An Eternal Friend

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Proverbs 17:17A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times.(Voice)

     The Bible story and friendship between David & Jonathan is one of love and faithfulness that began with a “spirit” directed bond and covenant. When we read this story we often think of David, and God’s eternal plan through him. This covenant of friendship was one that God used to provide protection, training and placement for David’s ultimate purpose; it was part of his journey to the throne, but what about Jonathan?

   Jonathan was a loyal son, an heir to the throne who willingly stepped into a friendship with a very young, poor shepherd boy. That friendship was one, which in the natural made no sense. Jonathan was number two in the kingdom, in line for the throne, and had the constant “ear” of the king – he had it all. So, why make such a friendship?

     I believe we get a glimpse of the why, as we look at the character of Jonathan through his life and choice in befriending David. He was loyal, observant, humble, compassionate, faithful, wise, spiritually inclined and he was a listener. All traits God used and surrounded David with for his encouragement, protection and growth.

     There was something that Jonathan saw in David that drew him beyond the natural. He chose to lay aside his rights in order to continue that friendship even in the midst of his father’s displeasure and desire to kill his friend. He was faithful to his father, standing in battle, honoring him as a son, but there was a point where he had to choose to stand on behalf of a friend. A time he chose to stick closer than a brother – a time he chose sacrifice – to protect his friend at all cost. Jonathan chose love.

     Once Jonathan sent David away, we don’t hear much else about him until he is killed along side King Saul in battle. But, David’s response to that death is one of great loss – the love they shared in friendship went beyond a short-term acquaintance – it was an eternal friendship.

     Is there such a thing as an “eternal friendship” today? In our society friendships seem to exist in fast paced short-term acquaintances – very little thought is even given to the relationship. It often has to do with “what is best for me”, or “does it work in my schedule” and if an offense arises – well – that’s it – “done with that person”. The word friend is thrown around with the click of a button – the “friend” button, the “unfriend” button and the “like” button can be flicked with a keystroke without a thought about the person.

     But, God still desires us to walk in covenant friendship with others. LOVE is the key. With love, Jesus laid down his life for each of us; that is covenant (eternal) friendship.

     How do we walk in that type of relationship with people – with our friends? We listen and move as the Spirit of God nudges us – one person at a time. Choosing to love – choosing to sacrifice “our” schedule, “our” plans or “our” rights in order to protect, to love, and to “stick” with a friend.

Is it easy? No.

Will you be hurt? Probably.

Will you be offended? Absolutely.

     But, through it – you may find a pearl of great price – a hidden jewel of friendship that is not about you, it’s about them – BUT in the end it becomes one of the greatest gifts you will ever be given – an eternal friend.

     Take a chance, listen and reach out, because your next acquaintance just might become an eternal friend.

Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NIV)

John 15:13 And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends;(TLB)

I Samuel 18:1 By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend. (MSG) 

 

 

Spread Life

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     What a joy to observe the reproduction of plant life, every plant and tree has been created to seed – including weeds, much to my chagrin. In order to enjoy the beauty of many, we have resorted to planting them in pots, and I have a plethora of pots, loaded with beauty. But, no matter how you care for them, within three to five years the result is the same – unproductive and dying. However, upon inspection of these unproductive and seemingly dying specimens you will find a simple fact, they are root-bound. Once removed from their confinement and re-positioned into a fertile expansive bed they will flourish as they were created to.

     I think you can imagine where my thoughts went as I have watched this phenomena play out this season. I transplanted eight previously unproductive and dying pots this spring and – “presto, chango” – they have now become spots of happy growing plants covered with flowers.

     This is a true spiritual phenomenon as well. We are created to create – to produce! Often, due to many circumstances we become unproductive and look as if we are dying – we too, become root-bound. The simple fix is no different then my pots – lift and cultivate (wake-up) the root-bound entity, place it in a fertile environment with ample space to move and grow. Step back and watch as HIS new life, joy and creativity begin to bloom in and all around you. You are meant to create, to produce, to re-produce and spread – in fact His ultimate purpose for your life is just that; to spread His life, love and joy to those around you.

     If you find yourself in a root-bound place in life, decide to do some cultivating. Willingly chose to lift your eyes back to the face of Jesus – here you will find that HE will do the lifting as you allow the transplant to occur. He will re-assign you exactly where you will find new life and joy. This new fertile ground will probably be where you would never have imagined or chosen but it will always be the very best – because He always chooses the very best for His kids.

     Nestle into His chosen spot – and enjoy the journey as you grow into the beauty He has created you to be – and spread, spread, spread. Become His life, love and joy everywhere you go.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you my abound in hope.

I Corinthians 3:8-9 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

 

His Perfect Wave

His desire is to allow a spectacular ride – one where you wait, you listen, you stand and HE takes it from there.

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The warmth of the sun and the sand, along with the rhythmic movement of the ocean’s waves – just feet away – will easily lull the senses into a peace and calm not found many places. But as you lift your eyes and look out into the ocean you perceive a different story, one of tension and expansive movement.

Previously unnoticed a lone surfer has passed that calm warm sandy beach and persistently slogged through the shallow waves, reaching deeper and deeper. Soon, the only way to go further and deeper was to climb onto his surfboard and push against the pressures of the current. He continued his arduous outward endeavor, going further and further from shore. Seeming to either find the right place or just tiring out; he settles on the board – now sitting and surveying his newly acquired territory. Expecting him to stand and take each incoming wave, it is a wonder that he allows them, one by one to pass by as he waits. What is he waiting for? What is it he sees? How will he know the right one? When will he move forward?

These questions may never get answered for as if on queue, he slowly stands as a single – not so big – swell begins to form. He slowly lifts as the wave takes on a life of its own – growing in height and power. The sound of its approach is exhilarating. The waves upward movement, the slide forward and the beautiful delivery down to the waiting warm sand is exquisite. The surfer, like a dancer on a ballroom floor, sways with each move and sound that this incredible wave produces. This was the wave worth waiting for and this patient surfer reaped the joy found within her – riding this wave upward, forward and through the completion as he is delivered right out onto the warm sand. What a spectacular ride!

This picture of a very experienced surfer is played out differently as new surfers make many unsuccessful attempts to catch the perfect wave – getting dumped before they reach the top, being pulled under, and even eating and drinking both sand and salt water in the process. Learning the part that patience plays in this sport is what makes it worth the ride.

As we walk in our own life journey, it is much the same – learning to hear His voice, stepping out, moving forward and sometimes actually catching the “perfect” wave. His desire is to allow a spectacular ride – one where you wait, you listen, you stand and HE takes it from there. You ride with HIM as the wave moves up, slides forward and beautifully delivers you onto the waiting sand. When we find that rhythm – we can’t wait to slog back out, arduously paddle deeper, push further and further out, for we know as we wait patiently – His perfect wave of HIS plan, HIS direction, HIS purpose – for this ride – will come. And when it comes – WOW – it will be one spectacular ride.

Philippians 3: 13b-14 But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Photography courtesy of J.K.Sanchez Photography

Every Hair is Numbered

Rest assured that He is faithful!

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Our concerns are His concerns, and He is always faithful to encourage, strengthen and sometimes make us laugh. Yep – My God has a sense of humor and I love it.

I have very fine hair – never was one with a full lush voluptuous mane of hair – and as I have recently had to ingest a rather unpleasant medication, my fine hair is changing from “fine” to “thin”. For a woman – that is just not ok! Bald guys are handsome but NOT women.

As I commiserated over this issue with God, he reminded me of this scripture:

   Matthew 10:30. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

With relief, I smiled and chuckled – He really does care about what concerns me.

So, now as I watch a few hairs slide down the drain or several more become entangled in my brush, I can rest assured that He already knew they were on their way out. He is in charge of every hair – either on or off my head. And if He cares about a hair – how much more about every cell in my body.

So remember – your concerns (small or large) are His concerns – and He has them covered. Rest assured that He is faithful!

Freedom in Your “hodgepodge”!

Enjoy the walk exactly where you are and walk in that assignment. Your design, your purpose may be “hodgepodge” – enjoy it and find freedom in your difference.

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We hear about “style” in all areas of our lives – clothing, decorating and even in cooking but what does that mean? There is no right or wrong, (REALLY – though some will disagree) it’s just different. It comes down to what you prefer – what makes you happy – what looks good to your eye – what brings life and freedom to your life.

In the midst of this style conscious world I have observed and questioned my oddity. But, I have a wonderful friend who’s decorating style is “minimalist” – I go into her home and it has a peaceful flow, clean and open. I love it! But, it’s not me. I’m not country, or contemporary, and surely not modern, so – maybe I don’t have one, and my hodgepodge style struggled on.

For years I have contemplated the word “hodgepodge” – a word my mom would use – sounding like a swear word. I have carried that “hodgepodge” like shame over my head – but it’s not wrong – it’s just different. I enjoy multiple types of wood furniture in the same room, different art pieces of every style and “clutter” treasures tucked here and there. It is funny, how a name changes everything! One day I found the word “eclectic” attached to a home decorating magazine and my heart skipped a beat – that’s me – I have a “named” style – I am eclectic! Wow – freedom!

Now I can enjoy, embrace and walk in my “style” freedom; finding freedom in who I am – in my hodgepodge. And now a recent example of this presented it’s self in my beautiful courtyard. Within our back yard, I have a secluded little courtyard – my secret garden, and I have it filled with pots and plants. As I originally designed it, I worked hard to keep the ceramic pots color coordinated, the plants all in shades of purples and blues with a touch of pink and white. It was nice, but now as those pots are overgrown they are ready to be re-done. Pondering this job, a freedom emerged and I am embracing my “eclectic” style and began choosing just what I like – I now will have reds, yellows, and oranges right there next to the blues, pinks and purples and I even added different colored pots.

Spiritually speaking – BE who you are – find true freedom in who HE has created you to be! Enjoy the walk exactly where you are and walk in that assignment. Your design, your purpose may be “hodgepodge” – enjoy it and find freedom in your difference.

I Corinthians 7:17a Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. (NASB)

John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (ESV)

Extravagant Shopping – Just Ask

HE wants to extravagantly pour out over your life – JUST ASK!

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I am not a shopper – sorry ladies – I just am not. I have my list, go in, get it and out the door – I am a single-focused shopper. BUT there is one place that overwhelms me – and here, the dormant “shopper” gene erupts. There is a heavenly plant nursery near-by that is -that place – for me. When I arrive there, I walk in to this amazing paradise and every sense and desire stirs, and brings euphoric joy within me.

Over the years I have been lovingly forbidden to enter this paradise, unless finances are lucrative, since I never leave without “shopping” well. I have learned to wait, watch and ask for my desires – then my extravagant “shopping” happens.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. (NASB)

 I know you are asking – what does “shopping” have to do with that scripture?

Just like the eventual extravagant “shopping” happens for me; our prayers – our desires and needs are extravagantly provided for because HE is able.

     HIM WHO IS ABLE – is my provider.

     HE does far more, abundantly beyond – that’s WAY more then I can ever ask for.

Often our thinking says that what we desire or need is just to small to ask God for or that we don’t matter enough – He won’t answer it; so we have not because we ask not. BUT that’s not who HE is – HE IS ABLE and HE loves you.

   HE wants to extravagantly pour out over your life – JUST ASK!

On The Road

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In disappointment, confusion and hopelessness the miles to travel toward Emmaus left room for venting to one another. And then – along came a stranger that drew near and joined their walk. Not knowing whom this stranger was, the story of the origin of their sadness was poured out as they stopped in their tracks on this dusty road.   After much time together that day, they recognized him only as they sat to eat and he broke the bread, but then he was gone.

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32 (ESV)

Often clouded by disappointment, confusion and hopelessness – we too, don’t look up, don’t hear, and don’t see our savior right there on the dusty road with us. Today, He still comes along side – draws near – as we walk this difficult journey.  He still opens to us the scriptures and He still speaks words of comfort and encouragement through words that will burn within our hearts; they are found in a living book! There is only one book that can do that! It is alive and new every morning. The word of God – letters on a page – that open up to us the Kingdom of God.

How can that be?

No matter how many days, years or decades you have read this book – today it can burn within your heart a new understanding, a new revelation.   As we lift this book, read and allow the spirit of God to speak, it changes from words on a page (Graphe) to understanding (Logos) to revelation (Rhema) and transformation on that dusty road is eminent.

As you walk this road of life pick up his word! Allow His words to be opened up to you, to burn within your heart, to lift the heaviness that life has thrown at you; for it is here that you will find life, a life abundant.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (ESV)