What I have learned from my parents is that you should always find refuge with God, no matter what the circumstances are. They told me that God listens and that He always helps. That we have to try to be good and if we sin, God wants to forgive, if we ask for forgiveness. This is the most important thing everybody ever told me. I believed what they said, acted on it and discovered that God lives... ......... in every sense of the word.
In my youth I’d talked to God, never heard an answer, but I new He listened. How I knew? Because His answers came, but not the way we are used to. Every conversation that I had with Him, never stayed unanswered. I will give you an example: I searched, from when I was eight, for a kindred spirit, a soul mate, a person of course and I regularly ask for one. Still the answers come and it is already 29 years later, they come in the form of experiences, people, words, thought. It’s with everything like that, what I discuss with Him. It’s more than words, it’s more of an answer than a person could ever give.
I also noticed that God can comfort in a very special way, like no men can and that He is there for you and me always, people are not always. God always, and that is very special. God has never let me down and I don’t mean that everything in my life goes my way, and that I am never sad. On every worse day in my life and all the bad things that happen in de world, I see this is not what God wants for me or the world and He shows me in the most emotional way how He sees that.
Praying helps, when I pray everything goes better, the way is not icy slick, salt has been sprinkled. Even when I now that, still I pray too little and believe to poorly, I often think; God does what He thinks is best. But I often notice that God values what I say and do and pray, because things I want, happen or not happen when I don’t want it, things I never told people. Sometimes He keeps me safe from, things I fear most. God takes into account with our feelings.
When I was very young we never went to church, we did talk about Him. When I was 13 or 14 years old, a friend took me to church. One day the minister who married my parents in the Dutch Reformed church, came to the church, in the town we live in, my mother and I went to the church. And then we went every week. Slowly but surely I learned what they taught in their faith (Dutch Reformed church). I noticed I gave it more thought then the most churchgoers did, maybe because I wasn’t taught with a baby spoon (Dutch expression), I was not brought up with it. I do admit that most of it went in like sweet cookies (another Dutch expression), I mean that most things looked like they were right, but I should have looked deeper. I don’t know, I just assumed they were right. I took one year bible class at this church, you had to if you wanted to confess your belief in front of the congregation. I was already baptised as a baby at the Dutch Reformed Church.
When you regularly go to church, twice a Sunday, pray before eating etc., you feel quit a believer, and I noticed I became a little stringent, I mean that I believed I was doing everything I could, and had become a good person (not really of course). And when I sinned, I would ask for forgiveness and then everything was oke. The ministers said it over and over again that from ourselves we could do nothing (be fruitful) and that we only through grace could come in heaven, not through the works of the law.....if you just believed. One way that was a relieve, that if you sinned, you could receive forgiveness, you were not able to keep the law and if you did obey, then it was the Holy Spirit who inspired you.
I usually heard sermons from the Dutch Re. Church, but my attention was also drawn to a minister from the Old Reformed Church (they were more strict when it comes to law, for example: black stockings to church, black clothes the whole week, no vaccination for any disease etc.) Ds. Karel Veldman is his name, he also lived in Canada for some years. Something in the things he said stayed with me. In the sermons from the Dutch Re. Church there was something not right. Ds. Veldman said it like this: what should I do to become righteous before God? Everything he said! But you will not earn heaven with it! Only Yeshua/Jesus earned that for us. That felt good! But what things should I do?
And that stayed with me, still I did not have the answers I so desperately searched for. What would God want from me?
In Acts you can read that the disciples taught the heathens, who converted to believe in Christ, told the following things that they should do:
Acts 15: 19 – 21:
15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollution’s of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood.
15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.
* They should keep from things that are contaminated with the idols, the non-gods.
* To keep from whoring.
* To keep from eating flesh from living animals or animals that died a natural death.
* Keep from blood.
Some of them wanted to force the heathens to circumcise.
There my search started. The disciples did not want to place a yoke on their shoulders, but did told them some ground rules, the minimum. And Moses, the law of, is preached every Sabbath day, so the can hear the will of God.
The covenant that God had with his people was kind of a marriage.
When you marry, it is to achieve a goal, to form a union, to be together until death do you part. But this goal can’t be achieved if the wedded couple don’t abide by the rules of marriage. If one of them commits adultery, then this union is not any more. The only way for this union to be fixed is repentance and forgiveness. But the rules must be kept, because no rules, no union, without devotion there is no goal met.
The sacrifice God made brings strong feelings of commitment and devotion to God, it gives men the possibility to be free from slavery of sin, to obey God, through this miracle of God, this is possible.
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
The thing that was against us was the curse of the law, not the law, but the curse of the law (the law that leads to death, because we cannot keep the law). If we sin once we come under de curse of the law, that curses us to hell. Yeshua/Jesus took upon Him this curse and nailed it to his cross. Now we don’t have tot get desperate, if we try so desperate to keep the law, because there is forgiveness. Every day we try to obey God’s laws. Only this does not work so perfectly, but the love that Yeshua/Jesus arouses, this first love, let us long for a perfect, holy life.
Look at Romans 8 vers 2:
8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
To live out of our spirit that is in connection with God’s Spirit is more important, that to live out of the longings of the flesh. The Holy Spirit whom we receive when we convert and get baptised assures us that we live out of our faith and not follow the thing of the world. Because we then are focused on ourselves. We have to be focused on God and on our neighbour, equal as on ourselves. When we believe, we actually trust. We trust that He loves us and that He wants to forgive our sins and trust that the things in our live have a reason, although we not always understand why. Because of this trust and believe we love God and we long for to please Him en not hurt him. God wanted, to send His Son, to proof en persuade that He loves us. Abraham was justified for his/this believe/trust:
James 2:26: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
The disciples wanted that the non-Jews would live from this believe, that they would listen to the Spirit, in stead of rigorously follow the law. So they wanted to impose as less rules as possible, they said:
Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.
To say it differently: they can hear God’s law everywhere, in every synagogue on the Sabbath, if the have the Spirit, it will not fail.
To work without faith is useless, but work on the basis of faith, love is what the disciple wanted.
Also, if we don’t recognise that we are sinners, we are very wrong. Look at the Pharisee, he thought that he did reasonably well, because he said: thank You, that I am not like that tax collector. Apparently he thought he lived holy. You have to believe you are imperfect. Look at yourself with criticism and should be afraid to sin.
Constantly look in the mirror of the law, because then you will see your sins. So its important to accept the knowledge that we are inclined to sin. What is also very important is that you accept the knowledge from the Bible as the truth, and everything beyond that is questionably.
If we have this knowledge, we can never look down at someone.