Posts Tagged ‘friends’

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” At the time James was writing his letter to his converted brethren, many Jews were claiming righteousness while promoting violence either outwardly or by virtue of manipulation.  In fact it was out of envy that the Jewish leaders handed Jesus over to Pilate.

 

Matt. 27:15-18 15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.

 

Do you rejoice when others succeed or do you harbor secret envy or criticism? Worldly wisdom is selfish, robs God of His glory, and exalts man.  Today commit to avoid self promotion at the expense of others. Paraphrase Psalm 17:3-5 for your prayer today.

3     Though you probe my heart and examine me at night,
though you test me, you will find nothing;
I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.
4     As for the deeds of men—
by the word of your lips
I have kept myself
from the ways of the violent.
5     My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.   

 

Nancy and J at Cearwater Beach, FL

Well, we moved, again. We have been in Florida for a month now. It is winter everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere, but winter eludes Florida.  Yes, there are a lot of older people. Yes, many men wear Hawaiian shirts, my husband included. And yes, it is a tropical paradise. Our home has a beautiful pool and great kitchen with granite counter tops, the kids have made lots of friends and work is going well for J. But I miss North Carolina. I miss long walks in the woods, coffee and lunch with friends, and I miss Seminary.  Every Wednesday morning I long to be with my Bible study group who have been faithfully covering my family with a blanket of prayer.

 However, we are instructed not to dwell on what we do not have, but to praise God for the present. So I spent my morning refocusing my heart by creating a praise list. It is very easy to come up with 10, 20 maybe even 30 generalizations. So after excluding those I was left with some specific praises, I hope you are blessed by this entry. And I pray that you will be encouraged to redirect your heart as well. 

Rom. 12:2  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Lord, I praise you for:

1. D climbing on my lap to read this morning. You have blessed him with a unique curiosity and an analytical mind challenging me to experience this world in ways that only his presence in my life can bring.

2. My husband’s kiss this morning. Help me to continue to put his needs before mine and to be generous with my mind and body regardless of how I feel. 

3. An email from a new friend. Being new to this area has isolated me again, but You have been faithful in sending people to encourage me and befriend me even when I am not looking for them. 

4.Sending Dr. Geisler to speak in Tampa Sunday. He delivered a message that I know blessed many.  Please send someone in my path this week who needs to hear about God’s providence and help me to reproduce the message accurately.

5. My morning cup of coffee.You are faithful to meet me every morning, renewing my strength for the day and showering me with new grace. I pray that my words and actions, even my impulsive words and actions will be pleasing in Your sight. Without faith it is impossible to please You, so Lord help me with my unbelief. Strengthen my resolve so that I may live a life without compromise.

I love my church family!  Finding a new church home can be one of the most daunting tasks of any move.  It is like replacing your family.  People who love and minister to you, encourage and teach, forgive and shower you with grace when you are human – people who are quite simply genuine are hard to find these days.  Friendship, the kind that takes deep root and grows forever, that is what I long for here at my new home here in North Carolina.

 

It is true what they say, “You don’t know what you have until it is gone.”  When I moved, I suddenly found myself friendless.  Not fun, but God used sudden stillness to take me alongside Him so He could show me a few things – like the value in sharing myself with others.  One of the most priceless things He showed me recently is the value in extending grace to everyone from the pesky telemarketers to little boys tracking Carolina red clay all over my new carpet. I can’t think of anyone who has extended more grace to me over the years than my sisters, especially Kim.

 

Let me first begin with a sincere confession. I was an evil child. I am still apologizing for things I did to Kim when we were toddlers. I should probably tell you a little about my sister. She is tall, beautiful and a mother of 6 (5 of which are boys.) She home schools the whole lot of them ranging in age from 2-17.  She is the peacemaker type, but she has always been bigger than me and can easily kick my tail when deserving. I on the other hand don’t mind confrontation.  In fact, at certain times of the month I may actually seek it out.  This story takes place during one of those special times.

 

To preface this story you need to be aware that when you have six kids, housekeeping is reduced to maintenance only.  Just try to maintain the status quo, don’t let things get out of hand, keep the piles of laundry down to knee height and we’re good. Wiping baseboards and ceiling fans have about the same priority as shaving your legs in the winter.  As well it should be.

 

Visiting Kim one day, I noticed a significant accumulation of dust on the ceiling fan in the living area. You know on television how they sometimes show the little good angel on one shoulder and the little bad angel on the other? Well, my good angel had apparently taken off to Bass Pro shop for the afternoon to escape little Miss PMS, because I didn’t hear a peep out of him.  But the evil little guy on my shoulder pipes up, “Hey, I wonder what would happen if you reverse the direction on the fan.  I bet it would be funny.”  Now, I like funny. So I agreed.  My sister walks in, flips the switch and suddenly dust bunnies were dive bombing the living room. My sister glares at me with little grey fluffs crowning her head like a matronly tiara.

 

Immediately I get “the look.” Maybe you know “the look.” The one that says, “I am so going to wipe you off the face of this planet!”

 

I should probably add to my timely confession that I also have no filter between the brain and the mouth during certain times of the month. So as you would expect, I don’t take a hint from just “the look.”  I notice a plump bunny floating down and resting at Kim’s feet, and I pop off, “Hey, if we take a cross section of that one and count the rings, maybe we can tell how old it is.”  I thought that was hilarious!  I was wrong.

 

I am one of those Extra Grace Required people.  And my sisters have showered me with more than my share of grace.  My sisters are my best friends.  We have history. Moving across the country from my best friends has been hard.  But God went before me to North Carolina and hand picked a wonderful group of women who have made my transition here one of my greatest blessings.  We share our lives with each other, carry each others burdens and together we sit at the feet of Jesus every week to hear God’s voice. This Blog is for them, for us. My hope is that you will find Christ in these pages as we share our hearts with you.