Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Friendship Gives Us an Accountability Partner

Dear Friends,
I love that friendship gives us an opportunity to be accountable to someone. There should be no mavericks in God’s kingdom work; no loose cannons on the deck. But unfortunately you know as well as I do that there are. We can say to our friends in ministry, “Keep my feet to the fire; keep me loyal, keep me honest; keep me reaching for a star, and I will do the same for you.” A good friend holds us accountable.
So, “two are better than one” because they have a good return for their labor—a good return for their work. Two people can accomplish twice as much as one, hold each other accountable and share the work and enjoy the fruits of it.
I wrote a book about friendship a while back—now out of print—that was my “thank you” to some friends in my life. Looking back, as I think about the friends I chose to write about, most of them were in ministry with me. Look around and pray that God will give you some way to serve Jesus and find lasting friendships at the same time.
“Ministry “is another way of saying “serving Jesus,” and Stuart and I have a life verse that has been a real bellwether test of how we ae doing in this regard. It comes from the book of Joshua, and says, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (24:15).
Another favorite verse of ours is, “One man will chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight” (Deut. 32:30). Stuart and I reckoned that two of us could make the devil sorry he started this mess in the first place. Our friendship has flourished as we have served Jesus together for more than 50 years. Ministry goes better when we are friends doing it together, and friendship does better when two are serving Him.
Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Examining Your Roots

Dear Friends,
Will we ever get over succumbing to the devil’s notion that a tree planted by the river should be an object of pity? That a scrub bush has a much better handle on life? The devil wants us to believe he can supply all we need to deal with life itself if we will only bow down and worship him. That’s nonsense! Look at the lives of scrub bushes and pity them, for they have no roots and no river, no leaves when the heat comes, and no fruit. What’s so beautiful about that?
The simple principles are as follows. First ask yourself, “Do I possess the Spirit?” If not, or if you are unsure, make sure. Pray, “Please, God, will you forgive my sin and invade my life?” Then thank Him for answering your prayer. Second, having made sure of His Spirit in your life, ask yourself, “Do I know anything of living in the power of these spiritual truths?” If not, examine your roots. Next, spend time deciding which river you are placing your roots in. Change the situation if need be.
Think about the “sap” of Scripture. Does it fill your branches? What will you do about that if the answer is no? Will you purchase a good study Bible, sign up for a Bible course, buy some teaching tapes, or join a Bible study? Ask God to show you your tree as He sees it.
Is there any fruit on your tree? Are your branches laden with it, or is there a lone orange hanging on a twig? Read Gal. 5:22-23. Pray about this description of the fruit of the Spirit. Finally, as you put out your roots in the direction of the river, let them down into its depths. Then leave them there, and see what God will grow in your life and show in your life. 
Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Friends Can Help You Recognize the Enemy

Dear Friends,
Sisters and brothers in Christ are never the enemy—although the real enemy would have us think so. Satan is the enemy and we must recognize his way of messing things up. He hates friendship as God has intended it to be because he knows the power of it.
I have a close friend who was having trouble with a difficult person in her church. They were friends and both were in leadership. She told me, “You know, we don’t agree on how this particular program should be run—or how to accomplish the plan—but I realized this division is not caused by my friend, but is the scheme of the devil wanting division among us. I’ve decided I’m going to take her to coffee and talk it out.”  She followed through and was able to say to her friend, “We’re both after the same thing, so let’s recognize who is causing this rift!” She stopped looking at the person as the enemy. Remember who you are fighting! Peter was unaware Satan was using him when Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23). Jesus did not say, “Peter, you are Satan;” He said, “Satan—you are Satan, and I recognize you and what you are trying to do.” Friends can help friends to recognize the enemy.
The word “friend” is associated with such words as benevolence, kindness, rapport, amicable.  Not hostile, but helpful and sympathetic. Don’t just look for a friend with these characteristics—be one! Remember, to find a friend, you must first be friendly.
And always make room for more friends. Investigate the friendships you have already, and widen the circle. Be inclusive, not exclusive. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12).
Finally, give your friendships room to breathe. Don’t be possessive. Amy Carmichael says, “If, in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (that is to myself, for myself) then I know nothing of Calvary love.” Calvary love is always concerned with the other’s well-being, irrespective of the cost to self. Calvary love freshens all friendships. Jesus in the end is the three-fold cord that binds a friendship together!
Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine