Yesterday, a friend wrote on her blog "50 things I've learned in 50 years." It inspired me, and I asked permission (which she graciously granted) to write something similar, sharing what I have learned in 57 years of life. I feverishly began writing down thing after thing. Then, I started to notice a pattern; basically everything of importance in my life has been taught by God, and it hasn't been over 57 years, but over 24 years (since the day I was born again on Oct 27, 1994). While my life didn't "literally" begin on that day in October, it feels like it did. I was reborn, and began a "new" life. It was the day where God began His work to change me day by day to become more like Jesus (technically called "sanctification").
Over those 24 years, God has taught me many lessons. These lessons have changed my life. Perhaps they can help you too. In looking at my giant list, I have decided to whittle it down to what I have called "40 Things God Has Taught Me." Has God "directly" taught me each of these "lessons?" I am not sure I can say that, but if not, I can say that they are the result of God's work in me. So, in no particular order, here is my list.
1. "Put Me (God) first in ALL that you do, and I will take care of you." (God spoke this to me at one of the lowest points of my life.)
2. "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." (1 Cor 15:10)(My favorite Bible verse.)
3. Work to leave a Godly legacy behind for generations that will follow you. (This was one of the main reasons I started JesusAlive.cc.)
4. God first, spouse second, children third (in that order).
5. Have a few close, trusted friends you can share everything about your life with. (Be accountable)
6. Good Quote: "If you were put on trial for your faith in Jesus, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
7. Arm yourself with a group of prayer warriors that you know will pray when you need them.
8. Even if no one else sees the good you are doing, God always sees it.
9. Commit your children to the Lord at conception (See: 1 Sam Ch. 1).
10. Pray for your children's future spouses as they are growing up.
11. No one likes to be around a complainer. God doesn't like it either (Phil 2:14)(2 Tim 2:16)(1 Cor 10:10). (More verses here.)
12. "Pray without ceasing" (1 Th 5:17). (This means that we should live in a continual state of prayer in our everyday lives. We should be praying all through the day. If you know how many times you have prayed in a day, you probably haven't done it.)
13. Don't compare yourself to others. God made you the way you are, with your own gifts.
14. Choose humility. Pray for God to crush a prideful attitude. God hates pride (Mt 23:12)(Prov 6:16-19)(Prov 16:18). (More verses here.)
15. Whatever you do, do it with excellence ("to the glory of God" - 1 Cor 10:31).
16. "You can destroy years of relationship or ministry with just one act of rebellion" (1).
17. You cannot change people. Leave that to God in prayer.
18. Do not place yourself in a situation where you will be tempted to sin. Flee temptation.
19. Write out your personal testimony of how you came to Christ, and share it. It can change lives.
20. Remember, that as Christians, an unbelieving world is watching everything you say and do.
21. The music you listen to, the t.v. shows you watch, and the video games you play will affect the way you think. Choose wisely. (See: Job 31:1)
22. Eventually, almost every person you spend time with will hurt you. Forgive! God commands it (Mt 6:14-15)(Mt 18:20-21)(Col 3:12-13). (See: Forgiving Others)
Quote: "A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers" (2).
23. Keep a journal of great things God has done in your life. Look at it when times are tough.
24. Keep a journal of encouraging things that people have said about you. Look at it when you are discouraged.
25. Set a goal so high that it can only be accomplished if God steps in.
26. "A man of God in the will of God is immortal until His work is done" (1). Remember this if you are fearful when doing God's work.
27. Have integrity. If you say you are going to do something, do it.
28. "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Yes, as "yourself") (Mt 19:19)(Mk 12:31.33)(Mt 22:39).
29. "New level, new devil" (3). If you make a move to draw closer to the Lord, expect a Satanic spiritual war to stop it. Press through!
30. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28). Everything that happens to us as Christians has a purpose. God either causes or allows all things. He is totally in control. He will, in some way, work things out for our good.
31. Ask questions. (Check out how many questions Jesus asked in the Gospels.)
32. Lay up your treasures in Heaven, not on earth (Mt 6:19-20)(Mk 10:21)(Lk 12:33). Have an eternal mindset, not an earthly one.
33. Keep short accounts with God. When you sin, confess it, and repent: immediately. Do not let unconfessed sin keep you from a close relationship with God. (After you confess and repent, let it go.)
34. Guard your tongue (Prov 10:19)(Prov 15:4)(Prov 21:23)(Eph 4:29). Think before you speak. One insensitive "slip of the tongue" can cause lasting damage.
35. The Bible is God's direct Word to man. Read it! Study it! Cherish it!
36. Get connected to a good, Bible preaching local church. You need it, and they need you. Also, join a small group. It is the place to make deeper Christian relationships.
37. Find a good Christian mentor if at all possible. It will change your life. (I discuss this in another blog post.)
38. God has given each Christian at least one spiritual gift (usually several). Find yours, and use it to serve the Lord. You will rarely feel closer to God than when you are operating in your gift.
39. Be happy where you are, on the way to where God is taking you.
40. God loves you more than anyone ever will.
I am sure I have missed some important ones. You probably can think of some I have missed too. Share them if you wish. Perhaps, I will go to 50 in the future.
(1) Taken from, or paraphrasing David Jeremiah
(2) Ruth Graham
(3) First heard from Joyce Meyer
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