SERENITY UNVEILED

A Friendship Project
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The Friendship Project

  "But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'

Luke:10:29 (NIV)

        

Devotion:

It was a room full of nearly strangers, barely friends-until that day.  I asked the ladies to stand as I read from a list of life experiences. If they had lived through one of the descriptions they stood up. One by one, sobbing women rose to their feet as I read the list.  They were family in name only - a family of believers from the same church gathered together for a women's retreat where I was the guest speaker.

 

Twelve women stood together when I asked if anyone had had a miscarriage. One woman had buried a spouse. Five came from unbelieving homes. One had lived through marital infidelity. Three had escaped relationships where they had faced verbal, physical or sexual abuse. Three ladies had struggled with depression. The list went on and on. By the time I had finished, every woman in the room was standing.

 

We were knee-deep in one another's junk, and yet I had never felt closer to a group of women. As we closed the session I asked them to share more about their stories at their individual tables. As I surveyed the room, women who had been strangers only minutes before were huddled around one another, embracing, sharing and weeping. God was knitting hearts together. It was a moment I'll never forget.

 

I am realizing that women of all walks of life crave friendships. And yet so many of us feel that we are lacking meaningful, authentic relationships. How is it that a church full of women with a common thread of faith are not friends? Worse yet, if we aren't friends, can we hope to offer authentic relationships to those who enter the doors of our churches every week?

 

I fear the answer is "no, we can't" unless we change and make a few necessary sacrifices.

 

Recently I've gleaned some life lessons from the story of the Good Samaritan. In Luke 10:30, Jesus paints a not-so-favorable picture of the religious and respectable. I wonder if He would have the same indictment of our churches today? The priest was seemingly too busy to befriend the one in need.

 

Can I be honest? I am regularly guilty of this sin. Before and after church my husband and I busy ourselves with the work of tending to our children, and doing the business of church. I move past people who are hurting, but I don't stop with my busyness to see their needs. I rarely get off my horse. I am the priest.

 

The Levite rode past the hurting man too. Perhaps he felt he was too clean to get dirty in the messy business of grace and mercy. Helping the man in need would have made the Levite ceremonially unclean. He wanted to preserve his position and place.

 

Let me do a little more truth-telling. I don't usually want to get knee-deep in other people's junk. If I don't get into messy relationships I avoid having to deal not only with my own junk, but other's as well. So I don't get off my horse. I am the Levite.

 

Here is the problem. Real relationships require time and transparency. If we want to move from being casual acquaintances to genuine friends you and I will have to share pain and joy in an authentic, sacrificial way. I believe this, but for right now it's just theory.

 

I'm curious. What would happen if we covenanted together to get off our high horses and got into one another's junk? I wonder if our churches would explode. I wonder if lives would be forever changed. I wonder if the Church would shed a little bit of its reputation of hypocrisy.

 

Want to see what would happen? Let's resolve to change lives through friendship. Let's slow down. Let's share our stories. Let's get knee-deep.

                                                                                                                                                                          

Dear Lord, give me eyes to see those in need around me, and give me the courage to respond. Father, I want to be a part of life-changing friendships by offering grace and mercy. You call us to love others as ourselves. Help me obey this all-consuming command. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

The Friends We Keep: A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis

 

Visit Whitney's blog today.

 

Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith by Karla Worley

 

Join Whitney's Facebook group The Friendship Project for more details about this campaign

 

Application Steps:

How can you simplify your Sunday routine to allow more time for building relationships?

 

With whom can you share part of your story in hopes of offering encouragement and hope?

 

Reflections:

Do you have genuine, edifying friendships? Why or why not?

 

Are you reaching out and developing new friendships with those in need around you?

 

Power Verses:

Luke 10:27, "He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind"; and, "Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (NIV)

Luke 10:33-34, 36-37, "But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds...and took care of him... 'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise.' (NIV)

 By: Whitney Capps

 

2010 by Whitney Capps. All rights reserved.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

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You might think it silly now, but way back when, Nicholas Jonas was just twelve I was begging Christian stations to play his music, I said this kid is going to be Big, He is going places, hehe Wow was that an understatement. I wrote them (The Jonas's) and told them I would remove the photo / link if they wanted The Two Great Cd's at the time was and still is "Dear God" and "Joy to the world a Christmas Prayer" boy these are still timeless gifts hope you get one  Oh the next year his Cd's took off and they were playing those Cd's all the time in the interim I put the Cd hook-ups on the Christian sites.   God Bless

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I have always valued the impute from readers, especially men and woman in recovery, Why.?. Because I feel as if we have come so far already, I mean, temptation on either side of us. Sometimes right in our families, some that may find joy in our falling. Regardless the struggle I believe God has given me the gift to empower His papers to make lives step into the Full Armor of God Daily, We have to deal with what is in the day right now! Because we cannot change ten minutes ago, we can't change a year ago, but we can know in the day we will strive to make our lives a beacon to those suffering and granted there are many. I would rather bring one man to the cross then anything else in this journey. We have the power to help those, right around us, make it happen today, you can do this!

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You can sing up for text devotions by texting the request to that number listed of course we post email devotions and the papers I will list the main address presently, that address has links to everything, have any questions, concerns, Prayer requests please submit then to the Aim account @ BTEM1985@Aim.com all other mail can go to the Main account BetterTomorrows@Live.com

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