That’s What Friends Are For

Take just a minute to get a clear mental picture of your best friend.

Got it?

Now, think of a few adjectives you would use to describe your best friend.

Did you think of words like loyal … trustworthy … honest … loving … faithful … reliable … authentic … funny … patient ….?

What about godly? Would you describe your best friend with that word? After all, if your friend is godly, wouldn’t he or she also be loyal, trustworthy, honest, loving, and so on?

This gives us an idea of how important friendships are to God. If calling someone “godly” sums up the very best attributes of your very best friend, then that means that you can see God in your friend. And hopefully they can see God in you too!

Jesus told His followers that He viewed them as friends. He told them…

  • …how close to God He could bring them (John 14:20)
  • …how much the Heavenly Father loved them because they loved Jesus
  • …how much He was willing to do for them because of His love (John 15:9-13)
  • …how the Holy Spirit would continue to keep them close to God (John 16:12-15)

Eugene Peterson said, “Friendship is not a way of accomplishing something but a way of being with another in which we become more authentically ourselves.”

Your best friend is someone you can be completely real around, right? No games, no masks, just come as you are. And your friend still loves you completely. This is how it is with God as our Best Friend too!

There is nothing you could ever do to make God love you any less, so stop worrying! 

There is nothing you could ever do to make God love you any more, so stop trying!

Friends love us enough to be totally honest with us. That’s why Solomon said, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy only multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6).

Friends want us to have the very best, and to stay on paths that lead to success. So again Solomon wrote, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17).

Oswald Chambers tells us, “Friendship with God is faith in action in relation to God and to our fellow men.”

So be assured of God’s friendship with you. Then be God’s friend to those in your life, and allow them to be God’s friend right back to you … THAT’S WHAT REAL FRIENDS ARE FOR!

Christianity In Practical Working Order

“God has loved me to the end of all my sinfulness, all of my self-will, all of my stiff-neckedness, all my pride, all my self-interest; now He says—‘Love one another, as I have loved you.’ I am to show my fellow men the same love that God showed me. That is Christianity in practical working order.” —Oswald Chambers, in Run Today’s Race

10 Quotes From “The Broken Way”

All of us will deal with brokenness at some point in our lives. Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way is a brilliant light shining in the darkness of brokenness and pain. Check out my review of Ann’s book by clicking here.

“When the church isn’t for the suffering and broken, then the church isn’t for Christ. Because Jesus, with His pierced side, is always on the side of the broken. Jesus always moves into places moved with grief. Jesus always seeks out where the suffering is, and that’s where Jesus stays. The wound in His side proves that Jesus is always on the side of the suffering, the wounded, the busted, the broken.”

“The body of Christ doesn’t offer you some clichés, but something to cling to—right here in our own scarred hands. His body doesn’t offer some platitudes, but some place for your pain—right here in our offered time. His body doesn’t offer some excuses, but we’ll be an example—right here in our bending down and washing your wounds.”

“A Wounded Healer uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and He never treats those who hurt on the inside as less than those who hurt on the outside.”

“Get busy, get distracted, and you can forget God. Forget God, and you lose your mind and your peace. Forget God, and all you remember is anxiety. Anxiety can give you God-Alzheimer’s. Forget the face of God, and you forget your own name is Beloved.”

“The art of giving is believing there is enough love in you, that you are loved enough by Him, to be made enough love to give.”

“You can be glued to a screen or glued to your schedule or glued to your stuff—and maybe that’s just a bit of lost living. You can be a slave to getting ahead, a slave to the clock, a slave to convenience, a slave to some ill-advised American dream—and maybe that’s a lot of lost living. Maybe even in a bit of brokenness, grace moves in you to get up and give to people you love and people that you’re learning to love, to go to the park and laugh with your kids or any kids, to give an elderly woman a hand and a listening ear and the gift of presence—that’s large living.”

“The world is brokenhearted and full of suffering, and if you listen to what life needs instead of what you need from it, you could fill the brokenness with your own brokenhearted love—and this will in turn fill you. … You are where you are for such a time as this—not to make an impression, but to make a difference.”

“When you are filled to the brim with the enoughness of Christ, the only way you can possibly have more is to pour yourself out.”

“The wondrous order of Christianity isn’t ‘go and sin no more and Jesus won’t condemn you.’ The order of Christ and Christianity is ‘neither do I condemn you—go and sin no more.’”

“The only way to live a truly remarkable life is not to get everyone to notice you, but to leave noticeable marks of God’s love everywhere you go.”

I will be sharing more quotes from The Broken Way soon. If you would like to be notified as soon as these quotes are posted, please subscribe to my blog. And to read other inspiring quotes I share every day, follow me on Twitter or Tumblr (or both!).

No Apathetic Christians Allowed!

Healthy love loves God and then serves God by loving and serving others. Quite simply—love loves.

But my question is how does love love?

Sometimes we can get a fuller definition of a word by looking at its opposite. So what’s the opposite of love? It isn’t hate because hate is actually the flip side of love. That means our hatred for anything that comes against the object of our love is just as strong as our love is.

The opposite of love is apathy.

Apathy means without pathos (or feeling). Specifically, without feeling that moves us to action. So in order for love to love, it needs pathos as its fuel.

For example. If you hear a coworker mention her frustration with construction slowing down her morning commute, apathy says, “Bummer!” and does nothing else. But love fuel by pathos says, “I found an alternate route that I can share with you.”

When a friend tells you about his frustration with trying to lose weight, apathy says, “Good luck!” Pathos love says, “Here’s the diet that worked for me” or “I’ll go to the gym with you.”

Love is fueled by pathos to: speak out, act out, and reach out.

When Peter was describing the ministry of Jesus, he said, “He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil” (Acts 10:38).

As His follower, we are supposed to feel the needs of the hurting and confused around us, and then let that pathos fuel our love to go around doing good:

  • When you hear someone asking for help, offer help.
  • When you see someone who is down, be their friend.
  • When you don’t see a neighbor for a couple of days, check on them.
  • When you meet someone looking for answers, invite them to church with you.
  • When a friend is sick, send a card, bring a meal, or mow their lawn.

These kinds of good deeds make Jesus happy (see Matthew 25:40) because it’s a tangible way to love God and then serve God by loving and serving others.

BE LIKE JESUS—GO AROUND DOING GOOD! 

There should never, ever be such a thing as an apathetic Christian!

Are You Healthy Enough To Love Serving Others?

Jesus was wholly healthy. That is to say, He was healthy in every aspect of His life—mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally (see Luke 2:52). This is important to note because Christians are called to be healthy in all of these same areas.

The phrase Dr. Luke uses about Christ’s growth is a telling one: Jesus grew in favor with men. People liked having Jesus around. The word for favor is from the same root word where we also get grace. So Jesus was a graceful man.

What does it mean when someone is graceful? It means they are pleasant to be around … you feel safe around them, knowing they will never belittle you or put you down … their focus is on your agenda, not their own … they are a “there you are!” person, not a “here I am!” person.

Bottom line: they are filled with love for others.

Jesus was healthy in His mind, His body, His spirit and His emotions, which allowed Him to be in a unique place where He fully knew how powerful He was, yet He chose to use His power not for His own benefit, but to serve others (see John 13:1-4).

Healthy love loves God and then serves God by loving and serving others. Only a wholly healthy person can truly serve with a right attitude…

  • People with unhealthy thoughts won’t serve because they don’t know they’re supposed to serve.
  • People with unhealthy bodies can’t serve because their disease won’t let them.
  • People with unhealthy spirits shouldn’t serve because they are promoting hypocrisy.
  • People with unhealthy emotions don’t serve because their attitude gets in the way.

Jesus not only told us His loving service was an example for us (John 13:15-17), but He went on to say that our loving service would be an example for others (vv. 34-35).

Healthy love loves God and then serves God by loving and serving others.

Do you have that kind of healthy love? Are you becoming wholly healthy enough to serve?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I know that I’m not yet doing?
  2. What will it take for me to turn knowing into doing?
  3. Can people tell I am growing wholly healthier year by year?

Thursdays With Oswald—Love God First, People Second

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Love God First, People Second

     We erect terrific standards, and then criticize men for not reaching them. The standard of Christianity is not that of a man, but of God; and unless God can put His Spirit into a man, that standard can never be reached. … 

     If I am not related to God first my love becomes cruel, because I demand infinite satisfaction from the one I love; I demand from a human being what he or she can never give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. … 

     There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us. … Remember that “there is none good but One, that is, God.”

From Shade Of His Hand

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were, the first one He listed was love God with all you’ve got. Then, said Jesus, the second commandment is love others.

The order is crucial! If I try to love others first, my finite love will dry up. But if I make loving God the priority, then I become a channel of Infinite Love.

Only God’s love can satisfy my heart. Only God’s love can equip me to truly love others.

11 Quotes From “Your Next 24 Hours”

your-next-24-hoursHal Donaldson makes the case that a revolution of kindness can be started by what you do in the next 24 hours. It’s a great book! Check out my review of Your Next 24 Hours by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes that I found enlightening.

“Think of your heart as a bank vault that’s packed with the currency of love and kindness. When that currency is hoarded—it is wasted. But when it is invested in the lives of others, it pays great dividends. With each disbursement, you give others strength, hope, and value.”

“You have a unique capacity to bring hope and beauty to the world. Don’t waste your precious energy using the wrong ruler. Granted, not everyone will acknowledge your unique gifts. But don’t allow how others see you to dictate how you see yourself. The words they use to describe you don’t define you. You can’t control how they respond to you, but you can influence what they have to respond to.”

“If all you possess are two hands, collect trash along the way. If all you own is a smile, use it to befriend someone who is lonely. If all you have is an umbrella, share it with someone who is quivering in the rain. If all you have is a kind word, encourage those who think the world is against them. To the lonely, rain-soaked, and downtrodden, your resourcefulness is their miracle.” 

“If enough families are built on a foundation of kindness, communities will see crime rates fall, domestic disputes decline, suicides drop, teen pregnancies wane, and cases of child abuse fade.”

“Whenever you see injustice, it’s safer to ignore it and do nothing. When you raise your voice in defense of others, you put yourself at risk. Retreating will protect you temporarily, but that approach only perpetuates more injustice and suffering. Don’t allow the threat of retaliation to make you a spectator.”

“From a heart of kindness, will you stand and say, ‘There are no second class citizens—nor should anyone be made to feel like one. Every life is precious to God and must be treasured, because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?’ Remember, your voice is a vote for justice; your silence may be interpreted as a vote for injustice.”

“To offer the right prescription of hope and encouragement, you need to be emotionally and spiritually prepared.” 

“No life experience should be wasted, because crises teach patience, empathy, and perseverance.”

“Make it your goal to do more for your friends and family members than they do for you. When they are facing hardship, make an effort to be by their side. They may not know how to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to be proactive.” 

“Occasional kindness has limited power. But relentless kindness has the power to restore, inspire, rescue, and unite.”

“Your acts of kindness are an outward expression of the love and happiness that are in your heart.” 

I’ll be sharing more quotes from this wonderful book soon. To be notified right away when these quotes are posted, enter your email address to subscribe. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I share quotes from Hal Donaldson and other thought-provoking people every day.

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