Tag Archive | friends

Friends

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

Yesterday, our youth group completed our annual pizza date and collection of items for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. We had several teenagers join us on this excursion. And man, did they ever have fun!

I loved looking down the table at lunch and seeing all those glasses of soda hovering around plates of pizza. I enjoyed listening to them laugh and poke each other. I was grateful for their kindness and respect to those around them.

And then when we got to the store to collect our items, I was touched by their heart in gathering so many different items for their individual shoebox. They were concerned about this child’s hygiene, eating utensils, toys/entertainment items and other things that they could use around their home. 

And after the needs of the shoebox were met, that is when the laughing started. I could hear my son and several other boys just giggling and having a grand ole time. I went to search them out and what did I find? They had found the masks and was trying several on. It didn’t matter that the masks were too small. It didn’t matter that they were being stared at. All that mattered is that they were having a great time.

Then they went to the church house. After practicing for a puppet show and working on some music, they began playing spoons. It’s a card game that can get very intense, but they love it. It is a tradition for them. They laughed. They yelled. They were reaching over one another and knocking down chairs. They were having a great time. It was spectacular!

I tell you all of this to remind you of this – friends are important. Godly friends are even more important. It is needful for you to have fun with your friends. It is needful for you to serve with your friends. God has given us the opportunity for friendship and He wants us to enjoy it. Schedules are busy and life gets hectic, I know. I am right there with you. I wish I had more time for friends. I miss girls night out. It seems like I am so caught up with all the activities my kids are involved in that I forget to make time for my friends. 

So this week, let’s do something about it. Even if it is just sending a text or an email, reach out to a friend. Let them know that you are thinking of them. Let them know you are praying for them. 

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FingerprintsĀ 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

It’s a season of change at my house. Summer vacation has started. That means the grade transition has taken place. I now have two high school students. Friends have transitioned to non-high school life. People are moving from our everyday life to our text occasionally life. It is hard. It is sad. It is exciting. 

And as we look back over the last year, I see some heartache. I see laughter. I see adventure. I see success and I see failure. It’s the way of life. The ebb and flow of all things created. 

Yet as I see the page of a chapter in our life turning, I try to see God’s fingerprint. I see it in our continued love for one another. I see it in our attitudes. I see it in our tears for the change because we care so much. But I also see hope. I see the hope He gives in the promise that He will always be there. I see hope in the opportunity for new friends with new ideas and new dreams and new stories. 

Change happens in life just as surely as we know that the sun will come up tomorrow. Change can be scary. Change can be exciting. Change can be difficult. But in the midst of change, I encourage you to find hope. Solomon understood that “To everything there is a season”. We need to remember that as well. We need to accept that things don’t always keep us in our comfort zone. Growing doesn’t happen in that place. Growing happens when things are stressed and bothered. And that is exactly what God is doing in my house right now. Changing and growing with hope while reminding me of His fingerprints all over my life. 

Rotten bananasĀ 

1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

Sometimes in life, we have to stop and evaluate the people with whom we spend our time. 

Especially as adults, we don’t want to think or consider that our “friends” are really not a positive influence in our life. It’s a lot easier to hand out a bucket of excuses than to say “Yep, these people are the rotten bananas in my fruit salad!”  Admitting that people in your life are a problem is tough because we care about them. We see that we are a positive influence in their life. We know that without us, who knows where they would be. 

But what we fail to realize is the yuck they are bringing into our life each and every day. They bring problems. They bring speech patterns that fail to glorify God. They bring hate and discord. And as much as we think that we can resist these negative influences, eventually they will have an effect on us. If you are around a negative person all the time, there’s a good chance that you too will start to see things negatively. 

Children are especially vulnerable. They just want people to like them. They want to be popular. They want to be accepted by the “cool kids”. But as a parent, it is my responsibility to guard them from times like these. And just like I have to monitor my own relationships, I have to monitor theirs as well. When I see that it may be time to walk away, I need to be there to provide whatever they need to make that tough decision. 

The One thing that we as followers of Christ can give ourself and our children is the gift of having Jesus with us every step of the way. We don’t have to make those determinations ourself. We can let Jesus show is the rotten bananas. We don’t have to have the words to explain our decision. We can allow Jesus to give us what to say in those situations. We don’t have to feel alone when we do walk away. Jesus promised to never leave us or forsake us no matter the age, no matter the situation, no matter the level of hurt. 

So let me encourage you to evaluate your circle and the circle of people surrounding your children. Make sure that the influences in your life are wholesome and bring honor and glory to God. 

Oh, middle school…

Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

Middle school girls. Know any? With all the hormones and sudden interest in boys, it can be a terrifying and heart wrenching and just plain stupid experience. It is all drama, drama, drama. 

Right now, my thirteen year old daughter is experiencing friend troubles over a boy – an eighth grade boy. Now, I have had an eighth grade boy, so I can say this – rarely is a female friendship is worth destroying over an eighth grade boy. But this is something these girls are going to have to figure out. My advice seems futile and until someone gives, they are all at a stalemate. It is sad. 

But one thing this whole bit of drama is doing for our precious girls is teaching them valuable life lessons. They probably don’t understand, but they are sharpening one another. They are teaching one another. They are learning how to live in a world where things don’t always go your way and people don’t always behave like you think they should. They are learning that they are going to have to put on their big girl panties and deal with things instead of turning away from the situation. 

Friends are beautiful treasures that can decorate your life like nothing else but can also weigh heavy on your heart at times. But a true friend is one that walks with you through all the heartaches you face – even when that heartache is from another friend. 

Friends sharpen one another. 

So, let me encourage you to be a friend. Be a friend that walks the walk and talks the talk. Be a friend that is life long and precious no matter the situation. 

Jesus, my friend

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

We had a really great lesson in Sunday school yesterday. It was about friendship. We talked about the importance of friends and how much time we spend developing those relationships. 

During the lesson, I felt the need to examine a typical young teen day. We determined how many hours they were awake, how many hours they were in school and so on and so on until all the waking hours were filled up. We focused, primarily, on how many hours they spent developing their friendships with their peers. When the hours were all used up, I asked, “Okay, so when do you develop your friendship with Jesus?”

We then began a discussion into the fact that we all know someone famous, like Justin Beber. Now, we know what he looks like, what he likes and so on and so on. So I asked, “Does knowing everything about him mean that he is your friend?” Of course, they all said “no”. So then I asked, “You know who Jesus is. You know a lot about Him. You even believe He is who He says He is. Does that make Him your friend?” They all just sat there. I just sat there. It stunned us all. 

What I’m trying to get at here is this – you can know all about Jesus. You can believe Him with all your heart. And that is exactly what you should do – it’s what is needed as the FIRST step. But what about after that? Are you going to let Him be just your Savior? If so, that’s all well and good but you will be missing out on something amazing. 

Jesus wants to be that One who “sticketh closer than a brother.” But just like when you are developing a new relationship you have to take time and effort into making it work, you have to take time and put forth some effort into making Jesus your friend. You have to be willing to let Him talk sometimes. You have to be willing to listen when He speaks. You have to learn to really trust Him. You have to allow Him to be IN your day. He’s always with you, but you must invite Him to participate. 

I want Jesus to be my friend. It is a relationship that I believe you work on your entire life once you get going. It is a beautiful relationship that has its ups and downs. But one thing I know for sure, I can trust Him implicitly. I trust Him to be with me always. I trust Him to always guide me in truth. I trust that His leadership will never harm me. I trust that no matter how bad I hurt Him, He will never leave me nor forsake me. 

Friends are very important in our life. Don’t neglect the friends you have here on this earth. But more importantly, don’t neglect the Friend that you have in Jesus Christ. 

That one beautiful day…

  
1 Peter 3:8 – “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous”

As you can see, it was a beautiful day at the soccer field yesterday. As my son was working on his skills, I watched and listened to another team practicing. 

The girls were running around the fields as a team. They all started out together, but as the yards wore on, they began to spread out. One girl kept getting farther and farther behind. 

As the girls began crossing the finish line, they began to line up and cheer one another across the line. The last girl was really far behind. I mean, like 2 minutes behind her teammate. Instead of laughing or complaining, they began chanting her name – “Let’s go Charlotte, let’s go!” (Go ahead and clap/clap, you know you want to!)

It was beautiful! Actually, if you know me, it brought tears to my eyes! Girls can be especially harsh sometimes. So to hear these girls genuinely cheering for her…well, it warmed my heart. 

Sometimes we need someone cheering us on. Sometimes we are the last one to come across the line. Sometimes we are hard pressed to make it over the line. But when we hear someone cheering out our name, clapping their hands for us, we get that last little bit of encouragement that we need to push through. 

So be an encourager to someone today. You never know, they might feel like they are at the end of the line and need someone to cheer them on. Go ahead, be their encouragement, be their cheerleader!

Life more abundant

John 10:10b – “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Last night, we had a fellowship with our “in-betweeners” from church. You see, this group is special – we aren’t in the youth group and we aren’t in the “Golden Ager” group – so, we are in-between. 

It was fun. We went to a hibachi grill, which our meat and potato boys (and girls) had a bit of a struggle with, but they made it. They didn’t starve. 

Which brings me to my first thought – live life more abundantly by getting out of your box, you comforting food box, that is. We all need to broaden our culinary palate from time to time. God has given us so many wonderful things to eat but we shamefully contain ourself to the familiar. Let me encourage you to try new things. You never know if you like them until you try them. Here is my most recent example – boiled peanuts. My husband likes to eat them. Typically, he eats the ones in the can. I can not handle those things! The smell…..not good. However, he had some fresh the other night and I tried one. They were really good. I was shocked! Of course, then I wanted to eat the whole cup but I refrained. My point is this, your palate changes every seven years (true info, look it up). You need to be willing to step out into the gray area of your taste buds and give new things a shot. If you don’t like it, you can always spit it out!šŸ˜‰

And then there was this thought – live life more abundantly by getting out of your comfort circle of friends. There is a whole world of people out there waiting to be your friend, well maybe just an aquantaince, but still. They want to get to know you. They just don’t know where to start. I know exactly how they feel. Sometimes it is hard for me to find common ground with people. But until I get out there and start trying, I will never know and understand all the blessings God has in store for me through these people. 

And one more – live life more abundantly through fellowship with His people. The writer of Hebrews encouraged us in Hebrews 10:25 to “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is ; but exhorting one another : and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Time’s a wastin’ people! Don’t neglect the ones you love! When we assemble in a church building to worship, it is a beautiful thing. But it is also a beautiful thing when we get together at a hibachi grill to hang out together and show others that you can have a great time with fellow followers of Christ. I believe Christ was smiling down on us last night. He had to have enjoyed seeing us laugh with one another and share our lives with one another. Jesus set each and every person that was at that restaurant for fellowship in my life for a reason. It is my responsibility as their sister in Christ to identify and fulfill that reason. And most of the time, the main reason we are put in others lives is for encouragement. And that is what last night was all about. It was to remind each and every one of us that even though our life is crazy and hectic and sometimes uncertain that we are not alone in our journey. We not only have Christ alongside of us, but we also have our brothers and sisters at church to lift us up. 

I want to encourage you to live life more abundantly today and do it through Christ. He gave you this great big world to taste and experience and find joy in. Don’t let it pass you by just because you refuse to get out of your comfort zone. Remember that sometimes the food and the fun are outside the box. Christ has given us an amazing, abundant and blessed life to live. Get out there and live it!