The best life is a God First life

Category: Teaching (Page 1 of 2)

We NEED TO “ARM OUR CHILDREN!”

We need to arm our children; We need to arm them with the teachings of Jesus Christ that they may learn love, strength, honor, respect, compassion, humility, and thankfulness. As our children and we grow in the knowledge of God’s love, it creates a natural zeal to Love and serve our creator. To keep His commandments with all their Hearts, Soul, Mind, and Strength, and Love others as Christ loved us.

Arming our children with the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, is the best way to help them protect themselves. As parents, we strive to protect our children, teach them right from wrong, caution, and self-control, how to be strong yet humble so they can achieve success in life’s challenges. There is no better foundation to provide them than the foundation of God.

Loving God and having His Word in their hearts as their guide helps provide our children with the knowledge they need to make better choices throughout life. It helps them know where to turn to find answers and seek help from Scripture and through prayers. In addition, God’s Word helps them make the right choice when they encounter situations where bad choices may have lifelong, negative impacts.

Our children need to see the adults around them demonstrate how to love one another as Christ loved us in all our actions. They need to see us show respect for authority, respect for others, love, and compassion. Our children need to understand that actions have consequences; if we want good consequences, we need to input good actions.

  • 3 John 1:4
  • Ephesians 6:17
  • Proverbs 22:6
  • Ephesians 6:4
  • Isaiah 54:13
  • Deuteronomy 6:7
  • Psalm 78:6
  • Romans 9:8
  • Matthew 22:37
  • John 13:34

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!

Doing our part – takes work!

Believers in God don’t sit around waiting on God to provide everything for them!

No, that would be sluggishness (laziness) and is not the role we find endorsed by God in Scripture; God expects us to work! It would be misrepresentative of scripture to believe it’s all about what God can do for us when so much is about what we can; Go and Do!

God expects us to do our part in providing physical and spiritual nourishment. God has given mankind a working role since the beginning. (Gen.2:15) Throughout Scripture, we find being a sluggard has been condemned while effort has been rewarded. (Matt.25:24-30)

Working towards righteous goals may take much patience; on our part, and we should be mindful of that fact that seeing the full results of our efforts may never happen; even so, in our ongoing, consistent unrelenting effort, we can know that working for good; will reap good in time if we don’t quit.

How can we know this? Because God tells us so.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for, in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

If we do our part, God will always do His!

  • Proverbs 18:9
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10
  • Proverbs 26:14
  • Proverbs 26:16
  • Proverbs 24:30–31
  • Mark 16:15-16

(Several proverbs address sluggards)

God First!

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!

The blessing of direct prayer

When we approach God’s throne in prayer, we often bow our heads, close our eyes, and kneel. I love doing these gestures as doing so signifies respect, honor, and glory to God. These gestures also help focus our attention solely on the prayer and can be great examples in teaching our children to pray and respect our Heavenly Father.

This said; Prayer has no limits! We can pray anywhere at any time in any situation or environment. We don’t pray to impress those around us; we pray to have time with our creator, say thank you, or ask for help.

God is family, and no one loves us the way God loves us, and no one has the ability to help us more than God does. So, we can pray out loud or in our mind without a single word spoken, with our eyes wide open, driving down the road, cutting grass, fishing, hunting, cooking, walking the dog, or holding the baby.

God has given each of us the avenue of direct prayer through the name of Jesus, his only begotten son, so why not take advantage of this incredible opportunity and pray often? God wants to hear from us!

  • Luke 12:34
  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • Matthew 6:7
  • 1st Thessalonians 5:17 (pray without ceasing)
  • James 5:13
  • John 5:15
  • Ephesians 6:18
  • Mark 11:24
  • Romans 12:12

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!

The fall of Jericho in today’s world

In the Old Testament book of Joshua, we read about the miraculous Fall of Jericho. As I thought of this story, I imagined how this might go over in today’s world?

Although this was before Christ when God Spoke directly to some, through prophets, angles, and in dreams, can you imagine if today’s technology and media had been there? Can you visualize how social media and the news would explode with interviews, conjecture, ridicule, and laughter run-amuck touting these people as crazy who say their God, “The One and Only God,” told them to do this, and the city would fall to them?

If today’s media had been around, we would watch as TV news personalities mocked the ideas of those believers; we would have a continuous live feed as they marched around the city once a day for six days, staying quiet, and on the seventh day march around it the city seven times with priests blowing trumpets.

Can you imagine everyone’s profound astonishment when as they all yelled at the sound of the last trumpet, we watched those thick city walls fall flat, letting them take the city?

Can you imagine the wall-to-wall coverage? Can you imagine the shock to all the unbelievers?

Now, If someone in Joshua’s camp had treated the Word of God given to Josuha, the way so many treat God’s Word today, given to all of us, someone might have said; “This is ridiculous; we don’t need to spend 6 days marching around this city. God loves us; he is here for us because we are his people! So let’s just advance on the city and take it; God will provide.

Do you think the walls of Jericho would have fallen had they done their own thing? Had they done anything less than God commanded? I don’t.

Today many believe and teach others that God loves them so much that he does not mean what he says in Scripture. Thus, they can live as they wish, treating sin as if the word itself was wrong rather than actions that go against God’s will. In doing so, they attempt to justify their actions by twisting God’s word; many try to make their will God’s rather than seeking to make God’s will theirs.

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

  • Joshua 6:1-27
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:4
  • Matthew 6:33-34
  • John 14:15-31
  • John 13:34-35
  • John 14:6
  • 1 Peter 1:23
  • Acts 8:36-38

God First!

40 Christians on a bus

40 Christians on a tour bus for the week, a day has come and gone. How many of us will get to know the bus driver’s name? Is he married, does he have children, is he a Christian? Does he believe in Jesus? Is he In Christ?

By the end of the week, will the bus driver think of us as “good samaritans”? As 40 Christ-loving, Christ-sharing Christians concerned for his well-being, for his soul, Christians willing to vest some of our vacation time sharing the love of Christ with this stranger, or will we be just another group of people he drove around for the week?

This is a challenge for all Christians as a group or as individuals. So that we plant the seeds of truth in all that we do, will those we meet know more about Christ’s love for them after we’re gone than they did before we met them?

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” – Mark 16:15

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. – John 13:34

Rhetorical question: How can we claim to love others and not seek every opportunity to share the most important message of our lifetime? The saving message of Christ, the message that can bring eternal life in heaven with our creator.

Let us plant Seeds in all that we do

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

God First!

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