Wednesday, August 25, 2010
1. Learn From GOD : Read The Bible.
How do we know who God is? How do we begin to understand His character and attributes? It is only by reading the Bible that we can know the truth about God. In this age of information, it is easy to get caught up in all the changing research and data which bombards us everyday. How important it is to remember that God's Word never changes! The Bible has the answers for all our questions and it offers hope for our times of hopelessness. It tells us of our origin and tells us of our eternal destiny. Most importantly it shows us Jesus Christ:
THE BIBLE SAYS THAT "...faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
In other words, if you want your faith to grow and mature, read God's word on a consistent basis.
READ: Psalm 1 , Isaiah 40:7-8 , 2 Timothy 2:15
2. Talk To God : Pray.
Prayer is simply talking to God from your heart. Your prayers don't have to sound "religious" and you don't have to use only 'Christian sounding words. God wants to hear from the "real" you and He wants to hear your deepest concerns and needs. Prayer is mainly a time for us to thank the Lord and to praise Him for the great things He has done in our lives. Read Matthew 6:5-13 to see an example of a prayer which Jesus prayed.
Prayer is also a time for us to receive God's forgiveness for our sins. When you sin, don't beat yourself up and condemn yourself but go directly to God and confess your sins in prayer. God will be "faithful and just" to forgive you. Look at I John 1:8-10 and underline these scriptures in your Bible. Also, remember that you now belong to Jesus Christ and...
"...There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
3. Hang Out With Other Christians : Fellowship.
Now that you have entered into God's family, you need to spend time with your new brothers and sisters. It's a good idea to develop friendships with people who have been walking with the Lord for a long time and spend time with them so you can learn from everything the Lord has shown them over the years. Likewise, as you grow and mature in the Lord, there will be others who begin to learn from your example. That's what fellowship is all about--the strengthening of all of God's people; or as the Bible puts it, "...the building up of the body of Christ".
READ: Ephesians 4:15-16 , Hebrews 10:19-25 , Acts 2:42-47
4. Tell People About Your Faith : Tell Others.
Chances are, before you gave your life to Jesus, someone close to you or even someone you had never met before shared with you the good news about a relationship with God. Always remember that God hasn't redeemed you, forgiven your sins, and given you a new life so that you can horde all of His blessings for yourself! He wants you to share your new life with others.
Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).
5. Make A Public Commitment For Jesus : Be Baptized.
Baptism is an outward expression of what the Lord has done on the inside. It is not the act of baptism which cleanses you of your sins. Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16)
Notice that it is not the lack of baptism which brings condemnation but unbelief. However, Jesus is commanding us to be baptized and we should be careful to obey everything that God asks of us.
To learn more about baptism,
READ: Romans 6:3-4 , Colossians 2:10-13
Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.
As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days, his fears were confirmed; the young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer.
On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hands. He introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your son's. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you." As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had told everyone of his, not to mention his father's, love of fine art.
"I am an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars
worth of art. His task completed, the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.
During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation, that with the collector's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the day he had received the greatest gift. The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim, "I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked. Minutes passed, and no one spoke. From the back of the room came a voice, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son." "Let's forget about it and move on to the good stuff," more voices echoed in agreement. "No, we
have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now, who will take the son?" Finally, a neighbor of the old man spoke. "Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it." "I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice, gone." The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with it and bid on the real treasures!" The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over.
Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean, it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art here! I demand that you explain what is going on!" The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son ... gets it all."