What kind of friend are you?

Friendly all the time! A true friend loves us during the hard times as well as the good.

Proverbs 17:7 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. 18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.”

Proverbs 27: 10Thine own friend , and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.”

Friendly first! A true friend is friendly first, rather then waiting for others to approach him first.

Proverbs 18: 24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Friendly giving! True friendship is given and not bought. You can’t buy true friendship. Give and you may get. Don’t be friendly to get. You can’t make someone your friend.

Proverbs 19:6 “Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.” — but not true friends!

Friendly honest advice! A true friends tells us what they believe is best for us because they care what happens to us.

Proverbs 22:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend ; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Proverbs 27: 9 “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Accountability. It is something that we all need. We were created for community. We all need support. Sometimes we need to hear the brutal truth. We can’t do life alone.

 

We all need friends. Not ‘frenemies’ or the kind of friends who talk about you when you aren’t around, but real true friends. How can you tell if someone is a true friend?

 

But sometimes really good friends, you know the kind who will tell you when you have a giant hole in the back of your pants or a piece of broccoli in your teeth, can be tough to find. If you have these kind of friends, be thankful because most of us know that true and real friendship is a rare thing.

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12          9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

 

We are stronger together. We need to have friends who love us, but will also be honest with us when we need to hear a hard truth. Being a friend and always nodding and smiling and agreeing isn’t really being a friend. The test of a true friend is whether they will tell you when you are wrong.

 

Maybe you have been a real jerk this week and being awful to the people around you – a real friend will pull you aside and say ‘Hey, is everything ok? I’m worried about you. You are kinda being a jerk’.

Holding each other accountable doesn’t mean that you take cheap shots or tell each other every single time you do something wrong.

Holding someone accountable begins with loving them and truly caring for them; wanting them to be a better person and expecting the same from them when you are struggling.

Now here is what accountability is not – It isn’t getting together with others and sharing with them how you saw someone screw up. That’s just gossip. Accountability is going directly to the person and caring for them.

Friends are great but, Jesus is the greatest friend ever!!




 Repent = change of mind

Merriam-Webster defines repent as:  to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life

Dictionary.com defines Change one’s mind: to make the future course of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone

 

So if someone repents, their mind has been changed in the sense of their desire is not toward sin anymore but their desire is to avoid sin and to seek to live a holy life.

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

 

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

 

You are not really changing your mind or repenting unless you are changing your habits and lifestyle.  Someone who has claimed to be saved and yet still lives a sinful life is only lying to themselves or they have deceived themselves into believing that they’re saved.  Jesus tells us that there must be fruits that are associated with a changed mind or that mind has never really changed at all (John 15). They should be showing evidence of their being a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). Someday, many who believe that they are saved will hear the most horrific words that they will ever hear; “I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:23).  Many people claim to know Jesus but the most important thing is does Jesus know you!?  He will say to these “many” who will come to Him saying “Lord, Lord” (Matt 7:21) that He didn’t know them well, He didn’t know them well enough but that He never, ever knew them at all and to depart from Him and the presence of God forever.




 Fear … NOT

Fear doesn’t always look like fear. It can show up as anxiety or nervousness or worry or stress or dread or tension or stomach problems. It robs us of sleep and rest. Fear blinds us and steals our praise.

 

I’ve battled my share of fears; and still rebuke the devil about them (James 4:7 PTL!) Fear of falling, getting hurt physically; fear of lack of swallowing (spitting saliva); fear of being too slow (my mobility); fear of being a burden (not able to drive; generally needing periodic assistance with seemingly simple tasks) …

 

The Bible tells us over and over to: Fear not, do not be afraid, take heart, to name a few words of encouragement.

 

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 

2 Timothy 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

Good news, fear was conquered by Jesus on the cross. In the name of Jesus, the giant of fear must fall. Since fear is not from God it is a tool of the enemy.
We must keep the focus of our hearts on Jesus. That’s because hearing Jesus and seeing Jesus and focusing on Jesus builds up our faith, and faith is the antidote to fear.


Psalm 118:8
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

 

2 KINGS 6:15-17 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.  And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

 

When we look at the world situation, it is easy to cry out like the servant of Elisha. But when we are tempted to be afraid, it is only because we are not seeing the reality of the whole picture. God is for us, so no matter what comes against us, it can never prevail over us.

Phil 4:8-9
 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Psalms 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.




 HE NEVER SLUMBERS OR SLEEPS

Psalm 121:2-4 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

 

Isaiah 40:29-31 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

 

I wrestled with what to post this month; updates about myself???? etc… I felt encouraging words were the way to go for this post. Recovery is a process. A l-o-n-g process and don’t I know it. It’s okay to sigh and not wear a constant smile. We are human. Therapies (especially when you’ve been discharged from out-patient) seem overwhelming and consuming. I sometimes feel there’s not enough hours in the day. I need to do x and y to gain strength, oh, what about z to improve motor skills and coordination, then there’s a and b. If only… I could go on. Then when you omit some stuff to do “fun” things or visit you feel guilty. The devil will play on your mind in many ways. It’s easy to grow weary.

 

The Bible tells us even the youth will faint. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. God is NEVER tired, faint, slow, or sleeping.

 

God’s got this.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 




 What is your legacy?

What is your legacy? What will be said or remembered about you? Can someone recall a negative feature or moment when they encountered you?

 

We are human. Mistakes will be made.  Hindsight is 20/20. But … how you react is key. What did you do to right your wrong? I hope restitution was made. After that the ball’s out of your court.

 

I don’t want to fail God in any way. The devil uses discouragement and down-troddeness (is that even a word?) as tools; sadly, they are effective. He wants us, you, to feel like a failure.

 

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

 

It’s never too late to make things right.




 Reminder from God

 Tell Your Heart To Beat Again

 

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Chorus:

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven’s working
Everything for your good

(italics mine)

 

Physical, emotional, spiritual … much healing has taken place in me over the last 8+ years. Sometimes now I’m at a loss for what I can do to get stronger, move forward (mainly in a physical sense). I feel my future’s unsure. What do I do? When? How? The questions seem to pile up as I seek to realize God’s plan for me. Then I’m reminded (God reminds), sometimes through song lyrics like these, that He has a plan and there shouldn’t be worries.

 

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

Matthew 6:34  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

 

 Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

 

 




 Be the Light!

MATT 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Notice that he doesn’t say we should be the light of the world, he says we ARE the light of the world! If we don’t shine, we are not fulfilling our purpose! But what does it mean to shine our light?

Light has one primary purpose, to dispel darkness. Imagine sitting in a large auditorium with no lights on and no windows to let in natural light. We would be in pitch darkness, but if one person would light a match, everyone would see it.

The light of one small match can dispel the darkness of an entire room. It doesn’t take a huge spotlight to make a difference!

Shining our light means that we reflect the very nature of Jesus in everything we do.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We must not hide that light under a bushel or in a church building. We must let it shine. How will people see that light? Through our good works.

The German atheist philosopher Nietzsche once said that if he saw more redeemed people he might be more inclined to believe in their Redeemer. Christians who do not have changed lives have a credibility gap. If I am trying to tell you how great my doctor is, but I am dying under his care, you might question his skill. If I try to tell you how great my auto mechanic is, but my car is leaving black smoke out the exhaust, you will probably be reluctant to entrust your own vehicle to him. What good does it do to tell people how great our Savior is if they cannot see that we ourselves have been saved from sin? Let your light shine.

1 John 1:5-6 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

If no light shines from your life, you have no relationship with Christ and you are bringing dishonor to Him. It is a sad thing for someone to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and continue to live an openly sinful life. It brings disrepute to Christ and the gospel. It is a stumbling block for unbelievers. It is certainly not effective in convincing anyone that Christ has the power to transform lives. Our responsibility as disciples and evangelists is to have lives so transformed by the Word and the inward presence of Christ that everyone can see His light reflected in our acts of kindness. [various works compiled by Felicia]

Choose to see the good through the bad!




 Let us be Wise Men (& women)

2 Samuel 24:24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

 

You remember David once said, I will never offer to God that which costs me nothing. So they offered the most costly things they could. But the greatest gift they gave was not the gold, frankincense or myrrh. The greatest gift that they gave the Christ child was the gift of true worship. That’s the greatest gift anyone can give Him.

 

John 4:23-24  23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

 

It was there in that house that they yielded their lives to one who was greater than they were. They adored the child and gave the gifts that they had carried all the way from their homes in the east. When they returned home they were empty-handed but were full hearted because of the worship from the heart. The treasures they gave the child were worth little compared to the value and fulfillment they had in their hearts in worship.

They had worshipped the King of the Jews.

 

 

The heart that can worship the Lord gives our entire lives a sense of fulfillment and meaning. Worship makes us whole because it meets the need of our inner being, our soul, our very core. God is worshipped, adored, and given honor. He is the one who created us and to respond to God in love makes life large and whole. Without worship of God we put ourselves in the center of our lives and we end up giving greater emphasis to ourselves.

 

Worship is a way to maintain perspective in the midst of life’s pressing demands. Most of us live our lives according to the “priority of the urgent”. We run from urgent demand to urgent demand. The problem is that we neglect that which is important. When the magi came face to face with the Christ child, the only thing that became urgent was ‘to worship him.’ They did not look to themselves.

 

They did not lift themselves up, but lowered themselves, bowing down in worship. If we take time to see the baby at all this Christmas, worship will not only be appropriate, it will be a necessity. Worship is a natural and appropriate response to the goodness and greatness of God. To worship means to pay tribute to, to honor, to revere God. When one comprehends God, truly sees him, it is the only appropriate response. [borrowed & compiled thoughts of others]




 Blessed

Psalm 1 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

 

Blessed! That’s the key word. It’s not that I did something so great, but God did great things for me and will do great things through me. God chose me for His team, and I am confident He’s going to make a beautiful player out of me. The training will be rigorous, but my coach is my God. And I trust Him. He’s great! I am blessed! [Nelle A. Vander Ark]




 Do Good

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

 

According to Psalms 37:3, the 1st step is: “Trust in the Lord.” I don’t admit to know all that that means. Certainly it means, in part, that I must recognize that God gave me a work to do and a place to do it.

 

And, believing that my work is God-given, I can go ahead with Him confidently, happily, and take the next step: “do good.” Say those 2 words to yourself 3 or 4 times, changing the pace and the tone/accent each time, and you will begin to see how, in two words, the Lord gave us a lifetime of work – of purposeful, godly living. “DO GOOD!” [Nelle A. Vander Ark]

 

We have that choice EACH morning. What are you doing? How are you doing it? What attitude do you display?