What a Friend I have in Jesus

Worship the Lord.

I woke up the other day with such an impression on my heart that the way to victory is worship. But it dawned on me in that moment that it isn’t worship or praise as we know it. It is more intense. It is deeper. It is knowing the Lord and trusting him with a thankful heart. And yet, it is more than that. I cannot seem to even put it into words. It is becoming so close to his heart that your worship opens locked doors, breaks chains of bondage, and tears down walls. In its place is open heavens. I am speaking of it in a spiritual sense. Although I don’t believe we can limit the Lord. It was through worship that he made the walls of Jericho fall and opened the prison doors and broke the chains that bound Paul and Silas.

It is a lifestyle. It is a lifestyle of quietly listening to the Lord. It is a lifestyle of obeying his words. It is a lifestyle of trusting the Lord with a thankful heart. It is rejoicing in the Lord, always, as stated in Philippians.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:4-7

Freedom is found in rejoicing and in worship. Behind it comes peace that passes understanding.

I have shared this in the past, but it is relevant to what I want to share today.

Several years ago, as I was driving to church, I was listening to the radio. News came up regarding Christians in another country (including children) who were being murdered. It sickened me and I felt guilty for the freedom I had in my country to openly worship my Lord. I thought of course it is easy for me, life is so much easier here in America. Although lately I see an uneasiness revealing itself.

Anyway, while worshiping him at church that day, with many other believers, guilt rose up again. How could I freely worship him while others were suffering for their faith? I heard the Lord whisper to my heart.

“Do not stop worshiping. IT is the very thing that brings victory. In fact, the more you worship, the more you push the enemy’s forces back.”

I believe it is the very act of worship in our country that has allowed the open heavens over America. It was the avenue that has pushed back darkness and brought in HIS light. The enemy knows the power of believers, gathering together in worship.

Some American Christians today have forgotten the freedom we have had to celebrate our Lord in a public place. The pandemic has opened many eyes. Some still worship, whether at home or in a church, but many have settled for second best, for simply going through the motions. I have done that. It is called complacency. We have become guilty of worshiping with our mouth, but our hearts are no longer committed to our Lord.

The Lord says,

“These people worship me with their mouths
and honor me with their lips.
But their hearts are far from me,
and their worship of me is based on rules made by humans.
Isaiah 29:13

It is the Lord who opens the windows of heaven. It is he that covers a nation with his blessings. And it is he that said that the greatest commandment is to love him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. (Matthew 22:37) He didn’t say those things because he was selfish or because he wanted glory. BUT he knew that expressing our love for him through worship would bring blessings to each of us as individuals and to a nation. It is the tool that pushes back darkness.

We can’t always understand the Lords ways. One day we will, but for now we only know in part. That is why trust is so important. One of my life verses have been,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Remember the disciple who called himself the one whom the Lord loved? Why? Because he was the one who LOVED HIS Lord. He was the one who leaned up to him during the last supper and asked who would betray him. He was the one who walked with him so closely that he walked with him into the courtyard and stood beside him during his last breath. He KNEW him. He TRUSTED him. He didn’t put his faith in what he saw…but in whom he trusted.

He learned what it meant to lean not unto his own understanding. He “leaned” on the Lord, totally and completely.

Jesus trusted John as well. As he was sacrificing his life for all of us, he said to John, take care of my mother. Jesus trusted John with the most important person in his earthly life.

John had learned the art of worship and though he was tortured for his faith, he pushed back the power of darkness through worshiping with all of his heart, soul, and mind. It brought him the peace that passes all understanding. The Lord trusted John so much he gave him visions of what was to come in the end of time. It was John, the one whom Jesus loved, who wrote the book of Revelation.

Worshiping the Lord through song and dance is amazing. You can truly connect with him.

Worshiping the Lord through prayer is powerful. It can set angels into action.

Worshiping him through acts of ministry to others either physically, emotionally, or spiritually can bring breakthrough for others, as well as ourselves.

But worshiping him through obedience, by leaning on him and trusting him brings FRIENDSHIP with your maker.

The friendship we understand today in our world is not the same. It can be muddled and backstabbing and broken. But to be called a friend of our Lord is intense and intimate. It is the intimate intensity that I spoke of earlier. It is a trust not only with our hearts towards our Lord, but a trust of HIS heart toward us. Friends share secrets. The Lord wants to share his secrets with us. It is incredible that the Lord would choose to call anyone his friend.

Very few people from the Bible were called a friend of God, yet Abraham was known as God’s friend and Moses spoke with him face to face as friends would talk.

Jesus described friendship as this:

You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:14 &15

Worshiping the Lord is all the acts above…singing, praying, sharing the Lord. But it is also knowing him intimately and obeying him completely.

Worship is being God’s friend.

That is the kind of worship that came to my mind as I woke up. As you worship him, in a bond of friendship, victory like you have never witnessed before will follow.

Remember the hymn,

What a Friend we have in Jesus.
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

What if he would sing it back to you with these words:

What a friend I have in (insert your name)
All my secrets and dreams I share
I will trust you (insert your name) completely
Because I know you really care.

God bless.





















A Thankful Attitude is Powerful

Count your blessing name them one by one.
Count  your blessing see what God has done.
Count your blessings..name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

This was a chorus I used to sing in Sunday School when I was little. But it never gets old. It is so important to be thankful about what you DO have instead of grumbling about what you do not have.

Philippians 4:6-7 states, “Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and THANK him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

In dark moments it is always important to remember what you’ve come through; what God has already done for you. Thank him for what he HAS done and then thank him for what he WILL do. In fact, it might be a good idea to mark several of the monumental moments on a calendar and actually celebrate that victory in your life as a constant reminder of what God has done.

The prophets of old did the same thing.

Abram (who later was called Abraham) built an altar of remembrance after the Lord appeared to him in the land of Canaan promising to give that land to him and his descendants.

Joshua built an altar of 12 stones taken from the middle of the Jordan River and then placed them in their camp. They were built as a reminder to their children of how God parted the waters for them.

Also a celebration can represent a time God showed up. For example, Passover Seder is celebrated in the Jewish faith. It is a reminder of the time the angel of death passed over the children of Israel and their people were brought out of slavery from Egypt.

There has been circumstances when I felt God had done a miracle for me. He had parted the waters, so to speak. I wasn’t clear how he was going to take care of a situation, but  somehow he did it.

Every March I am reminded how easily our house got sold. It seemed near impossible. The place needed a lot of work to go on the market. We were in the middle of moving to another state. We weren’t sure how to take care of our house while living so far away and dealing with the new chapter that was presented to us. Our only hope was to run across someone who was willing to buy the house, as is, and preferably in cash. And within a shorter time than I expected, that is exactly what happened!

When any discouragement might arise I am reminded of that moment and I am thankful.

There is POWER is thankfulness.

Think of Paul and Silas in prison in Acts 16. They weren’t in a prison that had cable TV, free education and free medical. They had been beaten and were in shackles.I presume their surroundings were pretty raunchy; maybe rat infested and filthy and of course no inside plumbing , no electricity, no amenities at all.  But when they began singing praises; rejoicing in the Lord, in the midst of their dilemma, there was an earthquake. The doors broke open and all the shackles fell off .

God loves to rock the earth for you in your praises and thankfulness. It is there that the things that hold you back, the things that bind up your life are broken off and you can rise in victory.

Not only did Paul  and Silas get out of prison but the prison guard wanted to learn about God and he and his family were saved. The guard took them to his house, fed them and cleaned their wounds. On top of that, the authorities realized the mistake in arresting Roman citizens and apologized.

Has the enemy of your soul attacked you? Are you feeling down and out, frustrated and discouraged? I am telling you that any demon of darkness that is harassing you is dealing with a citizen of heaven. Not only can being thankful and rejoicing break you out of your prison, but you can be restored.

Why would the reference in Philippians state “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice”?  Is it because it holds an important key of deliverance?

Psalm 22:3 states,”Yet you (speaking of the Lord) are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”(NLT) God seems to move at the praises of his people because that is where he dwells.

I recall being in church listening to praise music and worshiping the Lord. Yet I was feeling a bit guilty as I had just heard that Christians in other countries were being killed for their faith.

But the Lord reminded me that to stop worshipping is exactly what the enemy of darkness would want. That praise is actually a weapon, as it ushers in his glory and breaks bondage and sets people free.

Choose to be thankful.
Choose to rejoice.
Chose to be free.