Pastor Star R. Scott

Friends Pt.1

  • Date: January 17, 2010
  • Teacher: Pastor Star R. Scott
  • From Friends

Let's turn to Exodus 33. As the Spirit of God has been speaking to us over these last months, it's been an exciting time. I'm just really looking forward to where Father is leading us. It's obvious the cloud is moving in our midst. It's obvious it's a time that we're being called aside to sanctify ourselves and prepare ourselves in this visitation. So we've been talking a lot about the process, what that entails. The emphasis, of course, in all of the teachings has been the cross and the declaration that Jesus made, that unless we take up our cross daily, as we've seen, and be willing to die to ourselves--if we're not willing to die to ourselves, which enables us to die to all of our acquaintances, Jesus said, "If you don't love Me more than mothers and fathers, wives, children, houses, lands, yes, and your own life also, then you're not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37). That's a powerful statement, and I know that we've all been spending a lot of time meditating on that: "You're not worthy of Me. How dare you even take My name into your mouth? How is it that you can call Me �??Lord,' and not do the things I've told you to do?" So He tells us and admonishes, "Be careful that you don't misunderstand your relationship with Me because of works and being religious and having seen My miracles, that you come that last day and stand and say, �??Lord, Lord, didn't we do all of this in Your name?'" The tragedy as He says, "Depart from Me you workers of iniquity; I never knew you" (Luke 13:27). "Workers of iniquity." "In Your name, we preached in Your name! We cast out devils in Your name! We laid hands on the sick and saw them healed in Your name!" And the Lord said, "Yes, you did. But for your glory, at your time, at your convenience, in your way. Don't call Me �??Lord' and not keep My commandments."

So as we've been studying and looking at these things over these last months, you know, it's been a gratifying but also a very disconcerting time, hasn't it? Has anybody gotten a closer look at yourself, maybe than you ever have in your spiritual walk? Let me see your hands. Were you ugly? The apostle says, "In me, that is, in my flesh, dwells [no good thing]" (Romans 7:18). The human condition, the Adamic nature. We're a mess. Without Him, we can do nothing. What a place we find ourselves in today, even as a people who love the Lord. Most of us here love the Lord. We're wanting to do what God wants us to do. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5:17). This warfare that's on a daily basis. So the apostle says, "I die daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31).

So every morning, we wake up, and there he is again, the old man, the self-will. We talked about not only self-will, but we've talked about selfishness, self-indulgence. We've talked about self-righteousness. We've talked about independence, or self-sufficiency. So we've said, then, that what we are trying to look at is that we're not dying to things or to stuff, but we're dying to self, this ego, this "I." So it never goes away. The greatest enemy that each of us has this morning is thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Romans 12, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your [spiritual] service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (verses 1-2). "Don't think of yourselves more highly than you ought to think," he goes on to say.

So in this review of understanding, what we're talking about is the Adamic nature, this independent spirit, that lives with an illumination of thinking that we are gods, that we have a sufficiency to control our own lives. "The day that you eat of that fruit, your eyes will be opened," Satan said, "and you will be as gods, and you will know good and evil." But you know, man, though he is able to see good and evil, doesn't have a full understanding of good and evil. Man doesn't know where good comes from, and he really doesn't understand where evil has come from. But we set up our own morality. We set a religion that has created God in our own image. In this exaltation of self, we read the Bible; we pick and choose what we want to believe; we proof-text and twist the Word of God to meet our own convictions and our own consciences and our own preferences. Then we hear people make statements like, "My Jesus would never do that." What about the Jesus of the new covenant? What about the Jesus that the Word of God reveals, that is in conflict with your Jesus: "I," the Adamic nature, the god who has created a Jesus that he's comfortable with? Most don't like a Jesus that Matthew 10 reveals that says, "I have come with a sword, and I'm going to split your house right down the middle, three against two and two against three. And your enemies are going to be those of your own household." We don't like that Jesus. We don't like the Jesus that turns over tables in the temple and drives men out of the church and says, "My Father's house shall be a house of prayer, and you've made it a den of thieves." So which Jesus are we serving today, and have we or have we not been vexed by the twenty-first century American Jesus, the Jesus that is embraced by the masses? I don't care what name you put on the church. The broad way, the broad acceptance, the Jesus of the Bible says, leads to destruction.

Now, remember, He's talking to people who are calling themselves believers. He's talking to the professed church. He says the problem is, "You have this thing too broad. You're letting anybody and everybody in, believing whatever they want. And I want to tell you something. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me. If you don't enter in through the gate, you're a thief; you've crawled over some other way," John's gospel says. This gate is straight; it's small, it's very, very precise, and the way is narrow and (say it) few. That "few" is not few as it pertains to the world; it's "few" that pertains to the professed church. We need to see it for what it is.

Now, one thing is very interesting. If that gate--we've heard all different kinds of teaching on the eye of the needle and that it's more difficult for a rich man to enter into heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. We've heard about the gates, and people say that the eye of the needle was a small door that was only open at night that the camels would have to get down on their haunches and crawl through. We have all kinds of history on that, and that's cool. Makes for a good story. But in reality, in reality, the statement that Jesus is making here is that this is a very small gate. So let me simplify for us this, and I think this says a volume to us if we'll hear it. The gate is strait; it's small. It's very difficult to get through. So to pass through a small gate, we have to make ourselves small, don't we? How many of us are too big to get through God's gate? Did you ever have your dad tell you, "You're too big for your britches"? Have you ever heard that one? Too big for your own britches, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, thinking of ourselves primarily, self-indulgence, preoccupied with self, selfish. "Me, me, me, me, me, me. I. Mine." What's one of the first things a little carnal sinner says? "Mine!"

So we're looking here at seeing this old man crucified. We've talked about how vexed we've become by the world around us. I don't want to re-teach the teaching on Sodom. But as we looked at Lot, and we saw the contrast between Lot (Abraham's nephew) and the heart of Abraham (trusting in God solely), Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom. We realize, then, that he got entangled with Sodom. We won't go back through the teaching. The one thing that I want to work off of again this morning is this. As the angels of God went to deliver him from the vexation of the world--Sodom is a type of the world in this instance--the Scripture says he lingered (Genesis 19:16). Now his righteous soul was vexed, the New Testament tells us, seeing and hearing, seeing and hearing. Daily, seeing and hearing, seeing and hearing, his righteous soul was vexed (2 Peter 2:8). What do we see and hear every day? "You deserve a break today." We have all kinds.

We have commercials that tell us what we deserve and what we should have and what we need. We'll get off into this as we teach, because I want to talk about the way of breaking the world's vexation, or friendship with the world, and contrasting that with becoming a friend of God. To be a friend of the world makes you what? The enemy of God. It doesn't make you carnal. "Well, you know, if as a Christian, I'm a friend of the world, I'm a carnal believer, then I may or may not get reprimanded and lose a few of my blessings in eternity when I get my crown." There are churches that teach that: the only consequence to a sinful life, to a worldly life, is you lose a star off your crown. Let me tell you something, and hear this clearly because we're going to take a look at the world. That's where we're headed in this thing, in our teaching on friends. I want to talk about being a friend of God; I want to talk about having the right friends; and I want to talk about the consequences of being a friend of the world.

But let's start with this as a foundational thought and contrast a couple of "treasures," if you please. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world (say it with me) and lose his own soul (Mark 8:36)? Now, I see a contrast between the world and our souls, our salvation. What does it profit a man to invest in the world and gain all the world has to offer, and in the process, or the consequence of gaining what the world has to offer, is the loss of our own souls? What would you give in exchange for your soul?

As we talked the other night in the panel, the vanity of life: threescore and ten, eighty if you're strong, the Scripture says (Psalm 90:10). Man in his haughtiness and in his godlikeness is trying to find the aging gene, and through all of the microbiology today and all the genetic engineering, thinking that we're going to be able to create life and prolong life, and even yes, find eternal life. You tell me this isn't the Tower of Babel. In the midst of all this, the reality is we don't believe in eternity; we don't believe in heaven; and we don't believe in hell--if we are leveraging all of that for 70 years of what this world has to offer. You'd be insane! If we could put that before you as a choice in virtually any other circumstance, you would never sell out eternal blessing, peace, health, the presence of God forever and ever and ever and ever, for 70 years.

I'm not [Pastor mumbles] years old. At 62, I look back, and life is a vapor. I can't believe it! I mean, 62, it's just like yesterday. Gone. What will you give in exchange for your soul? We just don't believe. The way to believe is to really get into the presence of God, to taste the reality and the goodness of God, to get rid of religion and have a true visitation that will change the treasures of our hearts. Because I'll tell you what. I would gladly trade religion for all the pleasures of sin for a season. If all we're talking about is religion and being able to have some kind of temporary peace of mind as we travel this journey through life, and to be able to cope with pressures, and to be able to establish some type of morality, I will throw that over in a minute for the pleasures of sin for a season. But if there is a holy God, if there is a day of accountability, if I am, in the natural, the son of Adam, a race in conflict with the Creator of heaven and earth, by Whom and for Whom all things are created, then I need to bow my knee and get reconciled back into the family of my Creator and serve Him all the days of my life and see the world's system for what it is, an alien race, a kingdom of darkness, an enemy of my Heavenly Father, a hater of all that is righteous and holy and good, a kingdom of deception and lies that will be overcome and be cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Rather than having our names written in the Lamb's book of life, the life of remembrance, Psalms says, we'll be cast into this outer darkness, forgotten, no record that we ever existed. The one thing that man fears the most: isolation, loneliness. You will be absolutely alone in terror forever and ever and ever, and nobody remembers, and nobody cares. Come out and be separate. See, this is what we're contrasting. To be a friend of the world is to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. But I want to tell you something. The wages of sin is death. So choose this day whom you are going to serve.

Now you see, God is sending His Spirit to us right now, just like those angels went into Sodom to get Lot. I want you to understand something. What we've been having happen in our midst recently, God has sent His Spirit in here to take us by the hand and say, "I'm coming to judge this place, and I want to take you out. Are you going to come with Me?" The question is, How many of us are still lingering? How many of us are still lingering? How many of us are still giving thought and worth to this world's system? How many of us still have treasures, friends, that we would dare look back to and suffer the same consequence of the justice of God?

So how do we get free from the world? The world's spirit is a powerful thing. How do we get free from this world's system when we know that in our flesh, everything in us in the natural embraces that? We identify with all that is worldly and temporal and earthly and sensual and demonic. See, that's the wisdom from beneath. It makes sense to the natural mind. What doesn't make sense to the natural mind is this: If you want to receive, give; if you want to live, die; if you want to be great, humble yourself. None of that makes sense to the natural mind. It makes absolute sense to the renewed spirit. What wisdom are you operating in today? What voice can you hear clearly? What makes sense to you this morning?

We see some contrasts throughout the Scripture. One of the things that we saw in that contrast was that Lot made natural choices. He looked toward the valley. It looked as the Garden of Eden. It was lush; it was prosperity. Over here, Abraham's territory--if you've ever been down by the Dead Sea--we know that the valley was lush. We know that there was aridness of that which surrounded it. I mean, even the jackrabbits are carrying canteens over there. We look over there, and we see that contrasting with this lush valley that looks like the Garden of Eden, and there's prosperity, and there's abundance, and there are places to invest, and all of the other aspects that we'll get into. Abraham says, "Choose what you want." Lot chose that. Abraham says, "I'll take God and whatever's left." Go ahead and take the world; I'll take God. I want you to see that those are the only two choices. There is no fellowship between God and mammon. You will love the one and hate the other. We go, "Amen." "But not really, because I think I can balance them both out. Surely there is some moderation here." We're going to see the absolutes of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. We're going to see that we either love Him or we hate Him; we're for Him or against Him. You see, that's the wisdom of the Bible. The natural mind says, "That's not my God"; "That's not my Jesus"; "That's not how I see it"; "I am God. I am God. My eyes have been opened. I know between good and evil. I know what seems to make sense. I know what's real. I know what's good for me and for my family and for my life. I am God." Okay, maybe you are, but He's the God of gods. Everything that exists was made by Him and for Him.

So here we stand. Lot was a friend of the world. He was at enmity with God, and God in His mercy, for Abraham's sake, delivered him. I'll tell you one thing this morning: some of us are still alive today for Abraham's sake. Some of us here have been spared and are alive today because of who we hang out with, because of people that have prayed for us, because people who have made intercession and said, "God, spare that life. God, give them another chance"; friends of God, who like Moses, have made intercession and said, "Lord, if you're going to destroy them, take my name out of Your book." God said, "I will remove whomever I choose to remove. Now go serve." For those of you who are intercessors, don't minimize your intercession. It's keeping people alive. For those of you that are alive, don't overestimate your ability. People have been holding you up. Thank God for prayers and intercessions of the saints. I thank God for your praying for me. I need it. Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.

Now, what is the contrast between these guys? I'm a little bit off course. Let me see if I can get back on here. The man who makes decisions based upon his own perceptions, self-confidence, his messiah complex; and this man Abraham. We'll get to Exodus 33. I know Abraham isn't in there, but we'll get over there in just a second. We talked about it a little bit on the panel. You know, it's a tremendous principle, this friendship with God. How many of you want to be a friend of God? Do you? What a phrase! I love that! In all the Scriptures, there are a couple of phrases that just captivate my heart. One of them by faith--and if it doesn't end up that way, Greer, go chisel it off. On my headstone says, "He walked with God." That phrase captivates my heart. I want to stay on this course. I want to finish this race. I want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I want to walk with God. I want to hang out with God. I want to do it God's way.

So much of the world--I can remember when I was a young person, and it actually had an effect on me. I actually identified and relished at times; it had a spiritual response to me. There were times that I would even get moved emotionally or maybe even get goose bumps when I heard Frank Sinatra sing, "...and did it my way." As an unregenerated young man, I wanted, "Bless God, I'm going to do it my way!" I was motivated by that. "If you get in my way, I'll destroy you. I'll pull myself up by my own bootstraps." After getting born again, I want to do it His way. But after 40 years, I look back and find that too many times, I did it my way. "Well, how many times, Pastor? What's the percentage?" One time is too many. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. The life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me. "He walked with God."

The other phrase is "a friend of God." Turn to James for just a second. Let me show you something. James, Chapter 2, verse 23, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." "And he was called the Friend of God." What a powerful statement! Now, as you see James' revelation here, it's interesting that it's contrasting this with the offering up of Isaac. The thing that we saw about Abraham was that when God called him initially, the Scripture says that he left his home of Ur of the Chaldees and followed God, not knowing where he was going. Do you want to be a friend of God? Then you have to walk by faith. This is a walk of faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, to become a friend of His.

So he went, not knowing where he was going, not knowing what the end of all of this was going to be. We know the story and how the promises of God were made to Abraham that he would have a child of promise from his own body. Sarah's womb was dead; Abraham was still able to have kids. We have the Hagar situation, working in the flesh to try to please God. He only ends up with an Ishmael. He figured it out: "You know, probably what God really meant--I know He said we're going to have a child. But what He probably meant was we're going to do it this way." Stop trying to figure God out, and take Him at His word. Stop trying to apply natural wisdom to the infinite wisdom of God, the omniscience of God. His ways are not our ways; they are far above our ways--not only in His administration, but in everything He's done. Do you realize that heaven, eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those that love Him? Have you ever meditated on how great heaven is going to be? You didn't even get close! It has not even entered the imagination how good it's going to be, and I've got a pretty good imagination. His ways are above our ways.

So now we have the whole mess. Eleazar. "No, it's not going to be Eleazar." Ishmael. "It's not going to be Ishmael. Out of your own loins." Now, Abraham's body is dead. See, he used to be able to produce kids, and it was Sarah's problem--"You know, my wife can't have kids." Well, now you can't have kids. Sarah's womb is dead, and you're dead now, Abraham, in your body. And guess what. God shows up on the scene--Boom! So those of you who don't think you have anything to worry about anymore, hallelujah! There is his blessing. There's his promise. There's the love of his life. Why? Because it's the promise of God. God blessed him. God rewarded him. God fulfilled the vision that from his own loins was going to come seed as the sands of the earth and as the stars of the sky, and that in him, in this lineage, would come Messiah, the Savior of the world. "I chose you, Abraham, not because of just an innate goodness, but because you would teach your children and your children's children. I chose you [listen] because you would make life more than about yourself. You would live generationally. You would make decisions that would bless children and children's children, not what's good for you today." So God invests into his life this young Isaac, and he loves him. We know the conflict between Ishmael and Isaac, and how there has to be a separation of that which is natural and earthly from what is supernatural and spiritual and eternal.

Then when everything is looking good, God speaks to him and says, "I have something for you to do. I want you to bring Isaac, and I want you to bring him up here on the mountain and sacrifice him. I want you to kill him." Is there anything you have that you don't want to offer up to God this morning? What is your Isaac? Can I tell you something? If you have an Isaac, God will put His finger on him. Somewhere you're going to deal with Isaac in your life in this journey. Somewhere, you will have your Gethsemane. "Well, you know, I'm growing spiritually, and I've made commitments, and I feel really refreshed, and I think I can handle whatever God wants to bring my way right now. I believe it's all on the altar." There's an Isaac to be touched. There's a Gethsemane to be endured. This thing isn't easy. It's not just a mental assent or some kind of a mental compliance to the will of God. Complying to the will of God is not mental; it is spiritual. It's a commitment to a life of obedience, not just an act of obedience.

So, we will wrestle with God as Jacob did, and we will have a hip out of joint. We will agonize with God as Jesus did in the garden. It says, "In agony, He prayed more earnestly" (Luke 22:44). You think you've prayed to this point? There is some more earnest praying to do in this race we're finishing. Can I say it again? We have to get more earnest in finishing this race. There are ahead for us days and nights of agony, and the agony is the realization of death to self. The agonizing is not about the circumstances, but hearing in absolute sincerity these words come out of your mouth, "Not my will, Thy will be done." Can you pray that this morning? "Amen! I can pray that." Be careful what you answer. Be careful, Peter. "Though they all forsake You, Lord, not me." Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Peter, who denied Him, and whom we see at the shore of Galilee later on, and Jesus saying to him, "Peter, do you love Me more than these?" "You know that I love You, Lord." "Feed My sheep." "Peter, do you love Me more than these?" "Lord, You know that I love You." "Feed My lambs." "Peter, do you love Me more than these?" "Lord, what do You want from me? What answer? Thou knowest, Lord." "Peter, do you agape Me?" "Lord, Thou knowest I phileo Thee."

Becoming a friend of God, as we contrast it with friends of the world--friendship with the world and then covenant friendship within the body of Christ--we want to see the contrast and how these relationships differ. I know I'm jumping all over the place this morning. It's because I have 6 pages of notes and 35 Scriptures to go over here. But in the introduction of this, I'm wanting what's in my spirit to come out and try to set a foundation for us. "Thou knowest, Lord. I don't know." Be careful when you're too quick to talk about how committed you are and how sold out you are and how willing you are to take up the cross and how ready you are to present your body a living sacrifice. It's not as easy as we would like to think. "The kingdom of God suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12). How much effort are you putting into this thing, or are we like typical Americans, just expecting it to come by microwave, chauffeur-driven, air-conditioned, money-back guarantee? "Pressing toward the mark, the prize, the high calling of God" (Philippians 3:14), striving to enter in (Luke 13:24), violently killing self, that Jesus might live through us.

"Offer your son, Isaac, your only son" (Genesis 22:2). I shared in the panel on Wednesday night, and this is how you become a friend of God: "Early [the next] morning...." Can I ask you something? Are you of the mentality that when God says, "Okay, I want Isaac. Offer him up right now. Bring him," are you one of those who says, "Lord, you know, I need to take some time to pray about this"? You do not pray about the will of God. You do not pray about whether you're going to obey God or not. You do not linger in holding God accountable to your personality--"Well, you see, I'm a slow mover." Well then, you'd better speed it up, Jack! "I'm very deliberate." Then maybe you need to stop deliberating and start believing God, because without faith it is impossible to please Him. Abraham went, not knowing where he was going and not knowing what God was doing. He knew this: God had given him a son, and now God wants him back. See, as difficult as it is for us reading as we're looking with hindsight and looking back at this thing, we still wrestle with it and go, "My goodness!" What about Abraham? We know how the story comes out, and it's hard. Does anybody else at times when you've read that, does anybody else start sweating? Has there ever been a time in your life when you read that story and thought you could fool God by saying, "Yes, Lord. Because you know, my theology, I remember the teaching that says if we'll offer it up willingly, He probably won't really take it." Are you lingering? Are you deliberating? Are you analyzing? "Can I give all and still have some left?" The math doesn't work. I'm going to make a very profound statement here, so you're going to have to think a long time about this one. Are you ready? Until you have given all, you haven't given all. How simple is that? How profound is that? Do you want to be called a �??friend of God'? Start doing what you're told to do when He tells you to do it, without deliberation.

Now, one of the things we realize in the life of Abraham is that he was called "The Father of Faith." This man who went out, not knowing where he was going. This man who took the promise of God, that he waited for and by faith had obtained, and to whom God says, "Put it back in My hands. I'm taking it from you." And we start going, "Oh Lord, not my child." There are some of you here this morning going, "Oh God, don't take my child." Some of you are going, "Don't take my spouse." Some of you are praying, "Don't take my money." "Don't take my health, my physical strength." God is not after any of those; He's after you. He's after self. Do you want to protect all that stuff? You say, "Well, isn't that selfish?" Not if it's done in the right motive. Do you want to protect all that stuff? Offer up self.

Now, how do we do this? Exodus 33, we'll end with this for this morning. We know the story here, that the children of Israel, having seen the miracles of God, the power of God, were invited to encounter the presence of God. And they said, once that mountain began to shake and that voice sounded like a trumpet blast and the fire came down, they backed off and said, "Moses, you go up and talk to Him. We are not ready for this. I mean, it's cool when He shows up and divides the sea and sends quail and stuff, and that's all cool. And all the tricks you did in Egypt, you know, when you showed us the signs and wonders, and you snaked with your rod and sand became lice and all the cool stuff. That's neat, but tell God we appreciate the miracles, to keep showing up and delivering us out of trouble, but we'd rather not come into a face-to-face encounter. We are content with being the servants of God." Jesus said, "You are no longer servants, but friends, if you [what?] do what I command you to do." And let Me give you some good news. Here's one of the perks for becoming a friend of God, a son of God, one who has encountered the presence of God: the servant doesn't know what the master is doing, but the son does; the friend does." God does nothing but what He first reveals to His prophets (Amos 3:7). Do you know there are people today who know what's going on, and a lot who say they are Christians that don't have a clue what's going on? Do you know what's going on in the spirit realm today? Are you able to see? Are you able to look and see into the invisible? Do you see what God is doing in our midst right now? Do you see where we are in the whole scope of the preparation of the bride of Christ? Do you know the hour that's on us? The dutiful servant doesn't have a clue. The man that will come into the heart of God, into the presence of God, that will see the face of God, you will understand what's going on and what the hour is.

"And he talked to him," verse 11, Chapter 33, "face-to-face as a man speaks to his friend." I'm going to end with that for this morning. What do you think it takes to have a face to face with God and be called a friend of God? To get to this place, Moses failed in his own strength. He tried to deliver Israel, and he tried to deliver himself, and he was a failure. He was on the backside of the desert tending sheep, and all of a sudden, there's a bush that's on fire. It says, "And he turned aside" to encounter this. Last bit of information and advice for this morning. If on the course you're on, the way you've been doing it, you haven't come face to face, then maybe you need to change directions. Maybe you need to start doing things differently. If you got a glimpse and said, "You know what? That looks like God. I can see it. I understand there's something on fire over there. It looks like my best friend. All of a sudden, my best friend is on fire. All of a sudden, the words that are coming out of his mouth, he just wants to talk about the Lord; he wants to talk about righteousness; he wants to talk about souls." I would turn aside and join yourself to him in preparation for face to face.

He was "The Great I Am." He was "Elohim." He was "Yahweh." And after continued encounters, He became "Friend." You never lose the reverence, the awe, the magnitude of His majesty. You'll hunger for Him more and say, "Lord, show me more of Yourself." He says, "You can't handle what I am. I have to keep Myself shrouded, or it will kill you." The appetite to know Him more starts when we turn aside. You become a friend when He gives you an admonition and you just walk away from everything (all of your family, everything that Ur and its familiarity and confidence has to offer you), and you walk away not knowing where you're going. Then, when in your obedience, God has prospered you and blessed you in giving you family and giving you friends and giving you children, and then He says, "Okay, it's time to offer it all up." Do you want to be a friend? Then you rise up early. Do you want to be a friend? "Then do what I tell you to do," is what Jesus said, and you'll be friends and no longer servants.

Father, we thank You for Your Word this morning and the presence of Your Spirit over these weeks that we've known, the understanding of the journey that's ahead, and Your absolute confidence that Your grace is sufficient for everything that's ahead of us, and that You've gone before us and made a way when in the natural, there would be no way. And we thank You that You would never try us past that which we are able to stand, and that with every trial, You make the way of escape. And we thank You that You ever live to make intercession for us. And we thank You that You would never leave us nor forsake us. But most of all, we're thankful that while we were sinners, You loved us and died for us. Your blood has purchased us; we're no longer our own. So we give back what You've given us, and we say, "Lord, be glorified. Somehow, let Your glory and Your majesty and Your awesomeness be seen in this earthen vessel." We ask it, Father, in Jesus' name, amen.

Before you go, turn to somebody next to you and say, "I want to be God's friend." Go in peace. God's love go with you.