Saturday, May 26, 2018

What Is True Friendship?

What Is True Friendship?
“A friend loves at all times,” (Proverbs 17:17). Human beings have a deep longing for acceptance and fellowship with fellow human beings. Proverbs 17:17 also states that “a brother is born for adversity.” A true friend is as close as a brother and willing to walk with us through our deepest struggles.

As wonderful as human relationships are, they are never perfect in this world. Our friendships are all too often artificial when we reveal our flaws, (sins), or they divulge theirs to us. Unfortunately, this means that our friendships are often quite insecure, prompting us to look for a friendship that is more certain because it is not based on what the other person finds pleasing in us. The only one who can provide this kind of perfect friendship is Christ. 

To students of American history, one example of the importance of friendship for believers can be found in the diary of Esther Burr, the third of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards’ eight daughters and a Christian housewife living in Colonial New Jersey in the mid-1750s. Esther declared: “Nothing is more refreshing to the soul (except communication with God Himself) than the company and fellowship of a friend.”

Esther earnestly sought to know the presence of God in her life. She came to appreciate the fact that friends are a divine gift. In her diary, she wrote: “Tis… a great mercy himself that we have any friends—What would this world be without them. A person who looks upon himself to be friendless must of all creatures be miserable in this Life.” True friends are those with whom one can share the deepest things of life with. They are people with whom one can be transparent,  open and one can “disclose their whole soul.” 

Christ is the purest example of a friend we can find in the Bible, laying down His life—His extraordinarily valuable life—for the friends, whom he loved. Although he had the power to call those around Him His servants, He called them friends.


Lord, thank You for being my friend.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Have You Lied to Yourself?

Have You Lied to Yourself?
Matthew 7:1-5 KJV
. . .  hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; . . .

It’s not easy coming to terms with your sinfulness. Seeing the beam in your own eye is like coming out of a bad movie and realizing that you were the featured actor/actress. Your part, judging and condemning people. Oh, the pride, in all of its corruption protrudes from the realization that you are guilty of being negative, disapproving and judgmental. You have been blinded to your own sin, yet others could not help but see who you really are. The lie you told yourself is finally played out and the truth emerges. You ultimately see the critical, fault-finding spirit that lives in your heart.

When our well-kept secret is finally uncovered, things begin to crumble.  Because our foundation has been resting upon a rotten core, the support of a previous arrogance and confidence will crack and then collapse. The safe covering we enjoyed behind our sin is gone. The more we convince ourselves that we’re better than most the more painful the revealing becomes. Who we are is now in plain view for all to see and we must be wholly dependent on His grace.

As we arrive at this level of conviction, we can no longer pretend or make-believe. We thought our sin would never come out, but it did. We have been acting like this for years and it has become a practice that seems impossible to stop. We are under some illusion that through mere methods we have the power to change our path from sin to righteousness. True repentance brings our sin to the throne of grace where real mortification takes place. 

Psalm 51:1-10 says in part, Have mercy on me, O God,. . . blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,. . . I know my sin is ever before me. Against you only, have I sinned . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Lord, I have sinned against You, I repent!


Friday, May 11, 2018

How Do We Strengthen Our Homes?

How Do We Strengthen Our Homes?

Matthew 18:21-22 
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

What can we do to strengthen our homes?  Does the Bible have an answer for us? Keep in mind what God calls us to do, He enables and equips us to achieve. What is most important in our families that causes relationships to be sustained for the long haul? The answer, FORGIVENESS. Forgiveness is an act of love that is undeserved and unearned. It affirms to the offender that there is no longer any anger, hatred, or a desire for vengeance necessary. The guilt has been removed and the blame is gone. This is the exact compassion that God demonstrates towards sinners. He grants to us a promise of unconditional love through His precious Gospel. Our reproach and humiliation have been removed and God’s attitude towards those who have put their faith in Him is His unfathomable favor. This is what makes a lasting relationship when there are no resentments or unresolved grievances we harbor.

In Colossians 3:13, Paul says, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Unforgiveness imprisons and keeps people chained to their past. As long as they are unwilling to forgive offenders and their offenses, they are shackled to them, keeping their pain alive like an open sore. Christ is our model of forgiveness and has pardoned all our sins––the most important truth in Scripture (Colossians 2:13). He has canceled out our sin debt against a holy God and redeemed us (fulfilled the necessary payment for sin) with His blood (Colossians 1:14). How can we, who have been forgiven so much, not forgive someone? To make our homes strong, we need to release others through a heart of forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32).


Lord, build my home.  Amen!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Why Do We Suffer?

Why Do We Suffer?
Job 1:1 KJV 
"In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil."

In the opening of the book of Job, a scene is described in heaven where Job is accused of serving God because God protects him. Satan is seeking God’s consent to test Job and is given permission to try him in his faith, within certain boundaries. The question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” was asked after Job lost all of his wealth, his family, and his health. The three, so-called friends of Job, came to “comfort” him but, instead, began to criticize him about his adversity. They repeatedly said that the suffering in his life was punishment for sin.

Nothing can be done to us by Satan unless God has given permission for him to do so.  God has power over Satan and we will never truly understand the “whys” of pain and suffering brought on by him. We must also realize that not all suffering is because of sin, or the way one lives, but because God wants to test, teach, or purify our lives through some kind of adversity. Scripture teaches us that God’s grace is enough and will sustain us with strength in our weakness through any trial (2 Corinthians 12:9). He desires to produce in us and deserves from us our love, praise, and thanksgiving in every trying circumstance (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Job makes one realize that there are situations going on in our lives that we usually know nothing about. God will allow things to capture our attention, but we commonly respond by questioning God’s goodness without seeing the full picture. Job reminds us to trust God under all circumstances especially when we do not understand what’s happening. “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). Because God’s ways are “perfect,” we can trust whatever He does—and whatever He allows—to also be perfect. 


Lord, may I rely on Your grace and trust You through each trial.