God’s Blessing of Friends

FRIENDSHIP

F: Faithful

R: Real

I:  Interwoven

E: Enduring

N: Nurturing

D: Discerning

S: Sharing

H: Hearing

I:  Involved

P: Personal

BIBLICAL EXAMPLES:

FAITHFUL: “Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel.” (2 Kings 2:2)

REAL: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 12:13)

INTERWOVEN: Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (I Peter 3:8) Saul, the one who had tortured and killed Jews, gained new sight on the road to Damascus and followed Christ. Barnabas accepted him, becoming involved at the risk of his own reputation and life, for they were like-minded in a common purpose—to teach and preach the message of Christ.

ENDURING: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  (Proverbs 17:17) In a world of transience and impermanence, the love of a friend who is there at all times, good and bad, is a true blessing from God, the One whose love endures forever.

NURTURING: Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” (John 12:26)  To follow Christ and be where He is, with the Teacher who instructs with love, compassion, reproof, and direction to become more like Him. Friends, likewise, nurture the best in us.

DISCERNING: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)  Helping you become a better person as you, also, help him or her in the same manner.

SHARING: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

HEARING: Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:20)  We like to give advice, but how often do we listen. A real friend’s advice or criticism is given out of concern and love for us.

INVOLVED: 12 Then Jonathan said to David, ‘I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father.’ ” (Proverbs 20:12-13) To know what is happening in your friend’s world and become involved, even at personal cost.

PERSONAL: The only way to have a friend is to be one.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson

FRIENDSHIP FROM GOD: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)

                            Through personal examination, what kind of friend am I?                                                                  What kind of friend could I be in the Lord?

¹www.brainyquote.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/30/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

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Coming to the Place of Healing: Seeking the Great Physician

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” 1

The man on the gurney, immobilized by straps across all limbs;

A woman in a wheelchair, pain grimacing through her face;

The toddler coughing and wheezing in his mother’s weary arms;

A man at the door, eyes widened with fear and uncertainty.

The Hospital ER Waiting Room

A man sitting in the back pew, held back by unseen bonds;

The woman in the middle pew, struggling with inner pain;

A toddler, tired and whining, cradled by a weary mother;

The man in a front pew, uncertainty and fear behind his eyes.

Sunday Worship from the Pew

 The struggling, the hurting, the innocent, the fearful;

Coming to this place for a remedy, a respite, a release;

Seeking a physician to heal hurts within, pains without;

Finding him in the Man of Sorrows, who died, yet lives.

Golgotha, at the Cross

 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 2

 His promise, our need, our action to “Come.”

We are the hurting, the desperate in ER;

We are the struggling, the bound in the pews;

We are the ones who need His healing touch.

Arriving at the Place of Healing

The struggle ended, fear dispelled, bonds broken;

Hearts open to receive healing from within;

Mercy and Grace beyond our comprehension;

Love enduring, joy unending, hope fulfilled.

Reaching the Place of Restoration

 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 3

1 Isaiah 41:102

2 Matthew 11:28

3 Revelations 21:4

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/22/17)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

REMEMBERING OUR LORD’S SACRIFICE ALWAYS

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered His words. (Luke 24:1-7)

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Our memories, links in the chain of events that form our lives. We capture these events and the people involved in them through writing, photos and videos; store these links in files, picture frames, photo albums, computers, flash drives, and the cloud; and try to hold the images in our personal mind cache, stored away for retrieval when reminiscence tears our eyes and touches our hearts.

Without the means to retrieve these memories–through a written record, connections with those involved in them, or captured images to assist in remembrance–there are gaps in the chain, missing links that make us search, question, and seek the answers to bind the past to the present and find meaning in our lives.

God gave us the memory of our Lord’s sacrifice in the written Word. The answers are provided for what we seek inside us– to know Christ and have that connection with Him, the true meaning to our lives. Although we were not physically present with Jesus, we do see the cross, hear His last words, feel the agony of the nails, touch the wooden post stained with blood and look up to see the Savior dying for us as we connect in memory. Binding the past to our present life, we remember.

On the first day of the week, in the manner of the apostles as recorded in Acts 20:7 (On the first day of the week we came together to break bread…), we remember our Lord’s sacrifice in the act of communion: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:23- 26).

We are part of the chain, the links that bind us to Him and that day. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord, adopted sons and daughters of the Father. The memory is stored within us. We do not have to search, question, and seek—for God has provided the images. Our retrieval of these memories of our Lord’s sacrifice of love, beyond the first day of the week communion, indicates our commitment and love to Him. Do we remember often? Do we touch the cross in our minds, see our Lord looking down, and hear Him crying out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34)

But Jesus did not remain on the cross.  The Word tells us death could not hold Him. He is Risen–and we remember.

WE MUST REMEMBER ALWAYS. . .

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/16/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

One Death—One Man on the Cross—The Only Begotten Son

 23 When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (I Peter 2:23-25)

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Healed by pierced hands.

Redeemed in innocent blood.

Eternal life from one death.

Not mine. Not yours. But His.

One man on the cross.

The only begotten Son.

He who had known life with the Father chose to trust God to be the Judge of others who insulted Him, who tortured Him.  The Son did not seek vengeance. Instead, He asked His Father to forgive.

For me. For you.

He who had known life with the Father chose to bear the sins of all humankind.  He carried the weight of guilt, the weight of knowing, the weight of suffering, the weight of sorrow, the weight of horror, the weight of agony, the weight of carnage, the weight of defiled innocence, the weight of darkness, the weight of abandonment by the Father. The Son bore the weight of sin in every form, from all time.

For me. For you.

He who had known life with the Father chose death, not a peaceful in-your-sleep slumber from which one does not awaken but a violent death of intense external and internal suffering and anguish.

For me. For you.

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We who have known life on this earth can choose to trust God. We can choose to forgive. We can choose to sacrifice ourselves for others. We can choose to follow Him, the man on the cross, the only begotten Son who gave His life.

For me. For you.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/09/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

BETRAYER OF JESUS: Could it be me?

 betrayal breaking God's heart

 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22: 3-6)

ME: When did I allow Satan to enter my heart for profit or human approval –and betray my Lord . . .

B E T R A Y A L

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared My bread has turned against Me.’ 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts Me; and whoever accepts Me accepts the One who sent Me.” 21 After He had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray Me.” (John 13:18-21)

ME: How have I caused my Lord to be “troubled in spirit” during the times when I was the one who betrayed Him by not following His commands, by not living my life fully for Him …

B E T R A Y A L

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:34)

ME: Have I ever denied Jesus? Did I allow an opportunity pass by when I could have stood up for Him—but didn’t-and, thus, betrayed Him . . .

B E T R A Y A L

45He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!” 47 While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. (Matthew 26:45-49)

ME: Has my love for the Lord ever been untrue? Have I betrayed His love for me?

 B E T R A Y A L

Will Jesus ever say to me: “Here comes My betrayer!”

             Let us be true to our Lord, persevering in faith and watching with eyes wide open,                        focused on Jesus with

                   LOYALTY  FAITHFULNESS  DEVOTION

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/02/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word