John 13-15 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He considers us His friends.

What would we do without our friends?  We share just about everything with them, confide in them and trust them to keep it close.  I would hardly go to a stranger at the grocery store and tell personal information about myself, although I have to admit I’ve had many strangers share more than the basic communication with me at the store. I’ve decided I must have a very generic face and strangers feel they know me, or perhaps the Lord is setting up opportunities to share His love.  Either way, His love and truth are shared.

But with our good friends, we share all the extremes of our lives as well as the mundane little things that only our good friends would care about.  Sometimes we share information on our social networks that good friends are hungry to read but casual friends really don’t care about, and that’s okay.  We have buttons to handle that for us, like Ignore, Delete, Hide…oops, too much information. 

@ John 15
One of the most humbling days of my life was when, as a teenager, I read and understood the weight of John 15:14-15, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves.  Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”  In my mind, I am His servant, but in His mind, I am His friend.  Because of the intimate things about Himself that He has shared with us in His Word and in our hearts, He could only be our friend.  This is NOT grocery store-sharing kind of stuff.  He has shared everything His Father has told Him – amazing!  This is an intimate relationship like no other.

Of course, the if clause is included in our friendship with the Lord, but it has nothing to do with His love for us because that is unconditional. However, if we want to be His friend, there is a condition to be met. “You are my friends if you do what I command… You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit…” (14,16)  We read in I John 4:14 that He loved us first and died for us (John 3:16), and this is what makes our friendship possible – He chose us.

We either accept or reject His offer of salvation, friendship and all that goes with it, and with our acceptance comes responsibility, as with any good friendship.  Our obedience to the Lord keeps that friendship alive as does our commitment to cultivating it through our love for one another. “This is my command:  Love each other.” (17)   If we’re going to be intimate friends with the Lord, we want to love and appreciate all His other friends as well, and, thankfully, God will help us do that. Friends forever!

The realization that Jesus is my friend carries me through moments when earthly friends are not close by me, and when without Him, I would feel so very alone.  When my friends are in need, I drop everything else to help them, and my friend Jesus is even more available to me than that.  He’s as close as the mention of His name.  I listen to the advice my friends give because I know they have my best interests at heart.  Even more so, my friend Jesus gives only the very best advice and direction for my life, and He can be trusted.

Moving Forward:  I am a servant of God, willing to do all that He commands, but I know that I’m also His friend.  I want to be the best friend I can possibly be.

Tomorrow @ Titus

Romans 5-6 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He made peace with us through His Son

When two nations are at odds with each other, the conflict will continue until some sort of an agreement can be reached to end it.  The two parties involved will send mediators to a peace summit where a peace agreement is signed and usually a celebration follows, everyone feeling the love and warm fuzzies.  However, most of us have observed through the years, especially in the Middle East, that this euphoric feeling of peace and safety is often short-lived because it was based on an agreement to be at peace and not a standing or position of peace. Signing an agreement is a good initiative and may make those involved feel good at the moment, but real peace is much more than a feeling.

@ Romans 5
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”(1)  Paul is not talking here about the peace of God, which I might add is one of the great blessings we receive in our walk with God, but he is talking about our peace with God because of what Jesus has done for us.

This is not a peace that comes and goes according to our feelings at the moment.  This peace is a standing or position of peace with God, and it comes with benefits as well, “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (2)

I appreciate that someone, and Paul of all people, placed some blame for the fall of mankind on Adam.  Eve has shouldered most of the blame for man’s separation from God, but Adam could have resisted that beguiling woman of his had he wanted to do so.  “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” (18)

Because of Christ’s one act of righteousness, we are no longer in conflict and hostile with God.  We are at peace with God.  We are not only in agreement with Him, but in good standing with Him.  We are standing in a place of undeserved privilege where God shares His glory with us.

Our position of peace with God allows us to receive the peace of God and that is why Paul says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (3-5)

Sometimes reading the complexity of Romans makes my brain hurt, but I get this one.  God sent His Son, our mediator, to make possible our peace with Him before we ever even came to the peace talk, while we were still His enemy, because of His great love for us. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners… So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (8,10)  Friends of God!  Not only are we enjoying peace with God and the peace of God, plus all the privileges, but we are friends! 

Moving Forward: I can’t help singing today, “I am a friend of God.  I am a friend of God.  I am a friend of God – He calls me friend.” (I. Houghton)  So thankful for Jesus.

Tomorrow @ Genesis 8-11

John 13-15 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He considers us His friends.

What would we do without our friends?  We share just about everything with them, confide in them and trust them to keep it close.  I would hardly go to a stranger at the grocery store and tell personal information about myself, although I have to admit I’ve had many strangers share more than the basic communication with me at the store. I’ve decided I must have a very generic face and strangers feel they know me, or perhaps the Lord is setting up opportunities to share His love.  Either way, His love and truth are shared.

But with our good friends, we share all the extremes of our lives as well as the mundane little things that only our good friends would care about.  Sometimes we share information on our social networks that good friends are hungry to read but casual friends really don’t care about, and that’s okay.  We have buttons to handle that for us, like Ignore, Delete, Hide…oops, too much information. 

@ John 15
One of the most humbling days of my life was when, as a teenager, I read and understood the weight of John 15:14-15, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves.  Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”  In my mind, I am His servant, but in His mind, I am His friend.  Because of the intimate things about Himself that He has shared with us in His Word and in our hearts, He could only be our friend.  This is NOT grocery store-sharing kind of stuff.  He has shared everything His Father has told Him – amazing!  This is an intimate relationship like none other.

Of course, the if clause is included in our friendship with the Lord, but it has nothing to do with His love for us because that is unconditional. However, if we want to be His friend, there is a condition to be met. “You are my friends if you do what I command… You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit…” (14,16)  We read in I John 4:14 that He loved us first and died for us (John 3:16), and this is what makes our friendship possible – He chose us.

We either accept or reject His offer of salvation, friendship and all that goes with it, and with our acceptance comes responsibility, as with any good friendship.  Our obedience to the Lord keeps that friendship alive as does our commitment to cultivate it through our love for one another. “This is my command:  Love each other.” (17)   If we’re going to be intimate friends with the Lord, we want to love and appreciate all His other friends as well, and, thankfully, God will help us do that. Friends forever!

The realization that Jesus is my friend has carried me through moments when earthly friends were not close by me, and when without Him, I would have felt so very alone.  When my friends are in need, I drop everything else to help them, and my friend Jesus is even more available to me than that.  He’s as close as the mention of His name.  I listen to the advice my friends give because I know they have my best interests at heart.  Even more so, my friend Jesus gives only the very best advice and direction for my life and He can be trusted.

Moving Forward:  I am a servant of God, willing to do all that He commands, but I know that I’m also His friend.  I want to be the best friend I can possibly be.

Tomorrow @ Titus

Romans 5-6 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He made peace with us through His Son

When two nations are at odds with each other, the conflict will continue until some sort of an agreement can be reached to end it.  The two parties involved will send mediators to a peace summit where a peace agreement is signed and usually a celebration follows, everyone feeling the love and warm fuzzies.  However, most of us have observed through the years, especially in the Middle East, that this euphoric feeling of peace and safety is often short-lived because it was based on an agreement to be at peace and not a standing or position of peace. Signing an agreement is a good initiative and may make those involved feel good at the moment, but real peace is much more than a feeling.

@ Romans 5
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”(1)  Paul is not talking here about the peace of God, which I might add is one of the great blessings we receive in our walk with God, but he is talking about our peace with God because of what Jesus has done for us.

This is not a peace that comes and goes according to our feelings at the moment.  This peace is a standing or position of peace with God, and it comes with benefits as well, “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (2)

I appreciate that someone, and Paul of all people, placed some blame for the fall of mankind on Adam.  Eve has shouldered most of the blame for man’s separation from God, but Adam could have resisted that beguiling woman of his had he wanted to do so.  “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” (18)

Because of Christ’s one act of righteousness, we are no longer in conflict and hostile with God.  We are at peace with God.  We are not only in agreement with Him, but in good standing with Him.  We are standing in a place of undeserved privilege where God shares His glory with us.

Our position of peace with God allows us to receive the peace of God and that is why Paul says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (3-5)

Sometimes reading the complexity of Romans makes my brain hurt, but I get this one.  God sent His Son, our mediator, to make possible our peace with Him before we ever even came to the peace talk, while we were still His enemy, because of His great love for us. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners… So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (8,10)  Friends of God!  Not only are we enjoying peace with God and the peace of God, plus all the privileges, but we are friends! 

Moving Forward: I can’t help singing today, “I am a friend of God.  I am a friend of God.  I am a friend of God – He calls me friend.” (I. Houghton)  So thankful for Jesus.

Tomorrow @ Genesis 8-11