September 24, Sunday

Today’s AMI QT is provided by Cami King of JCC (Raleigh).

Devotional Thoughts for Today

FRIEND OF GOD

 

Genesis 6:13, 17-19a

Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you;

John 15:13-16                                                  

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

Who are your favorite famous friends? Batman and Robin? Bonnie and Clyde (for the dangerous among us)? David and Jonathan (for the extra holy among us)? Woody & Buzz? (“You’ve got a friend in me!”)

Friendship is a precious thing. Thirteenth-century theologian Thomas Aquinas once said, “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” The Bible affirms this and is full of proverbs about it. I’m sure you could easily bring to mind the special people you call friend and the things that make that friendship delightful.

In Genesis 6, we see that God and Noah were friends. How do we know this? Because God shared His heart with Noah (a broken heart in Gen. 6) and even shared what He was up to (bringing a flood – Gen. 6:17). Many generations later God would come even closer in the person of Jesus and the disciples would enjoy friendship with God as well. And later still, Jesus would extend that friendship to all who would receive it through the Holy Spirit living within them. Of all the things we are privileged to call God – parent, savior, shepherd, teacher – I find it special that God also chooses us as friends. In God, we find the greatest friend imaginable (beyond what we can imagine, even).

I once read of a middle school teacher who asked her students to define friend. Their responses: “A friend is a pair of open arms in a society of armless people.” / “A friend is a warm bedroll on a cold and frosty night.” / “A friend is a mug of hot cocoa on a damp cloudy day.” / “A friend is a beautiful orchard in the middle of the desert.” / “A friend is a hot bath after you have walked 20 miles on a dusty road.” (Some pretty deep middle schoolers!)

Sometimes I find that I’m too busy and too self-absorbed to notice God’s gestures of friendship in my life. Maybe you can relate. But when I stop to remember, I know God is the greatest friend I’ve ever had. And I wonder too if those same traits keep us from being good friends to God in turn – sharing our heart and plans with Him, partnering with Him in His dreams – the way He does for us. Let us not forsake today the gift of friendship with God! And let us not only be partakers of God’s friendship, but may we also offer our friendship to Him as well.

Prayer: God, You are my friend. That is an amazing truth. Thank You for choosing to share Your heart and Your life with me. Forgive me for the times I’ve not been a very good friend to You. Help me not to take our friendship for granted, but to offer You my time and affections, inviting You into all the parts of my life because that’s what friends do. Help me to experience the reality of friendship with You today.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 48

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