Our prayer at NLC is that from this day forward, you will seek yo grow your relationship with Jesus more and more each day. To get you started and to show you what this looks like, we’ve created a 7-Day devotional, which you can find below. Each day, you will read verses taken straight from God’s word along with a short devotional message written by one of our location pastors that will challenge and encourage you to start living your life for Jesus. Start your journey today!
DAY 1: PURSUING GOD’S WORD DAILY
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12
If there was ever a great “product description” for what something is or does, this has to be the best for describing the Bible. God’s Word is something that we too often think of as dead, old, or not relevant to us today. But we can see from God’s Word that it is not only relevant to us now, but is also alive and working in our lives today!
As a follower of Christ, we should make God’s Word a priority in our daily lives. Rather than our Bible collecting dust on our nightstand, it should be something we pursue like we do our daily cup of coffee. We should allow it to jump start our day and provide us with wisdom and peace throughout our busy lives. God’s Word should have priority in our lives as we allow it to actively change the way we think and perceive our lives. Make it a daily part of your life and allow it to make you more like Christ!
Questions for Reflection:
- Why haven’t I prioritized God’s Word in the past? Did my perception of it make it less of a focus?
- Where in my schedule can I make time to read the Bible everyday?
- How can I take God’s Word and apply it to my life today?
Jesus, please allow me to fully see how great and powerful your Word is. Allow your Word to daily transform me into a better follower of you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
DAY 2: LIVE IN FAITH, NOT FEAR – TALKING TO GOD IN PRAYER
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Have you ever been so bogged down by anxiety that it affects every part of your life? We all experience worry from time to time. Sometimes it can be crippling. But God tell us that by simply asking for peace, He will give us peace. As new creations in Christ, we must live our lives out of faith, not fear. Replace worry with the truth of God’s Word, which assure us, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3)
Today, as you process the step you’ve taken in baptism, no matter what you’re going through, allow God to give you the strength to let go of anything that might be weighing you down. Whether it’s worry or regret, bitterness or apathy, give all of it to God. Right now. Go ahead.
Consider your heart and mind guarded by His peace as you live in Christ Jesus.
Questions for Reflection:
- What is the hardest thing I am going through right now?
- Have I given it over to God today?
- How can I begin to train myself to “pray about everything”
Dear God, thank you for sharing Your peace with me! Help me to remember to give you my struggles in exchange for Your stillness. I can’t wait to start this new life journey with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
DAY 3: PART OF A WHOLE – THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING TO CHURCH
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another….” Hebrews 10:24-25
This passage of scripture is great because it truly challenges the way we view attending church. So many people believe that church is not necessary: “I don’t need church to believe in God,” or “I have church when I’m alone with God…in the woods.” This mentality is a singular, individuality way of thinking that’s very dangerous for any believer. We must remember that we are but one piece of the whole Body of Christ. Each of us fits together perfectly for the work God has for us, and we are incomplete without our other pieces.
The Greek word that was used when this was written is actually ekklesia, which means: “parts brought together, collected to be put together, assembled.” The importance of meeting together is far greater than any one individual. Our Designer (God) created each of us to uniquely fit with one another to create one large masterpiece. When we come together to worship, we are not just a collection of mismatched parts, but an important piece of God’s plan. God has a plan in place for each of us, that, when united, creates the masterpiece that He calls His Church.
Questions for Reflection:
- Is attending church easy to make a priority or difficult? Why do you think that is?
- Why do you think the author finds meeting together so important?
- Why do you think some people may neglect meeting together?
Father, thank you for making me a part of something bigger and not allowing me to do life alone. Allow me to see Your church the way You see it and help me to see the ways you’d have me contribute to it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
DAY 4: DON’T STAY SILENT – SHARING THE GOOD NEWS WITH OTHERS
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
Imagine for a moment that you discovered a lump somewhere in your body and you went to the doctor to get it examined. Could you imagine the feelings that would come over you if he said, “I have bad news, and I have really good news!”? You would want to know what the bad news was, but you would probably want to know the good news–and know it quickly–more than anything else in the world at that moment.
This is the way the Gospel message works in our life. In fact the word “gospel” comes from the Greek language and actually means “good news.” We have been given the best news possible, that we as sinners, deserving eternal separation from God, have been offered the free gift of salvation because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Who wouldn’t want to hear that great news? Scripture is clear that as believers we should always be ready to give people the reasons for why we believe, and what God has done in your life will always be your best reason for why you believe. So be ready to share your story with others when the opportunity arises.
Questions for Reflection:
- Do you have any hesitations with sharing your story with others? If so why, and what are some things you think you could do to help build your confidence?
- Have you ever thought of sharing your story with someone as a powerful tool God could use to change a person’s life? If not, in what ways has God made a change in your life and how could this help someone?
- What are some ways that you can prepare yourself to “always be ready” to explain to people the reasons you believe?
Father, thank you for my story. My story can and will be used to show others the way to Jesus. Help me to have confidence in You and to share what You did for me and what you can do in the life of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
DAY 5: CHURCH ISN’T JUST ON THE WEEKENDS – FINDING COMMUNITY THROUGH GROUPS
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20
Coming together on the weekends is a time of celebration, community, and worship. However, once the celebration is over and we walk out the doors, the time for community continues throughout the week. God never intended for any of us to live the Christian life alone. Simply put, community with fellow Christians makes it easier to live the Gospel.
A tree with a single shallow root cannot withstand the wind and storms. But a tree with many roots that grow deep shall resist the winds and will not bend when confronted by the storms. This is what being in a group is all about. There is a sense of friendship, family, community, and security when we gather during the week. It is a place to share our thoughts and burdens; to celebrate others and to be celebrated. When we are alone it is easy to be isolated and distracted. As we spend time together with fellow Christians, our faith grows stronger, we learn from each other, and over time we develop the tools to deal with the things life throws at us.
Questions for Reflection:
- How do you see yourself as a member of the church?
- Do you feel confident to mention Jesus when around others?
- Is fear keeping you from living a Christ-centered life with others?
Father, as we go about our day, may You be ever present in our minds and hearts. Remind us daily of the love You have for us and the strength we have in You. Amen.
DAY 6: MAKING THE BEST DECISION BY FINDING A MENTOR
“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Proverbs 1:5
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing”. Many people don’t know where to start in their relationship with Jesus. What do I say? What do I read? What relationships do I need to re-evaluate? Be encouraged to take steps to continue to grow in your relationship with God. Don’t do nothing… that’s the worst thing you can do. But one of the best things you can do is find someone to help you learn what next steps to take. Someone that can help you understand what decisions need to be made. Someone that can help you build your foundation on Jesus through teaching and guidance.
One of the greatest disciplines that you can have in your life is teachability. And, if you are willing, having a good mentor in your life that you can learn from is one of the greatest decisions you can make to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus. Just as the Proverb says, if you want to become wise, then seek out wise counsel. Find a mentor that can help you understand and grow in your relationship with Jesus. A good mentor will have a number of different qualities. They will teach you; they are a spiritual example of godliness in your life; they will pray for and with you; they will help you develop spiritual disciplines; they will help keep you accountable in the toughest of times; they will help you make other followers of Jesus. In this moment of decision, will you make the best decision? Find a mentor. Become wise and increase in your learning. Seek out wise counsel. Don’t do “nothing”, but instead find someone to walk side by side with you in this journey.
Questions for Reflection:
- Who do you know that has strong relationship with Jesus and has the qualities of a mentor?
- What steps can you take to reach out and ask them to mentor you?
- What are some things you would want to learn from them?
God, help me to seek out wise counsel and allow me to be willing to learn from those that You have put in my life. Help me learn the discipline of being teachable and give me a hunger to learn. Amen.
DAY 7: DON’T GIVE UP WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH – A LESSON IN PERSEVERANCE
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Making the decision to surrender your life to Jesus is the best decision you can ever make. By giving your life to Christ, you are equipped with His love, peace, and hope. Unfortunately, many people are under the impression that once you become a Christian, nothing bad will happen to you; that life is smooth sailing from here on out.
Here’s the reality: God never, ever promised that life would be easy. In fact, He said the opposite. He said we would face troubles in this world. Everyone will. The difference for people who have a relationship with Jesus is this: because of Him–not us, but because of Him–we can do EVERYTHING. Not just some things, but everything. We can overcome any obstacle with a sense of peace knowing that, although the ride might be a little choppy or even downright rough, we serve a God who is in the boat with us. Jesus who conquered the grave is with us. He’s got our back. He is right beside us and He is even ahead of us preparing the way for whatever life, the world, culture, or the Devil throws at us.
Questions for Reflection
- What has God already helped me with that I haven’t noticed yet?
- What areas of my life do I need to start trusting God with more?
- Am I praying about the areas of my life that I want God to work on with me?
Jesus, thank you for conquering the grave. Thank you for being my strength in any storm life throws at me. I pray that I always trust you and that each day I try just a little bit harder to follow you and live the life you want for me. I love you and thank you. In your name, Amen.