Gracious Father, I thank you this morning for allowing me to see another day, a day which you have made. I thank you Father for me waking up this morning with my organs functioning and my bones intact. I thank you Father for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a tongue to give you praise. All the things that we enjoy each day, that we take for granted Father, I thank you for them. I am so pleased to be called your child. I pray this morning that the blessings you have bestowed upon me are also given to each reader. I pray a blessing wherever they are, and that they are comforted and in peace. I pray that each day, they draw closer and closer to you, and forsake the things that are aligned with this world. I pray a blessing on their coming and going, and a pray a blessing of covering on their families. I pray now Father that this message would be considered. I pray that your Holy Spirit set the atmosphere for them to receive it in love. I pray oh God that they take inventory of all the people who are around them, and choose those who walk according to your will. Father we love you, and adore you, and we give you all honor and the praise. This we pray in the name of your darling son, Jesus. Amen.
We are so quick to label people we know as our friends. Why? Majority of the times it is based on how long we knew the person. It can be based on the same interests. Sometimes it could be a person who you work with where you just seem to connect well with them in contrast to others. You may even hang together outside of work hours. Is that enough to say that they are your friends? We all may have different standards that we set as a definition of who our friends are, but I would also pray that at some point we base who our friends are not only on the amount of years of camaraderie, but also on their fruit. Earlier this month in the message titled “Eyes Wide Shut”, I spoke about two people who I thought were my friends. We went to both middle and high school together. We were members of the same gym, so of course we worked out together. We hung out together and even worked at the same job together for 2 years. With all of this, I thought for sure they were both my friends. One I consider a friend no more, and the other, I elevated him to the status of my brother, and I have love for him just as much. It was based off a simple act of humility which caused me to change the definition in my book of who a friend is.
It was sort of hard to write this message because I wanted to go one way, but the Holy Spirit directed me in this direction. We are all familiar with the story of Job. The devil boasted to God how he has been leading His children away, and God asked if he considered Job. The devil felt the only reason why Job loved God was based off of his possessions (Job 1:6-8). I wanted to go in that direction to show that the devil watches and plans to sift those who are happy. He must have considered Job or he would not have made that statement, however I wasn’t able to go in that direction. After God allowed the devil to remove all which Job had, and seen that Job did not curse God, the devil went to God again, this time asking to inflict pain on Job. God granted it, as long as Job’s life is spared (Job 2:1-6). I wanted to show how of course the devil does not play fair. It should have ended with the taking of the possessions, but noooooo, the devil wanted to change the terms. I wasn’t able to go in that direction either. I then tried to express the limited power the devil has in not only causing illness to be inflicted upon us, he can even kill us. To my astonishment, I was unable to go further in that direction. It was when I read a little further down, I received the direction.
In the book of Job it reads “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place-Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” (Job 2:7-13) Amen! Amen! Amen!
Family, sometimes even our friends can be a better friend than our mates can. Job had possessions. His friends were his friends. Remember birds of a feather flock together? If Job was rich, most likely his friends were rich as well. When they heard he lost everything, they did not shun him, they went to him. When they seen the calamity and the affects of his illness, they did not shun him. They knew that he was an upright man before God, and God blessed him. When he lost everything, they could have easily said (perhaps a thought) he must have gotten what he deserved. Aren’t we quick to say how someone is reaping what they have sowed? His friends did not do that. No family they screamed and wept for their friend. They tore their garments and put dust on their heads, which indicated a deep, deep distress for their friend. Then they sat down with him on the ground. They left their highly positions and brought themselves low to the level of where their friend is now. Oh family, what friends did Job have. They sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights without saying a word because they saw Job’s grief. We do not need a fake friend to cause us to relive what we are going through by wanting to talk about it. Silence is golden.
Who are your friends, family? Can you say for certain that your friends would exhibit similar examples of love if by some chance calamity befalls you? Would they go through the trials with you, or say how they are blessed not to be in your shoes? Would they fast and pray for you, without you asking them? Would they just do for you, instead of asking you if there is anything you need, with the hope you say nothing? Forgive me if I cause you to question your present friendships, but maybe it is necessary to remove the fake to make room for the real. Amen!