…An Omnipresence

Jesus is Everywhere Map

There are so many times and, frankly, seasons in our lives when we may feel that God just isn’t there; when we feel as if He doesn’t hear us; that He doesn’t respond to us; nor that He’s near. This may not be the case for some of you out there, but I sure know that I’ve felt this way before and that friends of mine have expressed the same. Thankfully, these “alone-moments” have proven to become periods of character building, strengthening and an increase in thirst for Him.

In any of your alone-moments, please remember that that nothing is new under the sun and accordingly, He is growing you and has reassured you that “…never will [He] leave you; never will [He] forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). He is omnipresent.

Press play and please be encouraged.

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…I will not leave you…” Genesis 28:15

…Friend that You Wish to Have and Keep

Friendship Quote

As my husband and I have rejoiced over the new, wonderful season we’re walking into, many of our closest friends have in turn rejoiced with and for us. Recently, NS gifted us with a wonderfully, wise book; LM surprised me with a pretty bouquet of flowers in my favorite color; SH followed up with an Edible Arrangement that I didn’t know I needed in my life (until that moment); KS thought enough of us to speak such life and encouragement via text at the crack of dawn one morning; BS & VS have given their hearts and unending support; and amongst other caring gestures, we’re so thankful that countless friends have offered their prayers and extreme excitement (specific shout out to my CF for her shouts).

I’ve mentioned before that I have the greatest friends, here. In the last several weeks, their aforementioned expressions of love have reminded me of just that. It’s both funny and heart warming to think that just years ago, I actually prayed for genuine, ride or die and selfless friends. It was at a time that I felt as if a lot of those that I called friends didn’t have the same heart for me, and a time when I did not have any ‘true’ friends in my local vicinity. But, boy, has God answered in ways that have far exceeding my expectations. For lack of a better term, He weeded out the people who were less than the greatest influences with ease – just because I asked; He revealed to me the hearts of longterm friends and He gave me an amazing, new addition of friends – just because I asked.

All in all, I am grateful for my true, loving, lasting, fruitful relationships. And, as with each gift, comes the responsibility of stewarding over it well. To consistently be the friend that I wish to have and keep, is my goal, and to in turn, actively appreciate the gifts God has given me.

Some time ago, my college roomie, EE, shared with me practical ways that her Pastor encourages us to be the type of friend we’ve been called to be. These practices have influenced and blessed my life, and helped me to strive toward my goal. Therefore, as we ask and thank God for the meaningful relationships that we have, let’s be motivated to continually be the following kind of friend.

Note: These tips have been loosely adapted from the Pastor’s guidance.

  • Committed – There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (NLT)
  • Confidential – A gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence. Proverbs 11:13 (MSG)
  • Honest – An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6 (NLT); An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. Proverbs 24:26 (NLT)
  • Edifying – Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
  • Enhancing – As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
  • Prayerful – …Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
  • ForgivingLove prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
  • Loving & Selfless – There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NLT)

To each of my friends chosen family, you are literally an answer to my prayer. Thank you for exactly who you are and the role you play in my life. I pray that I am the friend to you, that you are to me. Love you mucho.

…Meditation Moment: Matthew 5:14-16

Choose To Shine Light

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)

…Meditation Moment : Matthew 6:34

every moment

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:34 (MSG)

…Different Response to the Zimmerman Trial

Over recent weeks, the George Zimmerman trial has been at the forefront of news headlines, social media, water cooler discussions and conversations amongst family and friends in the United States. Frankly, since the death of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, many have been consumed with whether or not Zimmerman is guilty or not guilty.

When the verdict was read on Saturday evening, the reaction of millions could immediately be heard and seen throughout the country. The support, as well as the opposition was expressed with fervor. The initial reaction in my own home and from my family and friends was equally passionate. Taking in the feelings of others seen on television and the thoughts of those on Twitter that evening weighed on my heart. Where I could understand that everyone had the right to their own opinion and also clear on how we could end up on different sides of our take on what actually happened; what burdened me the most was the realization that the majority (if not all) of us were missing out on an opportunity…to be different.

As I replayed in my mind so much of what I’d read and heard about the incident and the trial over the weekend, God placed the need to talk to Him about it on my heart. At first, I assumed He solely desired that I pray for the comfort of the family that lost their 17 year old young man. I cannot fathom the emotions they have experienced, and at that time, felt that it was our responsibility to cover their hearts with as much intensity as we expressed our positions on what they were going through. As I began to go in on my prayer, I realized the need for much more.

As many of us wondered whether or not violence would play a role in the response to the trial’s outcome, and as many debates continue to occur on whether or not race has been or remains a factor, the necessity for forgiveness is prevalent. Therefore, as we move forward this week and in the upcoming days; and even as the interest and enthusiasm of this trial may waiver, I charge us all to be different in our response to the Zimmerman trial.

When drawn to share our opinion on the subject at hand, let’s instead choose to  seek and ask for a heart of forgiveness – forgiveness for our own judgements of the prosecution, defense and families, and forgiveness between the Martins and Zimmermans for one another. When reading or watching news updates from witnesses, juror interviews, and more, let’s elect to think and act with a heart of compassion. Then, no matter what side we are on, we can walk in freedom from our own thoughts of disappointment, pride, resentment, anger, revenge, hatred, doubt and/or fear. We can truly be the difference He’s called us to be – and through Him love our neighbors and our enemies selflessly, and as ourselves (Matthew 22:39Matthew 5:44).

…Meditation Moment : Psalm 139:13-16

made the stars

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16

…Heart Arrest

heart in cuffs

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope… 1 Peter 1:3

His abounding mercy and in turn, this song, has been on my heart this week. Press play. Be encouraged.