Thursday, September 5, 2013

No Better Friend

The last several days have been spent, in part, working on a memorial service for a friend this coming Saturday. While she was a friend to me, she was a dear wife, mother, and daughter to others. She had relationships of all sorts, and many of them very close. Since her passing it has been a difficult time, especially for her family. When someone leaves us it is impossible for them not to leave a hole in our hearts and lives. This is what relationships and love are all about—being close and being together.

At the same time, for this friend, while she may have left many who loved her behind there is one that she did not leave and one who never left her, who was by her side most of her life, and that is her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was by Him that all things came into being that came into being (John 1:3). It was even our God that fashioned her (and us) and who ordained all of the days of her life (and ours) (Psalm 139:14-16), and it was Him to whom she stepped into the presence of for all of eternity (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

But what we have not addressed is the here and now—what about right now? In Matthew 28:18-20, when Jesus was preparing to leave His disciples He gave them (and us) a charge which was to go out into all of the world and make disciples and that charge ended with a promise and an assurance which was, “…lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, NASB95) He promised them that they would not be alone and neither are we. First of all, Jesus is fully God, one with the Father and the Spirit, and as God he is everywhere present all of the time. Secondly, for those who have trusted in Him for their salvation (as did my friend) He is with them in a very special way—abiding in them and them in Him. And third, when He physically left us to return to the Father sitting at His right hand as our defender and our intercessor, God sent the third person of His trinity—the Holy Spirit—to permanently indwell all believers to equip, empower, and enlighten.

So what my friend is enjoying now in full is just the culmination of a deep friendship with the King of kings that was started here. And those who are close to her and who have the same hope will hurt for a while, but then one day…!

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” (Philippians 3:8–10)

“...But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b–14)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (9/5)

I am your best friend, as well is your King. Walk hand in hand with me through your life. Together we will face whatever each day brings: pleasures, hardships, adventures, disappointment. Nothing is wasted when it is shared with Me. I can bring beauty out of the ashes of lost dreams. I can glean joy out of adversity. Only a Friend who is also the King of kings could accomplish this divine alchemy. There is no other like Me!

The friendship I offer you is practical and down-to-earth, yet it is saturated with heavenly Glory. Living in My Presence means living in two realms simultaneously: the visible world and unseen, eternal reality. I have equipped you to stay conscious of Me while walking along dusty, earthbound paths.

“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.” (John 15:13–15, NASB95)

“To grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3, NASB95)

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