Recently I called out to some of my girlfriends in Dallas, MN, and VA and told them I was having a bit of a faith crisis. I got a lot of good advice and prayers. Someone said go through the Psalms. So I started doing that. I don't remember to do it every day, but it's something I enjoy doing and sometimes I even read it aloud to Malachi.
Today I went for a second time to a Baptist Church not far from home where I have friends who are members. I decided that I wanted to try the adult Sunday School. So I got the kids out of the door (on time!) and took us over there. Malachi went to his class, Simon to his, and I went to the mixed adults class (insert joke about dog breeds here).
The class is going through the Psalms. Perfect!
They alternate teachers, and the guy who taught today did something different for their class. He categorized the Psalms into five or six categories and listed which Psalms fit into those categories (except for Lament because apparently 70% of the Psalms fit into that category, he did put a few though). It couldn't have been better for me. Like it was perfectly suited just for where I am in my walk with the Lord. I now have a great reference for going through the Psalms and if I ever want a specific topic can look on that list instead of actually searching through them. I was quite encouraged by it!
The sermon was done by a guest preacher because the Pastor is out of town on vacation. The preacher did a wonderful exhortation using John 15: 1-17. He talked about some verses from that scripture that are taken out of context. But mainly he wanted to talk about how to remain in Jesus and what our ultimate reason for existence is. The guest preacher last week had already told us our reason for existing was to Glorify God. And this weeks preacher reiterated that.
How do we Glorify God? By having a fruitful life. vs. 8 (Galatians 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.)
How do we have fruit? Through Remaining in Jesus vs.4
Can we have fruit with out Jesus? No vs. 4
Good news though! Producing fruit is a natural part of being in Christ. It's not something you have to work towards.
So...how do we remain in Jesus? I'll tell you.
First you need to know that Jesus loves us as much as the Father loves him. vs. 9
We remain in his love when we obey his commands.
What's his command? Love one another as he has loved us! vs. 12
Sounds easy right? Wrong!! This may be the hardest thing a human has to do!
How did Christ love us? By laying his life down for us!
Is Christ asking us to literally die? No. But he is asking that every day we sacrifice our own desires for those around us.
What a sermon! It was perfect for me! One of my favorite things he said was that Jesus' command was not: read your bible every day, pray for an hour every day, go to church every week (or multiple times a week depending on your church), etc. His command is to love one another, lay down your own desires for the desires of those around you. Is it beneficial to read the word and pray every day, and go to church? Yes! Are you a bad Christian for not? No!
What a relief! This is something John's been trying to get in my head for a while - sorry babe. For some reason it clicked better this way. This must be one of the freedoms in Christ that people are always talking about.
Now the hard part...laying down my life. I'm one of the most selfish and lazy people you'll ever meet. Pray for me.