The best life is a God First life

Category: Personal (Page 1 of 4)

Personal testimony of the author

The Best Part of our Story

I don’t like giving “Off-the-cuff” answers to questions as my response often seems inadequate; I prefer to think before responding. Last night was no exception when a young man asked: “What do you think is the best part of being married for so long?(We must have really looked old, to him) I had just met the lad about 90mins before when Virginia and I were standing at the restaurant counter reviewing the menu. We were trying to decide, stay or leave.

It was Valentine’s day and our Anniversary. So far, the evening was not going according to my plan. I intended to have an early dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, but we started late. The restaurant website indicated they were NOT booking reservations, so I assumed “first come, first serve,” but when we arrived, I saw the dreaded sign at the doorway “call for reservations.” It was about 5:30 PM; the place was almost empty but, they would not seat us. This snafu put me under pressure to find someplace quickly; Virginia was hungry, and I still hoped to beat the main crowd.

We found a restaurant we had never tried before. It was not fancy nor the type of food we typically eat; In fact, entirely out of the norm for us. It was a family-style Cuban Restaurant called Papis. We entered and talked with a young man behind the counter, mentioned it was our Anniversary, looked at the menu, got his recommendations, and decided to stay. They sat us in a quiet booth where we enjoyed some flavorful dishes. Although we were apprehensive at first, we found that being out of our norm added to the evening and made it even more enjoyable and memorable by night’s end.

We showed our waitress a FB picture I’d recently posted of us over the years. Then, before we left, she presented us with a complimentary dessert, one of our favorites, “Flan.”

As we were leaving, Virginia went to the lady’s room as I waited at the counter. I thanked the young man for his food suggestions and began some casual conversation when he asked: What do you think is the best part of being married for so long? (I was not prepared for that question). I thought for a brief moment looking for a quick answer and said: Contentment – We are both very content with each other now. Then, a short moment longer, I added: When you’re young as you are, jealousies, and things like that, often get in the way, but with a good wife, you don’t have to worry about that. Shortly after that response, I finally hit the nail on the head and Stated: but actually, the best part was when we decided to include God in our lives and live that type of lifestyle. The young man acknowledged my final answer and said: Really? Yes, Really!, Putting God first is the best thing we ever did for our marriage. The young man then thanked me and said: I really appreciate it. I wish my last response had been my first so I could have expanded on it.

Choosing to make God’s Word “The Standard” for our lifestyle has been the most important decision Virginia and I ever made in our marriage. I could expand for hours on all the facets of why our marriage is strong, but the bottom line is: The decision to put God First has by far been the best part of our story!

  • Matthew 5:6
  • Acts 5:29
  • Proverbs 16:3
  • Matthew 6:24
  • Galatians 2:20
  • Galatians 6:9-10
  • 2 Corinthians 8:6
  • Acts 10:35
  • Matthew 13:44-46
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Proverbs 19:14
  • Proverbs 31:10
  • Ephesians 5:44-33

God First!

It’s been over a year!

Well, It has now been slightly over a year since I decided to purchase and create a website called “AdvocateforChrist.com,“ along with the supporting aids needed to help me write and secure the site. I now have 165 posts to date.

I did this for two reasons:

  • First and foremost, as a means of sharing God’s Word and the beautiful blessings derived from following Jesus. To follow Christ according to His Word is by far the best life one can choose to live and the best advice one can give. However, It is a choice!
    • In my writings, I often present my thoughts with supporting Scripture to persuade readers to pursue God’s Word independently. I don’t want readers to simply adopt my thoughts but rather encourage them to go to God’s Word and check them out. God’s Word is where all truth originates.
    • The Bible is where one may learn the Truth of God’s Word more fully. Self-Study and self evaluation is essential! Satan has spent thousands of years twisting the truth with partial truths starting with Eve, persuading people to adopt manufactured ideas of God’s Truth. Our best defense to being misled in what God’s Word says is to have personal knowledge of God’s Word.
  • Secondly, I began this effort as a result of the encouragement I received. So many reading my post on Facebook kept suggesting I do more. I am grateful for all those uplifting and encouraging words. To all who have motivated me to do more, Thank you! I pray and hope my efforts are fruitful to someone, somewhere.

Last year, many of the advocateforChrist.com posts were a combination of new efforts and works I had written in years past. I would review, modify, and use grammar software to improve the previous post. I quickly realized that formulating, writing, and running my thoughts through grammar-checking software takes time, whether new or old ideas. At this point, I have now posted most of my previous social media posts onto the Advocate for Christ site. Going forward, it is my hope to post at least two or three times a week in 2022.

How can you help if you find these posts thought-provoking and beneficial? I’m glad you asked! 🙂

  1. Go to https://AdvocateforChrist.com and sign up to receive the post via email. Reading them on the website is easier than reading them on Facebook, plus; The scriptures link to an online bible for quick review.
  2. Like them, Love them, comment, and share them. (Once in a while, I write one worthy of sharing). With social media algorithms, Your likes, love, comments, and shares help others see them.
  3. If you have accounts with MEWE, Parlor, Aggos, or Instagram, I also post many writings or memes on those sites and welcome your likes and shares.
  4. Reach out in the comments section on Advocate for Christ or social media. Extend your thoughts, questions, and applicable humor.
  5. By all means, If you feel I am in an error of Scripture, contact me. Let’s have a private discussion.

God First!

Wayne R. Johnson

God Knows

“In a world that blames God for disasters, yet credits luck for life’s blessings, we need reminding that the Lord alone is the universal Maestro. Evil and suffering are not from his hand, yet he is mighty enough to work the worst of circumstances for our ultimate good and his own exalted glory. It is ours to choose whether we will cooperate with his unfolding redemptive drama—whether we will submit our lives to his will. Each step taken and a word spoken should be a confession of just who is crafting our life’s story.”

Above is an excerpt from the book: The Epic of God – by Michael Whitworth; the book is an in-depth look at Genesis that I found very interesting. I introduced the book to my wife and happened to reread the introduction when the above excerpt stuck out to me. I posted the above in 2016 on Facebook – I wonder now as I see it in my FB memories if God knew I would need this reminder later in life and that I would share it with all who read my articles (of course, he did).

  • Psalm 139:4
  • 1 John 3:20
  • Hebrews 4:13
  • Isaiah 51:3
  • Psalm 119:76
  • Matthew 5:4

Thank you for your help!

Everywhere I turn, I see God’s help extended to our family.

I see what I believe is God’s providence working in our lives and prayers answered. I’ve prayed many times that God would put people in the lives of loved ones to help them on their journeys. I’ve then heard some remarkable stories on how some friendships came to be. Sometimes, unlikely friendships grow into the best kind of friendship; The iron sharpens Iron kind of friendship. I have no doubt that God hears our prayers. I also have no doubt that God has compassion for our pain and comforts those who love Him as only the God of all comfort can and will do.

Without God, we are nothing; Without love, we are nothing; we all need help from time to time and should be humble enough to realize it, pray for it, and remember just to say; thank you!

God’s answer to prayers is not always evident immediately, but sometimes, when you pause later in life, you can view the bigger picture and become aware of uncountable blessings.

So for my family and me to God and all His loving servants! Thank you!

God is Love!

  • 2nd Corinthians 1:3-5
  • James 5:1-20
  • Proverbs 27:17 (iron sharpens)
  • Romans 8:28
  • Philippians 4:8

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!

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!

Missing the mark so closely can have dramatic results.

One day while cutting down a tree on our property, I ”missed the mark” by a couple of inches and dropped a large dead tree in the opposite direction of my intention. My cut was slightly below the wedge I’d removed. I didn’t realize it until the tree clamped down on my chainsaw and became stuck in the tree. I shut it off and walked away with my brother. As we contemplated the next step, a branch fell from the tree. Shortly after, we watched as the whole tree slowly leaned and fell. The bar on my chainsaw now looks like a twisted metal pretzel.

It’s amazing to think about how “missing the mark” so closely changed the results so dramatically.

Thankfully, the result of that day’s mistake didn’t matter much, and nobody got hurt, but it sure reinforces the importance of “hitting the mark” when missing so closely can result in disaster.

It’s also important that we “hit the mark” in doing the will of God; being careless as I was today can have dire consequences.

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus said:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

We really have no excuses for not doing the will of God according to God’s will as we have the complete word of God (The Bible) readily available. However, we can only know scripture through study. It’s so important that we really can’t allow others to do it for us. We all need understanding as we are each responsible for working out our own salvation.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” Philippians 2:12 ESV.

God First!

Turn it over to God

Sometimes, it sounds trite to say, “JUST TURN IT OVER TO GOD,” but this is where our trust in God, faith, and belief come into play. When Christians strive to follow Christ with obedient faith, we are striving towards righteousness. In (Mark 11:24) we are told, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” So how do we turn it over to God? Well, we pray, we believe, and we trust in God’s answer, which allows us to let it go.

Once, I became so consumed by my concern for a loved one that it affected everything I did, even my marital relationship, until the day I realized that all my attempts to help were nothing more than temporary fading patches.

Both I and my loved one needed to know that God WAS the answer, NOT me or anything else. I asked myself, who would be there for them if I was gone? As I thought about my question I realized, God was the only answer! So, that night, I got on my knees and prayed; through heartfelt tears. I begged and pleaded in anguish and fear, asking God to help them, asking God to put people in their lives that could help them. I know that God’s will is the best will for all of us so, I took my cue from Christ’s example in the garden, and I asked that God’s will, be done. I turned my cares over to Jesus. My prayer that night wasn’t me giving up on that person in any way. I just realized as never before that God has complete control and mine is extremely limited. That night, I literally felt a great invisible weight removed from my shoulders, replaced by a trusting calm.

After this prayer, when I heard from this person about self-inflicted difficulties, I limited my involvement and encouraged them to seek God’s will, to pray, and offered to pray with them. To this day, I still pray for this person every day, and they have now come a long way from those days, now including God in all that they do.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” In 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.”

In summary, don’t allow yourself to be consumed by things you can’t control, Turn them over to God. Pray and seek help from the one who can help when no one else can, the one who created everything you see and know, the one who created you and loves you like no other – The God of Love, who is Love.

When Christians strive to follow Christ with obedient faith, we are striving towards righteousness. When we turn that which we cannot control over to God, it’s not trite; it’s where our trust, faith, and belief come into play and substantiate our trust in God. God is love and will carry us through. For Christians, this world is not our home. Christians look forward to the fact that there will be no tears in heaven. By putting God First in our lives, we make this world a better place by our loving actions.

God’s word tells us to believe, repent, and confess the name of Jesus and be immersed in the watery grave of baptism for the forgiveness of our sins. In (Acts 2:38) we find in doing so, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. By doing so, we live with the knowledge that heaven is now our eternal home.

  • 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 forgiveness 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!

Protect yourself by Forgiving

One of the most memorable pieces of advice my mom ever gave me was “Don’t go to bed mad,” and she lived her words. Mom was the sweetest, most forgiving person I’ve ever known. I saw mom’s feelings hurt many times over the years (by all of us.) Of course, those things happen within families from time to time but, to the best of my knowledge, Mom would never burden herself with grudges. She might go to bed in tears or some sadness but never with bitterness, anger, or wanting revenge towards others. If you hurt mom’s feelings and apologized, she accepted it with joy so that the wounds could heal quickly. On the other hand, if you never apologized, I think mom just turned it over to God because she knew grudges harm our souls. I wish you could have known my mom; she was awesome, and I miss her!

Jesus thought it important we not hold grudges against each other; in fact, in Jesus’s own words, He said: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there, remember that your brother has something against you; leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:22-24)

So, If you’ve harmed someone, make it right; if you’ve been harmed, do your best to make it right, and don’t let the sun go down on your anger.

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18)

Be forgiving!

Ephesians 4:26-27, 30-32

God First!

« Older posts

© 2022 Advocate for Christ

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑