VIDEO A Friend of Mine!

You are My friends…. I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:14-15

In the early 1900s, William C. Poole, a Methodist pastor in Delaware, told preachers that a sermon should have enough humanity in it to get down on everyone’s level, to touch elbows and hearts and enough divinity in it to lift people up. That’s good advice for every Christian teacher or preacher.

That’s the way the Word Himself was—Jesus Christ. He took upon Himself humanity and came down here to touch elbows and hearts with us. But being God, He is also able to lift us up. Because Jesus is a man, He can sympathize with us. Because He is God, He can strengthen us. No matter what we’re experiencing in our life, we have a Savior who understands.

About the time William C. Poole was preaching sermons, John Sammis was writing hymns. One of them said: “Why should I charge my soul with care? The wealth of every mine belongs to Christ, God’s Son and Heir, and He’s a Friend of mine.”

He’s your Friend too!

The golden sun, the silver moon, and all the stars that shine, are His alone, yes, every one, and He’s a Friend of mine. John Sammis

Slaves and Friends of Jesus, Part 1 (John 15:12–17)

Mutual Encouragement

Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today.” Hebrews 3:13

After another week of being beaten down by more medical setbacks, I slumped onto the sofa. I didn’t want to think about anything. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I couldn’t even pray. Discouragement and doubt weighed me down as I turned on the television. I began watching a commercial showing a little girl talking to her younger brother. “You’re a champion,” she said. As she continued affirming him, his grin grew. So did mine.

God’s people have always struggled with discouragement and doubt. Quoting Psalm 95, which affirms that God’s voice can be heard through the Holy Spirit, the writer of Hebrews warned believers in Jesus to avoid the mistakes made by the Israelites while wandering in the wilderness (Hebrews 3:7–11). “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God,” he wrote. “But encourage one another daily” (vv. 12–13).

With our lifeline of hope secured in Christ, we can experience the power-packed fuel we need to persevere: mutual encouragement within the fellowship of believers (v. 13). When one believer doubts, other believers can offer affirmation and accountability. As God strengthens us, His people, we can offer the power of mutual encouragement to one another.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How has God used the affirming words of someone in your life to comfort and encourage you during a difficult time? How can you encourage others with your words today?

Loving God, help me live for You and lift others up in love with my words and actions.

For further study, read That Skill: How Words Invite Others into Freedom.

Friends of Christ

Because Jesus chose us to be His friends, we have the privilege of interacting with Him daily John 15:12-17

Jesus Christ is so many things to us—Savior, Master, and Lord. But amazingly He also calls us His friends. Can you imagine any greater compliment from the Creator of heaven and earth? And our part in this divine friendship involves spending time with the Lord and getting to know Him.  

The Lord thinks of us not merely as slaves (although that is what we are, since we’ve been purchased with His precious blood); He’s also raised us to the level of friends in whom He confides. That’s why Jesus said to His disciples, “All things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). And today we have the completed Scriptures, which give us explanations about God’s will, purposes, commands, and desires. 

The disciples were blessed to have the opportunity to live and interact with the incarnate Christ. But we’re also privileged because we can have the same intimate relationship with the Savior that those first-century followers had. What’s more, His Spirit lives within every believer, continually revealing more of the Father and Son to us through His Word.  

Did He Really Die?

“And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.” (Mark 15:44-45)

The absolute and total physical death of Christ is essential to the gospel. Certain liberals and detractors have for years tried to obscure or deny this vital teaching, claiming that Christ merely “swooned” on the cross and later revived in the tomb, then appeared to His followers who falsely claimed His resurrection.

But to the Christian, the death of Christ is not an option. The Bible teaches that sin had separated each man from God: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” being declared righteous only “through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:23, 25) that was shed on the cross. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22). There can be no Christianity without the real death of the real, sinless Son of God.

It seems that the gospel writers, in recounting the events of the crucifixion, go to great lengths to make sure no one misunderstands. In Mark 15, for example, nearly 20 people are mentioned who no doubt would testify to His death. Consider the likely testimony of the Roman guards who had tortured Him to the point of death (vv. 15-23), nailed Him on the cross (v. 24), and watched Him die. The executioner (v. 25) and the centurion (vv. 39, 44-45) were trained in killing. They knew how to recognize death. The thieves (v. 27), the mocking passersby (v. 29), the chief priests and scribes (v. 31), the grave keepers (v. 46), all would have had no doubt. Pilate was convinced (vv. 44-45), as were His many friends who watched (vv. 40-41, 47).

There can be no doubt Christ surely died, and He died “to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). JDM

Not Who, but What

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.Romans 8:10

What is the Holy Spirit? Not who, but what? The answer is that the Holy Spirit is a Being dwelling in another mode of existence. He has not weight, nor measure, nor size, nor any color, no extension in space, but He nevertheless exists as surely as you exist.

The Holy Spirit is not enthusiasm. I have found enthusiasm that hummed with excitement, and the Holy Spirit was nowhere to be found there at all; and I have found the Holy Ghost when there has not been much of what we call enthusiasm present.

Neither is the Holy Spirit another name for genius. We talk about the spirit of Beethoven and say, “This or that artist played with great spirit. He interpreted the spirit of the master,” The Holy Spirit is none of these things. Now what is He?

He is a Person. Put that down in capital letters…He is Himself a Person, with all the qualities and powers of personality. HTB011-012

[T]he Spirit is Himself God, the very true Nature of the Godhead subsisting in a form that can impart Himself to our consciousness.

Slow Growth, Good Growth

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.2 Peter 3:18

Resentment poisons the one who holds it. Think how free of resentment our Lord was. His “first word” from the cross shows how He dealt with any possible temptation to be resentful. I believe that He was as free to walk away from Calvary as he was to walk away from the cliff-edge above Nazareth. He accepted death. Sin and love were in decisive battle. Had He drawn back, sin would have won. And He who lives in us can love in us—if we let Him.

We must allow time for change. Change is more often than not a process. I want to emphasize this because many, when once they see the way out of their dilemma, want change to take place too quickly. Some changes in our lives take place quickly. The night I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, a lot of my sinful habits left me. But some didn’t, and the process of change was long and tedious. Deep healing and supernatural change can take place in a moment, but often it takes months of struggle, trial and error, learning and unlearning.

All of us have different timetables when it comes to growing, and no one should judge another’s timetable. There is an assumption that when God is involved, then all change will be instantaneous. It can happen that way, but be prepared also for it to take place over a period of time. A gardener friend of mine says: “Slow growth is good growth.” It is the same in the garden of the soul.


Father, help me to be content with Your timetable for my spiritual growth. Sometimes I want to grow more quickly than is good for me. Help me be patient with Your patience. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

2Pt 1:2-8; Ps 1:1-3; Jr 17:7-8; Ezk 31:3-9

What do we grow in?

Compare spiritual growth to a tree’s growing.

Not Quarrelsome

The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient. . . —2 Timothy 2:24

There should be no quarrelsome Christians. The truth of God is within us; we need never be intimidated or frustrated by those who do not accept God’s truth.

At times people may disagree with you regarding God’s Word. Perhaps they question the way you say He is leading you, or they may challenge your faith in God. At times like these it is never helpful to argue. You will never debate anyone into the kingdom of God. You will never persuade someone that God has spoken to you by outarguing them! Only God can convince others of the veracity of His word to you. If you will allow God to vindicate you in His time, and in His way, a time will come when the wisdom of your choice will be evident (Luke 7:35). If you find yourself often quarreling with others, you need to ask God to clearly reveal your motives and to forgive you for your disobedience to His clear command.

If your motivation for arguing comes from your desire to be right, or to be exonerated, or to gain the esteem of those listening to you, you are acting selfishly, and God will not honor you. God is not interested in how right you are. He is interested in how obedient you are. God’s command is not that you win arguments, but that you are kind and forgiving when others mistreat you. You bring God no honor by winning a dispute in His name, but you reflect a Christlike character when you demonstrate patience to those who mistreat you or misunderstand your motives. Arguing may never win people to your view, but loving them as Christ does will win you many friends over time!