The best life is a God First life

Category: Regret

Regret is avoidable when you choose and do the right things.

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!

Learning what 3000 learned!

When the Church of Christ was first established in 33 AD, the apostles told their audience about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and many in the crowd listened. I would imagine they listened very intensely and that the more they heard, the more they realized the significance of what had been done. They were now comprehending the truth over a false narrative. They now realized the Jesus they hung on the cross was the actual; Son of God. This awaking prompted them to be concerned, to wonder, and to ask: “What shall we do?

“And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized (emersed) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 ESV

To repent from sin against God is to realize we are wrong and become remorseful. In this remorse, we understand our sinful actions move us away from God and towards eternal darkness. In this realization, we long never to make such bad choices again. Thus, in our desire to make it right, we repent, consciously taking steps in a new direction, walking away from the darkness of this world towards the forgiving light of Jesus.

Peter went on to say, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

Each of us is accountable for our own salvation; each person who heard this message had (and today, we still have) the ability to be saved by responding to the Word of God! (Below, many verses are listed that tell us how)

Choosing to follow God is not a forced decision; it’s an informed decision. God has given us reason and proof to believe. In today’s world, we all have access to God’s Word. So why not study the actual Word of God and find out if what we understand from others is what the Bible says? If not, be willing to change direction. When God’s Word is our foundation and not the words of others, it leads us to better discernment.

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:40-41 ESV

After hearing Peter’s answer along with more testimony and words to compel them, around three thousand souls came to understand that to be saved, they needed to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Scripture goes on to tell us those who did so were; added to the lord’s church.

Peter’s answer was good for about 3000 souls

Ever wonder why it’s not good enough for many today? Scripture does NOT say they were baptized simply as an outward sign of an inward decision. No, God’s Word says they were baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

Why do some discount the apostles’ answer and cling to claims invented by others thousands of years later? Claims such as; A prayer alone now saves you, or faith alone now saves you, or that baptism is a work, or that a symbolic baptism before you have heard the message of Christ or have any understanding saves you. I implore anyone who believes any of these ideas to please look closer at what scripture says on these matters. Find out what the bible says about how to be “In Christ.” Don’t believe me; believe God’s own words. Open your bible and study the God-breathed scripture. It is the Absolute Truth of God, and despite some opinions, take comfort in knowing the bible itself proves God and that all of scripture is God-Breathed.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:3-11
  • Grace:Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:24, Titus 2:11, Acts 15:11
  • Belief/Faith:Hebrews 11:1, John 8:24, Romans 10:17, Acts 3:19
  • Repentance:2 Cor. 7:9-10, Luke 13:3-5, Acts 17:30
  • Confess:Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 12:8-9
  • Baptism by immersion for forgivness of sin:Matthew 16:15-16 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Matt 28:18-20, Ephesians 4:5, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12, Acts 8:36-39, Mark 1:9-10, John 3:23

God First!

The Mirror of Reflection and Growth

Our dual battle between good and evil starts with the desires of our hearts and minds. (James 1:15) When we act with goodness, we glorify God. When we act on evil desires, we sin against God.

Our actions show our heart so let us not be afraid to better ourselves by embracing the mirror of reflection and growth.

Let us ask ourselves daily:

  • Are my actions demonstrating where I know my heart’s desire, should be?
  • Am I proud of my actions?
  • Would Jesus be proud of my actions?
  • Did I reject temptation?

If the answer is “Yes” then you do well if your answers are “No” remember God forgives, He even forgets, If bad habits have formed it’s not too late to replace them with good habits. Scripture tells us to repent, which means: To change direction. There is never a better time to change direction than the moment you realize you need too and reflection helps us get to that point.

 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21

God’s word tells us how to focus our minds and hearts, how to overcome the temptation to sin. (Philippians 4:5-9)

  • Hebrews 8:12
  • Matthew 5:44
  • Matthew 5:16
  • Matthew 22:37–39
  • Grace: – Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:24, Titus 2:11, Acts 15:11
  • Belief/Faith: – Hebrews 11:1, John 8:24, Romans 10:17, Acts 3:19
  • Repentance: – 2 Cor. 7:9-10, Luke 13:3-5, Acts 17:30
  • Confess: – Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 12:8-9
  • Baptism by immersion for forgivness of sin: – Matthew 16:15-16 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Matt 28:18-20, Ephesians 4:5, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12, Acts 8:36-39, Mark 1:9-10, John 3:23

AdvocateforChrist.com

God First!

Paths & Highways (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Grace: – Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:24, Titus 2:11, Acts 15:11
  • Belief/Faith: – Hebrews 11:1, John 8:24, Romans 10:17, Acts 3:19
  • Repentance: – 2 Cor. 7:9-10, Luke 13:3-5, Acts 17:30
  • Confess: – Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 12:8-9
  • Baptism by immersion for forgivness of sin: – Matthew 16:15-16 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Matt 28:18-20, Ephesians 4:5, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:12, Acts 8:36-39, Mark 1:9-10, John 3:23

Hurting God, Hurts us

In many ways, I am the prodigal son, not in how I treated my earthly father, but in how I treated my Heavenly Father. For a long time, I abused the grace and blessings our Heavenly Father gave me. I understood his love for me, but I attempted to take advantage of it. I treated God as if, His Will for me was unimportant. I wanted what I wanted, even though I knew it went against the will of God. I wonder how many others currently find themselves doing the same.

I decided to ignore the understanding I did have of God’s will for his children. Instead, I willfully ignored God and foolishly hoped for the best if something happened. I mistakenly banked on the thought that I could plead ignorance, that God would forgive my purposeful attempt at ignorance because I was a good person. God, however, is not a respecter of persons. Therefore, I am responsible and accountable equally with everyone else to learn, study and follow Christ according to God’s Will. In fact, even more so, as I was a baptized believer.

During these years, I stupidly gambled with the eternity of my soul. It was never meant to be a conscientious rejection of God; however, in retrospect, it’s clear my faith at that time was built on sand. I allowed myself to slowly get caught up in my misconceptions of the good life to the point that God was barely a thought.

I had turned my back on God and did not realize or even consider the depth of how my choices would trickle down into the lives of all those I love. I did not realize the importance of missed opportunities. Opportunities to be an example to those around me as a person who puts God First!

I realize now; I hurt God, rejection hurts, God knows what was best for me, God knows what’s best for all of us, so much so; Jesus gave his life for me, for all of us! My selfish choices had consequences; I had slowly rejected God’s sacrifice, God’s love. I eventually realized I was pursuing nonsense (Vanity), my own desires, and was costing me greatly.

By the time I realized how broken and lost I was, my fun-filled actions were riddled with regrets. It was then that I returned to my only real hope, and just like the father of the prodigal son, our Heavenly Father, was there with wide-open arms, willing to forgive, willing to forget how lost I had become. According to Scripture, I was dead, and now I’m alive, I was lost, but now, I have been found, and heaven rejoiced! Luke 15:7–10

I wonder how many other prodigal sons or daughters are out there ignoring our Heavenly Father as I once did; Jesus’s arms are always outstretched to embrace the repentant heart and offer eternal life for those who will change direction and follow Christ according to God’s will and keep his commandments. The God of all comfort wants us to repent, come home.

If you are one who, upon reflection, realizes you have drifted away, won’t you change direction and come home?

When we truly live according to God’s will, there’s nothing to regret.

  • Luke 15:11-32 (prodigal son)
  • John 3:16 (God so loved…)
  • Luke 15:32 (Lost but found)
  • 2nd Corinthians 1:3-5 (God of all comfort)
  • James 4:8 (Draw close to God and He will draw close to you)

God First!

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!

Save yourself with honesty.

When good minds and hearts succumb to telling lies and being deceitful, it produces guilt, and guilt is heavy on the heart. When we choose to hide the truth rather than correct the issue with honesty, we carry unnecessary burdens. These burdens of sin allow Satan to set up residence and dwell in our minds. For example, if we lie or deceive someone (like a spouse) regarding an important matter, we carry that unresolved lie with us daily?

Sometimes, rather than confess, we tell ourselves things like ”no real harm done,” it’s better if they don’t know.” ”Why hurt them with the truth?” however, by doing so, we seal that burden of guilt in our hearts and minds, maybe for years or till death when honesty sets us free.

Our cover-up then gives Satan permanent residence in that part of our mind, and guess what? It’s not hidden from God. God knows the truth and has told us to always speak with the truth.

God hates lies!

When we fess up, confess, ask forgiveness and repent, we simultaneously kick Satan to the curb, kicking him out of that permanent dwelling we’ve furnished him in our mind. Don’t let Satan settle in, save yourself with honesty, pray, tell the truth, face the consequence and stop Satan from building a mansion in your mind as one lie leads to two, then three, then four, and many more…

The above thoughts bring to my mind the parable of unclean spirits and following scriptures.

  • John 8:34 – slave to sin
  • James 5:16 – confess
  • Matthew 12:43-45 unclean spirits
  • Philippians 4:8-9 rethink
  • Romans 1:28-32
  • John 8:32 – truth
  • Matthew 5:23-24 – Reconcile

God First!

Lies are Heavy Weights that limit Happiness and Joy.

When we carry the weight of sin in our minds, are we not allowing Satan to dwell there? For example, We lie or deceive a loved one over an important matter (maybe a spouse).

We then carry the burden of that lie with us, and it haunts us from time to time. Conversations arise that remind us of our lie or cause us to repeat or expand the lie to avoid revealing the truth. Yet still, rather than confess, we tell ourselves things like ”no real harm done,” “it’s better if they don’t know.” ”Why hurt them with the truth”?

As a result, we may carry the unnecessary weight of that guilt (that God knows) in our hearts and minds for years, maybe even, to our death. 

By doing so, are we not offering Satan permanent residence in that part of our mind?
Are we not limiting our relationship with that person from being all it can be?

However, if we fess up to God, that person, ask forgiveness, and repent, are we not simultaneously kicking Satan to the curb? Kicking him out of that permanent home that we’ve furnished him in our mind. Are we not mending our hearts and minds by removing that permanent dwelling of sin?

The above thoughts bring to my mind the following scripture.

1. James 5:16 – confess

2. Matthew 12:43-45  unclean spirits

3. Philippians 4:8-9 rethink

4. Romans 1:28-32

Choices are real and regrets, are lifetime

You have two lines. One line promotes the murder of babies the other promotes the protection of life. Your decision is: black and white, Not gray. You simply have one line promoting evil, and one line, for pure love.

It’s been pointed out: God is not Democrat or Republican, Amen to that!

There is no evil in God! GOD IS LOVE, GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME.

If Jesus was asked: Is it ok to kill babies in the womb? Would love answer: sure, go ahead, or would that be Satan?

Choosing the right line is important, I choose the Life-Line of love.

Which line do you stand behind?

1 John 4:8, Psalms 145:9, Psalms 100:4-5 Mark 10:18

#godislove, #love #godisgood #prolife

© 2021 Advocate for Christ

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑