I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Two things I frequently desire as a woman: help and security. God is both of those things for me, and he fills the roles perfectly. This psalm spells it out for us; walk with me through it today.
Help: Whether I admit it or not, I am a needy person. I need help in many areas of life, from housework to hugs. My family can help in limited ways, but never perfectly. Only God can be my true Helper. He alone is fully sufficient to cover all of my lacking, all of my imperfections (and boy, do I have a lot of them!). On the days I feel overly strained and empty, I call on him even more. I pray for his help, I lift my eyes to the hills (v. 1), up to the horizon, looking forward to where I am going…to where he is! When I feel weak, I read the Words he wrote to me and am reminded that my foot cannot slip because he holds it fast (v.3). He is where I am planted and I will not fall (praise God for that because somedays I feel like I might). What can hinder my God from helping me? Nothing! He has made everything and it is at his command (v.2). He is always there, he does not sleep or get weary (praise God, because I sure do). He is present, strong and attentive (what comfort that brings!). I am helpless, I cannot save myself at all. God is that help I desperately need and he has saved me.
Protection: The Lord keeps me! How precious to know that I am safe because God has declared me “a keeper!” This is by his grace alone (knowing myself, I would have thrown me back). I cannot keep myself from evil, I find myself wandering toward it every day, but the Lord keeps me from “all evil” (v. 7). I will not be forever stained by it, I cannot be (what a relief!). He sustains my life, it is his, he purchased it at an unfathomably high price. I am not worthy, but he keeps me because what he spent on me declares me as worthy - the infinitely valuable blood of his son.
He uses his creation to bless me and not harm me (vv. 5, 6). All things bend to his will, even the sun and moon (yes, be amazed). “Your going out and your coming in” (v. 8) is language from Old Testament times when kings went out to war and came home (in) again. War still rages today and my Lord has placed me in the fray. I am NOT terrified because he is my help and he comes from the hills. So that is where my gaze rests. I go on battling and watching, battling and watching every day. I will be kept by him “forevermore” (v. 8). Eternally protected by my Keeper, this causes me to fight harder. My Lord wins, he has told me that already (he wrote it down over and over again so I wouldn’t forget), so I fight on like the woman he destined me to be.
My God keeps me and my God helps me. My God is mighty and Lord of all! I pray you serve him too.
My two boys have been sick this week with the stomach flu. This nasty bug is making the circuit fast, so maybe you have been dealing with some of the same things I have. In the middle of switching out puke buckets it can be hard to remember to still praise God, so I made myself try to brainstorm some blessings I have experienced out of this. Here are a few that I have come up with:
God is amazing, there is ALWAYS grace to be found in every situation. After meditating on these blessings I found myself happy my kids had been sick…what an odd statement…but not untrue. God desires us to look to him in all circumstances and to praise him for managing our daily divine assignments. Yes, divine and ordered by God no matter how mundane (or messy) they seem.
This experience brings two verses to mind. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” from 1 John 3:1(NIV) and “For from his [Jesus’] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16. When you are adopted as a child of God his love is lavished upon you and his grace stacked high. All from the abundance found in Jesus! This is not an occasional sprinkling like from a little squirt gun but like a continual flowing from a wide open fire hydrant. Live joyously in this current, knowing that all things coming at you flow first through the loving hands of God himself.
My boys only had the flu and not cancer or a debilitating illness. Yet, this is where thanksgiving in all circumstances starts (1 Thessalonians 5:18), in the small, ordinary occurrences of life. When larger and more difficult moments come, you are practiced in trusting God and are able to worship him in the midst of it. If it doesn’t happen in daily life, it won’t happen when life’s true trials come.
Ladies, what has God brought you to today...this week...this year? Stop to find his grace in the middle of it. Where do you see good coming from it, how about spiritual growth or a training up of your soul? Still finding that hard? Then look at Jesus and think on the love he had for you that drove him to the cross and how he broke death so that our eternity can be forever sweet and glorious with him. Everything pales when staring into the face of Jesus Christ.
Let’s praise him today no matter what you are going through. Find his love lavished and his grace stacked high at all times for those who love him.
Mothers are on my heart this week. I have been praying for and ministering to several moms recently who are struggling in a variety of ways. Grown children, little babies and all ages in between. These children seem to have the strings of our hearts tightly in their fists, pulling and tugging away at us. I want to remind you today that although we love our children very much our hearts still belong fully to God. The strings belong in his hands and we praise him for that; he is still in control!
Below is a Psalm that I shared with one of the mothers and I want to share it with you today as well. I hope it brings you encouragement. If you are struggling and feel as if things are crumbling around you, remember that you are fully secure in the arms of God. He rules the mountains and the oceans; he can certainly rule your heart. Allow him to calm it and be your help.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Even though there may be uncertainty and difficulties surrounding you, you will not be moved out from under his care. If God dwells in the midst of you; you dwell within the fortress of the Almighty. Moms, I enCOURAGE you to find comfort in the steadfast words of God today.
Ladies, last week I posted a blog that was stern and straight forward, asking each of you to make a choice of whom you will serve: God or the world. This week I want to truly encourage you on how to go about choosing to live for God. I will still use the same chapters from Deuteronomy so I hope you did read them like I challenged you to. I want to start by sharing how God recently worked in my own heart.
God has set before me a task that I don’t feel equipped for or even adequate for right now (I’m sure you will hear more about this in the near future). I was feeling particularly burdened one evening after talking to some family about this new calling. They were not as supportive as I had hoped and a couple tried to discourage me from taking this path. Since I had been struggling with this decision for several weeks and was finally feeling more secure in my decision, hearing these words of disagreement hit me hard. I found myself in tears that night, struggling between what the world (and nearly everyone in it) wanted me to do and what I felt God was calling me to.
I prayed for God to give me insight and grabbed my Bible with a bit of ferocity, determined to seek his will alone. I thought about where to read and decided to keep on my same track in the Old Testament that I have been on in my usual nighttime routine, currently that was Deuteronomy (yep, explains my recent posts). Chapter 31 was next in line so I started in. What I read caused the tears to flow and internal shouts of thankfulness to God to explode within me.
Moses was passing on his leadership of the Israelites to Joshua and was encouraging him for this very large and important task. I’m sure Joshua did not feel fully equipped or even adequate for this role (sound familiar), but God had decided it was his and assigned it to him. Here are the words Moses spoke to Joshua:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6.
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8
These words were like healing salve to my heart. How I needed confirmation of God’s care for me and the knowledge that he goes before me in everything he calls me to. I never walk alone, I never have to dread or be in fear since he is there.
I also needed to hear the direct commands to be strong and be courageous. These are commands, not suggestions or far hopes that Moses had for Joshua. No, he told him, “Just do it!” BE strong, BE courageous. Don’t shy away from this assignment, it is yours and I am with you in it. These words are for you today too.
When we choose to follow God and be obedient to him, we have not stepped into an easy task. Do not get visions of praying away your worries while guardian angels clamor to keep you safe and God pours blessing after blessing on your head. Sorry…it doesn’t work that way.
When the Holy Spirit grabs your heart and you accept Christ and choose to live for God, it is an awesome decision! It is the best and most important decision you will ever make in all of eternity. However, it is the very first in a long line of decisions to follow. Although the event of salvation (justification) is a one-time occurrence, the task of following Jesus is a continual and active process needing daily effort. To put it another way, we make continual choices of whether to follow God or the world every day. We need to be ready and equipped to choose wisely.
A final word of warning, when you read the book of Deuteronomy, two words will stick out to you. Those words are “be careful”. They are used over and over by Moses in this book. They are used to keep the people aware of the need to follow God’s commands always. One example, 12:28 “Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.”
Ladies, I continue to plead with you to choose God every day, choose to serve him wholeheartedly and with confidence. Not in yourself but in him. When God calls you to a task, and you know it is his will, get moving on it. Walk in strength and courage, being careful to know and follow his commands that we find in his Word. My enCOURAGEment to you today… BE strong and BE courageous!
Women, I want you to take this blog seriously today. My heart’s desire is for women of faith to be courageous and walk in the truth even when the world around them seems to be sprinting in the opposite direction. I want you to choose God over the world.
Listen to the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 31: 11-13. To the priests he says “you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
Moses was soon to die and was preparing his people to move forward without him into the Promised Land. What were some of his final words? To paraphrase the above verses: “Make sure the people hear and know the words of God, make sure they obey the Lord, they must fear the Lord or they will come to ruin!”
We need to be proclaiming these same words today. We must know God’s words to us; we need to know his instructions and we need to obey him completely. Otherwise we will come to ruin like those who ignored the words of God long ago.
God told Moses what his people would do after they entered the bountiful land they would soon possess. Read these words and see if it reminds you of America today. Deuteronomy 31:20, “For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant.”
The Israelites long ago lived in a blessed land filled with abundance and freedom. When they became comfortable, they forgot the words of their God, no longer obeying his commands. Maybe even the priests, who were charged with the task of reading these words out loud to the people, forgot (or outright neglected) their job and did not remind the people of God’s instructions. They did not correct their bad behaviors for fear of offending them; they did not proclaim God to the people as they were instructed.
Oh, how these same words so accurately describe today’s world. We as a country, a blessed people, have neglected God’s words and instructions to us and have turned to serve other gods. Worthless gods of success, fleshy pleasures and greed. We have grown fat on God’s blessings and have turned our backs on him, now despising him and his word. Not even those behind a pulpit often preach the truth any longer. Under the guise of acceptance and love, truth is shoved out the door; no longer desired or found worthy.
What happens to those who choose to disobey God? The answers are painfully spelled out in detail just a page back. Deuteronomy 28 contains the lengthy lists from God given through Moses; blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. The blessings cover 14 verses and are grand; the curses cover 54 long verses and are excruciating even to read. Moses, responsible for this group of God’s people, wanted everything completely spelled out and crystal clear so that the Israelites would make a well informed decision.
After describing the blessings and curses in detail, he then calls the people to choose. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him.” Moses offers two options and proceeds to tell them exactly what to choose, the obvious choice – life!
I challenge all of you ladies to read these chapters in Deuteronomy today and think on what is happening in the world around us. Just as very few chose to follow God back then, very few choose to follow God today. Do not be swayed by the world and the opinions so prevalent all around you. Don’t form your beliefs to how you feel and then try to make God’s word fit your desires. It doesn’t work that way. There is only one perfect God and you are not him, you don’t get to rewrite scripture.
There is absolute truth and you must seek it earnestly. You must know God’s word (the Bible) by hearing it, reading it and studying it. The Word of God is the standard upon what all else must be measured, weighed and judged. If you do not agree with what it says or do not desire to obey God, then this faith is not for you and you must stop claiming to be a Christian, you are not a follower of God.
Ladies, the decision remains the same, choose this day whom you will serve. There are only two choices and will never be more; it’s the world or God. Decide. The rules are clear and do not bend. Do not think that Almighty God should bend for you or change his commands so you can live as you desire. He does not have to tolerate anything, he is God. He is just and he is good. I choose to follow him. I enCOURAGE you to choose the same.
There is currently a group of local men serving God in India in the name of Jesus Christ. I praise God for their obedience to this call and their desire to spread the Good News to the lost. I have been thinking a lot about the wives that have been “left behind” here at home, mostly because a few of them are close friends of mine.
I tire of hearing myself and others tell them that they are a part of the mission team because they are supporting their husbands and allowing them to “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:20). I do not want to minimize this fact, it is very true. And, yes they will receive blessings as being senders of those who spread the gospel, but there is much more to it than that.
The same God that is 100% present with the men in India is also 100% present with these ladies at home. As their men packed up and jumped on planes to carry them thousands of miles away, I imagine God was saying, “Alright, Daughter, let’s do this thing! I have so much I want to teach you and so many ways I want to grow your faith in Me during this time!”
These two weeks may give them a break (or not)from making big meals, doing extra laundry and cleaning up extra messes (sorry guys, but you know it’s true) but it is not a break from growing in depth of relationship with their Heavenly Father. Any change in our mundane daily life routine is a great opportunity for testing and learning more about what is truly in our hearts. Yes, it can be a time of refining but also an exciting time of putting into practice what God has been training us for.
During this time on your own God may make you face some pretty tough questions: Am I living as if God is truly sufficient for me? Do I believe it when I read, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)? When things go crazy and I feel alone, do I turn to “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction” like it tells me in 2 Corinthians 1:3 and 4? Am I prepared with God’s Word to fight the Enemy when I feel the attacks of anxiety coming (Ephesians 6)? Am I humble enough to ask for help if I need it (Galatians 6:2)?
Ladies, this time can provide moments of amazing intimacy with your Savior. A time of building yourself up in love and trust of Him using His Word as your rock.
This is also a great time to test your “Powers of Oneness” (yes, I made that term up, but it fits : ). It can be easy to feel like “one flesh” when you are in close proximity to your spouse, but how does that work when they are on the other side of the world? Does the distance negate or lesson the connection? Not a chance!
Does God say without reason, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”? Jesus confirmed and repeated this statement in Mark 10:7-9 and added, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Your “oneness” remains. So how do you plan to keep this connection strong and continue to be a suitable helper to your husband even while he is away? Prayer is the best answer. Praying for your spouse is powerful and one of the best ways to love your husband. Have your children pray for their father and family leader as he leads from another location. Continue to honor him as the authority of your household by the way you make (or delay) decisions and in the way you talk about him to your children and others.
Actually it is quite awesome to think of your “one flesh” being on opposite sides of the world and yet acting with one shared desire to glorify God.
Be sensitive to nudgings of the Holy Spirit. When life sends you “interruptions” see them for what they truly are: God’s sovereign hand intervening for a reason. Whether it is being up in the night with a needy child or a case of insomnia at 3:00 am. God has a plan for your heart and attention no matter what time of day (or night) it is. Worship him wherever you are and whatever you are doing, even with arms full of children, laundry or crochet needles (yes, you know who I am talking about).
I’m praying for you ladies. Time spent walking in full surrender and obedience to God is always POWERFUL whether in small town India or small town America.
This was the simple text a friend sent me several weeks ago. I had been sitting reading my Bible and was struggling deeply with an issue concerning one of my children. My heart was aching and the tears were flowing freely down my face. When the text came my first reaction was, “How did she know? Could she hear me crying from across town?” Silly, I know and totally illogical, but the perfect timing of her simple question was supernatural. I burst into uncontrollable sobs. This time because of the amazing ability of my Father God to comfort me using one of his other children.
This little message spoke volumes of love, concern and encouragement to my heart. Does that seem strange? It shouldn’t. I knew the sender well and I knew the care behind these words. She was and is a sister in Christ; therefore we share something very strong. In 1 Corinthians 12:4, 5 it says, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord.”
The same Spirit resides in each of us who belong to Christ, so this shouldn’t be surprising at all. This is the Holy Spirit given to us as a gift from Jesus Christ as our helper to be with us forever. The world cannot receive him because it does not know him, only those redeemed by Jesus have the Holy Spirit. “You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:17.
The Holy Spirit is God (part of the trinity) and dwells in us. Mind blowing? Absolutely. Allow the Spirit to nudge you toward good works and loving others, “especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10. We do these works for the glory of God and they result in thanksgiving toward God in us.
If you are a believer, when someone crosses your mind, know that there is a reason for it. Pray for that person then reach out to them if you feel led to. It could be a simple text, email, written note or phone call. Maybe you need to go further and invite them out for coffee or lunch. Any of these seemingly small acts could mean so much to them. Be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit; it is truly obedience to God.
I have a friend who often takes pictures of the beautiful scenery around her. Whenever I see something I know she would capture, I pray for her. On my drive into Dubuque for work I turn off the radio and pray for those God places on my heart that day. It may be for a known prayer request or a general prayer for God’s will to be done in their life. If someone stays on my mind, I connect with them in some way through messages or meeting for a simple talk and prayer.
This is what family does for one another. We pray, we encourage, and we spur one another on toward Christ always. How can you do this for someone today?
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Hebrews 3:13
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thess. 5:11
In last week’s blog (on pursuing a closer relationship with God) I told you how I was not so good at reaching out to others, and if I had my own (selfish) way I would most likely keep to myself. I have been thinking that I need to expand on that. It may seem odd to hear those comments from a “Director of Women’s Ministries”. After all isn’t that pretty much my job description? Funny thing about blogging, it causes you to show some of what is in your head and sometimes those are very vulnerable thoughts.
You may call God mysterious, purposeful or even mean. He seems to always somehow draw out and make known to you your weaknesses. This could be a character deficiency, a failure at something, or even a physical limitation. What I’m talking about today are not areas of sin like lust, addictions, or gluttony but more a poor personality bent. Which, when left undisciplined, could turn into a sin of disobedience.
Now don’t think that this weakness is a flaw in how God designed you; as if he messed up or accidently dropped you in the creation process. It is there for a purpose! God made you exactly the way he intended to. He has big plans for your specific weakness. Take comfort and joy in that fact, but don’t become content with it.
The Bible has given us a great visual for why he created us with weaknesses. If you have received Christ you have a great treasure inside of you, it is the light of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Your body is the container for this light, fashioned from the dust of the earth. You are an ordinary clay pot holding an awesome and powerful light. 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
Now, God could have made us out of airtight Tupperware or strong steel. We could hold in that light and not allow anyone else to see it. Some live this way, pretending they are made of fine metal and have it all together. They polish themselves and act as though they are strong and have no weakness. What a load of bologna! How could you be any good to those around you that way?
I rejoice in being a clay pot just like God designed me to be, with all of my flaws and deficiencies! Each weakness in my clay, allows the light of God to shine through. Paul often boasted in his weaknesses for this very reason, read 2 Corinthians chapter 12. Here is verse 9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
God isn’t mean, he is fully wise and he loves you. He ultimately desires (and deserves) more glory for himself. Therefore, he has given you an area of weakness in which he can demonstrate his perfect power and show his light to others. Allow this to happen, expose your weak areas to be used by God.
Ladies, take a moment to think about a weakness you have. You can probably name one fairly quickly. It could be a fear of what others think, a tendency towards selfishness, a need to always have things orderly, a fear of leaving the house, or even laziness. How can you turn this around on the Enemy and allow God to shine through you using this weakness? Ideas may include becoming a radical giver, asking a friend for coffee, inviting others into your home, or investing your time in projects that bless God instead of watching another TV show.
My weakness is my desire to keep to myself and not interact with others. However, God has placed a passion for his Word in my heart and has commanded me to teach and share what God has done in my life. Therefore when I do speak, teach, or lead it is only through the power of God and not my own selfish desire for attention.
I plan to allow God to use my weakness in order to magnify himself more. I will do this by doing the exact opposite of what my flesh is screaming for. Instead of staying in my comfortable cocoon, I will step out and connect with others. I will share what God has done in my life and what he offers to those who will receive him. I want to pursue others like Christ pursued me. Many of you ladies reading this will be on my list, so be warned… I may soon be pursuing YOU!
This past Sunday afternoon I was in a dark and cold building sweeping up what looked like dust bunnies that had been hit by an enlarger ray in a sci-fi movie. I did this for nearly two hours and the place was still a mess after I was done. I was wearing Carhartts, long underwear and rubberized work gloves (that still somehow don’t keep my hands from turning black). The mask I had to wear over my mouth and nose was uncomfortable and made it hard to breath. Not exactly how someone wants to spend their day off…yet…for some reason I found myself smiling.
It has been a rough year for a variety of reasons, not the least of which has been the fire that consumed our business in November. As you can see from above, the cleanup process has been messy, slow and time consuming. The gigantic dust bunnies are the insulation that fell when the ceiling came down. It covered everything in the back half of the shop, things like burned up cars, melted electronics, ruined tools and tons of broken glass. There is no electricity so the only light comes from our headlamps and the meager sunlight that comes through the few windows that are not boarded up. It is a dark and cold place (another reminder that I want no part of Hell). Despite all of the gloom, my heart was still warm that afternoon and at times I even found myself singing the songs I had heard at church that morning.
These are the final days of 2014 and my mind was on the past twelve months. If I had to gauge the worth of our past year by the world’s standards I may have a right to feel sorry for myself and complain (the fire, canceled family vacations, kidney stones, surgery, etc.).
Praise God, I don’t care what the world’s opinion is. I only desire to gauge my success through the eyes of God. He has blessed me with so much in 2014: watching our church family grow and desire more of God, an opportunity to serve alongside brothers and sisters in Kentucky, seeing a friend give her life to Jesus, being provided more opportunities to share my faith, seeing the love of Christ grow in my children, watching my husband handle difficult situations with godly grace and strength, and so much more. Wow, what an awesome year!
Don’t worry, I’m not always this cheerful, I have to get my attitude adjusted frequently. At times my perspective gets skewed and I can feel the pity party starting. There are times I have been in the same burned out shop hauling garbage and I had no desire to sing or smile. I have learned it’s those times that I need a good slap of truth to get my head back on straight. One of my favorites is the same one the Pastor used on Sunday morning –
Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
And if you start Romans 12, you might as well just keep on reading, because the whole chapter is great. Verses 9-21 are about the marks of a True Christian. Verse 11, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (NIV). I love that verse, it sums up how we should take on every New Year (heck, every new day)!
How has your past twelve months been? Have you seen growth towards God in your life? Have you been working towards what pleases Him or yourself? Are you closer to Jesus now then on January 1, 2014, do you know him better? That is how each and every year must be gauged. If you aren’t sure or if you haven’t experienced growth towards Christ, this is the perfect time to start!
If you are tired of the same old resolutions of weight loss, exercise and home organization (yep, I’m reading your mind) then make a change toward eternal betterment. Let 2015 be the year that you put yourself aside and choose to please Jesus instead. Then no matter what occurs in the next twelve months, whether it’s health problems, parenting issues or losing your job, if you truly strive to serve and glorify God you will have had the best year yet. It’s time to go for it and have a truly Happy New Year!
Let me take this moment to remind you that this blog is for women. Therefore this title and blog does not apply to men. So men, no need to keep reading unless you plan to pass this article on to the lady in your life. Also, don’t forget to encourage her to find other Christian women friends and provide the time for her to do so.
With that out of the way, let’s get started. Girl…you need friends. Sure, you are tough and could make it in this life all on your own, but let’s be real… having friends makes life so much more fun! Plus, God made you a relational being; he wants you to walk life’s path with others and to encourage one another. I want you to look at a few verses that address friendship with me today; they are written by Solomon and found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
A friend can lift you up when you fall, keep you warm when times get tough, and stand by your side as you protect each other. Those facts alone are great, but I want you to see two more important points in these verses today.
1. – “they have a good reward for their toil” – The “good reward” is the benefits of friendship, but to gain these benefits you must toil. You have to work at it. The first work that must be done is to gain good friendships. Have you ever been at this starting point in life? I sure have.
There have been times in my life where I have felt desperate for friendship (see my blog from four weeks ago, “I Know Lonely”). I had feelings of isolation and loneliness. I assumed everyone else had loads of friends and I was simply an odd ball. Ever felt that way? You are not alone; MANY women have experienced this in life. Maybe you are feeling this right now. So what do you do about it? Here is where the toil comes in…
Remember these three things: get out, open up and pray. Get out and meet others as much as you are able to. Attend Bible studies, church social events, and invite others into your home. Open up, be real and let others get to know you. I sat next to a woman at a mother’s club one time; the first thing she told me was that she was there to find good Christian friends. I loved her boldness! And she accomplished her goal. Don’t underestimate the power of being direct and courageous. Finally pray to God and let him hear your heart’s desire to find true blue friendship. He knows you need it and he will provide it at the right time.
2. – “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Where did this third cord come from? All the previous verses talked only about two people (two cords). Who is this third person? Well, who makes a friendship strong? God. Now, here is your warning, here comes some hard truth… no true friendship can exist outside of God. You cannot be a good friend to someone else if you have not received Christ yourself. The reverse is also true; someone cannot be a good friend to you unless they also have Christ. You can have many friends that are not Christians (and I do), but they cannot be good friends to you. A good friend has to tell you hard truths (no, you shouldn’t leave your husband because you don’t love him anymore). A good friend has to point you to Jesus when you are struggling (what does the Bible say about your situation, what would Jesus want you to do?). God must be woven throughout your friendship and, as always, he is the purpose of the relationship. Your friendship needs to honor him.
There is a strong bond between godly women who are friends, it’s called Sisterhood. It provides a deeper sense of love and understanding that only God can produce in us. It is a true blessing and I desire it for all women, including YOU. Take courage today, step out in faith and find your sisters in Christ!