Tag Archives: friends

A Dull Ax


I’ve only been burned out a couple of times in my life. The times that I’ve experienced that have come after I’ve done too much for too long by myself. I’m not the type of person who likes to ask for help. My mentality has always been, “If it’s going to be done right, I might as well do it myself.” I get tired of waiting for other people to see the need and pick up the slack, so I jump in and do it. I don’t ask for help because I think people should know help is needed and offer theirs.

Maybe you can relate with that line of thinking. You’ve probably burned yourself out a time or two as well. It could be pride, or it could be stubbornness that keeps us from asking for help. Whatever it is, it costs us too much in the long run. After doing so much, we become like a dull ax. We work harder and harder, but don’t get some as much as we used to when we were sharp. We wear ourselves out exerting too much effort on our own.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed” (NLT). We need to resharpen ourselves from time to time so we can continue to be effective at what we are called to do. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” If you’re feeling like a dull as blade, you need to be sharpened. To do that, you need a friend capable of keeping you sharp.

In order to succeed at anything God calls us to, we can’t do it by ourselves. We are laborers together. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. Many times people are wanting to be asked instead of feeling like they’re intruding on your work. When we share the load, we halve the burden. When we halve the burden, we stay sharp longer. If you’re getting dull, reach out to someone today and ask them to work with you. You’ll be a lot more successful and stronger.

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God’s Secret To Happiness

  Since I was a kid, I heard people tell me, “You become like those you run with.” It was great advice then and now for choosing who you hang out with and listen to. We’ve all received bad advice from someone in our life that has put us in a situation we didn’t want to be in. Some of us have a momentary awkwardness and others have a lifetime of regret because of the consequences of that choice. Either way, we got into the mess by taking advice from someone we shouldn’t have been hanging around.

Psalm 1 is one of my life chapters. What I mean by that is that I see it as a promise from God so I’ve tried to build my life on it. The chapter starts out by telling us, “Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God” (GNT). If you want to be happy, stop taking advice from people who don’t know the principles found in God’s Word. Find better people to hang out with if you want your life to change.

If you’ve followed this site for a while, you know the struggles I went through years ago. When I hit rock bottom, I worked my way backwards to find out how I got there. It all started with choices to hang out with and associate myself with people who had no use for God and what I believed. When I looked at my life, I realized I wasn’t happy. God took me back to this chapter and called me back to being who He called me to be in verse 2. It says, “Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night.”

If we will get away from the wrong crowd and start living the way God’s Word tells us to, we’ll not only find happiness, but joy. But God doesn’t stop there. He gives us another promise in verse three if we live that way. It says, “They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.” God promises productivity, success, favor, and happiness in our life if we will just live the way He wants us to and associate ourselves with like minded people.

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Faithful Friends

When life gets hard, you find out who your true friends are. Hard times have a way of weeding out acquaintances and fair weather friends. There are those who will stand by your side through the darkest night and those who will abandon you the moment bad things start coming your way. It’s hard to tell them apart until your faced with adversity. Proverbs 18:24 says, “Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers” (GNB).

As you read that, I’m sure names are popping in your head. You can think of those who abandoned you, but you can also think of those who have stood by your side. It’s easy to get mad at those who have fallen by the wayside, but the truth is, you don’t have to be mad at them. You don’t need those kinds of relationships in your life. Let them go and wish them well. Don’t hold grudges against them because it may mess up your lifelong relationships.

We like to think of the parable of the Prodigal Son as a story about returning to God, but I believe it’s also about friendships. When he had his inheritance and was living recklessly, I’m sure he had a lot of friends. When his money ran out and the famine hit, where were those friends? No one offered him shelter. No one offered him money. No one offered him food. He realized that the friendships he developed were poor ones and he thought of home. He realized he hadn’t been a good friend to them.

He learned that friendships and relationships are a two way street. Relationships that are one way, don’t last. He went back to the relationships that mattered and they accepted him back. While hard times can take away friendships that are one way, they can also drive us back to the ones that matter. If you haven’t been the type of person who was loyal to others, ask for their forgiveness and try to work things out. If you’ve found a friend that is more loyal than a brother, reach out to them today and thank them for being in your life. 

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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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Friends Who Won’t Quit

This morning I was praying for a friend’s daughter who recently had a stroke. I saw my friend’s Facebook post wishing she could hear her daughter speak to her again. I could hear the desperation in her voice through the printed words on my screen. I began to call out in desperation with her for God to hear her prayer and to answer it. As I prayed, my mind went back to a scripture that God took me to this morning in Ephesians 3. The Message puts verse 20 like this, “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”

As I continued to pray, I asked, “God, I know you can do anything. How do I get you to go from can do to action?” I know God has the ability. I need Him to not just have the ability, but to actually do. I then though that I have the ability to do so much, what motivates me to move into action? It’s usually when someone or something demands my attention the most that causes me to put it at the front of my action items. It’s when something becomes the most pressing thing that I usually act.

My mind then went to the story in Luke 5 and Mark 2 of a paraplegic man who needed healing. He didn’t have the ability to get into God’s presence on his own. He had the desire, but lacked the strength. It was four of his friends who carried him to Jesus. When they got there, the house that Jesus was in was so crowded that no one could get in or out. I don’t know how long those friends tried to get in or if they tried to reason with others that their friend had a more desperate need to see Jesus than they did. What I do know is that they weren’t going to sit idly by and let there friend remain that way. They weren’t going to wait for Jesus to come out of the house.

Instead, they carried him to the roof, pulled the roof off tile by tile until they were above where Jesus was. They then lowered their friend into the presence of Jesus who had the ability to do far more than they could imagine in their wildest dreams. They caused Jesus to act. They caused Him to turn His attention to that friend and to say, “Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.” He was moved from can do anything to doing something because the friends wouldn’t quit.

We all need friends who are willing to carry us into the presence of an all mighty God who can do anything. We need friends who won’t stop or stay at the back of the line when we are in desperate need for a touch from God. We need friends who when the door to the Throne Room is blocked and the area around Jesus is crowded that will not give up and go to the roof of Heaven, tear back the tiles and put us at the feet of Jesus. Jesus said where two or three are gathered, I’m with them. This man had four friends gathered to put him in the presence of Jesus.

You may be on that mat today without the ability to get in front of Jesus. You may need some friends to join with you in your desperation to put you in the front of the line where you have Jesus’ full attention. If that’s you, comment below. Tell those who read this what you need prayer for. We can be those friends who carry you to Jesus when there seems to be no way into His presence. We’ll tear off the roof and lower you down to where He is. We won’t stop until Jesus goes from can do to action. If you’re reading this and have the ability, I’m asking you to join me in prayer today for those who don’t have the ability and are in desperate need for a touch from God.

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Taste and See

A few weeks ago some friends and I went to dinner. One of the people with us was younger. At the restaurant he was asking what we thought about the choices on the menu and what he should get. He decided on the surf and turf. I complimented him on his choice. When they brought us our meals, he immediately went for the lobster. He asked, “How do I get it off the tail?” As I was beginning to tell him, he stabbed the tail with the fork, grabbed the shell and pulled.

He successfully had removed the whole tail. Before I could congratulate him on his feat, he shoved the entire lobster tail in his mouth, chewed a couple of times and swallowed. I sat there in shock. I said, “You aren’t supposed to eat it like that. This is something you take your time with. You savor it. You dip it in the butter and enjoy it. If you’re going to eat for the sake of getting full, go to McDonald’s. If you want to experience a meal, you eat this. It’s more than eating. It’s enjoying your food.”

Many of us approach reading God’s word the same way he ate his lobster. We stick a fork in it, read a bunch, comprehend little, chew enough to swallow and move on. We don’t enjoy the Bible. We read it out of spiritual duty. We say, “A chapter a day keeps the devil away.” Is that really the case though? Are we really getting anything out of it when we do it as a chore?

David said, “Oh taste and see that The Lord is good.” He understood what it meant to take your time in God’s word and to enjoy Him. He let God’s word sink down into his spirit. He often talked about meditating on God’s word. That’s how he got it into his spirit. He knew there was more than just reading. There was tasting, savoring and enjoying to what God says. He took his time, thought about what God was saying, how it applied to him and how he could use it in his life.

Each day when I read the Bible, I try to do the same thing. For years I was guilty of the chapter a day mentality. It was a box I had to check off in order to be a Christian. Now I know better. I don’t put a time limit on God nor a chapter or verse limit on Him either. I get to a quiet place, calm my my mind and emotions. I pray, “God, speak to me today through your word. Direct me to what you want me to see. Help me to read it like never before and to see things I’ve never seen before. Help me to make connections in your word that I’ve not seen in years past.”

I encourage you to do the same thing. If you find yourself doing a chapter a day or trying to read through the Bible in a year, ask yourself why. Are you trying to say you’ve read the whole Bible? Are you plowing through the goodness like my friend with the lobster tail or are you enjoying it? Take time today to look at God’s word with different eyes. Meditate on a verse all day. Chew on it. Think about what God meant, how it was directed at you and how you can apply it to your life. His word will become alive in you. Who knows, you might even end up with a heart after God like David.

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