Friday, June 26, 2009

Faithful Friends

2 Samuel 19:1-8
Verse 7: "Now, get up! Go out and encourage your soldiers, for I swear by the Lord that if you don't go out, not a man will remain with you tonight. This will be worse for you than all the trouble that has come to you from your youth until now!"

Sometimes we need a true friend to speak to us about our attitudes. All of us have found ourselves in the midst of a pity party at one time or another. We may even have a genuine reason to feel sorry for ourselves! David sure did in 2 Samuel 19: not only had he failed his son in such a way that that son had turned against him, but now his son was dead and there was no longer a chance at reconciliation. Whether we have a reason or not, there comes a time to mourn and a time to get past it. We may not be sure when that time is, but a faithful friend will not only cry with us but help us up when the time comes to dance again.

Leaders must be careful about how they are leading, as Joab was trying to admonish David. The fact is, ALL Christians are leading someone: parents lead their families, teachers lead their students, bosses lead their employees. Someone may be looking to you and you don't even know it.

Many times over the years I have had those faithful friends who have "talked straight" to me and pulled me out of a pity-party. The blessing in it was that they never said, "You have no right," but rather, "God is not finished." Whether in marital difficulties, relocation issues, children's illnesses and accidents, or seasons of life, I have always had those around that kept me from lying in pits of despair. The problem with staying in the pit is that you keep looking down and seeing the pit instead of looking up to see the light and the way out.

Not only did Joab tell David what he needed to hear to return as King of all Israel, but David did not argue or put up a defense. David returned to his position as King and ruled with the same grace and mercy that he'd been shown by God and that characterized his monarchy before this incident. No retribution--no seeking vengeance--as we read in the rest of 2 Samuel 19.

Sure, his heart was still heavy over the loss of his son, but he knew he was annointed as the peoples' king by God and the words of Joab brought David back to himself.

Thank God for those few faithful friends who have been "real" in my life. May I be led by the Holy Spirit to be such a faithful friend to others without fear.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What am I doing for God's Glory today?

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. I Corinthians 10:31

I have to admit it: I like people! Having just moved halfway across the country, I thought it would be hard for me to make new friends in a place so foreign to where I have been for the last 20 years. I even thought I might just "bide my time" here since we may only be here for a year. Maybe just stay at home and write and take care of my own business.

God has wired me for relationship, however. Whether I am on the internet or shopping at the local WalMart Marketplace, I find myself looking for people. Knowing from my growing up years that the desert southwest can be a lonely place and people aren't as ready to give a smile as in the south or midwest, I was prepared to shop in quietness. Guess what? I can't help myself! I smiled at a child first...and got a toothy grin right back. I commented on product availability in the supermarket aisle and got a smile and a response in return. I spoke to the checker before he could speak to me...he smiled, too! And when I could not understand the Asian man, I smiled apologetically and said, "I'm sorry; I'm not understanding." He smiled and tried again with hand gestures...and I got it!

What makes the difference in what I thought I knew and what I found to be true? When I read my scripture this morning, it said to do everything for God's glory. Everything! So, if I am to be shining like a light in the universe, if I am to be reflecting the Christ Who lives in me, if I am to be known as a child of God, I cannot refuse to interact with His creation. I need to use the talent for recalling names and the need to relate to people that God placed in me for His Glory--certainly not for mine.

Moving to a new city is never easy. The older I get the harder it is. God has always gone before me and paved a way of service for me, and it is usually different from anything I have done before. And if He has us here for only one year, I pray that I can be faithful to be what He asks of me for 365 days, and that all that I do reflects HIS glory!

What am I doing for God's Glory today?