Thursday, March 24, 2016


Submitted by Jim Garner
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

It seems like this time of the year anytime you turn on the television there is an awards program “on the air” or the promotion of one. It’s definitely been the  “Awards season” lately as celebrities are being recognized for their excellence in cinema (Oscars), music (Grammys), and television (Emmys), just to name a few. And even within their genres there are specialty breakdowns recognizing everything from technical, artistic, or style just to name a few. Hollywood, Nashville, Las Vegas, and New York routinely host events to celebrate their greatness as it relates to the field of “Arts”.  Individuals come there in all the glitz and glamor that humanity can offer to be seen for status sake or recognized for their latest achievement.
Typically within most of the shows, as different categories are called a group of five people may be honored as the nominees. But only one will receive the award and recognition of being declared the winner when their name is called after the host or guest presenter says: “And the winner is…”. I’m sure it’s a thrill for them to have their name called and be able to put the achievement on their resume or even be remembered in history as the “best” in a certain area, at least for a specific time. They’ve earned it and it should be recognized.
But will that honor satisfy past a day, maybe two? Will it be worth all the blood, sweat, tears, and whatever else we may never know happened to get the role or opportunity to achieve this greatness? I don’t know but as I was reading through the book of James the other day a simple phrase caught my attention that I liked. It resonated down to my soul as special and something that we might want to be recognized for. But there’s a catch. We can’t earn it. There’s nothing we can do to achieve it, buy it, or receive it even if we beg the best for it.
James 2:20-24 – “You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”
Did you see it? It was to be called “God’s friend”.
There has been a song we have sung in churches for a while called “Friend of God” made popular by Philips, Craig, and Dean. A consistent verse lyric reminds us of who we are before God and it is found in Psalm 8 – “what is mankind that you are mindful of them”.
Psalm 8:3-8” – “When I consider your heavens,the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars,which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them,human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands;you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds,and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky,and the fish in the sea,all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
The song adds as a reminder that He even hears us when we call, that He is thinking of us, and that He loves us. Wow! It doesn’t get any better than that does it? Just think how powerful and personal that is. Our great God and creator of this amazing universe has you and me in mind. We know that it didn’t end there. He was willing to give his best, his one and only Son, Jesus, in order that we can know Him personally. What a gift and promise!
Additionally, we see Jesus sharing about the Father’s care for us in Matthew 10:29-33. Here he says” Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.””
I’ve never received any awards on national TV but that is really okay with me when I consider how much God thinks of you and me. We all know who the “real winner is…” don’t we? I am thankful to be called a FRIEND OF GOD!. Now those words would be a short yet profound “thank you” speech for an award show. It would say it all: “Thank you God, I’m proud to be called your friend!”
Scripture to Claim:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— Ephesians 2:4-5

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