Weekly Devotions
 
 
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Friendship with Ulterior Motives

 

We all want to have friends. Have you ever heard the phrase to make a friend you have to be a friend? Obviously, everyone wants to be liked and have friends that are likeable and easy to be around.

 

I think it is important to also be yourself. Not everyone is going to like you and want to be friends. I have seen people work so hard to change and be someone they normally are not just to be friends with someone they think would be fun to be around.

 

My thought is if you have to change who you are why do you need that kind of friend? This applies to any and all labels we place on one another whether it is black/white, gay/straight, religious/atheist and so on. The label should not make a difference when it comes to friendship.

 

There is another thing that bothers me about friendship. Have you ever met someone for the first time and they just seem so friendly and interested in you? I have been through this several times. I would run into someone in the store or out for a walk and they are smiling and so interested in getting to know a little about me. I get kind of anxious to get to know them and see if a new friendship was starting. Later I get a call or an email and get asked if we could meet for coffee and talk a while.

 

After the second time this happened, I started realizing that each time this has happened it was someone with an ulterior motive.

 

They really were not interested in me, they were interested in what I could do for them. Basically, they were selling something and looking for new people to join in under them doing the same thing.

 

I tell you this was so disappointing each time it happened. I was thinking, wow, what a nice person. I would like to get to know them and get to be friends. Then, wham, the rug was pulled out from under me by finding out they only wanted to make a sell or add me to their sales network.

 

True friends are hard to find. Even among people who are not selling something and do not have ulterior motives, it is hard to find a true friend.

 

Often it seems most of the friends we have are friends as long as we have the same interests or involved in the same activities. If we go to the same places, work together or involved in sporting events we talk and associate but if we leave that particular activity we usually do not see each other or talk.

 

True friends love us and accept us as just as we are. They are not waiting until we change and become more like them. They are actually interested in us. They want to see us succeed. They feel comfortable telling us things that are not popular or what we need to hear when they know we are getting into something that is not good for us.

 

A true friend will be there for you even when miles apart or when we have different interests and activities. A true friend is one of the hardest things to find in this world.

 

Now as followers of Christ, we have the best and most true friend possible in Jesus. But let’s be real, we need a flesh and blood person right in front of us to discuss things, do things together, encourage and support each other and cry with one another.

 

Jesus will never leave us, he will never forsake us. He is closer than a brother and the best friend we will ever have in life. Yet in this life we need human friends. And those human friends, if you think about it, are almost like having Jesus right in front of you. Since we are now the temple of the Spirit, God living in us, we are in a sense Jesus to each other. I am not saying we are God but His Spirit lives within us and we can love and accept each other through that common truth more than anything.

 

 

So, for those shallow people who are only looking for someone to use and get things from I would rather not even start a friendship. We still love everyone through Christ but we do not have to be friends with everyone. Pray for the guidance of the Spirit to lead you to true friends in your life and see Christ in the brother and sisters he brings along.

 

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The Four in One Gospel of Jesus

 

A friend of mine whom I have known for a few years has a book published that may be of interest to you.

 

Nikola Dimitrov from Bulgaria has published The Four in One Gospel of Jesus. In the book, Nikola has written in a way that provides a harmony of the four Biblical Gospels rearranged into a single chronological narrative.

 

Nikola says that in the process of preparing the book, the greatest ever theologian (not just my opinion) of our century, saw my book and agreed to write an endorsement. I am talking about a guy who is unequivocally the most recognized theologian in the world today - N.T. Wright - a historian and scholar of early New Testament and first century theology and history. Here is his endorsement, which is also on the front cover of the book itself:

 

"Every so often, it does Christians good to stand back from the four gospels and get a sense of how the whole story might work as a continuous narrative. Nikola Dimitrov has done a remarkable service in producing this compilation of all four gospels so that the reader can feel the full impact of the unique and explosive story they tell."

 

Here is a 3 minute video Nikola made for the book which helps understand the idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtV156P0v5E&feature=youtu.be

 

If this sounds interesting to you, here is a link to the publisher's information about the book. It can also be pre-ordered from this link: http://nordskogpublishing.com/product/four-one-gospel-jesus/

 

 

 

 

 

Marriage and Being One with God

The institution of marriage is such a great comparison to life with our Father. I think a lot of the time we miss some good points about marriage that directly relates to life with God. To many times we do not associate marriage with Kingdom meanings.

Actually marriage is a shadow of spiritual things. Ephesians 5:31 and 32 state … For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. The church being mentioned here is not a building or an organization. The Church are the people who Jesus brings together. It is not a weekly meeting, it is a living organism made up of those of us saved by grace.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is how we are one with God. It’s hard to imagine that our Father lives within us. Jesus said when he left the earth, he would send us another comforter. Through his Spirit, he came to make his home within us and he is constantly with us.

We always think of God sitting on a big throne, way off in heaven somewhere and that one of these days we will go and meet Him and live with Him forever.

The thing is, that is not what His written word tells us. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, God’s physical dwelling place on earth. His Spirit dwells within us and He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Now it’s not saying we are God, but we are one with God. The best way I’ve found to make sense of this is to think of marriage. When two individual people fall in love, make a commitment to love each other and live together, the bible says the two shall become one.

Does that mean that the spouse becomes their partner, that they somehow become the same person? No, both people remain individuals, yet they live as one. Same with us and God, we are still the person He created, yet because God loves us and we love him, he made his home within us, and His spirit lives within us. We are one with God.

In John 17:21 Jesus is talking with the Father and asks … that they may all be one, even as You Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. Seems to me it is truly a marriage made in heaven.

We do not have to wait to a future time when we live with God in some far-away place, we are living as one with Him in His Kingdom right now. We are his temple, his dwelling place, and each of us are equally important parts of his body.

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