Marty Friend

Viewing posts created by Marty Friend


Sometimes those you deeply love crush you to the core. When that happens, the effects can be like a boulder thrown into a still pond. The resulting waves roll out from us, impacting everything and everyone in their wake. Then, the impact of our wounding others rolls out from them and slams into more people, and on and on it goes. Author Sandra Wilson framed it like this: “Hurt people hurt people”. This has been the story of mankind from the beginning. It is my story, and it is probably your story too.

This may be one reason God has a disposition of mercy toward mankind. We have all been both the injured and the injurer. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, he cried “Father forgive them because they have no idea what they are doing.” He had perfect clarity about this because he knows everyone’s heart and has witnessed humanity’s harm for each other ripple through the centuries. Those who have wronged us literally have no idea what they are doing or, for the most part, why they are doing it. Ripples of brokenness as old as creation wash like waves into our own brokenness and ultimately ripple through us and into others.

Jesus asks us to forgive those who have done evil us in the same way we he has forgiven us (Matt. 6:12). His position is that although every one of us deserves condemnation, we get a free pass. Forgiving is the mechanism that allows us to give what we have been given. In this way, God’s ripples of mercy fan out from us, short-circuiting the unjust cruelty that has washed into us. And, in the process, the buck stops here.

Oddly enough, when we give his great gift away, we get to keep it. But when we fail to give it to others, we lose it. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matt 6:14-15). In our upside-down way of thinking, we must hoard to acquire. It makes no natural sense to give anything away, especially to those who don’t deserve it. Forgiveness is an extremely expensive process. It involves absorbing evil rather than passing it on. It was unbelievably costly for Jesus. It is very costly for us.


All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24

Teacher / Disciple

From the teacher comes the disciple, and from the disciple comes the teacher. It is the way of life…and the way of God. Whatever you have received from God, you must give to others. If you have been loved, you must love. And if you’ve been loved without having deserved that love, then you must love those who don’t deserve your love. If you’ve been given joy, your life must bring joy to others. If you’ve been saved, then you must save others. And if you’ve been blessed, then your life must bring blessing to the lives of others. And therefore, if you’ve received Yeshua, then your life must become Yeshua and Yeshua must become your life. Life begets life. Love begets love. So he made his life a gift to you, that your life would become a gift to the world. Only then is the circle complete…when your life becomes love.
– Jonathan Cahn


Adam was created in God’s image. Adam was appointed to be the first human gardener. That makes the Father THE gardener. The universe is His garden which He is constantly tending. The resurrection happened in a garden. Mary even mistook Jesus for the gardener.

When planting a garden, the ground must first be be broken. This is key for us. It shows that the condition a person is in is paramount to receive what we have to sow. Paul speaks of he and Timothy being planters and waterers. Their job was not to break the ground. Neither did they generate sunshine. God handles all the big stuff. We must simply be aware of broken ground, be faithful to plant and careful to water. Not enough water will starve the plant. Too much water will oversaturate the plant.


The main point of our life is to live continually in the Father’s circle (Father, Son, Spirit) as He escorts us on His journey to perform His exploits. The point is NOT the exploits themselves. If we remain in Him, God sets up our life appointments and encounters. But sometimes we like to tally up these life-changing events up as if they are some sort of Kingdom brownie points. As if somehow we, in our own magnificence, have orchestrated the events and the results. In reality, these success stories are simply a result of the collateral life that springs from living in connection with Him. Living in Him is the true success story!

In John 15:1-8, Jesus used the metaphor of a vine to describe what remaining in Him is like.

“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me—and I in him—bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you. My Father is honored by this, that you bear much fruit and show that you are my disciples.

The vine is life. It’s where the life flows from the Father, Son and Spirit. Fruit is merely a natural result of receiving the life flow that comes through the vine. The branch has no life in itself. It has no power to produce fruit by itself. Remove it from the vine and it withers and dies.


I believe all our conflicts in life arise from our relentless pursuit of these 3 things:

1. The drive to acquire (KINGDOM)

2. The desire to rule and control (POWER)

3. The drive to be in the spotlight (GLORY)

The energy that motivates us to pursue these things seems to spring from our inner deficits which were formed by a variety of reasons unique to each of us. The two main causes of these deficits seem to be:

  1. The environment we grew up in filled with people who hurt us or din not/could not give us what we desired emotionally.
  2. Our deep longing for the world to be what God originally intended it to be produces a longing for what we inherently know we were created to be. 

Our needs are totally legit. However, our pursuit of getting them met is not. Deep inside, we know that our lives are what they are supposed to be. We were made to be acknowledged, loved, celebrated, and lavished with wonderful things. This was God's original intention for us until we chose to obey, and consequently serve, another god eons ago in the Garden. So now, we spend our energy in the pursuit of reshaping the world around us with the intent of providing for ourselves the fulfillment we were created for. Like emotional bandaids, we wrap our ourselves within one, or all of the above three pursuits of creating our own kingdom, power and glory (KP&G). We do this in an attempt to 'fill up' our feelings of emptiness, inadequacy, powerlessness, invisibility and poverty. We construct these as if they were ’gods’ who could answer the deep longings of our hearts. But after all our efforts, the deficits still remain and we end up hurting ourselves and others in the process of constructing them. We usually attempt to construct our gods around our fears. What do you fear? Do you fear losing the false identity you’ve spent your life manufacturing? Do you fear loosing power and control?  Wealth? Beauty? How about the fear of being eclipsed by someone else in your spotlight or becoming out of touch and irrelevant? These are the things that motivate us to manufacture our own KP&G.

Our nature is perpetually self-referential. In other words, no matter how noble our pursuits are, we always seem to circle back to self-focus. We manufacture these fake identities, because of the the payoffs they occasionally provide, and hide within them. We reason "I have money and nice things. I am one of the good people in life". Or "I've worked hard to get where I'm at. I am worthy of respect and admiration”. "I am smart and good looking and therefore deserve a wonderful life". “I am ultra talented and worthy of worship”. The list is endless. When we find a niche for ourselves, we exploit it for all it's worth. And, when we actually attain some of our personal kingdom goals, we celebrate by thinking “Finally, I am getting what I deserve.” or “I am getting what my heart longs for.” or  “I will finally live the life that will make me happy”. But our happiness is short-lived because our emptiness remains. So we press on with more attempts to fill our internal voids. The truth of the matter is that death is all around us. None of us get to stay here, but we live our lives as if we will. And we do this even though we have never seen or heard of any human being doing so. What utter madness. In substituting our own lordship for Gods Lordship, we become subject to the spirit of the age. Without realizing it, we become unwitting slaves to the one Jesus called “the ruler of this world“.

As believers, wrapping our identity in anything but Christ is a formula for disaster. For us, the core danger is in our misplaced allegiance and focus. When we focus on building our own KP&G, we become blind and self-focused. In attempting to rule ourselves, we forfeit the intimate relationship God wants to have with each of us. We trade our ability to see ourselves in truth for the illusions of the personas we manufacture. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that we have been "been bought with a price" and that "you are not your own". If I am not my own, then that means I don’t get to choose. If we identify with God's Kingdom, Jesus becomes our Lord and our identity is wrapped within Christ. We become connected with His Spirit who continually directs our attention to what the Father is doing and saying. We are no longer driven because we are not driving. We are resting and He is driving. And if He is not driving you where you want to go, it is for a good reason. He is trying to protect you from harm that may be done to you by yourself and others. But, over that, He is trying to steer you to the place where He is Lord of your life and where He has a role for you to play in His Kingdom and purposes.

Only God can give us what we long for. Only when we direct our focus toward Him will we find the answer to our inner cravings for value, peace and emptiness. When teaching us how to pray, Jesus starts and ends by redirecting our focus on the Father... His Kingdom, not ours. His power, not ours. His Glory, not ours. That is where we start. We look at Him. We subscribe to Him. We defer to Him in everything. We admit that our attempts to rule our own life only produces a train wrecks. Only then will we experience the peace, safety and true riches of His Lordship. 



“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” (1 Peter 2:9). That which is holy is that which is separate, set apart for the purposes of God. So, if you belong to God, you are a priest, one of His cohanim. And every priest and holy vessel must be separated from everything else, set apart to God.  He will use everything to separate you from everything else to bring you to Himself, and separate you from the rest of the world, the rejection od men, disappointment, heartbreak, crisis, hurt, sorrow, disillusionment, unfulfillment, discontentment, trouble, abandonment, failure, whatever it takes to separate His priest from the world and to Himself. – Jonathan Cahn


The scriptures declare that all creation is undergoing the pains of childbirth. So too it is for the child of God. Whatever pains and tears you know in this life become the birth pangs of new life. We are born again through the birth pangs of emptiness, of disillusionment, of frustration, of disappointment, of broken dreams, of unanswered longings, of wounding, and of tears. So don’t despise the tears, but know that in God, every tear will bring forth birth, and every sorrow, new life…And the pains of this world will be forgotten when we experience the joy of birth into the new life to come. (“massaged” thoughts from Jonathan Cahn)

“I am convinced that even out of the most broken places in our lives, and the ashes of grief and sadness, (God) will bring some of the most breathtaking beauty… and in fact, we will dance on top of the ruins of what was intended for evil by the enemy.” -Steven Curtis Chapman

The Lamb Will Be Our Shepherd

Rev. 7:17 pictures Jesus as a lamb who will be the shepherd who leads us to fountains of living water.

“In the world, it is the strong and fierce who rule. But in the kingdom of God, it is the Lamb that rules. So in the kingdom of the Lamb, the weak are strong, and the strong are weak. In the kingdom, if you would have, you must let go. If you would receive, you must give. If you lower yourself, you will be lifted up. If you become little, you will become great. If you lose yourself, you will find yourself. If you surrender, you will prevail. And if you die to yourself, you will find life.” – Jonathan Cahn