Friendship: An Unshakable Community

Scriptures to Read

Exodus 17:8-12, 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 20 and 23:14-18, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Matthew 18:20, Acts 14:8-20


Devotional

No one wants to go though life alone. A friend is one who is there in times of sadness and joy. Jesus says that He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He’s our best friend. He’s the one we need to seek first when times are hard and give Him thanks before sharing good news. He’s our everything and when we realize this truth we can live a life of freedom– fully alive.

Although Jesus is our BFF, He stills wants us to do life together and be surrounded with God-fearing women; friends that will encourage, motivate, listen and turn our focus back toward Jesus.

I have had struggles in the past with making and keeping friends. High school was especially hard for me. Those are years I do not want to revisit and for good reason. I didn’t make good choices that aligned with my faith and I had my heart broken one to many times by friends I thought were in it for the long haul. With those struggles I found solace in my relationship with Jesus and realized He wouldn’t leave me or forget about me. He wouldn’t toss me to the side for better friends. He wouldn’t stop talking to me because I made a mistake. He truly is in it for the long haul— thick or thin– better or worse.

I remember praying for a godly girlfriend, a friend that would encourage me and be someone I could share a mutual passion for God. He has answered my prayers in more ways than I can count. I have a circle of girlfriends that have become my unshakable community. These are ladies I can share my heart, my fears, ambitions, desires, struggles and more; knowing they will encourage me, pray for and with me, and turn my focus toward Jesus.

“When our friendships are based on our common love for God and our desires for God’s best for each other, then our friendships can be as tough and true and deep as the on between David and Jonathan.” (Women’s Devotional Bible 2006 Edition pg. 351)

Friendship is one of the best gifts God created. We were never meant to live life alone. The Bible is full of friendships that give us godly examples of how two are better than one.

Paul had Barnabas. (Acts 14:8-20)

Paul and Barnabas went all over Galatia preaching the gospel and bringing people to Jesus. While in Lystra, Galatia Paul was beaten and dragged outside the city. Barnabas along with other believers surrounded Paul and prayed for him. Afterwards Paul got up and went back into the city. God uses friends to pray for us in times we can’t carry the burden alone. We need to be surrounded by praying women.

Moses had Aaron and Hur. (Exodus 17:8-12)

During the battle against the Amalekites, Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms during the battle because every time Moses lowered his arms, holding the staff, the Israelites would start to lose. God uses friends to hold us up when we are too weak to carry on.

David had Jonathon. (1 Samuel 23:14-18)

David, the warrior king, needed encouragement from Jonathon when all hope seemed lost. God uses our friends to point us back to Him and His word. Our minds, the world and our feelings often have too much input into our lives. God’s Word is most important and truest truth.

Jesus had 12 disciples (specifically Peter, James & John). (Matthew 26:36-39)

If Jesus needs friends… we ALL need friends. He poured His heart out about His impended death to Peter, James and John right before He was arrested and crucified. God uses our friends to help shoulder the hardships and trials by sitting with us, listening and praying with us.

Ruth had Naomi. (Ruth 1:16-18)

Naomi thought her life was over. He husband and sons were all dead. Yet, Ruth stood by her side and gave her a new life to enjoy with a grandson that would be a descendant of Jesus. God uses friends to add joy to our lives and bring us happiness.

Paul had Silas. (Acts 16:16-40)

While in Philippi, Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged, stripped and imprisoned together. They also witnessed a miracle when God opened the jail doors and the jailer was saved. God uses friends to stand with us through trials and be there when we come out. It’s better to endure together and have a victory to praise God for when you reach the other side. God uses friends to mutually encourage one another.

“The impulse of love that leads us to the doorway of a friend is the voice of God within and we need to be afraid to follow it.” Agnes Sanford 

Take some time to thank God for the friends you have in your life and ask God to surround you with friends who love Him and seek Him first. God wants us to be in community and live life to the fullest — together.

If you’re not in a small group community at your local church I would encourage you to join if available. If not, maybe you could start one. God will meet all your needs according to His riches and glory. He won’t leave you without friends; allow yourself to be sensitive to His leading and step out in faith. Friendships take time to grow and strengthen. Don’t be discouraged if your first try doesn’t succeed. Have faith and know Jesus is your FIRST Best Friend– always available.


Research and Define

Blue Letter Bible

  1. Friend

 


Questions and Reflections:

  1. How does the Word describe friendship?
  2. Do you consider yourself to be the type of friend God’s Word describes?
  3. Describe another friendship found in the Bible.
  4. Describe how God uses friends to build His Kingdom.
  5. What does God say about His role in friendships? (Eccl. 4:12)

Memorize and Meditate

Ecclesiastes 4:12

With God in the center nothing is impossible.


Pray

Heavenly Father I come to you in the Name of Jesus. Thank you for surrounding me with friends who love You. It’s my hearts desire to be a good, loving friend. Help me to be the kind of friend you’ve called me to be. Ultimately, You are my first and best Friend. I love You and want to know You more.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

A Woman of Influence

Read:

1 Kings 11-12:20, Esther 2:15 – 7:10, Acts 13:13-52


Devotional:

Today we are going to study our power of influence as women.

“God entrusted to womankind a most wonderful and terrible gift: the power of influence.” Beth Moore Living Beyond Yourself 

The sense of smell triggers emotion and memory. I can remember the smell of my mom when I was growing up. I can’t recall the name of the perfume she wore, but she had a sweet, comforting fragrance that made me feel safe and loved. On nights when my brother and I would stay at my grandmas while my parents went out to dinner I would get so excited for her to return just to smell her. It was H.O.M.E. to me. She was my world and I adored her– still do.

My mother had an enormous influence over me. She was my first teacher and guide. She nurtured me, helped me grow and develop, taught me right from wrong and encouraged me in the right direction.

As women, we have this amazing, powerful and frightening gift of influence over our children and families. We have to choose to use that power for good and not evil. There’s a fine line between influence and manipulation. We want to raise godly children not brainwashed children. We want honest and loving marriages not stepford husbands.

Eve was the woman behind the fall of man. Satan knew of Eve’s influence and tricked Adam by persuading Eve first. Adam was influenced by Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Just as Eve was targeted by Satan in the garden of Eden we can become targets if we aren’t Prepared, Patient and Poised.

King Solomon was greater in ______________ and _______________ than all the other kings of the earth (1 Kings 10:23 NIV). With everything King Solomon had he still fell under the influence of his wives. He had many many wives from all over. Each wife brought a different religion into the marriage. Solomon eventually allowed his wives to  turn his _____________ after __________

_______, and his heart was not ________  _________ to God (1 Kings 11:4 NIV). The wisest king in the entire earth still fell pray to the influence of women. What a gift was possess. I believe God has called us daughters to action and intentional living in order to be gentle and peaceful instead of anxious or stressed.

Preparation + Patience + Poise = a Women of Good Influence

Preparation: Get ready by reading God’s Word, praying and spending time with Him; letting Him influence your personality, behavior and character. (Luke 6:45)

Patience: (this is my area of internal struggle— I always want to do things on my time instead of waiting for the right time.) Seek God’s purpose and plans for your life. Let him tell you “when”. Be patient as you wait in His Presence.

Poised: Well-Mannered, Balanced, Nobel Character: We are dispensers of God’s grace. He uses us, ladies, to nurture, encourage, love, teach and so much more. When we find our confidence in God’s competence we are able to live balanced, composed and courageous lives.

“Confidence allows us to face life with boldness, opens and honesty. It enables us to live without worry and to feel safe. It enables us to live authentically.” Joyce Meyer The Confident Women

In closing, let’s take a look at the influence of Queen Esther and the way she prepared, was patient and poised. From the moment she entered the palace she found favor with the king and all those in authority. She was given special food and beauty treatments immediately. Having favor allowed Esther to gain confidence that allowed her to be used by God in a mighty way.

Finding favor gives you influence.

Preparation: Esther prayed, fasted and prepared for her meeting with the king. (Esther 4:16)

Patience: Esther was patient when making her request to the king on behalf of the Jews. She didn’t panic and rush into the throne room. She didn’t even make her concerns known until the second dinner. (Esther 5:7-8)

Poise: Esther was controlled and well mannered in her actions during a difficult and frightening situation. I Believe that’s because she took the time to prepare and was filled with peace and faith that only God could’ve provided. She knew the God she served was a powerful God. He was in control no matter the outcome. (Esther 4:16)


Research and Define

Blue Letter Bible

Influence:

Favor:

Power:

Manipulate:

 


Questions and Reflections:

  1. How do you receive favor from people?
  2. How do you influence people the most?
  3. What about Esther’s story of influence seems most remarkable?
  4. When you think of influence, what/who do you think about? Why?
  5. Do you influence or manipulate more?
  6. Take a moment and list your strengths.

Memorize and Meditate

Proverbs 31:26

We have a choice to use our influence for encouragement or discouragement. Choose to speak life today.


Pray

Heavenly Father I come to you in the Name of Jesus. Thank you so much for loving me. Lord, influence my personality, alter me from the inside out to reflect Your glory. You are my rock and foundation. I will choose to be an influence for good. All I do I do for You, to honor and glory Your name. Help me to encourage and uplift, be patient and poised and prepared for all that comes my way.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen


Related Scriptures

Proverbs 31:26-27

1 Kings 10:23

1 Kings 11:4-6

Romans 1:12

2 Corinthians 2:14

1 Peter 3:4

Download this iPhone 6 wallpaper as a daily reminder this week.

 

The Divine Potter

Scriptures: Jeremiah 18:1-10 and 29:11-14, Isaiah 30:21, and Romans 9:21

Have you ever felt like you’ve missed the mark one too many times or missed the path that God has laid out for you to take?

I know I have. I question my decisions all the time and wonder if I made the wrong choice or missed an opportunity God set up for me.

I find myself wondering how God can use me when I keep messing up. How can I be in His perfect will if I cannot figure out what it is? Well, Jeremiah had some words of wisdom for me today. In Jeremiah 18:4, he describes a scene that he witnessed in which a potter is shaping and creating a pot. But, the pot he is making is marred (damaged, flawed, spoiled, blemished). Instead of throwing it out and getting a new piece of unmarred clay, the potter takes the same piece and begins to rework, reshape, and recreate another pot… one that is the best.

 I am that marred clay; blemished, flawed, and spoiled because I’m human. But, God doesn’t throw me out and get someone different to fulfill the plans He has for me. He takes the same ole’ me.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a huge relief. Phew.

Even in my “marred” state, God sees my potential and He sees the “pot” I can be. He continues to use me.

So, when I wonder if I’ve missed hearing His voice, missed an opportunity to witness to someone, missed the path He laid out for me… He doesn’t give up on me. He never leaves me behind, He’s always walking along this journey with me.

I hope this helps someone today that way it helped me. He’ll never give up on you. Let Him reshape, rework, recreate you into the person He’s called you to be. He loves you so much and just wants the very best for you. 

have a wonderful day. xo

Faith is a Choice

Have you ever found yourself doubting what you always thought was true? Have you ever questioned your faith? I have. I heard it once said to “lead through your weaknesses” so that your humanity will show. My weakness is my mind and the thoughts that I let invade. God’s been teaching me through His word about doubt and faith. I grew up going to church, became a Christian at the age of four, attended a Christian school, had a pastor for a dad, a missionary for a grandmother…etc (you get the picture). I was imbedded in my faith. I loved that about my childhood. But, as an adult I’ve found my own relationship with Jesus outside of my family and “upbringing”. I had to discover Him for myself. I did. However, over the course of my adulthood, I’ve had bouts of doubt. Doubt in everything. I would let my mind run away with thoughts about my purpose on the earth and the reality of Jesus. While worshipping and praising Him with song at the begging of a church service my thoughts would shift from Jesus’ face to “wow, I look to ridiculous, raising my hands to an invisible ‘God’.” At that moment, I would stop and repent. Making know to God my doubt, my hesitation, my weaknesses. The funny thing is, no one would’ve ever known this about me. I never talked about it with anyone, never let it show in my actions, never spoke it out loud in a private prayer. It was a hidden hiccup, a hidden doubt. I felt so ashamed. How could I doubt Jesus and His love for me. Then I’m reminded of doubting Thomas in the Bible. Thomas was a disciple who couldn’t just believe that Jesus had risen from the grave, he had to see it for himself. But, that’s not faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1I was letting my focus slip away from Jesus and drift towards doubt. I needed a serious intervention from God. So, I dove into His word.  I will be talking more about doubt in upcoming posts. God’s working this out through me and by His grace I’m conquering doubt by building my faith. Faith is an action. Faith is a choice. Act.

I choose to believe in Jesus. I choose to trust in Him. I’m dropping my doubt and picking up my Bible. I’m acting to believe.

Read more about how to lead through your weaknesses here.