Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fellowship Offering ~ Series on Friendship

I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15b

The Hebrew word selem is used in the Old Testament to denote a fellowship offering or a peace offering, a required sacrifice of God's chosen people. Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary defines the nature of this offering: the person or community offering this sacrifice to God was in a positive, covenant-keeping relationship with God and enjoyed the fullness of His peace. This voluntary sacrifice anticipates the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ whose voluntary sacrifice creates reconciliation for the sinner and invites the sinner into fellowship with God.

With genuine affection, Jesus reveals the Father to His disciples, imparts intimate wisdom as He prepares them to share the Good News with the world. Only hours later, after their shock of the unexpected arrest and crucifixion of Jesus, will these words begin to resonate within them. Only years later, will each disciple, one by one, come to understand the depth of fellowship Jesus gives. Now, centuries later, each Believer enters into this circle of friendship. The ongoing outcome of being friends with God ~ truly knowing His peace in His presence ~ exceeds all circumstances, endures all suffering, and enlarges all hope.

Jesus Calling, a daily devotional book written by Sarah Young and published by Thomas Nelson, continues to rise in popularity since its publication in 2004. Sarah Young, a well-educated woman who travels with her husband planting churches, touches the soul with her prayer-full words. Nearly every day, I hear someone mention this book, see a quote on Twitter, or reference on Facebook. There are apps for smartphones and e-readers. In fact, I have the app on my iPad. These devotions reinforce the peace of Jesus that a person can find in relationship with Him. Jesus Calling is a Fellowship Offering that refines the peace of God's presence. I share an exert:
July 10 
Relax in My peaceful Presence. Do not bring performance pressures into our sacred space of communion. When you are with someone you trust completely, you feel free to be yourself. This is one of the joys of true friendship. Though I am Lord of lords, and Kind of kings, I also desire to be your intimate Friend. When you are tense or pretentious in our relationship, I feel hurt. I know the worst about you, but I also see the best in you. I long for you to trust Me enough to be fully yourself with Me. When you are real with Me, I am able to bring out the best in you: the very gifts I have planted in your soul. Relax, and enjoy our friendship.
Dominus Pacem Dat ~ The Lord Gives Peace. Are you looking for this kind of friendship? Just listen because Jesus is calling to you! ~dho

The ongoing outcome of being friends with God ~ truly knowing His peace in His presence ~ exceeds all circumstances, endures all suffering, and enlarges all hope. Donna Oswalt