The Crucifixion and the Resurrection - The culmination of our relationship with our Lord Jesus.
There is no greater love than when a man lays down his life for h is friends (John 15:13)
Jesus tells us that we are His friends when we do as He commands us. He no longer calls us servants because a servant doen't know what his lord does but He calls us friends because He has revealed to us all that the Father ha revealed to Him. (John 15:14-15)
We all have varying degrees of a relationship with the world around us.
Webster defines relationship as 'kin', of the same family or being related as in instance or situation.
It defines related as being in, as by blood, or having a close harmonic connection, that is we have something in common that brings us together.
Any relationship with the world in general it is essentially a 'non' relationship. That is we know about the world by the media, what we see and hear on TV, newspapers, radio, the internet, etc. but we have no personal interaction. We don't share things with the world, our lives, who we are. Again our only knowledge of the world is through the media and the world has no knowledge of us unless we make the news media and they read or hear about us.
Now, I'm coming backwards with this for a reason so bear with me.
The next level of relationships would be the neighborhood. Those who live in the same community as we do. Not two miles away, not in another state and not (yet) those who live on our street but live within a few blocks or so from us. School is a good example of this. Until we start school, we generally only meet other people who live on our street or whom our parents may visit on occasion. Our world starts expanding when we start going to school. We meet kids from other streets or areas in our community and we get to know some of them. We learn something about them. We start building a relationship with some of them because we find things in common and share something about ourselves with them.
Outside the family, people on our own street are the next level of people we would normally meet. I lived in a neighborhood where there were about twenty-four houses on the street, twelve homes on each side. Each ws on a 1/4 acre lot so we were fairly close to each other but not right on top of each other as with row houses which are connected in groups. Of the 24 families on our street I came to know thirteen or fourteen of those families, as a child. The eight or so families I didn't know all lived in the bottom four houses on each side of the street, The families which I knew all had some some common denominators. The parents were generally within about ten year age of each other, with a couple of exceptions. My sister is four years older than I and about eight of the families had children either my age or my sister's age group, just a tad older or a tad younger or a combination of all. Five of my neighbor's children and I went school together (all born the same year) and three more families had a child one year younger or one year older. We all played together, went to school together - grew up together. We all got to know each other pretty well. We saw each other day in and day out and saw the good sides as well as the bad, likes and dislikes, etc. we all had a relationship with each other and we were friends.
Obviously, I had a relationship with my family. My mom, my dad, my sister, the dog. Dad left the house when I was eight or nine so I had a broken relationship there which started mending by the time I was in high school. Do I need to say that I got to know my mom and sister pretty good? Now, as I said, she was 4 1/2 years older than me so we didn't exactly 'hang out' together, but she and her boyfriend (my future brother-in-law) took me with them occasionally to do stuff. Good or bad, families get to know each other very well. What more needs to be said?
1 Samuel 18 tells us that David and Johnathan's souls were knit together meaning that they were closer than blood. Veritably inseparable. As we read more about their relationship, David and Johnathan were best friends all the way up to Johnathan's death. And this is another level of friendship.
A best friend is one with whom we share our deepest secrets, our most intimate thoughts. our hopes, our dreams and our concerns and fears. David and Johnathan's souls were knit together and so it is with us and our best friend or should/could be.
My wife is my ultimate best friend. I shared more with her than anyone. She knew me better than anyone, maybe even than I did. God gave her a gift. I speak in the past tense for she went home to be with our Lord several years ago.
I do have two other friends that I would venture to call 'best' friend. Now understand that I'm a relatively 'closed' person. I don't tell anyone anything that I don't mind the world knowing and I will say that years ago, I didn't want to world to know much of anything about me. My best friends and I did a lot of things together, sometime in group and sometimes just two of us. One of those friends died just about two years ago. The other, after many years, we just reconnected about five years ago. Both were high school chums but the one still living grew up with me, same street, school, etc. There has been enough distance between (miles) that phone contact is OK but we've gotten together several time each year since reconnecting. And we share, old times, new things. We talk.
Jesus calls us friends (John 15) and He demonstrated His level of friendship as we celebrate this weekend in what He has done for us - no greater love. the question is to us - Jesus calls us 'friend' so what kind of friend are we? I've mentioned five levels of friendship, each which exercises a relationship that is deeper the the other starting with the world and culminating with our best friend, who is probably closer than family.
When I was a senior in high school, a tenth grade girl took a shine to me. She worked in the school office so she had access to school records so she could easily get what the school knew about me. She 'researched' me. Do we research Jesus to discover what He likes or dislikes? Do we research Jesus to find out what type of relationship He wants with us? What do we really know about Him?
We say "I go to church. I read the bible, hey, I even tithe!" All that is well and good, but when do we talk with our Lord and Savior? How do we talk with Him? Or do we just talk at HIm. Do we really communicate with Jesus? Communication is a two way street. I talk,then I listen to the one with whom I am speaking. Do we listen to Jesus? Do we know HOW to listen?
If we can give definitive answers to these questions we might be able to call ourselves 'friends' of Jesus. But if all we can come back with is self centered, no clue type of answers, we have to seriously ask ourselves 'what kind of a relationship do I have with Jesus?
We celebrate His death and resurrection this weekend and He calls us 'friend'. What kind of friend are we?
In Jesus' name
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