A FRIEND

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 WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS

…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. PROVERBS 18:24

Jesus’ presence in your life is a free gift from God. There is no amount of good that you can do to earn it. It’s a free gift. Now, because you did nothing to deserve His presence in your life, there is nothing you can do that will cause His presence to leave you. Once you have received Jesus into your heart, He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)!

“But Pastor, when I fail, doesn’t Jesus leave me?”

No, Jesus is right by your side to encourage you and restore you to wholeness. You may say, “But I don’t deserve it!” You’re right. That’s what makes it His unmerited favor in your life. When you fail, Jesus is there to uphold you. Unlike some of your so-called “friends,” He doesn’t just take off. You can count on Him. He is a faithful, dependable and trustworthy friend. Even when you have failed Him, He is right there with you, ready to pick you up and restore you to wholeness. The Bible talks about a friend who “sticks closer than a brother.” That’s Jesus and you have Him always!

UNHINDERED PRAYERS …

…Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. – 1 Peter 3:7, NLT

Did you know that the way you treat people has an impact on the effectiveness of your prayers? The Bible says that the prayer of the righteous person is powerful. But if we aren’t treating others with honor, kindness and respect, then we aren’t allowing His righteousness to operate in us. When we don’t treat others the way we should, it closes the door to God’s power and hinders our prayers.

This is especially true in a marriage relationship. Marriage isn’t just an agreement between two people to live life together. Marriage is a God-ordained institution that helps us understand love and unity. When two people are married, they become one physically, spiritually and emotionally. This particular passage is directed toward husbands, but it applies to all believers as well. We should all treat others “with understanding,” which means considering the needs of others above our own. We should always aim to treat others with kindness, dignity, and respect and quickly choose forgiveness. The Bible says that the way we treat others is the way we treat God. So choose love and treat others with respect so that your prayers will not be hindered!

OPPOSITION TO THE GOSPEL

Matthew 10:34, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

This statement seems like a contradiction to some prophecies concerning Jesus and some of Jesus’ own statements concerning peace, as well as what was written of Him in the New Testament Epistles. However, the peace that Jesus purchased was peace between God and man. We have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). We are exhorted to take this peace and extend it to all men, but it is also made very clear that not all men will receive it.

Peace can only come when we relate to God on the basis of faith in what He did for us, instead of what we do for Him. A person who is thinking that he must perform up to some standard to be accepted by God will have no peace. That puts the burden of salvation on our shoulders, and we can’t bear that load. We were incapable of living holy enough to please God before we were saved, and we are incapable of living holy enough to please God now that we are saved (Heb. 11:6). We were saved by faith, and we have to continue to walk with God by faith (Col. 2:6). Not understanding this has made many Christians, who love God, unable to enjoy the peace that was provided for them through faith in Jesus.

The Gospel will always produce opposition from those who don’t receive it. This “sword of division,” even among family members, is not God’s will, nor is it God that causes it. But, it will inevitably come, and Jesus was simply preparing His disciples for that time. As much as we would like everyone to receive the good news, we must not think it is strange when even our loved ones don’t receive it. Jesus was rejected by His own, and we will be also. We must remain faithful to continue preaching the Gospel, for there are others who will receive. Keep sharing the “Good News!”

ENJOY YOUR OLD AGE

They shall still bear fruit in old age… – Psalm 92:14 NKJV

Age is just a date on a calendar; attitude is what counts. You can be old at 29 and young at 92. Larry King once interviewed Ty Cobb, one of the all–time great baseball players. He asked Cobb, then 70 years old, ‘What do you think you’d hit if you were playing these days?’ Cobb, a lifetime .366 hitter (still the record) replied, ‘About .290, maybe .300.’ King asked, ‘Is that because of travel, the night games, the artificial turf and all the new pitches like the slider?’ Cobb responded, ‘No. It’s because I’m 70!’ Here are three great benefits to having lived longer:

(1) You should be more tolerant. Having fallen into many of life’s potholes yourself, you should be quicker to extend a helping hand when others fall into them. Having survived defeats and lived to fight another day, you’re qualified to offer strength and hope to those who struggle.

(2) You should be more humble. A man who’d just celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary said, ‘A man is always as young as he feels, but seldom as important.’ Realising that the world doesn’t stop at your command or cater to your whims, you become more realistic. And in the process you find peace.

(3) You should value time more. Margaret Deland said, ‘As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it.’ Start by asking yourself, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ Here’s a promise from Scripture you can stand on: ‘They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.’ (Psalm 92:14 NKJV) Now get up off the couch and get going.

THE POWER OF WORDS

“Le no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”. – Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)

The words we speak have the power to do great good or great harm. If we speak words of encouragement and hope, we can lift others up. when we do, the effect on us is uplifting too.

Sometimes, when we already feel uplifted and secure, we find it easy to speak kind words. But other times, when we’re discouraged or exhausted, we can scarcely summon the energy to pick up our own spirits, much less anyone else’s. Yet God wants us to speak words of kindness, wisdom, and truth, not matter our circumstances, no matter our emotions. When we do, we share a priceless gift with the world, and we give glory to God.

Today, try to make every word a gift. You’ll discover that kindness is like honey; it’s hard to spread it around without getting a little bit on yourself….

HE IS ATTENTIVE TO YOUR PRAYERS

For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), and His ears are attentive to their prayer… – 1 Peter 3:12, AMP

Do you ever wonder if the Lord hears your prayers? This verse promises that He is attentive to the prayers of the righteous! If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior and asked Him to cleanse you of your past sins, then you are righteous by the blood of Jesus.

God longs to show Himself strong on your behalf. Your prayers open the door for Him to move in your life. You can be sure that He is attentive and listening when you call on Him. Keep standing, keep believing and keep praying knowing that God is on your side. He’s working behind the scenes and orchestrating things in your favor. Thank Him today for listening. Thank Him for making you righteous. Don’t shrink back. Move forward in confidence knowing that the eyes of the Lord are on you, and He is attentive to your prayers!

 JESUS IS ALL YOU NEED

…He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked…JOHN 5:6–9

I love the story of how Jesus healed the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda. This man, paralyzed for 38 years, lay by the pool without help and without much hope, waiting for an angel to come to stir its waters—it was known that the first one to step into the waters then would be healed of his condition. But because of his paralysis, the man could never be the first one in. So he kept waiting there, hoping for a miracle.

Then one day, he encountered a Man higher than angels—Jesus—who met him at the point of his need. Jesus came to the paralyzed man, and this man, who had been suffering for so many years, walked away completely healed.

Today, Jesus wants to meet you at the point of your need. You don’t need special seasons, circumstances or angels to see the manifestation of your healing. You only need the Lord, who is here right now to heal you. He is your very present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1)!

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