Laying the groundwork for your Christian walk with God, this guide delivers personal advice for those who have recently converted to Christianity. It tells you what to expect from your newfound salvation, including:
- Be prepared for what is coming
- Know your enemy-Satan
- Make new friends
- See why faith is important
- Find your purpose
- Give up the old world
Accented with real-life stories and examples, Now What? answers the many questions confronting new Christians. Learn what to do next and what is expected of you. A compilation of important topics and principles for every Christian, this guide helps you remain a successful Christian.
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Now What?A Beginner's Guide to Living Saved
By Nicole Brown
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2009 Nicole Brown
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBe Prepared from Day One
From the day you accept the Lord into your heart, there is joy and jubilation. You have started a journey that will lead you to the Promised Land. All your pain will end, all of your troubles will disintegrate, and by the way, there will be a "New to the Kingdom of God" check in the mail when you get home. Can this be true? I am here to tell you, yes and no. Yes, you will reap blessings, unimaginable blessings, and you have found a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. The answer is no in the fact that you will have to work; you will have to work harder than you have ever had to work at anything in your entire life. Any married person will tell you that marriage takes work, and they are not lying. As a matter of fact, all relationships require work to sustain a pleasant and meaningful bond. God has diligently been working for you, and when you become born again, your part of the work begins, even though you have no idea what type of work is expected of you.
The important thing to remember about salvation is that you were bought for a price. Salvation came to you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and only by this sacrifice can you be free. However, it is always beneficial to read the fine print. Not many people recitetheir acceptance-of-Jesus speech and leave with a What to Expect When You Have Accepted Jesus as Your Lord and Savior book. On the contrary, many people leave the sanctuary skipping and Holy Ghost filled only to find that sin and disappointment are still waiting in the car for the ride home. Many find this so discouraging that their fledgling faith is left by the roadside only a few miles away from the church and the fear of choosing to walk that narrow walk again is now overwhelming. Fortunately for us, God does not hold us in condemnation, and we have endless opportunities to seek Him and all His Glory.
The first rule of salvation is to be prepared. Satan has not taken a vacation because you decided to give your life over to Christ. In fact, you were far less interesting when you were not saved. Think about it: you handed Satan a gun, kicked him in the shin, and ran away, slowly. Don't believe for one minute that you have not been appointed tops on his "people to destroy" list. Oh, and for the record, as you grow in God's ministry, find your purpose, and become more Christlike, the enemy begins thinking of new and exciting ways to come against you. Fear not, though; God's word says that "No weapon formed against you shall prosper" (Isaiah 54:17). This means that as long as you remain close to God and are constantly growing in the Spirit, you will remain victorious. Suffice it to say, anything worth having is worth working hard for, and I believe that an eternity in the Lord's presence without sickness, debt, or death is one of those things worth having.
So, how do you prepare for what is coming? (And make no mistake about it, it is coming.) Get your handy-dandy Bible and a concordance, and if you have Internet access to use a search engine like (www.google.com) to look up your Bible based questions, that is even better. (All the Bible quotes, in this book, have been taken from the NIV version of the Bible.) Begin asking questions and looking up scriptures that pertain to your personal issues and situations. What is your job description? What are the benefits of this job? Most importantly, what are the requirements of this job and what are the rules of this company in which I have newly become employed? Think about it; have you ever started a job without knowing when you would be paid and what benefits this company offers, let alone what was expected of you? I think not. In the world we ask questions about things we hear about, see in movies, and read in books. Why is it so difficult to ask questions about the most important journey you will ever embark upon? "The road is narrow" (Matthew 7:14) and you will be better off if you are fully prepared for your walk.
You also want to stay in church; this is your support system and believe me, you will need people around you who you can trust. In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul talks about how important the church is. He later says that "Jesus Himself is returning for His Church that will be without spot, wrinkle or blemish" (Ephesians 5:27). Is he looking for you and your church? If you are not rooted in a good church family, it may be difficult for you to grow spiritually, especially if you are new at this. It may be difficult for you to remain spot and blemish free. Consider this; not only do computers come with instruction manuals, they also come with technical support, and we could all use some technical support from time to time. Who will pray for you when you are weak, who will guide you and help you enter into the presence of the Lord? Still another reason to remain in church is the rule that "One can set a thousand to flight, but 2 can set ten thousand to flight" (Deuteronomy 32:30). If this is the rule, then imagine how many obstacles you can overcome with more than two people standing in agreement with you; the possibilities are endless.
When I was new to the Christian world, I was on my own. I had a Bible and I went to church, but there was no one to take me by the hand and lead me in the right direction. I really suffered for this throughout my life. I did not understand that Satan wanted to destroy me, my family, and everyone I came in contact with. I have suffered through, divorce, depression, confusion, abuse, disobedience both in me and my children, chaos, and a multitude of other gifts from the kingdom of darkness. When I finally read my Bible, I really did not know that I was supposed to pray and ask God for His guidance in understanding the scripture. However, I was also wrong in assuming that because I was reading my Bible and praying that I now was completely healed, whole, and delivered and everyone else needed help from God so that they could line up with my thinking.
I have since learned, through my support system, that reading and praying is was not enough. I needed to be prepared for Satan's attacks. Even more importantly, I needed to know that God had promises for me and my life and Satan would use any means to try and steal these promises from me. The funny thing about this is when I did not know that Satan was targeting me, I began freely giving him my power and authority because there was no one in my corner to teach me how to avoid this costly mistake. Now, I am blessed with people who will stand with me, pray with me, and teach me the difference between being saved and living saved. I have seen God move and change situations with the simplest prayer and I have seen him move mountains in me. Anyone can have a successful walk with God if they find people who are honest and willing to put down themselves in the interest of guiding others.
My advice to you is to find a church family where you can be yourself and your faith can be given an opportunity to grow. I am here to tell you that they do exist. You may have to search, but when you find the right place you will know it in your heart, and these people will become your family.
The last part of preparation would be to get your Bible, and for heaven's sake read it all. Seriously, actually pick up your Bible, turn the pages, and read it. This is not a coffee-table book to be placed in the center of your table with the intent of being used as a clever coaster for your tea party guests. It is not a paperweight or a flyswatter and it will not plug the rust hole in your trunk. Use your Bible for studying the word; it is a learning tool intended to be used by you. Take notes at every opportunity: during service, at Bible study, and even when you are reading on your own. I know the pages are pristine and delicate, so write gently, but Mark It Up! And if you are self-conscious about all your scribbling, get a second Bible for when company comes. Oh, and by the way, it is not doing you any good keeping it in your car so you don't forget to bring it to service. News flash: every church has extra Bibles just in case you leave yours on the bedside table. I know it can seem difficult to remember your Bible at first, but the first steps are always the hardest.
* Don't ever take anyone's word for it; always look it up for yourself.
* Use this book to take notes and then come back in a few months and look at your progress.
Day I was born again __________________________________________________________________
Scriptures I am interested in learning __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Questions for my pastor __________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Preparation I will take for my walk with God _____________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Notes: __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Chapter TwoKnow Your Enemy
Satan will come! Are you surprised? Now, that you have been walking with God, you may be comfortable. Ask yourself this, who have I really helped while I have remained here, in my comfort zone? What kind of differences have I made? Remember when you were a new Christian and donned the big white T-shirt with the red bull's-eye painted on it (you know the one), then you handed Satan the crossbow? Well, when you became complacent he has seemingly backed off. But we need to change the way we think. We need to use our offensive plays and keep him on the run. This will not come without challenge, though. Once you begin moving in God's direction and begin operating in what God desires from you, you will get noticed.
Imagine being at a deliverance session and you are praying with the tools the Lord has possessed you with. Now, you get home and all of a sudden all hell has broken loose in your children; they are workin' your last nerve, and your response is, for lack of a better reference, to get a little Old Testament on that behind. Where did this come from? First, you stepped out of your comfort zone and prayed for others, and now you have to battle all this craziness in your home. Why? Because you made a difference. You caused a ripple in the otherwise calm of the world. Did you think that this would come without attack? You must be prepared for the fact that when you begin to operate in what God wants, the enemy is on the move to deter your efforts at any cost. Maybe he can even keep you from doing that ever again; after all that is his goal.
I remember the first day I attended church at Living Word. I was overcome by the urge to let them know that I could sing. I told them that I would be interested in singing for the church, and they asked to hear me. Needless to say, I got the job. The next week, I was singing in the church, just like that. My kids were all there and I was beaming with pride because it felt so right. Not five minutes after we left the church, the kids were immediately on their worst behavior. They were yelling and screaming in the back of the van. They would not calm down; I was instantly frustrated. Immediately after we arrived home, my husband and I started arguing. There was anger throughout the house and everyone was yelling. The kids were crying and throwing things. I did not understand that I was under attack for what I had done. I never thought that I would experience these kinds of repercussions from twenty minutes of praise and worship singing. The remainder of the week was horrible. Car problems, constant arguments, and disobedience were the least of the problems I experienced that week. I was so frustrated that I did not want to go in for praise and worship practice the next Saturday, and I certainly was in no mood to sing on Sunday. He did it, Satan kept me from doing that again, or so he thought. Thank God for my pastor's wife. She explained to me that I was under attack for stepping forward and walking in what God had for me. She explained to me that Satan was angry and would stop at nothing until I was deterred from my purpose. To tell you the truth, this made me angry. How dare you try to wreak havoc in my life? From that point on I decided I was not going down without a fight and I would not let Satan keep me from God's plan and purpose for my life. Not only did I sing the next week, I continued to sing every week until God moved me on.
What you need to realize is that Satan has studied you since before you were born and he has the mind realm at his disposal for all of the people who are closest to you. Fortunately for you, Satan cannot use anything that is foreign to you as a weapon against you. God's word says that "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). This means that Satan has rules that are governed by God Almighty and he cannot come against you with anything you are not familiar with. Now look at what God does for you in return: not only will He not let you be tempted past what you can bear, but He will also offer you a way out of every situation. How great is that? Tests and trials make us stronger, but when the enemy comes with temptation, God has already given us an escape route.
Remember, you are also protected by the armor of God:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Excerpted from Now What? by Nicole Brown Copyright © 2009 by Nicole Brown. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Be Prepared from Day One....................9
Chapter 2: Know Your Enemy....................17
Chapter 3: Get New Friends....................25
Chapter 4: Give Up the World....................31
Chapter 5: Faith....................39
Chapter 6: Prayer for the Beginner....................45
Chapter 7: Find Your Purpose....................55
Chapter 8: Forgive Who?....................63
Chapter 9: Watch Your Mouth....................69
Chapter 10: End of the Beginning....................75
Essential Terms for the Beginner....................79
Christian Terms Glossary....................81