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Friend or Foe? How will you Know?

If you were to describe me, what words would you use? Some would describe my appearance, some would describe where I am from. Some my describe my attitude of when they met me, some would describe my character. Some of you met me as an employee throughout the years. Some met me as a student in High School or in College. Some may have met me at a church or on the streets. Would you consider me a friend, family, or foe? Who do you say that I am?


  1. If you were to describe me, what would you say.

Kristy and Valerie in College - My first year of college, I was supposed to meet with Kristy and Valerie in Kristy’s dorm room and then we were going to go out to eat. I arrived a little early to Kristy’s dorm. I didn’t know at the time that Kristy really didn’t get along with Valerie. They knew each other from high school years. I had just met Kristy and Valerie, so I didn’t know much about them so I was excited that I was invited to come out to eat with them. I have been a jokester since I was little. I planned to play a joke on Valerie. I asked Kristy if I could hide under her bed and then I was going to reach for Valerie's feet to scare her a little bit. We could hear Valerie walking down the corridor towards Kristy’s room so I hid under the bed. Valerie and Kristy began talking. To my shock, Kristy began asking Valerie questions about me. Wait, what?


I was ready to grab Valerie’s feet as planned when all of a sudden Valerie began speaking about how she really felt about me. It was in a negative, degrading tone. She mentioned how I was such a religious freak, and that I thought I was holier than thou, and that she only gets along with me because I wasn’t mean like everyone else she met who was “Christian” What was I supposed to do? What do you think I did? I followed through with my plan, though hesitantly not knowing what to expect. I reached for Valerie’s feet and it did spook her a bit, but not as much as it embarrassed her that now she knew that I overheard her conversation. She apologized while Kristy just stood there. I accepted Valeries apology, but I also let her know she didn’t have to apologize for speaking her truth. What I learned that day, Kristy could not be trusted. Valerie was not ashamed to be my friend anymore. I was able to accept what others said about me. Throughout my time in college, Valerie and I remained friends. Sometimes Kristy could be found at distance watching us.


  1. As you get to know me your view should change.

Dr. Chiropractic Office - I had about 10 years of Medical Office experience when I began working for a chiropractor. Aside from normal office administration, I had the opportunity to learn how to use the Russian Tens unit, Biphasic machine, Thomas table, and how to prepare some radiology equipment. It was a great office, and the staff was friendly. We worked well together. There was one tiny issue we couldn't ignore. It was the Chiropractor himself. I won't explain how difficult it was to keep my mouth shut and take the verbal abuse, but I will say there is a happy ending. I know he was a great doctor. Sure, he was considered successful and prominent, but he became like my enemy everytime he spoke rudely. I asked the Lord to intervene or give me the words. I told the doctor that what he did was uncalled for and that he would need to apologize. He did not, so I left the office, not wanting to return.


The Lord said, "He is still your boss, treat him kindly, offer more than your share as an employee, and give him your utmost gratitude." I’m sure nobody argues with God as I do, but I said, "This man doesn't deserve the honor. He is mean, rude, and doesn't seem to care for others.” The following day, I had an attitude change and did my best to be attentive and show my boss as much respect as possible, even when he was being shrewd towards the staff. My boss calls me to his office. He noticed my attitude change. The meeting between the doctor and I did not last long. When we finished His face was smiling, and he apologized to the staff for his unruly behavior. Finally, at the end of our conversation, he thanked me for being a faithful employee and putting up with him. He asked for my forgiveness, and we agreed he would try to do better with the business and his life. He came out to ask all the staff for forgiveness.


My discussion with the Chiropractor had an impact on his life. I knew the Lord put me in that position to help the doctor return to his relationship with the Lord. It wasn't until 15 years later that he told me thank you. His last words to me were, "I know God uses you because no one would have known what you know, no one would have ever addressed me with the boldness. You showed mercy when I deserved judgment. And no one would have continued to love me the way you had even though I treated you badly. Thank you for bringing truth back into my life."


  1. What do you do when someone speaks against another?

Oil Field Leader- In the workforce, we find competition, jealousy, and restment when someone doesn't get the position they want or if they felt like they deserved a promotion. I was excited to work for major corporations and I was willing to learn everything I could. One common theme was how co-workers congregated together could be friendly and chattery. On the other hand, I could feel when something wasn’t right. Voices would become whispery and suspicious. I would separate myself from any gossip or slander. Most of the people who slandered were disgruntled because they did not understand the process of how raises or promotions were given. Another reason was that sometimes bosses have to be more stern to ensure the quotas are being met.


Whatever the reason some workers had for not liking individuals, I did not allow it to be what determined my approval or disapproval. I was there to work, and if I could make friends along the way, than that was even better. One particular leader was known for their process and procedure work ethic. She had seniority and was good at what she did. The employees under her team spited her. Since I was new, I had to keep everyones negative voices out of my head. This would allow me to give the person a chance to reveal who they really were.


When I got to know the leader more, she was an honorable, hard working, sincere individual. We became friends and she taught me so much about the industry. If only everyone else would have given her a chance, they would have been better for it through the leaders wise counsel. I have learned to give everyone a chance to reveal who they truly are rather than listening to naysayers or the disgruntled. So anytime anyone had something bad to say about anyone, I testify on their behalf of the attributes that the naysayers forgot to mention. Have you been given an opportunity to befriend someone that was spoken against?

  1. Will you deny me?

Oil Field Co-worker - I was invited to a luncheon the first week of work and there I met all of the department employees. I was excited to see someone I knew from my hometown in the department. I may have over reacted with my joy because everyone else was from other cities. But I knew the one person. I expressed my joy in seeing her there. I was older than this person and several times I had visited the church she attended. Sometimes I taught her classes as a substitute teacher. She was cheerful when she was younger. Now that she was in corporate world, something changed. I won’t go into detail about our relationship during my years at the company, but that first week set the coarse for us. When I waved at her and said “Hi, I remember you. How have you been?” Her demeaner changed and she said, “I don’t know you.” Hmm maybe it was a mistake, surely she would have known me, our small town knows everyone. I saw her often especially as she was growing up. Whatever the case, that day in front of the crowd, she denied she ever knew me. Needless to say the rest of my days at the company while we worked in the same office, she treated me like she never knew me.


See You at the Pole and National Day of Prayer - There were times when I would conduct prayer meetings in my office during my lunch time. People would come in and receive prayer for many types of requests such as personal healing, family or financial issues. I have a habit of doing follow-up when I pray for anyone to see if there was a testimony about an answered prayer. Some did get the blessing they were waiting for, but didn’t report back. I didn’t take it personally, but I wondered, why do we get in line for a prayer request, but don’t testify of when the prayer has been answered. I used to conduct National Day of Prayer events outside of the office on the first Thursday of May and I would conduct a See You At the Pole prayer event on the last Wednesday of September. Several people would gather to hear the good news message, pray for a while and then go back to their daily routine. Few people would get saved, some baptised, but not much media or reports from those who attended. This co-worker was at every event like this. What happened?


  1. If I was by myself with you, what would you say about me?

My Husband Tells Me Truth - I would say that my husband and I have a great relationship. There are things that he will share with me that shouldn’t be shared with anyone else. As our relationship grew and grows towards each other, it doesn’t matter how much he tells me he loves me, it’s what he does that shows me he loves me. But there is something special about what he tells me about me that gives me confidence, support, and joy. I know I can talk to him about my deepest thoughts, as weird, crazy, or foolish it may sound. He encourages my creativity and draws out the best of me by allowing me to be myself. He knows parts of me that need correction and he is better to teach me because he is watching out for my good. Mostly because I wear his name.


I want to exemplify him and make him proud. But it may never be in the public eye. It will be when we are alone. He can tell if I am quiet for the reason of thinking or planning. He can discern if I have something on my mind. He also knows not to say certain things that will hurt me, belittle me, or make me feel insecure. And what he says to me is sacred. I don’t share the words he tells me to my friends or family. It’s between me and him. Some things need to be said, and showing discretion is the part of our relationship that keeps us united. He tells me things I need to hear, even if it is hard to hear. He tells me truth.

What did they say about Jesus?

Luke Chapter 1 through 3

Though the encounters of Jesus are mentioned in the book of Luke, about the announcement of his birth in Chapter 1. In Chapter 2 we read of the miracles that occured of his birth, circumcision, the presentation of Him in the Temple in Jerusalem according to the fulfillment of the law of the Lord, and returned to Galilee to the town of Nazareth. So there was nothing spectacular mentioned. There is a gap of 12 years not mentioned until Jesus was preaching in the Temple in Jerusalem during Passover that was tradition. The only thing mentioned there was that he sat among teachers and asked them questions. It was his wisdom that astonished the teachers. So nothing too out of the ordinary. Almost 18 years pass before we hear about Jesus in Chapter 3 when he is Baptized by John. Everyone who knew Jesus at this point would have known Jesus as the carpenters son. Mary’s son. John’s cousin. If anyone remembered him from the temple, maybe they would have recognized him, but it had been some time.


Luke Chapter 4 and 5

It isn’t until Chapter 4 after Jesus goes to the wilderness, like most prophets did, that we begin to read more about the beginning of His ministry. When he returns from the wilderness, he reads the scroll at the synagogue in his hometown Nazareth and now those who heard him spoke highly of him. They still only recognized him as the son of Joseph. It’s not until he says he is a prophet, and prophecies, that the leaders come after him trying to hurl him down a hill. Jesus continues his ministry after he leaves Nazareth. As he continues his mission, he is found casting out demons and healing, word gets around and he is now recognized by many as a healer. People start following him, some to hear what he had to say, some was for healing, some was to be free from the demonics. It was then that Jesus was first recognized as the Son of God, the Holy one of God, the Anointed One, the Messiah, but not by the people. It was through the demons. Then in Chapter 5 we hear of many healings, the calling of disciples, and the Pharisees and teachers who were in the crowd always watching from a distance.


  1. Your view of Jesus should change as you get to know Him a little more?

Luke Chapter 6

In Luke Chapter 6, it seems as when Jesus and his disciples were trying to enjoy a Sabbath, there again are the Pharisees waiting and watching. Finding many times to point out all the wrong things Jesus and his disciples are doing, they make sure to police his actions. Since Jesus was not moved by their discord, Jesus though sounding defiant, eases the hunger of the hungry and heals a withered hand. All the while now more Pharisees and teachers are becoming enraged and gathering together to see how they can come against Jesus.


So the view of Jesus changed as people got to know him more was dependant on what Jesus had to offer them. He either offered them food, healing, or comfort. As long as one was hungry, needed healing, or friendship, Jesus was benefical to them. But as long as there were judgments, strict manmade laws that had to be kept, and misunderstandings, one would oppose Jesus. It didn't stop Jesus from loving anyone.


He proved himself to be faithful and true. His teachings to the mulititude was plain and simple. The hard teachings weren’t necessarily hard to understand, just hard to do, like Love your Enemies. Luke 6:27-36. Jesus did not mock or come against the Pharisees. He knew their position and authority. However, Jesus did show them that he was not going to allow their intimidation or threats detour him from his mission. He loved them anyway. Their view of Jesus was based on what the individual observed or wanted to believe.


  1. What do you do when someone speaks against Jesus?

In the world you will find competition, jealousy, and restment when someone doesn't understand the position you have about Christianity. When those who don’t know any better, it is easy to love them and give them grace as you present Christ in a way that shows them Jesus. It is harder to love those who just don’t care. And it is harder still for those who are mockers. Some people may oppose because they may have felt they deserved a promotion, a better life, a life without sorrow or grief. One common theme I encounter with unbelievers are those who lost a loved one who experienced loss and did not quiet understand that death is part of the process of living. We don’t go on living forever, there comes an appointed time for us all.


I’m ok to speak to the one who is truly sincere about their concern with heavenly matters. What is difficult for me is when people dilerbately congregate together to be vile, vicious, or blasphemous. As they hurl their insults or try to tear me down, I ask the Lord for guidance on how to minister to them. Particularly I ask for the one in the group that I should be speaking to instead of to the multitude. Their voices would become too loud and riotous. My screaming to be heard would not be beneficial. So I can wait until the opportune moment when I have the attention of at least one listener. Most of the people who were against Christians would slander and expect a rebutal. Instead the oppressor would get silence from me. Jesus did not argue or dispute loudly toward the crowd. He answered them with patience and wisdom.


Whatever the reason non-belivers had for not liking Jesus, I do not allow it to be what determines my approval or disapproval. When I am on the streets doing ministry or with my family, at work, or in missions, my purpose is to show them an example of Jesus they have never seen before. Jesus is better at presenting himself than I ever could be, but I am supposed to be sensitive to Holy Spirit and reach the one who has ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart willing to receive what the Lord has for them. When opposition comes, and it will come, we are standfirm in our faith. When someone blatantly comes against Jesus, we are to be ready to testify of what he has done in our life.


  1. Will you deny Jesus?

I was involved in a bible study for Jr. High students and the question came up. What would make you ever deny you ever knew Jesus? One student chimed up boldly and confidently, “I will never deny Christ.” There was a sudden consensus from most of the students. I noticed one girl who did not seem to agree. I gave her the opportunity to discuss her concerns. She said something profound yet real even today as we see more and more persecution of Christians happening. The year was 1999 and news had just spread nation wide about a massacre in Colorado. Rachel Scott was one of the victims. It was noted by her in her journals prior about her faithfulness to God and her love for Jesus. She even lost a couple of friends because of her radical transformation. Her final breath according to witnesses was I will not deny Jesus and she showed unremarkable forgiveness towards the shooter.


As the class listened, the Jr. High student mentioned, “you know we really won’t know what we will do if we were ever in Rachel Scott’s situation. We never had a gun pointed at us. I would only hope that I would not deny Jesus as my Lord. But even if I did, I would still die. I’d rather die knowing I did not deny Jesus than die knowing I denied him.” It made me wonder how many people did not deny Jesus at their final breath like Stephen the first martyr mentioned in Scripture. Or who did deny Jesus to save his own life like Peter, Jesus’ friend and disciple in Luke 22:31 - 34. It is good to have your answer now and be certain. I would hope that Jesus would never say, “depart from me you worker of iniquity. I never knew you.” Practice your answer, “I will not deny you Jesus.”




  1. What would you ask Jesus?

Luke Chapter 23 - In Chapter 23 of Luke we see Jesus as one who has been accused of being the Messiah. Though that was not a terrible crime, it was the worse crime considered blashphemy according to the Pharisees that was punishable by public display of scorging. However since there were so many who opposed Jesus, they were amongst the crowd, who encouraged the throng of people to do the same. How many people really had a reason to hate Jesus? Was calling yourself the Messiah as serious of a crime as murder or robbery?


What ever the reason, the Jews didn’t want Jesus alive. The same Jews who were in the crowd just months prior at the feast of unleaven bread the Passover when Jesus was talking to them about healing and casting out demons, feeding the five thousand. The same Jews who followed and sat in at some of the places where Jesus was teaching in parables and words of wisdom. The same Jews who secretly wanted to know more about the bread of life, the way to heaven and the roles of discipleship.


From a distance the Pharisees were still watching and stirring the crowds, to ensure that Jesus would no longer be a problem for them. The people brought the case to Pilate to handle. On a one and one conversation with Jesus, Pilate askes one question that is really important. “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered and Pilate did not find Jesus guilty of any heinous crime. Herod tries Jesus and also finds no fault. How many times does a person have to get arrested and / or indicted to be found guilty after no crime was determined?


The only crime Jesus ever did that was against the Pharisees was that he healed on the Sabbath. He refused to let religious traditions interfere with compassion for needy people. Even though Pilate and Herod wanted to release Jesus, the crowd became relentless and eventually Pilate gave in. While on the cross the two who hung next to Jesus spoke. The was one who had a request of Jesus and asked “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Make sure if you are going to ask Jesus of anything, it is for an question you really want an answer for.


  1. What would Jesus say to you?

In the last chapter of Luke, Chapter 24, after so much going on from what people had to say about Jesus, how they described him, what they encountered and all that they witnessed, yet many strayed away. Even after seeing the miracles, his kindness, his love. Even to the final breath on the Cross Jesus says to us, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We hear the gentle words of Jesus after his resurrection. “Peace be with you” “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in my name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you, but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.


Jesus has lots to say to you. He knows parts of you that need correction and he is better to teach you because he is watching out for your good. What he says to you should be considered sacred. He tells me truth. It doesn’t matter what people say about you, but what will they about Jesus because of you. I would want Jesus to say “well done good and faithful servant” Jesus would ask you, “who do you say that I am?” We should say, You are the Messiah, Christ, the Holy and Anointed One!


Finally, are you willing to listen and follow Him TODAY. He has great blessings for those who believe, who call on his name, who are saved, who love him. Jesus would say to you today, come to me, do not harden your heart, ask of me, I will show great and marvelous mysteries which you have not heard or seen, come follow me. If you haven’t already do so, would you ask Jesus in your heart today.


Ask Jesus into Your Heart Today

The bible says, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Do not wait any longer to see if you can be saved. You do not have to wait for a preacher, an altar call, a devastating life experience to ask. You can ask today. Right now. If you are not sure, that is fine. Ask anyway. Jesus is waiting for you.


Dear Jesus,

I admit I am a sinner. I have not done what is right. I have made some choices that have me to be a sinner. I need your help. I repent. I believe you were hung on a cross for my sins so that I can be forgiven. I choose to be accepted by you. I confess with my mouth that you came in the flesh, died, was buried, and on the third day you rose again. I confess are my Lord. You are the only one who is able to help me through life. I ask you Jesus to come into my heart today. Teach me how to live a life that is holy. I want to be a Christian and serve you and follow you all the days of my life. From this day forward, I am yours Jesus. In Jesus Name, I pray,


Amen.


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