Strength & Encouragement

Another submission from my great friend and Brother in Christ, Pastor Harry Connor, who earned his Masters of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness . 2 Corinthians 12:9

Someone has said, “God always answers our prayers, either by giving us what we ask for or by giving us something even better.” In Paul’s case, God gave him something even better. Paul was afflicted with what he described as “a thorn in the flesh” , it was something that caused him constant pain. It was such a deep-felt difficulty that he took it fervently to God in prayer, three times pleading to have his suffering taken away. The verse above is God’s answer to Paul.

But how was this an answer to prayer? God didn’t remove Paul’s painful burden. In fact, God told Paul that he wouldn’t remove it at all. But God’s answer to Paul’s prayer was even better: my grace is sufficient for thee. Notice God didn’t say, “My grace is sufficient for this difficulty;” God said “My grace is sufficient for you, Paul.” Paul asked for deliverance from one ordeal, but God guaranteed him grace for every trial, throughout his life. And, although Paul would still experience much suffering, God reminded him that this simply gave him an even greater opportunity to exalt the name of Christ.

My strength, God declared, is even more evident when you are helpless. Therefore, this struggle is an opportunity for you to fulfill your purpose as a Christian, more than you ever could in a pain-free life. Beloved, rest assured that God’s grace is still sufficient, and that his power is still being manifested through the difficulties you face in your life. What a marvelous answer to prayer this is!

Are You Being Called?

Quickly after giving ones life to Jesus, a yearning begins, a desire, a passion, a need to do more. This is deep-rooted once one turns their life to the Creator and Savior. Matthew 22:14 tells us that “Many are called, but few are chosen”. Many are called to Salvation, but few will be chosen to rule with Him in the millenial Kingdom because of their unfaithfulness. More would stay faithful IF they would simply open their hearts and minds to what God is wanting them to do, through faithful prayer and staying in the Word. Doing this will more quickly identify what God is calling you to do, and YES He is calling-He has a plan for you!

Proverbs 19:21,”There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. ”

As humans, we all have many plans in our heart that we wish to accomplish, but without God as a guide and not staying in His Will, we will fall short of our expected goal. We need seek Him and His Will first and foremost to accomplish the far greater blessing He has for us. He did not create us to live a pointless life, but to accomplish His great Will as directed for the greater good.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. ” Many take this verse out of context, that God is going to bless you abundantly just because you are His. Many “prosperity Gospel” teachers preach on this as a stand-alone verse, but fail to ever mention the conditions listed in verses 12-13 “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. “This is a diligent call to pray, to seek Him first and not just a little but “with all your heart”! This is a very important step in seeking God’s Will and blessings.

Isaiah 14:24, “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: “

Wow, do you want to step out of God’s Will and try to accomplish your own plan? “Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass” Even if through free-will someone wants to change God’s plan, “as I have proposed, so shall it stand” If the person God chose to execute His plan were to go a stray, God has a way to pull them back. He even has a backup person to fulfill the role, if needed. Never become so arrogant to think God has not planned for human indecision at important times to His plan.

Jeremiah 23:20, “The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. ” In the verses earlier God is counseling His people to not listen to the words of the so-called prophets, as they were not His words. The prophets were contradicting what God was directing. His warning was that His wrath would come down upon those who did not obey Him. His plan is perfect and will be done utilizing those who are listening to him and not the false prophets. It is important to not only listen to God, but to stay in His truth (the Word) not being lead astray by false doctrine. (I will be doing some future posts on false doctrine, false teaching.

Psalms 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. ” I”fulness of joy”, “Pleasures for evermore” stay in God’s presence and attain these as you grow in faith and live in His Will.

Are you constantly seeking out God? Do you hunger for His Word? Do you always pray to stay in His Will? Do you ask Him to open your eyes and heart so that you may see His Calling on your life. He wants to use you, He expects to use you, as He has been training you all your life. The culmination of all of your history has brought you to the point of service to Him. Fulfill that calling and see what blessings await you through glorifying Him.

Other verse to study and consider:

Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

Mar 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 

2Ti 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 

Rom 8:28  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. 

Eph 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 

Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

1Pe 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 

Guest Post: Church Life

Gaining salvation through His mercy and grace and growing in Faith means turning away from the sins of the flesh and this world. Following is a guest post, although he seems to be writing as much as I do for the site, from a dear friend and brother in Christ. Pastor Harry Connor earned his Masters of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you . Matthew 28:19-20 Here Jesus sums up the entire purpose of his church, the commission he has given us.

Go. We are not to simply wait for God to bring people across our path that may have an interest in the gospel. We are to go to all nations (which includes our own neighborhood, city, and country) in the wonderful and powerful name of Jesus.

Teach. Our job is to disciple those who have never heard the gospel, or who have never seen it lived out seriously and joyfully. Inherent in Jesus’ command to disciple is the claim that all faiths are not equal, and that Christianity has an exclusive and authoritative message. You are to teach others, because in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

Baptize. Our teaching is not simply for the sake of information; it must be a call to action. When we accurately and uncompromisingly present the truth of Christ, it will necessary include a call to commitment and it will require a public profession of faith. Baptism is only fitting for those who have been discipled, those who have come to believe in the triune God of the Bible.

Teaching them. Too often churches focus so much on outreach that they neglect the vital, tough work of ongoing training and instruction. Our goal should be for God’s people to actively pursue all things that Jesus has commanded concerning them.”

Guest Post:Christian Living

Gaining salvation through His mercy and grace and growing in Faith means turning away from the sins of the flesh and this world. Following is a guest post from a dear friend and brother in Christ. Pastor Harry Connor earned his Masters of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary.

These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous . 1 John 2:1 The Christian’s goal, John says quite frankly, is total sanctification complete victory over sin in our own life .John is not satisfied, and neither is the Holy Spirit who inspired him to write these words, with a half-way Christianity.

It is not good enough to live a more holy life than your next-door neighbor; it is not good enough to simply avoid the “big” sins like murder or adultery. No, John insists, my goal for you is for you to completely mortify the sin that so easily besets you. Pride, gluttony, worry, fear, selfishness, lying, and lust should all meet with a zero-tolerance determination in our spirit. We should never be content to allow any sin to set up camp in our heart without consistent opposition and a concerted effort to root it out.

But almost in the same breath John also gives us this blessed reminder, knowing that sin will never be completely defeated this side of the grave: if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Although we are not righteous, Jesus Christ was perfectly righteous on our behalf. When we sin, we have an Advocate with our heavenly Father who pleads his righteousness on our behalf. The Christian life, then, is a mixture of dissatisfaction with sinful self and complete satisfaction in the righteousness of Christ. It is striving and resting, improving and perfection.

Testimony: What About Me?

A very dear friend and brother in Christ, upon finding his salvation in Christ felt the call to spread his story of testimony. His name is Al, but he never wants any recognition for the work he does for Christ so I have not used his last name in this at his request. Al is 87 years young and been a Christian over 50 years. His calling to spread the Love of Christ lead him to write down his testimony (actually type it on a typewriter) and begin to hand it out to anyone that he comes into contact with.

He has been handing out these testimonies since 1985 and any time you see him, you will find he has several dozen is his pocket at any given point in time. He has told me many stories of how these few paragraphs have planted seeds, opened up conversation, and allowed the Holy Spirit to work through him to get to those being called to service. The following is his written testimony in his words:

“These ar questions that every man has asked in his heart. Where did I come from and where am I going? I have given considerable thought to these questions many times in my life, and even more in my senior years. Because we are faced with the reality of our own mortality, we realize that life will soon come to an end. Nobody gets out of this world alive. What kind of life we live while we are on this earth depends on the choices we make. How will you be remembered by those most dear to you? By making the right choices that demonstrates your love for them. You have been created a free moral agent (with free will). You have the right under the law of man and God to make your own choices. He will not interfere with them, but you will be held accountable for every decision you make. There are always consequences for everything we do, good or bad. I have learned a long time ago we should consider or suffer those consequences when we make a wrong choice.

There came a time in my life when I was facing some tough issues. I desperately needed a change in my life, because I knew I wasn’t living right. I knew it was time to make the most important decision I would ever have to make. It came a time when I had to ask myself this question, “What about me?” I had studied the Bible to seek more knowledge about this man called Jesus who gave His life for you and me, and the whole world. I thought about the gift He offered and the cost He paid for my redemption when He went willingly to the that old rugged cross to pour out His blood for my sins. Now all that remained for me to do was to accept His sacrifice and acknowledge Him as my personal Lord and Savior.

Was this something difficult to do? Not at all. It was simple. So easy that I wondered why did I wait so long? He loved me first. And He loved me so much that He was willing to die for me. That’s what made my decision so easy.

I can remember it so clearly, as though it were yesterday. I went himbly to the alter of a small church and said this little prayer:

“Lord I know I am a sinner. You know everything I have ever done. I know you came to suffer and die to take away my sins. I ask your forgiveness for all my transgressions. Come into my heart and be my personal Lord and Savior from this day forward….In Jesus Nmae, Amen.”

When I finished this pray(er) I couldn’t even begin to explain the feeling that swept over me. I felt a peace in my soul. The kind I had never experienced before, the love of God. The love that I had always known existed was filling that void in my spirit I would never be the same again. It was that experience that keeps me in love with Jesus. I never want to go back, I know where I came from and I know where I’m going thanks to the a gracious and merciful God.

You know the greatest thing of all? Anybody who would like to know this love can receive it. The Bible tells, “Let whosoever will, come” That means everybody in this world. All you need to do is open the door to your heart and let Jesus come in to be the Lord of your life. Sound simple? It’s just that easy. Now, What about me? We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. There are no guarantees we will even see the next day. So ask yourself this question: If Jesus came back today where would I spend eternity, in Heaven or in hell? I don’t think anymore needs to be said. You have been told of God’s mercy, His grace, and His great love for you. Now it’s up to you to decide.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Don’t worry about your sins, repent of your sins. Say the simple little prayer I did and your sins will be gone, never to be remembered again. That is God’s promise.”

Start Your Bible Study Habit TODAY!

The next step in your journey as a “Babe in Christ” is to begin a habit of being in your Bible daily! I am sure you are asking questions like; how do I start? Where do I start? How can I get the most out of the time I spend reading? How much should I read at a time? All great questions and hopefully by the end of this you will feel a little more confident as to how to spend your study time.

First, determine how many times a day can be set aside for study? I understand in today’s world time is a commodity which many people feel they don’t have enough of. I will tell you a secret; we all have the same twenty four hours in a day. It is the utilization of this commodity that makes the difference in anyone’s life.

When I first decided to start a daily reading, I made a determined decision that I would spend 15 minutes each morning and 15 minutes each evening in study. That seemed doable to me, just a small chunk of time twice a day. Starting out was pretty easy, but I found that the morning was much easier than the evening. It seemed that something always came up in the evening or my schedule was inconsistent.

If I finished my day at 9pm I could spend some time in study, but if my day ran long and it was 11pm or midnight, I was too tired to take even 15 minutes to read. So my original thought of twice a day was not really feasible to work on a consistent basis. Yet the mornings were working out fairly well and I even found that 15 minutes was too short in most cases.

So as a beginner, I would recommend that you set aside 30-60 minutes each morning before you start your day.  (If your schedule is a little more consistent and you can still do twice a day, great! The more the better and you will quickly understand that as you read more) Set your alarm clock an hour earlier, or just carve out some time in your morning routine to have time for just you and God. Spending this time with Him will get your mind focused properly and you will find your day to run much smoother-or at least you will be able to handle the tougher days with more ease than you have in the past.

So 7am to 7:30am every morning is going to be spent in your Bible. Get to your quiet place at a desk, table, somewhere you are comfortable but not so comfortable to go back to sleep. Have with you the Bible (or two like I do), Maybe a Bible app like E-sword, a good concordance like Strong’s, maybe a Bible Commentary (I use Tony Evan’s Bible Commentary) and a notebook for notes and questions.

When I do my Bible study, I sit at my desk in the home office so everything is already there. All I need to do is fire up the computer, which has the app’s preloaded and I also use Word for my notepad. This computer also allows me quick access to Google or many other commentaries of teachers/preachers I trust. BUT if you are only allotting yourself 30 minutes in your study you will not have time for much research.

Ok, so you have your space and your materials needed, spend your first few seconds in prayer. “God, Thank you for your Grace, please open my mind, eyes and ears to what you want me to learn today. I am here with your Word to learn and to grow in my relationship to you. Use this time Lord to teach me of Your Will for my life. In Jesus name, Amen” It can be any quick simple Prayer, but it is setting your mind on Him and His Word.

Next is the big question, ”where do I start?” With most books you begin at the beginning and work your way through the entire book, but the Bible is different from any other book ever written, which you are about to find out ove the next few months.

As a new believer, depending on who you are talking to, starting suggestions may vary. Some like to start in Luke, or John, Others like Romans and the Romans Road. Others may say just start with the four Gospels. None of these are wrong, because there are two key habits that we are trying to engrain: Daily reading of your Bible and gaining a closer relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. I am one that likes to start new believers in John. I believe that John lays out the importance of your relationship with Christ and the many benefits of being a Christian.

OK, now you have your time and materials, your quiet space, and a starting point; how much should you read every day? The answer to this will not be so straight forward. Read until you understand all that you read, or until you read something that you don’t understand. This is where you will spend your time, gaining a true understanding of the sentences you just read and the context in which they are meant. Some days you may read just 2 or 3 sentences, others it may be a complete chapter.

As you read, in your notebook jot down what you read and what it means as you read. Lets take for example

 John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. “

You don’t need to write the verse out in your notebook, just the verse or verses notation,   Along with your notes on the verse.

John 1:1-2 John went all the way back to Gen 1:1 by reclaiming,” In the Beginning” this is letting the reader understand that the “Word” was in the beginning with God, but also that the Word WAS God. As Christians, we understand that Jesus Christ was the living Word, so this verse is making us aware that Jesus (the Word) was in the beginning, was with God, and at the same time was God. Two of the three parts of the Trinity are mentioned in this one verse and are noted as being, “In the beginning” (Holy Spirit being the third part: Gen 1:2, Matt 28:19, 1 Cor 8:6 This is where your concordance comes in so you can find a cross reference verse to corroborate the current verse) How powerful and amazing how much we learn from just the first verses of the read!

John1:3 Remember basic reading? In verse 3 it states that all things were created through him. So who is “him”? The Subject of the passage is the “Word” and the Word is Jesus, right?  So everything in the world was created through him for without him nothing could be made. (Col 1:16, Heb 1:2) WOW!

John 1:4-5  Jesus is the giver of Life! Remember in Gen 2:7 “…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” And in this life He gave light(1:4), because darkness exists. (1:5) Because Satan came in and brought the darkness, allowing man to fall into sin and to block the light of God shining through man. When man freely chooses Christ, that light again shines and Satan cannot extinguish it because it is the Light of God breathed into man in the beginning!

Amazing how much information we can learn in just 5 short verses, but if you were checking the additional corroborating text and taking notes, then 20-30 minutes went by pretty quick. But I am still amazed, even though I have read this text many, many, many times how much information is gleaned from just a few sentences. The authors HAD TO BE INSPIRED BY GOD to write exactly as He said to get this amount of information to the reader as quickly as possible!

For today I want you to finish John 1:6-10 with the introduction of John the Baptist. See what kind of notes and questions you may have; feel free to post them in the comments, I would be happy to help with any questions you may encounter.

Each day read and study at least 30 minutes continuing in John until completed. As you read and study more, you will find that you are able to read and study a little more each day. Once you become acclimated to studying, you will also find that 60 minutes goes by very quickly and you will “Hunger for the Word” meaning you are growing in your relationship and want to learn as much as you can about the Savior Jesus Christ.

When you have finished the Study in John, congratulations! You can then move forward to the rest of the Gospels and the book of Romans. By the time you finish those, I have no doubt you will have a good system to the way you want to finish your study through the rest of the Bible. I am always here for questions or further explanation. Comment or email and I will respond every time as soon as I possibly can.

Stay in the Word…but which one?

As a new believer, I am sure you have been told that getting into the Word is the most important part of your spiritual growth. My plan was to get you started with a bible study in the book of John, which is a great book for new believers to start with. But if you genuinely believe, as you should, that the Bible is the true and precise Word of God, written by God through men of faith; you must understand the difference between the translations first. 2Tim 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: “

I personally read and study the King James Bible, but I am not a KJV onlyist. I also use the NASB (New American Standard Bible), along with Strongs’ concordance. I also use a computer study guide called” E-Sword” (Search it in playstore, or esword.com to download for your phone or computer) This app helps me along with Strongs’ concordance with translation in the original Greek and Hebrew. When in doubt always rely on the original transcripts’ language for full understanding. I am not telling you that you need to become fluent in old languages, but always rely on text that is translated from the original languages. How can you be sure?

Short answer is use the KJV as your primary source. I can hear it now, “but it is so hard to understand” “It was written in a language that is no longer spoken today”. Neither is really true but let me explain my position as your growth will depend on having a proper translation and study habits.

First the major translation from the 2nd and 3rd centuries came from 2 major sources: Antioch(Byzantine) and Alexandria. The Antioch text by far has more original sources with over 5200 known. It also contains the original New Testament manuscripts from 30-90 A.D.. along with the Syrian and Old Latin Texts from as early as 100 A.D. Many of the early Bibles were a direct and more literal translation of all these texts. The leaders of Antioch also felt that translators should be persons of faith, not laymen or simply translators.

The Alexandrean text has only 45 known manuscripts. There are also several papyrus manuscripts. This translation was dependent on many philosophers of the time, believing that religion was very near philosophy and should be translated as so. The text is less a literal translation with a more philosophical approach of what the authors felt or meant in the translation.

The KJV came from the Antiochan text, which is a more literal translation versus most modern day translations, like the NSV and NIV, taken from the Alexandrean text. Even the New KJV from 1982 was a translation of a translation taking the KJV and updating in more modern language using the Alexandrean text.

 I like the more literal translation of the KJV in the Elizabethan/Shakespearean English. After studying it for many years I find it easier to read-almost like reading a Shakespearean Play. Of course, the most important is that you do read and study! I will go through some studies with you and help you gain some good study habits. This will be the next post starting with John 1 and without a doubt I will be studying from the KJV.

Who is Jesus?

While studying and looking through some online articles, I ran across an article by J. Warner Wallace, a retired detective, apologist, and author of “Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospel” I have read this book and find it extremely compelling in providing logical definitive proof for the existence of Jesus as the Christ.

His article explored how varying religions around the world both believed in His existence and His mission during His time on earth. Here is a synopsis from the article and below it will be a link so you can read the entire article.

From J Warner Wallace: Who is Jesus, According to Other Religions?

“All the world’s major religions feel compelled to account for Jesus in one way or another:

Jews believe Jesus was Mary’s son, was a teacher (Rabbi), had many disciples, was respected, performed miracles, claimed to be the Messiah and was crucified on the cross. They also acknowledge His followers reported Jesus was raised from the dead.

Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin, is to be revered and respected, was a prophet, a wise teacher who worked miracles, ascended to heaven, and will come again.

Ahmadiyya Muslims believe Jesus may have been born of a virgin, was a prophet and wise teacher, worked miracles, and was crucified on a cross.

Bahá’í believe Jesus came from God, was a wise teacher who had a divine and human nature, worked miracles, and was crucified and resurrected as an atonement for humanity.

Hindus believe Jesus was a holy man, a wise teacher, and is a ‘god’.

Buddhists believe Jesus was an enlightened man and a wise teacher.

New Age believers maintain Jesus was a wise moral teacher.

You can read the entirety of the article here: Who Is Jesus, According to Other Religions? | Cold Case Christianity Excellent article, but I recommend the book also.

I think it interesting that other world religions feel it necessary to discuss the main character of “competing” World religion and hold Him in such high esteem. Makes me wonder, if He is so important to be discussed or thought about in such a way-why not follow the source Himself? Would this not make the most sense, as He must surely be the True God and Creator of the universe.

Guest Post: Sin & It’s Effects

Gaining salvation through His mercy and grace and growing in Faith means turning away from the sins of the flesh and this world. Following is a guest post from a dear friend and brother in Christ. Pastor Harry Connor earned his Masters of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary.

I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels Psalm 81:12 Sin results in separation from God. But here we are also reminded that it means being joined completely to our own desires and schemes. At first glance, this might not sound so bad. While we certainly don’t want to be separated from God, the thought of being married to our own desires and plans doesn’t seem to be much of a penalty. Isn’t that more like a dream come true? In reality this is judgment; this is punishment. Those who persist in sin and rebellion, God leaves to their own lust and allows them to walk in their own counsels. But notice that it does not say that the lust is fulfilled, or that the plans prosper. When God gives a person up to his own lusts, his lusts consume him without end, because there is no true or lasting or deep satisfaction apart from God. It is to forever hunger, without ever being filled. Similarly, the person who is left to his own counsel finds that he is like a blind person at the street corner, without a guide. He is free to walk any direction he pleases, but there is danger and destruction on every side. As C.S. Lewis explained, there are two kinds of people in the end , those who say to the Father, “Thy will be done,” or those to whom the Father says, “thy will be done.” The great punishment for sin is getting our own way. Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Pray without Ceasing?

So much has happened recently if you are beginning to read this:

  1. You have Accepted that you are a sinner according to Rom 3:23
  2. You thoroughly Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was sent to earth to die on the cross, paying the price for your sins. John 3:16-17
  3. You have Confessed with your mouth to Him and opened your heart to the Holy Spirit according to Rom 10:9-10
  4. You are either baptized, thinking about baptism, or scheduling your baptism to take that public, outward step of Faith confirming your love for Him. Acts 2:38

These steps have all been laid out and pretty easy, but now is the time when you start realizing a few things that maybe you weren’t expecting:

  1. The people you have previously surrounded yourself with may not be so open to your new found faith.
  2. Many of your old friends could become bitter, or even angry at the prospects that you will not be there partying or drinking with them.
  3. Your life will not all be sugar and roses just because you have found your salvation through Jesus Christ. Satan will begin his reign of circumstances upon you to get you to denounce this new found faith and he will use any weapon he sees fit-friends, family, boss etc

At this point it is essential that you do three things to stand firm in your faith.

  1. Surround yourself with your new bothers and sisters in Christ, so they can aid you with strength of conviction that you have not yet acquired
  2. Immerse yourself in God’s Word. I will discuss this more in the next post as it will be one of the most important things you can do in aiding your growth from babe to adult Christian
  3. Spend much time in prayer, in conversation with Jesus. This is not as hard as you think, as you will get to understand with the rest of this post.

1Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always; 17  pray without ceasing; 18  in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you

Simple and straightforward Rejoice always: Be glad in your salvation, Praise God for the blessing He gives you daily, rejoice even when things seem tough, for these times will hone your faith to become stronger (James 1:2-3 Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience.)

Pray without ceasing. Yes we all have lives, jobs, families, hobbies, but this is not saying that we should be down on our knees 24/7. We can be in a constant state of conversation with Him that grants us so much Grace and Mercy. Driving down the road, waiting on a bus, buying groceries, shopping, even times at work can be filled with a few lines of prayer. Lord Thank you for today, Lord things have been tough could you intercede today and lighten the load, Lord that spat I had with the wife/husband this morning allow my heart to soften and ask forgiveness for the things I said, Lord the roads are snow and ice covered I ask for your hand of protection that I get to the destination.

All of these are 10 second prayers that could/should go through your head as you go about your earthly business. They can be longer and more specific but the point being that quick, short conversations with Him will still be heard and He will be happy with you keeping the conversation to Him open.

1Thess 5:18 is one of most importance and we will talk about this at length in another post, but Thankfulness-Gratitude can bring you so much closer in your walk with the Savior. Thankful to Him for His Grace and Mercy. Thankful to Him for the blessings He has given, thankful to Him for the love and family in your life, thankful to Him for food, shelter, a job whatever it is be grateful to Him for it.

Gratitude will be a topic of another post as it is mentioned 71 times in the New Testament and 102 times in the Old Testament, so it must be pretty important. Its not just gratitude for Him but gratitude in general toward others that can make a huge impact on your life.

Although I have talked about a constant state of prayer, I do believe you should set aside at least 2 times a day for personal quiet prayer time. Try to start out with just 5-15 minutes in the morning and the evening. It can be more and probably will be eventually but this short time at first will seem like an almost impossible feat.

I would recommend a little notebook be carried with you throughout the day. As you go abouit your day and say those 10 second prayers, make note of ones that you need to expand on further-like the spat with your spouse, asking guidance and direction, along possibly with the holding of the tongue.

You may also hear things throughout the day that should require more prayer-an illness of a co-worker or friend, a death of a friend or acquaintance, a financial issue that came up, a job situation; these prayers may require some time, so jotting them down in a prayer journal would help you remember to specifically pray for those topics.

As your new journey begins, many things will begin to change in your life. You will find yourself changing over a very short period, pursuing more time to spend with Him in Prayer and in His Word. The more time you spend in fervent prayer, you will find the more time that He opens up for you to prayer and study. As your relationship with Him grows, an honest joy will fill your soul and the hours that you spend will seem like seconds.