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Ageless Childlike Faith

When I was four years old, I remember asking my mom how Jesus could come into my heart, and how she lovingly took me to her bed in the master bedroom, where we both knelt and I gave Jesus my life that day.

As a young child, I learned about the power of Jesus in Sunday School from Mrs. (Vera) Brenner.  I will never forget her as long as I live.  She awarded me a beautiful white Bible, my first one ever, from successfully memorizing scripture in her Sunday School class.  Mrs. Brenner called all kids whom she loved (and she loved them all!) by a funny but memorable nickname:  “Beaver.”  She was a fixture in our little bible church located very close to my neighborhood.  Growing up in that church is an experience that I will always carry with me.

It was because of Mrs. Brenner that I was confident one day that Jesus would answer an important prayer.  I was playing in my room when I accidentally cut my finger. It was a very small cut, but I was sure that if I just prayed, the bleeding would stop. Kneeling down in front of my toy box, I asked Jesus if he would please stop the bleeding on my finger so I wouldn’t need a bandage.  After my heartfelt prayer, I opened my eyes, stared at my finger and waited for Jesus’ power to become evident right there, right away.  As I watched, the bleeding stopped on my finger, and I was amazed and excited.  He really answered my prayer!

As this story came to mind today, it was such a sweet reminder of how powerful prayer really is for us!  It doesn’t matter if you are a four year old or a mother of a four year old, He is waiting for us to approach him with child-like faith. No matter how big or small our requests or problems are, He wants us to give it over to His hands and then watch in amazement and wonder as He steps in with His power.

As you go about your day, remember that nothing we want to share or bring to God is insignificant!  He is not only our Lord, but he is our Father.  And there is nothing more precious than a relationship with a kingdom daughter and a Heavenly Father who loves her unquestionably or unconditionally.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes Me.” –  Matthew 18:3-5 NIV

True Loyalty in Friendship

I just concluded reading John MacArthur’s newest book called: “Twelve Unlikely Heroes: How God Commissioned Unexpected People in the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You.”  (You can read my review of the book here on the blog or go here)  Such a great book!

One of the chapters that I particularly liked (and one that was also a little convicting!) was the story about  Jonathan, son of King Saul and closest friend of David.  Many of us may remember the story told of Jonathan and David’s friendship from Sunday School;  however now as an adult, this narrative gave me some new perspective on friendship.

After King Saul had disobeyed God and young David was annointed as the next king, David, already an adept musician, was employed to be Saul’s musical “therapist”; playing the harp for him when he was distressed.  Shortly afterward, David steps forward to kill the taunting Goliath and it was after this event that David was asked to live permanently in the palace (no doubt so Saul could keep an eye on him).  He later married Saul’s daughter and became a leader in the nation’s army as well.  Things were going well, until David’s success and popularity with the people threatened Saul so much that he decided to kill David.

During all this drama was Jonathan.  He was no doubt  an eye witness to the killing of Goliath and recognized that God’s favor was upon David.  This prince, very much unlike his own father, saw a kindred spirit in David while he lived at the palace.  I Samuel 18:1 describes their deep and unusual friendship:  “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”  They were soul mates, or the first “bro-mance.”  When Saul made his death threat against him, David knew that he would have an ally in Jonathan because they had made a covenant of loyalty with each other (I Samuel 18:3)  Jonathan interceded on David’s behalf, but Saul was resolved to end David’s life.

David became a fugitive, and was on the run for his life.  However, Jonathan still was able to find ways to encourage his friend as he did in I Samuel 23:17:  “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you.  You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you.  Even my father Saul knows that.”  

What was impressed upon me was not just how this friendship was extraordinary, but that Jonathan had a fierce loyalty to David, even though he knew that he would not inherit the throne from his father Saul.  There was no animosity, no jealousy.  He humbly continued to support and uplift David, even telling him that when David took the throne, he would be there beside him as continual support.  Jonathan truly loved David and had no earthly agenda with David’s friendship.  He “did not merely accept his non-kingly role; he embraced it wholeheartedly — eagerly protecting and promoting the one whom God had appointed to be king instead of him.” (MacArthur, Pg. 104)  

Today I believe we treat loyalty and friendship in itself far too loosely, especially when it comes to our own success and accomplishments.  Through TV reality shows, the workplace and other situations, we witness how those who say they are “BFF’s” will turn on each other with gossip and antagonism when one has something good happen to them.  Competition and jealousy take over, and the friends will take sides with other people dragged intp the drama in order to push forward their own agenda.  How can that be called friendship?

Paul the Apostle tells us how to be a real friend in Colossians 3:12-14:  “….clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”  

I want to learn to be a true and loyal friend like Jonathan, don’t you?  A faithful, dependable, loving confidant who embraces her specific role that God desires in that relationship.  That role may be as an encourager, promoter, protector, mentor or all of the above.  I do love my friends, but I know that I can continue to improve more and more to be the friend back to them that I know that God can enable me to be.

Why not take time this week to contact a friend that you haven’t talked to in a long time with a handwritten note or phone call (no texting or Facebooking allowed!)  Or if the Lord has impressed on your heart someone from your past, look for them through Facebook and reconnect!

Deuter-what?

Deuteronomy may not be one of those “go to” books in the Bible’s Old Testament, but did you know that it has a multitude of encouraging nuggets for moms?  Yep, right in with all those laws and commandments that were given to the Israelites by God through Moses.

Jesus knew the importance of this book when He quoted from it as He taught (Matthew 4:4).  He was the Son of God, but He was also a teacher, a rabbi to His followers.  Rabbi was a title of dignity given by the Jews to the masters of the law and distinguished teachers.  And of course, Jesus knew His stuff!

So if Jesus knew this book was important, let’s see what nuggets we can find to incorporate into our own lives today.

In chapter 4, Moses is giving Israel a warning from God about idolatry, but look in verse 29, for the treasure:  “But from there you will search again for the Lord your God.  And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.”  (NLT)  When we need God, He is always “findable!”  He doesn’t play hide and seek with us; when we truly look for Him and ask of Him, He is going to be right there for us. (see also Psalm 146:18)

While that’s a good promise right there, it gets better.  Verses 30-31 say this:  “When troubles come and all these awful things happen to you, in future days you will come back to God, your God, and listen obediently to what he says.  God, your God, is above all a compassionate God.  In the end, he will not abandon you, he won’t bring you to ruin, he won’t forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them.”  (MSG)

“When troubles come.”  Oh, and don’t we know that to be true?  We have our good times, but troubles can be around the corner:  your child becomes desperately sick, the hubs gets laid off, the house payment is late, the minivan needs major repair, again.  Each of us has had, and will have, our share of trouble.

“You will come back to God.”  When there are good times, don’t we sometimes have a tendency to let things roll and not be close to God as we should?  Don’t worry.  He knows.  And he knows that you will come looking for Him when things aren’t so good.  He wants you to.  He also wants you to listen to what He has to say to you and follow it so He can help you through the bad times.

“God, your God, is above all a compassionate God.”  He is your God!  You don’t need permission to approach Him.  He is merciful, kind, sympathetic and understanding.  He is ALL heart!  He’s ready to wrap you in a loving hug as you are going through your mess.

“He will not abandon you, he won’t forget …”  He is ever faithful and will never reject or turn away from you no matter what the trouble is or what you may have done!   He is yours and you are His.  He will always be attentive and listen to everything that you have to tell Him during your distress.

My sweet momma friends — don’t feel as though when troubles come that you cannot go to your God for help and a hug.  Even if you haven’t spent much time with Him lately during the good times, He is forgiving, loving and always, always there for you.  All He wants is for you to come to Him.  He is “our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. “ (Psalm 46:1)

Is there something that you need and want to share with Him today?  Don’t wait. Go to Him and ask for His help.  And don’t forget to ask for the hug.  He gives the best hugs ever!