Tag Archives: Friends

Friends

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. 

Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. 
Wouldn’t you like to get away? 
Sometimes you want to go 
Where everybody knows your name, 
and they’re always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.
You wanna go where people know, 

people are all the same, 

You wanna go where everybody knows 
your name.

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/cheerslyrics.html

Those are the lyrics to the theme song from the T.V. show “Cheers”.  The lyrics speak to our common longing. We want to be known, we want someone to know who we are.  We all want friends.  And yet, in our culture today friends, real friends, are hard to find and even harder to define.

Today I had lunch with one of the guys from our church.  He welcomed me with this question and a troubled frown, “Do you consider us friends or just acquaintances?”  That beginning didn’t bode well for the visit to follow.  The reason for his question was the awareness that he really doesn’t have many friends and was I one of them?

Friends are rare.  Real friends that is.  It takes years to get to know someone and often longer to really trust them.  Chuck Swindoll said, “If you have eight men at your funeral who don’t look at their watches you had a good life.”  Isn’t it sad that most of us have so few we connect with, even fewer who know us and care about us.

In the last two weeks I have visited with several of our men and in the visit asked them, “So, do  you have any friends?”  Both answered, to my amazement, “No”.  How sad that we live in a culture surrounded by others and no one knows us, no one cares.  How have we let this happen?  Why are we so fearful of the emotional intimacy a friend would offer?

It’s even worse for our young adults.  They have grown up with electronics between themselves and others.  Many have thousands as “friends” on Facebook, but know no one personally!  It’s a tragedy that is beginning to reveal itself in the suicides of lonely people with thousands of “friends” who have never met them.

So how do we move from this loneliness to relationship? How do we connect in a way that bridges the chasm we feel between us and others?  And, even more important, what is a “friend” anyway?  That question was one we asked our waiter today as my friend and I discussed our relationship.  Even our young waiter didn’t really know.

Here’s a project for you to work on, an assignment if you wish:  Write down on a piece of paper five names of people you consider friends.  Then, call them. Talk to them. Tell them how important their friendship is in your life.  No, you can’t text them or send them a note on Facebook.  That’s missing the point entirely.  You have to talk to them. Really talk to them…and even better…meet them for a meal.  It will make a difference in your life you never imagined.  It will refresh your soul and brighten your day!

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

God in the Furnace

It’s often hard to see God, to see his hand, his work in our lives. It’s often hard to sense his presence, but for the believer he’s ever present. In fact, he says he will never leave us, but most of the time we don’t sense his presence, we aren’t aware of his care.For me it’s the busy life I live that makes his voice hard to hear, his face hard to see. I don’t take the time to quiet my mind and heart to listen, to see him ever with me.The times when God is most visible, the times when we see him the most clearly are times of test, times of trial. It’s in those refining moments the ever present one is most clearly seen….with us even in the heat of the trial.As I read Daniel 3 this morning, the story of Daniel’s friends and their trial by fire, the ever present one is unseen until Daniel’s friends are in the midst of the flames. In those refining moments, in the furnaces of our lives, God’s presence is most clearly seen. It’s in those moments when we desperately need to see him. In the midst of the trial our questions abound, in the midst of the heat we need him most. Has he brought us to this trial to destroy us? Is he punishing us for our sins? Why is this happening to us?

And in the midst of the furnace God is with us. He never leaves us. Last night I was with a family in the furnace of a lifetime. It’s a trial by fire to be sure. This is when they most need God’s presence, his care, his love. It’s in their furnace that they will see him. He is always with us, always caring for us….even in the furnace of trials.

But why trials? Why use the furnace to make himself known and seen? It’s because in the furnace no one can help us but God. As the king said to Daniel’s friends, “Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” The king has defined the test- Is there a God who can deliver from the furnace? Is there someone to help when the trials of life overwhelm? The answer from the furnace is “YES! I’m here with you. Don’t worry, I will take care of you.”

The God of glory is always with us working for our good and his glory. In the midst of your furnace God is with you making himself known to you and seen by the world. In the midst of the furnace all other distractions are burned away and we see the ever present God who is always with us.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Have You Considered My Servant

Marie is @spreadingJOY on twitter and through her Non Profit Spreading Joy, she is encouraging everyone to do what they can, where they are – with what they have.  Making a difference has never been easier.  May the JOY of the Lord be your strength and your heart be encouraged as you consider this passage of scripture today.


And the LORD said unto satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth…. Job 2:3

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what financial status you achieve – YOU are going to have problems.  I realize I’m not being little Miss Sunshine with that statement nor am I spreading joy, but let’s face it, it is the truth.

The question then becomes, what are you going to do with your troubles?

When we are looking at our troubles, our hearts are tired, weak and weary.  We aren’t thinking straight because we are desperately searching for a way to escape, a way to fix what is broken or a new path because the old one is nothing more than a huge sink hole, waiting to swallow us into the belly of the earth.  Desperation is not fun. Then the horror really sets in when you think your friends will be there to help you and they decide to tell you why you are deserving of what you are receiving.  You were simply looking for some comfort, some support or even just some company and that just never happened as your friends decided to explore the possibilities of how you brought your trials upon yourself.

Troubles come at us for so many reasons.  Here are just a few.

  1. To grow our faith. When we have endured the night of horrors, our faith is strengthened for the next time. Each trial, each tribulation and every victory over them increases our faith.  Have you ever really thought about what you are praying when you pray “Lord, increase my faith?”
  2. To allow us to help others. I do not know the pain and grief of sending a child on to heaven before me.  I have several friends who do know this.  In the year 2000, both of my children’s best friends died.  Megan was 5 and Todd was 9.  I encouraged, prayed and helped where I could but I still had my children.  When a friend is grieving over the loss of their Dad and she happens to be a daddys girl – THAT kind of pain…I know.  There are so many ways we can encourage each other.  I’ve prayed for many people who needed jobs, but until recently, I did NOT know their frustrations in looking for one. Filling out the endless ocean of boxes and questions that take an hour to apply for one job is nothing short of a nightmare.  When I pray for those who need jobs now, I pray with more of an understanding of what they are going through in even looking for a job.
  3. For God’s glory. Sometimes we have troubles just so that when God has brought us through and we sing “how great is our God” because His mercy and grace were enough, our Lord is glorified and all those around us see.
  4. We reap what we sow. Then there are times that we have troubles because we have brought them upon ourselves.  Sure we may have asked for forgiveness, sure we may have stopped sowing that which would produce trouble, but the fact remains that sometimes we bring it on ourselves.  The bad part about this is that we don’t simply hurt ourselves when we do this, we hurt everyone around us.  You never just hurt your own self.  Ever.

 

What I really want to get through to you is, maybe JUST MAYBE the reason your troubles are mounting up one right after the other, the mountain is getting bigger by the minute and you’ve been beat down time and time again very well could be because God said…. “have you considered my servant………………?” and you may as well insert YOUR name there.

Out of everyone on the earth at that time, God PERSONALLY picked out Job and asks satan if he had considered him.  I know Job probably didn’t realize what an honor this was nor did he consider it an honor at the time, but have you ever really thought about that statement? I don’t know how many people were on the earth at that time, but God named JOB.  Can you imagine with me the kind of love Job had to have for the Lord for him to be singled out by God in that fashion? Do you wonder what Job must have done day in and day out to grab the heartstrings of the Lord so that he would call him by name, saying there is none like him on the earth?

If you feel like you are enduring the worst times of your life and you know you’ve been faithfully serving the Lord. Stay faithful, keep trusting in the One that holds your soul in His hands.  Allow him to carry you through. Just as His grace was enough for Job, it will be enough for you. Look around and see what you can learn, see what you can carry with you and rest safe in your Father’s arms. I Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that He will not give us more than we can handle.  Please do consider that the trials you are going through could be because God said to satan “have you considered……..?”

If things are going good for you right now and you are faithfully serving your redeemer, consider this – is it enough to grab His attention the way Job did?  Would you be willing to endure the trials if the Lord said your name instead of Job’s?

I don’t know about you, but I want the Lord elbowing the angels….pointing down at me and saying…hey – there she is – THERE’S my girl!!!  Essentially, that is EXACTLY what he did in Job’s case.

Have you considered……..?