Friday Friends’ Favorites

It’s Friday, so it’s time for something new: Friday Friends’ Favorites.

If you have a favorite verse that you’d like to see on my blog or Facebook page, just type the reference in the comments, and I will share it on a Friday. Here’s the first.

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Lord, when I am afraid, help me remember that You are mightier than even the majestic mountains. I need not fear. When I have self-doubts, remind me that You love me, you delight in me, and You rejoice over me with singing. I am indeed blessed.

Rivers of Peace

In a world torn by conflicts and war, people seek peace.  Many mourn the lack of peace and grieve over violence.  Others question why war exists; hasn’t God has promised peace? When you listen to the news, it seems peace doesn’t exist.  Even in our homes, peace seems elusive.  Couples bicker and divorce, siblings argue and fight.  The book of Isaiah sheds light on peace: “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river” (48:18a NIV).  One prerequisite to peace is obeying God’s commands.  But what about peace…”likea river”?  To fully appreciate this concept of peace like a river, imagine a great river running through the land.

The broad river, a constant presence, flows despite obstacles.  Sometimes the river runs smoothly; at other times it runs headlong into a snag, separating and diverting its water to other paths.  The water flows peacefully on, until downstream it smashes full force against the rocks, shattering spray high in the air.  Flowing to the top of a sharp drop-off, the water rushes forward, falling… falling…rushing over the edge, churning and boiling at the bottom.  After a time the water collects in a still pool, resting, reveling in the quiet. 

During my mother’s last years, her mind ravaged by dementia, my river of peace constantly ran against snags of her lost memory.  My peace plummeted over the precipice of countless hours of watching her mind rapidly losing rational thought and memory.  Constantly swirling and eddying, the waters rushed me from work to assist Dad with her care.  Emotional whirlpools threatened to spin out of control.  The only thing that kept my sanity during this difficult time was God’s peace.

You may ask how I could feel peace when my world was turned upside down.  In Galatians 5:22, we learn that peace is a fruit of the Spirit.  Only the spirit of God can give us peace in the midst of the snags, rocks, waterfalls, and whirlpools of life.  So how do we receive this peace?  We can’t buy it in a store; we can only receive it as a gift from God. When our life’s circumstances shatter against the rocks, placing trust in God’s perfect will keeps us at peace despite trying circumstances.  Jesus tells us he leaves us peace, but “I do not give you[peace]as the world gives” (John 14:22 NIV).  The countries of the world may continue to fight, and we still experience personal difficulties and tragedies.  But when we obey God’s commands and trust Him, no matter how difficult our circumstances, we experience His peace, flowing like a river deep within our souls.

Isaiah 26:3 “You [God]will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trust in you.”

Thank you, Father, for providing your perfect peace.

Prayer

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.

Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don’t want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of ‘good time’ is seldom in sync with ours.”
― Oswald Chambers

Making Connections

“You have to look for the things that connect us all. Find the ways our paths cross, our lives intersect, and our hearts collide.” From Navigating Early, by Clare Vanderpool

God, it seems that we spend our time looking for the things that divide us, for the ways we are different. Show us how to see one another as beloved people who are created in your image. Teach us to connect hearts with those who look and think differently from us.

Saying Goodbye

When a friend from my early adulthood recently passed away, I reminisced on all those times we spent together.

Stay-at-home moms in our twenties with babies and toddlers, we had much in common. Those times were both chaotic and wonderful. Our days were filled with diapers and slobbery kisses, toddler tears and tantrums mixed with snuggles and hugs.

We shared our hopes and dreams and our fears and failures. We provided one another support and we walked the road of young motherhood and pursued the path of the faithful.

But times change, and friends move away. At that time, we had no personal computers or cell phones, so we lost touch. Fortunately, with social media, we were able, after several decades, to reconnect.

Now that my friend is gone, I feel a strange mix of emotions. Grief in her passing, sweetness in fond memories, and joy in her new life without trials or tears.

Remembering our times together as young mothers makes me wonder. How much or little time do I have left on this earth? In what ways have I made a difference? How can I make a difference in my remaining time?

As we say goodbye to friends, whether their time with us was long or short, how can we honor them, and honor God by the choices we make, the words we speak, and the things we do?

For now, I say goodbye. Rest in peace, my friend. See you again, in God’s time.

Father God, thank you for friends who rejoice with us in the good times, and cry with us in the difficult times. Show me ways to honor them by serving you and making a difference in this world.