For New Christians…

Dear brother or sister in Christ,

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have now become a Christian. These section will explain to you what the Scriptures say about being a Christian. It will share the wonderful truth about what happened to you at the moment you turned from your sin and trusted Christ to save you.

This is so important for you to understand. Becoming a Christian is a transformation of your whole life as you have been united to Christ and become a child of God. It is a transformation of all that you believe as you submit to the truths of the Bible. How should you see yourself now that you are a Christian? How should you live and why? What should you believe? These questions will be answered for you as the Scriptures, which speak of these incredible truths, are explained in the pages following.

May the Lord Jesus help you see what he has done for you!

In His love and service,

Rev. Ron Jones, D.D.

 

Click here to go to each section

  1. You now have God as your Father.

  2. You need to communicate with God your Father

  3. You need to confess your sin.

  4. You need to live by faith in Jesus Christ.

  5. You need to obey the Lord and honor Him.

  6. You need to love and be loved by other children of God.

  7. How to Study the Bible On Your own

  8. How to Speak to God your Father in prayer

 

 

You Now Have God as Your Father

At the moment you turned to Jesus Christ and trusted him for salvation, you became a child of God and God became your spiritual father.

John the apostle gives a description of this wonderful truth in 1 Jn.3:1. He writes to Christians, "Behold, what kind of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God. And that is what we are!"

This is your essential relationship with God. He is your Father, first and foremost. Paul expresses what this relationship is about in Gal.4:6-7. He writes, "And because you are sons [or daughters], God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father.’ So, you are no longer a servant, but a son…"

"Abba" is the Aramaic word for "dad." It conveys the warmth and affection, the love, care, concern, and gentleness our Father has for us as his children. "Father" conveys the respect and dignity he deserves as our father. Neither word alone conveys the full meaning of our relationship with God. This shows the value God places on you, as he loves you, his child.

A father’s (or mother’s) love for a child is an unconditional love. It is a love that cares for the needs of another who can give little in return – but it is more than that. A child is connected to a father’s (or mother’s) very heart and soul in a unique way that no other human being is. When I think of my children, I always think of them with love and concern in my heart. I don’t have to try to do that; it automatically happens simply because they are my children. When God our father thinks of you, he has the same reaction. He has a deep love and concern for you. You are on his mind. You are on his heart. You are his child.

A father’s (or mother’s) love for his child is a love that is freely given. It is a love with no strings attached. It does not need to be earned; it cannot be earned. This is the way God's love is for his children. God asks nothing in return to earn that love.

My children do not and cannot earn my love for them no matter what they do. My love for them is based on my relationship with them not on their behavior. Children do not earn their parents’ love, they simply have it. My children can wake up in the morning and know that I love them. They can do something against me and know that I love them and if they come to me and apologize, I will readily forgive. I may have to correct them, but even that is done out of love.

God does desire for us to honor him in our attitudes and actions, but doing those things does not make God love us more. He can’t love us more than he already does. We already possess his perfect and infinite love. Any father wants his children to reflect his values and priorities so God asks us to do the same. But we do not earn his love when we do them. We do these things to show him our love and to grow in our relationship with him.

This is to be the central motivation for your trusting and obeying God, gratefulness for all the love he has shown to you and all that he has done for you out of his love. It is important to always relate to God as a father because that is your essential relationship with him. This is so important to remember everyday. God desires that we relate to Him as a personal, loving, caring Father.

We also have a personal relationship with God the Son, the one who became a man. In the family of God, Jesus Christ is not only our Savior, but also our big brother. After his resurrection, Jesus told Mary to go and tell his disciples that he was to ascend to God the Father. When he says this, he describes the relationships his disciples have with him and God the Father.

Jn.20: 17 says, "Jesus said to her, ’Do not touch me; for I have not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God, and your God.’" Jesus calls his disciples "brothers." He uses the male term "brothers" because he is asking Mary to go speak to the apostles who were male. But it obviously would include "sisters" had he been talking about them.

This shows clearly that Jesus considers us brothers and sisters within the family of God. He then takes the role of big brother in our spiritual family. What do big brothers do in the family? Big brothers (if they are righteous) help the younger brothers and sisters learn how to follow the parents. They model a life of trusting and obeying the parents. Although in earthly families, this is not always the case. It is always the case in God’s family.

Jesus comes alongside of us and says follow me as I have followed our Father. He says submit to me as I have submitted to our father. Jesus is our Lord and Savior who comes into us along with the Father and the Spirit and who teaches us to follow the Father. We needed a human intermediary who was also divine. We needed someone we could relate to, someone who felt our human condition. That is Jesus Christ. God the Father has also given us a special relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ, who, because He became a man, can relate to all that we go through in our lives. He is our big brother, our Savior, our Lord - we follow Jesus as He follows our Father.

God your Father will guide you through His Word.

God will give you instructions on what is true and what is false, what you should believe and what you should not believe. He will give you instructions on how to live, how you should treat others and what you should avoid. He will give you instructions on how to make decisions based on his will. He will give you promises of how he will act toward you so that when you struggle with doubt you will have something to hold on to by faith.

Human fathers who instruct their children follow God’s example as a father. If God is your father, then he will do what all good fathers do, instruct you in the ways of wisdom so you will have a blessed life. God does this in His Word. You should see the Scriptures as God’s instruction book of wisdom for you and all of us who are his children. God’s words are not a bunch of do’s and don’ts, but a way of life that reflects his nature and values and leads to a blessed life.

2 Tim. 3: 16 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished for all good works." God has given us his children, his word so that we might know how to live a righteous life. A righteous life is a life that follows God’s way of doing things, a life that reflects his nature and attributes. The Bible helps us to understand what that is all about.

The end result for you as God’s child is that you will have a life filled with God’s blessings. That doesn’t mean that you will be wealthy or famous or everything will be perfect. It means that God will work all things out for good in your life.

The Scriptures are given by you father to be an encouragement to you in your daily living. Rom.15: 4 says, "For whatever was written in the past was written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."

God your Father will work all things out for your good.

God is a father like no other father because he is the sovereign God of the universe. God has absolute rule, authority, and control over all existence. God our Father has promised us to work all things together for good in our lives.

Rom.8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose." "Those who love God" are the children of God. God our father has promised to work all things together for our good. Our good is our spiritual benefit. This is a wonderful promise for you as his child. You can depend on this. You can always trust your Father that he will work whatever you face out for your good. This can give you a feeling of safety and security.

God your father will supply all your needs.

God your Father has also promised to supply your all your needs. Jesus said that if we as God’s children would seek first his kingdom and not worry about focus on and worry about all our physical needs, God the father would take care of them.

Phil 4:19 says, "But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Needs are not the same as wants. Needs are what we need to survive physically and mentally. God promises to supply those for all his children. We need to trust him to do that in our lives so that does not become our main focus.

Our main focus should be his kingdom and righteousness. Matt.6:31-33 says, "Therefore do not be anxious saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we be clothed?’ After all these things the Gentiles seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you."

God your father will train you for righteousness.

Every good father trains his children to live wise and righteous lives. God our father does the same for you and all his children. He does this through instructing you in his word. He works through others to encourage and strengthen and even correct you. He also works through trials and troubles to train you as well.

When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they unleashed sin into the world. God also cursed the world because of their sin. Therefore, we live in a fallen world. In a fallen world, there is crime, natural disasters, disease, selfishness, greed and a whole host of other evils.

But once God becomes our father, he promises to work through the trials and troubles of a fallen world to train us in righteousness. He won’t take away all the troubles otherwise he would have to reverse the very curse that he gave, but he graciously promises to work through them in our lives.

The book of Hebrews speaks to this truth in Heb.12. In this chapter, the author is urging the Hebrew-Christians to keep from becoming discouraged in the midst of trials and tribulations that they were facing. He tells them that they need to see the trials that they are experiencing as part of God’s training process to help us live righteous lives.

Heb.12:11 says, "Now discipline at the present time does not seem to be joyful, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them who have been trained by it."

God uses trials and troubles in our lives to help us become righteous in our daily lives. Righteousness is having the characteristics of Jesus Christ in our lives, reflecting his values, attitudes, words, and actions. When we turn to God and trust him in the midst of trials and focus on honoring him we will be trained in living for Christ. In the end, godly people are joyful people.

 

You Need to Communicate With God Your Father.

Christianity is not a ritual or a life of do’s and don’ts. It is a relationship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The moment we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we came into a relationship with the triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This relationship we now have with God is the most important relationship we have. It is a relationship with the most important being in the universe. It is a relationship, which has the greatest impact in our lives and on all our other relationships. It is the relationship to which we give our greatest commitment and love. It is one from which we receive our greatest love, joy, peace and satisfaction partially now and fully forever in His presence.

Relationships involve communication. As we pray, we speak to God. As we understand his Word, God speaks to us.

God speaks to us in his Word.

God reveals Himself to us by speaking to us about Himself in His Word.

Heb. 1:1-2 says that God has spoken about Himself in the prophets (OT) and in His Son (through the apostles and their associates – NT). Because of the fall, we do not have the privilege of God’s physical presence on this earth or God physically revealing Himself to us or speaking to us on a daily basis. Instead God has chosen to speak to us by revealing Himself to certain individuals and having them write that revelation down.

Through His written revelation we discover all the facts we need to know about God. We learn that He is powerful and sovereign, yet loving, gracious and merciful. We learn He hates sin, and loves righteousness.

The Scriptures are like a letter that reveals all about the person. Is a letter less valid than a phone conversation? A letter reveals a person differently than a physical conversation, but it is equally valid. This is divine revelation designed by God to help us know about Him. Through this revelation we can come to a point of knowing all that God wants us to know about Him in this life and because the word of God is so full of revelation about God, I can come to know more about God than I ever could know about anyone else!

The Scriptures are not written as a theological textbook stating the character and nature of God, but rather are a history...the Bible is a portrait of God and His dealing with human beings. The Bible is not only the written revelation of what God has said, but also how He has acted which reveals as much about Him as what He has said just like any relationship. We often say that actions are louder than words because we understand how much a person’s actions reveal about him or her. God has revealed much about himself through his actions recorded in the Bible.

So as children of God we need to grow in our knowledge of God’s Word that we might grow in our knowledge of God. The more we learn the Word, the more we know about God, and the more we grow in our knowledge of Him. This is the joy of learning the Word - our primary motivation is not obligation, but love we should approach the Word with an attitude of one who is getting to know the one he loves more and more

Learning the Word can come from personal study and reading of the Word. It can come from listening to a pastor teach the Word. It can come from reading a book by an author who is explaining the Word. It can come in a variety of ways that fit your "learning style." People learn best in different ways. Some learn best by reading on their own. Others learn best when they are listening to a CD or tape. Others learn best when they are in a "classroom or church setting" where they can see and hear. Pick what best suits you and "learn" what the Bible says and how you can apply it to your life.

If you would like to learn some simple methods to learn the Word on your own, go to the end of this section and look at Appendix 1.

We speak to God by prayer.

Prayer is not an obligation to be done; prayer is communication with your Father. God never intended prayer to be a ritual, but a seeking of him. I want my kids to speak to me, to share their concerns, their fears, everything with me as their father. I want them to ask me for help as long as they want to listen to my advice. I love them and want to help them.

God desires that you ask him for what you need. Mat. 7:7-11 says, "Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks it shall be opened. What man is there among you who will give his son a stone if he asks for bread? Or if he asks for a fish, he will give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

If you want to grow in your relationship with God you need to pray more, not as an obligation, but as an interaction with God. We interact with God through trust and prayer. A simple approach to prayer is given in Appendix 2 at the end of this section.

 

You Need to Confess Your Daily Sins.

When a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and becomes a Christian, all of his or her sins have been forgiven, past, present and future. Heb.10:12 says, "But this man [Jesus Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." Christ’s death on the cross paid for all of our sin forever. That means that Christ paid for and we are forgiven of every sin we have committed and will commit. When God gives to us forgiveness at salvation, it is total forgiveness.

We are completely cleansed of all sins. After listing various sins, Paul writes in 1 Cor.6:11, "And such were some of you, but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Paul says we have been washed, sanctified (made holy), and justified (declared by God to be righteous before him in Christ).

We still have the ability to sin and will sin at times, but when we do we already have forgiveness for that sin. But our father does say that we need to confess that sin to him so that he might apply the forgiveness we possess to our lives and to our relationship with him.

1 Jn.1: 8-9 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

God basically says, "I love you and because of Jesus’ death on the cross you have been forgiven of all the sins you will ever commit so that there will be no penalty for those sins in terms of my righteous judgment. However, when you sin you sin against me and you need to confess your sin to me not avoid punishment, but because you are in rebellion against me and need to turn back to me. When you confess your sins, I will apply the forgiveness on the cross which you already possess to your life."

How do we confess our sins? The word "confess’ means to "agree with." We should agree with God that according to his Word that desire, attitude, or action which we had or did is sin. We should turn away from doing that sin again and commit ourselves to obedience.

We only need to confess those sins, which the Holy Spirit has made us aware of, which are in the Scriptures. If the Holy Spirit is making us aware of a sin we have committed, we will be able to identify the sin according to the Scriptures. Sometimes we can feel guilty when we have not committed a sin, but done something that is now wise or something we feel bad about. If it is a sin, you will be able to identify it as a sin from the Scriptures. If you cannot identify it as a sin, then don’t worry about it.

We should be confessing our sins as we sin and certainly at the end of the day to clear our hearts and minds before the Lord. I try to confess as I sin, then at the end of the day before I go to bed, I try to think back on anything I might have done that was wrong and confess it to the Lord.

There is a difference between temptation and sin. Jas.1:14 says, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin." Temptation comes when we are drawn away from righteousness by our own lust [sinful desires in us]. The desire, which draws us away, is not a sin if we do not follow it. Sinning takes place when we submit to that desire and follow it. As one pastor said, "you can’t keep birds from flying over your head (temptation), but you can keep them from nesting (sin)."

The ultimate issue of sin is whether we are committed to following the Lord’s standards for our lives rather than our own. Our father wants us to be committed to following his standards as he has revealed them in his Word.

 

You Need to Live by Faith in Jesus Christ.

The Christian life is all about Christ living his life through us, as we trust him on a daily basis. In Gal.2: 20 Paul tells the Christians of the region of Galatia about their new life in Christ.

In v. 20 Paul says "I have been crucified with Christ. And I live no more, but Christ lives in me." Paul says "I have been joined to Christ at salvation and thus I have been joined to His crucifixion." This is true of all believers. When Jesus died on the cross, he bore our sin and its penalty on his body as our substitute. When we turn to Christ and accept him as our Savior, we are spiritually joined to Jesus Christ.

When we are spiritually joined to him, we are spiritually joined to his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection so that we died with him. That means that all he did we receive the benefit of in our lives. Paul as all believers was united to all that Christ did on the cross. What Christ did on the cross, dying for my sins, I am joined with him, but without any of the pain and suffering!

But something else happened at the moment of salvation for Paul that changed his life forever. His self-willed life died. Paul says, "and I live no more." Before Paul was a believer, he like all of us, lived his life according to his own will and his own desires and his own values. He was trusting in his abilities and talents to get him where he needed to go, even in the religious realm. We were the ruler of our lives, the kings of our destinies. We submitted ourselves to no one. But when we accepted Christ, that old self was dethroned, we submitted ourselves to a new king, Jesus Christ who is now the center and ruler in our lives. When Paul met Christ, everything changed.

Practically, this means that we replaced our old worldly values and beliefs for the values and beliefs of Jesus Christ himself. We submitted ourselves to his moral will for our lives. We now submitted to doing things his way. That does not mean that we have no free will to choose and make decisions or have desires of our own. It means that our free choices are made according to God’s revealed will in the Scriptures.

At the moment of salvation, Jesus Christ, His Lord and Savior, came to live within him. Jesus Christ does not change us externally, he changes us internally. Jesus is in us. Paul's new life is no longer like his former life, one of self-effort, trying to reach God by good works. But rather, his new life is centered in a person, Jesus Christ living His life out in Paul. Jesus brings His desires, His values, His concerns into our lives when we accept Christ. This is what a believer in Jesus Christ is, indwelt by Christ Himself. Jesus' goal is to transform our lives from within by living His life in us.

Then Paul further explains our role in our new lives with Christ in us. Our new way of life is trusting Christ who loved us and died for us. Paul writes, "And the life which I now live in the flesh [in my physical body on earth] I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." He says, "The life I am now living in the physical realm, as a believer as one who has Christ in him, I am living by faith."

"Faith" is depending on the Lord to work in you, around you and through you. A believer is not just a person who is trusting Christ or living in Christ, He is a person who is trusting Christ and living in Christ because Christ is living in him. His or her life is one of faith. The Christian allows Christ to work in His life through faith. By this faith, we came to Christ. By this faith, we obey Christ.

Trusting Christ on a daily basis is the essential way that we relate to Jesus Christ in our relationship with Him. It is not feeling Him or His presence. It is trusting in Him. Out of this trust comes, obedience as well. We obey the Lord because by His very nature He is Lord and must be obeyed. But that obedience should come from faith. Trusting that His judgment between what is right and wrong, what is good for us and bad for us is infinitely wise and will bring blessing.

So trusting the Lord on a daily basis is the central characteristic of the Christian life. This is especially important because life is filled with many stresses. Trusting the Lord helps us to have peace in the midst of these pressures. But how do we exactly trust the Lord? Is there anything we can actually do to trust him? If we are worrying about so many things, what can we do? Paul gives the answer in Phil.4:6-8. We need to stop worrying and start praying.

He writes in Phil.4:6, "Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." We all know what anxiety is – when our minds and emotions are disturbed and distressed. Paul says that we are to be anxious over nothing. We should not allow any situation, circumstance, person, relationship fill us with anxiety. God does not want us to be worried about anything that exists, no matter how big or how small. This is a choice that we can make. The only way that we can fulfill Paul’s command not to worry is if we trust the Lord with whatever situation or issue that we are facing. We need to live by faith.

If we do this, stop worrying and trust the Lord that He will work, we will receive his peace. Paul writes, "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." This refers to peace in the mind and emotions. A tranquility and calm that come over us when we are trusting the Lord and giving him our requests in prayer. This is more than just a natural peace that comes upon us when we have no conflict in our lives at any given moment. This is supernatural peace, peace in the midst of trouble. It passes all human understanding because it is not based on human circumstances, it is based on the power and sovereignty of God our Father to work in our lives.

 

You Need to Obey the Lord and Honor Him.

Once we are trusting the Lord, the result will be a desire to obey the Lord in what he desires for us as revealed in His Word.

You need to commit yourself to turning away from sin and staying within the moral boundaries that God has set. God works through His word. In His word, he says what is right and wrong. We are to read the Bible and trust and submit to Him. We are to do what God says is right and turn away from what God says is wrong.

If you have not made this commitment, then no matter what you do or how much you pray you are not in submission to the Lord’s will. You never will be until you make this commitment. The Lord does not expect you to be perfect in this area, just committed to following Him in His moral will as the regular pattern of your life.

 

You Need to Become Involved in the Family of God.

When you accepted Christ, God placed you spiritually into His family, the body of believers where you can love and accept others unconditionally and you can be loved and accepted by others unconditionally.

In Jn.13:34, Jesus says, "Love one another as I have loved you." When Jesus said this he was creating for his followers a pattern of what He wanted them who were part of God's family to be like. A group united in Him where they could give and experience unconditional love and acceptance.

God not only wanted to put us into a family with Him as Father and Christ as our brother and Savior, but also where there was flesh and blood people who could encourage and strengthen us. This is a brilliant plan. Why did God create the body of Christ and unite all his children in Christ and in his Spirit? To create a spiritual family where we could love and be loved.

As human beings, we need to love and be loved by others. God made us that way. We need to be accepted by others. We need to be encouraged and stimulated. The body of Christ, the local church is to supply that in our lives. That is what the "one anothers" are all about. 1 Thess. 5:11 says that we are to encourage one another and build up one another in Christ. We are to help each other grow in Christ. Gal.6:1-2 says that if another Christian falls into sin, we are to deal with sin with an attitude of restoration. We are also to carry each other’s burdens.

One of the most effective things that you can do is to find a Christian that you can be honest with and openly share your burdens, your pain from the past with. Someone who will listen and sympathize with you. We need to go to the Lord and share our burden with Him first. But we also need a flesh and blood brother or sister in Christ who will listen and sympathize. We need someone apart from our spouse who can listen and carry our burden and pray for us without the dynamics of the marriage relationship. A man should share with another brother in Christ and a woman should share with another woman lest emotional attachments are created by the sharing.

If we are to do this then we need to be accepting of one another. Rom.15:7 says that we are to receive or welcome someone in Christ without conditions. You don't have to meet our expectations to be loved by us. Accept each other as we are. Now that doesn't mean that we don't care about sin. But our attitude toward, let me help you turn away from sin in your life.

We desperately need each other. The Lord also knew the best way to do that. To exhort us to focus not on ourselves being loved, but on loving others. If I focus my energy on loving others, then I will not be focused on myself and my needs. I will be focused on the Lord and His desires for me. I will receive the joy of the Lord that comes from loving others.

I also will be in a position to be loved by others. Because those I am loving are supposed to be loving me. And Christians who are loving are loved by others. Loving people always have those around them who want to love them. Who doesn't want to love a loving person?

 

How to Study the Bible And Pray

How To Study the Bible

1. The Commentary Approach

A commentary is a book written by a OT or NT scholar explaining a Bible book verse by verse.

To use this approach pick a book of the Bible such as Ephesians or a part of a book such as Gen.12-25: 11, the life of Abraham and find a commentary that talks about that Bible book or Bible passages. Read through a few verses or a section of the book at a time. Open up the Scriptures to see the verses that are mentioned. Go through as much as is comfortable each day, every other day or the like. How much you get out of it is more important than how much you actually read at a time. Quantity is not the goal; quality is. Many commentaries are available by such authors as John MacArthur, Churck Swindoll, F.F. Bruce, and William Hendriksen.

b. Pick a topic and find a book about it or just find a book you are interested in reading.

Read through a section or a chapter at a time. Open up the Scriptures to see the verses that are mentioned. Go through as much as is comfortable each day, every other day or the like. How much you get out of it is more important than how much you actually read at a time. Quantity is not the goal; quality is. Many solid Christian books are available such as Knowing God by J.I. Packard, What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey, and The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

2. The Reading Approach

Pick a short book of the Bible or a section of a book of the Bible and read it over and over for a period of time such as two weeks or a month. Each time you read it you will notice something you didn’t notice before. You will become very familiar with it. you could read such sections as Matthew 5-7 (Sermon on the Mount), Matthew 8-10 (Jesus’ ministry among the people), Jn.14-17 (Jesus’ upper room discourse), Rom.6-8, and Eph.1-3 or 4-6.

3. The Listening Approach

Do either 1. or 2. above, but listen to audio tapes of sermons or Christian books. Listen to the tape, opening up the Bible to the passages that are mentioned.

How to make your Bible study a personal spiritual experience:

1. Ask yourself as you study the following questions:

a. What is God my father telling me his son/daughter about himself in this passage?

b. What is God my father telling me about our relationship in this passage?

c. What is God my father telling me his son/daughter about what he desires for me in this passage?

2. Think about the truths (your answers to the above questions) during the day. We call this meditating on the word.

3. Apply the truths (your answers to the above questions) to your life.

 

How to Speak to God your Father in prayer

Focus on speaking to God as your Father who loves and cares for you as his child, not as a subject speaking to his or her king. He wants to hear you speak to him because he loves you.

Begin by confessing any known sin to God your Father. 1 Jn.1: 9

Spend some time praising God for who he is and what he has done in your life and in the lives of others. Ps.103

Spend some time giving thanks to God for who he is and what he has done. Ps.136

Ask God your Father to meet your needs in whatever area you are concerned about. Phil.4: 6-7

Ask God your Father on behalf of others that you are concerned about. Eph.6: 18

Finish your requests by praying in Jesus’ name

This phrase means that you acknowledge to God that you are speaking to God your Father based on what Jesus has done on the cross for you. You are not speaking because of your own right and authority to address God. It is a reminder that prayer is a privilege based on God’s grace, not a formula.

This approach is meant to be helpful, not a legalistic formula. God is more concerned with your heart that with exactly what you say or how long you spend saying it.