Monday, July 27, 2009

How Far for a Friend?

How far would you be willing to go for a friend? Would you be willing to loan her your favorite outfit? Jewelry? Your car? Money? How about babysit her kids? Would you stay by her side during tough times? Like separation. Or divorce. Or illness. Sure we would. To the best of our ability and our resources. We want to be a friend who's there during both the good and bad. And the truth is that we need that kind of friend. A good friend. Remember that guy from my last post. The one with the name that no one can pronounce. He made history simply by being a friend. Yeah, him. Hushai. Well, just in case you're not into those old-timers, I won't share the whole story; however, if you like details, you can find them in 2 Samuel 15-18. I do want to give you a few highlights about Hushai though.
  • He was loyal to his friend, King David, when those closest to David betrayed him.
  • He almost single-handedly turned the tide of treason and restored the throne to David.
  • He risked his life for his friend.

What was that about risk his life for a friend? Now wait a minute. Risk my life. That's going too far. Seriously.

But, that's the question though: How far will we go for a friend?

Would we give our life for a friend? Surely, that's going where no man has gone before. No friend would be willing to do that. Right?


I have a friend who did just that. He gave His life so that I could live. Actually, He didn't give His live just for me. Although, He would have.

He gave His life for you, too.

His name? Jesus.

"And being found in appearance as a man, He [Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8)

Incredible! To go that far. To die. On a cross.

For me. For you.

But that's exactly what He did. While we were still His enemy.

Because of our sin.

He died for us.

So that we could become His friend. So that He could give us abundant life now. And hope. Peace. Joy.

So that He could give us eternal life. Forever. With Jesus.

What a Friend!

What love!

Do you think that you might need a friend like that?

If you'd like to know more, feel free to E-mail me at -- . I love to talk about my best Friend.

Sweet dreams,


Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Good Friend

Tonight, we say good-bye. With tears. Hugs. Hope. Holding on to our dreams. We don't know when or if we'll see each other again. My friend flies back to Germany tomorrow. But for today, we'll do what we've been doing for the past two weeks. Talk. Laugh. Share. Shop. Run. And eat. Way too much of all the wrong kinds of food. She's a stay-at-home-mom. A military wife. World traveler. Excellent cook. Decorator. House flipper. Writer. Photographer. Dreamer. And most importantly, Friend. We'll make plans for me to visit her. Tentative plans. Very tentative. I've never flown across an ocean. We'll send E-mails often. Still, I'm going to miss her. Good friends are hard to find. King David knew a great deal about the limited supply of good friends. He had a good friend. Actually, he had two. You're probably familiar with the friendship between David and Jonathan, King Saul's son. How Saul tried several times to kill David. How Jonathan intervened on David's behalf. And how when they said their final farewell, Jonathan asked David to promise to show "unfailing kindness" to Jonathan's descendants. David kept that promise when he became king. But did you know that God gave David another good friend? We find this guy's name in a who-was-who-during-David's-reign list found in 1Chronicles 27:33. Ahithophel was the King's counselor. Hushai the Arkite was the King's friend. And that's all we learn about Hushai the Arkite from this verse: He was a friend of the King. Friendship. His one credential. Rather intriguing, don't you think? Our loving God knows that we're made for friendship. To have friends. To be a friend. With others. With Him. Let's take time today for a friend. And for Him. Yes, saying good-bye hurts. But a good friend is so worth it. Sweet dreams, Deb

Saturday, July 18, 2009

They Walk Beside Us

I see dead men and women walking. At home. At family gatherings. At work. At the mall. They work. Play. Love. Laugh. Hug. Cry. Nevertheless, they are still dead. Do you see them? We don't need a sixth sense to know they exist; all we have to do is open our eyes. Our ears. Our hearts. They walk beside us. And they will continue to walk. Dead. In their sins. And hopeless. Until someone shares God's love with them. We who were once one of them have a responsibility to speak the unalterable truth found in Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Bible presents a clear picture of sin, death, and life. All of us sin. Sin leads to death. But God in His amazing, unfailing, everlasting, never-disappointing love offers life. Not death. God gives life. Eternal. Abundant. Through His only Son. The One who died so that we could live. The evil one does not want those who are without Christ to hear that God desires to give them life. That in God's great kindness, He wants to lead them to repentance. Confession. Repentance. Forgiveness. All are paramount in escaping sin's penalty. The world doesn't always accept this message with open arms. Or without opposition. However, Jesus paid the wages--the price--of our sins and we now have new life and the sure promise of spending eternity with our loving God. We have to share the truth so that the dead walking among us. The hurting. The sick. The lonely. Those who are afraid. Who are dead in their sins. May choose to walk the rest of their days alive in Christ Jesus their Savior. Do we see them? Hear them? Love them? Sweet dreams, Deb

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Best Seat in the House

Singer. Songwriter. Musician. Underestimated and humiliated by his brothers. Sometimes overlooked by his own father. A shepherd boy skilled in slaying wild beasts. And giants. Still, to his family's amazement--and his--he was awarded the best seat in the house. The throne of Israel. This man's name? King David, son of Jesse. Now, God's anointed man wasn't perfect. David fell into some serious sin. Once he committed adultery. And attempted to conceal his sinful behavior by having the woman's husband murdered. But when God confronted David about his sordid affair, David confessed, repented, and turned toward God. God forgave him. David accepted His forgiveness. Later, David wanted to build a temple for the Lord. God, however, had a better plan: You will not be the one to build the temple; your son will build it. But I will establish your throne forever. Look at David's response to this revelation from God: Then King David went in and sat before the LORD...(IChronicles16:16a). Can you believe that? He sat down. Shouldn't he have issued some sort of proclamation. I think that I would have done something. Like call all of my friends to tell them the great news. Send everyone I know an E-mail. And, of course, post the message on my blog. David didn't do anything like that. He got with God. Alone. Quiet. Still. He took a seat. Humbled himself. Talked about God's attributes. God's mercy. God's worth. Not his own. Why did David do that? I think that he sat before God because he wanted God more than he wanted what God could give to him or could do for him. Sitting before our loving God. Our Savior. Redeemer. Friend. Is the most important thing that we can ever do. Are we taking the time to sit before Him? We have to take the time. If we don't, it won't happen. Time will get away from us. We'll get distracted. I know that have fallen short when it comes to sitting in His presence. I am learning that if I don't sit down with Him the first thing each morning, it probably won't happen later in the day. Too many distractions. Like blogging, for example. If I become so enthralled with reading comments--checking to see if I have any new followers--how many hits I have--that I neglect Him and His word, then I'm in big trouble. If I try to write without hearing from Him first, then my words will fall from this screen. Flat. Fake. Full of futility. On my own, I have no words of substance or significance. But His word. Quick. Sharp. Powerful. Piercing. Able to transform us. From pridefulness to humility. From sin to salvation. From despair to hope. Now, that's what I desire to share. That's my dream. Think about where you are today and all that you have to accomplish. Taking care of our families. Working. Church involvement. All of these things are important. They have to be done. David had plenty of things that required his attention. I mean, after all he was the head of state. But he put God first. Let's follow David's example. Let's sit down first. Before our Lord's throne. Listening to Him. Learning from Him. And loving on Him. Go ahead. The best seat in the house has been reserved in your name. Sit with Him for a little while. Sweet dreams, Deb

Friday, July 10, 2009

Risky Business

Classified information. My husband knows. So do Big Sis and JP . And a friend. And God. I intended to keep it that way. No reason to get anyone else involved. Risky business. Someone could get hurt. In my mind, I heard God say, "Tell it." I said, "No way. Please. I'll write about anything else. But not this." Maybe you've held similiar conversations with God. You want one thing; God wants something else. Which do we choose? Our way. Or His. Disobedience or obedience. The stakes are high. Take Saul for example. God's anointed. First king of Israel. And the first to have the crown stripped from him. How did that happen? Well, basically, Saul chose his own way. Not God's. Look at what Saul's disobedience cost him. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse (1 Chronicles 13a & 14). Saul lost the kingdom. His sons. His own life. Why such severe consequences? Because Saul didn't "keep the word of the Lord." He failed to obey God's word to him. He failed to respect God's word. He failed to act responsibly toward God's word. I want to "keep the word of the Lord." Obey His word. And respect His word. Accept the responsibility of having received His word. Don't you? Even when our obedience includes risk. The risk of being misunderstood. Rejected. Humiliated. I'd like to end this post here. But I can't. I believe that He wants me to share the rest of His story. I've dreamed of writing for more than ten years. A few months ago, I offered all that I have to Him: My heart. The dream that He put in my heart. The idea to start a blog. A good grasp of grammar. That's all I had. A rather impoverished offering. I asked Him to bless the offering. To break it. To distribute it in any way that pleased Him. You know like when the man offered Elisha twenty loaves of barley bread and one hundred hungry prophets ate and there were leftovers. And like when Jesus accepted the the loaves and the fish, and He fed a multitude--five thousand to be exact. There were leftovers then as well. Jesus accepted my offering. Now here's the wild part. The part that's so difficult to disclose. The risky part. I believe that He wants me to ask Him for five thousand people to be influenced for Him through my writing. Maybe you think that I'm arrogant. Prideful. Presumptuous. To think of praying for such an outrageous thing. Plus, what could He do with a little-known blog and some private journals? Surely, nothing like that. So, I refused to pray according to His leading at first. But then I realized that I had a choice. I could obey and"keep the word of the Lord." Or I could disobey His word. Everything is on the line. Skyhigh stakes. Sweet dreams, Deb

Monday, July 6, 2009

Can Crying Make a Difference?

"Mommy, help me! Mom--," she cries out once before going under. She started in the shallow end of the pool but had walked almost undetected to the drop off point where the water was over her head. No life jacket. No floaties. Only four-years-old, she hasn't yet learned to swim. She bobbles up. "Mom--!" Desperate. Down once more. Her mother dives for her. As she utters that second cry, the person in closest proximity gets to her first. Lifts her out of the water. Scared, but unharmed. Places the darling in her mommy's loving arms. Because this little girl cried for help and someone responded, a potential tragedy was averted. I wonder how my life would be different if I cried out to my Savior more often instead of trying to carry the weight of my problems alone. In Psalm 3:4, we read: To the Lord I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill. According to this verse, God hears us when we cry to Him. He hears the desperation in our voice. Our despondency. Our dependence on Him. The cry of His children moves Him into action. Sometimes, I have a problem in verbalizing this kind of neediness. I try to conceal things from God and from others. I'm unwilling to acknowledge how fragile I really am. How my faith can be fleeting at times. How I'm fearful about what others will think when they see that I don't have everything under control. But what if I admit that I'm standing at the drop off point. The water covers me. I panic. Without divine intervention, I'm going under for good. I cry out. And He lifts me. Offers me the opportunity to catch my breath and to recover. Holding me in His loving arms. Strong arms. Everlasting arms. Until I do. Could I make a difference in my little part of the world? Could you? Sweet dreams, Deb

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stopping Short

Israel. God revealed His word to them. His laws. His decrees. Israel's king, Jehoash, inherited the throne from his father. He got Israel's army also. Or what was left of it. The king of Aram, one of Israel's enemies, had reduced her armed forces to a mere fifty horsemen--ten chariots--ten thousand foot soldiers. Not much of a military. Not much hope of a victory over the enemy. Israel's prophet, Elisha, inherited a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Mighty in power. Moves as God mandates. Jehoash. Sinful. Scared of Aram. Seeks help from Elisha. Elisha informs him that God will give Israel a victory over the Armeans at the up-coming battle of Aphek. Then Elisha instructs Jehoash to strike the ground with some arrows. Jehoash takes the arrows. He struck it [the ground] three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times" (2 Kings 13: 18b-19). Jehoash made a major mistake. He stopped short in asking God for what he wanted. He obeyed, but not with his whole heart. The result? Only three successful battles for Israel and Jehoash when God was prepared to give complete victory. God wanted to give victory in this situation over Israel's enemy. How sad for Jehoash. How sad for me. Because I am like Jehoash. I've shortchanged God by stopping short. In supplication. In submission. In steps of faith. I think that maybe God doesn't really want to give me all that I ask Him or that He doesn't want to do all that I ask. How sad for God. Because He's prepared to give us victory--not just in a few skirmishes with the evil one--but total victory. He desires that we triumph in every situation. No matter how insurmountable it seems to us. He wants us to ask Him for help and for victory. And ask again. And again. Never stopping short. Never thinking that God would withhold any good thing from us. Never thinking that God has anything for us other than complete victory in Christ. Are we willing to go the distance? Sweet dreams, Deb