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My Forever Friend

Friend

by Ben Huberman

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

I am a woman who is truly blessed.  I don’t have a lot of friends, but the friends I do have are wonderful, and would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them too.  My husband of 35 years has been my best friend, and rock, through many trials in my life.  Frankly, I don’t know how I could have gotten through many of those trials, if it hadn’t been for him.

Yet, much as I love my husband, when I read the prompt, “friend,” the One that I thought of was Jesus.  Jesus knew me before I was born.

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. 

Ephesians 1:4 NLT

When I think about that, it blows my mind.  I don’t know you, but I do know me, and if I’m going to be totally honest with you, I was not born holy and without fault.  In my life, I’ve lied and cheated, cursed God and others, and murdered those whom I hated in my heart.  Yet, in spite of this, Jesus chose me!

16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.

John 15:16 NLT

Not only did He choose me,  but He chose me to be holy and without fault in His eyes, and the only way for me to be holy and without fault, would be for Him to recreate me.  And, He did just that!

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through Him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through Him and for Him... 

…  21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.

Colossians 1:15-16, 21-22 NLT

Imagine that!  I was an enemy  of Christ, yet He chose me!  Then, through His death and resurrection, He changed me and brought me into His presence and presented me holy and blameless, without a single fault to His Father.  How amazing!

Yet, as wonderful, merciful and kind as all of this was, it wasn’t enough for my Savior.  I would have been happy to be His servant all the days of my life, but Jesus had a better plan…

John 15-9

I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. 16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. 17 This is My command: Love each other.

John 15:9-17 NLT

This scripture passage explains the relationship I have with my best Friend, Jesus.  The first sentence sums up His feelings for me, when He says, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me.”  Jesus is the One and only Son of God, the Father, and here, He states unequivocally, that He loves me (and all of His disciples), the same way His Father loves Him.

As a woman, I can’t say that I know for certain how a father loves his son.  However, I would imagine that a father’s love for his son would certainly be as strong as a mother’s love for her son, and as a mother, I have a fierce love for my children.  I would go to war to protect my children from harm, and when I think of the love God has for His Son, I know that it must be stronger than you and I could ever imagine.  Therefore, when Jesus said, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me,” He was speaking as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  He was speaking of a strong and passionate love, that we cannot, in the frailty of our human emotions and thoughts, even begin to conceive.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Jesus then ordered His disciples (all who love Him and follow Him), to remain in His love.  The Greek word for “remain” in this passage is menō, which means:

    1. to remain, abide

      1. in reference to place

        1. to sojourn, tarry

        2. not to depart

          1. to continue to be present

          2. to be held, kept, continually

      2. in reference to time

        1. to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure

          1. of persons, to survive, live

      3. in reference to state or condition

        1. to remain as one, not to become another or different

    2. to wait for, await one

When we examine the Greek meaning for this word, we get a clear understanding of what Jesus meant when He ordered His disciples (those of us who follow Him too!) to remain in His love.  He was saying, “Stay here in My love.  Don’t depart from My love.  Tarry (wait) in My love.  Continually be present, here in My love.  Endure, survive, live in My love.  Remain as you are now, in My love.  Wait, here in My love for Me.”

He was essentially saying that He wants us to remain in His love, just as He remains in His Father’s love.  In other words, He wasn’t asking us to do anything more than He did, by remaining in His Fathers love.  Honestly, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be, than in the midst of His love.

So, how does one go about remaining in Jesus’ love?  He makes this abundantly clear to us…

10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.

John 15:10 NLT

The way to remain in Christ’s love is to obey Him.  Obedience isn’t a very popular concept in today’s culture.  Indeed, most people prefer to live in total rebellion to God’s word.  Yet Jesus says that if we obey His commandments, we remain in His love, as He obeys His Father’s commands and remains in His love.  Many people look at obedience as drudgery, but Jesus’ outlook on obedience was entirely different…

11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

John 15:11 NLT

He wants us to be filled with His joy, so He tells us to obey Him and remain in His love, so that our joy will overflow!  So, what exactly are we supposed to obey, in order to be filled with this overflowing joy???

12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:12-13

Jesus’ commandment is a very simple one.  We are commanded to love each other, the same way He has loved us, stating that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  We are afforded the hindsight to understand that Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on the night before He was crucified.  They had no way of knowing, as we do, that Jesus was getting ready to demonstrate His great love for His beloved friends, (which includes every disciple then and since then), by laying down His own life, for all of mankind…

Then, He finishes this discourse by telling His disciples how much they (and we) meant to Him…

14 You are My friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a Master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. 16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. 17 This is My command: Love each other.

John 15:14-17 NLT

If I remain in Christ’s love, by loving my fellow disciples, then I am no longer merely His servant.  When I am obedient to His command to love one another, I have become a friend of Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

It is as I remain in the love of my best Friend, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that I am able to love others, as He loved me.  It is because of His great love, (He calls me His friend!), that I am filled to overflowing with unending joy.  How thankful I am to have the Friend, who sticks closer than a brother.

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: A to Z

Daily Prompt: A to Z

Create a short story, piece of memoir, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet.
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holytrinitypm0

As all should know, long before time or anything else, God was.
Brilliant in splendor and wisdom, God had a plan;
Christ crucified before earth’s foundations were laid.
Destined to die for the redemption of man,
Eternal life with Father God was the gift that He gave.
Freedom was given to all who confess and believe;
God’s grace would save them by His gift of faith.
Holy God commanded, “You shall be holy, for I am holy,”
In the image of God, He had created mankind, though man turned to sin.
Justice would not allow sin to prevail, and as
Knowledge increased, man’s love waxed cold, as he
Loved evil and hated good, calling good evil and evil good.
Many have been the afflictions of the righteous, but God delivered him from them all.
Never leaving or forsaking men, Jesus made the way to God 
Open to all who would follow Him. He is now
Preparing a place for God’s children to live in 
Quintessential love, joy and peace in God’s presence.
Redeemed by the blood of Christ, and
Saved from sin and death, believers are
Transformed by renewing their minds, no longer conformed to this world.
Until Jesus shall one day return in the clouds in
Victory and splendor; He will set the
World straight, making it much more lovely than
Xanadu, for He is altogether lovely!
Yes, Jesus Christ is returning soon, for He is
Zealous for His bride.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Morality Play

Daily Prompt: Morality Play

by michelle w. on June 24, 2013

Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us THE SOURCE.
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As soon as I saw this prompt, I knew I just had to respond. As I was growing up, my moral compass was set by my parents. Some of those morals were good ones…

  • Work hard to earn everything you get in life
  • When you have children, spend time with them and take them with you when you go out to dinner and on vacations
  • Don’t steal
  • Always do your best at everything you do Continue reading Daily Prompt: Morality Play

Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

by michelle w. on June 13, 2013

You’re asked to nominate someone for TIME’s Person of the Year. Who would it be, and why?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BIG.
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I would like to nominate Jesus Christ as TIME’s Person of the Year for 2013. Now, some would argue that Jesus is more than a Person of one year, and you would be correct. He is actually the Person of the Ages. He is the Rock of Ages and the Ancient of Days, but I would argue that He is also 2013’s Person of the Year.

You see, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, He should be TIME’s Person of the Year for 2013, for every year prior to that, and for every year thereafter as well. You see, in 2013, Jesus has already accomplished many wonderful deeds. Just last month, He blessed me with my eighth grandchild, a little boy, and in July, I’m eagerly awaiting the birth of my ninth grandchild, another little boy! Continue reading Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

by michelle w. on May 31, 2013

When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction?
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When I read this topic, I had to respond, because I’ve been dealing with guilt for several months now, because I didn’t respond as I wish I would have, and I am so deeply ashamed and disappointed in myself, that sometimes I just can’t stop crying. Even now, I tremble, because if I write about this, family members that I love could read it and be very offended by it. Regardless, many of them think the worst of me anyway, so I’m not sure why that worries me. Perhaps, there is still a part of me that hopes beyond reason that all of the old wounds will one day be forgiven, and there will be restoration between my family and me. Then again, how can there be restoration, unless everyone is willing to face our past openly and honestly?

I will give you back your health
and heal your wounds,” says the Lord.
“For you are called an outcast—
‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.’”

(Jeremiah 30:17 NLT)

Anyway, back to the questions… When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction? Continue reading Daily Prompt: Fight or Flight

Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List

Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List

by michelle w. on April 14, 2013

Who doesn’t love a list? So write one! Top five slices of pizza in your town, ten reasons disco will never die, the three secrets to happiness — go silly or go deep, just go list-y.
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TOP 10 REASONS TO LOVE JESUS CHRIST AND ACCEPT HIM AS LORD AND SAVIOR

10.     Salvation only comes through Christ

There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.

~ Acts 4:12 NLT ~

9.      In Him is life

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.

~ John 10:10 NLT ~

Continue reading Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List

Daily Prompt: Alma Mater/The Path of Life

Daily Prompt: Alma Mater

by michelle w. on April 7, 2013

You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater — about the path of life. (Whoa.) Draft the speech.
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Greetings to each of you, students, faculty and board members of the Seaford School District. I’m sure one of the first things you’ll notice about this copy of the speech that I will be presenting to you is the date of submission. I am fully aware that this copy should have been submitted to you yesterday, April 7, 2013, and that I missed the deadline by one day, and all I can say to that is that I guess some things never change. I’m sure those of you who went to school with me, or taught me, remember that I was notorious for missing deadlines, however, I offer a different excuse to you this time.

Since I no longer own a dog, and since I am a minister, I can’t lie to you and tell you that my dog ate my homework assignment. Instead, I will just stick to the truth. Yesterday, when I received this request, I was stunned. As a student of Seaford Senior High School, I was at best, a mediocre student, and without a doubt, a member of the “unpopular” crowd. I wondered at first if this were some cruel practical joke, like the kind that many of my former classmates used to delight in, and I wasn’t sure how or if I should respond. On top of that, yesterday, I was having internet issues, which made responding impossible. Finally, after much deliberation, I decided to respond to your invitation, regardless of your motives, because the subject matter, the Path of Life, is one that is near and dear to my heart. Continue reading Daily Prompt: Alma Mater/The Path of Life