Sunday, June 22, 2014

The value of having a good friend

After her last remaining friend died, I can remember my 89 year old grandmother saying to me, "All my friends are gone." I was just a child then, maybe no more than eight or nine years old, but I somehow sensed the significance of her statement as well as the sadness it caused her. Instinctively, I took hold of her hand, looked up at her and said, "Don't worry grandma, you'll always have me." Unfortunately, I lost my grandmother later that same year.

Friends serve an important purpose in our lives. The popular song, "That's What Friends Are For," celebrates friendship as something that endures in good times and bad with a kind of through thick and thin attitude that makes it both durable and dependable. Would it surprise you to know that having friends is good not just for the social benefits, but they are also good for your health. An Australian research study found that people with a large network of friends, who exert a positive influence on their lives, live longer than those with fewer or no friends.

Having a positive influence in your life is key. Most people tend to choose friends for the qualities that mesh well with their own. For example, someone who enjoys a quiet, peaceable, law abiding lifestyle would not pair well with someone who's a raucous, hard-drinking, social misfit unless he, too, wants to go down that road. It's a proven fact that the company you keep has a huge influence on you:
Do not be fooled. Bad companions ruin good character. -- 1 Corinthians 15:33
How many parents have preached that sermon to their children, only to have those children later admit, "If I'd only have listened to my parents."

Might not be such a bad idea to do a  friendship audit to access the nature and quality of your own friendships or lack thereof. Is your current friend status providing what you need to be the best person you can be? Do your friends exert a positive and stable influence on your life?  Are your friendships mutually satisfying and rewarding? Are you able to be honest, open and vulnerable with your friends and still be accepted? These qualities are meant to be reciprocal, of course.

Makes you wonder if the world would be a better place, a safer place, a more socially responsible place, and so on, if the practice of nurturing quality friendships was given more of a priority in our lives. In his book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without, author Tom Rath says:
 If you ask people why they became homeless, why their marriage failed or why they overeat, they often say it is because of the poor quality, or nonexistence, of friendships. They feel outcast or unloved.
Likewise, the philosopher Aristotle had this to say about the importance of friendship:
In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.
The whole idea of having friends originated with God, who said: "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness..." The first friendship ever recorded in human history was between God and the first man, Adam. Think about it. Adam was a friend of God. Not only did Adam have God's ear, he also had his trust. But we know from reading the Biblical account that friendship was broken when Adam sinned.

When a valued friendship goes awry, most people are willing to do whatever it takes to restore it. Well, God is no different. From the moment Adam sinned, God already had a plan in place to restore his friendship with mankind. It took God coming down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and dying on the cross in full payment not only for Adam's sin, but for those of all future generations.
Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. -- 1 Peter 2:24 NLT 
 God wants to be friends with you again. There's no better friend you could have in your life. why not accept His offer today. Pray like this:

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you into my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior. I want us to be friends again. Amen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Peace of mind

You may have seen the TV commercial about a character who calls himself "Mayhem." Good ole Mayhem goes about the neighborhood causing all kinds of trouble for innocent, unsuspecting people. After each disaster that he causes, Mayhem is heard to say, "if you had [blank] insurance you would be protected from mayhem like me."

Like Mayhem in the commercial, there is a real life character whose only purpose is to prey upon your life and mine, and for no other reason than to do us harm. His name is Satan. You may know him by his other names --- the devil, the accuser, the father of lies, the thief or the god of this world. The Bible compares Satan to a roaring lion that sneaks around looking for someone to attack (1 Peter 5:8). Satan's influence can be seen in individuals who do bad things to hurt other people like steal, murder, lie, quarrel, bully, cheat, hate and so on.

Satan loves to stir up trouble and doesn't care who gets hurt. He hates everybody, but most of all, he hates God. He wants to get back at God by destroying everything God created, including you and me. One tactic Satan uses is to try to get you to disbelieve God by telling lies about God. He used the same tactic on Eve in the Garden of Eden, and caused her to disobey God. Eve's was the first sin recorded in the Bible. You'll find the full account in the book of Genesis. Satan hasn't changed much since then. He is still causing people to sin. All the chaos, wars, tragedies and evil in the world today can be traced back to him.

The good news is God offers a life insurance plan that provides complete protection against Satan's attacks. This insurance policy is activated by faith and acceptance of  his son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Jesus came for the sole purpose of destroying the devil, and anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved from Satan's grasp (Romans 10:13).

Satan has no power over those who believe in Christ. And he knows that. One of the biggest lies that Satan will tell you is that you don't need God. If you believe this, Satan's got you right where he wants you. This is what Jesus says about Satan's motives:
The thief  [Satan] comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness. John 10:10
Think about it. Who would you trust? The most important decision you have to make is deciding where you want to spend eternity... in the hands of Satan, the destroyer or in the presence of a loving God? It's your choice.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. John 3:16

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Have a blessed day

This day has been brought to you by God. As you go about your activities today, here are just a few things God would like you to know:

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11
When you call to me, I will answer. I will be with you in [your] trouble. Psalm 91:15
I will [send] my angels to protect you wherever you go. Psalm 91:12
I will never leave you or forsake you. Joshua 1:15
Trust in me with all your heart. Don't rely on what you think you know. remember me in everything you do, and I will show you the right way. Proverbs 3:5-6
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Have you ever had someone break a promise to you? Not a good feeling is it? People break promises to each other all the time without giving it much thought. Not so with God. God has never broken not even one of his 3,500 promises found in the Bible. A few of his often quoted promises are sampled here for you.

Write them down. Hold them close to your heart. For those times when you feel lonely, tired or discouraged, God's promises are there to lift you up.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Need prayer? Feel free to leave a  prayer request or go to if you would like someone to pray with you.