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 Power of Prayer by Trish

Just recently I was watching the news and heard the tragic story of a little boy who went missing while playing with his cousins outdoors. The family lived near a wooded area but it was unknown if he had wandered off, or if he was kidnapped. It was a tragedy and I cannot imagine the horror this family went through. Instantly I said a prayer for his safe return. As of a couple of days ago the news broke that the little boy was found, unharmed, with only scratches from his two days in the woods where he had wandered into. 

I know there were countless prayers across the country for his safe return and it was nothing short of a miracle that this young boy survived the weather conditions, and was safely returned to his family. What if there was no one praying? God longs to hear and answer the cries of His children. He delights in the faith we place in Him. In fact, without it, it’s impossible to please Him. (Hebrews 11:6) 

I was speaking to my best friend the other day who happens to be “Supermom,” she’s amazing! She was sharing how one night she encouraged her two young children to pray with her. As they sat down, she said, “Let’s just pray in the Spirit and if God reveals something to your heart, pray it out.” Her young son tapped her leg and said he felt like God was showing him a little boy in Africa and called him by name, saying he no longer wanted to go to church. My friend said, “Well, keep praying to see if God shows you anything else and we will believe that God will turn this young boy’s heart back to church.” We will never know the outcome of this story on this side of heaven, but I believe in my heart that a little boy in Africa is turning his affections back to God and to church and the prayer of little boy here in the U.S. was used by God for this to happen! 

Now, I know many of you reading this would say, “That is too far-fetched.” But as you nurture your relationship with God and spend time in prayer, the Holy Spirit will reveal things to you and teach you how to pray specific prayers in faith.  

I remember when I moved to Phoenix years ago. I was 18 years old and I move there with nothing but $500 in the bank, and a whole lot of faith. I was trusting God for a car, and I knew what I had to work with wasn’t much, but I trusted the Lord. Each morning my precious mentor would require me to meet at 5:00 am for prayer. I hated it at first because I wanted to sleep, but it instilled a lifestyle of prayer in me.  One morning, I felt God lay on my heart to spend 3 days praying in the Holy Spirit during my lunch break about a car. This was on a Monday and for 3 days I obeyed and prayed. In my mind I thought I was praying about a car I was going to get. 

The final day of my 3-day assignment was on a Wednesday and that night, coming home from church, I was in horrible car accident at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Phoenix. Someone running a red light struck us on my side of the vehicle.  That pushed our car over to the curb, beyond the lanes of where oncoming traffic would be. Thankfully, there wasn’t any oncoming traffic at that specific time. My side of the car was so damaged I couldn’t open my door.  I remember searching my body to see if anything was broken or cut and nothing.  I climbed out of the driver’s side and was completely fine.  My mentor was also coming home from church and saw the scene of a bad accident. I saw her car pass by and screamed her name. She turned around and drove me home that night. I walked away with only a bruise on my chest from the seatbelt, and a back that just needed a good adjustment. All parties involved were fine! As we drove home I was quiet and just thanking God for His protection when I heard God speak to my heart, “This is the car you’ve been praying over for 3 days.” I still get emotional when I think of this story.  

Sometimes we think of prayer as a checklist or something we do to “clock in” our time with God when actually prayer is for our benefit.  The Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us things to come. The Bible says that even now Jesus is at the right hand of the Father praying for us. If Jesus Himself has a prayer life, how much more do we need one? 

Prayer with the Father is so much more than making our requests known although that is part of it. It is communion and sweet fellowship with the Lover our souls. The One, who created us, knows us by name and even knows the number of hairs on our heads. He knows you, He loves you and He longs to hear your voice in prayer! 

By the way, the end of my story is sweeter still.  By Friday of that same week, God laid it on the hearts of a beautiful couple to give me my first car. God is good and His mercy endures forever!

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.”