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New Horizons: Life as a New Believer

By CBN.com

CBN.com

"Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths." - Micah 4:2

Where New Horizons Begin

"I didn't feel any different. But I felt I had done what I was compelled to do. Later the reality of what I had done sank in." -- Ty

When you asked Jesus into your life, you probably prayed something like this:

"Jesus, I ask you to come into my life. I want to turn from sin and living my life under my own control. Come now and live your life in me. Forgive me and cleanse me from my sins. I receive you as my Lord and my Savior. I will live for you and serve you all the days of my life. Amen."

Has the reality of what you did sunk in yet?

What really did happen when you asked Jesus to come into your life?


What's Real

"I felt like a bolt of lightening hit me. And I heard a distinct voice in my mind say, 'The slate is wiped clean.' I knew I was forgiven." -- Shannon

Forgiven!

You're starting fresh!

The first thing God did when you made Jesus Christ your Savior was wipe the slate clean.

What was wiped away? Sin -- your disobedience to God which would have separated you from him forever. Everything you have ever done to offend God has been erased! Your failures have been forgiven!

How can this be? Because when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty for all your sins -- past and future.

Of course, God doesn't want you to sin anymore. He has put his Holy Spirit in you to give you the desire and the ability to overcome sin. But if you should fall short, just admit to him your failure and turn away from sin. By doing this, every day can be a fresh start!

"I didn't feel the impact of my prayer until the next day. I was driving when the thought hit me, 'I now have a heavenly Father who won't ever leave me like my real father did!' God had filled a void I didn't even know was there." -- Mark

God's Child

You've been "born again" into God's family.

When you accepted Jesus' payment for your sins, God's Holy Spirit came into you and made you spiritually alive! That's what it means to be born again.

Think of the awesome privilege of just being in your new family!

Scientists try to discover the secrets of nature -- but HE made it all. And this very same Being -- God Almighty -- says he is your Father!

The apostle John was overwhelmed by this. He spoke for all of us when he exclaimed, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1).

Your new Father has already made provisions for the rest of your life.

He has given you his Word, the Bible, to show you how to "grow up" in your new life with him. He has issued an open invitation to come and talk to him regularly in prayer. And he has created a family of brothers and sisters -- fellow Christians who will encourage you.


"My biggest question was where would I go when I died. When I prayed it was like the heavens opened. And such incredible peace and joy flooded my room." --
Ken

Eternal Life

You will live in God's loving presence forever!

One of the most wonderful gifts God gives his children is eternal life with him. When you leave this life through physical death, immediately you will be with him in a glorious new life in heaven.

But the full, abundant life God gives you doesn't start when you die. It starts right now!

Before you gave your life to Jesus, it was like you were traveling alone, doing your best to find the right path. You had no map and most of the time you walked in dense fog. Whether you realized it or not, you weren't sure where you were going with your life -- or even exactly where you were.

But God knows. And his plans for your life include a specific, eternal purpose, one only you can fulfill.

Each day, let God guide your way. His route will be perfect for you. With him in control, you will discover a peace that is beyond all understanding in this life. And you'll have the joy of knowing you will be with Him forever.


"When I prayed I didn't feel a thing. I thought something was supposed to happen -- but nothing did. Afterwards I got depressed and felt like God had totally rejected me. The next day I called a Christian friend. She said,' How does it feel to be a Christian?' It clicked in me. 'I AM a Christian!' But still I didn't feel anything. Over the next weeks and months as I started spending time praying and reading the Bible, I started growing in my faith."
-- Kim

You really ARE starting on a new life with God, but what's next?

Fitness for the Climb

God promises you that as you come to Him, HE will teach you his ways. However, there are certain things you need to do. These are practical steps that draw you to God and allow him to teach you.

1. Prayer

Talk to God

Most citizens of a country do not have access to its leader. But God's sons and daughters do have access to Him. Through Jesus Christ you have access to the throne of the King of kings any time you need it.

You actually have the right to come before the Ruler of the Universe and visit with Him; to share with him your intimate thoughts, desires and fears. After all, you're His child.

Talk to Him. That's what prayer is -- simply talking to your heavenly Father.

You don't have to be on your knees or in a church when you talk to God. You can pray anywhere.

You can talk to God in the midst of your daily activities, but you also need to set aside a quiet time free of distractions to be alone with Him every day.

Use this time to read His Word, the Bible, and to talk to Him. As you do this, you will begin to grow in your new life with God.

Jesus taught us how to pray

One of Jesus' followers asked Him how to pray. He responded by sharing what is called The Lord's Prayer. This was not meant to be recited over and over with no thought to the words. Rather, it's a guide to help us know the kinds of things we can and should talk with God about on a regular basis. Use it as a guide for prayer in the quiet time you set apart each day to get to know God.

OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME.

Remind yourself that He is your Father. But He is also holy, and we need to worship Him. As we focus on who He is, it gives us a proper perspective for the rest of our prayer.

YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

Next, ask God for HIS plan and HIS will to be done in your life. Ask for His will to be done in the lives of your family and friends, too. This is the most loving, caring prayer you can pray for them.

GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD.

Now ask Him to meet your needs for today. If you have a special need, ask Him for it.

FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS.

Give to God any hurt you have received from anyone. Forgive those who have wronged you. And ask God to forgive you where you have failed.

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE.

Ask God to protect you from the temptations and attacks that come from the world, the flesh, and from evil spiritual forces.

FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN.

Conclude as you began your prayer, in worship, acknowledging that all belongs to God.

2. Bible Reading

Find out what God says

The Bible is the main way God has chosen to tell us about Himself.

It's also the main way God has chosen to tell us about ourselves -- who we are, His promises to us for now and for the future, and how we are to live successfully.

More than 30 men wrote the Bible over a period of time from about 1400 B.C. up to approximately A.D.90. These men wrote chronicles of history, poetry, letters to other people, and more. But each one wrote as he was inspired in a special way by the Holy Spirit.

Though written as 66 individual works, they fit together as a comprehensive whole -- the Bible, God's Word to us.

Learning what God says in the Bible is a very important part of your new life.

How to Read the Bible

Find a Bible that is easy for you to read.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek. Today you can choose from a number of different English translations.

You may find the everyday language in the New Living Translation (The Book), the New King James Version, and New American Standard Version of the Bible comfortable to read. They are available on CBN.com and in most bookstores.

Start reading!

The book of John is a good place to start. You may want to follow it with the book of Luke, the book of Acts, and then the rest of the New Testament.

First, read each passage or book like you would anything else.

You may want to begin by first reading a book of the Bible straight through from beginning to end.

Then go back and read it again more closely. What does each passage say about God? What does it say about you?

Ask God to show you how various passages apply to your life.

"A man who loves his wife will love her letters and her photographs because they speak to him of her. So if we love the Lord Jesus we shall love the Bible because it speaks to us of him." -- John R.W.Stott

3. Fellowship

Join with other born-again Christians

God has just plugged you into the most spiritually-powerful entity on earth -- the Church.

When you gave your life to Jesus Christ you became a vital part of God's family. And there's more to God's family than most people ever imagine!

One of the images the Bible uses to describe God's family -- the Church -- is a body. The Bible says Jesus is the head and each person who has truly given his or her life to Jesus makes up a part of the body. Everyone is dependent on others -- and everyone has something to contribute to the entire body.

You receive strength and encouragement from others in the Church. But you also give something vital to the whole. That's one reason why local church involvement is so important -- and why the Bible says not to neglect meeting together.

But the church does more than help the individual members. Together, as members of one body, the Church has tremendous spiritual power against the evil in this world.

How to Find a Good Church

First, ask the Lord to guide you.

Look for a church where the people love Jesus Christ and serve Him as Lord, and where the doctrine, teaching, and practice of that church are in accordance with the Word of God.

Related teaching sheet: Choosing a Church

Beware of churches that:

  • Place Jesus Christ as less than or not equal to God the Father;
  • Revere a book other than or in addition to the Bible;
  • Place an undue emphasis on one person, leader, or founder;
  • Emphasize salvation by works rather than as a free gift through faith; and
  • Control members and require service to the organization or leader rather than voluntary service to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your Responsibilities as Part of God's Family

God intends for you to contribute to the family of God in a unique way. Along with fulfilling your unique role, you -- and every other member of God's family -- have a responsibility to:

  1. Draw close to God through prayer, Bible study and fellowship. Only then will you recognize and use the gifts God has given you in the ways God intended -- to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
  2. Pray for your church, your pastor, other believers, and people who need to give their lives to Jesus -- both locally and worldwide.
  3. Give of your time and talents. Participate in at least one ministry activity through your church or a ministry. It may be stuffing envelopes, or sharing Jesus on the street. As you give of yourself, you will be blessed and will continue to grow in your relationship with God.
  4. Give of yourself materially. The Bible teaches that we should give at least a tenth of all we receive to him. Giving him the first 10 percent is our recognition that all we have comes from God.

Power for the Heights: Your Changing Viewpoint

When you were born-again, God brought your spirit to life by putting His Holy Spirit in you. Yet Jesus talked about another experience He called the "baptism of the Holy Spirit."

This baptism -- or overflowing -- of the Spirit empowers you for service to God. It can take place the moment you place your faith in Jesus, but often it follows at a later time.

You need to do some things in order to receive this blessing. First, you need to ask. The Bible says, "Ask, and it will be given to you."

Second, you must surrender. This means that you give yourself to God without reservation.

Third, you must be willing to obey the Spirit. God offers this power to us so we can do His will, not follow our own desires.

And finally, you must believe and then begin to exercise what He has given you.

The Bible says that when the first early Christians were baptized with the Holy Spirit, they spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them the words. This was a special language which the speaker did not know.

Speaking in tongues communicates praise or worship to God. The Bible teaches that it can help us in our prayer or intercession for others. It is a gift which builds us up as believers. And it is for you. Pray and ask -- and expect God to give you this gift.

No other experience matches the soaring excitement and joy of walking with God in the power of His Spirit.

More on the Holy Spirit

Why Call This Teaching "New Horizons?"

You made a life-changing decision when you asked Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your life. You may have "felt" an instant change -- or you may have felt nothing.

As the quotes throughout these pages indicate, the experience of new birth into God's family is as unique as you are. But the experience doesn't end here.

Little by little, as you travel through life with Jesus, you will see the world more and more as God sees it. From your changing viewpoint there will always be exciting, new horizons.

More than a View

This changing viewpoint will affect everything in your life!

When you give Jesus your entire life, your priorities will change. So will your relationships with friends and family; How you perform your job; What you do with your resources.

As you learn about Him through prayer, Bible reading and being with other Christians, He will begin to show you practical answers to problems you face.

The view from the heights is marvelous. And the climb is exhilarating. God bless you on your new journey.


"I prayed and invited Jesus into my life. It was very hard for me to believe he had really accepted me. I knew I had offended him in so many ways.
But finally I understood Jesus' death had paid the whole price for my sin. The joy was so overwhelming! That was over 20 years ago. It was the beginning of an exciting new adventure -- walking with God day by day. There have been times when I didn't understand. But never have I been disappointed. He has blessed my life more than I could have dreamed possible. And there is still so much more to come!" -- Joseph

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Scripture references are taken form the New American Standard translation of the Bible.

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