FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Words and Friends

Remember when you worked up a sweat pulling weeds, so you drank a Coke which made you feel so happy and gay that you forgot about your chores resulting in a smack on the bottom from your momma?  Well, those words – weed, Coke, gay and smack – all have different meanings nowadays.  That’s what happens with a lot of words.  They don’t mean what they used to.

Even the word friend has taken on new layers and levels of meaning.  For a long time friend has meant a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection or a member of the Religious Society of Friends.  Those have been two long-standing, widely-accepted definitions.  Then along came Facebook and talk about friending and unfriending people, many of whom never really knew each other much less shared any bonds of mutual affection.

But Jesus is our Friend. (John 15:15)  Our true friend.  Our unchanging friend.  Our friend through good times and bad.  Our friend who never walks away.  Our friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Our friend who not only would but did lay down His life for us. (John 15:13)

Jesus is not just a friend; He is our best friend.

He accepts us unconditionally.  We can come to Him just as we are with our sin baggage. (Romans 5:8)

He listens to us.  We can share whatever is on our heart and troubling our minds – doubts, questions, tears, joys.  (1 John 5:14-15)

He is always available, and He never abandons us.  He never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121:4) and never takes a break (Matthew 28:20b)

He navigates life with us – ALL of life.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  (Hebrews 13:15 b, Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 Chronicles 28:20)

Isn’t this what we want in a friend – acceptance, listening ear, availability, support and encouragement?

Jesus began calling His disciples friends rather than servants because He had entrusted them with everything He had heard from His Father (John 15:15).  Can we truthfully say that we are His friends? Do we trust Him as he has entrusted us?  An Our Daily Bread author asked, “Do we listen to Him? Or do we only want Him to listen to us? Do we want to know what’s on His heart? Or do we only want to tell Him what’s on ours?”

Friendship is a two-way street.  To be a friend of Jesus, we need to accept Him (as our personal Savior and Lord), listen to Him (hear what He wants us to know and do), be available (submit and surrender to His will), support and encourage (the building of His kingdom by sharing His Gospel to bring others into friendship with Him).

As a child my parents used to tell us that “to have a friend you must be a friend” – their variation of Proverbs 18:24.  Like about 99% of what my parents taught us, that is true.  To have Jesus as our friend, we must be His.  And what a friend we have in Jesus!

You might enjoy this history of the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, and these renditions of the song:

 

 

 

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Lost

I loved my dad.

As my grandmother used to say, “Better than Peter loved the Lord!

But he was, undoubtedly, one of the worse drivers in the world.  He is remembered for saying (and believing and practicing) things like, “The yellow light means hurry up ’cause the red light is coming,” and “The sign means STOP – if you see something coming.”  He would leave home late every morning then speed like a race car driver trying to get to work on time.  He’d pass cars, trucks, school buses…, you name it.  He’d pass in a no passing zone and pass two, three or four vehicles at a time.  He was notorious for driving on fumes and for leaving my mom’s car with an empty tank.  He never wanted to ask for instructions and frequently took a more “scenic route” to places – His term for being lost.  And even though he drove on fumes, when taking that scenic route he’d say, “You’re not lost if you still have gas.”

Call it what he wanted, he was often lost.

There are a lot of lost people in the world.  They don’t want to call it that either.

But if you do not know Jesus as your personal Savior, you are lost. (John 3:36, Mark 16:16 ESV)

When someone is lost, they need help.  They need direction.  They need someone who knows the way and who can and will share that way.

I’ve been lost.  I remember driving a group of colleagues to a conference.  We went to what was then a large city for us. These were pre-GPS and pre-cell phone days.  Attempting to travel from the hotel to a restaurant and back, we got lost.  We drove for hours, and the distance between the hotel and restaurant was less than 10 miles!  We tried to find someone to help us, but there wasn’t a cop in site, which was probably good since at one point they told me to back up (on the Interstate), and I did.  We had missed an exit!  What we did find were people who didn’t know how to give directions!

Some people don’t realize they’re lost.  Others, like my dad, deny it.  As Christians, we are called to the lost – to find them, to seek them out, to show them the way!  That’s our greatest charge and our greatest challenge, to be witnesses to the lost.  Matthew 28:19-20a (CEB) makes it clear:  “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you…” 

When is the last time you showed someone the way to Christ?  When is the last time you were His witness?  Can’t remember?  That’s a problem.  Never?  That’s an even bigger problem?  Don’t think it’s your job?  Whoa, that’s like a whole other category – way beyond “problem!”  Read Matthew again; pick any translation you like.  They all read, “Go!”  None say, “Go, if you like” or “Go, when you feel up to it.”  You won’t find one that tells you to “Go, when you get the time or at your convenience.”  I didn’t check them all, but I looked at several – English Standard, New King James, Amplified, The Message, American Standard, Common English, New Life, New American Standard, Revised Standard Version Catholic and New Living.  They all read, “Go.”

Go.

This week.  Today.  Now.

Go.

Tomorrow.  The next day.  The day after that.

Go.

Not one time.  Not every now and then.  Not only at Easter or Christmas.

Go.

Consistently.  Courageously.  In the Name and under the authority and power of Christ.

Go.

Someone is lost, and they need YOU!

RESOURCES

Touch One Life in 2015:  http://billygraham.org/landingpages/touch-one-life/