I will say of the Lord , He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Psalms 91 KJV
God in Us, that’s what makes us NEW
Starting this journey of faith in Jesus makes you a new creation. Maybe you don’t feel different but it’s true, you are a new creation. The Bible actually says, “The new has come, the old has passed away!” That is exciting news! But what does it really mean?
When Jesus died on the cross, it was about even MORE than forgiving sins. He died so our old life could die with him and our new life could begin! This means Jesus’ forgiveness was not a one-time thing. It happens over and over again as He keeps making us new. It is a new life every day. Do you remember being young and wishing you were older? You knew it was impossible but wanted automatic fast change. Life is not like that and neither is following Jesus. “New creation” means you are in process, growing as you get to know Jesus better and better.
We don’t follow Jesus on our own. With new life, we get God in us all the time. Jesus promised that he would send the Spirit of God to live with us and in us. This is the Holy Spirit. Now that you are a Believer you have the Holy Spirit in you. The Holy Spirit is your helper. The Holy Spirit is your comforter. The Holy Spirit is a wise counselor, who helps you understand God.
Think about this.
The Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit is the part of God that lives inside you. Sometimes the Holy Spirit can be a voice of peace, joy, or comfort. Sometimes the Holy Spirit reminds you that you are going in the wrong direction and leaving God behind. The Holy Spirit helps us live the way that Jesus lived.
Being made new happens because the Holy Spirit moves inside us to live when we say YES to God. We can celebrate that every day because we are becoming new over and over again! It’s a process that doesn’t go away and the Holy Spirit doesn’t go away either.
Read this with a Christian friend or leader and then talk about your answers to these questions 2 Corinthians 5:17 What does being “made new” mean to you? Are there parts of your “old self” that you want to depart from?
How are you different if Christ is “in you”? In your own words, what does it mean to have “Christ in you”?
John 14:15-17 What does the Holy Spirit lead you to? When you think about the Holy Spirit do you feel comfort, joy, fear or just confusion?
What’s the best way to know if the Holy Spirit is leading me of if I am just telling myself what I want to hear?
Spend some time journaling this week. Write down all the ways you are made new. Write down the emotions that go with that (joy, gratefulness, uncertainty, etc.).
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 14:15-17 KJV
What did I just do?
Saying YES again
There’s a chance that you are reading this because in the last few days or weeks, maybe even in the last few hours, you decided to say, “YES” to trusting God. That’s a HUGE decision. Maybe you are still thinking about it, trying to decide what does it really mean? How do you trust God? How do you follow Jesus? What’s it mean to be a Christian? What am I saying “yes” to?
It might help if you imagine a friend. Even if you have never had a really tight friendship, you can imagine the kind of person who is a real friend. He would be totally trustworthy. He would want what is best for you. He’d be easy to be with. He might go so far as to care more about you than about himself. You would want to be around him as often as you could. God wants this kind of friendship with you. God actually made you especially for friendships. He’s always wanted your most important friendship to be with Him.
You could read the very first pages of the Bible, Genesis 1 and 2, and find the summary of how God created everything, including men and women. And then God started a friendship with the people He created. Notice that when God created all the animals and the sky and stars he said, “This is good.” But later, when he created man and woman, he said, “This is VERY good.” Genesis 1:31 Learn even more about how God created you and wants a friendship with you. Read Psalm 139. Pay special attention to verses 1-18.
Made for RELATIONSHIP God created humans because He loves humans. He made you because he wants a friendship with you.
Think about this
What do these verses tell you about how much God loves you and wants a friendship with you?
God created us to be in a friendship with him. But, we humans usually like to do things our own way. It wasn’t long after God created the first people, Adam and Eve, that they decided to leave God. They wanted to make their own rules. In fact, they did exactly what God asked them not to do.
WE RESIST GOD That’s what sin is; when people decide to make their own plans and ignore the directions that God has given. The Bible says that ALL have sinned and don’t live up to God’s amazing glory.
Can you think of times when bad decisions have separated you from God?
JESUS RESTORES RELATIONSHIP God’s love for you never stops. It can’t be broken by anything we do. God never holds his love back from you. That’s because Jesus restored our chance for relationship with God by dying on the cross.
HOW WE RESPOND TO GOD MATTERS When you say, “YES” to following God, you admit that you’ve made bad decisions and that you have resisted God’s friendship with you.
Is there anything you want to tell God you are sorry for? In the same way that you ask a friend to forgive you when you have hurt them, you can ask God to forgive you.
When you say, “YES” to following God, you’re saying that you don’t want to resist anymore. Instead, you want this friendship with God who made you, just like those verses said in Psalm 139. You might even stop here and say “yes” again. When you say “YES”, you are inviting Jesus to fix the broken relationship that you have with God. Jesus is the only one who can fix that. When Jesus allowed the people to murder him on the cross, he did that to pay the price for sin. When he died and then rose again, he restored the relationship we can have with God. What are some ways you can thank Jesus for what he did by dying on the cross?
You are made for this friendship with God. He will never leave you. He will walk with you and lead you and comfort you.
Go back and read Psalm 139 again and as you read it, insert your own name whenever you see “I” or “me.” If you are reading through this plan with a friend or leader, you could read it out loud and insert your friend’s name and then they could do the same for you. When you realize you have a friend like God, who knows you and loves you, even with your failures, it makes you want to stay close and follow His lead, which is exactly where He wants you!
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:1-18, 20-31 KJV
READ ME FIRST
Welcome to a reading plan that will help you begin a life-long friendship with God. The truth is, God is HUGE! There’s so much to learn, you might feel a little overwhelmed. This plan will help you take steps toward knowing God and understanding the Bible. Here are a couple of suggestions: 1. Read through these lessons with a friend or leader who has also decided to trust Jesus. When you come to questions in a lesson, talk about your answers with your friend. 2. When you read a lesson, keep paper and pen nearby in case you want to write down something important. 3. All you need for these lessons is the YouVersion electronic Bible. But you might want to look for a printed Bible too, so you can find the Table of Contents and write notes in the corners of pages. Some people even write out their prayers to God.
2 Timothy 3:16 What does this verse say about who inspired the Bible? What does this verse say about how the Bible is useful? Now, try putting that verse in your own words.
Think about this
When you need to get someplace you have never been before, what are your options? You could try to make it on your own…but you might get lost. You can watch how other people get there…but they might take you the wrong way. You can ask for directions. You can follow a map. No matter what, getting someplace you want to be takes time and focus. It helps if you are traveling with someone else who knows where he’s going.
The Bible is an ancient book that was written in different languages. God motivated men to write down all that God had done for them, and they did.
The Old Testament is the part of the Bible that talks about how God was in relationship with mankind before Jesus was born. The New Testament is a collection of short history books and letters written by the people who lived with Jesus and followed him. Some of the Bible can confuse us if we don’t know the WHOLE story. You could even end up thinking that “God is a jerk” or God doesn’t really love people if you only read one section without understanding the WHOLE story. So give yourself time. Allow yourself to be confused and ask for help. The Bible is true and it’s God’s way of helping us understand how He loves us. It’s totally worth your time!
As you begin this reading plan, try to work through it with a Christian friend or leader. It’s so helpful to travel with a trusted partner! If you are reading through the plan on your own, use the helpful tools in your YouVersion Bible. Under settings, turn on “Footnotes.” These will be notes that help explain verses and settings. You can turn on “Red Letters”; when words are highlighted in red, it means that these are the words that Jesus spoke. If you have a paper Bible, look in the first few pages and find the Table of Contents. It helps a lot to use this as you get used to finding Bible stories.
Consider yourself an explorer as you enter this new life with Jesus!
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2 Timothy 3:16 KJV