Jesus Calls Us Friends

Friends of Jesus

My husband is my best friend, but I’m also super excited that Jesus calls me friend. And if anyone is going to call me friend, I want it to be Jesus. John 15:15, Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

The way I see it everybody can’t have the title of friend. Friends look out for each other, they care about your well-being, they have been with you through thick and thin, sharing everything from A to Z, and they are honest with you, telling you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it. Think about the person you have chosen to bestow the title of friend. Are you happy with your choice? Now, for everyone else they would be called acquaintances. For Jesus to call you a friend you have to be very special and important to him. However, there is a requirement to be called his friend. A condition, “an if” that Jesus said we must do. John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Therefore, to be considered Jesus’ friend we are to do what John 15:12 tells us, This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Jesus repeated it again in John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

I can think of four distinct friendships in the Bible. The first is told in John 11: 1-44 Lazarus had died and Jesus displayed his genuine grief over the death of his friend in verse 35, Jesus wept. And Jesus had a beautiful and close relationship with Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, it is written in John 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. Jesus also called Lazarus friend in John 11:11, These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of his sleep. He had been in the grave four days. But you know you will do whatever you can to help your friend and Jesus did it, raised him from the dead, John 11: 39-44.

The second is the friendship between Abraham and God. Isaiah 41.8 But thou Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. And James 2:23 confirms Abraham’s friendship with God. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. It wasn’t that Abraham was perfect he just never stopped believing God.

Our third friendship is about Abraham and his servant Eliezer. Abraham’s servant was trustworthy and would have inherited all of Abraham’s wealth had he not had a child. He could have been jealous or resentful of his son, but he was not and remained a loyal friend. Eliezer also was entrusted to find a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac, Gen 24:2-4. Only a friend could be assigned such a task.

And lastly, Job and his friends, which may remind you of some of your own friends. Job had lost everything except for his wife and like any good friends should be, they were there for him, but when things didn’t seem to get better, they began to question whether he was guilty of some sin. Their reasoning was everything from Job must have sinned and that is why he is being punished to God is using suffering to make Job a better person. That’s friends for you, they think they have the answers when you are going through some fiery trials. They have good intentions, but sometimes their answers are way off base. In Job 42: 7-17, The Lord rebuked Job’s friend because of the things they said, but Job prayed for them. And when Job prayed for them God gave him back everything he lost and more.

The friendships mentioned above are great and I’m sure we all think our friends are wonderful too but, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, John 15:13. I can’t doubt that I am a friend of Jesus because he laid down his life for me, you, and us. I recall what Jesus said, Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you, John 15:14. Jesus thank you for calling me friend, and I am forever humbled, I will obey and love others as you have loved me, my friend.

My Obedience and Gratitude – God Thank You

gratitude and flowers

 In order to make a sacrifice it’s going to take a commitment of obedience. The goal cannot be reached without staying the course and doing the work. Jesus came and did the work of his Father. Complete obedience. So, in knowing this I can drown out my worries and shower my thoughts with the sacrifice Jesus made for me, for us. Before his ultimate sacrifice on the cross he has taught me how to live humbly and with compassion, having the fruit of the spirit within me. Jesus thank you for your obedience and sacrifice, because I am a sinner in need of a savior. Now, it’s my turn to make the sacrifice, to deny my flesh in order to be closer to you God, making a vow of obedience to the one who created me in his image. Oh, how I count my blessings!!

I am blessed beyond measure and will not take for granted the love God has given me over the years, months, weeks, days, hours, and seconds. I cannot and will not live any old kind of way. My lifestyle of being more like Christ I will work at daily. I die to my flesh everyday with the help of the Holy Spirit and think on the things of Jesus to keep me focused and strong. God’s outpouring of love, grace, and mercy rejuvenates me and I know that I am not alone – he is with me. There are days where I immediately hit pause in my daily routine to give him the praise he deserves, and my nights belong to him too, when I have awakened to say thank you Lord for all that you do. I’m not perfect, but my heart is fully dedicated to God and being a servant to the best of my ability. Lord I pray that you forever search my heart and know that I love you mind, body, and soul.

I can’t complain because I’m breathing because of him. I can’t complain because things could be worse. I can’t complain because he first loved me. I can’t be sad because joy is running through my veins. I can’t be sad because he is there in my good and bad days. I can’t be sad because he is my God, my Father, my redeemer, my protector, the creator of all the earth. As a disciple of Christ, I am the salt of the earth where my speech will be seasoned with salt, knowing how to answer every person with love. I will keep his commandments because I do love him, John 14:15. My vow is not to stir up evil but to show love in a major way. I have the fullness of peace and will run this race to see what the end will bring, always running towards the mark. I patiently wait to hear a whisper from him in my quiet place to replenish my soul. And what I know for sure is with him I can do all things because he strengthens me. Therefore, in my obedience, I will present my body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is my reasonable service. Dear Heavenly Father this is from my heart with sincere gratitude and love.

 

Do the Things of Jesus

Learned received heard

We want to do what is right, but what does right look like? It is not simply doing what is right because what we think is right is not what God says is right. He wants righteous living and with every fiber of our being we should seek him and be like what he has called us to be – HOLY. Let’s read 1 Pet. 1:16, Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. I can only imagine your desire to do that, but you struggle to get there, well you don’t have to struggle any more, Jesus said do what you have learned, received, heard and seen. Let’s get to the heart of each of these commands and begin to walk in the ways of the Lord and receive the promise of peace.

We have learned to be obedient and to forgive others (the Lord’s prayer talks about forgiveness.) In his word we have learned we can trust in the Lord. The wisdom and knowledge of God is in his word to teach us those things of God, so as you can see, we have no excuse not to learn his ways. Hebrews 10:7, Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Here are some scriptures to bring back to your remembrance the things you have learned, set aside time to read them. Luke 9:23- deny yourself, Matthew 19:4-6 honor marriage, Galatians 5:13 be a servant, Matthew 22:37-38 love the Lord, Matthew 22:39-40 love your neighbor, John 14:15 keep his commandments, and Matthew 28:19-20 make disciples.

Next are those things you have received. For we can be thankful for we have received his Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), his love, his word, grace and mercy, forgiveness, and spiritual gifts. We have received answered prayers and healing. He strengthens us when we are weak. God has given us refuge in times of trouble. We have received blessings on top of blessings. Amen.

Have you heard his word? Of course, especially if you grew up in the church. The word of the Lord was poured into you in church on Sunday morning and again at the Sunday evening service. Let’s not forget attending Bible Study and Sunday school, evangelizing in the neighborhoods and tent services. You have heard he died for your sins and rose on the third day. You heard he is the Son of God, and our Savior (believe this) with all your heart and soul. Jesus came to save the lost and healed the sick, blind and lame. We have heard he will never leave us or forsake us. Don’t take what you heard lightly, but read and study it all for yourself. In 2Tim. 2:15, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

What we seen in Jesus is what we should emulate daily. Forgiveness in Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment and cast lots. He showed compassion, Matthew 9:26. Jesus understood people’s needs physically and spiritually. He was a humble servant always willing to serve others. Committed to what he came here to do, pay for the sins of the world. We should have that kind of commitment to God to live holy. Jesus was patient with those who came up against him. Jesus demonstrated self-control when tempted by Satan. 

Putting this in perspective, we are his disciples and our actions should mirror that of Jesus. We have learned of him, we have received the Holy Spirit, we have power, we have heard the Good News and seen the miracles he has done in our own lives. Therefore, those things, which ye have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in Jesus DO them and God’s peace will be with you and that is reason to rejoice. 

Be Blessed

No Gray Areas With God

Gray area

There are no gray areas when it comes to God. He makes it very plain, curses or blessings it is your choice. Read Deuteronomy Chapter 28. God does not force us to choose Him. You are free to choose who you will serve. The Pharisees and Sadducees manipulated and misinterpret the laws of God to fit their lifestyle and made the wrong decision to crucify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross – by the way should this have been considered an obstruction of justice as we know it today and by definition: (the crime or act of willfully interfering with the process of justice and law especially by influencing, threatening, harming, or impeding a witness), because either they didn’t believe or could comprehend who he was or the truth that he came to do the will of his Father: In Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. God’s word will always come to pass and is true through the ages. And it goes on to say in Luke 19:10, For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost. It was all in God’s plan. John the Baptist was sent from God to bear witness that Jesus was the true Light. Read John 1: 6-29. Jesus was a witness of the truth, John 18:37, Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

I believe the answer is yes, many tried to obstruct justice and no they didn’t succeed. John the Baptist told of his coming. Jesus came, he died for you and me, and rose with all power. God is in control. John1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. God is the only one who can say when it is finished. There are no gray areas with God. Either you believe or you don’t. People choose to sin or not to sin. Be obedient and receive the blessings of God or sin and live with the consequences and curses that can plague you and your family.  

God does not sugar coat his word. He is not a sometime God he is faithful and an on-time God and his word will not come back void. Society may have gray areas…we have laws then we make ungodly exceptions that are against everything God says in his word. Live for God at all times. Do not accept the gray areas. There is no meeting in the middle therefore no middle ground. God’s judgement is not gray. It will happen when and how he says it will. We should be thankful that God makes it clear for us. He doesn’t want us to stumble. He doesn’t want us to succumb to the snares of the enemy. God doesn’t want us in a world of confusion because the word says God is not the author of confusion.

God’s word is transparent with no gray areas to be found anywhere in his word. God is our strength; he is all powerful and keeps his promises. The God who created the sun, moon, stars, and made man from the dust of the earth is the I AM. In society there are shades of gray and things are not clear and leaving you with some doubt in your mind. Laws of the land may not be clear with revisions being made every time we turn around to suit this group of people or that group of people. The wording is unclear and you don’t know what is right and what is wrong. You don’t know what the truth is or what to believe because it’s about furthering their own agenda. God had the master plan from the beginning and that he came in the volume of a book and it is written of Him…. the truth.

Lord thank you for your word which is the blueprint for our life. Thank you for equipping us with everything we need to get through. God thank you for making your word plain, there are no do overs or revisions, it stands and it is truth. With your word there are no misunderstandings or gray areas about the blessings or curses that can come from our actions. We adore you and we honor you and believe in your word this day and every day. God, we thank you for we know you do everything decent and in order. No gray areas, no doubt, but everything will come to pass for you are mighty in all your ways in Jesus name Amen.

Take a contract for example, you read it over and you know you better read the fine print because things may look good but as you continue to read you realize that the terms are not in your best interest. With the Bible nothing is hidden just pick up the word, read it, study it and meditate on it. God loved us enough to write it all out. Take the Bible with you, better yet know the word so tough that it is written on your heart. Not one gray area to be found. It’s  all laid out from Genesis to Revelations in black and white. It’s all very clear.

Be Blessed

Parents Obey God, Kids Obey Your Parents

maroon obedience

Did you do what I asked you to do? How many times did you hear that question growing up? How often have you asked your kids that same question? How many times have you did what God has asked you to do? Obedience is required, no excuses period. Parents I know you want the best for their kids from bringing them up in the right neighborhoods to wanted them to attend the best colleges. And expectations are pretty simple, do exactly what I tell you to do because I’m the parent and I know what is best for you. This is where it gets questionable, kids are being told what to do by their parents who are not doing what they are supposed to do according to the word of God, which was given by God and is truth.

We want our children to listen and obey and if they don’t there are consequences. That same principle applies to parents – to all those who are called the children of God. If you are not being obedient you are sinning. And the wages of sin is death. So as far as raising children and holding them accountable for their actions and behavior are you being the example and role model for them to follow? Is a majority of your time devoted to your career or hustle, and buying more and more stuff that by the way you can’t take with you when you die and it can’t get you into heaven, that there is no time left for God? With that being said, what are your children doing in the meantime and who are they listening to and spending time with.

Parents are always saying they want their kids to be the best they can be, I just hope that includes Jesus in their life. Who will show them what Jesus looks like and introduce them to God’s word? Kids normally do what they see. Therefore, you can’t be lukewarm and straddle the fence. You can’t be singing the praises of God at 7am and fussing and cussing people out on the phone and in your car by 8am. Shift your priorities to put God first and become doers of the word of God. Our kids need to see you in action doing the things of God, it gives them a visual and someone to emulate giving kids a pattern to follow.

Let me give you a great example of kids doing what they see their parents do and why it is not effective to say “do what I say.” Here it is, parents say always tell the truth. But they hear their parents lying to each other, to a friend, or a bill collector etc. Poor kids this can be so confusing, my parents are telling me not to do something that they do whenever it suits them. Ponder on this, how many excuses and apologies have you said before God to justify your actions and your kids do the same thing to you. We desire for our kids to get it right and God desires for us, his children to get it right. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

The following are scriptures for the family:

Duet. 6:1-7

Eph. 6:4

Proverbs 22:6

Matthew 19:14

1John 5:21

Proverbs6:20-22

Exodus 20:12

Matthew 19:19

Eph. 6-1-3

You have birth them and now you are raising them, but they belong to God just as you do. We are God’s children. In Romans 8:16-17 KJV The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. And 1 John 1:4 KJV I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

To be children of God, let’s be like our Father in heaven. Here are additional scriptures to guide your family:

Fruit of the Spirit – Gal. 5:22-23, Eph 6:5:9

Beatitudes (specific behavioral standards) Matthew 5:3-12

The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13

The 10 commandments – Exodus 20:3-17

In the Old Testament the Israelites had done terrible things while wandering in the wilderness with Moses. Creating a golden calf and worshipping false gods. Joshua reminded them of what God had done for them, bringing them out of Egypt and providing for them and their ancestors. Joshua explained to them that it is better to serve the Lord than false idols. In the end he let them know who will be following God. If they want to continue worshipping their false gods go right ahead, but his family would be serving the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord Joshua 24:15 KJV. Parents obey the Lord and serve him with your whole heart and in doing this, kids are obeying their parents, who are obeying their Father in heaven. I can’t imagine anything better than living in a household of faith, love, and obedience.

Be Blessed

Obey God the First Time

Obey God

God is merciful and patient as exhibited in the story of Jonah. We can act like Jonah at times and what I mean by that is God can give us specific instructions, we refuse to do it and go off in a different direction only to end up doing what he said to do in the first place.

In Jonah 1:2 God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent. But Jonah not being obedient to what God has called him to do makes the decision to flee to Tarshish Jonah1:3.

Jonah has entered a ship mind you, uninvited and now there is chaos on the ship and God had caused the wind to stir up the waters. Now those on the ship are asking Jonah what has he done and he explained he was fleeing from the Lord and this had caused the trouble to come up on them. They throw Jonah overboard and the sea calms immediately. At the same time a fish swallows up Jonah and he remains in the belly of the fish three days and three nights Jonah 1:5-17.

Our actions effect other people that have nothing to do with what we may be going through. If we would listen and do what the Lord tells us to do the first time it would save time and trouble for ourselves and the people around us.

In Chapter 2, Jonah prays while in the belly of the fish and God delivers him out of the belly of the fish. This is very familiar when we look at our own lives. We get into trouble then we want to pray for God to deliver us out of it and it didn’t have to go that way in the first place.

Chapter 3:2 God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh again. Ohhhh you bet Jonah goes this time. Jonah 3:3-4, Jonah tells the people of Nineveh to turn from their wicked ways or it will be overthrown.

The people of Nineveh took heed and turned from their wicked ways, Jonah 3:5-9. Let’s stop right here and look at this for a moment, God speaks directly to Jonah and he refuses to do what God said, however the people of Nineveh did exactly what God said and God’s word came from the person who didn’t want to obey God and deliver the message. WOW!

Jonah didn’t think they would turn from their evil ways. This scripture comes to mind.…. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, 1Cor. 3:19. We think we know so much and what’s right and we don’t. Trust God people.

Jonah was upset because God was patient and merciful with Nineveh and he knew God would give them a chance to turn their lives around. God asks Jonah was it right for him to be angry about this?

God teaches Jonah a valuable lesson in Chapter 4.

Jonah sat and waited to see what would happen to the city and while waiting it grew hot, so God grew a plant to give Jonah shade, but the next morning a worm ate some of the plant, now with limited shade and the unbearable sun beaming down on Jonah he wanted to die. God explained to him in Jonah 4:9-11, is it right for you to be angry about a plant dying that you didn’t do nothing to put there and he pretty much said yes angry even unto death. God said you felt sorry for a plant that only has a short period of time to live, so shouldn’t I feel sorry for a city living in spiritual darkness whose sin was going to lead them to death.

Jonah had more pity for a plant than the spiritual lives of people God was trying to save.

When God ask you to speak to 1 or 100 people don’t say it is a waste of time. God doesn’t think we are a waste of his time; he loves us and wants the best for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

When God chooses you, GO and give the message. Fulfill your God given assignment. Some of us are for planting the seed, some water and God gets the increase. We can do it our way and take the long way around, but God’s will will be done.