I long to be called a friend of Jesus

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I never really thought about being a servant versus being a friend with Jesus until recently. You know how you read a verse in the bible so many times that you know its words inside out but not fully grasping the understanding of it and then one day you read it again and it just comes alive to you, like fresh revelation. John chapter 15 verse 15 was one of these verses for me.

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 15:15

A servant serves. They do what their master asks of them but they are still held at a distance, living in separate quarters to their master, eating at a different dinner table and using a separate entrance to the house. But a friend is taken into the masters life. A friend regularly spends time with the master, sharing in his life, engaging in conversation and having their thoughts and ideas heard.

As a friend of Jesus you are taken into His life. You have access to the heart of God and His heartbeat becomes your heartbeat. Instead of working for Him like a servant you work with Him. He trusts you with more of His power and you become changed into His likeness more and more. Your identity changes because as a friend you are not worried by what other people think of you, you know who the Father says you are.

As a friend you enter into a partnership with Him. Your ideas, dreams and desires are heardTake delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4.

You are not a puppet carrying out the Lords plans. You are a contributor to what He is doing. God wants to be influenced by what you think and dream. He is after your desires and intimacy with you.

So how do we move into that place of being a friend of Jesus? Jesus says in John 15 verse 14 “You are my friends if you do what I command”.

Becoming a friend of Jesus is about following Jesus, it is going in the direction that He is going in. It is doing the things that He is doing  and saying the things that He is saying. We have an intimate connection with Him when we regularly spend time in His presence listening to His voice and hearing His commands, we are faithful in doing what we asks us to do, we read His word and hold it in our hearts and we follow people who are also following Jesus.

Just before Jesus saysYou are my friends if you do what I command” He says this “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

His command is not difficult, yet how many of us struggle with this simple thing, just to love one another? To love one another like Jesus loves us helps us to get to that place of being counted as a friend of Jesus. His commands are not outrageous, they flow from a heart that loves us and just wants the best for us, so lean into His voice and hear and read His commands and start there, doing the things that He has commanded us to do. Lean into the heart of God and hear His heart beat. He is inviting you to be His friend.

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O Holy Night

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O Holy Night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and e’er pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees O hear the angels voices.
O night divine O night when Christ was born

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
O night divine

These are the lyrics from the song O Holy night, which has to be my all time favorite Christmas carol. Whenever I hear or sing this song, I am so moved by its words and the power of the song that I am often brought to tears. What is it that is so moving about this song?

For me, when I hear this song I can close my eyes and I am transported back to that starry night thousands of years ago when Jesus was born. I can envision the heavenly angles gathering around for this momentous occasion and I can feel the anticipation in the air as the earth draws in her breath as the king of the world is brought forth.

I fall to my knees to behold my king and I can hear the angel’s voices. The angels begin to cry out, the sound of heaven rejoicing is a sound like no other.

For the angles knew the gravity of this night, of this moment in history and they had been waiting. They had seen the weary world and knew how Father God grieved for His beloved people. But God had sent His only son to earth and He had finally arrived. Jesus had arrived.

You see the angels rejoiced not just for the baby who was before them but they were rejoicing for they knew that great things were to come. They knew that this baby, our beautiful Jesus would one day walk on water. That He would give sight to a blind man and calm the storm with His hand. That He would mend broken hearts, that He would make all things new, He would rebuild out of the ruins a people of hope.

They knew that this little Baby Boy was the Lord of all creation and would one day rule the nations. That the baby Boy was heavens perfect Lamb, He was the Great, I Am. The one that they had been waiting for.

Today, in the here and now we fall to our knees, we are so moved to tears, our hearts are so full to overflowing for the man we know as Jesus. That He is more then that precious babe in a manger but that He is our Savior, our King, and our friend. He is my Jesus.

Chains shall He break and in His name all oppression shall cease. Jesus came to set us free. Anything that is holding you down right now, He came to take that from you so that you could live in His love and His freedom.

Jesus came to teach us about love. Not only did He come to teach but also He came to show us. He loves us unconditionally, His love never runs out and His love is for everybody.

He is the prince of peace. He gives us His supernatural peace, peace that surpasses all understanding.

He came to draw us back to the Father. To restore us to our rightful place as Sons and Daughters of the King. He gave us back our inheritance and this is why we join in with the angels and rejoice. We cry out and behold our King, our Jesus.

And that is why I am so moved to tears.

This is the Jesus I want everybody to know and fall in love with. He began in this world as that baby boy in the manger but He becomes the man Jesus who loves, saves, redeems, and forgives. He came to this earth for me and He came to this earth for you.

This is the Jesus I want the world to know.

Living a life undistracted

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I was reading the story of Mary and Martha in the gospel of Luke. The familiar story of how Martha is busying herself around the house while her sister Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus intently listening to all He has to say. Martha wishes that her sister would help her with the dinner preparations and so she complains to Jesus about Marys actions.

Jesus responds… “Martha, My beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing the most beautiful place of sitting at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her”.  Luke 10 v 41 – 42 TPT

I just love how Jesus responds to her with gentleness. He is calling her out on her focus and priorities but He does it from a place of love.

Martha had been distracted. She was so focused on preparing the house and preparing food for the guests that she had forgotten who she was entertaining. She had taken her eyes off Jesus and focused on the other things around her.

Mary had recognized the importance of this occasion. Jesus, the Son of God, was in their home and there was no other place that she would rather be than sitting at His feet. She had chosen the most beautiful place to be, in His presence, listening to all He had to say.

What is distracting you from spending time in His presence? From just sitting at His feet and listening to His voice?

Spending time in the presence of God is one of my soul anchors, it is one of the things that I have to do to get me through. It is where I hear directly from God, He fills me with love and strength and inspires me to keep going and growing.

I can usually tell when I have neglected to spend time in His presence. I start to lose my way a bit and I begin to feel overwhelmed with all that is going on in my life. I begin to lose focus, lose hope and lose heart with my journey. I can get hung up on silly things and I also find that I become easily offended.

I have simply taken my eyes of Jesus and become distracted with all that is going on around me. I can hear Jesus gently saying to me Marieka, my beloved Marieka. Come and sit at my feet, the most beautiful place to be. I will take care of all that is going on around you so do not be distracted. I simply ask you to come, listen and be filled once again.

Jesus, help me to live a life focused on you, in your presence, listening to what you are saying and being obedient to what you are asking. Help me to understand what is important and free me from distractions that lead me away from you. You are worthy of my love and focus Jesus. Amen.

Not living for the approval of others

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Jesus said “I am not moved by the approval of others” * . This is not an easy thing to achieve but one that I am constantly working towards.

Jesus was not moved by the approval of others. The opinions of others did not sway Him or make Him second guess himself. He was so firmly planted that He could not be moved. Jesus knew who He was and knew exactly who His Heavenly Father was. Jesus knew His true identity. The only opinion that mattered was His Fathers, the only praise He lived for was from His Father.

I long to not be moved by the approval of others. To not let other peoples opinions sway me or throw me off my course. When I catch wind of somebody speaking negatively, their piercing words pass right by me and have no affect on me. They have no affect because, like Jesus, I know my identity, I am firmly planted and cannot be moved.

Just the other day when my son was feeling sad over the fact that the boys at school were not being so nice to him, I had to draw on the wise words of Jesus and that we can not be moved by the approval of others.

I reminded my little boy of who he really is. I reminded him that he is a child of God who is loved and wonderfully created and that he can do many amazing things. I reminded him that it does not matter what other people think of him, his Heavenly Daddy was proud of him and loves him for exactly who he is. I reminded him that those boys do not have any power over him and that he could chose to not listen to their lies and listen and know the truth of who he is. Wonderfully made and loved.

Jesus is the perfect example for us to follow. Let us not be moved by the opinions of others. Let us truly know our identity as wonderfully made and loved and that we only seek praise from the one who truly counts, our Heavenly Father.

 *John 5 v 41 from The Passion Translation

He died because He loves you

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Jesus was betrayed. He was abused, mocked, scorned and rejected by his own people. His hands and feet pierced through and hung on a cross left to die.

In spite of all this the words that were on my Saviors lips were forgive them for they know not what they do. Jesus cared less about his body being beaten and hung on the cross and more about us, our life and our salvation. Now that is love.

He then cried out it is finished and took his last breath. They took him down off the cross and laid him to rest in a tomb. Three days later he rose from the dead. Gods might, strength, power and love came to Jesus rescue and His life was given back to Him and life was given to us. By His wounds we were healed.

Refreshed by love Jesus stands victorious. His love paid a full ransom for his beloved people. We have been restored back to our Heavenly Father and empowered with the Holy Spirit.

God so loved each and every one of us that He gave His one and only son up to save and redeem us. He has gathered us to himself and we are a part of His loving family. We are sons and daughters of the King.

Words fail me when it comes to expressing the love and gratitude that I have in my heart for my beautiful Jesus who died for me. All I can do is just praise Him. So I will praise Him all my days for what he has done for me. I pour out all honor and glory to the one who has conquered the grave because of His great love for you and me.

Let everyone, everywhere shine with praise to Yahweh! Let it all out! Go ahead and praise Him! For He has conquered us with His great love, and His kindness has melted our hearts. His faithfulness lasts forever, and He will never fail you! So go ahead and let it all out! Psalm 117 Passion Translation.