Posts Tagged 'friendship'

Ultimate Love

JESUS SPEAKING

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 5: 9 – 13)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Before sacrificing His life upon the cross, Jesus addressed His disciples, saying, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. We are thus reminded of the greatest act of affection one can possibly accomplish. Accordingly, those who follow Christ must also emulate His death upon the cross, crucifying their selfish desires every single day. The self-seeking appetites of the flesh must be struck down so that the will of God might be accomplished in us and through us. Therefore self-sacrifice is a necessary and essential component of genuine Christian living.

In 1941, a man named Sgt. Franciszek Gajowniczek was imprisoned in Auschwitz, a German concentration camp and extermination facility. One day, when three prisoners had seemingly escaped, the deputy commander of the facility selected 10 men at random to be punished; they were sentenced to death by starvation in an underground bunker. Sgt. Gajowniczek was one of those men. He pleaded for his life; making mention of his wife and children. A priest and fellow prisoner named Maxillion Kolbe was listening. He suddenly stepped forward and offered to die in the man’s place; hoping to ensure the preservation of his family. The commander accepted his offer. A few weeks later Reverend Kolbe died from starvation and a dose of carbolic acid. Sgt. Gajowniczek survived the rigors of Auschwitz and was eventually reunited with his loved ones at the end of the war. In 1972 a crowd gathered at a memorial service at Auschwitz to honor the priest who had sacrificed his life. Gajowniczek spoke at the gathering, heaping praises upon the man who had died in his place.

Like Maximillion Kolbe, all Christians are called to lay down their lives so that others might be saved. Selfish pursuits must be abandoned so that God can use us to accomplish His works. If we choose to die, Christ will be raised up in our place, and many will see Him and be drawn to Him. Being selfless is not an easy discipline; it represents a significant struggle. Still, may we all be equipped with the strength to serve others as we lay down our lives for our friends.

“Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit; refresh our hearts and minds, that we might lay down our lives as a sacrifice for our friends. May Your perfect will be done. Give us the strength to deny our fleshly apatites and embrace a life of gratitude and selflessness. As we die, may Christ be lifted up in our place; so that many might come to the faith and be reborn. We love you Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

God is your friend

JESUS SPEAKING

                “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15: 14 – 15.) 

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                After eating the Passover feast, the Lord said farewell to his closest companions.  In a long discourse (filled with emotion and love) Jesus revealed God’s complete plan to the disciples.  During this address, those who had called him Master were urged to consider him a ‘friend.’  The term ‘friend’ implied a deeper, more intimate relationship.  In ancient times, masters and servants were never equals; they weren’t partners; and they certainly were never friends; their positions prevented them from close personal fellowship.  In order to preserve authority and respect, the master had to maintain a safe distance (as “familiarity breeds disrespect.”)  Yet the ‘King of Kings’ (Jesus) shattered the barriers that hindered true intimacy.  The disciples became his equals; no longer was he just their Lord and master; he became their brother; their closest companion; and their greatest friend.

                At the age of 19, I worked as a guard and a counselor in a minimum security juvenile facility.  My role was that of a disciplinarian.  Often, when a child misbehaved, we had to intervene and physically restrain them.  The staff was given a great deal of power and authority.  Although we interacted with the children in positive ways, we had to maintain a professional distance.  Too much intimacy caused them to lose respect for us and our positions.  If they came to believe we were their equals, they would question and disobey our commands.  Those who falsely see God as an equal lose respect for Him.  Fear of God is good; those who fear Him are aware of his power and authority.   We read in Proverbs, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  In turn, God sent His Son, so that all could know Him as a ‘friend’ as well as a Father.

                God must always be honored and respected; (He is our master and we are His servants) in turn, there is a distance between God and man.  In His divine wisdom, He chose to use His only Son to draw near to all people.  Jesus Christ is God’s gift to mankind.  He is God in a form we need not fear; we need only approach Him in love; we are free to speak to Him; to fellowship with Him; and to be in communion with Him.  He is more than our teacher, our master, and our shepherd; he is our brother; he is our closest companion; he is our best friend.  Would you like to know God?  If you seek closeness with God embrace Jesus Christ and he will comfort you and give you peace; look to the Son of God and you will know his Father.  Invite him in to your heart and he will teach you all things; and “you will know the truth; and the truth shall make you free.”

                “Lord Heavenly Father we love You, and we thank You for Your son.  We desire to draw near to him; may every obstacle be removed, and every barrier destroyed.  May he be our brother, our companion, and our friend.  May we confide in You Lord; may we look to You for direction, for love, and for comfort.  We love You Father; we love You Jesus; we praise You and we thank You; and we ask all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.   

 


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