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.

Truth, Faith, and Praise

 

Jude

It may not be the longest or shortest book in the Bible, but the book of Jude carries some weight with reminders of the importance to stand firm in our faith, beware of false teachers, and ending with praise for the Almighty God. Jude didn’t hold back, he hit hard telling believers to learn and know correct doctrine (2Tim 2:15.) Defend and fight for truth, (Titus 2:1 and Titus 1:9) not compromising the truth of the word of God by twisting it to sooth our sinful nature. Ephesians 4:21, If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.
Jude makes very good points: the first being the rescues and punishments and false teachers. God delivered Israel out of Egypt, (Exodus 12:51) And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies, but destroyed those who did not remain faithful as told in (Numbers 14:26-35.) Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed for sexual immorality, but God rescued Lot. In (2Peter 2:6-9) And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished.
Also, he shares of false teachers who have led people to believe that because of forgiveness you can live any way you want undermining the teachings of Jesus Christ. Examples of this are Cain murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy (Genesis 4:1-16), Balaam prophesied out of greed (Numbers 22-24), and Korah rebelled against God’s appointed leaders (Numbers 16:1-35.) Enoch (mentioned in Genesis 5:21-24) prophesied about ungodly acts in Jude verse 14-16, which is also found in the Book of Enoch.
Then Jude goes on to explain that believers should build up their faith through prayer. Keep close to Christ who will keep you from stumbling. And as you help others, be careful not to compromise your belief and the foundation of your faith, hate the sin, but witness to others. And give all glory to God who keeps us from falling. Jude is great book that reflects on consequences and deliverance, our need for prayer, to be a servant and praise God always.

Take it to God

Psalm 55 22 Cast thy burden red

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

Life can get complicated and stress can creep upon you or it can hit you all at once. So, allow me to encourage you today, there is no need to worry about the outcome because we have our heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally and cares about your life. Take it to him, leave it at the alter and trust that he will work it all out. Let God and you just breath – it will be okay. Start believing your situation is about to turn around and you are coming out victorious and into a season of greatness!! Amen. God has his hand on you and covering you. Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Praise God in the middle of your mess. You are not an afterthought to God he cares about everything concerning you. If you are stressed, broken and hurting get in his presence. Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Get that in your spirit and don’t let the fear of not having answers to your problems weigh you down. Walk with you head held high, giving thanks as if it is already done. You don’t see it, but you believe that it’s done and we all know what that is, it’s called FAITH!! Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. God is a way maker and this too shall pass.

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.

 

God’s Word is Forever

The Word of the Lord

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1Peter 1:25

WOW it’s so reassuring that the word of God is for ever and I will accept and receive the tranquility of his word that never changes, because it is the same yesterday, today, and always. I don’t know about you, but that makes me leap for joy on the inside!! I can go to the word of God in everything I do. When I want to spend time learning his ways I can go to the word of God. When I want to share the word of God with others, it is the same word for them as it is for me. It is my source for all I do and I’ll always believe in his word until I stop breathing.

Furthermore, I love that the word stands it doesn’t change or fail. People fail but not the word of God. His word is above his name and his word is true which is inspiration for my soul, it comforts me and feeds my spirit over and over again. When I think back over my life experiences, on things I wished would have lasted forever, I know now that it was for my good that those things didn’t last forever.

The things of this world will not last, but his word is forever and I thank you Lord for the promises in your word. Allow me to give you two scriptures to let you know about his word. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever, Isaiah 40:8. The second one is this, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away, Matthew 29:35. Hope, faith, and love flow throughout the pages, magnifying the beauty of his word. I don’t have to ever wonder and second guess what to do or which way to go, I can go directly to the word of God that has stood the test of time and always will.

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

God Did Not Give Us the Spirit of Fear

Fear

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2Tim 1:7

God makes it plain. He did not give us the spirit of fear. So, where does fear come from? The enemy and your own thoughts running crazy. Fear stops us from moving forward and hearing what the Lord is saying to you. Ask yourself why are you accepting something God did not present to you? Do not claim fear but rebuke it. Fear makes excuses. Fear stops you from starting that business. Fear keeps you doubting and asking am I good enough? Fear will keep you in a state of mental bondage. Fear keeps you from trusting God. God didn’t give you the spirit of fear, remove the fear that is holding you back. Declare and decree that fear will no longer have a stronghold over your life.

 I love this scripture because God didn’t leave us guessing well if he didn’t give us fear what did he give us? God said of power, and of love and of a sound mind. Power – Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. And that power is the Holy Spirit. Love – 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. In Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Sound mind – Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

By doing all things through the power of the Holy Spirit you are walking by faith, showing love, and at peace in your mind, leaving no room for fear. The opposite of FEAR is FAITH. Faith means YES YOU CAN do ALL things through Christ.

Be Blessed