How are you? I’m well.
Recently, I read a Pastor John Fenn’s book, “Pursuing the Seasons of God”, and in one chapter, he wrote “Jesus Desires Friendship” and shared one of his encounters with Jesus:
I asked him as he turned, “Lord, why are you appearing to me to teach me these things?” He stopped, turned around, took a step towards me and paused as he looked down at the ground in thought for a second or two. Then, with a tilt of his head and a puzzled look on his face that seemed to say you know the answer. He replied: “Because you are my friend.” There were several seconds of silence between us as I stared into his eyes trying to comprehend the depth of what he was saying, and wrestle with my own arguments at the same time. As I stared at him I was thinking, “Who am I that I should be visited by my Lord?” But my arguments were overcome with the overwhelming awareness of aspects of his personality flowing from him that I had never seen before: Loneliness and sorrow. His eyes spoke of a deep desire for fellowship and a sorrow for his children that don’t walk in all he has for them. He was especially sad about those members of his body who were caught up in, and living like, the world. It wasn’t a hurt, but a sorrow that he had done so much for them and they treated what he had done with so little respect, distracting them with this present world.
I then asked him something I had never asked in all my prayers and all my praise and worship to him over the years. “Lord, what is it you desire? What is on your heart?” He replied, “I enjoy it when my people just like being with me, not asking anything of me, just enjoying me, for it is then that we enter into true communion and fellowship. This is my great desire: fellowship, to be with my people, that my people would enjoy me for just being me, this is true worship.” Suddenly I realized that relatively few Christians truly know the Lord. They pray like they place an order at a restaurant: here is a list of things I need or want, amen. Sometimes they pray to wage spiritual warfare—there is a job to be done—and yet other times they enter into praise and worship with the ulterior motive of getting something from him. Some use praise and worship as a formula and means manipulating an answer from the Lord. Many don’t want to live right, but want all the benefits of the Life of God to be manifest in their lives.
Fenn, John; Pursuing the Seasons of God
I thought his encounter with Jesus resonated with the late Pastor, Neville Johnson’s encounter with Him that I shared in my previous blog, “Friends of God.” And I felt the Lord indeed desires the friendship with us, and I repented of my soulish prayer for my life, though I thought it was for His Kingdom. And I pondered whether I used praise and worship as a formula and means to manipulate an answer from the Lord, as Pastor John wrote. I asked the Lord to show me if there is anything impure in my heart, for me to repent and I said to Him that I set my heart to be pure in my heart and to be His friend.
Then, in the morning of August 17th, I went to my prayer table with a patio umbrella in the nearby museum. I had a certain incident the other day with my sister in California, when we had a video-chatting. We had some debate and it kept lingering in my mind. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, as I didn’t want to backbite her. But in that morning, I brought up that subject, thinking He is my best Friend and I just decided to talk to Him.
“Lord, was I wrong? I know I shouldn’t have said those words to her, but she was absolutely wrong!”
Then, I read the chapter 17 of Proverbs. While reading and mediating on a few verses, I felt the Lord was speaking to me as to what my heart attitude should be toward my sister and how I should manage my words. But there was nothing like condemnation. Then, I decided to pray in tongue more rather than to pray for what I want to pray, in my own words. I wanted to pray for what He wants me to pray. While I prayed in the spirit, I was reminded of Afghanistan. I remembered Pastor Joe Sweet mentioned it together with the earthquake in Haiti, but I didn’t watch or read the news on Afghanistan at that time. So, in the middle of the prayer, I searched the headlines of Korean news on Afghanistan to understand what happened there, and prayed in tongues, thinking of it together with Haiti.
Coming back home after the prayer, I checked my chatting applications and was surprised to see a few unread messages with videos from my Singaporean friend. She actually texted them the other evening, to ask me to pray together for Afghanistan, but I went to bed very early, not knowing she had texted me, with the notification off. I felt that indeed the Lord wanted me to pray for Afghanistan and He let me know as I’m His friend.
Then, later in the morning, I had my haircut and planned to go to grocery on my way home. Once a week, I buy flowers for mom and for myself from the grocery store. It’s always my joy to see and debate for a while in front of the flowers in the store, as to what flowers I would pick. I usually change the kinds and the colors of flowers each week for variety. Then, on the way to the grocery store, the yellow flowers came into my mind. A few weeks ago, I saw them and wanted to buy them, only after I chose other flowers in front of the cashier. So, when the yellow flowers that I didn’t even know the name of came into my mind, I said to Him, “Lord, I want to buy the yellow flowers I wanted to buy last time, if they are available today. What do you think?”
I simply enjoyed talking to Him in my heart, no matter whether I felt Him saying something or not. Then, I went to the grocery store and found out two bundles of the yellow flowers were in a plastic bucket! As the stocks of the flowers varied each week, I had no idea as to whether they would be available. I was joyful to see them and took a bundle of the yellow flowers to the employee who was in charge of the flower department. I handed them over to her, asking the price.
And she said to me, “You might want to take them for free.”
I said, surprised, “What? (Seriously???)”
She said, “They are not fresh ones. So, they won’t last long. As you’re a regular customer, I would give them to you for free. Just take them, please.”
I couldn’t thank Him enough. In my joyful heart, I kept saying to Him, “Thank You, Lord. You’re so kind! Thank You!” And I simply felt He wanted to give me these yellow flowers as His gift to His friend. After I came home and enjoyed watching the flowers, I kept being curious about the name of the flowers. So, I searched the pictures online and got to know from a Korean encyclopedia that it’s Marigold. To my amazement, it said that one of its flower languages is friendship! I felt as if He wanted to let me know I’m His friend and He desires friendship with me.
In a few days, I meditated Proverbs 22:11:
“He who loves purity of heart
And has grace on his lips,
The king will be his friend.”
It reminded me of the debate with my sister earlier and He was teaching me in a gentle way, yet without condemnation. And I prayed that the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth be pleasing to Him and I become the friend of my King.
Friend, do you desire friendship with the Lord? I pray that you and I feel His loneliness and sorrow toward the body of Christ, and we come to Him with a pure heart and grace on our lips, not with any hidden motives, to become His friend, in Jesus’ name.
Have a bliss!
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:13~15)