Monday, August 4, 2014

A friend multiplies joys and divides sorrows

Nancy on the left and me on the right

While growing up, having a best friend was always important to me.  When I was five, and living in California, my friend was Stevie LeBlanc.  Then when our family moved to Alaska my friend was my cousin Dorothy.  In 4th grade in Virginia, Beverly Barrett was my first friend and Sharon Champagne and Rita Raybold were my close friends.  In 6th and 7th grade Marilyn Smith was my friend.  She even went to a Youth for Christ meeting with us and went forward to receive Jesus.  But in 8th, and 9th grade I really didn’t have one close friend.  Oh sure I had my sister, brothers, and my youth group at church, but no one who was my special friend.  I chalk it up to the different rates kids develop at that age.  My cousin Dorothy at thirteen had boys all wanting to be her boyfriend I think, because of her hourglass figure.   The two boys in my class I liked—Donny Kidwell and Billy Karjala—didn’t even notice me as I was about the size of Thumbelina.   One boy wanted to be my friend but I stuck my nose in the air.  He swatted me on the bottom with his lunch pail!

Finally in 10th grade I met my lifelong friend Nancy Lukehart in my biology class.  We went to church camp together.  I was impressed with her ability to ask questions about the Bible.  Besides our belief in Jesus we saw eye to eye on many other things.  We both wanted to go to Norway—me for the blond boys and her for nice sweaters.  We started a business selling sticks of gum in hopes of saving enough money to go.  (We both were able to travel to Scandinavia with our husbands!)  Our ancestors must be related in some way because we agree on so many things.

When I went off to college my goal was to have fun and to date more boys than my cousin Dorothy.  As a result I didn’t make any close friends.  Finally my senior year I met my husband, Chris.  It turns out that not only did I consider him my best friend, but so did a number of other girls!

The other day I listened to a podcast from Olive Tree Ministries.  I heard Ivan Soto’s testimony, on this program—hereHe said that when he read about Jesus in the book of Matthew in the Bible, Jesus referred to Judas as His friend.   God was finally able to break through to Ivan's heart and he received Jesus.  Now this is my question-- how could Jesus say that Judas was His friend?

Matthew 26: 47 While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him." 49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. 50 And Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on and seized Him.

So Judas, a friend of Jesus, betrayed Him.  If Judas was a friend, who are Jesus’s enemies?  Can someone be a friend and an enemy of Jesus?

Here’s what the Bible says about God’s enemies:

Romans 5:10 says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Colossians 1:21 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.”

James 4: 4 “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Philippians 3: 18 “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”

What does the Bible say about how to have Jesus as a friend?

Jesus said in John 15: 14 "You are My friends if you do what I command you.

I don’t think that Judas did what Jesus commanded Him.  But Jesus did reveal everything necessary to Judas for him to be a friend to Jesus.

God has revealed to us in the Bible what we need to do to be His friend.  If we do not obey Him we are not His friends but apparently He is still our friend.

If we are friends with Jesus the world will hate us just like they hate Him.

John 15: 18 "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
Matthew 10: 22 "You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

So when the enemies of God hate us what are we to do?

Matthew 5: 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Luke 6: 27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless    those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” 

What then should we, the friends of Jesus, pray for our enemies?  We should pray that they would come out of the darkness into the light, that God would turn their eyes from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to the power of God, that they will confess their sins and believe in Jesus.

How can this come about?
If one is a Calvinist one would believe that God’s enemy is dead in his sins until God makes him alive.  So it is up to God to open the person’s eyes.

If one is an Arminian it is up to the person to choose to follow Christ and become one of His children.

All I know is that we friends of Jesus need to pray for the enemies of Jesus until He comes!


  1. That's a great picture of you and my mom! I never knew that you and mom had a gum selling business :) Friends are special gifts from God!


  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes, our one and only effort at a business didn't go very far!

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