I Have a Friend – 4

The value of a true friend is immeasurable.

He Guides/Leads Me

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

After more than 50-years in ministry, with almost forty of those years in leadership, I recognize more than ever the critical need of guidance and leadership in my own life.  During those years I have seen certain patterns in life that have been impressed upon me like relational laws.  Among those is the following statement.  “He who will not follow is not fit to lead.”  I have witnessed this truth again and again throughout the years. Every great leader I have ever met, of which I have studied, or of which I’ve heard, have been people who knew well how to follow other great leaders.  They understood honor, respect, loyalty, integrity, and the need for growth (among other things), and made the choice to grow in knowledge, skill, and wisdom.  That, my friend, is a perfect description of our Lord Jesus. 

The Bible tells us about Jesus fitting this description when we read in Luke that Jesus “grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”  A study of the Word of God will reveal this truth even moreso.  Moses was taught by the best educators and mentors Egypt could offer, and even after he was 80-years old, he still listened to and heeded the wise counsel of his father-in-law, Jethro.  Joshua was taught, led, and mentored by Moses.  Elisha had his Elijah.  Of course, the disciples had Jesus.  Paul had Barnabas, and Timothy had Paul.  It is surely a universal truth.  Great leaders have all, at some time, stood on the shoulders of other great men and women.  In writing about this truth, I find it necessary to make a special note that not all great people are famous, and not all famous people were great.  I can personally testify that while I have been greatly blessed to have numerous great men and women offer me their shoulders so I could reach higher and see further, the vast majority of those great people were in no way famous.  But that lack of fame can in no way distract from their true greatness.  And allow me to add an additional statement here.  God does not look on the outward man, but on the hidden man of the heart.  Fame is outward and a matter of public notoriety.  Greatness is a matter of one’s heart, and will often be finally recognized when we stand before the Lord.  For instance, who was it that prayed Apostle Paul into the kingdom of God?  There is greatness indeed, though unknown to the world.   I have a great Friend Who leads and guides me.  His Name is Jesus.  Surely He is the greatest, though multitudes either know Him not at all, or only by reputation.  But I know Him personally.

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15; Psalm 23, Psalm 5, Psalm 25, Psalm 27, Psalm 91; Proverbs 6:22; Matthew 6:33; John 16:7-15

I Have a Friend – 3

The value of a true friend is immeasurable.


He Keeps/Protects Me

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.


During my high school years, I had a lot of acquaintances, and a few friends.  Among the friends were three guys I called “my three amigos.”  They were the closest friends I had in those years.  One was my hunting buddy (we could be in the woods within minutes of leaving school), one was my driving buddy (we both had pretty fast cars; his Torino and my Mustang), and one was my chatting buddy (we could talk about anything).  My hunting and chatting buddies are both retired and living in other states, and sadly, my driving buddy passed away several years ago.  With all three of them, if I needed help of any kind, all I had to do was call, and they would come running.  They were like brothers to me.

But as I grew into manhood, I came to a clearer understanding that while good acquaintances and genuinely friendly people in my life were blessings, friends, true friends, were a premium, and having a “friend who sticks closer than a brother” was the epitome of friends.  And it was in that time of my life that I truly learned who that “friend” was.  His Name is Jesus.  He is my friend Who sticks closer than a brother.

When my sons were growing up, both of them had friends separate from each other.  Together, they were typical brothers.  They would play, aggravate each other, pick at each other, play jokes on each other, and at times, even get angry with each other and fight.  But if anyone bothered, tried to hurt or injure one of them, whoever that person was, he had two very determined young men to face.  In the end, they were and always will be brothers, and they loved, and still love one another profoundly. 

Jesus is a different kind of brother.  Through His work, I have been adopted into the body of Christ and Jehovah God has become my Father, making Jesus my elder Brother.  Now imagine Him as my friend Who sticks closer than a brother.  When trouble arises, He is already with me.  When enemies come, He is the Greater One Who lives in me.  When hell assails, He is my assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail.  It is Him through Whom I can do all things.  It is in Him that I live, and move, and have my being.  He is my Shepherd.  In good times and in bad, He keeps and protects me.  In auto accidents, in falls, in struggles of every kind, in attacks by the enemy, regardless of the source, He keeps and protects me.  He is my Friend Who sticks closer than a brother.

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15; Psalm 23; Matthew 6:9-13; Psalm 91; Jude 24-25; 2 Timothy 1:12-14

I Have a Friend – 2

The value of a true friend is immeasurable.

He Talks with Me

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Yesterday I shared with you that Charles Austin Miles penned the words, “And Hewalks with me, and He talks with me” in his song, “In the Garden.”  And there is no one, no computer, no group on earth that can begin to calculate the value of my relationship to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, especially in the arena of what I receive when “He talks with me.”  I am absolutely stunned when I hear ministers say (and I’ve heard it often) that the Lord told them to do a certain thing, and at another moment declare that God doesn’t talk to people like He did in the past.  My dear friend, how double-minded is that?  And we wonder why so many pulpits seem so ineffectual relating to manifestations of the power of God in our churches.  Remember the words of James when he wrote, “the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  Let not that man think he shall receive anything of God.”

But I can tell you for a certainty that I have a friend, and “He talks with me.”  Whenever I open the ears of my spirit to hear from Him, “He talks with me.”  He does not tell me what I want to hear, but “He talks with me.”   When He speaks, He speaks what I need to year; still “He talks with me.”  it’s not a matter of the time of day, “He talks with me.”  Often it is in the early hours of the morning, well before sunrise that “He talks with me.”And perhaps just as often, in the late hours of the evening, long after everyone else has gone to bed, “He talks with me.”  When I’m alone (except for His presence) as I drive in my automobile, “He talks with me.”  At times of absolute silence, “He talks with me.”  Even when the noise around me seems so loud in may block cogent thought, He overwhelms the storm of noise, and “He talks with me.”  Often, as I’m listening to someone speak to me, in my spirit man I hear His voice as “He talks with me.”  In battles, “He talks with me.”  When making peace is the order of the day, “He talks with me.”  When I’m ministering the Word of God, “He talks with me.”  When I’m ministering to Him and before Him in song, “He talks with me.”  Regardless of the season or the weather, “He talks with me.”  When times of chaos try to rule the day, “He talks with me.”  And in the most peaceful of moments, “He talks with me.”  I have a friend who sticks closer than a brother, and “He talks with me.”

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15

I Have a Friend – 1

He Walks With Me

True friends are a treasure to be prized.

Text for Today – Proverbs 18:24 –A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Charles Austin Miles penned the words, “And He walks with me, and He talks with me” in his song, “In the Garden.”  This song has spoken to my spirit man for so many years, and one of the reasons for that is that these lyrics always remind me that I have a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  I have a friend of the ultimate degree Who laid down His life for me, demonstrating the greatest possible love.  I truly have a friend above all others, the closest possible personal friend.

I have discovered that regardless of where I am, what I am facing, what the circumstances indicate, or what the perceived outcome may appear to be, I have a friend Who “walks with me.”  When my life is full of joy, He “walks with me.”  In the midst of the greatest battles I ever have or will face, He “walks with me.”  When family and loved ones surround me, He “walks with me.”  When I am completely alone with nothing buy my thoughts, dreams, and memories, He “walks with me.”  When I stand in a place where any search for answers seems fruitless, He “walks with me.”  When I come to the place it seems I cannot take another step, I find myself rising and continuing, for He “walks with me.”  When my hours of work, study, prayer, counsel, and giving to others seem endless, He “walks with me.”  When I come to what I call a “dry crossing” (that place where it seems any flow has been cut off), He “walks with me.”  In the brightest of days or the darkest of nights, He “walks with me.”  During flood or drought, He “walks with me.”  In feast or famine, He “walks with me.”  Up or down, in or out, right or left, hot or cold, He “walks with me.” 

He has said He would never leave nor forsake me, but would go with me to the end of the age.  He is faithful to His Word, and nothing can stop Him in His faithfulness.  He “walks with me.”  I know that Jesus is seated on the right hand of Majesty on high, and that He will not depart from that position until the moment Father sends Him for His church, but because He is very God, in His omnipresence, He is ever with me, walking with me every step of my life in this present world.  As another songwriter phrased it, “Oh, how He loves you and me.”  I’m talking about my friend,  He “walks with me.” 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 3:8; John 15:13-15

A Line in the Sand – 5

Never teach the following generation to back up from victory and excellence.

Text for Today – Matthew 28:19 – Go ye . . .

In this closing segment of “A Line in the Sand,” I want to address something that is so important to the body of Christ, and in particular, Christian leadership.  The younger generation today is growing up in a spiritual atmosphere that is saturated with rebellion.  Please understand that I am only sharing observations, and none of them are an excuse for a weak church, a fearful church, and certainly not an ignorant church.  Yet sadly, that seeds to be the condition of so many members of the body of Christ today.  Dear reader, it did not come about in just the past two years. 

The past two years have been nothing more than Satan’s testing of the church as he tries to bring the church down.  Remember, he cannot get to Jesus, so he is out to destroy His image, and in this case, His body.  And think of this statement.  There is nothing more devastating or humiliating to a parent than to see hid children, for whom he has given his entire life, brought down, humiliated, enslaved, and destroying themselves.  I have two sons, and I cannot describe how devastating it would be for me if they showed themselves to men filled with fear, living humiliated lives, and enslaved by the society and government around them.  My heart would ache beyond words for them.  I take no glory in this statement, but I raised my sons to be men of courage, living without fear, accepting challenges in life and overcoming them, refusing to be enslaved by anything this world might use to bribe, dissuade, or convince them otherwise in life.

My dear friend, what I have just described to you is the heart of Father God for His children.  He has given us His love that never fails, His faith that is the victory of this world, all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, the might Name of Jesus by which to exercise our faith in every arena over which He has given us dominion, the full authority to exercise that dominion, and the complete backing of all of heaven’s power and resources to live the life He intends  and achieve the victory He has chosen for us. 

Now it’s up to you and me.  We must live and model a life of what it means to be a Noah for a dying world, a Moses for enslaved masses, an Elijah on Carmel, a David facing Goliath, a Daniel facing betrayers and lions, the Hebrew children facing a fiery furnace, and yes, a Jesus facing Golgotha and its torments.  The world desperately needs a light that shines in a dark place, for it is truly in darkness.  And let us begin at the house of the Lord, many of which are populated by believers wandering some darkened halls of Christendom.

Manna for Today – Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-20; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Matthew 16:18

A Line in the Sand – 4

It’s time to draw your line.

Text for Today – Matthew 28:19 – Go ye . . .

What has the Lord called you to do?  Where has He called upon you to go?  With whom has He sent you to work?  Has He revealed to you a time at which to start?  Whether or not you know the answer to any of these questions, it’s time for you to draw your line in the sand.  The line of which I am writing will serve two dynamic purposes in your life.  First, and perhaps most obvious, it will be a starting line for you.  It will signify the fact that you have chosen to “toe the line.”  You have chosen to step forward, to step up to shoulder your responsibilities, choose your fight, and face your enemy. 

But there is also a second purpose for the line you draw.  It is the line from which you determine you will never withdraw, a line you determine to step across, and from which you determine to press forward to the victory that belongs to you as you walk in obedience to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  My friend, Jesus IS coming back for His church.  I don’t believe this is an event that will be far in our future.  I believe it will happen much sooner than many believers think it will.  However, regardless of when it happens, the church for which Jesus is coming is a “glorious church,” one that is without spot wrinkle, or blemish, one that has come to the unity of the faith.  And that church will be a victorious church, one that is filled with God’s glory, saturated with His Spirit, and able to arise and shine through its work and obedience to the Word of God.

So, I say to you once again, it’s time for you to draw your line in the sand.  It will require courage you your part.  I have discovered that courage arises from a knowing heart and mind.  It rises in the person who has knowledge of what needs to be done, of the cost of doing it, and how to go about doing what needs to be done right now; immediately.  When Elijah faced the prophets of Baal and Jezebel, it required courage; courage to take a stand right now.  When Shadrach, Meshack, and Abed-nigo faced Nebuchad-nezzar and the fiery furnace, it required courage; courage to stand right now.  When David faced Goliath and the armies of the Philistines, it required courage; courage to take a stand right now.  When Jesus faced the cross and the torments of His passion, it required courage; courage to take a stand right now.  When you face the world around you, a world filled with Christ haters, corrupt governments, deceptive media, and sadly, spineless Christian leaders, you will need courage; courage to take a stand right now.  Once again, it’s time for you to draw your line in the sand.

Manna for Today – Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-20; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Matthew 16:18

A Line in the Sand – 3

Only those who will “toe the mark” will ever win in this life.

Text for Today – Matthew 28:19 – Go ye . . .

I suppose that every generation of man that has ever lived had certain expressions, slogans, or idioms that identified the generation from which they came.  At almost 73-years of age, I have had access to a myriad of expressions from several generations, and most of them are foreign to the newer generations that are taking their place in society.  That, in and of itself may not mean much, but when we consider history, one of the great truths we have learned is that if we do not learn from the past, we are destined to repeat it.  And while all segments of history should be avoided as undesirable, there certainly are segments of man’s history that should be avoided like a plague because of their sheer destructiveness.

Today I want to know  if you’re familiar with the expression, “toe-ing the mark.”  The meaning is similar to that of “runners to your mark,” the command for people in a race to come to the starting line.  You see, you CANNOT win the race if you don’t come to the starting line.  The expression, “toe-ing the mark” was primarily used in relation to boxers entering the ring of fisticuffs in the days of bare-knuckles fighting under the Marquis of Queensbury Rules.  Two lines were drawn in the center of the boxing ring, and to compete, each boxer had to come to the center of the ring and place the toe of his lead foot on the line designated for him.  That meant he was ready to begin the fight.  If at any point, a boxer could not come to that point at the beginning of any round, or after being knocked down, he was considered the loser of the fight.  In reality, the winner of the fight was not the man who could merely “toe the mark,” he was the man who could step over that mark and prevent his opponent from returning to the mark.  Defense never won a fight. At some point, the winner had to go on the offensive.

With that, I want to address today’s church.  Child of God, you will never win and live in victory in Jesus by living on the defensive.  Yes, we certainly have defensive weapons, for our enemy WILL attack us.  However, if we shall ever win, we must go on the offensive.  Jesus said, “Go into all the world…preach…teach…make disciples…and that signs and wonders would follow.”  “Going” is not being defensive; it is being offensive.  Warring against the gates of hell is in no way being defensive.  It is being on the offensive.  You will never attack an enemy’s gates from a distance.  To attack an enemy’s is to charge them, break them down, and go through them.  Are you ready to “toe the mark?”

Manna for Today – Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-20; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Matthew 16:18

A Line in the Sand – 2

Let’s draw some lines that really count.

Text for Today – Matthew 28:19 – Go ye . . .

When I was a boy growing up, like most boys of my generation, we had differences with one another on occasion.  It was usually no more than a verbal argument, but occasionally did result in some physical contact.  On most of those occasions, it would be only some pushing and shoving, and rarely some real fisticuffs (that’s a fist fight).  And even then, they didn’t last long at all.  And while growing up offered me many opportunities for petty disagreements, arguments, and even some scuffles, I came to a point in life when I came to understand the importance of a line.  But for some reason, I adopted a different understanding of what my line meant. 

When it came to drawing a truly meaningful line, most of the people I knew would figuratively draw a line in front of them, take a stance (position), and fight to forbid anything or anyone to cross that line.  They called it their “line in the sand.”  I’m not sure what happened in my life, but my understanding of that process was different.  In my mind, I would draw my “line in the sand,” and then step over the line, daring anyone or anything to try and push me back across it.  I chose to NOT be on the defensive, fighting to keep intruders out of my territory, but to draw the line, and then step into my opponent’s territory, and fight against their every attempt to drive me back.  I chose to take my life fights to the enemy’s camp.  I chose to fight in that place where the enemy’s gates stood.  That is, after all, what the Lord intended when He said, “Upon the rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Some people may call me aggressive.  I suppose I am, especially in matters of faith.  The Scriptures tell us to fight the good fight of faith.  I only know of one kind of fight you can call a good fight, and that is a fight in which the enemy is already defeated, and in which I am guaranteed an outcome of personal victory.  That fight cannot be a defensive one.  To live a life of victory, especially in the arena of faith, the believer MUST be on the offensive.  I refer again to the words of Jesus Who said, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against” the church.  Dear reader, “gates” are points of entry or egress (exit), and in the case of Jesus’ words, it is the point of entry into a Satanic safe house; a place where evil is in control.  Today’s church, by and large, are choosing to live in their own safe houses, and are far from the “gates of hell.”  It’s time for the church to draw some lines, and one of them is at the entry to the “gates of hell.”  It’s time for the church to get into the fight.  Only there is victory possible.

Manna for Today – Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-20; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Matthew 16:18

A Line in the Sand – Part 1

There is something powerful to be said about drawing a line.

Text for Today – Matthew 28:19 –  Go ye . . .

Lines can be simple or complex, powerful or weak.  It depends upon who draws them, their purpose for being drawn, and the determination of the individual who intends to use them.  The line, in and of itself, is merely a tool best used by the one who understands its purpose and is skilled in its use.  The purpose of this writing and the following few is to examine certain lines in the life of the believer, their intention, and how the believer might best use them for the glory of God.  Let’s press forward.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  However, a straight line is not always the quickest.  Imagine a giant redwood tree, perhaps eight feet thick.  You’re on one side and intend to go to the other.  The shortest path is straight through it.  However, you could likely climb up one side and go down the other long before you could scratch, dig, claw, scrape, and in some manner cut your way through it.  That would, however, be a longer journey.  Perhaps the quickest route is to go around it, a journey of perhaps some 13 or 14 feet.  It’s not a straight line, but it is a line of travel, nonetheless. 

Lines establish boundaries (racetrack), create images (drawings), indicate paths to follow (maps), points of beginning or of ending (start and finish lines), show levels of growth (levels of height on a wall), create blueprints and building plans, and more.  They can also indicate territories, and establish landmarks that limit one’s travel and reach of authority.  Once again, in and of themselves, lines may be meaningless, but the meaning given to them by their creators, their drawers, the artists and architects who create them can be powerful indeed.

I offer you one more thought today concerning lines that indicate a start of finish.  They cannot only indicate linear (geographical) points of beginning or termination, but chronological points of beginning and termination.  In their most powerful roles, it seems to me that they give clear and determined points of beginning and termination for work that has both linear and chronological determinants.  For example, such lines indicate a point in time that a key work is to be done, but that point in one’s life journey at which that work commences.  They can indicate that point beyond which a man will no longer go, or to which he will never allow himself to be pushed again.  Such lines are the lines of decision in a person’s life.  Christians must acknowledge such points in their lives, perhaps much more frequently than they may know at their present point in life’s journey.  It is at such points, at the drawing of such lines, that truly quality decisions must be made.  That is a decision from which there is no turning, and about which there is no choice.  It is a Psalm 15:4 decision.

Manna for Today – Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-20; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

The God Kind of Thinking – 6

The need for exhortation.

Text for Today – Isaiah 55:8 – For My thoughts are not your thoughts . . . 


In my spirit, there is an urgency from Holy Ghost to exhort you once again on this topic.  While I have written about it for the past six Second Milers, this thought kept coming to me.  Exhort your readers strongly on this matter.  Consider with me for a few moments 2 Timothy 4:2.  “Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  Notice the order of command process.  (1) Preach the Word; (2) be instant in season, out of season;     (3) reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  After you’ve preached (taught), after you’ve been instantly faithful in obedience to do and speak the Word, after you’ve admonished and convinced, after you’ve censured and set limits, then you exhort (call near, invite, invoke, implore).

Today, I exhort you.  Learn this process of exercising yourself in the God kind of thinking.  You have the mind of Christ.  Learn to use recognize and use it well.  Don’t ignore it.  God gave it to you for a divine purpose, and that specific purpose is that you will be able to come into His presence and “reason together” with Him.  Your heavenly Father desires that you come into His presence in full functionality of the mind of Christ, so you can talk to Him, understand Him, invest intimate time in His presence, and while in His presence, or at any moment of any day when you find yourself facing issues of this world that would devastate most people, can think like God, speak like God, behave like God, and achieve God-results.  Remember the “Watch (GuardList” I shared with you.  Guard your thoughts, they produce your words.  Guard your words, they produce your actions.  Guard your actions, they produce your habits.  Guard your habits, they produce your character.  Guard your character, it produces your legacy

To produce your greatest, highest, best possible legacy, one that not only honors you and blesses your family and friends, but one that pleases Father, you must operate with the mind of Christ.  That requires you to be able to think the way God thinks, producing the results that the God kind of thinking produces.  Again, I exhort you in the Name of Jesus, obey the Word.  Let the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, the Anointed One, the Messiah, dwell in, live in, and take up permanent abode in you.  You are His ambassador, a member in particular of His body, ONE with Him and Father, filled with His Spirit, called, anointed, gifted, and sent by our everlasting Lord and God.  To live and function in these roles in a manner that honors the One Who has called, equipped, and sent you, you MUST have the mind of Christ.  There is no excuse for us.  Jehovah has provided it to us.  Receive it, learn from it, use it, glorify God with it.

Manna for Today – Romans 12:1-3; 1 Chronicles 16:15; Philippians 2:1-11; Philippians 4:6-9; Isaiah 55 ; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:2; Isaiah 1:18