While reflecting on 2014, I wrote my failures and victories and the lessons learned from each on paper. After viewing the words penned, I noticed the “firsts” opportunities for Alive by His Word during the year, such as:
- Published the first of two Word Feasts: Simply Delicious Bible Study books
- Hosted and lead my first website and FaceBook Community
- Hosted the first Alive Table Memberships
- Practiced in my first Spiritual Growth Coaching Sessions
- Blogged for the first time consistently, wrote some first devotionals, and designed my first Alive Scripture Art Devotionals
- Implemented my first webinars: WFW: Word Feasts Webinars and WFL: Word Feasts Locals
The word “first” captured my attention as the Lord inspired me to ponder “first” in His Word. While numerous passages read with the word first, I seem to hold these scripture passages close:
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god…I am he; I am the first, and I am the last” (Isaiah 44:6, 48:12).
He (Jesus) said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38 ESV).
“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 ESV).
“Fear not, I am the first and the last” “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:17, 22:13 ESV).
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV).
I realized my intimacy with the Lord and seeking His kingdom contends for first place. If my intimacy with the Lord and seeking His kingdom lacks first place, everything around me lacks. The Holy Spirit reminded me of some firsts in the first churches. John penned letters in Revelation as the Lord Jesus Christ spoke about various firsts:
- To Ephesus: “You’ve abandoned the love you had at first…repent, and do the works you did at first (Revelation 2:1-7).
- To Smyrna: “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life said, “Don’t fear. You will be tested, be faithful” (Revelation 2:8-11).
- To Pergamum: “You hold My Name and didn’t deny my faith…You are eating at the table of demons, so, first, repent or I will war against you with My Word. Conquer and I will give hidden manna and a white stone with a new name (Revelation 2:12-17 paraphrase mine).
- To Thyatira: Your works, love, faith, service, and endurance excel, but you tolerate a spirit of control and manipulation. First, repent, I search minds and hearts and I give authority as I have received authority from my Father (Revelation 2:18-29, paraphrase mine)
- To Sardis: “You hold the fullness of God and seem alive, but you are dead. First, awake and strengthen as you remember what you received and heard…I will confess the names of those who conquer before my Father (Revelation 3:1-6, paraphrase mine).
- To Philadelphia: The Words of the holy and true One hold power, while you have little power. Yet, you kept my word and did not deny my Name. First, conquer and I will make you a pillar in the temple of God and write my name of my God and city on you (Revelation 3:7-13, paraphrase mine).
- To Laodicea: The beginning (first) of God’s creation knows that you are lukewarm. You say you are rich and prosperous, not realizing that you are wretched, poor, blind, and naked. You own nothing, so first, repent. First, hear my voice, open the door and I will come in and eat with you and you with me. Conquer to sit with me (Revelation 3:14-22, paraphrase mine).
I am in planning and goal setting mode for 2015. The Holy Spirit nudged me to graze the servings offered from the first Churches and to partake accordingly. The messages to each of the first Churches speak loud and clear for planning and setting goals. The goals include honoring the Lord and seeking His kingdom first. Then, He will add to personal and ministry needs:
- Engage the Lord first and keep Him first
- Walk in His Peace first, and not in a spirit of fear
- Carry His Name first, while living and eating at the Lord’s Table in faith
- Live in humility first and not in an attitude of control and manipulation. Renew my mind, first, with His Word daily
- Hold true to His Name first, as ministry grows. His Power, first, keeps me and helps me live the Christ-full life.
- Strengthened by Jesus first, then, He strengthens others through me
- Hear His voice first, as He grows Alive by His Word Ministry. Dine at His Table first, as He enhances the three areas of ministry in Alive by His Word: Reserve your Alive Table Membership, Renew through Spiritual Growth Coaching, and Refresh with Bible Studies Online or Local. Embrace whoever, whenever, whatever, and wherever that surface in life to make each incident an opportunity to live the Christ-full life. Conquer the enemy’s plots, plans, and ploys, by abiding in Christ first.
- Be the first to set your mind on the Lord and His Word throughout the day
- Be the first to pray with your family throughout the year
- Be the first to read the Bible with your family throughout the year
- Be the first to engage Jesus Christ and keep Him first in your family
- Be the first to hold true to His Name, giving Him control of your life
- Be the first to join The Bible Feast Blog: Christ We Esteem 2015
I am asking you to join me in this ministry and give:
- First, give yourself to Jesus and His Body of Believers and your tithe to your local church
- Be the first to gift book scholarships for Word Feasts: Simply Delicious Bible Studies
- Be the first to fund Word Feasts Webinars for Bible Study groups
- Be the first in 2015 to Reserve your Alive Table Membership
- Be the first for Renewal through Spiritual Growth Coaching in 2015
I want to be the first to thank you for your sensitivity to the financial needs that it takes to operate Alive by His Word. We exist for “Replenishing God’s Word to God’s People” by “Strengthening YOU through Christ and Community.” May the Lord bless you in your “firsts” for the year, 2015.
As you ponder 2014, make a list of your “firsts” that occurred in your life and record what you learned from each?
As you plan for 2015, how may you plan to develop intimacy (fellowship) with Jesus first?
Happy New Year-2015