Friday, 30 July 2010

TANGIBLE FRIENDSHIPS


Even my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted
(relied on and was confident), who ate of my bread,
has lifted up his heel against me.
Psalm 41:9


Tangible is defined as: capable of being touched or felt; having real substance

If we are honest, most of us would have experienced the reality of the opening verse. When we found ourselves in trouble, we look around and we see no one, but air. Your friends friends or thought you could at least rely on, seemed to have emigrated from the planet, just when you needed them the most.

I have learnt that adversity often brings us face-to face with the need to question our circle of influence, those around us.  It will cause us to associate with a different people, from all works of life, people that we might never have met or given the time of the day.  This is always a good thing.  It will also move us to severe ties with those who we have unwise associations with - it could be a friend, an employer, an employee or partner. Inevitably there will be times when adversity will force us to really look at the peope we relate to within our world and to look within to see if we make frienship easy.  Are we a friendly people?

However, in the Bible, through the relationship between David and Jonathan, we see a good model of true friendship. 

When we read 1 Samuel 20, we see that Jonathan was moved to do tremendous things for his friend David. This was because of the love and loyalty towards him. Jonathan did the following:

  • He warned David of possible danger from his father Saul. Read 1 Samuel 19:1-3 for completion
  • He spoke well of David, even to those who thought David was an enemy. Read 1 Samuel 19:4 for completion
  • He went the extra mile to do what David needed him to do.  He saw the situation David was in and asked what he could do to help him.  He did not have to wait for David to beg or plead. Willingly he requested and did what David asked Him. Read 1 Samuel 20:4-20 for completion
  • He risked his very life by defending David to his father. I mean Saul nearly nailed him to the wall with a spear! Now that is bravery for a friend. Read 1 Samuel 20:32 - 33
  • He helped David to escape Death by his father Saul.  Read 1 Samuel 20: 35 - 41

Now after reading the above, I thought to myself, I really must brush up on some of my friendship skills! Yikes!!  It makes me ask questions such as - how many of us will put our lives in danger to help a friend?

Taking into consideration the current economic climate of this world, some of our friends might be going through a rough patch, finding it a difficult to keep their heads above water, day after day, so I ask:
  • How many of us will forgo that holiday to pay a friend's mortgage, bills or save them from going completely under?
  • How many of us will take a friend and their family to the shops and buy thier montly grocery?
  • How many of us will take our eyes off ourselves for a minute, see out and take the time to ask a friend how they are doing; without having to wait for that friend to come and ask or beg for help; knowing fully well that they need it. 
  • How many of us like Jonathan, is willing to lay down his/her life for a friend, if we have to? Selah...

"An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city.
Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars".
Proverbs 18:19

 
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes what should be the ingridients of true friendship; to Christians and non- Christians alike. Some of what Paul advices for us to have is: politeness, selflessness, positive, free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness, roted in truth.  It is also hopeful, supported, sees the best in people and endures till the end.  Please read 1 Corinthians 13 for completeness.

Friendship starts within us, we must first learn to be a friendly person as we are taught in Proverbs 18:24, which reads "A man who has friends must himself be friendly...".

Yes, it might be a bit difficult with all the things we have to juggle on a daily basis, but we must make time to make friends and nurture friendship. It does not have to cost much either. Thank God for technology, we can send emails, chat and call for free on Skye and much more.  I encourage us all to do what we can to establish and keep the friendship connection flowing. Remeber, God created us to be Relational beings.

My hope is that especially in the times we are living in, that the essence and example from Jonathan and David's friendship will be eminent in our lives.  I encourage us to submit to the Holy Spirit and He will help bring to attention areas within  us that may require a little work to help us build stringer and effective relationships.   I sure know I need some help, how about you?

If you don't have a lot of close friends, don't be too hard on yourself.  Remember, true friendships are a rare treasures. Besides, they take time to establish, build up and it requires a lot of wisdom, patience and commitment.   So start with developing or nuturing one meaningful frienship, taking it one day at a time and go from there.

Establishing healthy relationships and friends is a process, which when we rely on God to help us, makes us become more like Jesus Christ.

Have a wonderful weekend filled with love, laughter and the richness only true friendship can bring.


Friends will come
friends will go
A true friend, your hand 
they will always hold

Friends will come
friends will go 
A true friend heart delights 
in watching you prosper and grow



Much Love, Remi
***pictures by google***



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Friday, 23 July 2010

ENDURANCE: A NECESSARY QUALITY



I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
 But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” 


In today's economic and social climate we are surrounded by great opposition to progress at work, home and at play.  It is a challenge now to keep our living on the straight path, and to keep our minds, sight and focus on God and His promises.  
We have might have commenced this year on a high note, with prayer and fasting and thinking "it is Month 7  and asking the questions such as "where is my testimony"? "Where are the manifestations of progress God promised?"  " I prayed and screamed Amen on the top of my lungs?" How come everyone has a testimony except me"? 

However, we must remember that our God is a faithful God.  He assures of His faithfulness in Deuteronomy 7:9 and it reads "Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands".   He will do that which he has promised to do, but He needs our participation in bringing it to manifestation.

The question is NOT 'what can God do', BUT 'what we believe and are we doing that which He has asked us to do'.
The period between said prayers and manifested answers is called 'WAITING'.  This waiting period is not a passive position, it is an active one. Whilst we wait, we wait by 'DOING' that which God has laid on our hearts to do.   We must make a heartful decision and declaration to do what God says to do like the Psalmist David in Psalm 119:8, which reads "I'm going to do what you tell me to do...".

Willingness and obedience, mixed with expectation is the bridge of delivery to God's promises.
  

Man prays', God says, Man does with joy, gladness and expectation, and God blesses


But the waiting period is too long most of us cry. The waiting period is different from person to person, but most of times our willingness and obedience will determine if we wait a day, a week, a month a year or a lifetime for that which we seek - according to God's will for our lives.

However long our waiting period is, one thing we must develop is the nature and spirit of ENDURANCE
Endurance is defined as: The state or fact of persevering: For example, "through hard work and endurance, we will complete our life's work"

In the book of Ezra (please read Ezra 4: 1-24 for Completion) we read a harassed people of Israel who faced opposition in doing what God had commissioned them to do do, which was the rebuilding of the temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar decades earlier.  They faced opposition from their adversaries, who even tried to get the then king of Persia to stop them.  However, God's people, endured and successfully completed the rebuilding of the temple. 

Sometimes, we might be doing all we know how to do and find ourselves still waiting.  God is a good God and He will not willingly withhold any good thing from us. This means we must make sure we are in tune and aligned with what God is doing at that time.  It could be for various reasons such as developing a good character in us, ready for the blessing, so that it will not crush us.  It could be that God's timing for that thing is not here yet and such.  However, the key to this period of waiting is to be in tune with God, ask Him what He is doing and for an understanding of the time and the season of waiting that you might find yourself in.  When we do, His Spirit will guide, teach and comfort us.

As with when we face trails in life, in our waiting periods, God Has promised not to abandon us as He declares in Hebrews 13: 5, which reads "...“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”  Remember God honours His word above His name - Psalm 138:2.


I can hear you say, I hear all you are saying Remi, but it's still difficult, what and how do I develop endurance whilst actively waiting on God?   I am glad you asked. Here are a few things we can do:

1.  Encourage others to be encouraged:  It is easy to get caught up in our own problems, the house, the kids, the bills, the job, the investments and so on. But we are relational beings  - I wrote about this HERE and we are called to help one another.  In the time of waiting, it is paramount that we rise above our own needs and encourage others so that we too can be encouraged.  We can also get encouragement from the bible, Hebrews 12:1 talks about the "cloud of witnesses" in the hall of faith. If they went through all they did and came out strong and victorious, so can we.

2.  Get rid of Hindrances:  A hindrance is something that stops, that prevents or disallows one to do something.  In Hebrews 12:1 we are encouraged to get rid of sin that easily traps and hinders us.  When we expose and entrust ourselves to God, He will help us identify the things that are causing hindrances in our lives, that is or could slow us down.  It is our job to work with the Holy Spirit to rid ourselves of them. 

3. Run the race:  We are encouraged in Hebrews 12:2 to run the race of endurance set before us. Not the one set before our aunt, or uncle, or pastor or brother or sister, but we as individuals. Yes, we will run alongside all these people, but each of us has a specific race that God wants us to run and win. Quitting when the going gets tough is NOT an option.  God's strength is always available when we feel tired. 

4.  Keep your eyes on Jesus Christ: Ah this sometimes is the difficult one, especially, when we are slapped from all angles with all sorts of crises.  However, Hebrews 12:2, encourages us to "keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith".  Author is defined as 'the maker of anything; creator; originator'.  Finisher is defined as 'to complete and perfect in detail'. The word finisher also means 'to perfect'.  When we keep our focus on Jesus, He will help us perfectly complete and win the race He has set before us.  

I encourage you (point to myself too), that whilst you are 'actively waiting' on the manifestation of God's promise, to be willing and obedient in doing that which He has told you - not your aunt, or cousin or pastor or your brother, but YOU -  to do, and in the TIME to do it.  Time is very important in God's agenda for our lives Ephesians 5:16 reminds us  that we must make use our time wisely, it reads "Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil"

Regardless the opposition, the struggle keep on pushing forward in God's strength and with the help of the Holy Spirit , build up supernatural endurance to do all that God's say you should do, in the time He says you should do it and perfectly completing your race.
In no time, your willingness, obedience and endurance will pay off, and the testimonies that will manifest, will go on to make God famous along your way.

Much love, Remi
***pictures by google***



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