Monday, 4 March 2013

A True Friend loves at all Times

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (  Proverbs 17:17  NIV)

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. (   Proverbs 17:17  NLT)

Did you know that the deepest need of the human heart is for real relationship and love?

Did you know that Deep and meaningful relationships and friendship make life most beautiful of all?

Deep within the human heart is a primal desire for love and friendship that echoes the passion of its Creator. These aspirations, that we tend to think are unique to the human spirit, mirror the heart-passion of God, our Creator, who actively seeks friendship with his creation. This is reflected in His relationship with Adam as they walked and talked together in the garden "in the cool of the day." The effects called fear, guilt and loneliness was first felt when that friendship was broken because of Adam's sin, and there, for the first time, the voice of God was heard throughout the garden, "Adam where are you?" Why are you fearful and alone? Ever since then, God has sought to bring man back into that cool of the day fellowship with Him.

How can we find true friendship in this often phony, temporary world? Friendship involves recognition or familiarity with another's personality. The “friend” part seems fairly straight forward, that as believers, our friendships are to be based upon commitment, not circumstance. We are committed to our friends and remain committed in both good times and bad. Being a “brother” is a level much deeper than being a “friend”. You see, it’s in the times of great adversity that we need the greatest amount of support from our natural and spiritual families. What is adversity anyway? It is hardship, difficulty, danger; unfavorable experiences and yes even great suffering. So if your brother or sister is facing such adversity in life, know this: you were born into this world, for this moment in time, for the purpose of being there and supporting your brother. This is the calling of everyone that calls themself a Christian, or as we see in the Bible, is called to be a saint of God. Is someone in your life facing a serious trial or situation? You were born for this moment, to lift them up and help as no one else can. Among the various titles by which Christians were called in the New Testament surely the most wonderful is that given by the Lord Jesus - "Ye are my friends":
Friends often share likes and dislikes, interests, pursuits, and passion. How can we recognize True friendship? As we know generally True friendships consist of a mutual desire for companionship and perhaps a common bond of some kind. Beyond that, genuine friendship involves a shared sense of caring and concern, a desire to see one another grow and develop, and a hope for each other to succeed in all aspects of life. True friendship involves action: doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return; sharing thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or negative criticism. The greatest characteristic of friendship is loyalty.
There are countless experiences that make life beautiful. But the most vital friendship we can ever cherish eternally is the friendship with God Almighty. Friendship is the richest and most beautiful experience. We were created in the image of God to have friendship and fellowship with God. Bible says God is Love - and so love is what we recognize beauty in more than anything else. But for anybody who has been deprived of love from infancy, the capacity to love and be loved may be severely impaired. Deep and meaningful relationships in which there is a two-way flow of unconditional love are what make life most beautiful of all. People need reciprocal love more than anything else in order to experience and appreciate beauty. One of the most beautiful things in life is being able to connect with God and walking with Him and share from the richness and depth of our mutual friendship.
Remember that God’s love is the ultimate. Knowing the love God has for you mean that you do not have to seek fulfillment in how anyone else makes you feel, the most perfect love comes from God, and it is always yours. He will do much more to fill the love-space than a person ever could. Make your intimacy with God knowing that God likes you and loves you; remember He sent His son, Jesus, to die for your sins. Make sure you are strong in your loving relationship with God. This means knowing that He is always there to help you along the way. Make God the most important person in your life. Make Him the love of your life then God will make something beautiful of your life, but he needs your trust in him to do it. Are you ready? 
Abraham was one of the great men mentioned in the Bible. His faith is cited for our example (Jas. 2, Heb. 11). Abraham is called a "friend of God" three times; look at following scriptures, God looks at Abraham and said “You are my friend forever”
 “Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?”(II Chronicles 20:7NASB)

 “ But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend.” (Isaiah 41:8NIV)

 “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. (James 2:23NIV)
In Genesis 18:17 Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? God remain very open and honest with Abraham when God remarkably begins to think about destroying Sodom in a way that invites Abraham "in" to God's inmost thoughts. God says in the form of a rhetorical question, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” The obvious answer is: "No. I will not hide from Abraham. We are friends." Similarly, Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" God's gracious initiative indeed welcomed Abraham not as a "Yes man" but as a faithful and honest probing friend. The result is one of the most breathtaking examples of covenant friendship between Abraham and God.
This divine yearning is more than evident throughout the scriptures. Even before the flood in the darkest of times God found a friend in a man named Enoch of whom it is written, “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:24) which shows reconciliation to God, for two cannot walk together except they be agreed, Am 3:3. It includes all the parts of a godly, righteous, and sober life. To walk with God, is to set God always before us, to act as always under his eye. It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in nothing to offend him. It is to be followers of him as dear children. The Holy Spirit, instead of saying, Enoch lived, says, Enoch walked with God. This was his constant care and work; while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God. It was the joy of his life. Enoch was removed to a better world. As he did not live like the rest of mankind, so he did not leave the world by death as they did. He was not found, because God had translated him, (Heb 11:5) It is this longing for friendship, within the heart of God and His longing to catch a people away unto himself, that I want to briefly share with you  the beauty of covenant friendship with God.

A friendship is a close relationship between two people who share similar interests and values. We are social beings, and without others to share our lives, we would feel lonely. Like any other relationship, friendship needs to be nurtured or it will die. The love experienced between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, between a husband and wife, the love of families - these can be amongst the most beautiful of relationships when they are well-nourished and cultivated on a regular basis. That's not to say that they have to be perfect. Even when mistakes are made, feelings hurt and emotional wounds inflicted - as happens in any relationship - those relationships remain beautiful so long as there is agape love, honesty, forgiveness and healing. That is divine love at work in the world.
Generally speaking, we all have friends. Everyone wants a true friend. Though all of us have family and distant family, most of us rely on friends for fellowship, advice, comfort and inspiration. How do we define a relation that can be called as one of true friendship? Great friendships are priceless. Good friends can lift your spirits, make you laugh, and remind you that you are loved. True Friends are real and make you feel comfortable with yourself, so you don't need to act like something you're not. Your friends know your shortcomings and love you anyway. You are perhaps the "best version" of yourself when you're with your friend.
In life, you have friends, and then you have a “True friend”. This is the one who stays closer to you than a brother. This person sits beside you on the roller coaster of life and never abandons you. A true friend stands by you at the grave of your loved one. You recognize that person’s presence is always nearby, even when everyone else has left.
When our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, was dying all alone on that old rugged cross, He was willing to bear all the sins of mankind. The one thing that He didn’t want to bear was the thought of being apart from His Father. Jesus could not bear the thought or the pain of God possibly abandoning Him. It was just a few hours later when Jesus felt the absence if His Father’s presence. That is the exact thing that He didn’t want to feel, however, He experienced it. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”God will never remove His presence from you! His Son experienced that for you. No One else would be willing to experience that for you, except a “Friend”. That is exactly what we have in Jesus Christ…A True Friend! He’s our Savior and Lord…However; He is also, OUR FRIEND!
“Life is like a sail. Some people get on and off board very easily. Some will stay on board as long as everything is sailing smoothly; but let the rough weather come, and they will abandon the boat. A true friend is the one who will stick with you till the last. God's greatest gesture of love and friendship to mankind is His Son, Jesus Christ. Toward the end of Jesus' ministry on earth, He said something to His disciples that should capture the mind of every true believer and lover of God. He redefined friendship in the loftiest of terms.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. “(John 15:12-15)
Friendship, as Jesus defines it, is more than a mere mutually dependent relationship or casual politeness. It is a sharing of the highest order, an utter giving of one’s self, holding nothing back, not even one’s own life. There is no greater love or friendship than this. Jesus bestowed the very honor on His disciples as the Son of God that God bestowed on Abraham, the friend of God, who was taken so deeply into God's trust that God would keep no secrets from him.
Bible says God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13). The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the definition of a true friend in John 15:13-15: “Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
I remember the story of Joseph Screven, who was born in County Down, Ireland, he aspired as a young man to follow in his father's footsteps as a Royal Marine, but his poor health made that impossible.  Then he fell in love and was engaged to be married, but the day before his wedding his fiancé died in a tragic drowning accident. Heartbroken, Joseph sailed from his homeland to start a new life in Canada. While in Canada working as a teacher, he fell in love again and became engaged to Eliza Roche, a relative of one of his students. Once again, Joseph's hopes and dreams were shattered when Eliza became ill and died before the wedding could take place.

Although one can only imagine the turmoil within this young man, history tells us that his faith in God sustained him. Soon after Eliza's death Joseph joined the Plymouth Brethren and began preaching for a Baptist church. He never married, but spent the remainder of his life giving all his time, money and even the clothes off his own back to help the less fortunate and to spread the love and compassion of Jesus wherever he went. Around the same time, Joseph received word from Ireland that his mother was ill. He couldn't afford to return to Ireland, so he wrote a letter of comfort and enclosed one of his poems in the hope that it would comfort her.  The poem entitled, "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!" This hymn has maintained its popularity for a century and a half –– probably because a man acquainted with grief –– who happened also to be acquainted with faith and friendship with God–– helps us to see that faith in God and covenant friendship can triumph over grief. 
Dear reader, God is befriending you. He desires to have a covenant friendship with you, just like he had with Enoch, Abraham, Moses and Joseph Screven -just like He has with His Son Jesus and His Son had with His disciples. He wants to take you into His secret counsel and share the secrets knowledge of his kingdom, the mystery of Godliness, with you! ……

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