Friday, July 9, 2010

I Wanna Thank You . . .

by Paula Sprigg

This Week's Verse: James 2:23, "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend."(NIV)

. . . Thank you for bein' a friend. . . I wanna thank you . . . Thank you for bein' a friend!!!

We all have friends. We all--more than likely--have many friends. We go to dinner, play cards, take walks, go to the movies, go on vacations. I think you get the point: we spend time with our friends.

Some friends are those you can call--in the middle of the night if necessary--to pray with you when something terrible has happened. Or perhaps they pray for you when you are so burdened that you simply cannot pray. Those are the friends who know your plans; they know what you're doing throughout the week (and feed your cat when you're gone), they know what your kids are doing (and would spank them for you if it was necessary), they know what you're having for dinner tonight (which is good 'cause often times even I don't know that!), they know your deepest, darkest secrets (and they won't judge you). They know what makes you laugh, what makes you cry, what makes you do the 'happy dance', what you like for dessert (anything with cherries)!

Good friends will come to your house, sit at your kitchen table, and share their hopes and dreams with you. They might even ask for your opinion now and then! And once they've asked, they'll take the time to listen. They seek, listen to, and (sometimes) even take your advice when given humbly, and with compassion and genuine concern. They don't stomp their foot, and go away mad. They may have to ponder your words for a time, or they may never see your point of view at all.

But the sweet thing about that true friendship is that you know they still love you no matter what! True friendship begins with the journey of "Give-and-Take" on "Two-Way Street".

Abraham had a relationship with God that was just like that. But it didn't happen without Abraham putting some effort into it, without taking the time to know God. Of course, God knows everything there is to know about us--the aches, pains, joys, and sorrows, the number of hairs on our head, the number of days in our life. Even so, He created us to be in a relationship with Him and He wants us to know Him.

Abraham knew God so intimately, that God convened His heavenly council at Abraham's tent and shared His plans for Sodom and Gomorrah with him (Gen. 18:16-19). WOW! God actually came and had coffee with Abraham. And then, God actually listened to Abraham and . . . well, you know the story about how Abraham proceeded to argue with God about sparing Sodom and Gomorrah if 'so many' righteous people could be found. Abraham had the audacity to ask God not once, not twice, but SIX times to spare the cities from complete destruction.

Abraham knew that he risked God's anger by continuing to ask, but he also knew that they were good enough friends that he could beg forgiveness for his brazen behavior, and approach God with humility, and genuine concern and compassion for the people. Abraham and God knew one another. They talked together. Abraham listened to and obeyed God, and consequently God shared his plans with Abraham (and I like to believe it was over a cup of coffee or possibly a glass of iced tea!). And then God spared the lives of a few righteous people from the destruction of Sodom.

I don't mean to imply that we can change God's plans. But we might find it easier to hear Him and obey his will for our lives, if we know Him better. I think I'll fix another pot of coffee this morning, and spend some time getting to know my Friend better!

Lord, I want to know you better. I want to have a close and deep relationship with you. I want to know you, I want to love you, I want to see your face. I know that I can only have that relationship with you by spending QUALITY time with you each and every day. My prayer is that you will convict me of your desire to know me better, and create a burning passion within my soul to take our relationship to a whole new level.

Application: Do you KNOW your friend? How well do you know the one person who should be your best friend? Will you commit to taking some time each day to spend with Jesus either in prayer, study, or silent meditation/reflection and learn to know Him on a more personal level?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 18:24, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”(NIV)
Isaiah 41:8–9, “But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend. I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.”(NIV)
Genesis 33:11, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. . .”(NIV)

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