Archive for the ‘friendship’ Category

If you see somebody today who really needs a friend — even if just for a moment — please be to him or her what Solomon wrote everybody needs.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

It stinks to be doing the work of two when you’re by yourself.

It’s even worse when you face the attacks or hassles of a group and you have nobody to stand with you.

We’ve all been in these situations and we know our challenge would have been easier met if someone had helped us.

Please look today for somebody who needs a helping hand or even a defending commitment to help them against mistreatment.

This is so much better than being guilty of a sin of omission because we saw a need for help and chose to ignore it.

And make sure to pray for wisdom and strength in your efforts so that that all-powerful third cord of God’s intercession can make the difference Solomon promises.

As always, I love you

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We all need more real friends.

And more people need us to act as real friends.

We can have plenty of acquaintances we label as friends.

But unless those people are actually willing to intercede to help us when needed, are they really friends?

If we’re not willing to help somebody that we’ve described as our friend, are we really their friend?

God knows that we want and need real friends, loyal friends, interceding friends.

People we can trust to help us, not harm us.

If someone gossips about us, are they our friend?

If someone insults us, are they our friend?

If someone sees us in need and chooses not to help in any way, are they our friend?

Friends love. And that means, according to I Cor. 13:4, they always protect.

I want to be a real friend to more people.

And that means I need to be more diligent in seeking ways to help others, encourage others, defend others, pray for/with others.

Solomon described our vision for friendship in Proverbs 18:24 —

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

Let’s strive to build friendships that are not contingent upon circumstances but instead upon the leading of God to love in an enduring, interceding, encouraging, sacrificing way.

After all, there’s nothing better than experiencing a loyal love.

As always, I love you

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It would be good if the Lord used you today to sweeten the air around a friend.

For you see, your Spirit-led words can be as perfume to the heart and soul of that friend.

The Bible says so:

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” (Proverbs 27:9)

Have a friend who is struggling with a decision regarding employment or a family need or a medical procedure?

Pray for wisdom from God and for compassion to intercede with thoughts and actions that have been filtered through the words of scripture.

Consider carefully how your words might be best received in the way intended.

Display a deep understanding of how the friend is feeling… the fears and the hopes.

When the friend believes that you are sincerely trying to help because of your love for him or her, the receptivity of the words will be better.

Just the fact that you genuinely care about him or her will speak volumes and provide a refreshing, sweet aroma to a heart burdened with sometimes-stinky concerns.

Our friends need divine perfume.

Let’s pray for God to supply us what they need.

As always, I love you

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Everybody needs an Onesiphorus in his or her life.

Someone who is a friend through the toughest of times.

The Apostle Paul had a friend like this and it made a big difference in his life.

You know, of course, the very difficult times that Paul faced because of persecution against his faith.

Onesiphorus loved Paul, loved God and did all he could to serve both via an undying friendship.

This display of loyalty must have done wonders for Paul’s need of encouragement.

Here are Paul’s words to describe the value of the friendship with Onesiphorus:

May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.” (2 Timothy 1:16-18)

Pray that God send a friend like Onesiphorus into your life so that you’ll be more encouraged in your service to God.

More importantly, pray that God transform you into a friend like Onesiphorus so that you might provide the depth of devotion and love for someone who is pouring his or her life into serving the Lord in the midst of difficult obstacles.

Perhaps you’ll be an Onesiphorus for a missionary serving overseas, sending repeated letters and gifts of encouragement as you build an ever-strengthening friendship.

Perhaps you’ll be an Onesiphorus for a Christian co-worker who is catching all sorts of grief because he or she won’t compromise morally or ethically as are other employees of the company.

Perhaps you’ll be an Onesiphorus for your pastor who is facing hassles because of his leadership efforts to change the culture of apathy within your congregation.

Be the friend that others need. Be an Onesiphorus.

In doing so, you’ll be “God with skin on” for one serving the Lord.

As always, I love you

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We know of the wonderful teaching in Colossians 3:17 that all of our words and actions should honor and serve God, whether toward Him directly or toward the people He created and loves.

The same principle is also taught in a verse from today’s reading in the One-Year Bible:

“Everything we do, dear friends, is to strengthen you.” (2 Corinthians 12:19)

These words from the Apostle Paul display how much his heart was devoted to the Christians in the Corinthian church.

What makes them particularly special is that Paul’s heart was aching because of conflict within the congregation, from member to member, from members toward scriptures they were ignoring and from some members toward Paul via acceptance of false reports.

Even in the midst of that disappointment, Paul’s love remained.

His integrity was solid.

His devotion never wavered.

Though treated as an enemy by some, Paul responded with love for all of his “dear friends.”

I’m sure that many prayers preceded his intercessory actions on behalf of the Corinthian Christians.

He loved them and wanted divine guidance and empowerment in order to strengthen the believers.

This, of course, is a wonderful example for us.

Everything we do as Christians, particularly toward those in our congregations, should be for strengthening others.

Not one of our God-given breaths should be used to say anything that tears down, but instead to build up.

And every calorie burned should be fueling our deeds rooted in faith, not flesh.

When our head hits the pillow tonight, may it be true that everything we did served to strengthen our friends.

As always, I love you

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You know the phrase… “Birds of a feather flock together.

It is a phrase that is true to life not just for species associations in the wild, but also with character associations of people.

Crooks associate with crooks and “goody two shoes” people associate with other “goody two shoes” people.

Those who like to tell dirty jokes and engage in rampant gossip feel uncomfortable when trying to fit in with those disgusted by such behavior.

It’s just how we humans are.

We like our comfort zones, whether they’re wholesome or unholy.

Solomon called us to hang with the right crowd.

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” (Proverbs 13:20).

Each of us experienced both paths during our childhood years. And what Solomon said is exactly what happened.

We had good times with little stress because we associated with the good-behavior kids.

And we randomly had unhappy times with lots of stress because we associated with the bad-behavior kids.

At your job, among your neighbors, when making time for relatives or people from church, focus the bulk of your time on those who are wise, those who learn and apply the teachings of the Bible.

It’s so much better to become more like them and for you to impart the good things of God through your life into theirs.

After all, the alternative is will only lead to trouble.

And who wants to be in trouble?

As always, I love you

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It doesn’t take a genius mind in order to have good, godly relationships.

It does take a humble heart, however.

The biblical author James gives us a clear recipe for how we should treat our relatives, our friends, our co-workers, our church members and whoever else the Lord places in our lives. The more we practice this pattern, the more good relationships we’ll enjoy.

“…peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18)

We all need more people in our lives like the above.

And they need the same.

Let’s do our best to provide such to them.

Let’s do what James said.

There’s a harvest of righteousness waiting for them and us on the back side of our choice to plant seeds of peace rather than criticism and division.

As always, I love you

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