The best life is a God First life

Category: Study (Page 1 of 3)

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!

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!

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 Key and the Thread

  • Unity with God’s Word is unity with God.
  • Unity with God’s Word is unity with others.

We find unity when we cumulatively do God’s will, seek and use God’s Word as our standard.

Unity among believers is not found doing our will; It’s not found dismissing any of God’s Word as unnecessary or not applicable today. Unity is not found by trying to improve on what God told us to do. However, unity is a key to spiritual growth; it’s a thread that binds us together as disciples of Christ in peace, harmony, and Love.

Unity in Truth is important!

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”

Jesus (John 14:15)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

  • Romans 14:19
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11
  • Acts 4:32
  • Ephesians 4:23
  • Ephesians 4:11-13
  • Matthew 18:19-20
  • John 13:35
  • 1 Peter 3:8
  • Philippians 2:2-3
  • Colossians 3:13-14
  • Ephesians 4:1-6
  • John 17:23
  • John 4:12
  • Galatians 3:26-28
  • Matthew 23:8
  • Psalm 133:1

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!

66 Books of absolute truth we should learn

We can never understand the whole truth if we only learn part of it!

The Holy Bible is the whole and absolute truth of God! It is 66 Books of God-breathed wisdom and instruction that our creator assembled for our betterment and understanding. The Old Testament has 39 books of ”before Christ” history, including hundreds of prophecies over hundreds of years about Christ. The New Testament has 27 books telling us of the Son of God, Christ. Telling us how to accept God’s offer of grace through our obedient faith in Christ and how we can each “put on Christ” or be “In Christ.”

Scripture defines “obedient faith,” telling us how to lay up treasures in heavenly places and have our souls live forever in a heavenly home not made with hands. God’s Word shows us how God extended us grace through Christ. It lets us know that when we hear the message of Christ, believe in Christ, repent, confess Christ as the living son of God, and make the decision to be immersed in the waters of baptism, we can be forgiven of our sins and walk in newness of life. (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-11)

New Testament scripture stresses the importance of sharing the gospel and teaching others, however; How can we teach what we do not know? We need to study! Our children need us to study! Why? So we can accurately teach them God’s word and spread the truth according to the truth.

It is through understanding and our obedient faith that we can know a peace beyond our understanding.

  • Don’t we want that?
  • Don’t we want that for our children and others?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:16-17
  • 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!

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!

Blindness opened Paul’s eyes.

Paul’s eyes were Opened in Blindness on the road to Damascus, Jesus told Saul… “But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:6‬) Saul had 3 days of blindness to think and pray about his “literal” come to Jesus meeting.

In a vision, the Lord came to a disciple in Damascus named “Ananias.” The Lord tells Ananias where to find Saul and to heal his sight. Scripture reads: “So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;” (Acts 9:17-18).

Note: Baptism was the very first thing Saul did after meeting Ananias and having his sight restored. Why? Had Saul/Paul’s sins were forgiven before this moment, he would not need to be baptized to have His sins forgiven or, to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, would he?

Acts 2:38 tells us when we receive forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit, “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized 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.”

In 1 Peter 3:21 it reads: “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,

Jesus’s own words are very straightforward in Mark 16:16,

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Mark 16:16

Paul shares his story in – Acts 22:1-16

Why do I believe all of God’s word? Because not believing would be to call God a liar, and I know God cannot lie. How many scriptures need to state something before it is true? God breathed out all scripture, so only one. (2 Timothy 3:16) This said, it is important not to take any single scripture out of context as God’s Word encompasses all of Scripture; if scriptures seem to contradict, we can know we have the wrong understanding of those scriptures and need to seek what fits the whole. There are a lot of teachings in this world about what God wants, a lot of feelings about what God wants, yet it rests upon each of us to decern what God’s Word actually teaches. Don’t believe me, believe God!

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 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, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:9-13

God First!

Learning how to please God

To become proficient in our professions, we study and practice to be Doctors, Nurses, Accountants, Engineers, Firefighters, Carpenters, bricklayers, etc. Learning and skill are not developed by osmosis. To do our profession to the best of our ability, one must be studious and committed to learning every aspect possible about our endeavor. Shouldn’t we put even more effort into getting to know God and keeping his commandments? The less we know of God’s Word and the message of Christ, the less we know of God; Yet, our soul’s eternity depends on our submitting to God’s will in accordance with God’s will, not ours. How can we do what we do not know? we should be making ongoing efforts to grow in our understanding.

Still today, many in our world are deprived of access to Bibles and would love to have scripture to study, yet in our country (America), most homes have more than one. So for us, there is really no excuse for choosing ignorance when God’s Word is so readily available. Understanding comes through study, and there is no better time to begin study than right now. Why not grab your closest bible or download a bible app and read it daily starting now?

“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” (2 Timothy 2:15)

God First!

You brighten my day, don’t cheat me, please!

As I looked around the auditorium in our Wednesday night bible study, I saw many familiar faces. People I see at Sunday evening worship, Sunday Morning Bible study and, Sunday morning worship. This is a great encouragement to me. I look forward to each gathering and learning more from God’s Word. I look forward to seeing these amazing people several times a week.

I also miss those who did not make it. I realize some watch from home for various reasons, but when we do so, we miss out on the enjoyment of each other’s company. We miss out on seeing each other’s smile, hearing each other’s laugh, or learning from the thoughts we share.

The attention of Christians often brightens my spirit. If I’m struggling, their love and kindness help lift me up, and I’m reminded I’m not alone, and maybe, my love for God and them can do the same. When Christians gather together, Christ is with us and, we bind in spiritual love through songs of praises, prayer, and study.

When Christians are together, we have the opportunity to share in the strength of Jesus. The strength that helps us fight the good fight and overcome temptations. Together, we help fit and secure the armor of Christ. The armor and shield of faith that helps protect us from the schemes and flaming darts of Satan.

What would happen if everyone decided it was more convenient to stay home when we could be present with the saints? In doing so, we cheat ourselves, and we cheat our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our examples, our actions make a difference!

How long would it be before we decided it’s more convenient to watch at a later time rather than live? How long before our armor becomes loose or laid aside? How long before we made no time. It’s how Satan Works, Little by little helping us to build an invisible wall between us and God, one pebble, stone, or brick at a time.

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
  • John 3:13
  • Matthew 18:20
  • Hebrews 6 10-20
  • Hebrews 7:25
  • Romans 12:5
  • Hebrews 10.25
  • 1 Corinthians 12:13-27
  • Ephesians 3:16

God First!

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