Discovering a Friendship in Jesus
by Richard Cox, Author of I, We, Us: A Journey of Personal Growth and Development
Today, many people are looking for a good friend. We encounter situations in our lives when we need someone to “have our back.” When we think of our friends, how many can we really count on? How many friends know 'the real you'? If you are fortunate enough to have a “good friend”, you know how it feels to have someone to count on. Everyone who claims to be your friend may not be a friend, but possibly an acquaintance. Sometimes the misunderstanding about friendship comes from a mixture of good and bad experiences from previous friends. These experiences carry over from one friendship to the next.
In many cases, previous experiences cause a conflict with new friends when they discover you are operating on a different definition of friendship. For example, one friend may feel a friend should lie for another friend at any cost and another friend may feel you shouldn’t lie regardless of the consequences. Take time to ask your friend what is their definition of friendship? Their answer may surprise you.
In my Christian walk, I’ve found a friend in Jesus. You can depend on Jesus to hear and understand your troubles of life. I have learned to develop a personal relationship with Jesus over the years. It takes time for Jesus to become a part of your everyday lifestyle. I have learned to let Jesus live through me daily by seeking His purpose and direction for my life. Many people attend church desiring a closer connection to Jesus. One way to get closer to Jesus is by developing a personal relationship with Him. One may feel inspired by a sermon but later the inspiration fades. You seek not just inspiration from the Word of God but expect a change to occur in your daily life. Change happens when the Word of God is rooted in your heart. The Word of God is rooted in your heart by consistently attending church and Bible study, which quenches your thirst for Jesus.
Take time now and ask yourself: “Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus?” What I mean by personal relationship is do you communicate with Jesus privately one-on-one? You build a confidence in knowing Jesus. You are more aware daily that Jesus will assist you with any problem you may face in life. For example, if you get sick, by having a personal relationship with Jesus your faith is increased to believe He will heal your condition. A personal relationship with Jesus increases your spiritual growth daily by learning more about Him through personal experience. You begin to realize the difference in yourself by maintaining a personal connection with Jesus. The more you develop your relationship with Jesus, the more you trust telling Him all about your hurt, pain, and insecurities. I have learned to cast my burdens on Jesus because He is able to bear them. You will discover Jesus will keep you in perfect peace if your mind is stayed upon Him (Isaiah 26:3).
If you desire to grow closer to Jesus, develop a spiritual appetite to want to know Him. Your hunger to know Him will spark you to seek ways to spend time with Him. The time you set depends on your schedule. Just make time. We learn about Jesus through His Word. You will discover Jesus will fill the lack in your life. He will fill the void in your heart, if you let Him in. Jesus wants a personal relationship with you. His purpose for you is to be a worshipper who communes with Him and is a representative to the world of His love to all.
Developing a relationship with Jesus is like meeting a new friend. A relationship develops over a period of time through shared experiences. By having a personal relationship with Jesus you’ll find:
- Good Listener - Jesus will listen to all of your problems and concerns in prayer (Psalms 88:2). 2.
- Dependable - You can depend on Jesus to never leave you nor forsake you (Psalms 27:9). You will find out Jesus will show up for you on time. He will never let you down. 3.
- Unconditional Love - Jesus loves us so much that He died to forgive us for our sins. Jesus has a peace and love that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). 4.
- Faithful - Jesus is faithful to perform His promises found in His Word (Isaiah 55:11)
You will find Jesus to be a friend indeed like in one my favorite church hymns which says, “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one, no not one.” And then there is, “What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and grieves to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”
Take time to consider developing a personal relationship with Jesus. Your Christian journey is a personal one. You’ll discover Jesus will be a friend that will stick closer to you than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
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By EMILY MCKENDRY, Bible Instructor, Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference
So closely associated with the work of creation and redemption is the melody of music, that we can hardly think of the one to the exclusion of the other. (See Job 38:4, 7; Rev. 15:3.) True gospel singing is preaching in a musical setting. It is a powerful instrument used by God in regenerating human hearts. In evangelistic work gospel songs cannot be treated as of little consequence. Speaking of the wonderful power of song, Mrs. White says:
"It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort. It is one of the most effective means of impres: sing the heart with spiritual truth. . . . As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as isprayer."--Education, pp. 167, 168.
At the opening of the song service the song leader stands before men and women from all walks of life. They have come with diversified thoughts, and many with distracted minds. The leader with a happy countenance, a cheery word, and a song of hope and courage can usually get the attention of the people as a whole. He seeks to prepare the minds for the sermon that follows.
Familiar and simple gospel songs are enjoyed by the average person. Great truths are usually simply stated. They are so worded that anyone with average intelligence can understand them. A great blessing is received through the direct power of simple gospel songs.
Claudia Muzia once walked along a country road in the South and listened to two colored children sing "Count Your Blessings." She had sung before thousands and heard the world artists sing, but she had never been so impressed by any song as she was by this simple gospel song. She said, "I have been counting my blessings ever since." And so the song leader by the use of simple and familiar songs can create a worshipful atmosphere that will prepare hearts for the sermon.
Short chorus songs—just a few words with an easy time—are very effectual in public efforts. These little songs you will find buried away in the heart long after the evangelist has left his field. The gospel soloist who renders her songs through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit with a desire to win souls, will obtain fruitful results.
An evangelist can preach until he is hoarse, he can plead until he is weary, but his voice often falls on unresponsive ears. Then through the veil of sin which has enshrouded hearers filters a note of song. Like a wedge it opens heart doors and makes room for the gospel message. An appropriate closing song will seal the message in the hearts of the people as nothing else can. The gospel song has the power to unlock hearts' doors to the Holy Spirit. It will help a man or woman when speech seems insufficient. Gospel songs may be made a medium of great blessing. They can supply something in the public worship of God that is otherwise lacking; for through them, praise and adoration may rise to the throne on high as a sweet-smelling incense.
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