The best life is a God First life

Category: Salvation (Page 1 of 2)

Flaxseed and Scripture

Some friends recently set a family goal to read one thousand books by the year’s end. As I am a slow reader, this goal is truly impressive. In fact, When I ordered the book in this picture, “The Utterance of God,” I ordered based on a friend’s recommendation and my interest in the topic. The book identifies and demonstrates numerous biblical proofs (many of which I was unaware) that what we read in the Bible is indeed the actual Words of God. The Bible claims this fact in 2 Timothy 3:16, where God tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed…”.

Recognizing, understanding, and comprehending these many proofs found in Scripture also solidifies God as the creator of everything we know and understand; therefore, we should do all within our power to follow Christ according to what we find in God’s Word.

This book was not yet published when I placed my order, it does have a nice size font, but still, I did not realize the book was over 500 pgs. Likewise, the Bible has over a thousand pages and three-quarters of a million words. Large books seem daunting to me. However, I have learned to take the Flaxseed approach to my reading.

Like the books above, Flaxseed was also recommended to me as having several health benefits for our bodies. When I ordered the Flaxseed, and it arrived, I thought, wow, that’s a lot of Flaxseed; how will I ever get through all this? Yet by using just a teaspoon at a time, I have now consumed the first container and am starting this new one; and am healthier for it.

Today, I am proud to report that I have read every word in “The Utterance of God.” Although parts of it were challenging to comprehend, much was very easy and extremely interesting. Moreover, I have gained considerably by being persistent in periodically consuming just a few pages at a time over months.

The result: Studying this information strengthened my understanding of God’s Word, increased my confidence when I thought I lacked none, and helped to embolden my faith.

Reading good books can provide several benefits for the health of our minds, and Reading God’s Holy Word provides nourishment for both mind & soul; it is life’s best guide. Following God’s Word according to God’s Word is to follow Jesus, and Jesus is our only way to spend eternity with God. John 14:6, Acts 4:2, 1 Timothy 2:5, John 10:9, John 1:14,

I encourage anyone reading this, take time to read the Bible, don’t decide in advance it’s too hard to understand, be persistent with yourself instead and commit yourself to at least a spoonful of reading per day. Before you know it, just like with the Flaxseed or the book I read, you will have consumed the whole book. It’s a blessing!

God First!

Ignore them or get to know them

If you want to become close to someone, do you reach out by ignoring them? Do you talk to others, or do you talk with them? Many people say they believe in Jesus; some will even shout it from the rooftops, yet few truly spend time getting to know our savior. Jesus is the Word and has been with us since before creation.

When I speak of knowing Jesus, I’m not talking about feelings, like listening to music, watching a movie, or something that makes us emotional. No, I’m talking about getting to know Jesus through His Father, His life, His Words, His message and, His example. I’m talking about getting to know God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit through the God-breathed words of Scripture.

Ever had a best friend? (I hope you have) How did they become your best friend? Was it because other people kept telling you about them, or was it because you personally spent time with them and got to know them?

Personally, spending time with someone is when we truly get to know them rather than just what others think of them. So, likewise, God’s living Word is how we get to know God. As we spend time in those inspired God-breathed words, we draw closer to God, and He Draws closer to us.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.. James 4:8

If we are in His word daily, it’s only natural to reflect in our daily conversations and how we conduct our lives. Is He?

What an opportunity we have to have Jesus as our best friend!

  • 1 John 4:8-19 (Love Love Love)
  • Romans 5:8 (showed His Loves for us)
  • 1 John 3:16 (Laid down his life for us)
  • James 4:8 (Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you)
  • John 1:1-17 (Jesus was with God in the beginning)
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 (Do your best and study)

God First!

Why Rules Daddy?

As loving parents, why do we create rules? Is it for the fun of it? No, we initiate rules to help keep our children safe while teaching them to discern what’s right and wrong, safe or dangerous. However, if we don’t hold our children accountable for their actions, are we truly showing them, love? Are we really demonstrating love if there is no consequence for disobedience? Love is much more than hugs, kisses, smiles, jokes, and fun times.

Since the beginning, God has shown love and exhibited what love truly is. In Scripture, we find many examples that although God’s Love includes all kinds of blessings and kindness, punishment and expectation are not mutually exclusive of that love.

Meeting expectations helps build confidence, and punishment helps us make better choices on our lifelong paths. Godly punishment is not done out of meanness but out of love. Righteous punishment helps us learn and understand that we are accountable for our choices and, thus, deserve their consequences, whether good or bad.

Our Heavenly Father gave us free will that we might follow His instructions found in God’s Word (The Bible). His Son (Jesus) became flesh and demonstrated that love to the point of extreme pain and anguish when He was sacrificed for us. Jesus is the only sacrifice that could give us eternal life in heaven if we follow Him.

We may be adults in this world, but we should remember we are God’s children as Christians. I recently heard the point made that God has no Grandchildren. We are all his children, and he wants the best for us, similar to how we want the best for our children.

Since God created mankind, He has blessed, punished, and sacrificed that we might live eternally with Him. Therefore, God gave us every word of the bible, The God-breathed absolute truth for our benefit. God is Love, His precepts show that love, and in my humble opinion, our gratitude should make us want to excel in adhering to God’s Will by truly doing our best to put God First!

  • Proverbs 22:6
  • Ephesians 6:4
  • Hebrews 12:5-17
  • 1st John 4:16
  • John 14:6
  • Romans 8:12-17
  • Galatians 4:1-8‭‭
  • 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭
  • 2 Timothy 3:16

God First!

Taken back in time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

John 14:15

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

(John 3:16)

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

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

God First!

What is the only gift we can give God that God Wants?

Jesus tells us; the greatest “commandment” is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. In other words, we are to love God with all of our beings, with everything we have to offer. Jesus goes on to tell us the 2nd greatest “command” is to love others as ourselves. Jesus added a new command “…Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Did you notice these are not request?

They are commands. Why are they commands? One thought is because they are good for us. God does not force us to love Him or others. He leaves that to our choice. However, God has given us overwhelming incentives and reasons to love Him and absolutely no reason not to love Him.

Jesus tells us, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” So this is our opportunity to show our love and gratitude by doing our best to keep His commands.

IF we love him…” The word “Love” is so loosely defined in our cultures today, it’s often confused with all sorts of selfish temporal feelings, desires, wants, and infatuations. Jesus’s command to love is not a pill we take for temporary uplifts; no, It’s the kind of love God has demonstrated to us, one that never ends. It’s unchanging and committed. It’s lifelong. In fact, it is never-ending, eternity long.

God first loved us and gave His son for us. So why would we hesitate not to do our best to show our love for Jesus in return by keeping his commandments?

I can think of only one thing we have to offer God that God cannot give himself; what would that one thing be? _ _ _ _

  • Mark 12: 30-31 (Greatest commands)
  • John 14:15 (keep His commands)
  • John 13:34-35 (new command)

Jesus said to him“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[a] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14:6-7

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

God First!

When “Faith and Hope” are history

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

When this world is over and Jesus returns, we will “love” for eternity, but “faith and hope” will no longer be needed. Even in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man was concerned for his family, showing the love he still had in torment.

When this world is over; We will find ourselves in the moment of truth fulfilled. Then, “Faith and Hope” will no longer be relative.

At this point; The choices we make to follow Christ today according to God’s will, and Not ours, will determine our eternal destiny as we appear before Christ in the reality of our judgment to hear him say: Welcome my loved one or Depart from me, I never knew you.

  • Isaiah 26:9
  • James 4:12
  • John 3:17-18
  • Matthew 12:36
  • Matthew 7:19-29
  • Proverbs 21:2
  • Revelation 20:12-13
  • John 5:30
  • Luke 16:19-31
  • Romans 6:23
  • 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Even in death, Stephen was Teaching!

As I listened to a lesson by Kyle Rye this past Sunday, the following thoughts came to mind. In all that we do to the end of this worldly life, Christians should strive to follow the example of Stephen and teach God’s Word in all we do down to the very end. Even in death, Stephen was teaching!

Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 7:58-60

In Acts 7:59, we are told: “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

  1. Here we see by Stephen’s words and example what faith, trust and commitment entails as he called out “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
    • Stephen did not beg them to stop or try to take back his words but rather; demonstrated by example his belief and trust in God.
  2. With a loud voice Stephen teaches them and us as he identifies their action as Sin
    • In verse 58 we find that Saul, later named Paul was present.
    • In verse 59 whether Stephan’s killers knew at the moment or realized it sometime later, Their actions were NOT Justice, but Sin. Among his last words Stephen called them out on this. Certainly, this did not escape Paul as he later grew in understanding.
  3. In death Stephen teaches forgiveness
    • In verse 60 we find Stephen asking God not to hold this sin against them. In making this statment we learn Steven did not leave this world with a grudge or hating those who were taking his life, but rather; Stephen left demonstrating compassion for their ignorance and love for his murderes, as he appealed to God for them to be forgiven of this sin.

I can only imagine how Paul may have reflected on these memories later in life. How they may have burned in his heart, knowing he could not change what he’d been part of, yet these memories likely became fuel. Heartfelt fuel that helped push him to teach and share Jesus no matter what the worldly consequences may be.

Paul later stated: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

God First!

  • Colossians 3:13
  • 1 John 2:15-17
  • Hebrews 13:14-16
  • Matthew 6:21
  • Mark 16:15

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!

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