Friendship


19-1.jpgApart from God, “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9) A marriage-saving love is not within us. A friendship-preserving devotion cannot be found in our hearts. We need help from an outside source. A transfusion. Would we love as God loves? Then we start by receiving God’s love.

 We preachers have been guilty of skipping the first step. “Love each other!” we tell our churches. “Be patient, kind, forgiving,” we urge. But instructing people to love without telling them they are loved is like telling them to write a check without our making a deposit in their accounts. No wonder so many relationships are overdrawn. Hearts have insufficient love.

The secret to loving is living loved.

–Max Lucado

submitted by Rachel Marie

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“Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting… Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.”
–Mother Teresa

Psst! Isn’t the photo sweet??? 🙂 Brittney Leigh

Three simple syllables, yet three of the most precious words in the English language.

Those were the words my sister whispered in my ear moments before I went down the aisle to stand in her wedding. Those were the words I read in a letter from a friend when I was hurting. Those were the words my brother told me when he called me from hundreds of miles away in Ft. Benning, GA.. Those were the words scrawled on a note and left where I would find it. Those were the words my parents ended every telephone conversation with. Those were the last words my gramma ever told me.

“I love you.”

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by George Mueller
submitted by Rachel Marie 

7-8.JPGThe precious Lord Jesus Christ is our friend. Oh, let us seek to realize this! It is not merely a religious phrase or statement, but truly He is our friend. He is the Brother “born for adversity,” the one who “sticks closer than a brother.” Who will never leave and never forsake us.

How precious even on earth to have a heavenly friend, for this brings the joys of heaven in a little degree into our hearts now. This is just what our heavenly Father desires regarding His children, That they might be as happy as they are capable of being while here in the body. Have we entered into this, that the One who is “altogether lovely” is ready hour by hour, to be our Friend?

When we cannot sleep at night, say to Christ, “My precious heavenly Friend, wilt Thou give me a little sleep?”

When in pain, say, “My precious heavenly Friend, if it may please Thee, wilt Thou take away this pain? But if not, if Thou sees better that it should continue, sustain, help, and strengthen me, my precious heavenly Friend!”

When we feel lonely and tired, turn to the precious Lord Jesus; He is willing to be our friend in our loneliness.

For sixty-two years and five months I had a beloved wife, and now in my ninety-second year I am left alone. But I turn to my precious Lord Jesus as I walk up and down in my room, and say, “My precious Lord Jesus, I am alone, and yet not alone, Thou art with me; Thou art my Friend; now Lord, comfort me and strengthen me, give to Thy poor servant everything Thou sees he needs.”

Oh, this is a reality, not a fable, that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Friend. We should not be satisfied till we are brought to this, that we know the Lord Jesus Christ experientially to be our Friend and habitually to be our Friend. Just ponder this. Habitually, never leaving, never forsaking us, at all times and under all circumstances ready to prove Himself to be our Friend.

He is willing not merely to grant this for a few months, or a year or two, but to the very end of our earthly pilgrimage. David, in Psalm 23 says: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” Oh, how precious this is. For this “Lovely One” is coming again, and soon. Soon He will come again; and then He will take us home and there we shall be forever with Him. Oh, how precious is that bright and glorious prospect. Here again the practical point is to appropriate this to ourselves. “He is coming to take me-poor, guilty, worthless, hell-deserving me-He is coming to take me to Himself.” And to the degree in which we enter into these glorious things, the joys of heaven have already commenced!

Editor’s Note: I just wanted to add a hearty amen to the  conclusion of this series. I think that if we’re honest with ourselves we can all agree that these writings were excellent. I want to highly encourage you to read this in its entirety. It is a message that is very needful today in a world where relationships aren’t important. That is not how Jesus called us to live. Let me add that Rachel Marie lives every word that she “preaches”. Please read and be encouraged. Love everyone that comes into your life, and make peace with the ones who have hurt you. Life is short: Let love last long. 

♥ BrittneyLeigh

by Rachel Marie

“A true friend warms you by their presence,
trusts you with their secrets,
and remembers you in their prayers.”

In the first portion of this series (What is Friendship?–parts I, II, III, IV), we mainly focused on a Christ-like response to what I have described as “false-friends.” In this part, I think you’ll be able to relax quite a bit; for although many of the same key elements needed for you to be a true friend back to a false friend are the same as those needed for two true friends to maintain a sweet friendship, putting them into practice is much easier.

I began with the need for forgiveness and love toward our fellow human beings, even when they do not see their wrong, because it is only after that that we may continue first in sweet fellowship first with God, and next with the Body of Christ.

“For if ye forgive men their tresspasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their tresspasses, neither will your Father forgive your tresspasses.”
Matthew 6:14&15

“So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their tresspasses.”
Matthew 18:35

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your tresspasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your tresspasses.”
Mark 11:25&26

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”
Luke 6:26

After that peace has been made, fellowship with Christ, and finally, fellowship with those around you who truly love you and care about you can be the next thing to heavenly bliss. I cannot stress enough the vitality of making your peace with God first and foremost, and then with your fellowman. The apostle Paul tells us in 12:18,

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

We know from studying the life and words of our Lord Jesus that it is “possible.” Romans 12 is a beautiful chapter to look at in light of relationships. I encourage you to do your own study on the mind of Christ concerning relationships with those in the body of Christ, by reading that chapter. “Overcome evil with good.”

So what really makes up a true and Christ-centered friendship, anyhow?

Well, I believe that first of all, a friendship that will stand the test of time and of difficulty must be founded upon the love of Jesus.
Standing firmly on that Solid Rock you will still have to brave the storms, but you will not lose your footing.

This truth is the most important one of all, as it concerns all relationships: Family, Friends, Spouse, Neighbor, Co-worker, and even Enemy relations will be transformed, if we abide by the changeless truth that Christ is the Solid Rock, the Love upon which all other loves must be based, and the Hope of Eternity.

I believe that just as love is needed to develop, maintain, and strengthen a friendship, or any relationship for that matter, honesty is also very vital.

We must be willing to be open, to be sincere, and to be genuine. If you’re struggling, share your struggles. If you’re offended, tell the one who offended you so. If your conscience convicts of that you’ve wronged another person, go to that person and confess your wrong and ask for forgiveness. If the Lord is leading you to speak words of encouragement and insight to a struggling brother or sister, then by all means do so! Be who you are. Be yourself. Really, be honest.

I cannot begin to explain what great joy and comfort it has been to me when a dear friend in Christ cared enough about me to be very honest and frank, and share the truth with me when I needed to hear it! God knows that I may not be the same person today if it weren’t for those dear people out there who heard God’s voice say, “Share the truth with her,” and obeyed that voice. I thank God daily for the people who He’s brought into my life that I can not only be open and honest with myself, but can likewise be open and honest with me. If you’ve been blessed with friends as these, you understand what I’m talking about. This kind of friendship is a very beautiful, refreshing thing.

Truth. Honesty. Humility.

Three characteristics that cannot be apart from a genuine friendship/relationship. Without those character qualities, you can easily paint a fine picture of falsehood, and one completely void of the love of Jesus.

By cultivating a deep, vibrant relationship with Jesus, the Friend of friends, and soaking in His love, it will be impossible for you not to be a pure reflection of the perfect Friend Who demonstrates perfect Love.

Rachel Marie is a sweet young lady who loves the Lord with all her heart. She is keenly interested in the study of biblical womanhood and authored a well-noted article, Just a Girl Through & Through. Along with her gift of writing, her hobbies also include photography, flowers, sewing and a host of other avenues she uses to vent her creativity. Her heart beat is missions with a particular love for China.

Contact:
lajiemarie@gmail.com
www.lajiemarie.blogspot.com  

by Kaylene

The Lord has been teaching me that relationships are not complete and satisfying until my aim is off of my happiness and on the pleasure and glory of the Lord. I must ask myself, “Am I striving for personal pleasure-or God’s will?” My tendency though is to seek my own pleasures in the name of God’s will. I gauge God’s will by my happiness. I’ve heard the verse over and over lately, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give thee the desires of thine heart.” But I get it so backwards. I’ve had this underlying misconception that for a relationship to be successful it is because I and the other person involved is happy.

I’m not writing of sin that I know is sin. We don’t have to ask the Lord what His will is on many things. I know certain things are wrong. And if I delight myself in the Lord, He will not give me what is wrong for me to have. I struggle more when I’m trying to determine God’s BEST way that I seem to think that it revolves around me. And it does not. Yes, my decisions can revolve around me, and God will even cause those selfish ones to bring Him glory in some way. (He is so amazing!) but He always has a better plan. This may sound confusing, but even if we have the same plan—God and I—but I’m taking a course of action because I think it will be the best for my future, its still wrong. I haven’t chosen the right way. Same action—different perspective…coming from a changed heart.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.”

{Colossians 3:17}

“Love does not seek its own”
Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking about me. Sometimes I wonder if people’s opinions of me have changed since the last time I heard them say, “I love you” or “I’m so glad you’re my friend”. I WANT TO KNOW! If I don’t know, then how will I know the depth and reality of our friendship? Why can’t I trust? Why should they have to keep repeating themselves? Any insecurities in a relationship, like these ones, are because I’m seeking my own pleasure, instead of focusing on the Lord. If I first and foremost love the Lord, than I will be bent on serving those friends, not them “lip-serving” me. If my aim is the pleasure of the Lord, then my love can be pure and edifying to my friends. And then the friendship becomes real.

“And whatso ever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto
men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
{Colossians 3:23}

In trying to summarize these scattered thoughts…
I’m a scoundrel to take for myself what could be the Lord’s Who rightfully deserves it. When my relationships are for and based on the pleasure of the Lord, than they bring such contentment—peace—love—and joy overflowing. Even though I’m seeking the Lord’s pleasure and not those things, God delights in delighting us! Who else but my Jesus can I give my broken pieces to and have them fixed and shaped into a better vessel then I had before? The relationship in a Christian’s life ought to be with Jesus. Daily walking, not weekly visitation. Human relationships with people who fail (= everyone) become oh so sweet when built on and for the One who never fails.

“…Seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above not on things on the earth…” Col. 3:1-3

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

“…When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Col. 3:4

My PhotoKaylene’s general interests include studying God’s word, medical work, missions, children and babies, photography, family, traveling, reading, computers and blogging, running, and laughing. She is a nurses assistant and a senior home schooled highschooler. “I’m continually learning about my Savior, as long as I keep my eyes turned on His wonderful face.”

Blog:
www.every-thought-captive.blogspot.com

Photos:
www.bugshutter.blogspot.com

Forgiveness: the Ultimate Example

by Rachel Marie

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I don’t think we have any idea at all the incredible power and weight in Jesus’ famous words while hanging on a cruel Roman cross:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
(Luke 23:34)

He’s hanging there, bleeding for you and I, suffering agony both physically and spiritually beyond anything that you and I have ever been through, or will ever go through. The vivid and graphic portrayal of the ultimate sacrifice of love. And yet, He’s begging forgiveness of the Father… for us??? The Perfect Lamb for sinners slain never once had a selfish thought.

Obviously, none of us have ever been crucified; but I can almost guarantee that we would not respond to such cruelty, such injustice, with the same love and mercy that He displayed on Calvary for you and for me. No, Jesus isn’t asking more of us than he already gave of Himself.

So in light of the fact that although you may have been very, truly hurt by someone, they haven’t crucified you. I don’t believe it’s too much to ask that you consider applying Jesus’ words in Luke 23:34 as a sincere, heart-felt prayer to your own situation.

And no, I’m not making light of whatever your “situation” is, and whatever pain you may be experiencing due to the injustice that another person has inflicted upon you. Not in the least bit!!! It’s hard, I know, believe me….! I may not have faced the same things that you have, or are facing, but I know what it’s like to be hurt, and receive no apology from the offending party. I know what it’s like to ache inside, and feel incurable. But Jesus wants us to be well! Not to ache and mourn our way through life, no! That’s not “life” in Christ. You might be amazed at the healing that forgiveness will bring you. The ones who have hurt you, in most cases, will never come back and apologize… but don’t worry, none of the high priests, or Pilate, or Herod, or any of the others consenting to Jesus death ever came and apologized to him for what they had done. It isn’t necessary if the love of Christ is penetrating your heart and life.

Again, I’m not excusing the wrong and hurtful actions of others. They are very wrong indeed. But Jesus teaches us to be that true friend back even to false friends by showing love, forgiveness, and compassion – “for they know not what they do.”

img_0009.jpgRachel Marie is a sweet young lady who loves the Lord with all her heart. She is keenly interested in the study of biblical womanhood and authored a well-noted article, Just a Girl Through & Through. Along with her gift of writing, her hobbies also include photography, flowers, sewing and a host of other avenues she uses to vent her creativity. Her heart beat is missions with a particular love for China.

Contact:
lajiemarie@gmail.com
www.lajiemarie.blogspot.com  

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