Why 40 Looks Good

I’m not gonna lie. Turning 40 is something I have dreaded since my youth. There’s just something that doesn’t sit well with me over the realization that my life is now half over! And of course, I’ve heard the stories of waking up with aches and pains and the gray hairs that will start appearing in abundance!

I’m turning 40 next week.

Yay me!! (complete sarcasm)

Seriously though. Despite the concerns mentioned above, 40 actually seems less frightful these days. In fact, I see many benefits of turning the big 4-0!

Why is 40 looking so good?

I know who I am. In a world where everyone is trying to find themselves, I have peace with who I am! I’ve finally accepted the fact I will probably never be the size I was before I had kids. I’m OK with that. I’m OK with the fact that I’m not a sporty person. I’ll probably never voluntarily run a 5K marathon. I’m OK with the fact that I’m not good at decorating, sewing, or doing crafts. That’s OK! I know what I am good at. I love to cook. I love to read and write. I can clean and organize pretty well. I love leisurely walks, coffee, ice cream, and laughing with friends. I adore my husband and kids. 40 means I don’t sweat what I’m not good at, I just embrace what I love!

I don’t care what people think about me anymore. OK, I say this knowing I do care. I just don’t care as much as I used to! If I find that someone else thinks poorly of me, I might agonize over it for a bit. But then I turn to God and ask Him what He thinks. I ask that He reveal my sin to me. I confess it and forsake it – and move on! 40 means that pleasing God matters more than pleasing my peers!

I have more confidence. Come on now, I’ve been around for 40 years! I know a little bit more than I did 20 years ago. No, I’m not an expert, but I no longer need to call my mom or sisters for advice on keeping house or making meals. In fact, people now ask me for advice! If I’m asked to help someone organize or clean, I know exactly how I want to do it, and I confidently go in a get it done. 40 means that experience has given me confidence!

I know who my friends are. Somewhere in the last few years, I noticed that my friendships have changed. I don’t know if it was time and trials that drew us closer together, or that I had just matured, but there has been less drama between my friends and I. The friendships I have, seem to have become more precious. Each new friendship that enters my life, holds a special place in my heart. 40 means you have more friends than ever!

God means more to me now. Walking daily with the Lord means you will draw closer to Him over time. My Heavenly Father has brought me through many difficult times over the years, and through each difficulty, God has drawn me a little more closer to His side. My walk with Him is sweeter, and I now recognize my Shepherds voice. 40 means peace with my Savior!

So yes, some 40-year-olds start having a little more health difficulties. I’m presently waiting in my doctor’s office for a check-up on my high blood-pressure! And yes, I recently got my hair cut short and highlighted to cover the gray. But you know what? I feel that I’m in the prime of my life, and I’ve decide that 40 looks pretty good!

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” – Proverbs 16:31

“With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.” – Job 12:12

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You Matter to God

I’m a city girl. I find comfort in the sound of rumbling trucks, car horns, and trains. Kids playing, dogs barking, and neighbors fighting are often heard through my open windows. Sometimes, on foggy mornings, I can even hear large ship horns from Lake Erie. At night, streetlights cast their glow across my front window, and I’m OK with that. I’m a city girl, and for me, this is “normal”.

My husband, however, is from a remote town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Ontonagon is located on the shores of Lake Superior and home to the beautiful Porcupine Mountains. The first time Gabe brought me to his home-town, I was amazed at how quiet it was. There were no traffic jams or busy streets. No police sirens echoing off of tall city buildings. And it was clean. Despite the moving water on Lake Superior, I could see all the way down to the bottom of the lake. The water was crystal clear. At night, it was so dark outside, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The biggest difference between living in the city and living in the country was when I looked up at the sky. The stars! I had no idea there were that many stars in the sky! The more I gazed into the sky, the more stars I saw, and I realized there were layers upon layers of them. I felt very small and insignificant!

Have you ever been struck at the wonder of a beautiful mountain range or the powerful sound of a waterfall? Maybe you’ve looked up at the vast number of stars in amazement or stopped to enjoy the cheerful sound of birds outside your window. How many majestic sunrises or sunsets have you watched with appreciation?

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

– Psalms 19:1

The same God that created all of the earth’s astounding beauty, created you. Have you ever stopped to wonder how the Creator of all things in existence, views you?

God thinks you are beautiful. Scripture tells us that God created all things beautiful. How dare we criticize ourselves for things we can not change! It really doesn’t matter what we think about ourselves, God thinks His creation is perfect. (“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:31) Don’t criticize the size of your feet or the shape of your nose. Stop hating the color of your hair or the sound of your voice. In doing so, you are criticizing God’s masterpiece!

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time”

– Ecclesiastes 3:11a

God thinks of you all the time. Why is it so easy for us to believe that God doesn’t really care about us? There are days we wonder if God even knows we exist. Yet the psalmist tells us that God thinks of us as often as the grains of sand on the earth. Do you know how many grains of sand there are on the earth?! Scientists estimate there are over seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains of sand on the earth. Umm…I can’t even write that number on paper. I think it’s safe to say, that God thinks of you in His every waking moment. Which, by the way, God doesn’t sleep. (“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” – Psalm 121:4)

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.”

– Psalms 139:17 & 18

God thinks you are 1 in billion. Stop and think about it. There are over 7 billion people on the earth today. Yet, God takes the time to know every little detail about you. He knew your name before you were born (Jerimiah 1:5), He formed you specifically while you were in your mothers womb (Isaiah 44:24), He knows when you sit down, stand up, or lie down (Psalms 139:2&3), and He hears every word you say (Pslams 139:4). If that were not enough, God has a book with your name on it where He keeps track of how many fingers you have, and every other little detail about you. (Psalms 139:16)! Oh, and let’s not forget that He collects your tears (Psalms 56:8), counts the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7), and is always watching what you do (Proverbs 15:3). In no way does God find you insignificant!

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

– Psalms 139:14

God has a purpose for your existence. I don’t think there is a human on this earth that hasn’t ever wondered what their purpose was. The world actually calls it “finding themselves”, but the Bible tells us that we can know exactly what our purpose is. In fact, we don’t even have to go away to find our purpose we just need to read the Word of God! Our main purpose on this earth is to glorify God in every word we say and in every deed we do (Exodus 9:16). Sometimes we go through storms in our lives and we struggle with understanding why God is allowing us to suffer. Yet we know that every trial has a purpose and meaning (Romans 8:28). God does not make mistakes with our lives!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

– Jerimiah 29:11

God thinks you are priceless. God created this earth, and the heavens. Everything that we find beauty in was the handiwork of our God. Not only that, but God created man and woman and gave all of that beauty to them with just one restriction. Yet, instead of obeying God, man decided to break that one rule. Ever since that day, sin has been passed down through countless generations. It broke God’s heart. He gave man many chances to be forgiven of that sin, but man failed continually. God knew that there could only be one sure way to save His beloved creation, and that was through the blood of His only Son, Jesus Christ. If you want to hear the entire story of God’s plan of redemption, go here.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

– John 3:16

God is not going to leave us alone. No matter how alone you might feel, God never leaves His children. There are days our flesh and the Devil will lie to us, and tell us we are alone and that God doesn’t really care. On those days, we need to trust the Word of God and not our feelings! God is walking in our future, He can be found in our past, and He is in our today, resting His hand on our shoulder. We can never out run God, and we can never hide from Him. No matter how deep our pit is, no matter how far we run, God is with us!

“Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

– Psalms 139:5-10

This city girl will never be able to walk a sandy beach again without thinking about God. I will never watch a sunset, or gaze into a starry sky without being amazed at how powerful my God is! When I’m in the depths of despair, and begin to doubt how God really views me, I will not trust my feelings. I will cling to the Word of God and know that God views me as priceless.

When Your Kids Are Along For The Ride

When my husband found out he had colon cancer, he wasn’t sitting in a doctors office. There was no box of tissues nearby for him to grab. His wife wasn’t sitting next to him to take hold of his hand. No comforting words or hand on the shoulder from a doctor. He recieved the results coldly, over the phone by someone who had grown used to passing on bad test results.

I found out the news in a more gentle way. In the privacy of our bedroom, with my husband’s arms around me. My husband’s shirt to dry my tears. My husband’s gentle words to calm my fears.

Our teenagers, however, learned of Daddy’s cancer in an unusual way. My son was listening outside our bedroom door. He, of course, ran down the stairs to share what he had heard with his older sister.

The two of them, not understanding everything, but knowing it was making mom cry, began to finish making dinner and keeping their little brothers quiet.

Many people have asked me over the months how my kids are coping. The first time I was asked this question, I had to take pause. I was so wrapped up in my own feelings, I hadn’t taken the time to see how my kids were really doing. I began to pay close attention.

My fifteen year old daughter has a very laid back personality. Her way of handling daddy’s cancer has been to not think about it. Instead, she has focused on helping me out at home. Many times I have been at the cancer center with my husband and come home to a spotless house and happy little boys. My daughter’s main goal through this valley we are in, has been to make everyone as comfortable as possible. When asked what the hardest part of this journey has been for her, she will say being home all summer. She misses the family outings, having friends over, and our trips out of state.

My thirteen year old son has an A-type personality. He is the most determined person I know! He thinks very deeply, and has a lot of emotion to go along with his thoughts. His way of coping with dad’s cancer is to plan. I have had several conversations with him about the “what ifs” of our family’s future. When my husband and I come home from a long day at the hospital, we usually find that he has organized something. He will have mapped out evening plans for the entire family, and will take it upon himself to make everyone stick to his plan. When asked what has been the most difficult part of this journey, he will say seeing his dad so sick, and not having family outings this summer.

My youngest boys have, for the most part, been unphased by Dad’s cancer. As long as we have family movie nights, games of Battleship and UNO, pizza, and popsicles for the back porch, they are perfectly content. There have been a few moments of needing to ask questions about Daddy’s sickness, but when asked, the only difficulty they could think of is not getting to sleep in a tent this summer!

If you are in a hard place in your life, and have kids along for the ride, here are some truths my husband and I have learned.

1. All kids react to stress differently. Every human being has different personalities, and this includes kids. Some will hold their thoughts and fears inside, others will talk to anyone who will listen. Then there are the kids who don’t seem to notice what’s going on, and are content in their own little world. Study your children and learn how they are coping. Open doors for conversation every now and then, and make sure your kids know they can talk to you at any time.

2. Kids take their cue from their parents. If a parent is afraid or angry about their circumstances, chances are their children will be, too. Little eyes are watching how you deal with stress every day, and will copy what they see. If you are able be joyful despite your circumstances, your kids will be, too. Parents need to be careful on how they talk about things in front of their kids. This doesn’t mean you should hide the truth from your kids. They know something is going on, even if you try to hide it. Be honest with them, but be positive. Always remind your child that God is on your side!

3. Kids can get bitter, too. We learned early on, that our kids NEEDED a life outside the house. When there is a sick family member at home, it is often, that home becomes a dreary and depressing place. We make it a point to do something special with them at least once a week. This can be accomplished by trips to the library, local parks, ice cream shop, and even the YMCA. Our family also has wonderful friends, and my kids have been invited to go along with other families for outings.

4. They want to feel useful. My older son took charge of all outside chores since my husband had his stroke over a year ago. This has been a difficult task as we have a very steep hill in our yard. His determination, however, has helped him persevere in his tasks, and he is now getting attention from our neighbors, and job offers! My younger son’s are always “writing books” for their dad, or giving him “massages”. If your child is a “doer”, give him something that will make him feel that he is contributing to the family.

Lastly, here are some tips on helping your kids through difficult family trials.

1. Have a routine. Our family schedule has for the most part, been pure craziness. I have found, however, that my kids need some routine. I can’t always be there when they wake up, and there have been days I wasn’t there at bedtime. When I am home however, I make it a matter of importance to have our evenings together. I will read a couple of chapters from a book before prayers each night to my little ones. The older ones feel privileged to watch an episode of Start Treck with us before bed. Every child needs some order in their day, even during the hardest valley.

2. Pray with them often. Kids need to hear their parents talk to God. They need to hear the emotions and fears that are daily laid at the feet of Jesus. They need to feel God’s presence in their family and home.

3. Use scripture. My younger son has always struggled with fear, for as long as I can remember. He doesn’t like to be alone in any room of our house, and he is easily frightened by many things. My husband’s poor health the last two years seems to have slightly intensifed his fears. After many talks, and times of prayer with him, I recently discovered that scripture gives him the most comfort. He has a favorite verse we memorized together, and he recently asked if we could hang it up in his room.

4. Focus on making memories more than having fun. The biggest lesson I have learned with my kids, is that even fun can be forgotten. They are not going to remember every movie, every ice cream cone, or even every trip to the park. This realization has changed my planning to some extent. Now, every outing is all of us together. No one has opportunity to be home alone- there are plenty of other times for that. Also, to my entire families dismay, I take a LOT more pictures.

There is no perfect answer or laid-out plan on helping your kids walk through a valley with you. As a parent, the best thing that you can do for your kids is to be right with God. Your kids will see the comfort and the peace that God gives you in the valley, and you will be able to show them the way to God even in the midst of trials.

Aged Woman, I am Watching You

Having just tucked my two little charges into bed, I rounded the corner into the living room. I stopped suddenly at the scene unfolding before me.

Standing on her tip-toes, the woman reached up and gave her husband a kiss. He touched her cheek with his hand, and they both shared a special smile, as they gazed into each other’s eyes. He whispered something in her ear, and her cheeks turned rosy.

I’m not sure how old I was when I witnessed this sweet moment, but the memory has stayed with me through my teenage years until now. At the time, I felt awkward for having intruded on something so private, but over the years, this memory filled my heart with hope. Hope that one day, I too could be happily married.

In my teenage years, I helped this family with babysitting. I’m pretty sure this dear lady had no idea I was watching her. Yet, there I was a teenage girl, quietly taking in how she loved her husband, her children, and how she cared for her home.

I was watching her as she faithfully lived according to the Word of God.

This sweet lady has long been someone I have looked up to, trying to emulate the love she showers on her family and ministry.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:3-5

And, there are others. Other “aged women” I have watched on a weekly basis. They taught Sunday school. They worked in the nursery. They cooked meals for fellowships and conferences. They decorated the church. They sang in the choir. They cleaned the church. They did all these things while loving their husbands and raising their kids. They kept their homes in order, and some even had to work outside the home. Some cared for sick family members. Some cried over their wayward son or daughter. These ladies have watched as their children went off to college, married, and had their own children. They have seen their husbands retire. Some have lost their husbands. Yet, they all have lived according to the Scriptures. They have all been examples and “teachers of good things”.

Aged woman, I’m still watching you. Will you “continue steadfast” in your faith and convictions you once taught your own children? Will you continue to be faithful despite the difficulty that comes with increasing age? Will you continue to have a sweet disposition, even after you have retired from your ministries? Will you still love your husband after age has slowed him down? Will you continue faithful in your Bible reading and prayer time?

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.” – 2 Peter 3:17

Aged woman, I need you. I need you to teach me how to age in God’s grace. I need to know that life can still be joyous, despite its many disappointments. I need you to teach me that no matter how painful life can become, there is still a “reason for the hope that is in you”. Teach me how to reach out and minister to others with a happy heart, even when my hands are hurting and my heart is failing.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” – I Peter 3:15

Aged woman, the world needs you. The world today is telling women that it’s OK to leave their husbands and children in order to “find” themselves. The world is telling women that they don’t need to keep their homes. The world is telling women that if they stay at home to care for their families, they have no value or beauty. The world is telling women that it’s not healthy to push their faith on their children and that they shouldn’t make them go to church. The world is lying to women today. Aged woman, the world needs you to be a candle in the darkness. They need your shining example that it is better to obey God than to follow their own pleasures.

For those women whom I have looked up to since I became a Christian 30 years ago, thank you for your examples. I could never have been the wife, mother, or keeper of my home that I am today without your example. And now, as time continues to move faster, I too, am becoming an aged woman. I only pray that I can teach others as you have taught me.

Let your lights so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

A Year Ago

A year ago today, I had no idea that our family was about to embark on a journey that would forever change our lives. I had no idea that just a few short days into 2017, my husband would be diagnosed with colon cancer. I never would have guessed that it would be a year filled with private tears, and worry.

A year ago today, I had no idea how good our God is! I had no idea how far the reach of His comforting arms extended! Never did I expect the honor of witnessing the miracles He performed, just for us! A year ago today, I had no idea how much God really cared for and loved me. I had never experienced such great, unexplainable peace in the midst of great chaos!

A year ago today, I didn’t understand that in order to shine brightly for God, you have to be surrounded by darkness.

I didn’t know that God could use you for His glory during the hardest of your trials and struggles. I didn’t understand that when we are in our weakest state, that is when our God is strongest! Never would I have guessed that walking with the Saviour in 2017 would be the sweetest walk I would ever experience!

Today, I am facing the future of 2018. Sometimes, I look ahead in trepidation, wondering what surprises are lurking in its dark corners. Yet, the fear doesn’t last very long because all I have to do is think back to a year ago and remember how God saw us through the most difficult journey of our lives. 2018 will hold it’s trials, and who knows, maybe they will be more difficult than what we have already faced! I know that I can trust God, however, to be right there with me, from the start of the journey, all the way to the very end!

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

Thank you, dear readers, for joining me in my discoveries of God’s goodness and mercy in 2017! I hope and pray you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! And whatever is in store for your 2018, I pray you claim the promise of God’s peace!

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27

(Photograph taken by Kasey Photography)

Meditation Monday – Leaving and Reaching

Have you just come out of a long trial?  Maybe someone in your family was sick, or you experienced the death of a loved one. Your head might still be spinning from the emotions of your trial.  Now that it is over, you are wondering, “how in the world do I get back to a normal life”?  

The Bible tells us to “forget the things which are behind.”  All the pain, fear, and worry of your trial needs to be left behind .  You might be thinking, “but that trial was SO HARD, I don’t know how I could possibly forget it!”  God has given each of us the ability to make the pain of our trials a distant memory.  Once we get on our knees and surrender the pain of our past to the Lord, He will give us the strength to press on towards the prize!

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13 & 14

 

What Makes a Good Friend

This article is lovingly dedicated to my friends. Thank you for being there for me, especially these last couple of years! You have listened to my fears, hugged me as I cried, prayed for me, and been there for me at a moment’s notice. You have taught me by your examples how to be a friend, and you have loved me, despite me.  I love you guys!!

Pacing the busy church foyer, my 13-year-old self tried to muster up courage. 
Realizing I just needed to take the plunge, I walked towards the girl.  She had perfect blonde hair that flowed past her shoulders.  Her dress was a beautiful flower pattern, with puffs and ruffles in all the right places.  Looking into her questioning, blue eyes, I nearly lost my resolve. 

“Um…I just wanted to know….what do I have to do to be your guy’s friend.  I mean….do I need to change the way I dress or do my hair?  I just really want to be your friend!”

Smiling at me, the girl gently placed her hand on my arm.

“You don’t need to change.  Just give it some more time.  It will get better, I promise!”

Little did I know then, that 26 years later, that very girl would be one of my dearest and closest friends!

I am in no way an expert on friendship, but I am very blessed by the many friends God has given me.  Some friends go way back and others are newer, but they all are very dear to my heart. 

Making friends is not something that has ever been easy for me.  Approaching people I don’t know will make me break out in cold a sweat.  I say stupid things, and most of the time, come across as very awkward!  My husband tells me that I start to laugh in a high pitched voice, and even talk faster than normal, when I am talking to someone I don’t know. For me, making new friendships has required a lot of work, and, as my dear friend said to me so many years ago, patience.

Maybe you are in a church or a community where you find it difficult to make friends. Before you blame the church members, or even your neighbors, make sure you are following Biblical principles when trying to develop new friendships.

You mean, the Bible says something about making friends?

Yes.  In fact, there are several examples of friendships in the Bible.  David and Jonathan, Moses and Arron, Paul and Barnabas, and Jesus and His disciples are just a few friendships we can read about in the Bible.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD FRIEND

A Common Bond in Jesus Christ – While a Christian should be friendly to the unsaved world, he shouldn’t be best friends with them.  The Bible reminds us in James 4:4 – “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  Don’t forget, that you can’t serve the world and Jesus. An unsaved individual is going to live like the world and is going to do worldly things.  Luke 16:13 – “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  

Be the First to Reach Out – To have friends, the Bible teaches that you have to take action.  You have to be the one that reaches out first.  If you are standing in the corner by yourself, hoping to be flocked by a group of new friends, you are going to be sadly disappointed!  It doesn’t mean the church is unfriendly, it means the church is busy serving.  Maybe they are as afraid of you as you are of them.  Put a smile on your face, get out of your corner, and reach out to others!  Get involved in the church, and be patient.  It takes time to make friends!  Proverbs 18:24 – “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Forgive – Weather you are offended because someone isn’t friendly enough, or your closest and dearest friend has just stabbed you in the back (yes, I know that was extreme), you need to forgive.  Ephesians 4:32b – “…forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”  True friendship won’t seek revenge or hold a grudge.  Proverbs 24:29 – “Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.”

Be Generous – The best way to make a new friend is to be generous.  Inviting someone over to your home for a delicious meal is a wonderful first step in getting to know someone!  Meeting for coffee and dessert is another excellent way to form a friendship.  If you doubt this, just look to Jesus’ example.  He invited Himself over to Zacchaeus’s house for dinner!  Luke 19:5 – “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.”  If you have a friend in need, and you feel the Holy Spirit moving you to help, you better obey!  Not only does true friendship give when there is a need, but you will be rewarded for your generosity!  Proverbs 3:28 – “Do not say unto thy neighbor, go, and come again, and to morrow I will give when thou hast it by thee.”

Watch Your Tongue – That old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” applies right here.  Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” The worst thing a group of friends can do when they get together is gossip about other people.  In fact, if you have friends that sit around and gossip about your pastor’s wife, MAKE NEW FRIENDS.  Seriously, do I need to remind you about Miriam?  Numbers 12:1 – “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married”.  Miriam got her tongue wagging out there in that wilderness against Moses’ wife, and God called her out for it! “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them…and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow…And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days.”  If you have tried to make friends and have found yourself still sitting in the corner alone, you need to examine your tongue.  What are you talking about when you are around other people?  Are your words pleasant?  Do they edify others in the Lord?  Proverbs 15:2 – “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.”  Just because you have knowledge about someone else, doesn’t mean you should pour it all out for everyone to hear.  A true friend will speak pleasant words about everyone! Proverbs 16:28 – “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.”

Be Faithful – If you want to know who your friends are, look to see who is still standing after a storm.  Trials and difficult situations can often “weed out” friends.  Don’t desert your friend in their time of greatest need.  If you don’t understand what they are going through, you can still be there for them by telling them you are praying for them and that you love them!  Bring them a meal, send them a card, send them a text, or meet them for coffee!  Lend your ear, and if you are asked to share your opinion, do so with meekness.  Proverbs 17:17b – “A friend loveth at all times”.  Proverbs 27:10 – “Thine own friend, and they fathers’ friend, forsake not.”

Have Some Character – A true friend will bring out the best in you. When you leave their conversation, you will be strengthened in your own Christian walk.  Romans 14:19 – “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

Be Truthful – Truthfulness is a hard quality to find in a friend.  Often, one will tell a “little white lie” in order to avoid hurting a friend.  But the Bible tells us a good friend will tell the truth, even if it hurts.  Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  A true friend will gently share the truth, weather it is desirable to hear or not. It does not always have to be painful, however.  If done in the right spirit, it can be a blessing!  Proverbs 27:9 – “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by heart council.”  

If you are desiring to have more friends, or have found yourself in a place that seems unfriendly, be sure you are applying Biblical principles to your efforts.  At the end of the day, remember, you have a Friend Who will never leave you!  Just look to how Jesus treated His friends.  He fed them, laughed with them, healed them, taught them, ate with them, and He even washed their feet!  How does Jesus treat you?  Jesus is our best example of what makes a good friend!

John 15:15 – “Jesus said, I have called you friends.”