Last Sunday the sermon was about how Jesus calls us to friendship. The scripture studied was John 15:9-17 NIV "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. I made a comment about last weeks sermon already n Melisa's blog- but am going to repeat it here. I had read this passage many times - have heard it preached more times than I can count. Suddenly, as I'm sitting in my chair in the back row, it hit me. God chose me to be his friend. He calls me His - to love, to cherish. He desired me - as imperfect and as broken as I am. He calls me to love. I see so clearly how forgiveness fits into that love he calls us to - and when we are able to let that happen - his joy is in us and our joy is complete. It seems so simple - and I knew it in my head - and now by the grace of the Spirit it is a truth written in my heart. The way I had "heard" this scripture for so long was based on the message of "go and bear fruit" or "go and do". While that is part of the message, there is also a message of grace and love that was lost on me. Then my mind expanded a fraction more when I realized that there is no way to truly bear fruit that will last when we are not following his command to love. This was a monumental shift for me for so many reasons. Tears started streaming down my face during the sermon because my heart was so touched by the truth. For me - I can "know" something - but then it can be made "real" to me on many different levels. As the week has progressed, I feel God transforming me. Sometimes, I feel anxious and worried about the transformation. What will he expect from me? Will I be strong enough? I can do everything through him who gives me strength Philippians 4:13 NIV But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own Matthew 6:33-34 NIV Sometimes, I am doubtful that he would expect anything of me because I have failed so many times. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 NIV 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV God has shown me my sin - and I am so humbled. I have made so many mistakes - and sometimes I feel buried by the shame. Yet it is the humble heart he seeks. When God wants my attention about a subject and I'm struggling to accept the truth - or in this case - the gift - I find that he pursues me. This morning, listening to K-Love "scripture of the day" "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Revelations 3:20 NLT I don't usually use the New Living Translation (NLT) - but it was the tranlation read this morning - and there was that word again. Friend. I found myself crying - driving down I-435 on my way to work. Who am I? Who am I to be so loved by my Savior that he would pursue me so diligently? Who am I that He would want to be my friend? He is calling me - I can hear him and I can feel it. My heart is changing - old desires are fading and are replaced by something so simple and beautiful. I find that lately - I cry a little more easily. In part, because I am so moved by the mercy and grace that is so evident to me now. And, I think, in part because I am experiencing spiritual growth at such a profound rate. There was a sermon on the local radio network the other day - it was Chuck Swindoll. He used an illustration of a plant that you start off as a seed (no - I can't remember the name of the plant). You water it the first year. Nothing happens. You water it the second year. Nothing happens. You water it the third year. Still..nothing. Then the fourth year it grows 6 feet tall in the span of 90 days (or something like that). I wonder how tall I will be.
What a touching blog. Friends with Jesus, what an amazing thing. For so long I used to picture God so far off, that is scary, but what a revelation to think, no to know, that He is right here, all of the time. Friends. Jesus, You, Jesus, Me. Thanks for giving me something to ponder on, Lady
Thanks lady for the reminder-
A friend of Jesus! Oh, what bliss
That one so weak as I
Should ever have a Friend like this
To lead me to the sky!
Friendship with Jesus!
Oh, what blessed, sweet communion!
Jesus is a Friend of mine.
A Friend when other friendships cease,
A Friend when others fail,
A Friend who gives me joy and peace,
A Friend when foes assail!
A Friend when sickness lays me low,
A Friend when death draws near,
A Friend as through the vale I go,
A Friend to help and cheer!
A Friend when lifeâ-™s short race is oâ-™er
A Friend when earth is past,
A Friend to meet on Heavenâ-™s shore,
A Friend when home at last!
by Joseph C Ludgate