A lot has happened in the past few months, from before Christmastime to this day. Chronologically, it went from closing a sale and receiving a car, getting braces for the girls, going through physical therapy for me in preparation for my own orthodontic treatment, getting pregnant, husband Irl getting an extreme case of laryngitis, the pregnancy aborting itself because it might have been a blighted ovum — there was no way to confirm: first Transvaginal Sonogram (because I started bleeding) showed a zygote in a stage too early to determine if there was a baby, and between the ER check up and the 2nd TVS (because I started bleeding again), my uterus released everything inside it in one big blood clot when I went to the bathroom — then Irl finally resigning because the doctor confirmed that going back to his job (call center set-up) with its demand for a high level of vocal activity would not only cause recurrence, but eventually permanent damage.
Irl is now back to teaching piano students, this time with A&V My Talent Unlimited Inc. It’s a slow start, but then he’s been away from it for 5 years, so he has to re-establish himself as a piano teacher. And — and this is my hope — perhaps he can be part of a particular recital featuring his former teacher and his co-students. . .which, now that I think about it, should be somewhere in that chronology above, because we had gone to watch their concert for his birthday, and when they saw him, his teacher said: “You’re gonna be in the next one.”
And I saw a light in Irl’s eyes that I had not seen in a loooooooooong time… : )
So why am I calling this post “What I believe”?
Let me borrow a facebook post and thread to explain:
just musing – which can be a dangerous thing with only one cup of coffee 😉
in reading some posts/ comments this morning – here and elsewhere – i’m aware that i don’t constantly have my finger on my ‘spiritual’ pulse – ie, ‘am i doing this correctly? or that or the other?’… ‘have i entered in with the correct attitude/ understanding to the ‘things’ of life?’… ‘have i given proper attention to [fill in the blank]?’… ‘do i give credit to Him?’… ‘am i being decieved?’…
what a wonderful thing – in my opinion – to have both hands free to just journey with Father – leaving the ‘pulse’ to Him
My comment (slightly edited to hide a certain identity):
thanks for posting this, Kelly. I really needed to see something like this. If I may ask for prayer: let’s just say there’s someone trying to “grab” our wrists…to check our pulse, but we can tell they’re comparing it with their own…which means they’ll just stress themselves over our “failure” to live up to their standard.
This — and this is the main point of my blog — was the answer I gave to the person who wanted to check the pulse of my “obedience” to God.
John 14:15, 21, 23 — you said Jesus emphasized obedience. But what were Jesus’ commands that we are to obey?
John 6:29 “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me.”
John 15:12 “A new command I give to you: love one another as I have loved you.”
Matthew 28:19,20 “As you go, make disciples…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Believe in Him. Love.
1 John 4:12 “This is what real love is: it is not our love for God. It is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
1 John 4:17 “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world.”
Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Matthew 3:17 “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Contrary to what you say, more people preach about what we should do to show God we love him. Very few encourage those who have failed in their obedience that God no longer condemns them, that because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, they are forgiven. Nowhere in the New Testament does God ever ask anyone to “prove their love for him by what they do.” This was the whole point of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, where he said “having begun by the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”
Most people accuse preachers like Joseph Prince of not emphasizing obedience, simply because they do not end their sermons with “practical applications.” They want things they can DO; Joseph Prince and other preachers like him remind us of who we ARE. Because who we are defines what we do. Jesus only commanded 2 things: Believe. Love. And his command to love is defined, not in 1 Corinthians 13, which is a DESCRIPTION of love, but by 1 John 4: We love because God FIRST loves us.
Which is why Pastor Prince and other “overgrace” pastors focus their sermons on how God has shown us His love through Jesus, because according to the bible, the way we can love is when we know how much God loves us. And we find strength and courage to stand against the schemes of the enemy when we know that we are God’s beloved.
Contrary to what you wrote, there are not enough people who focus their messages on God’s love for us. They gloss over it, focusing more on “what we should do now that we are saved.” And because they end with the practical application instead of the more important truth of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, people go home thinking “I must I must I must”. It’s a set-up for either failure and self-condemnation, or success and pharisaical pride.
So if you will ask (us) how our love for God is doing, we will tell you: crappy. We fail more than succeed — if we ever do succeed. But praise God, God doesn’t condemn us for our failure to love him! Instead, He keeps showering us with His love more and more. And in receiving His love more, we are empowered to keep coming before Him and keep loving Him in spite of how obviously inadequate our love for Him is. Because of what Jesus has done on our behalf, God now sees us as He sees Jesus: His beloved child, in whom He is well-pleased.
And as Jesus commanded, this is also what we go around telling other people: that Jesus has met all the requirements of God’s judgment and justice on the cross, so now they are forgiven and are no longer condemned. God sees them now as He sees Jesus: His beloved child, in who He is well-pleased. And God only requires three things of them: believe in Jesus, let Him love them, and tell other people that that’s all God requires of them.
Philippians 3:7-16 NLT
This is what I have been shown, and what I now believe in, and subsequently see: God loves me and wants to be my Father; Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s righteous requirements on my behalf, enabling God to adopt me into His family; the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus to be Immanuel, God with me, testifies — He doesn’t simply tell me, He testifies and bears witness to it, as though He were bound by an oath (like they do in court trials) — that I am the Father’s child, and by His encouragement, I now call this mighty creator God Abba. Daddy. Dad.
And all this Jesus accomplished by His life on earth, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. None of me. Nothing ever from me.
Thank You, God!!!