Is God Your Friend?

What is God like? How would you describe Him? I am sure that there would be a variety of answers. Most have a wrong idea of who God is. Some people view God as kind, benevolent like a heavenly grandfather granting his children every whim they desire. On the other hand, some see God as the celestial cop; waiting to punish us as so as we step out of line. And others, fall somewhere between the two.

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Those familiar with Facebook are familiar with the term “befriended.” It refers to one person who is enrolled in Facebook inviting another person to be their “friend” which enables them to share information. 

Recently a new television program, God Befriended Me premiered. It is a humorous, uplifting drama about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

That got me to thinking. Isn’t that exactly what God is all about? He has called each of us to close relationship with Him. ““No longer do I call you slaves…but I have called you friends.” John 15  Abraham, the patriarch of the Old Testament was referred to as the friend of God. James 2:23. 

When people think about God being your friend, they think it is sacrilegious. But Jesus, Himself,  calls us His friends because He communicates with us. John 15:14 Our relationship with God is the most personal relationship we can ever have but the choice is yours. Will you accept His invitation to be His friend?

 

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Who Moved?

I remember hearing a story about an elderly couple that was out for a Sunday drive. Things were quiet when the wife suddenly broke the silence, “Sam, do you remember years ago when we were dating we would go out for a drive in the country?” Sam smiled and said, “Of course I do.” “And do you remember how we would sit close to each other? (This was before seatbelts were required.) Why don’t we sit close anymore?” Sam’s response was, “I didn’t move.”

The reality of that story is that every relationship requires maintenance. This may be the reason many couples divorce after 30, 40, or even 50 years of marriage. The kids grow up and go off to college; the husband and wife look at each other and realize they are married to a stranger. A relationship will not survive if you do not make the effort to keep it alive.  Often neither husband or wife will admit they “moved” in the relationship; they just drifted apart.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ also needs to be maintained. But we are the ones who need to keep that relationship alive and we do that by staying close to Him.  As with any relationship, you choose how close you want to be with someone. It is a choice only you can make. The wonderful thing about a relationship with Christ is He is always constant.

  • He never changes. Hebrews 13:8.  
  • His love for you never changes. Psalm 136 
  • His commitment to you never changes. “…The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us.” Hebrews 13:5

If your relationship with Jesus Christ has lost its fervor if it seems He is so distant; ask yourself, who moved? If you turn around you will find Him where you left Him!

Celestial Magnet

The world population was estimated to have reached 7.6 billion as of December 2017. In those billions of people; we find a myriad of differences: languages, political views, cultural differences, music and the list goes on.

But it might surprise you that every person on this planet has ONE thing in common. We are worshipers. Every day, all day long, everywhere you go, you worship. It’s what you do. It’s who you are.

I don’t know whether or not you consider yourself a “worshiping” kind of person, but you cannot help but worship—something. It’s what you were made to do. The native of the rainforest of South America and the stockbroker on Wall Street; are both worshipers. The object of their worship may be different but they are still worshipers.

I think it’s because we were designed that way. We were made for God. The Bible says it this way: All things were made by Him, and all things were made for Him. When I was a child, one of my favorite toys was a set of magnets in the shape of two Scottie dogs. Image result for magnetic toy scottie dogs

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As a child, I did not understand the dynamics of magnetic poles. It was intriguing that opposite poles attract! It might be a theological stretch but humanity has an initiate attraction to God. He is holy – we are not. He is loving – we are not. He possesses all knowledge – we do not. We may not know or understand that we have “something” within us that demands being fulfilled.

So, we endeavor to fill that “empty space” with pleasure, money, relationships, things; not realizing that only God Himself can fill that “God-shaped” vacuum that fills us all. A different spouse won’t meet that need. Changing jobs or geographical location, more money, bigger home, a more expensive car all are all vanity. All of our hungers point to the deeper hunger that only God can satisfy.

He keeps satisfying you with good things… Ps 103:5

Be Real

Mark 8:22 “…and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. vs. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village…”

See the source imageAmazingly the first touch from Jesus was not for the man’s physical healing but for his emotional and psychological healing. Jesus could have told the people to take the blind man out of the city. But instead the Bible tells us that Jesus held his hand and lead him out. Jesus did not drag him out; He led him out.

This man literally followed Jesus blindly. He could not see and he didn’t know where Jesus was taking him. As Christ-followers, where we literally follow Jesus blindly. You cannot tell where He is taking you. It may not feel right, He is taking you out of your comfort zone. All you need to know at such times is that Jesus is leading you and you follow. 

Mark 8:24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” The blind man could not see the people clearly. Your life in Christ is a process. (“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”) You will not reach spiritual maturity overnight. Jesus understands you are a “work in progress.” You must be totally honest with Jesus and yourself. He loves you and wants you to tell it like it is. 

Prayer: Lord, as You show me Your way, I make a commitment to walk with you no matter how uncomfortable it is.

 

 

Interruptions (?)

I am a person who likes to plan out their day but I also realize that I will probably not complete all the tasks on my to-do-list. Just as I am really getting into a task; it never fails; someone interrupts me. But as a Christ follower are they really ‘interruption? (The Lord directs the steps of the godly..”. (Psalm 37:23a)

No one has ever been busier than Jesus Christ. [Mark 6:31} But I never noticed how He handled ‘”interruptions.”

1) A man of influence approached Him with an urgent request to help his sick child. Though Jesus was ministering to a large crowd:
2) Jesus immediately saw this “interruption” as an opportunity to meet a need.
3) The ever-present crowd made progress difficult. Suddenly Jesus stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” The first “interruption” is now being interrupted by a second “interruption!” A woman had reached out in faith and was immediately healed. But why did Jesus stop? (Never that of this?) The woman’s healing had already occurred.

Jesus stopped to draw attention to her healing because she needed to realize that she wasn’t an interruption or unimportant to Jesus; she mattered. With compassion, He calls her “Daughter” and affirms her faith and sends her home.

Jesus invites us to come to Him like this woman did. He assures us that we’ll never be an interruption. ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” John 6:37a

Healing For A Broken Heart

There is a saying that even Christians take comfort from during times of  tragedy, “Time heals all wounds.” But unfortunately, that is not true. Time has no inherent healing power. Only God has healing power! I know people who are just as bitter and angry today as they were ten years ago. Time hasn’t healed their souls. I know people who are playing the blame game louder today than they were 30 years ago. 

Only Jesus has healing power and so if you have a broken heart Psalm 147:3“. For the Lord comforts (For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”) his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. No one can mend a broken heart but the Lord. Other people’s words will encourage you and bring a measure of healing but the ultimate healing is always from the Lord.  He has the power, love and divine skill to actually cure you of the extraordinary pain that you are going through.

God is able to restore your soul (Psalm 23:3)  and perform a spiritual heart transplant [Ezakiel 36:26]  if that is what it takes to move you into health and hope again. This seems impossible when you have a broken heart but it is not impossible to God! The will of God is always restoration and healing.

If you have a broken heart, friend, I know Someone who has the expert skills to easily and perfectly mend it. Not only is He able to repair your broken heart, but He has the desire to do it.

God’s Identity Crisis

I would imagine that many of you read the title of this blog and were shocked! Before you brand me a heretic; allow me to explain. I do not imply that God has a problem with knowing exactly who He is. Rather, it is we, His creation, that is confused concerning God’s true identity. There are hundreds of misconceptions about who God is and what He is like but I think most of them could be placed under two major headings.

The Transcendent God. People see God as so holy, so powerful, so pure that He could not have a relationship with fallen humanity. It is true that God is totally above all creation.      1 Chronicles 29:10-12 ; 1 Samuel 2:2

The Benevolent Grandfather. Some people see God’s purpose is to make us happy and give us what we want. He is like a celestial vending machine; insert your prayer and out drops your answer. He is the “grandfather” who grants all our wishes. 

But I think the picture below shows the proper balance of who God really is.

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This is the famous picture of President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office. Underneath the desk is his son, John Jr. President Kennedy was the most powerful man in the world. He was to be respected and honored. And yet, he was a father who loved his son.  He had a relationship with his son, so “John-John” could pop out from under his desk and speak to this powerful figure without.