Tuesday, February 14, 2012


"Friends realize the right to criticize must be earned even if their advice is constructive in nature." - James Dobson

As I am reading about friendship in my Old Testament Survey book, Encountering the Old Testament, this chapter really struck out to me. It is called Developing Lasting Relationships.

It started off with saying how we often talk about the same things with people.
-"How are you?"
-"Great, how are you?"
-"Fantastic, how is the family?"
-"Doing well, how bout them Tigers huh?"
-"Wow, am I excited for next year!"
-"Yeah...well, gotta go. Have a good day."
-"Yeah, you too."

I do this more often than I really thought about. In church, work, etc. I can carry on a short conversation with someone, Amanda will ask me what their name is, and I have no idea. I think I am missing out on some lasting relationships by not spending the time to get to know some people. Here are some examples of lasting relationships that have been built and are now ones we cherish.

-Greg and Crystal Cromp (and girls): We coached Camisha Cromp is Softball and we had no idea who her parents were. Amanda got up to chatting with Crystal and soon they started to build a relationship. We would come over and I remember one time Camisha actually saying "These are my friends" and Crystal said "Well, honey, they are now ours too." This to this day makes me laugh. But the problem was Greg and I had nothing in common. Greg is an outdoorsman...a hunter, fisher and all around fixer upper. Me...the closest thing I ever shot was clay skeet. Ask me to fix something, give me about a couple months and then I will call Greg. But we ended up spending time together and chatting and getting to know each other. I now consider this man a brother. Someone I trust and count on and one of the only people in my life that I will tell anything. They now live in New York, which is sad, but it has not stopped our friendship.

-John and Lorna Lyman (and girls): So Greg and Crystal move to New York, what do they try and do...pawn us off to a new couple to hang out with so they don't feel they left us high and dry. One of these couples is the Lyman's. We didn't know the Lyman's too well, except that we taught Jordyn in Middle School and would chat with them at Jr. High events. But, eventually we started spending a little more time with them. We now meet them for Bible Studies and can sit down with them and have a converstaion. 3 hours can pass by and we will be like...."Where did that time go?" (And for those of you who know me well, I HATE just sitting around and talking) This is one couple who I can actually sit down with and feel comfortable enough to tell them anything. Now, John is almost like a second dad to Lorelai. He loves her so much and I can tell she loves him back. John and I have a lot in common and I can see that we will be great friends. The relationship between their family and ours is still growing, and i am excited to what this relationship will bring.

There are not many people out there that I can call family, but these two families are like our family. I care for each of them as much as I care for my own. God has blessed us with these amazing people in our lives. But, if we didn't try to build that relationship, we could have missed out. How many relationships are we missing out on because we don't try to build it?

Friendships are built and developed around certain key ingredients:
1. Common Interests
2. Personal Significance: "You are important to me."
3. Honest Communication
4. Unconditional Love
5. Genuine Concern
6. Personal Encouragement
7. Long-Term commitment

It is not easy for me to make lifelong friends, but then again, I don't try hard enough. I encourage not only myself, but you, to reach out to someone you know and strengthen a relationship with someone by meeting them for lunch or get together as couples for coffee. Try Harder, because you never know what you might be missing out on.



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What do I do?

I read an interesting sentence in my Old Testament Survey textbook "Encountering the Old Testament." It says "The closer we draw to God, the less we ask what is permissable (What I can get away with and still be a Christian) and the more we think about what pleases God." WOW, this struck a cord in me.

Backround to this sentence is the story of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a personal servant to the Persian King. He asked the Persian King to go home to Jerusalem and help rebuild his peoples city. The king granted him his request (which is something only the Lord can do) and Nehemiah went home. When he got there, his people were being forced into slavery and had debts to people. Their children were being kidnapped to pay for past debt. A little further into the book, Nehemiah is offered money from the governor to help re-build the city but he refuses the money, because it was taken from his people unfairly and didn't believe it should be used for this purpose. He saw that taking this money is wrong.

How often do we give in because it is the easy thing to do? How often do we push our standards to provide the comforts and luxuries in our lives? It might not be necessarily wrong to do certain things, but is it Christlike?

As an example:
I walk into a store and only have enough money for the essentials (milk, bread, etc.) and nothing more. None of those Double Stuffed Oreos that I enjoy so much. But then I find a $50 bill on the floor or in the parking lot. I pick it up. The first thought that would come into my head is "Wow, Double Stuffed Oreo's, here I come!" It is not necessarily wrong to take the money...I found it and the person who dropped it may not even know it is missing. But is it right? I don't think so.

1 John 3:18 says; "Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth"

I know there are so many times in the past I have skimmed the truth to get away with things that were not necessarily wrong, but I know my actions were not truthful and a good action.

My prayer today is "Lord, help me to know your truth. Lord, help me to realize what is right and wrong and to follow you fully and to be a good steward for you. I want to be more like Nehemiah Lord, when he refused the money from the Governor to help re-build the city because he knew it was not right to take his peoples tax money. Lord, help me to follow you more closely with my actions."


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Old Testament Lesson

So, right now in school I am learning a lot about Old Testament heros such as Moses and Joshua. There was a line in my book that really seemed to strike out at me and speak to me. "Moses reminded Israel that God's blessings are often directly related to submission to His will." Read Deuteronomy 3:23-29 to see how Moses' consequences of his own for not submitting to God.

I have to ask myself DAILY, "Lord, am I submitting to your will?" Am I following God's will and submitting myself to Him or am I being greedy and doing what I want to do. This post directly relates to a couple of other posts, but I had to share this line.

If you go on to read the rest of the story of Moses, he travelled for 40 years in the desert, had to listen to grumbling and complaining of the Israelite people, and fight the Pharaoh and because he didn't submit to God and His will, he was not able to enter the Promised Land. How often do we miss out on blessings from God because we are not submitting to Him.

I do know that sometimes it is not so easy to know what God's will is. Sometimes you ask yourself; "Lord, how do I know if this is your will?" Well, I ask you...
1) Have you prayed about it?
2) Here is a BIG one that I will do a blog about later but, Have you fasted about it?
3) Have you seeked Christian Counsel?

If you still feel like God is pressing on your heart to do something after doing the things above, than most likely it is God and not the Mexican food you ate earlier.

I am sure that in my life I have probably missed out on some of God's blessings like Moses missed out by not being able to enter the Promised Land. I pray Lord that I will be more submissive to your will in my life and that I follow your counsel. Thank you Lord for the blessings you have given me.