God Hugs: His Ever-Present Arms Wait . . .

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.”

(I Corinthians 13:13)

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I received a hug from the past today. “Consider yourself hugged,” the note read.

I stumbled upon it while sifting through papers and files that I intended to either discard and shred or refile and keep. This one was a keeper. We all need a hug from the past now and then to remind us of the  people God placed in our life during times of need.

The times when we needed that hug, He was always there too. Sometimes, we may have forgotten to reach out and receive it from Him though. In the midst of pain, loss, despair, frustration, depression, anxiety, fear—did we forget His presence? Did we forget His love?

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (I John 4:7)

If we know God, then we know love. He embraces us with His love while we are unworthy.

“God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

 What greater example of love could there be than a Father who sacrifices His only begotten Son to save those who forget Him, use His name in vain, deny Him, and think they don’t need Him? He still loves us.

“God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

The “great love with which He loved us” is always available. When our need is for Him and His comfort, turning to Him with humility and awe, He wraps us with His hug of love.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Let us remain in His embrace, His arms enveloping us in His love. Our pain, loss, despair, frustration, depression, anxiety, fear can be relieved, softened, and dispelled when we remember to reach out and receive His hugs of love.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (I John 4:16)

  “Consider yourself hugged.”

God’s message comes to us through His Word,

written in the past but always available now and forever.

**In memory of Christa, who died of cancer. We will share many more hugs one day, my friend. With love.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/10/19)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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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