Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another Smoke Signal: SECRETS AMONG FRIENDS

Think about all the friends that you have; which of them would you confide your most closely guarded secret to? Of course, any friend that you are closest to, the one that you can trust the most, right?

Such closeness and trust didn't come spontaneously though did it? Over the course of time, developing your relationship with your friend, you learned of their trustworthiness and integrity. They could more than likely share their deepest secret with you as well.

This is the nature of friendship; the relationship of the best of friends can withstand the hardest criticism from one to the other, because when such hard words are said, we understand that our friend knows that they need to be said. It's been said that an enemy will smile at you while stabbing you in the back, while a true friend will stab you in the front but with tears of pain. The Bible says it like this:

PROV 27:5-6
5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful
.

Friends weather the severest storms together, carry one another's burdens gladly as if they were no burdens at all. Friends don't wait to be asked to help. They are there for us even when we don't want anyone around.

They don't give up on us, and at times they push us when we need it. Friends are a gift of God and I personally have been enormously blessed with many that I am honored with; some of them have come into my life even just recently!

There is no one, absolutely no one who is as faithful, trustworthy, truthful, gracious and loving as the LORD Jesus Christ and our Father (not to mention the Holy Spirit as well!), and I find it interesting that those who are considered friends of God, are those that He willingly shares His secrets with.

Take Abraham for example . . . he was a saint that held the illustrious title of "...the friend of God..." (2 CHRON. 20:7; JAMES 2:23). One day when the LORD (along with two of His angels) came to visit Abraham and once He sent His spiritual servants off on a deadly errand to Sodom and Gomorrah He pondered the question:

GENESIS 18:17
17 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do
;

God foreknew Abraham and saw that the integrity of his heart and those of his generation would be steadfast towards Him; the mark of a true friend! So while the angels were off on duty, God asked this question, and obviously the answer was 'No, I will not hide from Abraham' because the LORD then proceeded to tell him exactly what He was up to.

He intended on judging Sodom and Gomorrah for their rebellion and sin. Yet Abraham thought on his nephew Lot and his family that resided in Sodom and began to 'barter' with the LORD about how few righteous ones would have to reside in Sodom for God to spare the city and the LORD patiently heard him out, graciously answering him every time.

True friends indeed!

Another Old Testament saint: Daniel, of whom the angel declared that he was "greatly beloved" -

DANIEL 10:11-12
11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words
.

Another friend of God that the LORD Almighty was agreeable with in sharing His secrets. The future for us human beings, creatures of time and space is a mystery indeed! Some resort to fortune tellers and psychics in order to try and learn about our future or future events (NOT a good idea; any that seek the counsel of such are actually opening themselves up to deception and demonic influences; this is why such involvement is prohibited by God [LEV. 19:26, 31]).

Yet Daniel was given such prophetic revelations, that have proven to be so absolutely accurate, that Bible skeptics have had to claim the book was written far, far later than it was purported to be. God shared the secrets of the future events of the last days with His friend Daniel!

What about others in the Old Testament? In AMOS 3:7, while they are called "servants" the LORD counts them among His friends, just as He did the prophet and Law giver, Moses with whom the LORD spoke face to Face as one does with a friend (EXOD 33:11).

Do we see any New Testament parallels at all? Absolutely! Read through the Gospel of John and witness the intimacy and tenderness between our LORD and the young apostle John; the appellation "the disciple whom Jesus loved" is almost always attributed to this apostle, who was the brother of James.

Just as the LORD God granted prophetic revelation to Daniel, likewise He shared His secrets with John by giving him the Apocalypse (which literally means, "the unveiling"). Talk about sharing your secrets!

What about the other apostles? Were they considered to be friends of the LORD as was John? Oh, yes - absolutely!

JOHN 15:14-15
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you
.

Note that word, "all" - not most or much or some: "all"!
Certainly the world doesn't know of anything that the LORD has revealed because the world doesn't hear the LORD just as they don't hear His friends (JOHN 8:42-44) nor can the world see the LORD for all of their spiritual blindness (2 COR. 4:4) but because we love the LORD, those of us who are saints (saved by grace from our sins, not because we've been canonized by some church!) are accounted as friends of God.

EPHESIANS 3:5-6
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel
:

And certainly we who are of the body of Christ are accounted as not only friends of God, but children of God as well (JOHN 1:12-13)! An awesome privilege that one is not born to (that is, everyone that is born into this world - these are not by nature the children of God) but "born-again" to as in JOHN 3:3-5; also 2 COR. 5:17; TITUS 3:5; JAMES 1:18; and 1 PETER 1:2-3.

Think about this: because you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you and creating in you a Temple for His habitation (1 COR. 3:16-17), and because of this, you cry out Abba, Father (ROM 8:15; GAL. 4:6) - and you have the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures in your possession - you know the Author of the Book, you as well have been told the secrets of God that are not known to those out in the world. You know the name of God, you know where He lives, you know the times and the seasons of His return, you know His agenda for the ages. These are things that baffle, mystify and perplex the people of this world...

So even as these days draw to a close and events get increasingly scarier as time goes by, we have no cause for worry really; we know how it all ends, even if the world doesn't. The people of this world may fear and worry and fret . . . but not you, because you are a friend and child of God! And our Abba loves to share His secrets with us, doesn't He?

JOHN 15:9 - 15
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you
.

3 comments:

covnitkepr1 said...

Just checking back for any new posts you may have written.

James J. Fire said...

These days I am extraordinarily busy, involved with discipleship of a young believer that is (for the present) high maintenance, but joyful in this blessed service. Once things normalize (he is in recuperation from surgery) I hope to resume a normal schedule and get back to writing, LORD WILLING!

Tony Kiar said...

Friendship is a precious thing. Friendship with Jesus is a pearl of the greatest value. Thanks for your post brother James.