Closer Than a Brother

“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother!” (Proverbs 18:24)

Does any reader of this tract need a friend?

In such a world as this, how many hearts there are which ought to respond to that appeal! How many there are who feel “I stand alone.” How many have found one idol broken after another, one staff failing after another, one fountain dried after another–as they have traveled through the wilderness of this world.

We need much comfort and consolation in a world like this. It is no easy matter for a man to carry the cross and reach Heaven. There are many enemies to be encountered and overcome. We have often to stand alone. We have at the best times, few with us, and many against us. We need cordials and strong consolation to sustain and cheer us, and to preserve us from fainting on the way as we travel from Egypt into Canaan.

If there is one who needs a friend, let that one behold an unfailing friend at the right hand of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let that one repose his aching head and weary heart upon the bosom of that unfailing friend, Jesus Christ the Lord.

There is one living at God’s right hand of matchless tenderness. There is one who  never dies, never fails, never disappoints, never forsakes, never changes His mind, never breaks off friendship. That One, the Lord Jesus, I commend to all who need a friend.

No one in a world like this, a fallen world, a world which we find more and more barren, it may be, every year we live; no one ever need be friendless, while the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

Christian, you have a Friend who never slumbers and never sleeps–a Friend who cares for you morning, noon, and night.”

– J.C. Ryle

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God’s Ways Do Not Change

“He continues to act towards sinful men in the way that He does in the Bible story. Still He shows His freedom and lordship by discriminating between sinners, causing some to hear the gospel while others do not hear it, and moving some of those who hear it to repentance while leaving others in their unbelief; thus teaching His saints he owes mercy to none, and that it is entirely of His grace, not at all through their own effort, that themselves have found life. Still He blesses those on whom He sets His love in a way that humble them, so that all the glory may be His alone. Still He hates the sins of His people, and uses all kinds of inward and outward pains and griefs to wean the hearts from compromise and disobedience. Still He seeks the fellowship of His people, and sends them both sorrows and joys in order to detach their love from other things and attach it to Himself. Still He teaches the believer to value His promise gifts by making him wait for them, and compelling him to pray persistently for them, before He bestows them. So we read of Him dealing with His people in the Scripture record, and so He deals with them still. His aims and principles of action remain consistent; He does not at any time act out of character. Man’s ways, we know, are pathetically inconsistent–but not God’s.

– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p.70-71

One Bit of Truth to One Bit of Life

In the last session of New Attitude, C.J. Mahaney, in a message about applying God’s Word to our lives after the conference, encouraged the singles to simply apply one bit of truth to one bit of life. The one truth I felt convicted by the Spirit to apply is to involve God’s people more into my life.John Piper at Na 07
Prior to the conference, my attendance and participation in the life of my local church had been lacking. I missed church on Sundays and Care Group on Tuesdays pretty regularly. I used the excuse that I was busy with schoolwork, which was true, but in my heart I knew that I could have been more involved and could have pursued fellowship outside these church meetings. Naturally, in my flesh, I am proud and like being independent. I don’t like humbling myself by confessing my sin to others. In my pride, I believe that I can pursue sanctification in solitude apart from others’ help. After avoiding fellowship, overtime my heart began to be hardened and I was blinded by my sin to point where I felt no conviction and didn’t even desire to repent.

But praise God that He had brought my sin into the light before my caring brothers in Christ at New Attitude. By God’s grace, He has given me the will to repent and the desire to pursue Him. Thank God for not leaving us alone, but in His kindness, has provided a community of believers to help us on the path to holiness.

Here are a list of Scriptures that I am seeking to meditate on and memorize in order to apply this truth.

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12-13)

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5-6)

So far I’ve memorized Hebrews 3:12-13 and I am currently meditating on Hebrew 10:24-25. (If you see me, ask me to recite them!) If you know of any other verses that communicate the importance of this truth of involving others, please comment and let me know. I’m looking, in particular, for more verses that have a promise or benefit behind this command, so that I may be more motivated to include others in my spiritual life. Thanks!