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AUGUST 2002

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Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

 

Friends are supposed to be loyal, supportive, forgiving and they are supposed to be there through “thick and thin”. Most of us wonder if we have ever had a friend like that but the better question might be, “have we ever been a friend like that?” We often hear that friends come and go but that wouldn’t be true of the friend that Solomon wrote about in his Proverbs (or his wise comments). Friends understand our faults and love us just the same.

There is one person who is like this, however, and He wants to be everyone’s best friend. He also wants us to be His friend. We read about Him in the Gospel of John chapter 15:

 

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

The Lord has done everything he can to be our friends. He showed Himself friendly by dying for our sins and then by sending the Holy Spirit to compel us to turn from our unbelief and sin to Him so that He could save us. If we love Him, we can be His friend by keeping His commandment to love one another. Salvation is by trusting in His death, but enjoying our salvation and our friendship with Him is through loving one another. If we are the friends that we should be, we will have a friend in the Lord Jesus and we will likely make friends among those who believe in Him.

Week of August 4, 2002

Psalm 18:30

As for God, his way is perfect (sound): the word of the LORD is tried (it has been refined in the fire): he is a buckler (shield) to all those that trust in him.

 

Do we really believe that God’s way is best for us today? Perfection here could be translated sound. So, His way is best even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. This verse is easy to enjoy when all things are going well. But I wonder if we were going through the trials of Job if we would believe that this is true. Perhaps that was the lesson that Job needed to learn. We need to justify God when we think we understand what He is doing and we need to justify Him when we don’t think we understand. This is what trust is all about. Our promise is that He is a buckler (or shield) to all who trust Him. He says He will protect those who trust Him.

I have recently seen a new born baby trust his mother and his father. The newborn does not have any means of knowing whether the parents are doing best but is completely dependent on them. We say we are trusting the Lord for eternity but it is difficult to be the newborn baby in our trust of the Lord and His promises right now, today. We are taught by the world that God helps those who help themselves. God teaches that He helps those who trust Him.

The Lord knew the best way to save us. And that doesn’t make sense naturally. God sent His Son to die for our sins instead of asking us to die for Him or make some great sacrifice for Him. Trusting in the Lord blesses us with eternal life or salvation. Surely God knows the best way to lead us today.

Week of August 11, 2002

Psalm 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:

1Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

2Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.

 

I have a confession to make. I cannot tell a real diamond from a man-made diamond. I do know there is a real difference in value, however, and the real diamond can be detected by an expert jeweler.

I have another confession to make. I cannot always tell a real Christian from an imitation either. Paul apparently had this same problem because he wanted the Corinthians to make a personal examination to establish their reality. He already knew that some did not have the “knowledge of God” because their lives and attitudes proved that they were not real Christians. A true Christian is “honest” as we see in the 51st Psalm. He is honest with himself and honest with God and as a result, he will be honest with others.

Looking like a diamond does not make a gem stone a real diamond. Looking like a Christian does not make a person a real Christian. One who has “truth in the inward parts” knows that as a sinner, he cannot save Himself. He knows that the only one who can do this is the Lord Jesus Christ who died for sinners. True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ gives peace with God, eternal life, a desire to worship the Lord out of thankfulness, and a love for others. Are we passing ourselves off as real Christians when we know deep down in the inward parts that we are only imitating the things Christians do? The reality of being a Biblical Christian should not be taken lightly. Our eternal destinies depend upon having truth in the inward parts. God knows the difference between the real and the imitations.

Week of August 18, 2002

2 Thessalonians 2:13

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

 

We have terrorism, child kidnappings, murders, rapes, earthquakes, forest fires, floods and political unrest making the headlines every day. What is this world coming to? The Bible says things are going to get worse before they get better. Where does that leave those of us who have trusted in the work and person of Christ for salvation?

In 1st Thessalonians, the Christians were worried about believers who had died before the promised return of the Lord (John 14:1-3). Paul assured them that whether they were dead or alive, they would be caught up when the Lord returned for His church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Thus Paul gives them hope (or a future that is bright.) Now Satan comes along in 2ndThessalonians and tries to convince them that the Lord’s return is past and that they have already entered into the tribulation period. He tries to take away their hope again. So Paul reassures them that they may be going through tribulations but they aren’t going through the prophetic period called the Tribulation. That day, he says, will not come until there comes a falling away first (an apostasy, 2nd Thessalonians 2:3). No, the Thessalonians were saved from the penalty that they deserved because of their sins and they were saved from the earthly judgments that will one day fall on Jew and Gentile nations alike for having rejected God and His Son. This verse says that believers are chosen to be saved from the trials of the Tribulation period because they have believed the truth and have been sanctified (or set apart) by the Holy Spirit to be delivered from that coming day of wrath.

God gives us precious promises and Satan tries to get us to question whether those promises are true. He uses circumstances, friends, the political situation, and whatever else is useful to him to get us to question the goodness of God. But God’s promises are true. We who are saved are saved “to the uttermost“.

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost (entirely) that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Week of August 25, 2002