Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday -- Sunrise, Sunset

From where the sun rises to where the sun sets, the name of the LORD should be praised. ~ Psalm 113:3, God's Word Translation

Locations: Various parks throughout Hamilton Township; Brigantine Beach and bay, Flemington, Delaware River in NJ; and Sandy Cove in North East, Maryland

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wordless Wednesday -- Clouds

“There is no one like the God of Israel.
He rides in the heavens to help you.    
    He rides on the clouds in his glory. Deuteronomy 33:26 (NIRV)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Friend Loves At All Times

A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity. Proverbs 17:17 AMP

Today I have been thinking about friendships.

I’ve been blessed with some wonderful friends over the course of my life so far.

Friends who were allowed to remain for a season and then, for whatever reason, were removed from my life.

I am grateful for them.

Friends who have come along side me, praying with me and for me, through good times and bad times. Friends who have been with me when it was easy being my friend and when, through my own stubbornness, stupidity and sinfulness, I made it extremely difficult for them.

And yet…they stood firm and remained.

I am grateful for them, too.

I have not always been a good friend to others.  This is not a ploy for sympathy. I’m not looking for people to jump in here and saturate me with comments and compliments about what a wonderful person I am and how I could even say something like that, etc.  Please. I’m just trying to be as honest as I can here.

And to be honest, I have not been the kind of friend that others have been to me.

The kind of friend who will let me know when I’m behaving like a horse’s patoot

The kind of friend who will love me in spite of myself

The kind of friend who will caution me when I’m about to speak or write hurtful words in anger and in haste

The kind of friend who will warn me about the consequences that will result from a poor choice I’m about to make or who will do their best to keep me from acting upon a foolish decision I’ve already made 

The kind of friend who is comfortable with telling me words like


Or with saying things like

“You need to take a step back and give this more thought”

“I think you’re making a mistake”

“This is wrong”

Or with asking me questions like,

“Did you take it to the Lord first?”

“Have you prayed about or talked this over with anyone?”

“Do you think God would be pleased with this?”

The kind of friend who will hold me accountable to promises and commitments I've made to do or to refrain from doing something

The kind of friend who is unashamed and unafraid to speak up, to speak out and to ‘speak the truth in love’ to me. Even at the risk of losing our friendship

I bring this up because recently, I was given the opportunity to actually BE this kind of friend for someone else….and I blew it. Big time.

Even as all the red flags were going up and waving vigorously in my face; even as all the bells and whistles were going off inside my head as my friend spoke of  recent experiences and events that had taken place, and of a journey they were about to embark on that I feared would take them into a dangerous area, it just seemed easier to ignore the warnings.

Yes, as uncomfortable as I was from all those not-so-gentle nudges from the Holy Spirit, it was just so much easier for me to sit, listen, smile and nod my head in all the appropriate places. To just keep silent, be agreeable, and to let it slide. No stress. No mess. No confrontations.

Because anyone who knows me well knows...
I don’t like confrontations!!

But sometimes – love has to be tough. Sometimes – the truth hurts. And sometimes -- 


Jesus knew this.  He always spoke the truth in love to people.  

There was no sugarcoating with Jesus. While He displayed unconditional and unfailing love to those He came in contact with, I think it's safe to say that there were times Jesus also demonstrated tough love. He didn’t let things slide. He asked the hard questions. And He took the risks and said the radical things that NEEDED to be said to family, friends and Pharisees alike, knowing full well that His words could and would be taken out of context by some, infuriate and offend others, and cause many to flat out turn away, deeming Him a blasphemer or a kook.

Yet, Jesus was truly a Friend Who loved at ALL times. And I want to be like that. I want to be that kind of friend.  I WANT to be like Jesus.

I WANT to be able to say the risky, radical truths that my friend needs to hear.

I WANT to be able to speak the truth in love to my friend.

But I am afraid.  

I am afraid it will damage our friendship.  I am afraid my friend will see my loving confrontation as me just being judgmental of their situation, as some already have. I am afraid they'll become angry and offended and walk away – for good.

But I know I HAVE to move past my fears and make the effort to speak. And speak NOW.  

Maybe you've been in a situation like this before with a friend. How did you handle it? Or perhaps you're in this situation right now. Won't you join me in praying about it?

Lord, help me to be unafraid to engage in meaningful, challenging and difficult conversations with my friends when the situation or need arises. Give me words to speak -- Your words, Lord, that I might be able to give them wise counsel in their moments of confusion and indecision, conviction (and not condemnation) when they're headed in the wrong direction or already treading upon a dangerous path. May my friend's heart be open, accepting and teachable to what needs to be said. And, because of You, Jesus, and the precious love and friendship You've offered to me, may I become a better friend -- the kind of Friend You were...and are. Amen

Something about just being with you
When I leave I feel like I've been near God
And that's the way it ought to be, yeah

'Cause you've been more than a friend to me
You fight off my enemies
'Cause you've spoken the Truth over my life

And you'll never know what it means to me
Just to know you've been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life

More than you'll ever know ~

lyrics to More Than You'll Ever Know  by Nathan & Christy Nockels

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