Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Are Your Friends Your Worst Enemies? Are You Your Own?

*******Coming up: Special for Christmastime!

For all ages-

Christmas Poems That Will Bless Your Heart and Spirit*******

 
Today's Topic

~ Situations with Friends~

Could your friends be your worst enemies, in certain regards?  If you have great and good friends, keep them, value them- they are priceless!!  However, a scenario that is far less than constructive might be: Friend A and Friend B spend a great deal of time together, and one of them poses a threat in that he or she is a genuinely bad influence on the other friend.  Maybe each one of the friends is a bad influence to the other.  Have you ever experienced the situation where your "friend" seems to meet, at certain times, the definition of:  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                                            friend = enemy.
What about a person you believe to be your friend who, when you leave from being together, seems to cause you to feel bad about yourself, possibly leaving you with lingering thoughts: ..."Hmm,  Jake seems rude, really unfriendly toward me lately, and I thought we were buddies. Am I doing something to annoy him?  Did I say something or miss something?  What's his problem!?"  Maybe Jake makes plans with you and then lets you down frequently.  Perhaps he has told an untruth about you, and you learned of it.  "Why does he keep behaving as though we are not friends- I thought we  were."
If you are the one who keeps getting the idea that your friend may not be a true friend, analyze a bit to make sure you are seeing the situation for what it is and that it is not an unrealistic expectation.  If you could benefit in deciding what to do, seek the wise counsel of a trusted individual.  It could be that you have an insecurity or difference of some sort that is allowing you to feel unsure.  In other words, be sure that you are not the one who is creating a problem- even if in your own mind!  It might be that you decide to explain some things about yourself that could improve your friendship.  If you do not think the concerns are stemming from yourself, then you have to decide what to do:
1)  It is always a good idea to pray to the Lord and to ask Him for insight, guidance, and wisdom.  He stands waiting and eager because He loves and cares for you so much.  Understandably, He yearns to listen to your heart's desires and to respond to your honest feelings and requests.  Continue praying to God  and expect something to happen and to change. 
2)  Do I feel that it is worthwhile to continue with my friend?  Does he or she bring good things into my life?  If so, then it might be helpful to think of how you could have a discussion of what is happening, clarify some factors that could be of use to restore and grow a friendship mutually.
3)  On the other hand, there may be a discussion between the two of you that is not at a comfort level for yourself, and you may decide not to continue.

~How do you treat yourself and others? ~

~Would God be happy with your lifestyle?~

Are you a friend to yourself and to your friend? Do you live a lifestyle that is conducive to being more like Jesus?  Do you attend a church that has Jesus Christ as Savior as its most important belief and uses The Holy Bible for its core?  It is always good to check ourselves toward our friends- are we treating them as we want to be treated?  Do you engage in activities, recreation, dancing, cultural influences such as art, movies, and music that would please the Lord? Would He like what you watch on T.V.? Would God be comfortable sitting in your living room and watching the program that you select on a regular basis, or even an occasional, perhaps unusual program you watch?  Would you feel great if you knew He was coming over to listen to what you listen to or viewing what you see- in music, on the phone, online and texting? Conversely, would you be running like mad in the house to change the art, books one could view, your clothes and make-up, the television channels, or even what you are eating or drinking?  I absolutely hope that there were no materials being dowsed and flushed out of the house. (Of course, He knows what our thoughts and actions are every day of our life.)  Would Jesus want to have dinner with you at your home or with your friends?  Would He always be welcome with you wherever you are or venture?

~Being a Friend, Helper, or Example~

If you are relatively young in age or young in your faith, do you venture out a bit from your comfort zone to help others in need?  Maybe you are a "mature" person or older lady/gent in faith, but reaching out to others has not been your forte or interest in the past.  How about assisting a person in need with any of the following: tutoring; working with clothing and food at a site such as a church or mission; serving meals in a local soupline/kitchen; spending time coaching;  teaching or helping with important duties such as washing dishes, picking out clothes to wear, helping someone to ride a bus to teach transportation skills with a person who perhaps has developmental disabilities and needs everyday living help (some of this applies to the elderly/homebound individuals who are trying to stay home); going together to get a library card and checking out books or dvds.  Other options could include teaching someone how to bowl or attending a movie for fun.  Invite someone to your church.  At school, ask a person to study with you from a mutual course or make an effort to sit with someone at the cafeteria who sits alone.  You can list these efforts with the aide of a school counselor to gain credits or to add valid duties to your resume.  You cannot be paid an amount that will equal how you will feel in your heart after doing these things to assist another in life!! 

Taking a meal or a card, maybe a batch of cookies, an entree, fresh basket of fruit, or an entree by to a family with a new baby or a recuperating loved one at home NEVER goes out of style, and you will find your actions of concern have thrilled the ones on the receiving end. 
Our church youth regularly reaches out in the community to help folks.  They have tried various places to go with an array of situations & expectations from going to one of our friends who recently became a widow to going to nursing facilities to visit and sing.  Our friend at church, Nancy, had home and yard work that very much needed to be done!  Her back and front yards were in need of leaf removal; the bushes and trees in the yard were in great need of trimming; bushes and plants were in need of water, and of course bags of leaves and trash had to be taken off the property, etc. 
The youth were so happy and excited to help her.  Before Chuck, her husband, had passed away in late summer, the youth had a "yard day" to do these tasks, which greatly pleased Chuck and Nancy.  Now Nancy just shines telling about how all of them have been so kind and loving to do for Chuck and her. 
The participants have fun as they work with their dads, then go out for sandwiches for more special memories.  It brings us all together for a common, invaluable goal- helping one's neighbor~!  The youth make money in a variety of group efforts to take a mission trip in the summer.  They often go where people have quite torn-down homes and need many things done, so everyone teams up, get the right tools that were brought along, including cleaning materials, and they work usually a full morning or longer at one place- while others are a few houses down on the street doing necessary chores/projects there.  Very Cool Endeavors!!  Kudos.

What are some of your ideas about helping someone in need or encouraging others?
How have you been shown kindness, care, and concern or been given a helping hand when you needed it?

~Being One's Own Worst Enemy~


I remember times when I was my own worst enemy.  A few folks in my life have told me they think the aforementioned is me in a nutshell, I expected way too much of myself. People call this being a perfectionist; I was that way for years, however, only with myself. I gave other folks room to be human and to make mistakes, but not me! The greatest commandment is to love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul and to put no one before Him (nothing, no activity, hobby/pastime, no one person or group, no idol, not a false teacher, not "a false church"). The second commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself (my emphasis) Matthew 22:35-40.   I believe the idea can be looked at in this way--- as much as we love ourselves, God expects us to love our neighbors that way. I had never fully realized that I was important, too, in respect to that command when it came to taking care of myself.  (Cursor down a bit...continues...)















If God made us, and He did/ and if He loves us, which He does/then why would we shortchange ourselves? It is good to put others first; I think that is very clear in the Bible. The greatest love is that a brother would lay down his life for another. Jesus lay His life down for each and every one of us so that whoever chooses to accept His Love Gift- the greatest one ever given in all of time- that person will be in Heaven some day, forever. 
Sometimes, however, when we have a view of ourselves in perfectionism and believe that the world should be that way, too, we get let down a lot, and we are constantly stressed! We never feel we have accomplished anything "right enough."  I remember a counselor told my husband Royce and me regarding raising our children that sometimes it is time to say, "Good enough!"  That phrase has stayed with me.  When I feel myself overdoing too intensely and getting uptight, I can think- Good enough! and let it go.  Even better- let it go, and give it to God.  He will lovingly take it and work on it for us. 
 
To come to a close, I want to share something I remember very vividly- when God spoke to me - in my mind, very clearly, and it was not me or my own voice.  Royce's and my children were very young.  Our daughter was 4 1/2 years old, and our son was a little older than 1 year's age. I worked half-time, had migraines fairly regularly at that point, and they were bad- have you ever heard of a good migraine? I was hurrying around the kitchen, from our dining room area where the children were eating...Sarah at the table in a booster seat, and Tyler in a high chair. I am sure that I was rushing and most likely stressed to get things done before work most likely. As I walked from the dining room into and across the kitchen floor with some dishes to the counter area, I heard this: "It is alright not to be perfect."  It struck me rather like a bolt of lightening.  This sentence sounds so benign, but it was potent to me.  I knew that I had been told something from Someone.  What I had "heard" really struck my mind, made me take notice, and I realized that God had spoken a most important message to me, take note, He said.  I have never forgotten that moment, and so now, I know that God was getting my attention and being very loving and kind to tell me, 'Donna, you are doing fine.  You, my dear, are not and will never be perfect...and that is just fine, now know it.'

Secondly, one's own mind can be an enemy to you.  When I begin to think bad thoughts; to think over past hurts and bitterness; to revisit unfair things in my life; to think about how I do not measure up to someone else or to want something like so-in-so; to over-imagine and to dwell upon some real or imagined injustice with health, money, or relationships; to fixate on something said that I thought was less than thoughtful or kind- well, I am in trouble!  These thoughts are not God's Voice.  I have found that the best ways to help myself- that work for me, anyway- are twofold.  1) I can read the Bible and get the truth of the Word to dispell my gloom and funk. I can pray to God to help me!  2) I can get the focus off myself and do something for someone else.  It distracts me by getting busy with productive work, and I often offer aide to someone in my life (or whom the Lord obviously puts before me, so to speak) who could use a helping hand.  I feel so much better and genuinely happy to be of service!  Above all, I need to forgive any person with whom I feel let down and let go of any bitterness that only proves to tie me down to junk, quite frankly, that hurts myself far more than it hurts anyone else- and why waste my brain power on hurting myself or another person?  It is simply not worth it!!  I am too precious, and I have been bought and paid for with a price- Jesus' precious blood!!  It was shed for me, and I won't waste it! 
Here is an example of how I can pray to get my mind off myself and refuse to succumb to either my own mind thinking unconstructive matters or the devil's attempts to put lies and untruths in my brain.  He is always the twist and perversion of God's veracity and the reality of my existence.
~A Prayer~
Dear Father in Heaven, I praise and worship You for loving me so!!  I thank You, Jesus, for saving me in your grace and love- on the cross!  Thanks for forgiving me when I said, "Yes!" to your offer and also to my daily sins in thought, word, or action, even though I am trying to be more and more like You since I am Your representative.  Thank you so much for my family, friends, and church.  Please bless them in the riches of glory in Christ Jesus, His peace and love in my life and their lives. 
You know that I have been having trouble keeping my mind on the good, and I ask You to help me!  I cannot do it without You.  I ask You to be true to Your Word- You are the Word- You know that it goes forth from You, and it never comes back void.  You are always faithful to the promises that you have made to me, so I am asking for focus on You and the people whom You put before me daily, to tell the Gospel, and to have the Holy Spirit to draw my unsaved/ones needing recommitment, any people who need your salvation in the church, in our nation and everyone around the world, yes, my enemies included- You want no one to slip and fall, for You want each one to experience Your abundant love, to be in Your fold in Your Kingdom.  I am counting on You to make a way, only You know what it takes and how it will happen.  In your power, authority and Name, Jesus, Amen.

~~~Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your way acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

Proverbs 3:5-7~~~

However, what I really have in mind is thisCould you/we have a friend who is not good in pointing you forward in your relationship with God, perhaps even very detrimental to that purpose? In other words, do you have a companion or group you believe are your friends who do not encourage and point you toward the goal of learning more about your God and His Son, Jesus of Nazareth?  If it is true that you have friends who are not helping bring you closer with God, get away from them.  The stakes are way too high.
 
When you accept Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit lives within you at that very moment, forever on, and He never leaves you.  He guides, directs, enlightens, and comforts you.  He is the Third Person of the Trinity, integral to our understanding of the Lord and frequently invoked in the Bible. 

To learn and grow in a relationship with the One Who created you, there is always more, with new insights about Jesus.  He is the One Who paid the ultimate sacrifice- the perfect Lamb of God, the Father's Son.  Jesus is the One Who had no sin, yet came to dwell among us- to teach, to heal, to spend time and to love the sinner and then to die willingly on the cross for each of us.  After 40 days here, again, He arose to the right hand of the Father to rule with Him there.  At the appointed time, He will return to the earth as the Lion of Judah on a white horse- much happens, but this is the Second Coming, and we who love Jesus Christ will abide with Him forever in new heavens and a new earth (the formal conception of new heavens and a new earth occurs in Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1 (where “heaven,” singular).

 
LONG MEMORIES AND GRATITUDE

Oh, Lord, keep our memories long

With plentiful gratitude

For what you have done.

May we not be as

We were from Egypt

To the Promised Land:

Longing for meat, instead of Your manna

Longing for the world, instead of Your Face and Hand

D.M.-H., Copyright 2009

In His Presence
Won’t we be softened
By being in the presence
Of our Lord?

Won’t we be purer
When we sit at His feet?
In His shining countenance,
With loving, outreached arms
For us,
In the fragrance of His Home-
Oh, it will surely be sweeter
Than any earthly fruit could bear!

Our clear faces will reflect
Precious Jesus’ smile,
And when we look back at Him,
He will see the love
We were meant to have for Him
In the beginning.
D.M.-H., Copyright
Revelation 1:5-8
…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness of the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
 
I am closing today with two of the beautiful Names of God.  Call on His Name in times of trouble; praise Him in times of Joy and thankfulness!!  When the Lord Jehovah is the first One you think about each day and the last Person with Whom you close your day, you will be genuinely happy with your life and that He gave you Life eternal. Three Persons in One God, and yet, God is Spirit. He is real, of that be sure, and the Bible makes reference to what we experience here on earth as just a shadow of the reality of Heaven, a real place I will go when I pass away from here- I am 100% sure of this incredible fact.  You may stake your Life on it, also!!  Praise be to the saving grace of Jesus.

Jehovah Rohi (pronounced RO-hee)- The Lord is my Shepherd

Jehovah Rapha (RAH-fah)- The Lord Who Heals

 D.M.-H., December 5, 2012