Friends

Friends

Have you experienced some relationship catastrophes in your life?  Have one or two friends decided, for various purported reasons, to “unfriend” you?  Well, I want to reassure you that you have a Friend who will NEVER treat you like that!

Jesus is your Friend who sticks closer than a brother, and He told us that He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us!  (Pro 18:24; Heb 13:5)  Hallelujah!!

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Joh 15:15 ESV, emphasis added)

Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13 ESV)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Prov 17:17 ESV, emphasis added)

What kind of “friend” decides to end a relationship of many years’ standing simply because of one or two tiny incidents?  Why would they not rather choose to communicate with their friend about what happened and how they felt, in order to restore harmony and unity in the relationship?  This person would be a poor example of a friend.

Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Mt 28:20 NKJV)  Jesus is the friend who will never leave us.  He promises to be with us ALWAYS.  Glory to God!

Not only are these points significant, but Jesus is a very special Friend indeed.  (All verses below NKJV)

  • He is our Friend who LOADS us daily with blessings and benefits (Ps 68:19).
  • He gives us the desires of our hearts, as we delight in Him.  (Ps 37:4)
  • He gives us great and precious promises through which we be may be partakers of His divine nature.  (2 Pet 1:4)
  • He does whatever we ask Him to do!  (When we ask in His name – Joh 14:13-14)
  • In Christ Jesus, our Friend, all of God’s Biblical promises have been answered:  “Yes!” and “Make it so!”  (1 Cor 1:20)
  • If we ask anything according to God’s will (which is His Word), we know that the Lord hears our request.  And when we know that He has heard our prayer, we know that He has answered our prayer, “Yes”.  (1 Joh 5:14-15)
  • Jesus is our healer.  (Isa 53:4-5; Mt 8:17; 1 Pet 2:24)

There is no other Friend who loves us, blesses us, and cares for us like He does! 

Have Confidence in the Lord

It is vital for us to have confidence in the Lord.  I’m talking about having the kind of confidence in the Lord that Paul had when he wrote this verse:

But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.  (Rom 15:29)

Paul could make this bold statement because he knew who he was in Christ.  He had confidence in the Word of God, and he had confidence in his relationship with Jesus, our Savior.  This is the same confidence that each and every one of us may have.  All we need to do is to nurture our confidence!

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.  (Ac 28:30-31)

For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.  (Pro 3:26)

But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”  (2 Cor 10:17)  Another word for “glories” is boasts.  So this verse reminds us to boast in the Lord.  Paul knew how to do that.

We know that when signs, wonders, and miracles take place in our ministry, it is the Lord who performs those wonders!  We know that He alone is the Healer and Deliverer.  Paul knew that it was natural and normal to expect good things from the God who is good all the time.  This is the kind of confidence that we want to nurture in our hearts.

We nurture our confidence in the Lord by reading and meditating upon the Scriptures.  We do it with praise and worship of our God on a regular and ongoing basis.  As our relationship with the Lord stands the test of time, we mature and grow in our faith as well as in our confidence.

Trust the Lord and His Word.  Rely upon His Word and believe it when it says of itself:

Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass. (Josh 21:45)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.  (Mat 24:35)

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18)

Feed your confidence! 

Why Was I Created?

Why Was I Created?

We were created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27; Col 3:10)  We were—each and every one of us—created by God to have and to enjoy a vital relationship with Him.  We have the choice of entering into a relationship with Him or not. 

The Bible reminds us that every human being has sinned (Rom 3:23).  Because God loves mankind, He provided a Savior for us.  (Joh 3:16)  Jesus is the Savior that God gave us.  (1 Joh 2:2; 4:10; Gal 2:20)

The Bible also reminds us that we have the free will to make this choice, even to reject our Savior.  (Joh 1:11; 2 Tim 2:12)  God has given us the freedom to make our own decisions.

But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33 ESV)

However, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, He gives us salvation:  abundant life as well as eternal life.  (Joh 3:16; Rom 10:13)

Jesus said about Himself:  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10)  The life that Jesus provides is an abundant one, full of blessings and benefits.  (Ps 68:19: 103:2; 116:12)

The Lord desires to have a daily relationship with each one of us where we experience His presence and trust Him for wisdom, courage, and strength in all situations. With every step that we take, decision we make, conversation we have, and thought that we entertain, the Lord wants to glorify Himself through each one of us. He desires to shine in our lives—with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control illuminating our unique talents, traits, and personalities as we walk in obedience to Him.  He wants to live in each one of us and through each one of us.

Read your Bible, pray, worship the Lord along with other believers, and obey the Scriptures.  As you do these things, the Lord will lead you and teach you how to love Him, serve Him, and to walk in His ways.  Listen for His voice, and be sensitive to Him—even as you would be to your spouse—for your relationship with the Lord is your most crucial relationship.

So we were created:  1) for an intimate relationship with the Lord through Jesus Christ; 2) to glorify God through our lives; and 3) to be loved by God and to give Him our love in return.

This is a life of harmony and unity with Jesus Christ—where He is the Captain of our souls.  He lovingly charts our journeys, decides on the ports of call, and brings us safely to our destination.  All glory to God!

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 1

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 1

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.  (Pro 16:7)

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.  (Rom 5:11)

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  (2 Cor 5:18, 19, emphases added)

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.  (Pro 19:11)

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.  (Rom 14:19)

It’s never too late to make peace with estranged friends, family members and loved ones.  Reconciliation is the very crux of Jesus’ work for the Kingdom of God.

Whenever something has happened to cause a breakdown in a relationship, it’s best to pray about it and literally bathe the event in prayer (after it has happened).  Ask God to give you supernatural wisdom, insight, and understanding in the matter. 

If you’re the offender, respectfully approach the person whom you’ve hurt, and indicate that you would like to make peace.  This might involve you sending a “thinking of you” card in the mail (or a text message or an email, etc.) saying that you’d like to make things right between you.  Share your sincere apology for the offense (briefly say what it was), and that you would like to resume a relationship.  Indicate how important the other person is to you.

Now, whatever the response is—you’ve done your part.  Your mind and conscience can be at peace, even if the offended person doesn’t reply.  Or they may say that they forgive you, but they don’t want to resume the relationship.  Again, that’s their prerogative, and you’ll know that you did the responsible and godly thing.  At least you have participated in establishing peace between you and the other person.  (Rom 12:18)

Our next article will cover Part 2 of this subject.

My Defense is of God

My Defense is of God

In the Bible, the Lord is shown again and again to be our defense in times of trouble or difficulties.  Defense means protection, security, cover, or shield.  It can also mean justification or vindication.  Assuredly, Jesus Christ is our justification!

My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart.  (Ps 7:10)

I will wait for You, O You his Strength; for God is my defense.  (Ps 59:9)

He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.  (Ps 62:2)

But the Lord has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge.  (Ps 94:22)

The Lord is our protection; and this is something that we all need to recognize and to trust in, since we live in an increasingly hostile world—one that is growing even more antagonistic to the message of the gospel.  Let us remember to confess, along with the Psalmist, “My defense is of God.”

It is essential for us to remain in a strong and vital relationship with the Lord.  The Word of God feeds us and increases our faith.  It reminds us who we are and of the One we serve.    Don’t allow yourself to become complacent, or to wander away from daily Bible reading and contemplation. 

Continue to worship with other like-minded believers on a regular basis because we’re encouraged to have fellowship with our brethren. (Heb 10:25)  As we fellowship with other believers, they will support us and encourage us, spurring us on to good works!  Glory to God!

The God of the Living

The God of the Living

But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  (27) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.  You are therefore greatly mistaken.  (Mk 12:26-27) 

Jesus is speaking with the Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection from the dead.

In verse 27, the word mistaken correctly communicates deceived.  This indicates to me that there is an important point hidden in this verse that we need to investigate.

Jesus was discussing resurrection from the dead with the Sadducees, and the disciples were pleased with Jesus’ statement above in Mark 12:27, since they felt it was His verbal victory. 

We can see that the gospel of Luke echoes the main point:

 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.  (Lk 20:38)

This verse reminds us that “all live to Him,” meaning that to the Lord, no human being is ever dead or will be, but all mankind sustain an abiding conscious relation to Him. (Source of italicized, bold type material:   Jamieson, Faussett & Brown)

The “all” who live to Him mean “those accounted worthy to obtain that world.”  (see Lk 20:35)  They maintain a loving covenant relationship with the Lord which will never end.   

How helpful is this to us in the here and now?  The Bible states that God made mankind in His own image.  (Gen 1:26a; 27; 9:6)  Because we’re made in the image of God, once a human being has been born on this earth, it means that their soul [the essence of their identity and consciousness] will live for eternity.

For we know that if our earthly house [our body], this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  (2 Cor 5:1, bracketed comment added)

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.  (2 Cor 5:8, emphasis added)

That is why God provided our salvation through Jesus Christ, so that we could spend eternity with Him.  We live unto God while here in the flesh; and when we vacate our body, we go on to live with the Lord in Heaven. 

We serve the living God (1 Thes 1:9; Heb 9:14)—the God of the living.  Hallelujah!

Watch & Prepare

Watch & Prepare

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.  (Mt 25:13 NKJV)

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.  (Mt 24:42)

The Bible verses above remind us to be aware of the return of the Lord—to have a watchful frame of mind and heart.  It’s a good idea to watch and to be expectantly, eagerly awaiting our Savior’s return. Here are two good tips for doing that:

  • In holiness, we prepare ourselves for His coming;
  • Meanwhile, we continue to preach the Good News (gospel) to all mankind.

The Lord instructed us to be holy (Lev 11:45; 19:2; Nmb 15:40; Rom 12:1; 1 Pet 1:15, 16), because we serve a holy God.

In obedience to the Lord, we serve the Kingdom by sharing the gospel with everyone—right until the moment of Jesus’ return.  Lastly, we want to maintain a vital, loving relationship with the Lord Jesus!