CHN is a network of volunteers from churches throughout the United States of America and throughout the nations. Our mission and passion is to carry on the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus Christ.

August 2012

A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Dear Friend,

Trusting that all is well with you and your loved ones. We are fine, and enjoying the opportunities of the summer to get outside and evangelize. Summertime is perfect to seek out our neighbors and people who we do not see during the long cold winter.

This past week I have been looking back through the times of ups and downs in my life. All of us go through these times; we are not promised a smooth life. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33) Glory! Thank You Jesus that because You have overcome, we have the victory!

Let us be honest now with ourselves. Isn’t it true that sometimes when we go through a crisis it is easier to just go with the flow and hope for the best? We can get so tired and worn out that instead of taking time to be with the Lord, we watch mindless TV or fall asleep. I believe that we have to reach a moment when we suddenly feel so alone that we cry out to Jesus, asking Him, “where are You?” Then we find out that He was there all the time. It was us who did not round up the strength and time to reach out to Him. It is so easy at times to take it for granted that He is there, that we forget that this relationship goes two ways! I believe He allows that, and then waits until we are ready to let go of self and focus on Him. It is the same in our human relationships, isn’t it? We may take our husband or wife for granted, and then suddenly something comes up and we cry out “where are you?” Most likely they were right there, but we get so involved that we fail to see that. However, human relationships can never fill a void or be perfect, only God can do that.

Praise God, He never leaves us or forsakes us. “...For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Proverbs 18:24 tells us that in order to have friends, we must be friendly ourselves. That is a given for us here on earth. If we do not reach out to others, nothing will happen. However... there is a Friend who is closer than a brother.... A brother is a family member, who shares the same parents, shares the same blood, the same family identity. A brother came to us by family. He is more than a friend, he is one who will normally stand by us and help us and see to it that we are taken care of. I did not have a brother, but I had a cousin who was like that. He stood up for me in school, no one could try to hurt me, he helped me with my homework, he saw to it that any boy I went out with knew he had to contend with him! (Smile) Knowing this, we can see that since Jesus is closer than a brother, it means that He is there all the time, and cheering us on, and meeting our needs. When we feel down, or helpless in a situation, it is time for us to do our part by calling on Him! It is then that we can feel ourselves lifted up and filled with peace.

To truly understand that all important and incredible relationship with Jesus, we need to see things differently. We need to see HIM! It can be so easy to fall into despair and hopelessness, but that does not get us anywhere. One thing to remember is that no person is so strong that he or she is always on top, always filled with faith and joy. Everyone gets discouraged at times, BUT.... we are not to let it get the best of us. When we come to the fact that we have to change, things will begin to happen! Suddenly the sun will shine again! Suddenly we are no longer a victim, but victorious! Suddenly, our joy and strength returns! When we look entirely to Him and begin to praise Him and thank Him in the situation, the load is lifted and we see things differently.

There is an old hymn that was recently brought to my attention, and I love it. It is called “What a Friend we have in Jesus” Some of it goes like this:

What a Friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in Prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit.

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in Prayer!” (Written by “Joseph M. Scriven, 1855)

There is more, and it goes on to say that we should never be discouraged, but take it to the Lord in prayer. He is our Savior, He is our Refuge, and this is where we find our peace.

I think every trial that we face teaches us so much if we take the time to learn. We think we are so strong, but you know what? We all need to keep in mind where our strength comes from. We need to remember that with anything in life, there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother, who loves us so much that He will go the distance to see to it that we learn, and grow, and receive from Him. He is our Best Friend! Let us pray.

Father, in Jesus’ Precious Name we come before You, thanking You for sending Your Precious Son Jesus Christ to the earth, to live, to die for us, and to Rise again. We lift up our burdens and place them in the Hands of our Best Friend, Jesus Christ. We do not take them back! We thank You Jesus for all You have done, and are doing, and that we are more than family. We are co-heirs with You. Everything You have belongs to us. Thank You in advance for the answer to our prayers. Thank you for sticking closer to us than a brother, and for being our best friend. Amen.

In His Service,

Pastor Barbara