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.
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.
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.
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 honest with yourself and rate your faith level. Here are the choices:
A. None – Never had faith.
B. Partial faith – Sometimes I believe and then I doubt that God will come through.
C. Abundance of faith – Activated faith, overflowing and living by faith, trusting God in every area of your life.
This is for the people that reluctantly picked A or B, rely on God, His Grace, His Promise, and His Power. Faith is the beginning of your relationship with God. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarded of them that diligently seek him. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
If you still have doubt that faith works the Bible has plenty of examples of faith. The Roman Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant. He was a man of authority over 100 soldiers, but recognized Jesus’ supreme authority and power Matthew 8:5-10. The Canaanite woman, Jesus healed her daughter that she said was waxed with a devil and because of her great faith her daughter was made whole, Matthew 15:22-31. These are two stories in the Bible where Jesus talks about great faith.
There are other stories of faith, Abraham willing to sacrifice his son Isaac to the Lord, Genesis 22:1-18. Gideon with his small army defeated the Midianites. The Midianites had 135,000 men and Gideon 32,000. God told him he had too many men, in the end he conquered them with only 300 men. God did not want them to boast that they did this in their own strength Judges 7:2, with fewer men they would have to have faith that God would help them.
Take a look at Luke 1:28-38 Mary the mother of Jesus accepting the plan of God that she would conceive though she was a virgin but that the Holy Ghost would come upon her. Her answer in Luke 1:38 was so profound, And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word, And the angel departed from her. All I can say to this is let thy word be done – this was FAITH!! The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled.
Read more about Faith in Hebrews 11:1-40
Faith is the assurance that things even though unseen and what you expect in faith will come to pass. For all those who picked “C” who have an abundance of faith, that unshakeable faith, you already know there is no greater faith than to trust the word of God. If you are a person with no faith or partial faith – the doubter at times, work towards a new level of faith – pray and leave it with God, believe in the one who created you, trust in God’s word and watch God show up!!
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.