I know the title is a little teenage-ish. Probably passé. But actually Jesus is my Best Friend Forever, unlike those who have a BFF until the unkind text comes in that devastates their lives and their BFF is their EFL (Enemy for life).
But I’d like to tell you about my best friend forever. I’d like to share about the God of my Life…Jesus.
He’s right there when I wake up in the morning or in the night. My friend — always ready to listen or sit by me when I silently cry or even rage aloud. He told me a long time ago in His Word, that His song is over me at night (Psalm 42:7-8), a prayer to the God of my life. He is that… In our hard times, He makes beauty out of ashes.
I came to believe upon Him as a little girl after the tragic loss of my little brother, who was 15 months behind me. I was alone, and I had been taught about Jesus death for my sin, forgiveness for all my trespasses at the cross. I believed this, I believed about His resurrection (life) so I would live again eternally with Him. I remember being alone as a little girl, just talking to God, asking questions I didn’t understand, about heaven, about eternity, about how He could always have been and always will be. But in life, along the way, through living my own way (which is no story of wild living), I lost any fellowship with Him. My prayers were sparse and my Bible dust laden.
I came to know the Lord more deeply through the depths of my sorrows, and the pain of my husband’s sickness and death. We became closer because of my own selfish reasons. Nothing benevolent. I needed someone to shed tears with. To secretly talk of all my pain in the dark corner of the bathroom, knowing it would never be repeated again, nor heard by another. In even the bad times and sad endings, I am ever and increasingly thankful for what He has done for me. Some people may be blessed to have a very good friend, one that even if you have done something awful, they are quick to forgive you and forget it. But even those friends can take so much, they are human. With Jesus, when I mess up and tell Him, (seems like a regular occurrence to my own dismay), there He is, always faithful and just to forgive me. Even if it’s again, and again, and over again — there is no end to His forgiveness. I’ve never known someone like Him, never will. What a friend we have in Jesus.
I guess we were supposed to be like that — like Him, without any of the bad stuff that goes along with being human when we were first made. It’s why I want others to know Him. This is not about religion, or being religious, or holier than thou, this letter is about Him, who He is, what He has done for the world, for me, and for you. I couldn’t begin to express all the thoughts that run through my mind about Him. Like the humble disciple John wrote (inspired by the Holy Spirit), “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25).
The First Sin
I think back to the time of the garden. To most, it’s a story like a fairy tale, out of a cardboard-bound illustrated children’s book. Adam, pictured behind a bush. Eve, with her flowing hair like Lady Godiva, covering the naked parts of her body, (so that we the readers need not be embarrassed). But they were not, they had no reason to be ashamed, they had no sin in them. Satan represented as a slithering snake winding up the apple tree hissing beguilingly at Eve. Our childhood storybook renditions are not quite how it really was (truth be told).
God gave these beloved children everything. With His unconditional, perfect and generous love for them, including the ability to willingly (or not), do as He asked. He made man in His image and cared enough for him, that He knew it was not good for Adam to be alone. So God made Eve to love and be with Adam. She was comparable to Him, a part of Him, but different than him, appealing and interesting to look at, not a mirror image…yet another way for man to reach out to love another before himself. Marriage is a picture of how Christ loves us, and gave Himself for us on the cross.
He gave them the entire earth covered with gifts of grass without thorns, wonderful herbs and fruit trees of all various kinds. He created the oceans teeming with unimaginable wonders of colorful fish, and creatures of vast varieties and sizes, powers and abilities. When He created the crashing seas, He set boundaries for them, and commanded that they could only go so far and no further (Job 38). Rushing or slowly meandering rivers that divided the lands across the world. God created a river to come out of Eden and water the gardens (no need for sprinkling systems), and it divided into four more rivers that went out from there.
The Bible tells us in several books, that He stretches out the heavens above, like a curtain, ever growing, never ending. We’ve just recently in science have come to find out that fact (although it was already written by several prophets a thousand years before Jesus came). Including the truth that our earth was a sphere, a circle that hung on nothing, (seen in Job thought to be written over 4000 years ago, along with several other books in the Old Testament). We have yet to see to the end of space, and we never will in our lifetime. But God has already declared it from the beginning.The skies, which the eternal God spoke into existence, are like an ever changing canvas, or an artist’s pallete of colors that with the mixing change before our eyes. We couldn’t ever begin to do justice to one still scene, (as much as any of the masters of fine art have attempted over the ages of time). The heavens are swept with layers of colors that lull us to silence at times — living art, dimensional, full of shapes, brilliance, types of clouds, yet impossible to describe. Although I do remember laying back on the grass as a child attempting it. Our eyes see one thing, we blink, and yet another. Cameras don’t capture the beauty of the scene in front of us, only a glimpse and a glimmer of that moment in time.
The book of Amos tells us of the dome of the atmosphere, the strata of the earth. We don’t see with our eyes the galaxies beyond, but we marvel as the Hubble Space Telescope (only 25 years old) captures images of incomparable and indescribable beauty and declares intelligent creativity defying human imagination. Yet again, these images verifying the continuing expanse of the heavens we have been told about in His Word.
Seasons are determined by the lights in the firmament of the heavens, also dividing even the day and the night. Night comes at the end of each day, like a blanket pulled up to our chin when we lay down to rest. We expect it, and never question it, but God made it that way and has showed it to us in the heavens and every part of His creation, yet many times we do not think on Him nor remember to be thankful.
Twinkle, Twinkle little star…
The twinkling stars in the sky inspire a child’s song. A falling star moves a couple to make a wish. They love the stars and the skies, the beauty, but worship the creation more than the Creator. How can it be, that people’s hearts aren’t inspired to seek the living God who made us to be with Him forever? The God who draws us to Him in great love by His creation and so much more He does, just to draw us to look to Him. This God, the only true God, who sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin – death. Greater love has no man, that He lay His life down for a friend (John 15:13).
His tender mercies are all over His works, anywhere we look, awaiting us each morning. God numbered the stars and even gave them names. Not one of these falls and burns out without God calling them out by name. Not a sparrow falls from the sky, nor will a flower wilt in the field, nor the grass fade, without His intimate knowledge and care. Every detail matters to Him, especially concerning us. He numbers each hair on our heads, each strand. As the light breeze moves one of the strands of my hair, I sometimes remember the One who sent it, knowing His precious thoughts towards me. The Psalmist says those thoughts number more than the grains of sand in all the oceans (Psalm 139). God is no respecter of persons, He loves the whole world. There is only one thing keeping us from a relationship with God. Unbelief. Our sin caused the separation, but if we will believe Him, what He has done for us — He will save us and that means eternal life.
We’re all dying…
Those of us who wait on the Lord will have our strength renewed one day. We will
mount up with wings like eagles, one day we will run and never get tired, we will walk and never be out of breath. That was my husband’s prayer, and God answered it the day, the very moment he died. He was absent from the body and present with the Lord. The Bible tells us that our eyes have not seen, nor even are our hearts prepared for the things that God has in store for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). I believe God’s Word completely.
I ponder these things the more I get to know Him, and the older I get. He loves us that much and more that we can imagine. He wants us to love Him in return. Is that not what we want in life? This is what we were created for, to love and to be loved. So He made us all with a free will. A will to choose to do right — to choose Him. We could also choose to do wrong, to reject Him. We can close ourselves off from God, just as surely as we can close ourselves off from others. He lovingly warned man when he gave him dominion over everything on the earth, that there was just one thing he was not to do. Do not eat of this tree, for if you do, you will surely die.
I have nothing to say about them missing the mark, we’d all like to think we could at least abide by one rule. In truth, I cannot even do one thing right for one whole day. Sometimes it seems that I cannot turn around without having a selfish thought. I cannot help but prefer my own wishes or desires over another’s. I am weak, and sometimes lazy. I can be impatient, and unkind, and unloving inside. Why do others not see me as I am? Maybe some recognize some weaknesses, but they cannot see my heart, the inner woman, but the Lord does. He knows and His Word brings to the forefront, the thoughts I do not even recognize, to help me. And He loves me in spite of me. What kind of God is this? Why? Who am I that He is mindful of me? I have so many weaknesses, so many frailties. So many things in me seem like they are breaking down, my life is compared to just a vapor that the Bible says is here for but a time but vanishes away. Yet our bodies are so fearfully and wonderfully made. He gave us life and breath. This loving Creator, has given light to every single person who has come into the world. The ability to love and be loved, not just others, but even the animals He has created for our pleasure. The world is fascinating everywhere we look, to use my words would be a disservice.
Moses, was said to be the most humble man on the face of the earth, and was called a friend of God. He once said to God (Psalm 90), ‘Teach us to number our days, so that we might gain a heart of wisdom’. Had I just learned to do that and not wasted away so many of my days…
Yet the Lord is tender and compassionate – merciful, and is not willing that any of us should perish (or die without Him). So it’s never too late while we have breath. God is a Father of never ending chances and unfailing mercies to the last breath we take. But He will not force Himself upon us, He is a gentleman, yet one who constantly woos us in so many ways that we don’t notice, some of us may not until we die, and then it is too late.
Because of sin, we have become separated from God. Ever since that day in the
garden. The day when Adam and Eve chose to disbelieve what God had told them, and consequently disobeyed. God still loved and wanted to save them, and all people from that day forward. Even though they would die physically, (we will all die once, and then face God), He never wanted them to face eternal separation from Him. He promised back then, that He would provide a way out if they would believe Him this time, and it would be eternally done at the moment they believed. It is finished, done, at the cross. Those are the words Jesus spoke the moment He died for us. It is finished… Back then these words in Greek, tetelestai, were written on paperwork having do with debt, receipts, bills. It meant ‘Paid in Full’. That is what He has done for all of us.
The dilemma is this; He is Holy, perfect, and without sin. Sin has eternal consequences, for all sin grieves Him, and even one little sin is against a Holy, eternal God. How many sins does a normal person sin in one day? In 365 days? In a lifetime of years? This sin hurts not only Him but us, and others. It has cost the world, and mankind. It causes death, sickness, toil and weariness, pain and sorrow. For everyone who is born will taste of these, likely all of these things in varying degrees. We will all die. The Bible tells us that flesh and blood cannot enter heaven, for in our bodies sin dwells. It’s what we were born with. Born to die. All because of Adam, sin was brought into this world. It infected us all again keeping us from God.
So what can we do? Who can reconcile us with God? How can we know Him? There is only one absolute solution from death, one healing from its power and its sting. Foretold throughout time, by the Prophets of God, who spoke and wrote this good news of the Savior to come. They looked forward to the Savior in belief, and He gave them eternal life as a free gift. That is the same offer we all have today, the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) which is received simply by believing upon Him (Eph 2:8-9) not of any works, or anything we can bring. Nothing. No promises, no works, being good or being sorry enough, attending church, doing good deeds, turning from enough sin, none of those things will gain us eternal life. Only believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
It’s not a complicated step by step or ongoing process. It’s a one time event. Believe on Him. That is when we are born again. Made a new man. Given a new nature, one that is eternal. It is simple, and yes easy and free. We do nothing, He has done it all. Why do people make it so complicated?
It’s a simple solution that the same enemy from the garden, has used the tired old trick to try to deceive people otherwise. Did God really say that? And he twists things and tells people, ‘you are good person’, or ‘there is another way’. Any other way he can get people to disbelieve God and point them to anything but the One who loves them. None of us are good enough to approach or live with God. Not one person ever. Because again, we all have sinned, and we all of us fall short of the glory of God.
Where He is, there will be no sin, no sorrow, no fear, no pain, no sickness ever again. The way it was meant to be with us and God from the very beginning.
We cannot enter into His presence without being perfect. Revelation 21 says not one lie will enter heaven. How do we get that perfection? We can’t on our own. We need to believe upon the one way (Jesus), the one door, the one gate that we have to enter (again both Jesus). How do we enter? By believing upon Him — who He is, and what He did for us on the cross. When we believe He gives us the gift of His righteousness, we have eternal life from that moment forward. He is the One, who when He died, entered into heaven first for us (the Holy place) and with His perfect life, His blood paid the price for our sins, and He offers us the free gift of eternal life. We are born again and when we die, we too will be with Him.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus was there in the beginning with God. He is God in the flesh, He is the Son of God. He knows what we are like, He knit us together. He is intimately aware of our frailties, our supposed strengths – the good, the bad and the ugly. He loves us and wants to save us. God loved us so much, that He sent His Son Jesus (which means God saves) to die on the cross for us*, to be a substitute for us, to pay for our sins. He was buried in our place, and rose again from the dead, being seen by many.
All these things were prophesied ahead of time so people would know it was true. People went to their death for something they believed to be true, as many people have before. But what others believed may not have been truth. But what did all these martyrs declare was true? That Christ was risen from the dead. That they had SEEN this with their own eyes. They did not deny this through all sorts of horrible torture. He was seen for forty days by many, and by 500 at once. That He fulfilled the prophecies of the Scriptures. Not many people would be willing to die for something they believed to be a lie. And beyond His resurrection, huge crowds saw Him ascend into heaven, accompanied by many angels, and testified to that as well (Acts 1). In the next chapter, the illiterate and unlearned disciples suddenly were able to speak in languages previously unknown to them by the power of the Holy Spirit. This too was prophesied (Joel 2). These fishermen, tax collectors and those of other humble origins, declared to these men of many nations, in their own language, the wonderful works of God. Three thousand came to believe in that day and were sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day they would die and have their bodies redeemed by Him. Many more have believed on Him since that day.
During the forty days, one of the most special accounts of who saw Jesus (to me), was Mary Magdalene. She was the dregs of so-called society, a prostitute who came to believe upon Him, went looking to anoint His body after the Sabbath, and was weeping outside His tomb when it wasn’t there. And Jesus asked her why she was weeping. And at first she thought He was the gardener, when she asked where her Lord was, but I can almost hear Him as He voiced her name with tenderness… “Mary” – and the look and emotions as she recognized Him. The mixed feeling of joy and bewilderment at how He could be alive.
I don’t have any great past stories to tell of this wretched life, of coming from some terribly lived life even and forged on to some great victory. But I have Jesus, that is my greatest gift and the greatest story ever told. I always thought I was pretty good, pretty nice to people. I rooted for the underdog, stood up for the weak, cried when they showed the starving children on t.v., had good morals, and was a friend to the friendless. And probably a half-decent mother. But in some ways, my story is worse than those with all these terrible pasts, because I was not honest with God or myself. I did not realize that not only was good not good enough, but that these feelings of being good, even actually doing works of righteousness, were filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). And trying to be good, well that didn’t work as well as I would have wished either. There were always those who seemed to be way better at it than I was. And the harder I tried, seemed like the more I failed. But that’s the beauty of Jesus. He is perfect. And He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30)
All you have to do is believe what He did, (died for your sin, was buried and rose again in three days), He was full payment for your sins forever. He is God who came for you. If you will believe, He will take away your sin, and give you His righteousness, justifying you as innocent before the Father. He will set His seal, the Holy Spirit upon you, until the day He redeems you and gives you a new body. This seal is never to be removed by anyone. He says He will never leave us or forsake us.
Do you know anyone like that? That’s my Jesus.
*Why the cross? It was written from nearly the beginning of the recording of the Word of God, thousands of years before, that it was a curse to hang from a tree. And anyone who did was cursed. When man first sinned, that curse was death, what God had warned of from the beginning. The earth would also now bring forth thorns and there would now be toil for man in his work instead of the joy and fulfillment it would have provided. Jesus Christ took that curse for us.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. Galatians 3:13
Best Friends Forever
Best friends may leave us. Jesus will not.
Best friends may forsake us. Not Jesus.
Best friends may be unfaithful to us. He is faithful when we are not.
Best friends may not forgive. He will always forgive.
Best friends may disappoint us. He will never disappoint us.
Best friends stop being best friends. Never Jesus.
Friends desert us in hard times. Not Jesus, He is our friend, and our brother.
A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. Pr 17:17
Copyright 2015, by H. Garcia. People are welcome to use in its entirety to share the gospel.