A True Friend

A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24, NASB

Social media has redefined the concept of a “friend.” In the early days of the most prominent social media platform, people accumulated “friends” by the hundreds. Often those “friends” were people they barely knew—an acquaintance of an actual friend or a long-lost childhood playmate. Yet they were called “friends.” Participants soon realized what psychologists have said: No one can manage more than a half-dozen actual friendships.

True friendships take time, part of which is spent recovering from the disappointments that come with all human relationships. Maybe that’s why Solomon wrote that having lots of friends is dangerous but having “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” is a good thing. Note, “friend” (singular), not “friends.” It’s rare to find a friend who is there through thick and thin and who will encourage us in our walk with Christ. That is, a friend like Jesus who was a friend to His disciples (John 15:14-15).

First, invest in your friendship with Jesus. Second, if you have a friend like Jesus, invest in that friendship as well. The best way to find such a friend is to be that kind of friend yourself.

Jesus takes to heart the sufferings of His friends.
William Hendriksen

Christ: Key to Contentment

Philippians 4:6-7

While in prison, Paul penned precious words about the sufficiency of Christ. We tend to attach the idea of contentment to beach vacation spots and mountain retreats, but the apostle wrote that we are not to be anxious anywhere or at any time, because we have the Lord’s peace.

Contentment is the believer’s birthright. Peace is part of the spiritual fruit that’s ours when we trust in the Savior (Gal. 5:22); it is an inward serenity that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). Jesus lived through conflict with a sense of inner quiet, and because of His indwelling Spirit, that remarkable calm belongs to God’s children, too. That is important because there are times when we come across a problem that has no earthly solution. In situations like those, we learn that self-sufficiency is a lie. We cannot cope alone, but Christ is all we need.

Here is the flip side of the coin: “‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord” (Isa. 48:22). Modern culture slaps the word wicked onto only the vilest of actions and people, but God’s definition is much broader. The wicked are those who willfully reject His right to forgive their sins and take Lordship over their life. If you are not a believer, you cannot experience true and lasting contentment.

When we are born again (John 3:3-8), we become children of the living God and rightful heirs to every good thing He has to offer. This includes the deep inner peace and joy that can withstand any trial. What can man do to the one who belongs to the Lord (Heb. 13:6)?

But God

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

God makes all the difference! There was a time when the whole world was in bondage to sin and death. But God!

“But . . . God sent forth his Son . . . To redeem them that were under the law.” Because He did, “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). But there was a problem, for every man was still a lost sinner, deserving to die under the righteous, well-deserved wrath of a Holy God. But God!

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He died for us, suffering in our place, because He loved us. The issue is not yet settled, however, for how could a dead redeemer complete the work He was sent to do? But God!

“But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13:30). The price for sin was for ever settled, so that God, in full righteousness and in mighty power, could raise His beloved Son, alive forevermore. Yes, but we ourselves are still sinful—still dying. Our very nature keeps us in bondage to sin, even though the price for our deliverance has been fully paid. But God!

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. . . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; . . . it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8). We cannot fully understand. But God does not require us to understand—only to believe, and receive. HMM

Faith Rests on Character

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. —Titus 1:2

I have heard ministers say that if the people in their congregations would memorize more Bible promises, they would immediately have more faith. Yes and no.

Study the Scriptures and you will find that we are not going to have more faith by counting the promises of God. Faith does not rest upon promises. Faith rests upon character. Faith must rest in confidence upon the One who makes the promises.

Faith says, “God is God! He is the holy God who cannot lie. He is the God who is infinitely honest—He has never cheated anyone. He is the God who is faithful and true!”

Yes, we must be concerned with the person and character of God and not just with His promises. Through promises we learn what God has willed to us, we learn what we may claim as our heritage, we learn how we should pray. But faith itself must rest upon the character of our God.

When I think of the angels in heaven who veil their faces before the holy God who is totally truthful, I wonder why every preacher does not begin preaching about God—who He is, His attributes, His perfection, His being and why we love Him and why we should trust Him!

Lord, make Your good and holy character always visible to me so that I may know You more and trust You completely. Amen.

Do Not Love This World

The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Our Lord Jesus Christ drew a sharp line between the kingdom of God and this present world.
He has instructed us that no one can be at the same time a lover of both!

The apostles stood together in the New Testament teachings that it is necessary for a person to
turn the back upon the world and have not fellowship with it.

What, then, is this world against which we are warned?

It is the familiar world of human society. No Christian need fail to recognize it, providing he
wants to know what it is. Here are a few of its marks of identification:

1. Unbelief. To have fellowship with those who live in unbelief is the love of the world. Religion
without the Son of God is worldly religion.

2. Impenitence. The worldling shrugs off his sin and continues in it. The Christian mourns over
his sin and is comforted.

3. Godless philosophies. Men and women of this world accept the sufficiency of this world and
make no provision for any other, esteeming earth above heaven.

4. Externalism. The man of the earth lives only for the world around him—he has no kingdom
within him!

Jesus wears all the glory the pomp of heaven

Jesus wears all the glory which the pomp of heaven can bestow upon him, which ten thousand times ten thousand angels can minister to him. You cannot with your utmost stretch of imagination conceive his exceeding greatness: yet there will be a further revelation of it when he shall descend from heaven in great power, with all the holy angels—”Then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” Oh, the splendor of that glory! Nor is this the close, for eternity shall sound his praise. “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever!” Reader, if you would joy in Christ’s glory hereafter, he must be glorious in your sight now. Is he so?