Thursday, June 27, 2013

Friendship Betrayed ~ Series on Friendship

"It is not an enemy who taunts me - I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me - I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you - my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together in the house of God." Psalm 55:12-14 NLT

David's psalm laments his personal betrayal by a close friend, someone he trusts, someone with whom he shares his faith. The greatest wounds inflicted are not usually from an adversary but from the betrayal of a close companion. Within personal relationships, when disloyalty reaches deep and undermines trust, pain sits with disbelief. Deception is an intimate violation.

Betrayal can threaten to sway political powers for personal gain. For example, the Jewish leaders taunt Pilate, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar," suggesting that convicting Jesus of a crime and sentencing Him to death would prove Pilate more popular with Caesar. In the continued betrayal of Jesus and with great hypocrisy, the chief priests even declare that Caesar is their only king! Duplicity creates confusion and conflict.

When injustice is exposed, self-righteousness and guilt meet. Jesus endures the slander of those who deny His truth mocking Him as a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Jesus tells those who choose to believe and follow Him, they,too, will know betrayal from family and friends and even death. Jesus experiences the betrayal by one of His own disciples. Unfaithfulness joins rebellion, and friendship is betrayed with a kiss.

Scripture tells us that having a friendship with the world makes us an enemy of God. The world has no loyalty and will always betray us with false security and corrupt truth. In desperation, we firmly position our hopes while holding buckets of excuses and juggling platters of expectations. Jesus waits for us. Jesus chooses us. Jesus calls us. There is no deception or duplicity in Jesus. Simply come to Jesus as a sinner and become a friend of God. ~dho

"There is no deception or duplicity in Jesus. Simply come to Jesus 
as a sinner and become a friend of God." ~ Donna Oswalt

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fruit-full Friendship ~ Series on Friendship

"You didn't choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you." John 15:16 CEB

For Jesus, friendship with the Father and His disciples implied shared understanding and commitment to a common, higher purpose.(Doyle Theimer) Jesus chooses us and then assigns us the task of producing lasting fruit. As the Holy Spirit infuses the soul with righteous living, a new nature with new characteristics evolve. Being ambassadors for Christ, we must  accurately represent Him. The depth of our relationship with Christ is expressed in our relationships with others. Jesus invites us into a radial faith and reveals infinite possibilities. 
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23
Faithfulness to the Father, obedience to Christ, and response to the Spirit produces a fruit-full garden. These fruits of the Spirit become our testimony, our mission, our common purpose with Christ. In sharing these fruits with others, the door to God's intention swings wide to righteous living. Henri Nouwen gives clarity to Jesus choosing us with we are called to give our very lives to one another and that, in so doing, we become a true community of love. Jesus chooses us to be fruit-full friends, and promises us a personal, intimate relationship that exceeds imagination! ~ dho

We are called to give our very lives to one another and that, in so doing, 
we become a true community of love. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Relationship Matters! ~ Series on Friendship

"He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time." 2 Timothy 1:9 NIV

Friendship with God is not evidenced in self-sufficiency, academic knowledge, and social status, or in moral strength, natural ability, and life experience. Arrogance and self-reliant attitudes create barriers between us and God. Our relationship with God develops in our places of poverty - in our places of deepest need. This spiritual friendship finds fertile ground on mountains of despair, along valleys of darkness, in deserts of doubt. Jesus says, "You didn't choose Me, but I chose you!" 

Oswald Chambers writes, "The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends." As God's Kingdom-friends, we become a part of His Bigger and Glorious Plan. Chambers goes on to say, "The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain." Our relationship with God defines our purpose and reveals our priority in our circle of influence. Only through Christ can we be made pure and holy. This holy calling becomes holy work. Within this divine friendship, our weaknesses find Grace and purpose. Relationship matters! ~ dho

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Faithful Friendship ~ Series on Friendship

"No one has greater love [no one shows stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends." John 15:13 AMP

Among the ancient Greeks, according to Biblical scholar Luke Timothy Johnson, "friendship was among the most discussed, analyzed, and highly esteemed relationships." In many Greco-Roman stories, dying for the sake of friendship speaks to strong moral character, heroic but rare. Jesus tells His circle of friends how much He loves them and with the cross, proves that amazing love. Even in suffering, Jesus remains faithful.

Examples of God's faithfulness can be seen throughout the Bible. In 2 Timothy 2:13 Scripture reminds that even in our unfaithfulness, God is faithful. When Jesus says, "but I have called you friends," He is sharing more than heartfelt emotions. Jesus reveals His relationship with God the Father and shares this deep intimacy with His chosen friends. This intimate friendship between God and a few fishermen in Galilee over 2,000 years ago remains the model for Christians today. A rare, faithful Friend, Jesus demonstrates the greatest love, the strongest affection for every person with His willingness to endure the cross. This holy gift of faithful friendship is designed to be shared with others. ~ dho

A rare, faithful Friend, Jesus demonstrates the greatest love for every person with His willingness to endure the cross. Donna Oswalt click to tweet