TOOL KIT: Did you get a chance to pray and receive salvation as you read in the Core section? Here are a few practical 'How to' tips and some Resources that will help you walk with Jesus!
It is great to buy a paper Bible, so you can make notes or high-light verses that touch your heart. The King James Version is the most widely recognized. You might like something like the ESV or NIV too. My new favorite is an ESV Bible that has an inch margin on each page, set aside as room for notes. You can usually find a Bible for $5.00- 10.00 in paperback, Wal-Mart might still carry them, or get a fancier leather covers at a higher price on Amazon or Lifeway.com. It's great to get a 'red letter edition' if you can, because the words of Jesus are in red ink.
Start your day with God. Think about Him when you are waking up. You can set aside 10-15 minutes in the morning for starters to read God's Word, listen and pray. It's a great way to start your day, or quiet your soul at the end of the day or both. Ask The Holy Spirit to speak to you through God's Word. Read until you find something to hold on to, or start by reading one verse and thinking about it through out the day. You can read a Psalm and/or a Proverb daily.
Pray about what is being said, and be ready to see it affect your life in small and large ways. Notice God's promises, hold onto those. People call this spending time with God and His Word, a "Quiet Time". It's so powerful to set aside time with Him! Get your coffee, perhaps a notebook and a comfy chair. You might shout for joy if something really reaches you!
The Bible contains two sections, The Old Testament and The New Testament. The Bible is divided up by Book name, Chapter and verse numbers. It makes it easier to remember where you were reading something too, and share it.
There is an index in the front of The Bible, before The Old Testament, which is basically the first half of The Bible. Psalms is right in the middle. The book of Matthew is to the right, at the beginning of The New Testament, in the second half. You don't have to read Genesis to Revelation in The Bible all at once, or the first day, but you can. The idea of reading the Bible is to get acquainted with God.
A lot of people like to begin by reading in The New Testament. You can read the Book of John, and the verses about salvation I described above, especially John 3:16-17.
In the Old Testament, many Psalms are comforting. They are great to read daily, with great poetry and perspective, even when the writer goes through a dip, they come out praising God! And, we talked above about singing them to God too. You can also read a Proverb a day, there are 31 Proverbs. There is a lot of specific wisdom for living in there!
Back to The New Testament, Paul's letters to the churches after His dramatic conversion and God encounter are terrific training on Christian living, and so is the Book of Acts. (see Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians). The book of James is a short read and trains us in heading off temptation before it gets a grip! Jesus 'sermon on the mount'/Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) is wonderfully challenging and worthy of study... This will keep you going for a while - enjoy!
FYI - Siri on an IPhone is great at finding specific portions of scripture and bringing them up on BibleHub.com and BibleGateway.com, if you don't recall where the verse you read was located.
-Bible Story Books: You might want to pick up a Bible storybook. This is a great way to understand some of the other key people of faith in the Bible. Reading about these people and how God interacted with people can help us understand more about God's nature. And, it's fun to see what He did through the lives of ordinary people. It is also a good way to share your new found faith with your children. There are many Bible Story books available for all age groups. Here's a fun example: https://www.zonderkidz.com/book/9780310750130/beginners-bible/
-Bible Promises book: These are great, and usually organized by category (Faith, Love, Hope, Help, Healing, etc.) It really adds to your faith to pray the Word, not the situation or our own emotions. For example: "In His presence is fullness of joy." Psalm 16:11. Apply that and stir your faith to pray in expectation that God will stir up joy in your heart, regardless of your circumstances because He promised to. This will help you pray better about what is going on. When you agree with His promises - it is combustion!! "The Jesus Person Pocket Promise Book" is a classic and available online for less than $4.00.
-Lifeway: Lifeway.com is a great place to explore the foundations of the Christian faith, through many Christian books and Bible Study materials by topic. For a more Spirit-Filled perspective, you would enjoy writings from Shawn Bolz, (BolzMinistries.com) and James Goll's God Encounters Ministries. https://godencounters.com/
There are Christian books on most subjects. I've only included a few of my lasting favorites here. (Note: If you randomly search through Amazon or other typical outlets, you might find things that look Christian, but may be 'New Age' materials, which isn't your goal.)
Authors like Cloud and Townsend have a great book called "Safe People" - How to be one, and how to find 'safe people' to relate with. Another great book to bring understanding in relationships is "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman c 1992.
-Remember to be patient with yourself and others: Some people have dramatic conversions and are instantly freed of drugs and other habits! Some people get to walk out into freedom from brokenness over time with Jesus... Some need extra resources or helpers to meet their victory goals. For sure, you will see that you are empowered to live a life of faith in God by applying God's Word. And He will show you how to bring creative change into people's lives and situations as you walk with Him. One person said it this way: "The Glory of God is man fully alive". What does your fullness look like? God will lead you to the Bible verses and resources you need.
-Stir Prayer: As you have discovered, there is a "Hotline to Heaven" - it is called prayer. Prayer is talking with God. He never sleeps. He wants to know how we feel, what we perceive and take us beyond that. It is a two-way conversation! You will be amazed with how practical He is... The Holy Spirit 'leads us into all Truth', God is the greatest absolute!! Holy Spirit draws us to God, is the third personality in The Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) and is our Advocate and great Comforter. "Father, what should I do about __________". He will answer... and you will hear the resonance of His Word in the reply.
"The Power of A Praying... " (Husband, Wife, Single, Teen...) by Stormie Omartian is fun! This series is a great way to pray the Word by topic, and shift your sights to Heaven's perspective. Here is a good example:
- GET THIS ONE: One book I really hope you will get - I keep it with my Bible - is "The Price of God's Miracle Working Power" by A.A.Allen. https://www.amazon.com/Price-Gods-Miracle-Working-Power/dp/1480286974/ Whether you are a new or seasoned believer, this book is for you! Sometimes you can get it online for free, otherwise it is under $10. It is such a small book, yet it is full of Bible Verses organized into insightful strategy that help you easily understand in better detail and application the foundations of faith we have laid out here... and take us beyond. It is thrilling to read His story as well! MAYBE THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN - OTHER THAN THE BIBLE!
-Praise, Worship & Hymns: God is the ultimate being. He is Holy, and so we approach Him with awe and reverence, and jubilant celebration! We are always aware that we are dust and He is all Love. He is Lord of the Nations! Psalm 95 explains that we praise Him for what He has done and worship Him for who He is. We can worship God anywhere! This can be with a simple "I love you Jesus!..." as the daily cry of our hearts! Or, with a fervent song on our own, or with a majestic church choir singing "HOLY!" and making room for an orchestra... He loves it when an honest heart notices Him!
You can worship God all day, every day, every where, with music and without... There is plenty of Christian music from Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), Worship music and wonderful classic hymns that have lasted hundreds of years because the Truth remains! I love Hymns, they shape things! You can sing them with the original arrangements or with a new vibe! Check out: "Be Thou My Vision", "How Great Thou Art", "In The Garden", "Before the Throne of God Above", "Power in the Blood"... These are shoutin' songs. There are plenty of these on YouTube. Christian Music is a great way to stay encouraged in your faith! In addition to lots of Cartas de Amour music on all platforms, here are a few others to get you started: Hillsongs Music, Bethel Worship, Leonard Jones "Worship & Warfare", "Home" by Laura Woodley Osman (details below), and K-Love Christian radio.
- GET THIS: Be sure to get the "Home" album by Laura Woodley Osman, few things are so delightful at reprogramming us out of the mindsets of this world. It is powerful, soothing Truth, that you rarely here anywhere else quite this way... "You have a place in Your heart for me, Jesus Your Son made me family, I am no orphan, by Your Spirit I believe... I have found my home! Where You are is where I belong, a place I fit perfectly, there is room in You for me..." I love these Truths about God's nature and often sleep to this! It's on YouTube and other platforms.
- MINISTRY TO THE LORD vs MINISTRY TO THE HOUSE: An intriguing article sure to challenge you for years as it has me... It is usually on Sermon.net for free. It's by Watchman Nee. It's a classic on the mindset of a 'servant of God vs a friend of God'.
-"The Power of The Holy Spirit in You" by Pat Robertson - this looks like a great book on the Person and Indwelling of The Holy Spirit! Pat Robertson has led an amazing life as the founder of CBN, The 700 Club and Regent University, and he is a respected Christian leader. Let me know what you think of this one, I haven't read it yet, but it looked like something special.
- "Through the Valley: Encouragement for those Experiencing Grief" by Cartas de Amour, my book on Amazon. The ebook is just $.99, so it is affordable for all, and you can share it with friends who need it. Hopefully more books will be coming out in late 2022... https://www.amazon.com/Through-Valley-Encouragement-Those-Experiencing/dp/1717284124
- "Healing is For You" by Cartas de Amour. An album of original songs, prayers and verses to encourage and strengthen your faith for healing spirit, soul, mind and body! This is the link that is free on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/user-369726773 and was created for you https://soundcloud.com/user-369726773 to enjoy and also to share it with others in need.
Well, I haven't told you everything about your Christian Life, because it is your own, but I feel like we have just launched a glorious ocean liner and you are ready to sail!!! (By the way, I receive no compensation from the other companies, products or authors I have recommended.)
I guess you've figured out by now:
-We believe in the miracle-working power of Almighty God, the everlasting love of God the Father (Yahweh), the saving power of the Blood of Jesus, and the inward witness of the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. We believe that The Bible is the Word of God and is the ultimate authority.
-We believe in the church of Jesus Christ, resident in the heart of every follower of Christ and we believe in the gathering of the saints daily, weekly, locally and around the world. Jesus is our focus and Father is our Goal and Holy Spirit is our Helper.
-We believe that Jesus rose from the dead, after being crucified to take on the sins of the world, and that He lives to ever make intercession for us! Jesus Christ is King! He is and will be the Ruler of the Nations! and His Kingdom has no end.
-The Holy Spirit is God, just like Father God and Jesus Father God's Son. He indwells all who believe on the Name of Jesus Christ. Any believer can ask to be Baptized with the Holy Spirit and to be filled with the power of God, as the Church in Jerusalem waited so earnestly for and received on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit will give freely His gifts to Believers for the edification of the saints, the building up of the Church, and as a testimony of the power of God before an unbelieving world. He is the power that leads us into an overcoming life on earth!
-We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the physical return of Jesus Christ and the life everlasting - COME LORD JESUS - so shall we ever be with the Lord!
The PEACEWITHGOD.NET button below leads you to other great resources on following Jesus presented by BGEA. Read Billy Graham's remarkable story too! He also has written many encouraging books. It is wild what God did through one man with a team of praying men, and how they reached the world for Christ and surprisingly found favor with Presidents, King, Queens and more.... His life changed, when one day He decided to believe what was in the Word of God. His son Franklin, and grandchildren continue the ministry today.