Is He Your Friend, or a Doctrine?

“A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.”

  ~D.L. Moody

Friendship with God can be a liberating secret. It releases us from the terrible bondage of religion and ritual with all its negative connotations. Intimacy with our Lord will carry us beyond creed or doctrine to the place of true communion.

It’s not that the Law is bad, but in the intense light of God’s grace it’s a poor substitute. We value legalism, and that is precisely what we believe when we bypass the relationship. Doctrine is a good servant, but a poor master. Grace always trumps legalism.

We evangelicals talk big about “a personal relationship.” That is indeed crucial. But few be the believers that walk in a daily friendship with their Savior. That is truly a tragedy.

“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”

John 15:15, NLT

Friendship with Jesus will bring true guidance. He shares secrets and wisdom to his friends. We are brought into a true knowledge of the Kingdom through the relationship of friendship with the King. We are not slaves– or drones, slavishly serving out of slavish fear.

We are His friends.

Jesus wants to confide in us; sharing mysteries hidden by time and sin. And his kingdom is full of amazing perplexities! He is looking to bring us into a willingness of a daily communion.

He will heal our wounds, and forgive all our sins. He is truly our savior as well as our friend.

Friendship comes with a price. It means we are now tethered to the Lord. That can get old, especially when I want to do my own thing. I will continually have to lay things down, and choose to accept tether and follow Him.

But my soul now has a best friend.

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Version Choices, [Your Bible]

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  • Word-for-word is a literal translation from the original languages.
  • Thought-for-thought is considering context in English to translate.
  • Paraphrase is meant to convey a throughly modern language translation.

What are you looking for in your Bible? Personally I use an ESV, but I also like the NLT. I have used almost every translation listed above, but no matter what you use you should read it. You might have what you believe is the “best” translation known to man, but if you don’t read it you’ll be sorely mistaken.

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 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

2 Timothy 3:16, ESV

“Odd, the way the less the Bible is read the more it is translated.”

  –C.S. Lewis

“A readiness to believe every promise implicitly, to obey every command unhesitatingly, to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, is the only true spirit of Bible study.”

 — Andrew Murray

“The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”

–A.W. Tozer

“Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me.”

  –D.L. Moody

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The God Who Sees Me

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“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

Omniscience is an attribute of God. It states that God is all-knowing. He possesses a complete understanding of everything there is or will be. He knows and sees all of His creation. While we gradually accrue understanding, He fully knows absolutely. (Job 37:16).

In Genesis 16 is where we meet Hagar. She is an inconsequential figure. Her personal destiny is a secondary one. She is the Egyptian slave of Sarah, and the concubine of Abraham. Through a series of anxious maneuverings designed to produce a heir, Abraham sleeps with her and she conceives. Sarah goes ballistic, punishing Hagar. Sarah drives her slave from the camp.

As Hagar wanders the wilderness, she meets with an Angel of the Lord who speaks to her. He tells her to return. He also promise that her son will be amazing; he will do mighty things. Hagar is astonished that God would speak to her. She makes the following statement,  “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me” (v.13).

The One who sees me! I believe she finally understood that God was aware of her, an Egyptian slave girl. She was a ‘non-factor’ in the eyes of everyone.

“You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.”

Psalm 139:1-3

We maybe insignificant; we may see ourselves as inconsequential. But we are fully known. You might be a janitor, or a nurse, or fry burgers at McDonalds. But God sees you, even when others don’t. It means I have significance. This should be a point of worship, it was for Hagar.

 “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matt.10:30).

“For your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matt. 6:8).

Because God fully knows all about you, we can rest in being unknown. His complete awareness of us encourages us. We feel significant by His attention. He makes life purposeful. He sees me!

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