The best life is a God First life

Category: Thankfulness (Page 1 of 3)

Does God love some more than others?

As I contemplated this question, I believe the answer is that God loves the “response” of some more than others.

Like parents and children, one child might do as directed most of the time while the other doesn’t. It’s not that parents love the obedient child more than the other; however, they love the obedient child’s response more than the disobedient response. The obedient response shows a desire to please the parents by doing as told. (love)

In Scripture, we learn Jesus died for all the world and that God shows no partiality. Scripture also tells us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we find Jesus said; if we love Him, we will keep His commandments.

David was considered a man after God’s heart; why? God tells us: “He will do my will” Saul, on the other hand, lost his kingdom for doing “his own” will, not God’s.

King David made many huge mistakes and was far from perfect, yet he constantly turned to and relied on God; David pursued righteousness. (doing God’s will mattered to David)

We all have the same choice!

Follow God’s will to the best of our ability by studying and following the commands and examples of Scripture or following our feelings, our ideas, or those of others.

When we choose to follow God according to His will, we spend our lives pursuing righteousness. In James chapter 5, we find the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. This should be one of our goals, to have our prayers accomplish much because our hearts are where King David’s was, pursuing righteousness.

God First!

John 3:16 tells us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

“So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Act 10:34-35

“And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’” Acts 13:22 ESV

But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” Samuel 13:14

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 NASB

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!

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!

30 Characteristics of Agape love

  1. Unconditional
  2. Without expectation of reciprocation
  3. Desiring good for others
  4. It’s eternal
  5. We desire it
  6. It has no evil in it.
  7. It covers a multitude of sins
  8. Provides motivation
  9. Brings peace
  10. It is a choice
  1. Fruit of the Spirit
  2. Not resentful
  3. Love is God as God, is love
  4. It’s forgiving
  5. Selfless
  6. Patient
  7. Kind
  8. Not envious
  9. Not boastful
  10. Not arrogant

  1. Not rude
  2. Does not insist on its own way
  3. Not irritable
  4. Does not rejoice in wrongdoing
  5. Rejoices in the truth
  6. bears all things
  7. believes all things
  8. hopes all things
  9. endures all things
  10. LOVE NEVER ENDS.

Agape love is choosing to love unconditionally; it never changes. We should love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

  • 1st Corinthians 13
  • Galatians 5:22-23
  • 1st Peter 4:8
  • 1st John 4:8
  • Philippians 4:8-9

One of the best things my brother did was; hurt me with love

One of the best things my little brother ever did for me is something many would not understand, and some would disagree with. Admittedly, when he decided to take action, I myself thought he was being ridiculous. I understood his intent but gave little thought to the strength and courage it took him to take the stance he took toward me. I know now he did have sound reasons for his actions, but I was so wrapped up in my life, I wasn’t willing to listen. So, I acted as if it was “his” choice and dismissed his decision when down deep, it bothered me.

At that time in my life, I was a young baptized man with a “milk feed” understanding of scripture. Although I knew better, I had allowed myself to slowly become consumed in worldly ways. Although mindful that I was on the wrong path, I chose to ignore my bad choices rather than change direction. Instead of turning back, I stopped referring to myself as a Christian and convinced myself I did so because I did not want to seem like a hypocrite or bring reproach to the Lord’s Church.

For some reason, I convinced myself this was logical, but in reality, I didn’t want anyone to convince me I needed to change. So, I wouldn’t give them the chance. Instead, I ignored or avoided them and, in effect, ignored and tried to avoid God. I would smile, cut jokes, “always had to go,” anything to avoid giving birth to a serious conversation. In latter years I came to the realization that by my choices, I had been denying Christ, turning my back on His love, and crucifying Jesus yet again. (Oh’ how much this hurts to think about now.)

My parents and brother tried to talk with me about my choices and what God’s Word says about my decisions, but I would have nothing to do with it. These conversations were like the plague to me. I didn’t want to risk changing my lifestyle. I wanted to ignore them. I feared conflict because it might lead to a sense of accountability or change, and I feared change might rock my relationships.

I was a cowardly man who perceived myself as a strong and good man. I played a dangerous game and gambled my soul, thinking, “God will take me back when I’m ready.” This was arrogant and foolish. I somehow thought if I died, I could explain to Jesus how things came about and, because of His great love, Jesus would cut me a break. He would understand and forgive me. I think I actually thought myself so sly that I could talk my way out of eternal punishment by pleading ignorance.

Deep in the recesses of my mind, I wanted to follow Christ and secretly hoped I would man up. I recall praying from time to time that it wouldn’t take some great loss or terrible event to get me serious about changing direction.

The truth is, it was not really a gamble at all; had I died at that time of my life, I was lost for eternity. My keen wit and ”worldly sorrow” would NOT have saved me. It would take ”Godly Sorrow.” Why? Because Godly sorrow leads to repentance. I was wrong and needed to realize it; since I was already baptized, I needed to repent (change direction), ask forgiveness for my sins and, live for Christ; rather than self.

Spiritually I was worse off than a Non-believer. I was a baptized believer who chose satan’s offerings over God’s grace and Christ’s Sacrifice.

My brother’s efforts were done out of love and designed to help me see the seriousness of my condition when he informed me that he would not bring his family to my home. He was, in fact, ”disfellowshipping me.” To many, this sounds horrible, But it wasn’t! It was an extremely difficult act of concern and love for my soul. And what I needed. He was also protecting his family from my worldly influence because condoning my chosen lifestyle inferred acceptance of that which goes against the teachings of God.

Unfortunately, my brother’s actions alone did not get me to change, but they did prompt me to take pause and give some attention to the seriousness of my soul’s condition. Years went by where I missed out on opportunities to influence my nieces in positive ways because of my choices at the time, not my brothers. I chose a lifestyle I knew was contrary to scripture, contrary to living for Christ; I was living in sin, and very importantly, “I knew better!” My brother’s action was a blessing; it was one of the best things he could have done. It was far from the first or last thing he tried. He did continue to reach out to me, and we would talk from time to time about scripture. We would still see his family on special occasions. My brother’s influence and his actions at the time helped lead me back to Christ and an eternal home with God. Today, We are the best of friends and both brothers in Christ.

Since my repentance several years back, I have studied diligently, I have come to realize how little I understood of God’s will, His Grace, His forgiveness, and the importance of ”my role” in God’s plan. We cannot just receive; we must give!

I wish I had been consuming both the milk and ”the meat of Scripture” when I was in my youth; Thankfully, I knew enough to realize that as Godly sorrow took hold, I truly had no excuses. I knew enough to know I needed God’s forgiveness and that for me as a baptized believer of Christ, that meant change (repentance), asking forgiveness of God and the Church.

With today’s understanding of Scripture and God’s love, I cannot fathom living and NOT doing my best to put God’s will first in my life; after all, God’s will is the best will!

Love is sometimes difficult, it sometimes hurts, but love always wins in the end. God’s forgiveness and God’s eternal home is available to all who will follow Him and pursue doing God’s will over our own.

God First!

  • James 4:17
  • 2 Peter 2:21-22
  • Philippians 2:10-11
  • Revelation 21:8
  • Romans 12:2
  • Ephesians 2:8-9
  • Hebrews 2:3
  • 1 Peter 2:2
  • Hebrews 6:4-6
  • 1 Corinthians 3:2
  • James 2:18
  • Hebrews 11:6
  • Luke 8:13
  • 2 Peter 3:18
  • John 15:1-6
  • 2 Timothy 3:12
  • 2 Timothy 4:10
  • Galatians 5:4
  • Matthew 22:23-33
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
  • 1 Corinthians 5: 1-13
  • 2 Corinthians 2:1-17
  • Hebrews 12:1-29
  • Galatians 5:1-26
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18

Relationship bliss

It’s not luck; It’s caring!

From time to time, people have commented on how lucky Virginia (my wife) and I are to have a relationship that works so well, and while I appreciate their words, I also know it’s more than luck. I believe it’s largely due to our aim to please, not just ourselves, but each other.

Our daily actions are mindful, considerate, and inclusive of each other, so we end up doing many things together rather than taking part in the “ME Me me” attitude of today’s culture, which is destructive to relationships and opposes the teachings of Christ.

In today’s environment, it’s all too common to exclude loved ones from our lives with individual activities that distract rather than encourage communication and interaction. Yet, our time together is one of the most valuable earthly blessings we have. Seize its blessings with every breath you take!

  • 1 Peter 3:7
  • Proverbs 3:3-4
  • Proverbs 30:18-19
  • Song of Solomon 8:7
  • Ephesians 4:2
  • Ephesians 5:1-33
  • Philippians 2:1-30
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  • Romans 13:8-10
  • Mark 12:31
  • John 15:12
  • Matthew 22:37-39
  • Colossians 3:4-8
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
  • 1 Corinthians 16:14

God First!

Worry changes nothing! (Except maybe our health)

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

While it’s true that we need to prepare and be prepared, it does absolutely no good to worry. Worry changes nothing! (Except maybe our health).

With or without worry, we will still have to navigate through each day’s trouble on that day. While this seems easier said than done, all things are possible with God. The key is to be “In Christ” and allow the God of all comfort to be with us in every trial.

Include God in everything: Pray

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7
  • Matthew 6:34 (worry)
  • 1 Peter 5:7 (turn burdens over)
  • 1st Thessalonians 5:16–18 (response)
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (Comfort)

In Christ

  • 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 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!

Cherishing moments each day

There are a couple of things I look forward to and cherish at the end of every day.

  1. A Peppermint Kiss

Every night, just before we go to sleep, I brush my teeth, then bid my wife goodnight with a peppermint kiss.

 2. Time with God

The time I take time to pray.

I pray for many who might read this and for many who might not. I pray for my family; and Church family. For those I know are sick or coping with loss. I pray for our leadership and our country and for those who do not know God. I pray for the elders of our congregation that they make good decisions on how to best shepherd the flock and spread the message of Christ. I also pray for the preachers and the teachers in the Lord’s Church to successfully study and share God‘s Word, according to God’s Word. Finally, of course, and not lastly, I pray for my wife and thank God for my life and the blessings therein.

Take time to pray; it’s worth the effort, it’s worth the time!

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
« Older posts

© 2022 Advocate for Christ

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑