Greetings once again friends! This is Episode four of the podcast. The title of this week’s episode is “My Life-long Friends.”
This is the third of a three-part series focusing on and exploring our understanding of God—including thoughts about the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
In the Fall of 1951, my parents enrolled me in First Grade at Outlook Grade School, which was located less than a mile from our house. I was pretty excited to start school. My older siblings were already in school, and I was anxious to join them. During the two years after my brother Beryl started, Mother “home-schooled” me, teaching me to read, so by the time my turn came I was primed and ready to go!
I’ve always been an outgoing, social person, so I loved being with the other first-graders. Other kids my age from around our farming community were there, and we quickly formed bonds of friendship—some of which still continue to this day.
There were other boys, like Billy, Alonzo, Robert, Larry, Paul, and Leon. Some of the girls were Linda, Judy, Lois, and Renee. A lot of our first-grade classmates are no longer with us. Others I’ve lost all contact for them and have no idea if they are even still living. But, there are a few others with whom I’m still friends all these years later.
Plus, we added some classmates during those early elementary school years, too—kids like Raymond, Phil, and Tony.
Quite a few years back, Ruth and I were living in Ohio, and I got a letter announcing a planned reunion for my Outlook class. I was excited! I really wanted to go, but it was on too short of a notice, and I was unable to change my schedule.
I decided, however, that although I couldn’t be there in person, I could record a video and send my greetings to all of them that way. It worked! And I was delighted a few weeks later to get a return tape from the group with a personal greeting from each one present. That was pretty cool!
The next year, however, when the class planned another gathering, I determined to go. I did, and it was wonderful connecting in person with each of those friends from our childhood days.
There’s just nothing quite like being there!
I have to digress here for a moment to share a story about the value of “being there.”
Back in the 1960s, Dan Hanna, Sr. was a legend in his own time in and around Portland, Oregon. Dan was the person who developed the idea of a drive-through car wash. He began in 1955 with one unit in Milwaukie, Oregon—a suburb of Portland. Four years later by 1959, Dan Hanna’s “Rub-a-Dub” Carwash locations had expanded to 31 in and around Portland.
Dan began to get national attention and was able to start marketing his systems to other places. In record time his company was selling and installing “Rub-a-Dub” equipment nationwide. He far outsold and outpaced every other competitor in the field.
Although there were many reasons someone would want to by “Rub-a-Dub” equipment, Dan Hanna had one winning factor his competitors lacked.
He owned a Learjet.
When a phone call would come in with someone inquiring about purchasing a “Rub-Dub” carwash system, Mr. Hanna would take the call himself. A typical conversation might go something like this:
Hanna: “Where did you say you are located?”
Caller: “Fargo, North Dakota.” (It could have been anywhere in the country.)
Hanna: “Great! Let me see . . . I see your main airport there is Hector International. I could meet you there in about three hours. Would that work for you?”
Caller: “Sure! I can do that.”
Hanna: “Okay. I’ll see you at the airport this afternoon!”
With that, Mr. Hanna would take off in the Learjet and head for Fargo. He’d meet with the prospective customer, maybe even take him for a ride in his super-impressive plane, and return to Portland with another signed-and-sealed deal to deliver and install a “Rub-a-Dub” system, this time in Fargo, North Dakota.
There’s just nothing quite like “being there.”
So, what’s all this have to do with “life-long friends,” and our understanding of God?
It’s all in that one sentence: “There’s nothing quite like being there.”
If you want to have the greatest and best connection with friends—whether from recent times or from long ago—there’s nothing quite like being with them in person!
If you are a business person or in sales, regardless of your product, there’s nothing quite like meeting your prospective customer directly.
There’s just nothing quite like being there!
And, our God, the Great God of heaven and earth, knows that.
In the Garden of Eden the Creator came “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8) because He wanted to be with Adam and Eve in person.
Following the entrance of sin, Adam and Eve had to be separated from God because sin cannot exist in the presence of a holy God. They were expelled from the Garden in order to preserve their lives—and to make it possible for God’s already-in-place Plan B—the Plan of Redemption and Salvation—to go into effect.
Even so, the Creator still wanted to be with them, to fellowship with them, and to teach them so many things He wanted them to know.
To that end, God preserved Noah and his family from destruction in the Flood. He continued His presence in the human experience through the line of Noah’s son Shem. Centuries later, God entered into a covenant with Abram—whose name was later changed to Abraham. Abraham became known as “the friend of God,” and everywhere Abraham journeyed he built an altar to Yahweh.
Then, a few more centuries pass until some of Abraham’s descendants (through Isaac and Jacob—aka “Israel”) are led by God out of Egypt in the Exodus.
At Mt. Sinai, God instructs Moses, “Let them make me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8).
God wanted to be with His chosen people.
At the dedication of Wilderness Tabernacle—and later at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem—The Shekinah glory of God’s presence literally moved in and took up residence!
The very real presence of God was right where He wanted to be—living just next door to them, first in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle, then in the Temple.
It was God’s great desire to be and become Israel’s “Resident God.” There He could live in their “neighborhood,” and help them grow into His design that they should be “a nation of priests” to represent Him and His love, mercy, and grace to all the rest of the world.
Eventually, of course, the “Resident God” came to Earth in the person of Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. He lived as a man among men—one of US—not only living “next door” in the presence of the Shekinah glory, but actually walking in human flesh, fully God, but also fully man.
After Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection, He ascended back to Heaven where, as the Book of Hebrews tells us, He serves as our Great High Priest, representing Adam’s race to the Father, and sending the gifts of the Father’s love back to us.
Before Jesus left to go back to the Father’s side, He promised to send “another Counselor, the Holy Spirit,” to live—not only with us, but in us! For all who willingly open their spiritual heart, the Resident God will come and take up residence.
What an incredible prospect! The “Friend” who sticks “closer than a brother” knows full well, there’s nothing quite like being there!” And, through the Person of the Holy Spirit, the God who loves you, saves you, guides you with wisdom, and gives you strength, also gives you His promise, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about this: “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
And, writing to the Colossians, Paul says, “It has pleased God to tell his people (the Jews) that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory” (Colossians 1:27).
So, we see through the Bible’s testimony that the work of the Holy Spirit is to make the presence of God known at all times and places.
- At the time of Creation, the Spirit moved upon the face of the waters.
- At the time of the Incarnation, the Spirit moved upon Mary to bring forth her Holy Son.
- And, at the time of a “new birth,” the Spirit moves upon the sinner’s heart to bring forth new life.
- It was the Spirit who inspired the ancient prophets to write the messages of Scripture.
- It is the Spirit that gives energizing power for ministry and service in God’s Name.
Yes, God knows.
There’s just nothing quite like “being there.”
And, that’s really where we come into the picture. In the Name of God, and moved by the Holy Spirit, we are sent as ambassadors of grace to a world of ungrace. We are to be carriers of hope to a world without hope.
In the words of Jesus’s prayer, we are to be “in the world, but not of the world.”
For what purpose? Why are we to be “in the world?”
there’s just nothing quite like being there
accompanied by our life-long Friend, and carrying Him with us into a world He longs to redeem and save.
Thank you so much for listening today! I pray you have been blessed.
Next week’s episode is scheduled to post on Monday, May 31—a day set aside to remember and honor the memory of deceased American military personnel. I will be sharing a special Memorial Day message in that post. Be sure you are subscribed to the podcast, then watch your email or text messages letting you know when it’s ready.
I hope you can join me for that.