Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

A Man Who Would Not Listen (Jeremiah 40; Psalm 15-16)

August 12, 2014

“Please let me go and strike down Ismael the son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it.  Why should he take your life so that all the Judeans who are gathered about you would be scattered, and the remnant of Judah would perish?”  Isaiah 40:15

The day began like any other day, but by the end of the day tragedy will have come.  The appointed governor of Judah would begin the day receiving people he trusted, he would end the day in the ground, Jeremiah 41.  This man’s story could have been so different if he would have simply listened to the advice of a friend!  But because he decided to not listen to the words of a friend, he lost his life.  But not only his life, the lives of many of his friends.

Question, “Are you facing a moment of decision?”  Could it be that you are really not hearing correctly in this moment?

Think it through:

1.  Who is the one you can always listen to?  Answer, “The friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  This friend is Jesus!  Jesus is the one who proved his love to you when He went to the cross so that you would not perish (John 3:16).  Jesus is the one who gives life (Mk. 10:45).  Jesus is the one who  leads you in clear paths (John 8:12).

2.  Who is the one you are listening to?  Answer,  The one in whom you listen has a tremendous responsibility. “Your life (daily) hangs in the balance.”  I trust in Jesus!!!

Gedaliah chose not to listen to his close friend.  It was such a costly mistake.  Two chapters later (Jeremiah 42), the people of Judah come to Jeremiah and ask for his wisdom.  Here is his response:  “Behold, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your request, and whatever the Lord answers you I will tell you.  I will keep nothing back from you.” Jeremiah 43:4

Our response:

We must daily test our thoughts against the plumb line of scripture, II Timothy 3:16.  We must daily conform to what we read. As we do these things we will be assured to not only listen, but to obey the Word of God.  His Word is life to all who listen!!!

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The Right Type of Friendships

December 27, 2011

You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery,” Deuteronomy 13:10.

What you have just read might seem to be extremely hard words?  However, in context they make complete sense.  Moses is instructing the nation of Israel concerning how to approach the conquest of the land.  He has already spoken about the danger of idolatry in the last part of chapter 12 and the first part of chapter thirteen. He has warned the people to be careful in their dealing with prophets.  There would be those prophets that would be false and they were, “Not to listen to the words of that prophet and they were to put him to death.” 13:3,5.

The fact is we must be careful with those we listen to.  Recently I have been reading a book on the global church.  The author shared about and African pastor who was struggling to be successful with his congregation.  When asked why, he responded; “My messages are being compared with a certain Tv preacher from America.”  “My people are saying, ‘they enjoy his messages more than mine.'”  The problem was, the man they were listening to was a false prophet and anyone not wanting to deal with their sin would love such preaching.

This morning I want to encourage each of you to pay close attention to those you consider friends in the ministry.  It is vitally important that our friendships (Church) always teach the truth of the word of God.

It is also vitally important that our closest friendships are guided by God’s truth.  Here in Deuteronomy 13 Moses gives this warning, “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘let us go and serve other gods, … you shall not yield to them.”

Often we fall into the trap of valuing our friendships more than we value the truth of God’s word.  I want to challenge you to always gage everything based upon the truth.  Maybe even now your heart breaks as you consider a friendship vs your service to God.  The question you must answer is this:  “Is this the right kind of friendship?”

You can be assured it is a right friendship it if causes you to want to live for Christ, love His church, and lead others to Christ.  Cultivate such friendships and get away from those that do not.

Partner’s That Could Destroy You

November 14, 2011

We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.” I Cor. 10:9-10

This morning I found myself keenly aware of those Moses had now entered into a partnership with.  Let’s just say, The Children Of Israel were less than good partners in the work of the Lord.”  The fact is they were a gruesome people who lived their lives with both grumpiness and greed.

Brothers and sisters, “Grumpiness and greed” are partners that will destroy a person’s life.  As I traced Moses life in chapter’s 16-18, it was clear that this partnership was a very hurtful partnership.  For example, in chapter 17 Moses cries out to God, “What shall I do with this people?  They are almost ready to stone me.” 17:4. 

The thing that amazes me most is how God responds to such people, “He extends grace time and time again.”  During these years Moses would consistently deal with such partners and the anger of their greed and grumpiness would eventually get to Moses and He would fail to obey the Lord in (Numbers 20).

This morning, I thought about my own life and how often, God has extended grace to me when I was being grumpy and yes, “Greedy.”  I wonder, how many times I have hurt partners in ministry as I listened to my old nature instead of the new nature I have in Christ.

Brothers and sisters we must heed the warning from the life of Moses.  Be careful what you allow you life to partner with.  The fact is, you and I must daily stand before God and His word and ask the question, “Am I partnered correctly in my thoughts and in my actions.”  So many times the Lord has kept me from sin in those moments when I tested what I wanted to do against His word.

Be careful of all your partnerships today.  The reality is, no sin, no matter how much you want to help others, is justified in the sight of God.  I imagine the two officials at Penn State University who covered up for a defensive coordinator thought they were doing what was right, but now they face charges because they partnered with the wrong person and the wrong deed.

Help us dear Lord, to heed the warning from our text. May we by grace partner with God’s will for our lives. This is the only safe partnership to have.  “But whoever does the will of God will abide forever,” I John 2:17.

You Are On Your Own

November 16, 2010

Does the title of our blog send chills down your spine?  Certainly your response depends upon what your thought process is concerning, “You are on your own.”  For example, “if you are in a pie eating contest, being on your own is a good thing.”  However, if you are facing an opposing army, being on your own is not such a good thing.

Consider God’s people in the time of Isaiah.  The prophet of God is predicting coming judgment on Israel because of her sin, chapters 6-10.  As I read through these chapters I thought about the devastation Israel was going to face because of her sin. Isaiah asks, “How long, O Lord?” and God responded, ‘Until the cities lie waste, and the Lord removes people far away,'” 6:11.

I am aways amazed as I read the book of Isaiah because even though God gives a clear picture of what will happen the people still refuse to turn to God.  It’s the same way in our nation, but this is a message for another day.

As I read verse after verse I felt the weight of what was ahead for Israel.  But suddenly the weight took on new meaning as I came to chapter 10. Isaiah drives the point home in Vs: 4, “What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? to whom will you flee for help?”  Let those words sink in for a moment.  Now look at the next verse, “Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain.”  The NKJV renders Vs: 4, “Without Me, they shall bow down among the prisoners, And they shall fall among the slain.”

When I read those words I cried out, “God never leave me.”  The greatest tragedy of judgment is simply to be left alone without God.  I cannot imagine, having walked with God, to be on my own.  If God were to leave me to my own devices I would be destroyed.

As I read these words I felt the fright of such a moment but instantly the Lord reminded me of what Isaiah wrote one chapter earlier, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder. and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of His kingdom there shall be no end,” 9:6-7.

Isaiah is giving a prophecy 700 years before the first Christmas that God was coming to step on this earth to be our Savior.  Praise God that we do not have to be alone because of Jesus.  As I read this, I was lead to I Peter 4:14, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you.”  O what a Savior we have.

Question, “Do you feel as if you are on your own?”  If so, I wonder have you broken the fellowship between you and God? If so, repent, and experience the joy of fellowship again.  If you have been distracted by all of your problems, look back to the cross and again feel the joy of His presence and power.  If you do not know Christ, come to Him today.  You will never be alone again.

Who Will Go With Me?

September 21, 2010

Recently I was reminded that not everyone likes to go and do the same things.  It was early summer and I received a magazine that listed some of the wonderful attractions in the wonderful state of Kentucky.  There was one in particular that I really wanted to do, but for some reason no one else in the family wanted to go with me.  To be transparent, “It hurt, because in my judgment, I am always going where others in the family want to go, but for some reason they did not want to go where I wanted to go.”

As I reflected on this tragic moment, I came away with the sobering reality that people are often on different pages in their lives.  And no matter how much we say we want to support others, it is hard unless we are on the same page.

This scene in my life came back into focus as I read I Samuel 26.  Actually my devotions covered I Samuel 25-31, Hebrews 13, and Psalm 1.  However I Samuel 26 leaped off the page of God’s written word.

The scene is one we have read before.  David is hiding from King Saul and once again David has the opportunity to take Saul’s life.  The scene is at night and David asks the following, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp,” 26:6. One of his soldiers, Abishai responds, “I will go with you.”

Oh how joyous to hear such words!!! For me there is great joy when you know you are not going it alone and there is even greater joy when someone is on the same page as you are.  However there is a warning here, “David’s friend gives him bad instruction.”  “Let me strike him at once with the spear,right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time,” 26:8.

Brethren, just because someone goes with you and says they are with you does not mean they are sent by God or they are hearing from God.  The child of God must seek those who are first on the same page with God, surrendered to His will.  Psalm 1:1-2, Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinner, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he mediates day and night.”

We need friends who have the mind of Christ and are meditating on the word of God.  Such friends will walk with us and give us godly advice in every circumstance.  This is what you need in your relationships, in your work place, and in your secret places.

I thank God that David had a friend, that stuck closer than a brother, I Samuel 26:24, “My life is valuable in the eyes of the Lord.”  Jesus is also the friend of all who surrender their lives totally to Him.  Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

I may never get my family to go with me on the outing, but that has little eternal value.  But thank God they are on the same page with Jesus and because of this they walk with me and together we are serving the Lord Jesus Christ.