Friendships That Last by Sonya

Friendships are key and a lot of times they are a reflection of who you are. I am finding as I get older that true friendships, which are solid, are a treasure. I truly treasure my friendships as they are the people that carry me through the hard times and celebrate the good times. We are not meant to go through life alone and Jesus always surrounded himself with close friends. His disciples were is backbone to help him in everyday life. Friendships build that community for you and they shape the person you are.​

Since friendships do have such an impact and influence in our lives and that is why it is wise to choose friends that will build you up and guide you to God’s truth and love. Proverbs speaks a lot about friendships and what type of friendships to have.  Proverbs 27: 6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Just think, your true friends that stick with you are the ones you can trust to be honest with you about areas you need to maybe grow in as a person. Those friends may share things that you need to work on and hold you accountable, and it can be hard to hear like a wound you’ve gotten when you fall, but it is worth the pain to refine you into the person God desires. Now opposite are those friends that can be deceitful and only looking out for themselves trying to tear you down.  These friends may seem they have your best interest at heart, like kisses you feel love from, but in the end they just want to take advantage of you. The enemy wants nothing more than to see you fail and that love is meaningless. Unlike a sincere friend who is always wanting the best from you and sees “you” for “you.”​

Therefore, pray and ask God to give you wisdom on your friendships.   It is so important because the type of friends you are invested in does speak volumes of your life. Proverbs 27:9 and 17, “the heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Having that wise friend that brings out the best in you is key and gives you strength! Don’t settle for anything less when you look for friendships because these genuine friends are built to last.  Look to those biblical friendships as they are a reflection of who you are and what you value. It takes time to find and invest in those lasting friendships but it is worth it to know you have friends that have your back! ​

Taking Care of Business by Bombi

Putting the needs of others before your own can be an honorable thing.  Sometimes though, the lines can get blurred. Like when you’re a parent, or in ministry, or you are in a place or position where you are constantly meeting needs, you might find you’ve forgotten your own needs. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep, or ate a proper meal, or even had a full glass of water.

“But I want to be more like Jesus!” I feel you, I do too. But if we are giving for a living, we need to remember to fill up. What I mean by fill up is to take care of ourselves in the natural and in the spiritual. Even God rested on the 7th day of His work. If rest was necessary to God it’s necessary to you. 

Many times we find ourselves giving out of our own need. I know there have been seasons when I needed something, but I had to give it first, I needed a friend, but I had to be one first. But when all we are doing is giving and not stopping even once to fill our own cup, eventually we run empty and find ourselves stranded, and in some cases we cease to really live.

Recently my husband has turned a new leaf. He pulled out his old running shoes, put them on, and just ran. He started changing his diet and drinking more water. The result is he’s sleeping better, he’s more energized and alert. He’ smiling and laughing more. He’s happier. Even his skin is glowing! He’s filling his cup back up.  He’s taking better care of himself and I love it, because I love him. I want him to be around for as long as possible and when he takes care of himself, he’s taking care of us. He’s taking care of business.

Taking care of business shouldn’t be a thought for just your boss, or your family, kids, spouse, etc. It includes you. You are a human being with the same needs you are helping to meet in others. In the midst of your daily hard work, don’t forget to help yourself. Treat yourself. Pray for yourself. Do for yourself what you would do for your loved ones. Okay, you read this whole thing, now go take a nap J

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Genesis 2:2 (NIV)

The Full Extent of Love by Kenika

February is pretty epic because it’s the month of my birth, but apparently there is another holiday as well called Valentine’s Day.  This year is special because it will be my and my husband’s first Valentine’s Day as a married couple.  After almost 9 months of marriage, I’ve had a good amount of time, plenty more to go of course, to understand some of the peaks and valleys of love.  I’m pretty sure I thought I knew enough about what it would take in order to make the plunge into marriage, and I am now fully confident I didn’t know the first thing about real love.  Okay maybe I knew the first thing, but not the hundreds of others!  

When I think about what my truest understanding of love is, my mind immediately goes to John 3:16, one of the most popular, familiar, and commonly quoted verses of scripture.  It makes perfect sense that it would be, because it is a description of the Gospel in a very simple form.  You could poll one hundred women about what love is, or one hundred men on what love looks like, and I am positive that the responses would run the gamut.  But when I look at John 3:16 I see the full extent of love in the sacrifice that God made for the world.  This is our model of true love and we can learn a lot from this level of self-denial.  I could try to break it down but I really like the way William MacDonald dissects this verse in the “Believer’s Bible Commentary” so I’m going to let him take it from here: 

3:16 God, we read, so loved the world.  The world here includes all mankind.  God does not love men’s sins or the wicked world system, but He loves people and is not willing that any should perish.  The extent of His love is show by the fact that He gave His only begotten Son.  God has no other Son like the Lord Jesus. It was an expression of His infinite love that He would be willing to give His unique Son for a race of rebel sinners.  This does not mean that everyone is saved.  A person must receive what Christ has done for him before God will give him eternal life.  Therefore, the words were added, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish.” Boreham says: “When the church comes to understand the love with which God loved the world, she will be restless and ill at ease, until all the great empires have been captured, until every coral island has been won.” 

3:17 God is not a harsh, cruel ruler anxious to pour out His anger on mankind.  His heart is filled with tenderness toward man and He has gone to the utmost cost in order to save men.”

Out of the Box by Bombi

So, it’s me again with another 40-something life review. Seems like there are many my age that have their 2nd degree by now, or are grandparents. Some have even started early retirement. Some have taken on a new hobby, tried their hand at publishing their writings, or finally went skydiving.  And then there’s me. 

I think for a long while I would feel bits of intimidation around other people my age. I didn’t check off the boxes in life like they did, I always seemed to do my own thing. Sometimes I would feel like conversations with my peers were kind of lopsided. This feeling wasn’t too overwhelming, but it was enough to still feel a way. Sometimes polarizing, other times it really wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was big enough for me to take notice. 

There is a song that says, “Time makes you bolder,” and I agree. In my middle age I’ve come to a place that I’m more than okay with me. It’s freeing to know I don’t have to be anyone but me. While perhaps many words could be used to describe me, one word I hope that comes to mind is “friend.”  Anyone can be a friend, right? For me being a friend is more than a thing, it’s an honorable calling. The power of friendship is so strong, one might even feel its bonds closer than family.  

Now that I’ve lived a little bit, I feel it’s safe to say that this isn’t something that comes from a seeking, needy, or even a broken place. It’s not that at all. I believe it’s God-given. Safe to say, if I were asked to choose between singing a song or being a friend, I’d say “FRIEND” every time. I truly believe that’s something God put on the inside of me.  

Maybe that doesn’t sound too spiritual or very ambitious to you. Before you brush it off I’ll remind you of something that you may forget from time to time and that is this, Jesus is a friend. Yes, the One you call your Savior and Lord is the ultimate friend. I believe that if friendship weren’t important, He wouldn’t have been one, or even mentioned friendship at all in His word.  

I want to encourage you, if you feel like you don’t check off many or really any of the so-called boxes of where you could or should be in life, just know you don’t belong in that box. You probably belong outside of it. There are passions that God has place inside of your heart that might not be like anyone you know, or even anything you’ve really seen, but they are just as important as anyone else’s. Before you brush off, ignore, judge, or even dislike the things that gnaw at your heart, take a moment and ask God to shine His light on it and show you what to do with the stuff He placed in your heart. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised and maybe even utterly fulfilled.  

“But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” 

Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)