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  1. "Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool,
    which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

    In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk,
    of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
    For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water:
    whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in
    was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

    And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
    When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case,
    he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

    The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled,
    to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
    Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
    And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked ..."
    John 5: 2-9

    This is perhaps an unusual account to think about at the beginning of a brand New Year but I have good reason to refer to it at a time like this.

    Last November marked 38 years since by the grace of God I was saved and began my heaven bound journey. Life has taken a few unexpected turns along the way, where there have been prolonged periods of suffering and fiery trials to endure. But I can confidently testify that through them all I have learned that God is able in ALL circumstances -

    • He is able to save all that come to God through Christ, (Hebrews 7: 25.)
    • He is able to keep our souls safe in His loving care, (2Timothy 1: 12.)
    • He is able to keep us from falling, (Jude 1: 24.)
    • He is able to provide for all our needs according to His riches in Christ, (Philippians 4: 19.)
    • He is able to comfort us in our trials and deliver us from temptation, (Hebrews 2: 18.)
    • And He is also able to do far greater than what our hearts could even imagine or ask for, (Ephesians 3: 20.)

    What do you do with the precious metals that emerge from the furnace or with the jewels that survive the blast of the hammer? Are these things not to be displayed for all to see and admire?

    When God permits a person to go through a crucible experience,
    it is with a view of making them better, and not bitter!

    Therefore if the result is better, then something very precious has been acquired and must be handled with great care - not to be hidden but displayed for all to see and benefit from.

    The result of my personal crucible experiences is the outpouring of treasures gained from the depths so that others can benefit and be encouraged via this website with its varied content and via some of the many wonderful resources provided freely for our use.

    Facebook  ~  YouTube

    Some years ago I struggled for a long while concerning the publication of my music and songs but eventually it all happened after I was prepared to finally trust in the Lord every step of the way. As a result two albums have been created and published which are blessing dear people worldwide :)

    But for a long while now there has been another personal struggle going on. And this has been to take the work the Lord has given me to do one step further from music and songs to ... videos!

    Like the man at the pool waiting for someone to help him reach the pool for healing, I feel that I have been looking in the wrong direction at the many circumstances that appear to hinder my progress. One by one pressures arise which distract and fog my view of what I am hoping to accomplish.

    Because of some sort of superstition the paralysed man thought the pool was the place where he ought to be but the Lord had other plans for him. The answer to his problems was not to be found at the pool and the reason why he had to wait so long to be healed did not lie in the fact that there was no one to help. The answer to his problems was to be found in the command of the Lord alone: "Rise, take up your bed, and walk." And that was it! No fuss. No drama. No more excuses. The Lord was in effect saying to the man:

    'What are you waiting for - just get up ... Just do it!'

    01_Jan_Just Do It_1

    Perhaps for these past thirty eight years I have been making a few excuses of my own, but I know from past experience that: 'I have no resources', 'I am not qualified', and 'I am afraid', 'I have no time', are not viable reasons for not doing what He has told me to do.

    At this present moment I could offer to you a whole long list of reasons why I don't feel ready to do what I have been preparing several years for but time is marching on and after 38 years of waiting I hear the promptings of the Lord saying to my heart: "Just do it, and I will take care of everything".

    And so in the will of the Lord I will endeavour to add to my little collection of as yet unpublished videos a few more in readiness to publish in time for Rest a While's Anniversary at the end of April. They will consist of song videos showcasing a few songs already known from my two albums and some songs never heard before, music, and inspirational thoughts. All with the intention to encourage God's people in these gloomy days and also to interest other people in the wonders of the Lord and Saviour who is able to save precious souls from a lost eternity.

    Well, this is all in His hands and we will see what will be the result of all this waiting.

    But how about you?

    Is there a burden on your heart to do something in your life of lasting and eternal value? It is never too late you know! You may be feeling that life has passed you by and now the best of your years are behind you - but it is not too late.

    Dear friend and follower of the Lord, don't be afraid to say a little word of encouragement to a fellow Christian. This is something that the Lord values very highly indeed. Don't be afraid to say a good word about the Lord to someone who needs to hear the good news Gospel message. Don't be afraid to give out a little leaflet containing the Word of God to someone who needs it so badly. Don't be afraid to open your door to your neighbours, your home might be the only place where they will encounter the goodness of the living God. A simple compassionate act may all that is needed. Just do it!

    01_Jan_Just Do It_2

    Dear friend who is still in need of God's full and free Salvation - what are you waiting for? Don't make up excuses in an attempt to justify why you haven't trusted in Him yet. He came into this world just for you as an individual to demonstrate His love for you personally. There on the cross all that time ago He had you in mind and suffered in your place because of the sin that is separating you from the unspeakable wonders that God has in store for you. Don't be afraid to trust in Him ... Just do it ... you will be eternally glad you did. Believe me - I know!!!

    "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
    old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
    2 Corinthians 5: 17

    So here we are on the threshold of a brand New Year and what is in store for each of us we do not know. But I trust that as a result of reading this you will be challenged in your heart to get some alone time with God and do some honest soul searching in His presence. Ask Him for the help and wisdom you need in order to live a life that is of eternal value to Him, which will in turn guarantee a full and satisfying way of life for you. Don't let a moment more of wasted time slip away forever ... Just do it!

     

    May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy

    01_2018 

    filled with all of the wonderment that comes to those who walk closely with the Lord.

    ~~~~~

    >> Please feel free to leave a comment below - it would be lovely to hear from you 

     

  2. Here we are once again, at the end of yet another year! My, how time flies! Where did those months go since we were all busy getting ready for the Christmas season last year?

    Well, one thing is for certain, we are that much closer to the promised coming of our beloved Lord Jesus than we've ever been, and all the things going on all around us indicate that His coming is imminent! One soon day will be our last day here before all those who have trusted in the Saviour whom God sent into the world to deliver us from the eternal consequences of our sin will hear the call for home!

    What a day that will be. Oh, to be with Him at last!

    Oh, to be with the One

    "Whom having not seen, [we] love;
    in whom, though now [we] see him not, yet believing,
    [we] rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
    1 Peter 1: 8

    It has been one of those years it seems when life has no real purpose without the Lord in it. I see the lives of the people around me, some of them are Christian, and yet without my beloved Lord Jesus in the centre life is so dull and meaningless. What a difference happens when He comes into the lives of the unsaved folks with His saving grace. What a difference happens in the lives of believers when the Lord comes in with the knowledge of His presence.

    John chapter 20 has a few remarkable accounts that captured my interest; for when Jesus came into the lives of a few distraught people their sorrow, fears and doubt disappeared

    b_When Jesus Came

    I think of Mary of Madeleine's sorrow. She had seen the Lord suffer, and there was so little she could do, and now He was dead and buried! The least she could do would be to anoint His body! Her heart was laid low as she visited the tomb of her beloved Lord only to find that the stone was rolled away and the body was gone! Sorrow upon sorrow filled her anguished soul. But her sorrow instantly disappeared at the sound of the Lord gently calling her name.

    What a difference for Mary; for sorrow turned into joy - when Jesus came!

    A few of the Lord's disciples were gathered together behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. What must have been going through their fearful minds just three days after their beloved Lord was crucified. What were they to do now? How could they ever go back to the life they left behind to follow Him? They left all to walk with Him and now He was gone! ... Or was He? Suddenly there He appeared before them. Closed doors wouldn't keep Him away from those He loved. So when the Lord came to them in resurrected glory we read: "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." (verse 20.)

    Their fear dissolved away the moment - when Jesus came!

    Thomas was one of the twelve and he just so happened to miss the first visit of the Lord to His disciples. Instantly doubt filled his thoughts as the others told him of their encounter with the resurrected Lord. However, in all His grace, tenderness, and understanding, the Lord came again! This time addressing the needs of Thomas and dispelling the doubt that engrained itself into His heart.

    Just one look at the forever living Lord Jesus and all the doubt dissolved away!

    Just think of the difference that the coming of the Lord Jesus brought into our lives the day when we understood that we were the guilty sinners for whom Christ died. The day when God put His life into us was the day we became secure in Him forever! Nothing will ever be the same again since the day - when Jesus came and turned the darkness into His glorious light, and turned our vain existence into the potential of living for His honour and pleasure.

    O, may we always have hearts that adore this beloved One who is the very joy and delight to His Father. Let us always remember that the babe in the manger became the Christ on the Cross and one day soon is going to be the One who calles each of His people by name away and out from this sad old world into the joy and beauty of His presence. Of course this ties in well with the opening of this blog concerning how life changed for people - when Jesus came. But now we as Gods people are looking for the glorious appearing of our beloved Lord Jesus.

     What joy will then fill our hearts the moment - when Jesus comes.

     It's not long now you know - it could be ......

     Perhaps Today

     

    I would now like to take the opportunity to wish all visitors a very happy Christmas and that you may either know and rejoice in the promised presence of the Lord in your lives or at last discover your great need of Him, and what He has done in order to provide for you the remedy. In all accounts Christ is the answer.

    "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."
    2 Corithians 9: 15

    ~~~~~

    When Jesus Came

    Well, would you know, when the world in darkness lay;
    Waiting for the day of hope to come.
    So long the wait, as the moments turned to years
    Underlining fears that God was done -
    Done with reaching out to mankind who refused to let Him in -
    Suddenly the dark skies turn to day.

    And from the heavens - a messenger proclaiming,
    And all their tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy,
    To hear that God, a Saviour He had sent to them.
    Joy came to the world the day - when Jesus came!

    Well, would you know, that the Best there's ever been
    Lived here in this scene so long ago.
    And where He walked folks would never be the same.
    A touch from heaven came from Him to show
    Just how God can fill their hearts with joy, turn doubt to true belief.
    Giving broken lives a brand new start.

    And there He was - God's answer to their troubles,
    All their tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy,
    A faithful Shepherd, great Physician, Saviour, Friend.
    Joy came to their lives the day - when Jesus came!

    Well, would you know, on a cross and lifted high,
    Left alone to die in ignominy!
    But in that hour, when the day time turned to night,
    In the dark and out of sight, the victory -
    Was won by He who bravely did what others could not do,
    So we could have the life He freely gives.

    And Jesus lives within the ones who trust Him,
    All their tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy.
    True is His promise - they will never be all alone.
    Joy came to their lives the day - when Jesus came.

    And blessed is the hope of all His people,
    When all our tears of sorrow will turn to tears of joy.
    The day we'll hear His voice from heaven call our name.
    Joy will fill our hearts the day - when Jesus comes.

    A Song for Christmas 2017
    by A le B

    Another one for Amanda's Corner @ YouTube
    sometime in the not too distant future in the will of the Lord :)

    ~~~~~

    >> Please feel free to leave a comment below - it would be lovely to hear from you 

     

  3. I received an email from a friend overseas some time ago, and among the things that were expressed was a particular phrase that somewhat appealed to me.

    Although written in a completely different context, my mind began to form all sorts of ideas around what I thought to be a rather beautiful phrase ... "While Others Wonder".

    The following thoughts are designed to bring a little bit of hope, cheer and affirmation to the weary hearted Christian who may be feeling a little underappreciated or doubting your particular pathway at the moment owing to overwhelming circumstances.

    This time of the year we can often feel a little overwhelmed and distracted when we have set our paths in a particular direction and all has to come to a temporary halt for the more pressing things to do with the Christmas season!

    But take a little time out and let us take a look for a little while at the Saviour who lived out His wonderful life in full view of all around Him. There weren't many people who appreciated who He really was or the reason why He had come, but for those who did, a sweet assurance rested in their souls in an often hostile environment  - this can be your wonderful portion also.

    ~~~~~

     b_While Others Wonder 1

    In John chapter 2, we read that the Lord Jesus was invited to a wedding in the city of Cana. But a dilemma had occurred when the all important wine had run out which would have been a social embarrassment in the culture of that day.

    But this was to open up the way for the Lord Jesus to perform His very first miracle during His short life here on earth. This was a 'quiet' miracle, nothing showy, and was only observed among a few servants and His close followers. Clay water pots were to be filled with water drawn from the well at His command, and then cups of water were to be drawn and presented to the govourner, who when tasting found that the water was no longer water - but wine!

    And it wasn't just nice wine but the very best wine!

    While everyone else wondered where wine of such good quality came from, the servants knew! What a privilege to have been one of those servants or among the closer people who observed what the Lord did that day.

    As a result of observing what the Lord did that day the Bible tells us that His "disciples believed on him." (:11)

    b_While Others Wonder 2

    Later on in John chapter 6, up in a mountain and after a long day listening to the preaching of the Lord Jesus there were thousands of people in need of sustenance but so little of it around. However there was the small provisions of a young lad who had in his possession five loaves and two small fish. These small provisions were gladly offered to the Lord who somehow managed to feed a multitude of hungry people with them until everyone was full and there was plenty to spare.

    While others wondered where all that food came from, the disciples knew - and there was a nameless lad who knew as well. What an honour it must have been for this relatively unknown person to be the one whose meagre provisions were used in such a miraculous way.

    As a result there were among the crowd that day certain people who would have liked to set Him up as King, but He withdrew Himself to be alone with God. He knew that the same crowd sometime in the future would be baying for His crucifixion.

    God will in His good time set up the Lord Jesus as King - He doesn't need mankind to help Him to do this.

    However we who are followers of the Lord Jesus and seek to serve Him faithfully sometimes find ourselves in situations where something happens that cannot otherwise be explained other than to say: "this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes." Mark 12: 11. Perhaps we didn't have the natural strength to carry something out, perhaps we didn't really have the resources to pay for a few basic things, perhaps we found ourselves in hostile circumstances, and out of the blue relief came and gave to us all that we needed when we were in dire straights.

    Ever been there? I certainly have!

    In Luke chapter 4, we read that the Lord stood to read a portion of the book of Isaiah, and this is what He read:

    "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
    he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
    and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
    To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
    Luke 4: 18-19

    And when He had finished He handed back the scroll from which He had been reading and sat down. Everyone was watching Him to see what would happen next. He then spoke:

    "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
    (:21)

    This statement caused quite a stir because He was inferring that He was the One sent by God to answer all their needs, which indeed He was!

    While they all wondered at the gracious words that He spoke they also couldn't understand how This Man who they knew to be the so called son of Joseph could claim to be the promised Messiah!

    But while they all wondered, there were some who knew who He really was. Who were these people? Perhaps there would only have been a handful of them. Folks like Nicodemus, who came to Jesus in the night to have time alone with Him. Then there was John the Apostle who was close enough to the Lord to hear His very heartbeat at times. Then there was Mary of Bethany who sat at His feet and heard His Word.

    What do these people have in common? Did they not have an intimate relationship with the Lord Himself? Did they not do whatever was necessary to be alone with Him, and close to Him?

     b_While Others Wonder 3

    This is the wonderful secret to knowing things about Him: 'whom to know is life eternal'; essential things that help with everyday life and give hope for a bright future in the midst of what can at times be a very lonely walk.

    And while others wonder where is the source of our life - we who follow the Lord Jesus know fully well! He is the only One who can give true joy and peace we need so badly in the midst grief and turmoil. He is the only One who can sustain us our sole with provisions this world knows nothing of. And He is the only One who is the answer to all our needs whether they be they small or great - He satisfies our longing souls ... with Himself!

    Oh, may we hold Him close to our heart and never let Him go, while at the same time knowing that He is holding us securely in His hands which are safe in the Father's hands as well ..... Doubly secure!

     b_When Others Wonder 4

    ~~~~~

    >> Please feel free to leave a comment below - it would be lovely to hear from you 

     

  4.  b_Secret Love

    We're just back from the UK spending a week with our beautiful grandchildren - Oh, and their lovely parents of course :-)

    We took the two older children with us to the shopping centre and left their Mum to potter around at home while the two little ones would get a power nap at some time. While we were walking through the corridors of the shopping centre I had each of the older ones holding my hands - one on the right and the other on the left.

    I had an idea, as I remembered something I did when my own children were young. I got down to their level and showed them something. I gently squeezed their hands a couple of times and asked them to do it back. "Now," I said to them, "I'm going to tell you what that means." They both stood looking at me in anticipation of what they were about to hear from Granny. "It's a secret," I told them. "this is something special between people who love each other." As I squeezed their hands again, I told them, "this means 'I love you' without saying it with words. Now we can say 'I love you' to each other without anyone else knowing. Isn't that fun?"

    Consequently we spent the rest of the time when walking together squeezing hands and having a giggle about it. I told Caleb, the oldest, "When you get home, do that to Mummy, she'll understand exactly what you are saying to her because I used to do this for Mummy and Uncle Matt when they were little ones just like you." And he did just that - as soon as he got home he went straight to my daughter and squeezed her hand, she looked at him, then at me and smiled. Caleb was really pleased with himself!

    ~~~~~

    The living God with whom I am acquainted has a love for the people who live in this world that is beyond measure. The Bible tells us that this is no secret. His love is demonstrated and fully displayed in the lifting up of His beloved Son on the cross.

    "God commendeth his love toward us,
    in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
    Romans 5: 8

    Rather like the thought of displaying goods in a shop window to attract passersby to come in and make a purchase, God displayed His love in a way that cannot be ignored. How could anyone in their right mind turn away from such a display of immeasurable love and say: "that means nothing to me!" But sadly most people do!

    “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?
    behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow.”
    Lamentations 1:2

    "And where is the heart so hardened, and who is so vile as he,
    Who beholdeth the Saviour suffer, and saith “it is nothing to me.”

    The sin within the hearts of such individuals that despises such love is the very sin that caused the beloved Saviour to go all the way to the cross and die as the sinner's substitute.

    Because our sin was so great it needed love and mercy to match it, and that was found in the demonstration of His love there outside the city wall of Jerusalem two thousand years ago.

    Rejected, ridiculed and the spectacle of cruel mockers - He pleaded for them for the Father's forgiveness. Despised, disposed of and left to die - He gave Himself willingly and shouldered our great burden. Battered, bleeding and crowned with thorns - but dying with dignity like only He could do.

    All this and so much more for the guilty hell bound sinner! What love, what grace, what mercy! There lifted up for all to see.

    "... I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden ...
    for this thing was not done in a corner."
    Acts 26: 2

    God's love is not a secret thing as such; for He is not willing that anyone should perish. He has no pleasure in anyone who refuses His great love because it has cost Him so much to enable us to have a good relationship with Him and have a home in heaven to look forward to. We in our sinful human state are totally inadequate to do this for ourselves. That's why He has done all the work and has made it as easy as possible to know about this so YOU wouldn't miss out.

    The choice is yours, and the choice is mine. What therefore will you do with such love? Will you take it or leave it and pass on by?

     ~~~~~

    Now the love of God is not a secret so all who are willing can come into the benefit of it. But there is something rather precious to be known and experienced that only those who are prepared to come away from the din of the world to draw near to Him can know.

    "The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant."
    Psalm 25: 14

    He has many treasures to bestow upon those who draw near to Him.

    Perfect peace - is to be freely bestowed on those who have Him in the forefront of their minds and thoughts.

    "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace
     whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

    Isaiah 26: 3

    Abundant life - the possession of all those who know from where to draw resources of the finest sort.

    "I am come that they might have life,
    and that they might have it more abundantly."
    John 10: 10

    Sound mind - the clarity and resolution of the one who walks by faith in the One who we know never changes and never fails.

    "God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
    but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
    2 Timothy 1: 7

    Hope - the certainty that the promises of God are true and trustworthy, and the joyful reality that we will hear His voice that will call us away out of this world to be with Him forever.

    "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
    In my Father's house are many mansions:
    if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,
    and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
    John 14: 1-3

    "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing
    of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"
    Titus 2: 13

    Serenity - the depth of quietness of the soul that none can disturb found only through knowing Him - intimately.

    "I know whom I have believed,
    and am persuaded that he is able to keep that
    which I have committed unto him against that day."
    2 Timothy 1: 2

    "Great peace have they which love thy law:
    and nothing shall offend them."
    Psalm 119: 165

    Put it this way, all who trust in the Lord and all that He has done on the behalf of the guilty sinners like you and me get much more than a 'fire escape' that is for sure.

    The blessings He is waiting to bestow on those who are prepared to lay aside the world and all its trinkets find in Him a treasure store of innumerable blessings that cannot be compared with the earth's finest prizes.

    "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him."
    Psalm 34: 8

    ~~~~~

    Related Link: "This Much" from "A Whisper in the Wind"

    ~~~~~

    >> Please feel free to leave a comment below - it would be lovely to hear from you 

     

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  5. 10_Oct_Closer than a Brother1

    "... There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
    Proverbs 18: 24

    It was about this time last year and we were out for a walk along the promenade on the south coast of our Island. The autumn air was chilly and a stiff breeze was chilled our faces as we walked into it. Our return journey was to be a little more comfortable.

    We stopped for a refreshing and warming beverage at one of the last cafes still open before shutting down for the winter season. Sitting at a window that overlooked the white sandy beach I saw two young boys playing outside. (Young blood is evidentially tougher than mine!)

    First they gathered seaweed to make a makeshift goal and played a game of footie for a while. Then they took turns to build around each other some kind of sculptured vehicle. Lastly they wrestled together, play fighting and rolling around in the sand trying to pin each other to the ground. After a fun filled time they finally they left walking and talking until they disappeared from view.

    How lovely it was to watch them playing and just enjoying each other's company. It was refreshing to see real play in action instead of the usual way young ones pass their time nowadays with head bowed peering into a small device in the palm of their hands! I can't help wondering if they were still friends today, and I wonder if their friendship will continue into manhood.

    Watching these two lads reminded me of a time when I was just a girl about the same age as those boys, and the carefree days I had with my best friend. We spent so much time together, shared secrets together, laughed and cried together, but somehow as the years passed we drifted apart and I never really saw anything of her until the occasion of my Dad's funeral to which she attended. We embraced for a long while, and at the reception we spent quite some time catching up and getting to know each other all over again. So many lost years! We more or less promised each other we would not let our friendship slip past us again. It is a wonderful discovery to find that we have the Lord in common and after much discussion and encouragement she is now in fellowship with us in our little church family. :-)

    In today's world of social media it is possible to have many 'friends'. But are they all really friends in the true sense of the word? One of my family members has over a thousand 'friends' on Facebook! Imagine that! However I was saddened to observe that when he was in genuine distress he could have done with at least one of them to draw near in companionship - but nobody showed up! Well, at least he knew there was an open door and a welcome for him in our home. This goes to show that social media can at times belittle what true friendships are all about.

    In my humble opinion a true friendship is one of complete trust
    and unselfish investment in the other person's welfare.

    And if that friendship is grounded in Christ it is a treasure indeed. It is a relationship that will never end and will continue to be appreciated in eternal realms. What a rarity a friendship like this is!

    If you have a friendship with somebody like this, then you have something very precious indeed. Don't for one moment ever take it for granted. Guard it and care for it because it is a gift from God. This is something doesn't necessarily need to evolve over time but can occur right out of the blue. All it takes is honesty, and complete trust at all times.

     Closer than a Brother4

    "... They that feared the LORD spake often one to another:
    and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him
    for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name."
    Malachi 3: 16

    When the Lord Jesus was alone with His disciples in the upper room the night before He was crucified, He did something interesting but rather unusual. It was customary and common courtesy for the feet of guests to be washed and refreshed before dining. This was usually performed by the household servant. But in this case it was just the Lord and His disciples who were there. The bowl of water and a towel was in place, but no one volunteered to perform this service and so it went undone until the Lord Himself assumed the servant's role.

    "He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
    after that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet,
    and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded."
    John 13: 4-5

    No one understood what the significance was of what He was doing there and then but He told them that would understand at a later time, (v7). However, we now understand that what He was doing was an example as to what we ought to be doing for each other. I'm not talking about the actual act of feet washing here but in a spiritual realm I am speaking about our role in servitude towards each other as God's people.

    Let's break this down - If in the Bible water speaks of the Word of God, feet speak to us of our walk and lifestyle, and foot washing speaks of humble service and care, then it stands to reason that each of us have the opportunity to follow the Lord's example. When we understand what He was really communicating here, then we too can rise to the call to become a Barnabas type of character who was known as the son of consolation, true friend and an encourager of God's people.

    What better way could one Christian friend serve the other than by encouraging and strengthening one another's walk with the Lord through sharing and communicating His Word? If Christians can't encourage each other to cleave to the Lord with purpose of heart who else could we go to?

    10_Oct_Closer than a Brother3

    Going elsewhere for council will pull us down, empty our hearts, and render us fruitless and barren.

    And this leads me to draw our attention to the ultimate Friend, who is none other than the Lord Jesus, the Son of the living God. There is no friend like Him. Search the world over and you won't find anyone who has the ability to come anywhere near to the standard He has.

    You see, we who are friendly with each other tend to have something or someone in common upon which to build the foundations of a good friendship, but the Lord looked in pity on the likes of us, and while we were in the wretched condition of uncleanliness He came into this world on a rescue mission. He came to do something we could not possibly do for ourselves. "He came to save sinners." 1 Timothy 1: 15. And "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5: 8.

    He as the true friend loved the unlovable, did the unthinkable, in order to achieve the impossible.

    Who would have thought that God in all His holiness and Jesus in all His sweet perfection would have the capability of loving destitute sinners like ourselves? Who else but the Lord would have devised a plan to go and die on a cruel Roman cross in untold agonies in the place of a world of individual sinners? Who else but the prefect Son of God would have the ability to unite sinful mankind with a Holy God in righteousness?

    No one could ever have done such a thing other than the Lord Jesus Himself. Those who are prepared to humble themselves before the living God, trusting wholly in what Jesus accomplished on the cross when He died as our sin bearer will find out to the joy of their never dying soul that Jesus is the Friend above all others.

    Jesus is not an ordinary friend - He is the Perfect Friend!

    He is in the truest sense of the word a friend indeed! When He makes a promise He keeps it always! His character and His love are constant, unlike ours! He knows us better than we know ourselves, yet He loves us anyway! Because there is nothing about ourselves that comes as a surprise to Him, He is the very best of confidants, we can unload all the inmost thoughts that trouble us knowing we are confiding in Someone who truly understands. We can call upon Him for help, wisdom, and protection and preservation. He was the One who made the greatest unselfish investment in our eternal welfare, and because of all these things and so much more we owe everything to Him for our remaining days here on earth and for eternal ages.

    Truly He indeed is the 'Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.' After all, there are times when we might fall out with our siblings, but there is nothing that can sever us from the love of the Lord and lover of our souls. (See Romans 8: 35-39.)

    May we ALL be found in the wonderment of this mind blowing reality, drawing from the depths of our inmost beings the love and adoration which is due to Him who 'loved us and gave Himself for us.' (See Galatians 2: 20.)

    I've found a friend, O such a friend! Christ loved me ere I knew Him
    He drew me with the cords of love, and thus he bound me to Him;
    And round my heart still closely twine those ties which naught can sever,
    For I am His, and Christ is mine, forever and forever.

    I've found a friend, O such a friend! He bled, he died to save me;
    And not alone the gift of life, but His own self He gave me;
    Naught that I have my own I call, I hold it for the Giver;
    My heart, my strength, my life, my all are His, and His forever.

    I've found a friend, O such a friend! All pow'r to Him is given,
    To guard me on my onward course, nd bring me safe to heaven:
    Th'eternal glories gleam afar to nerve my faint endeavor;
    So now to watch, to work, to war, and then to rest forever.

    I've found a friend, O such a friend! So kind and true and tender,
    So wise a counselor and guide, so mighty a defender!
    From Him who loves me now so well what pow'r my soul can sever?
    Shall life or death or earth or hell? No, I am his forever.

    James G. Small


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