10 Scriptures On Friendship

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1. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17 NLT)

2. Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. (Proverbs 17:17 MSG)

3. If you want people to like you, forgive them when they wrong you. Remembering wrongs can break up a friendship. (Proverbs 17:9 GNB)

4. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 NLT)

5. Don’t leave your friends or your parents’ friends and run home to your family when things get rough; Better a nearby friend than a distant family. (Proverbs 27:10 MSG)

6. Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart. (Proverbs 27:9 AMP)

7. Friends mean well, even when they hurt you. But when an enemy puts an arm round your shoulder — watch out! (Proverbs 27:6 GNB)

8. Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. (Proverbs 18:24 MSG)

9. When you please the Lord, you can make your enemies into friends. (Proverbs 16:7 GNB)

10. Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing! (Proverbs 25:13 MSG)

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Throwback Thursday In The Bible

I always love “Throwback Thursday” on social media. Lots of people post pictures of themselves in the past. People laugh and comment about the clothes, hair or where they were. It brings back good memories of a time gone by, but it also is a reminder that we aren’t who we used to be. Times change and so do we. It’s so gradual and slow that we hardly notice it until we do something like a “Throwback Thursday”. When we do that, it becomes very clear how much we have changed and how far we’ve come.

I believe it’s also a good practice to do a Spiritual Throwback Thursday. It’s important to look back and see all the great things God has done for us and to see what He’s brought us through. Times of reflection help us to remember where we once were. They help us to relive the pain and hopelessness of the moment just before God came through. They build our faith so that we can face even harder times in the future. God is faithful. What He’s done in the past, He will do today and in the future.

In Lamentations 3:19-32, Jeremiah reflects on where he had been. He wrote, “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lost mess, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all – oh how well I remember – the feeling of hitting bottom. (MSG)” In his time of sorrow, he took time to think back to how he felt in those times of despair he had already faced. He didn’t do it to make himself feel worse in his current condition. He did it so he could have hope.

In verses 21 and 22, he said, “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the faithful love of the Lord never ends! (NLT)” No matter how bad life gets, you can still dare to have hope because God is faithful. Things may look worse than you’ve ever seen them. The sky may be darker than it has ever been. You may be facing the most hopeless situation, but one thing remains: the faithful love of the Lord never ends. You can hold on to His faithfulness no matter how bleak things might seem.

The writer then spends the next several verses reminding himself of the lessons he’s learned in trusting God. He gives himself a pep talk and says in verses 31 and 32, “For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He also shows great compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love.” Sometimes we have to give ourselves a pep talk too. David did it when he asked himself, “Why so downcast, o my soul? Put your hope in God.” If doing a Spiritual Throwback Thursday was good enough for Jeremiah and David, it’s good enough for us. It’ll help you to remember the faithful love of the Lord.

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How To Slay A Giant

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As I was reading through the story of David and Goliath in I Samuel 17, I was tempted to pass over it. After all, I’ve heard the story since I was a kid and have heard numerous sermons about it. I decided to read it anyway and to not just scroll through it. As I read through it, I stopped often and looked at the words that were used. I tried to imagine myself on the hillside with the army of Israel so I could see what I had never seen before. With that different perspective, I saw three things that I had never seen before in the story. Here are three of them.

For 40 days, Goliath came out every morning and evening to taunt the army Israel. The Philistine army would stand on one hill and the Israelite army would stand on the other ready for battle. No one fought though they were set up to because fear is a paralyzer. Too many times we go to do something and stop before accomplishing it because we allow fear to hold us back. We stand armed and ready to accomplish what God has put before us, but then we allow fear to keep us from action. II Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power love and a sound mind. Take the power God has given you and conquer your fear.

The next thing I saw came from verse 26. David asks, “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” The word that stuck out to me was “allowed”. When I think of times when I haven’t done what God asked of me, it’s because I’ve allowed other voices to be louder than His. We accomplish so little in life because of the things we allow. When we quit allowing the voice of the opposition to dictate our every move, we’ll begin to live a more victorious life and others will follow.

The third thing I saw was in verse 40. It says that David picked up five smooth stones from the stream. I know I’ve heard sermons about Goliath’s four brothers and how David got a stone for each one of them. To me, I think David was being prepared. We fail in life and in doing things because we don’t count the cost ahead of time. David counted the cost and prepared for the worst possible scenario. He grabbed extra stones just in case the first one missed. He knew that God doesn’t always deliver us the first time we ask or open the door the first time we knock. What if He didn’t deliver the giant with the first stone? David had faith, but he also counted the cost.

If you’ve been paralyzed by fear, take a step of faith in the power that God has given you. If you’ve allowed other voices to be louder than God’s, quit listening to them and find that still, small voice that God speaks with. If you’ve gone into things without counting the cost and have tried to get by with the bare minimum, it’s time to get better prepared. God is ready to take care of the Giants that stand in your way, but you’ve got to move past your fear, listen to His voice and step out in faith prepared for whatever God may do.

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Be Ordinary

We are raised hearing stories about great men and women of history. We have movies that encapsulate their lives in just a few hours. There are thousands of books that tell of their struggles. We also create Superheroes to further train our brains that we must be super or great in order to accomplish anything in history. While that may be mostly true according to this world’s standards, it’s not by God’s standard. He’s ok with you being ordinary. He doesn’t need you to be Super or great in order to change the world.

In Acts 4, Peter and John spent the night in jail for healing a crippled man and preaching that Jesus was the way to Heaven. The next morning, they were brought before the High Priest and the religious council. Knowing the answer, they asked the question, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood up and boldly spoke to them about Jesus. Verse 13 says, “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures.”

Peter and John were fishermen before they followed Jesus. That was the low wage, manual labor of their time. Their job required long, hard hours, not an education. People were always surprised when they spoke because no one expects greatness from ordinary. It was the same in Acts 2 when they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues. Acts 2:7-8 says, “And they were all beside themselves in amazement, saying, “Are not all these who are talking Galileans? Then how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own particular dialect to which we were born? (AMP)” No one expected these Galilean fisherman to know anything about the Scriptures, much less to be able to speak another language correctly.

When our lives are controlled by the Holy Spirit, our lives become great. We get a boldness to do things we’ve never been able to do. We speak like we’ve never spoken before. The Holy Spirit can make an ordinary life an extraordinary life. Don’t hold yourself back from ministering to others because you don’t have the education. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your faith because you don’t think you know enough about the Bible. Peter and John were in your shoes yet they spoke with boldness through the Holy Spirit.

God chose these uneducated men and women to turn the world upside down. If He can do that, He can use you. It’s ok to be ordinary because God uses ordinary people everyday. Don’t preclude yourself from God’s plan because you don’t think He can do anything with you. He can use your brokenness to heal someone else. He can use your simplicity to confound the wise. He can take what little you think you have to offer and do great things. It just takes you being willing to get past your excuses and to allow God to do His work through you. Let Him take your ordinary and do extraordinary things.

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MLK Do It Well (Video)

“Whatever you do, do it well.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10

If you have trouble seeing the video, click here.

 

 

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10 Scriptures On Being Spiritual

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1. It is love, then, that you should strive for. Set your hearts on spiritual gifts, especially the gift of proclaiming God’s message. (1 Corinthians 14:1 GNB)

2. And I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart [in the final time], who will feed you with knowledge and understanding and judgment. (Jeremiah 3:15 AMP)

3. I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. (Ephesians 1:16-17 NLT)

4. My brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too. (Galatians 6:1 GNB)

5. And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], (Ephesians 4:23 AMP)

6. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:12-13 ESV)

7. Be careful therefore how you listen. For to him who has [spiritual knowledge] will more be given; and from him who does not have [spiritual knowledge], even what he thinks and guesses and supposes that he has will be taken away. (Luke 8:18 AMP)

8. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:10-11 NIV)

9. For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [special] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things– (Colossians 1:9 AMP)

10. Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. (1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG)

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Spiritual Discipline

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I was visiting a friend recently who was working on a LEGO project with his kids. They had hundreds of LEGO pieces neatly arranged on their table and a step by step guide. I watched as they looked at each step, found the pieces, decided where they went, put them on there and moved on to the next step. Each step took a while because you had to find the right pieces in the right color and then look at a cartoon drawing of where they went to help them place them.

After watching them build for about twenty minutes, I began to get curious. What were they building? I couldn’t tell from where they were in the project. They showed me the picture on the box so I could see the final outcome. I looked at it and where they were and quickly realized this was going to take days to build. It was not your average LEGO building project. It was going to take multiple steps to get through it along with time and dedication. It reminded me of the spiritual discipline it takes to walk by faith.

For many of us, God has put a dream in our heart or has given us a promise of where He wants to take us. In essence, He’s shown us the picture on the box. We then have a series of steps to go through in order to achieve that picture. Each step takes time. First we have to get the courage to take the next step. Then we have to find the pieces of that step and find where they go. Once we get them in place, it can be a while before God shows us the next step. When He does, the process starts over.

After a while of following the steps God has laid out for us, we can begin to see what He is doing and how those parts fit into the overall picture. In the beginning though, it’s tough to see how any of it relates to what God is doing, but these are the foundational pieces. If we don’t get these in the right place, the rest will not work. It takes spiritual discipline to follow the steps God gives us. That discipline produces the patience and endurance needed to get us where we’re going because it’s easy to want to quit along the way.

If you’re looking at your life and wondering what God is doing, ask to see the box. Let God remind you of the final outcome. To make something incredible, it requires a lot of small steps and intricate details. Don’t get so lost in the steps He has given you that you lose sight of what He wants to do in and with your life. Also don’t worry about the next step until you’ve completed this step. God will reveal each step in His time not yours. Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their life.” God knows the details of each step of your life. Trust Him and follow where He leads.

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