January 11, 2022 – Reflections on “Friends!”

    Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:13-14.

As a little girl, about 8 years old, I had heard that on the other side of the earth Chinese people lived. My brothers were doing brother-things, and I wanted a friend. I found Dad’s shovel and began digging a hole in the backyard. When the hole seemed deep enough, I bent down and called, “Hey, can you come to play with me?” I didn’t hear an answer and wondered if I could pull up the little girl who would answer. I dug a little deeper. As I grew older, I understand why no one heard me. The earth is a solid mass God created.

It was about then that I accepted Jesus as my Savior and was baptized. There was much to learn about Jesus being my friend.

We have cards of identification we carry and pull out when needed to prove our identity. There is one identity that we carry in our heart when we choose Jesus to be our friend. What claim does He have as our friend?

First, we are created by Him. Every breath we take comes from Him. Every time we sin, He is the only One who can forgive us. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.’ Romans 3:23-24.

Where is He? And how can we talk to Him? This is His command as He left the earth, “Go therefore 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 observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20.

We can pray to Him, and as we know more about God by reading His Holy Word, we will learn more and more about The Gift of Grace, and how it transforms our lives. We learn about His wisdom, His greatness, and His power that never changes and lasts for an eternity.

The prayer Jesus gives us is in Matthew 5:9-13. Pray then like this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

It is when we learn about our Spiritual Identity – we learn it has a mission connected with it. First, we need to know who our Lord and Master is. There is always more to learn. There is no end to growing and learning how to be His Friend. And then by our example in what we say and what we do, we share the glory of God.

Name above all names, Worthy of our praise, My heart will sing How great is our God, How great is our God, sing with me, How great is our God, and all will see How great, how great is our God! (Chris Tomlin)

This is the beginning of learning: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:12-13.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7.

 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3.

What are some attributes of our Lord God?

God is Infinite – we do not know his beginning or ending, there are no limits. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! Romans 11:33.

God is Omnipotent – He is all-powerful. He spoke all things into being, including every breath we take. ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts.’ Jeremiah 32:17-18.

God is Jehovah-shalom. God is a God of perfect peace. ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.’ Our Lord Jesus spoke these words. John 14:27.

God is Jehovah-Jireh – the God who provides for us today and every day. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac, his son, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” Genesis 22:9-12.

God is Immutable – He is ever perfect and unchanging. Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. Psalm 102:25-27.

              Painting by Yongsung Kim,