Friend or Acquaintance ?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Friendship!  This is a word so misused and so misunderstood.  Many years ago I heard a teaching on this topic, it stuck and to this day I think about it.  It went something like this...too many times we call people friends who do not qualify as a friend.  This teaching went on to say we should consider only one to two people as true friends.  It takes a lot of time to nurture a friendship, so to have more than that its probably not a friendship but an acquaintance, because you don't have the time for more than that.  In today's world of social media we try to see how many (friends) we can get, it actually makes us feel good about ourselves.  Maybe the problem starts where we don't understand what the definition of a friend truly is.

Friendship should be taken very seriously and we need to learn who is truly a friend.  Just because we may meet someone, like them instantly, enjoy talking to does not make them a friend.  It may not even make them an acquaintance.  There are different levels to the title of friend.

What makes a friend?  A solid foundation must be laid in order to make a building stand strong.  What characteristic should we look for according to scripture.

Proverbs 17:17  A friend loves at all times.

Proverbs 27:10  Do not forsake your friend.

Amos 3:3  Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so.

So friendship takes time, it takes two people who are committed to each other, any less than that is not a friend.  That's O.K.  Not everyone is meant to be our friend.  Friendship doesn't just happen, it is purposed.

Lets see what scripture says about what we should avoid in friendships.

Proverbs 4:14-15  Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.

Proverbs 16:17  The highway of the upright avoids evil, he who guards his way guards his life.

Proverbs 20:19  A gossip betrays a confidence so avoid a man who talks too much.

1Thessalonians 5:22  Avoid every kind of evil

2Timothy 2:16  Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

God takes our friendships very seriously and so should we.  Now that we know what the Bible says about friendship, how would you change (if at all) your definition of a friend ?

Once we learn what a true friend is, maybe the betrayal of an acquaintance will not be so hurtful for we will recognize they weren't really a friend in the first place.

Proverbs 27:6  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.


Is Your Grass Green?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ahhh!!! the smell of flowers in bloom, sounds of birds singing, the warmth of the sun, sitting in the swing reading a good book, with a glass of iced tea, what could be.......WAIT!!! whats that sound?  Oh!!! where is that (ACHOOOO!!!!) dust coming from?  Its the neighbors mowing their dirt again, can't they see there is very little grass???

Our hearts can be just like a lawn, either lush and green or spotty with dirt.  The effect on others can be the same too.  Peaceful and relaxing or always irritating.

Have you ever been around someone who the minute they walk into a room peace and joy fill their space.  They have  what I call a "safe" feeling, you sense their sincerity and their kindness, you know they truly care about others.  After spending time with them you are filled up, your encouraged, you can't wait to see them again.  Like the grass they are continually growing with the love and knowledge of the Lord, their like a luscious green lawn....they feel good!

On the other hand, if you have ever been around the spotty lawn heart, you know that you never know how they are feeling or what mood they might be in.  They are always looking for something or someone to make them happy.  They are malnourished because of their lack of spending time with God and His word.  They expect others to do what needs to be done while they sit and complain.  They are always draining others to try to feel better about themselves.  They are not easy to be around and according to them no matter how good their life is....the grass is always greener on the other side.

How does one become the green rich lawn you ask?  Its all about what you put into it.  Nutrients, water, rich dirt and someone to nurture it.

The only way to have a lush green heart is to fill it with the rich nutrients of the word of God, water it by spending time with the Lord and as we seek Him our own lives become rich and lush with His love for others.  Which lawn is the example of your heart?

Luke 8:11-15  The seed is the word of God.  Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.  They believe for awhile, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. 


Where Do I Go?

Monday, April 16, 2012

This last Saturday, April 14th is a Saturday that many will not forget.  The whole week before there was a build up of the possibility that Saturday could bring dreadful storms with a chance for deadly tornadoes.  Saturday turned some peoples lives upside a matter of minutes.

Watching the devastation on the news Sunday, I could not help but be grateful that I was not in their situation.  I saw people digging through piles of debris to get one item that would help them bring back a little resemblance of the life they were living a short day before.

I began to cry as I watched a man in his 70's making a small pile of anything that could help reassure him.  The camera stayed on him long enough to see him pick up a hand mixer and set it on the pile...the look on his face has stuck in my mind.  Maybe ten items in the pile with a massive pile of wood behind him that once was his home.  Please tell me how one wraps their mind around all of that.

Its surprising that more lives were not lost, but today six families who last week were maybe making plans for their vacations or next weekend are now grieving the loss of someone they love.

Today I write this blog hoping to get a couple of points across.  The first is to "BE PREPARED"  Don't wait till there is a crisis before you decide what to do.  I called the local Red Cross and asked which one of  the two places I had picked out were the safest.  I asked for a list of what I should have in that safe place.  They will be glad to hear from you.  The lady I talked with thanked me for getting prepared.  She said they are usually helping those who weren't.  Don't put this off, it could save you and your families lives.

Now today be "GRATEFUL"  You got up this morning from your warm bed, showered, walked to your kitchen, hugged your family as everyone went out the door, drove your car to the building where you work.

To you its an average day, to those who lost everything this weekend, its something they will never take for granted again.

Psalm 95:2  Let us come before Him with thanksgiving


Sometimes We Just Don't Realize!

Monday, April 9, 2012

This morning in my Bible study time, the topic was "Holiness Means Purity."  Now if your like me I really didn't think that I had a problem in this area.  Don't get me wrong there are other places in my life I really need to work on, but this did not feel like one of those areas.

The verses this morning were from Ephesians 5:1-5.  By the way if you have never listened to James McDonald, go to his website: James McDonald Ministries, to his daily radio broadcast and study along with him.  He does a verse by verse study, a dynamic teacher.  Great way to start the day!

As the study moved through the verses it was becoming a little clearer that I too had some repenting to do.  In verse 4 it says that all our talk should be about thanksgiving.  There is nothing else worth while coming from our lips if its not thanksgiving.  Now that does not mean we don't have other stuff to say, but is our heart one of thanksgiving?  How often do we thank our God for the sun, the day, the flowers, the opportunities, our job (even if we don't like it.)

I can be so quick to speak those things that are irritating me, not to say that I don't thank the Lord several times a day, but where is my heart?

Verse 4 says there is to be no foolish talk, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.  For me I need to become more aware of what words are coming out of my mouth, are they with a pure heart, or are they said with a casual heart ? One that is not bad, but really not pleasing to God.

Ephesians 5: 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.     


Why The Donkey?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Matthew 21:1  As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.  Untie them and bring them to me,  If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away."

Jesus specifically said you will find a donkey tied there with her colt by her.  Untie them and bring them to me.  One of the key sentences in all of this is...go to the village ahead of you.  Think about this,  even though Jesus and the disciples had not even entered the village, Jesus knew right where the donkey and her colt would be.  He even knew they would be tied up at the very entrance of the village.
"and at once you will find a donkey with her colt."

Jesus didn't say somewhere in the village or ask someone where to find a donkey, He already knew where they would be.  How amazing!!!  In our everyday world we need to remember that Jesus knows every little detail about our lives, that nothing is left to happenstance.

The story goes on to say in Verse 4.......This took  place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:"Say to the Daughter of Zion, See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

I would like to stop here for a moment and talk a little about donkeys.  Even though donkeys are noted for their "stubbornness, if you talk to owners of donkeys they will tell you that a donkey is more gentle than a horse, some call them "biggest sweethearts"

Donkeys bond hard with their owners and very common are one person animals.  They may "tolerate" those that aren't their owners, but usually will just work for that one person.

They have to "trust" you to do what you are asking, that's where the stubbornness" comes in. 

They are highly intelligent animals and unless they can mentally understand why you are asking what you want, and if its safely in their best better be a good negotiator.

They will never do anything to harm themselves, they have to think things through, which is why for every one hour of horse training, about three more go into donkey training.

Horses you can force into submission, donkeys you can't.

From these facts, it seems to me that the donkey and her colt understood what Jesus was asking them to do, otherwise they wouldn't have done it.  They knew who He was.

Verse 7...The disciples brought the donkey and her colt, placed their cloaks on them and Jesus sat on them.

Not only did these animals know what they were asked to do, but they trusted Jesus so much they were willing to let Him ride them through very large shouting crowds.  This donkey and her colt were in total "submission" to be used however Jesus needed.

I think that sometimes we get so caught up in the story of the Crucifixion , we miss all the miracles surrounding it.  This week  take time to look into all those things that took place before the resurrection and see that truly He is amazing !!!!!

Matthew 28:5-6  The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was  crucified.  He is not here; He has risen, just as He said."



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Women Encouraged founder and director, Linda Huffman believes in doing all she can to help women be all they can be - physically, emotionally and spiritually. WE strives to do that by helping women recognize their strengths, conquer their weaknesses, bring balance in all areas of their lives and promote confidence in who they are, which gives them the courage to reach for those desires in their hearts that seem impossible.

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