life.

To many, drinking is harmless and often associated with socializing, fun times, relaxation, romance, and parties (I used to think this way).

Sip by sip; one loses their ability to react swiftly in emergencies. Many who drink will Never admit they’ve been affected negatively. Instead, they tout, “It’s only one beer or one glass of wine.” They may exclaim, “I don’t get drunk,” or “I function fine on just one or two drinks,” etc. Maybe, just maybe, that’s because they’ve never faced a real emergency when drinking before. A situation where their best was required, and they didn’t have it. Where their reaction was slightly slower, their words not wise, and it led to devastating results. Heartache, pain, lives turned upside down results—unnecessary, avoidable turmoils.

It’s been a while back now since the van of a niece was hit by a drunk driver and flipped: her husband and one of her children with her. At the time, my niece went through much pain, the rest of her family seemingly OK. It’s scary to realize; We could’ve lost them all; they could’ve been horribly injured, maimed for life in some manner, all because of a social drinker. One person who thought they were in control, who drank just enough to impair their ability and cause an accident, An accident that now labels them “a drunk driver.”

I quit drinking alcohol several years ago because I came to this conclusion…

“If there are more reasons not to do something than to do it, then Why do it?”

Wayne R Johnson

There are many logical, biblical, and commonsense reasons not to drink. For me, I started asking myself, why do I need to drink alcohol? I found no good reason! I still have a good time; I still enjoy my friends; I can still be silly and do all of this without alcohol, plus, as a great big bonus, I get to remember more about the fun I had.

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,”

Philippians 1:27 ESV

God First!

Time is precious

My brother and I were truly blessed to be born into such a loving family. Dad’s example was of one who earned respect by his actions; He was far from wealthy by monetary standards yet always did what he could for others though few would ever know.

Dad always stood up for what was right; I wish I had been half the example to my son that dad was to us! The life dad lived was one to be proud of and to be admired. Several years before his passing and before he was diagnosed with ”dementia with Lewy bodies,” I began thinking of how much dad had done for me and seen him do for others.

I did a little bit of self-examination and reflected on how little I had been there for dad. I had become so wrapped up in my own ”wants” in life that I seldom made time to help dad accomplish things in his life, yet Dad would always make time for me or my brother, no matter what.

I’m certain this had to be disappointing to him as I lived only one hour away yet seldom visited or helped him accomplish a task. Sure, I would help from time to time but only at “my convenience.” You know, when there were no parties to attend, tennis to be played, movies, etc. Or, if dad’s problem became urgent enough that he had to ask me for immediate help, then I would step to the plate.

As I reflected on those years, I realized by not reciprocating his love with proactive action of my own, I had been shortchanging both of us. With that, I approached Virginia and said: Dad‘s getting older; I don’t know how much more time he has, but I’d like to start going to Dad’s at least once a month to spend the day and see what I can do to help. It began sporadically and eventually became one day each week. Dad died in November of 2019.

I’m so thankful I made and followed through with that decision. That time, even the difficult part of seeing that horrible disease take his mind, is now time cherished in my mind. I’m so grateful I made that time a priority. During those years during project breaks, Dad and I had many conversations sitting in the yard sharing stories of family, friends, past and new challenges. I was able to make a difference in his later years and help him accomplish tasks. Not everyone can give a day a week, but most can give more than they do, even if it just a phone call. For me, I discovered the best gift we can give our parents and loved ones on any day is the gift of our time.

  • Time spent to make a gift,
  • Time spent to make or send a card,
  • Time spent visiting,
  • Time spent to call,
  • To me, Time Offered is Time Treasured!
  • I treasure my family time, both my related and spiritual families.

When I reread my words above, I can’t help but notice the similarities between how often our Heavenly Father is treated in the same way – At our convenience.

Never give up on doing good!

God First!

We do what we do when we need to do it. – It’s the way it’s always been!

A few years ago, while my father was still alive, I had the following dream. Dad and I were finishing a project we had been working on together, and we’re about to head our separate ways. In the dream, I asked dad if he could do the next task on his own?

Dad said, “We do what we do, when, we need to do it. I responded, “it’s the way it’s always been!” (I then woke up) Reflecting on the dream, those words have enormous truths.

When tasks were daunting or seemed overwhelming difficult to accomplish single-handedly, both my dad and grandfather were known for rolling up their sleeves and finding ways to accomplish what looked to be insurmountable or downright impossible tasks. Their determination and ability have always been an inspiration to me, and one reason I believed dad when he told me, “You can be anything you want to be if you are willing to work at it.

I am very thankful for the lessons I learned from my father and most thankful that dad had the wherewithal to put God in the forefront of our home and live accordingly. With God, all things are possible!

“We do what we do when we need to do it. – “It’s the way it’s always been!”

The glories of life

If you saw the glories of life through my eyes; You would go to sleep each night with great anticipation! Looking forward to the next morning’s air, its sunshine, its birds, and playful squirrels in the trees.

Through my eyes; Each morning brings a new opportunity to hear the voice of those I love and do my best to see them smile and hear their laugh. To tease them, hug them, play with them or even; just sit with them and soak the glories in!

Through my eyes; We all miss out when we sleep in late and must rush to start the new day’s race. But even then, I do my best to start their day at its very best! To bring a smile upon their face, they can carry through the day’s race.

~Boo Boo

If only we all lived each day in this way, what a blessing it would be to everyone around us. What Joy we would have in our hearts, what Joy we would bring to others all day long.

Written by: Wayne Johnson

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