Choose Your Friends

Have you ever depended upon a friend? If not, you can certainly trust Jesus.

Written by Hope on 24/03/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Church And Community, Friends, Relationships
"He told them, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his 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)

When I was in grade 4 of secondary school, I sprained my ankle. Being on crutches for 6 weeks made it hard to keep up with the other kids. But one friend stayed with me and made sure I didn't get left out. We came from different social and racial backgrounds, but that didn’t matter to either of us. She literally let me lean on her, and I was grateful for her kindness and strength.

Jesus Is Our Friend
Have you ever depended upon a friend like that? If not, you can certainly trust Jesus. He is not just our Lord; He is our Friend, too. He told His followers, "Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one’s friends" (John 15:12-15). My school friend displayed Christ-like love when she sacrificed her time for me.

Chosen Friend
My friend and I were different in many ways, but she still chose to help me. Likewise, God knew that we needed help, and He told His people: "But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob My chosen one, descended from Abraham My friend, I have called you… For I have chosen you" (Isaiah 41:8-9). God and humans are not even close to equal; but because of His friendship with Abraham's descendants, God fulfilled His plan to save humanity from sin.

Act on Your Friendship
We display our friendship with God and our faith in Him by obeying Him, doing what He asks of us: "[Abraham's] faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. …So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone" (James 2:22, 24) Also, being a Christ-like friend to others is a great way to show Jesus' love. Praying for your friends, as Jesus did, is a great way to care: "I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail" (Luke 22:32).

Prayer, Care and Share Jesus
The Power of a Friendship!

It's so exciting to know that the Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ, calls us His friends (if we follow His commands, John 15, v. 14)! And he wants us to love each other as He loved us.

Last week we started to identify lost people around us, who don't yet have a living relationship with Jesus. This week's step is to initiate a friendship with one of these people.

Do you care enough for a lost person you see regularly, to start being friends with them? You don't have to rush. Pray about this person you identify. If you are shy, ask the Lord or a friend for help in reaching out. Do something that fits your culture – it may just be inviting them for a cup of coffee.

You do not have to talk to them about Jesus right away. Just become friends and build the relationship. Ask them to tell their life stories, then really listen. Share your story when asked, without preaching. If they invite you to do something you don't feel is right, simply decline politely and without condemning. They will soon understand and accept you as you are – because you accept them as they are.

Whether this is easy or challenging for you, follow Jesus' example and be a friend to someone who needs Him!

Pray this week:

For someone who is brokenhearted and does not realize that Jesus is there for him or her.

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The Power of a Friend

Paul was accompanied and guided by the Holy Spirit. But was that his only support? No! He traveled and worked with different partners and friends throughout his ministry.

Written by Hope on 27/10/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Apostle Paul, Church And Community
The Lord now chose 72 other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit. Luke 10:1

"I also tell you this: if two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you." Matthew 18:19

Next to Jesus, the Apostle Paul is the most prominent character in the New Testament. His story is told in the book of Acts, and his instructional letters (epistles) to his spiritual children make up about half the New Testament books. Being an educated Jewish man and a Roman citizen, Paul had many privileges, including freedom to travel. This enabled him to spread the Gospel across the Roman Empire, preaching and teaching to establish new churches everywhere.

Did He Do It Alone?
Of course, Paul was accompanied and guided by the Holy Spirit. But was that his only support? No! He traveled and worked with different partners and friends throughout his ministry.

First, one day while Christian prophets and teachers in Antioch "were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.' So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way" (Acts 13:2-3). As a team, Paul and Barnabas effectively shared the Gospel and established several churches.

As Paul began his second missionary journey, his team included Timothy, a young disciple whose mother was a Jewish Believer. "They went from town to town, instructing the Believers to follow the decisions made by the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day" (Acts 16:4-5).

Silas was yet another ministry companion, and suffered imprisonment with Paul. Through this trial, the Lord used Paul and Silas to lead others, including the jailer, to salvation. And when Paul and Silas rejoined their team, "they met with the Believers and encouraged them once more" (Acts 16:40).

Are You Alone?
Saint Paul was one of the most gifted evangelists ever. Time after time, God provided him with "faithful helpers who served with [him] in the Lord’s work" (Colossians 4:7). If the Lord allowed Paul to rely on partners, you can be sure it can be good for you! Ask the Lord to send someone to join you in the ministry He has for you.

Prayer, Care, and Share Jesus
“Support From a Friend”

Scripture: Luke 10:1

Have you ever heard the saying “two heads are better than one”? Whether you’re discipling, sharing the gospel or praying, doing those things with a friend who is also a believer can often be powerful when God is using you. Even the 72 disciples in Luke 10 were sent out in pairs to share the gospel. But remember, even when you’re not doing these things with a friend, you’re never alone because the Holy Spirit is with you (Acts 2).

There is power in agreement and accountability. We encourage you to meet or talk regularly with another follower of Jesus who prays, cares for, and shares Jesus with others. This support could take the form of helping each other in discipling a new believer, or praying together for others.

Jesus even explains in the Bible the power of agreement in Matthew 18:19, where He says that if two people agree on something and ask for it, it will be done for them by His Father in heaven.

You can even tell your friend about the Prayer Care and Share Jesus guide, and how it has helped you live out and share your faith based on teachings in the Bible. Teaching someone about it might even be helpful to you!

Pray this week:

That God will enable and empower you to boldly do His work.

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God’s Way To Self-Esteem / Do you love yourself?

Do you love yourself?

Written by GodLife on 02/08/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Identity, Growth, Faith, Shame, Self Esteem
A second [commandment] is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22:39
When Jesus quoted Leviticus 19:18, He was not teaching us to love ourselves. In stating that we already love ourselves, He was using the quality of that already-present love for ourselves to teach us how to love others. One who really loves is fully-invested in the loved one's best interests. Here are three ways that attitude towards self is supposed to be altered when God gives us a new heart (Psalm 51:10) with His love poured out (Romans 5:5) in it.

1. Practice repentance: Guilt brings shame and hopelessness.
The whole time God is working through the things which happen to you to conform you to Christ's image (Romans 8:28-29), the world is also trying to force you to conform to its own. (Romans 12:2) One of the ways this is done is through subtle reasoning meant to make you arrogantly ignore God and your obligation to obey Him. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Two equally harmful reactions to guilt feelings are often advised by the wisdom of this world. We can excuse them by labeling them "false guilt", or we can blame others (parents, teachers, or other authorities) for them. But the Bible warns us, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Guilt feelings are usually due to real guilt. Our new nature still wars with an old one, (Galatians 5:17) and we still sin. Obeying God, (and loving ourselves His way), means confessing and agreeing with Him about our sin. (1 John 1:7-9)

2. Practice humility: We do not want to be judged by our actions.
An unhealthy self-image tends to bounce back and forth between the hopelessness of guilt and the pride of accomplishment. Spiritually speaking, you are in one of two categories. If you are "in Adam," you are destined to be judged by your works—and will perish. If you are in Christ, you are credited with His perfection—and destined for eternal life. (1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21) Embracing God's plan to conform you to His image (Romans 8:28-29 again) means making God's will, (Christ's exaltation, not yours), the point of your life. (Matt. 5:16; Luke 22:42; Philippians 2:5-9)

3. Accept Assurance: We have value to God!
Look to Jesus to find your identity. To keep from bouncing back and forth from pride to shame, center on God Himself. He wants all people everywhere to turn away from sin and a selfish life, (Acts 17:30), and find security in Jesus' statement on the cross: "it is finished!" (John 19:30) Your sin has been paid for. Christ's sinless record can be credited to you.

Esteem means value. Value of self, apart from what God says about us or wants for us, is idolatry. On the other hand, God's investment in you is total. He has invested His image in you. (Genesis 1:27) He has invested His life's blood in you. (Acts 20:28) He is not ashamed to call you His children, brothers and sisters to Christ. (Hebrews 2:11-13, 1 John 3:1) Will His investment in you bring a return?

Pray this week:

Father, I confess I have gone my own way like a straying sheep. I have no confidence in my own work but only in what Jesus has done for me. Show me His way, and help me to follow it, I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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