Friday, August 13, 2010

How to be God's friend

Hello again - still with me in this Good Bible Study? We are getting down to it now, aren't we? Some of us are going to be tempted to drop away, after all this is getting serious. Instead of getting what we want from God, we are being asked to give. Yikes.

Anybody tempted to run back to that prosperity teaching? You know, just keep sending in your money folks, and then go on living your life, business as usual, and don't worry because now God is obligated to open the store houses and return to you a hundred fold for your investment . . . 

I have no doubt there are preachers and teachers sharing this message in the proper way, who are not suggesting God will bless us financially in direct exchange for our monetary generosity. And yes, we are responsible to help support our ministers and missionaries so they can concentrate on serving. I'm just saying we can all get real off balance with thinking money is the answer to our problems and that we can manipulate God into providing it.

To tell you the truth, I was right there with you a few years ago. I learned the hard way that God is not obligated to do a darn thing but love me (that's a verb, remember.) He's a good parent. He knows what we need to grow up well.

Did you know God wants you to grow up and be his friend? We all start out as babies with our little mouths open saying, "feed me, feed me!" And everyone loves babies, right? So full of wonder and excitement! But, no one wants to change diapers forever. In addition to listening to preachers and teachers, we need to open those Bibles and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His Word to us personally!

That's why I have you look up verses for yourselves. Because I want to help you get comfortable going to God yourself and learning who He is firsthand.

Jesus says we must keep that quality of excitement and wonder for God, but also grow up and develop the ability to remain passionate through faith, through our own knowledge of the Word, through testing our faith and seeing He is faithful to help us when we call on Him. Let me tell you, the knocks of life can quickly quench the fire of someone new to knowing God, who thinks God will now protect them from all uncomfortable circumstances or pain.

I was that baby Christian and I was sorely disappointed to find out being a Christian didn't mean God would spare me from pain, it meant He would bring me through pain to the other side. I had to grow up and realize I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me - not protects me always, not puts me in a bubble in which I can have no compassion for those in pain because I have never felt pain.

Read Philippians 4:13.

Do you remember the lesson in which we learned that Christ always goes first, then encourages you to follow His example? No matter how it hurts, He felt it first. No matter how much is scares you, keep your eyes on Him and He will show you how to do it afraid.

Christ didn't calm the waves when He walked on water. He just walked on water and told Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water after him. Read Matthew 14:25-33 for yourself.

A follower of Christ should be in some ways like a child: sincere, eager, trusting in the Lord (faith), and aware of your total dependence on God's strength to live life in joy and with courage. Read Mark 10: 13-16.

Jesus said you must receive His kingdom (His gift of salvation) with child-like belief, open-hearted and with no reservations if you expect to enter His heavenly kingdom one day. 

Why do you think that is true? Why not believe just enough to pass in church?

Jesus also tells us He wants us to maintain that child-like belief yet grow up and be a true friend of God.

To whom do you turn for advice? Your friend. Who's opinion do you value? Your friend. Who do you need to have your back at all times? Your friend. Who do you expect to be there when they are needed? Your friend.

What do you expect from a true friend?

Read Exodus 33:11

"So the Lord spoke to Moses _____ to ______, as a man speaks to his _________." NKJV

Read 2 Chronicles 20:7

"Are you not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of _________, Your ___________ forever?" NKJV

What does God say makes a true friend? Read Psalm 17:17 for the answer. Write it below:
____ _______ _________ _____ _____ ________.

Moses and Abraham loved God at all times, not just when God did everything they wanted, in their timing, and according to their demands. They were His friends.

Father, I want to grow up and be your friend. Help me to love you always, not matter what comes. Where else can I go Lord? Who else could love me without condition the way You do? Who else is always working things out for the best for me? No matter where I am when I turn to you, You are already there ready to bring me out of despair and into Your love. Help me to allow you to take any circumstance, no matter how painful, and bring good from it, and from me. Make me a good friend, Lord, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Love, Karen

Photo by Andrew Kazmierski
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