Monday, April 6, 2009

Who Needs A Perfect Friend? I DO!

What makes this comic funny is the fact that so often, it’s sadly true. Like Spencer, we only remember God when we “need” Him. We forget to talk to him about the good as well as the bad. We forget to thank Him and praise Him; only seeking Him when we need help of some kind. In a world that screams “Do it your way! Be independent! Don’t rely on anybody!” we forget just how dependent we are supposed to be on our Savior; and that He is more than just our Father…..He is our FRIEND (John 15:15)!!

This Sunday, we will celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The amazing feat that was accomplished on that cross is almost beyond anything I can comprehend!! ONE MAN (the Son of God) voluntarily lays down His life for the sins of everyone who ever was, is, or will be!! Yet, we sometimes miss how intense that love and sacrifice is, and how PERFECTLY His grace covers everything!! We just “get saved” and move on with our lives; not thinking twice about everything salvation gives us besides saving us from eternal punishment in Hell.

In the Old Testament, they always had to follow rules in order to be right with God. Not only that, animal sacrifices had to be made because without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). All of that placed a terrible burden an one’s shoulders. Can you imagine trying to keep “rules” all the time and having to wait until the next sacrifice to be forgiven of your sins? You couldn’t just ask God to forgive you, because the priest was the only intercessor you had! Before Jesus paid the price once and for all, the priest was the only one that could go through the curtain and communicate with God (and even that was risky business - Exodus 28:35). Talk about holy fear!!

Today, however, we have been given a lot more than just forgiveness and atonement for our sins. Our salvation was a “package deal”, so to speak. Not only do we get cleansed and forgiven of our sins, saved from Hell, and the assurance of eternity in heaven, we get SO MUCH MORE!! Have we ever stopped to think what a GIFT the Holy Spirit is? What a PRIVILEGE it is to be able to COMMUNICATE with God; whenever and wherever we want to?! THAT VEIL WAS TORN!! Before Christ, the people didn’t have that! You might even say that their faith had to be greater than ours because they couldn’t experience and feel God in the same way we can today and have that assurance in their spirits!! Why do we wonder why God doesn’t speak to us out loud from heaven, or through a burning bush, or a cloud? We have Him speaking directly to us from the inside! Our faith doesn’t require the boost of physical proof because we have the proof living in us when we invite Him into our hearts! In the Old Testament, however, that was the only evidence they really had! They had to take the priests’ word for it because they couldn’t experience it for themselves (and they didn‘t even have the Bible in print to read for themselves either!). Wow! How different my faith would probably be if I didn’t have the advantage of experiencing God every day in my heart and a Bible in my hands to read (and in some countries, they STILL don‘t have Bibles in their hands)!!

Jesus Christ gave us the best gift ever; the gift of a perfect and eternal friend!! I don’t know about you, but I often get frustrated with my earthly friends. No matter how much love and trust you think you have, failure is bound to happen and pain is inevitable. Why? Because humans are not perfect and unfailing (but God IS!). We can run to our “friends” and tell them about our joys and sorrows, but how much do they really understand? Are they there 24/7 when we need them most like God is? Is God our “last resort” friend when everyone else has abandoned us and left us alone and bleeding? Why isn’t He the FIRST friend that we go to; the one that is never far away but always with us (Deuteronomy 31:8). Jesus sacrificed EVERYTHING to make that relationship possible; a relationship that the people who lived prior to Christ’s sacrifice would have LOVED to have!! Yet, we so often save Him for “later” when all our other friends (and ourselves) fail us. Shouldn’t we be more inclined to rely on someone that is constant, unchanging, faithful, perfect, wonderful, beautiful, and 100% trustworthy? His motives are always good, perfect, and for our betterment. He makes the impossible possible and He is the perfect Father, Friend, Defender, Lover, Healer, YOU NAME IT!! He is I AM!!!

A pastor I know always made fun of the Garth Brooks song about having friends in “low places”. What’s the good of that when we have a Friend in the HIGHEST of HIGH PLACES?!! He sits on the throne in all His splendor, glory, and sovereignty! Yet, He chooses to be (and longs to be!) friends with US; the ones who are truly in “low places”. Then, He ADOPTS us into His family and lift us up to HIS level (Ephesians 2:6)!! Heirs with His Son (Romans 8:17)… doesn’t get any better than being a child of the Most High KING OF KINGS!!! Who’s your Daddy?!! :)

Grace and peace to all of you!! May you all be blessed in knowing who you are and WHOSE you are!! You are special, beloved, and favored!! The King is YOUR FRIEND, and all because His Son took your place on that cross so you could stand beside Him in glory for all eternity!! What a gift! What a friend!! What a God!! Who doesn’t “need” that?!! Amen!!

**This comic was used by permission by the gifted, talented, and insightful artists at "Knocking on Heaven's Door". If you would like to see more of their inspiring and humorous comics (which beautifully illustrate the friendship between God and Spencer) visit their myspace page and view their blogs (and if you are a myspace user, please subscribe to their blog! They will most certainly brighten your day; just as they do for me!): **

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