Friendships

“He who has friends like these doesn’t need enemies.” Or, in other words: “Who needs enemies with friends like these?” Have we heard these statements before? For instance, when a relationship is destroyed through the clash of personalities and opposing wishes?

However, we all have the need for companionship and friendship. Quality friendships are an important part of our lives. Needless to say, we are not to maintain friendships with people who tempt us to sin. If we want to be friends of the world, God’s love is not in us. What I am addressing here is true friendship that is pleasing to God.

The foundation of a strong friendship is to care more about others than about oneself. Sincere love is how to keep a friend.

More than anything else, unfounded jealousy undermines the willingness to help and ruins our friendship because it goes hand in hand with evil desire, that takes advantage of the other person instead of showing sympathy and compassion. Lack of trust also affects friendships and the willingness to be open and to share with each other.

Furthermore, unhealthy gossip soon wears out friendly relationships. We all certainly know people who constantly badmouth others – sometimes even those whom they call their friends.

It upsets me when I hear that someone is talking badly or falsely about me behind my back. I know, of course, that when such things happen, they should be ignored. There’s a saying: ”Sticks and stones may break my bones, but things being said about me can never hurt me.” However, it is not easy to dismiss what others have said about you. Scripture says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).

Gossip, insults, and false claims destroy relationships, as Proverbs 18:19 tells us, “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

Let us then ask ourselves how often inappropriate words may slip from our lips which we later regret. We can ponder a statement or question through our countless brain cells in the blink of an eye.

On the other hand, we might be “trying too hard” to make or keep friends. If we are too accommodating (always agreeing with someone just to win or not lose their friendship), then we won’t be ourselves, and the other person may have the impression that we are trying to hide our own feelings.

It is true that we should be proactive in making friends. It might be quite difficult to make new friends if we are just waiting for someone to release us from our closed-mindedness or isolation. However, it is important not to beg or creep after someone just to be liked. We certainly cannot rush into relationships in an attempt to make an impression.

Neither can we strengthen friendly relationships by sugarcoating them. This term means giving excessive praise with ulterior motives. Sincere commendation, on the other hand, is a genuine sign of appreciation that is not meant for personal benefit. In fact, we can make a person feel good throughout the day by saying an appropriate word of sincere commendation or appreciation, but flatteries are useless and can even hurt because they are without true meaning.

It is also essential for successful friendships that we listen with sincere attention. This involves not only kind silence but responding to what others have to say in a way that makes them know we consider their ideas, feelings, and experiences as being important.

In fact, we can utilize conversations with others to build a genuine friendship. This involves paying our undivided attention to the person we are talking to, without interrupting when not necessary, and supporting his or her feelings with commendation, encouragement, and hope – but we are to act in the right way, without flattery. During the conversation, we could try to guess what the other person is feeling by placing ourselves in his or her position.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us to have a positive attitude toward our friends, always assuming the best at first instead of thinking evil, but that does not mean we should rejoice in iniquity which they may commit in breaking the law.

We must continuously cherish our friendships. Disagreements are perfectly normal. If friends never disagree, it could be a sign of indifference. People with their own points of view will disagree. However, if these opinions do not violate God’s commandments; they should not cause a friendship to break up. If two people feel an intimate sense of sympathy or loyalty, their relationship will survive any constructive conversations with divergent views.

Building a friendship takes time and commitment on both sides if we want to turn it into a success. Caring more about the other person than about ourselves is what characterizes a friendship. We are especially successful when we are a loving and generous companion – one who always cultivates a friendship and strives to make others happy. Remember what Christ said: “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). And the highest and greatest commandment is to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).

Initial Translation: Daniel Blasinger

The First Commandment—What Is Our God?

Let us consider: If money, material possessions, prestige, sports, music, family, fun, conspiracy theories, or any combination of these things occupy our interest, time, talents and energy more than anything else, then those things will be the God we serve and worship.

For example, an extreme bodybuilder is really infatuated with his body, always exercising, gazing at his muscles in the mirror, taking many vitamins and other supplements, constantly weighing himself and worrying about how many grams of this or that product are included in his daily diet.

Now, what is the main interest in his life? Is it God? Is it Christ? Or God’s Work? Certainly not. His main interest, his God, is literally his own human flesh, which he serves and worships more than anything else.

All of us must be fervently passionate, that our time, talents, interests and zeal are devoted first and foremost to God the Father, to our personal Savior Jesus Christ, to God’s great Masterplan and to the Work of God.

When it comes to our own weak spots, they may not be so obvious, at least not to us. But Satan has many tricks, many methods to distract each and every one of us from our great goal, the Kingdom of God.

Some are literally obsessed with making money. Or with their work. Or maybe with their desire to be important.

Others are addicted to sports. Some are so busy with their families and friends, that God and the Work of God become second or even third place. And others just want pleasure or entertainment. But let’s keep in mind that if God the Father and Jesus Christ have to step back from time to time, so that another “God” can have dominion in our lives, then they are not first in our lives.

In God’s plan, there is no room for a second “God.” Matthew 6:33 tells us, to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and in Romans 8:5-6, we read: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

How do we spend our time?

We might think of the people who spend all day caring for their garden or their house, using most of their free time in doing so—or maybe of the teenagers who are glued to the screens of their cell phones hour after hour; maybe of the ones who are constantly busy posting pictures or videos – the so-called influencers; or those who are permanently working on their cars, polishing them, admiring them and proudly showing them off to their friends.

Our lives are made up of so much time. How we make use of our time is crucial to how we live our lives. A converted Christian has committed his life to God. Have we? Do we really seek God first, when it comes to our use of time and energy? Or does Proverbs 26:14 apply to us, where we read: “As a door turns on its hinges, So does the lazy man on his bed.”

Do we handle and organize our lives in a way, that we can regularly study and internalize the words of the Bible? Have we developed the habit of meditating on the Bible and on God’s Law? Do we seek God with all our heart, maybe with occasional fasting if necessary?

When we use these spiritual tools to draw closer to God, our lives get enriched and God becomes much more real to us. Then we also really desire what God desires; we think as He thinks, and Jesus Christ literally lives in us through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

Galatians 2:20 says: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Authorized Version).

It is only in this way, that all of us who are truly called by God can observe and keep the full intent and spirit of the First Commandment.

Initial Translation by Daniel Blasinger

Money is Power

Today’s focus is on materialism. Most people are very concerned about the difficulties that life brings – about making ends meet – and how to get more for their money.

God warns us about the greedy, selfish spirit that dominates our society today: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

Most people are not ready for being wealthy. They simply can’t handle it.

How would we handle extra money? Would we use it wisely? All too often, that may not be the case.

Money is power. It needs to be controlled. Without self-control and restraint, money becomes a curse. Satan’s goal is to encourage us to destroy ourselves, to turn blessings into curses.

Wealth is a trial.

Christ tells us: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Where is our treasure? Are we materially-minded?

Christ also states: “…You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

Satan knows, when it comes to the priority that dominates us, the choice is either God or material wealth. If he succeeds in tempting us into materialism, pleasure, and a comfortable life, so that we come to think we cannot live without these, then he can draw us away from the loving God.

Because the Bible clearly reveals that having the mindset on the things of the flesh and being carnally minded, is enmity against God. We can read this in Romans 8:4-7.

Wealth is a blessing from God. But it needs to be used properly.

The devil’s plan is getting people to misuse prosperity so that it becomes a curse rather than a blessing. He wants people to attach their hearts to material things and to forget God.

Satan would like to whisper to us: “Look, aren’t things going very well? Why are you keeping the shield of faith so high? And why have you put on the breastplate of righteousness? You do not need all this. And surely you do not need the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God).”

But at the end of the day, this is not a whisper, but rather the roar of a lion, walking about and seeking to devour us.

Ephesians 6:12-18 tells us:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”

Money is Power. Using it properly is up to us.

Initial translation from German: Daniel Blasinger

It is About Time

Are we fully aware of the times we are living in today? Since the days of Noah, there have never been such times. End-time prophecies have never been fulfilled so quickly: The Roman Empire rising from the abyss one last time; pagan governments collapsing. It is all now only a matter of time.

We will experience worldwide droughts, as described in Joel 1:4:

“What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.”  Joel 1:15 adds, “Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.”

There has seemingly never been a time when Christians have been so dependent on being in close contact with God. Perhaps never has there been a time when we were so much in need of faith, to deal with the trials that we now know are ahead of us. And there may never have been a time when it seems so hard to pray. And why is this the case?

This is the time as described in Revelation 12:12: “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”

The devil is loose. And he has a multitude of demons serving him – invisible spirit beings with great power.

One professing Christian turns against another. Churches get into quarrels, feuds, and rejections. They confess with their mouths and deny the Truth. And when Satan fails in driving people away from the Truth, he puts impressions of failure into their minds, designed to discourage them and make them give up.

The devil has many charms and tricks. He will cause most people to completely reject God’s Truth.

He will also try to mislead the children of God into accepting a corruption of God, instead of the true Original. On our website, we have posted an Editorial by Dave Harris on this topic (Update 58), which is entitled: “The True Original.”

Our foundation is the Word of God – the Sword of the Spirit – which is our only offensive weapon.

Paul tells us in Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

If we may stumble, trip, and fall on our Christian path, it must not mean that we should stay down. Let us not be discouraged by this. We must get up again and keep going.

In Hebrews 4:14-16, we read: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Therefore, let us come boldly before the throne of mercy, to obtain complete forgiveness.

If we have done an injustice to somebody, let us make amends for what we have done, as good as we can. What we cannot compensate for, God will take care of.

Let us repent and be encouraged by mercy, and we shall not feel lost.

Ephesians 6:10,18 tells us: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might…. praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”

Let us be strong “in the Lord.” We are fighting against evil spirits “in heavenly places.” We need the whole armor of God to stand strong (Ephesians 6:11).

Let us examine our thoughts more closely. Let us resist the devil. Let us remove all evil thoughts from our minds by focusing our attention and thoughts on things above.

And most importantly, even though it may take a lot of strength at first, let us force ourselves to pray as we have never done before.

There is no reason to be afraid if we put on the whole armor of God, but if we don’t, we will definitely come out on the short end.

Initial translation from German: Daniel Blasinger

The Christian Way

Man has to choose to obey God and follow the way that leads to unimaginable blessings.  Or, he may decide to turn to the way that appears right to him, but in the end, just leads to a curse.

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Friends, Friendship and Trust

Are you trustworthy? Are we trustworthy at all? Can someone rely on us when it comes to confidential information that should not be passed on?

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Are You Happy?

What is our answer when we are being asked this question? Let´s take a deep look inside us. Is our answer “yes”, is it “no” or even “maybe”? Do we say “I don’t know” or even “I’m not sure”?

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