Of Friends and Family

Proverb 18: 24

God’s Word

Friends can destroy one another, but a loving friend can stick closer than family.


One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I have been thinking about friendship much lately. To capture what I have been thinking I need both translations above. First, a good friend can be a source of tremendous joy and support. There is a type of friend who loves, accepts and supports better than family. They honor their friends and appreciates their achievements without being judgmental of the failures. If you have the great fortune to have this kind of friend, hang on to them. They are a pure joy, a blessing from heaven. David had a friend like this. King Saul’s son, Jonathan, loved David like a brother, or even better. Their hearts were knit together.

There is also the other kind of “friend” mentioned in the verse above. Some people call themselves a friend but are more likely to bring you to ruin than to help you grow. They truly have the power to destroy and they wield it. It is sad when friends injure friends, but it happens. In those times, you realize they were not truly friends at all. True friends should be as Jesus, sacrificial. They should exhibit the Christ like ideal of serving others rather than being so self-absorbed. One of the problems we encounter in the world is that people are damaged commodities.

None of us get through this world unscathed. It is only the love of the Father and the healing touch of Jesus which repairs the injuries we pick up as we travel through the world. So, those who do not allow themselves to be healed, will often hurt others. It’s not that they intend to cause harm, but they are so busy protecting themselves and looking after their self-interests that they will cause injury to others. Of course, they have a way of justifying their behavior. Mostly, they will blame the person to whom they owe fealty but abandon. To put it plainly, they will stab you in the back, yet blame you. In their brokenness, they must find a way to excuse their behavior because in their hearts, they know they are wrong.

Most of you have experienced both kinds of friends. The one who love you better than your family is a treasure more valuable than gold. The other kind of friend will cause you deep pain, hurt and confusion. Here is my advice for both kinds of friends: thank God for the former and pray for the latter. Certainly, do a self-evaluation and prayerfully consider whether there is something within you which needs addressing but don’t carry other people’s damage in your heart. Pray for them and let them go.

Spend time with Jesus and become close with him. Actually, spend enough quality time talking with him that he feels like a good friend to, you. Tell him your thoughts and invite him to your events. You may find there are times you don’t want to be around other humans because it interferes with your time shared with Jesus. Don’t apologize for that. You need it and Jesus wants to hang out with you.

I want you to have close human friends upon whom you can rely. I want you to enjoy what those special friends can bring to your life. However, I also want you to be so close in your relationship with Jesus that you are never alone. He is the ultimate friend, the friend who loves you even more than family, the friend who will never let you down. He is the best friend any of us can have.

Whose Friend are You?

Proverb 18: 24

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

One of the things this viral attack on our world, cultures and lifestyles has done is to bring people together. Though we are separated by space and don’t get to see one another, you sure do appreciate your friends and find tenderness towards people in general. Maybe you have some friendships that have been forged during this time or strengthened. You find out who provokes tenderness in your heart and whose heart is pining for you. Perhaps you have been surprised by someone who reached out to you or someone you found yourself concerned about.

Since we will be separated a bit longer, you might also ask yourself who you might like to reach out to. There has never been a time in our history where human kindness was more in need. I find we are very independent and have a hard time receiving the kindness of others even if we need it. We feel like we are imposing even to accept what was offered. None the less, it is meaningful and a little kindness goes a long way.

Right now, some people are faring quite well while others are starting to suffer from the confinement. This would be a great time to actually pick up the phone and call someone. Human contact is valuable in this time of isolation. You could even write an old fashion letter. Face time someone you think might be feeling isolated. These are good ways to exercise your Christianity and our faith is something which ought to have outward expression. Do you agree?

Be kind to one another. Make it a point to isolate physically, but reach out to others any way you can. People need people, now more than ever. Take care of yourself but take care of others too. Thomas Paine wrote, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” These are definitely the times which try men’s souls, but now we are being asked not only to stand by our country but by one another and those who exercise human compassion will deserve the love of man and woman for this is a crisis of the heart as well as of the body. This is your opportunity to be a hero, to fight for your fellow human beings by extending yourself. These are the days when heroes are made. Though we may not be as those brave, commendable medical providers, we can do our part by cheering someone who is going a little stir crazy in their home.  Be a hero today from the comfort of your home.

Forward this Word of the Day to a friend to let them know we all care.

My Buddy

John 14: 16 – 17

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

I started to send you scriptures today which show the Holy Spirit as the promise of God, there are quite a few, but perhaps you have already come to that conclusion. This scripture from Haggai spells it out simply enough, “As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!” (Haggai 2: 5). This scripture is great assurance that God fulfilled the promise He made. The bigger question, therefore, may be, why is this so important? What does the fulfillment of this promise mean to me? That is the question I would like to attempt to answer today.

Jesus was the first to teach about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was referred to by many prophets and writers, but Jesus told us about the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. We find key language in today’s verse. Jesus called the Holy Spirit our “Helper.” If you check this word in your Strong’s Concordance or even in the footnotes, you find the word here which is translated into English as helper also means comforter, intercessor and most interesting of all, one who is called to go alongside. This is the idea I would like you take away from today’s Word of the Day. The Holy Spirit was sent to us by God as a fulfillment of His promise so that we would have a constant companion, someone who will go along beside us regardless of the circumstance.

It is remarkable that God, at the request of Jesus, would send His Own Spirit to be our companion. Even more remarkable, though, is that this cohort, this third person of the Trinity, is called to walk along beside us. This should give even greater insight to the idea of partnership with the Holy Spirit. God didn’t send us a boss. There is absolutely nothing tyrannical in our relationship with the Spirit. At the deepest level of truth, Father God sent us a friend, a buddy. That is the key revelation of the Holy Spirit. That is the revelation that could, and dare I say, should, change your life forever.

There is so much more that he does for us but it all flows from this relationship, or friendship. He is our teacher, an intercessor, he assists us in prayer. He is the Spirit of Truth and leads us in all truth. He is our guide and our confidante. The big revelation, though, is that he is your friend. He is with you every moment of your life. He is the breath in your lungs. There is a scripture which says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” (Proverb 18: 24). This is the Spirit, the living water which quenches our thirst. This is our friend.

Best Friends

John 15: 13                     NIV

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Jesus demonstrated true friendship. He also defined friendship in some meaningful ways. Proverb 18: 24 says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Surely, Jesus has modeled this kind of friendship for us and, he has become this kind of friend to us. In truth, isn’t he just the best friend you have ever had?

This verse certainly brings joy and a sense of celebration to the heart but I feel snagged by it also. If a real friend is one who would lay down one’s life for a friend, then it stands to reason that we would lay down a great many other things, as well, for our friends. The most costly of these is that I may have to lay aside my agenda, my wishes and my time for my friends.

We live in an age where we are all so busy that, really, we don’t have much time for our friends. We end up with virtual friends instead of real friends. I even wonder if the word “friend” means what it used to. Perhaps most of our friends are really acquaintances. I remember, as a child, my parents having friends over to play cards. Sometimes we went over to other friends of theirs and sat and sang songs all evening. We also took weekends to go visit relatives. We don’t do many of those things today. If, as the God’s Word translation says, “The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends” how do we demonstrate our love and affection for anyone? Or have we stopped caring altogether? Our heartstrings are pulled by the affliction of people who suffer around the world, we give money to groups who rescue abused and neglected animals but where is the real devotion in personal relationships? Are we only dedicated to those whom we can keep at arm’s length. Are my very best friends those on Facebook whom I never see and haven’t seen in years? Or like one person I know, who never intends or desires to see her Facebook friends in person, are many of us learning to isolate ourselves living as islands of one or two? What does it even mean anymore to have “meaningful” relationships? Do you sometimes wonder who would care if you dropped dead?

I think of the people who followed Jesus. They truly loved him. He loved them with all that he had. He loves you and I with all that he ever was and willingly sacrificed his life so that we could be best friends. Are we treating him as a long-distance relationship? What would it be like, how would it feel to treat him as an intimate friend? And what is a friend anyway? He showed us ultimate friendship in laying down his life for us, but what shall I now do, how shall I express my love for him? How does a real, true friendship with Jesus demonstrate itself? And is my relationship with him based solely on what he does for me? What can I do for him or any friend? Perhaps it is not about what you do though. Maybe it is just about being with them.

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Jesus is one. Is there another?

In Christ

1 Corinthians 1: 30

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

By the grace and the formidable power of God you have become one with Jesus. You are hidden away in him, safe and secure. In Jesus is everything you could possibly need. Do you need wisdom for a business decision; he is the wisdom of God in our lives. He provided and his blood pronounces that you are in good standing with God; that is your rightness or righteousness in him. You are sanctified which means that you have been made holy, dedicated to sacred use; consecrated. Did you realize that? That makes you very special. And that is not even the end of it. Jesus also redeemed you from the curse of the law, the shackles of slavery and the death sentence that was upon you. You have been set free indeed.

But by the miracle working power of God you are actually in Jesus. Can you fathom what that means? It sounds a little new age but most of the new age lexicon is just things which have been derived from God and then have had a twist put on them. For example, people think of meditation as New Age. In a way that is just funny. It may be “New” Age but God invented mediation before there even was an earth. He has been teaching his children about visualization and meditation for thousands of years so don’t let today’s idea upset your apple cart. The miracle of Jesus in you and you in him is completely feasible when you understand that there is a spiritual realm which is every bit as real as the physical realm. People adhere to the physical evidence because they are much more skillful with their five physical senses than they are with spiritual discernment. If, however, you can accept by faith that you are in Christ then you will gain an entirely new perspective on life. No matter what situation presents itself picture yourself “in Christ”. Wouldn’t it completely change your point of view if you knew that no matter what the matter is Jesus is every bit as much a part of it as you are? What if you were looking at your current situation through his eyes instead of through yours? Would that matter? Of course it would. Jesus has power to bring to bear on any and every situation. He also has great favor with the father. There is nothing (legal and moral) that God wouldn’t do for you but if you don’t believe that at least believe God would do if for Jesus. If you are in a mess God is interested in helping you and your big brother out of it.

Grab this idea – you and Jesus are an integral unit. When you go to the grocery store, he goes too. When he sits at the right hand of the father, you are right there with him. Your DNA is beginning to intertwine with and duplicate his. You are never without him. Even when you feel alone, you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverb 18: 24). In your darkest moments, he is your constant companion. You are a part of him and he wants the very best for you.