Friend or just “friendly”?

~ NTD

I often mistake the two ideas, interchanging them as though they were the same. I am coming to believe there is a vast difference between them.

A “friendly” person has no animosity toward another. He/she may greet with a smile, shake hands, hug, and in every way be a warm-hearted person to be around. At club meetings, at church, or in the supermarket, they are happy to see others and may spend time in interesting conversation.

Being friendly does not mean the person is a friend. Shaking hands or asking about health or life is going does not mean they are a friend.

A “friend” is one who actually does something with encouraging words, actions or followup. They actually seek to make someone’s life better by their actions.

A friendly person may greet at church, but a friend will seek to encourage or help. A friendly person may smile as you drive past their house on the way home, but a friend will seek to have contact with you. One may have dozens of friendly people greet and talk at club or church, but a person is very fortunate to have someone take time and effort to come by when you are hurting or need to have someone to listen or share life over coffee.

A step deeper

Compare the difference between “like” and “love” in the English language. We confuse and intermingle the two words. We say we love chocolate Sundaes, we love our high school, our church, our neighbors, etc. Often that means little more than we have no animosity toward anyone. It might means we get pleasure out from being around them. We “like” our sports team because they bring excitement; we like our city park because it brings us tranquility;  we like our neighbors because they don’t cause us any problems. A definition: To “like” someone or something means I get pleasure, comfort, excitement, etc. from them.  It is me-centered. I get something out of it. To “love” means I seek to comfort, encourage, give help to the other. Watch how you use these words and what meaning you put into them.

You can be friendly — or “like” someone — and do nothing to benefit them. You have nothing against them and they might bring pleasure into your life. You love someone when you seek to benefit, encourage, help them — your actions benefit them. Not having a mean bone in your body does not mean you are a loving person. Love is an intentional doing something for another’s good. Maybe it is simply using an opportunity to say an encouraging word.

One can even find such a meaning in the Biblical text that says “God so loved, that he gave …” He loved, so he gave.

It can add new meaning to the idea, “I don’t like them, but I love them.” Meaning, I don’t like their attitude, lifestyle, etc, but I will seek to bless, encourage, help them, etc.

Play these introductory thoughts in your mind. Am I just being friendly or a real friend? Do I treat people in a friendly manner, have coffee with them, etc. because they bring something to me? Or, do I seek to be a real friend and seek ways to encourage, help, add something positive to their life? Do I merely “like” people or do I “love” people?

I would suggest that if we do nothing more than smile, shake hands, or are just pleasant to all, we fall short of being a friend — and we are not loving them.

Are you a real friend to others? Do you have any real friends?

Sometimes this hard line gets slippery. Sometimes just getting up and greeting someone is an act of love and grace — and is greatly encouraging and helpful to another person. I hope it causes some to think about whether they are just being friendly or really being a loving friend.

5 Ways to Get Closer to God

1. Admit you can’t do everything on your own.

One of the first steps to getting a closer to God is admitting that you need him in your life. Ironic, yeah? The reality is that we can’t do everything on our own, so admitting this will not only show a sense of humility in your life but it will also show God that are putting your faith in his strength and guidance, rather than your own. As John 3:30 states, “He must increase, I must decrease.” 

2. Remove yourself from harmful relationships.

I believe one of the biggest roadblocks to finding a deeper relationship with God is harmful relationships. Whether these relationships be with family, friends or co-workers, taking yourself out of the equation, or at least giving yourself some healthy distance, will provide you the necessary room and energy needed to first get right in your relationship with God. You must make yourself a priority in regards to your spiritual life. Although this might sound tough to accomplish, you won’t believe the freedom and liberty you will encounter when being able to solely focus on your relationship with God without having toxic relationships getting in your way.

https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/340229-closer-god.html

The Kalaam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God—a valuable evangelistic tool

Posted by Tyler Ramey on Wednesday, December 26, 2018

 

See also: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmcvkSe5v1KHRYr5WQud5Eqh_Zt5IZFqu&fbclid=IwAR22dH4cCRFmVicJ2ioXe3vAKOxfSO-jdx97XHFqRjzfOinSdqecI0Lbf0Y

6 Ways to Gauge Your Spiritual Health

Two years ago I began to hit a wall. I was run down and burned out. It wasn’t that I didn’t love the Lord or people anymore. It wasn’t that I’d lost my passion for God’s Word, teaching the Bible, writing or taking mission trips to the Amazon and Moldova with Justice & Mercy International. I simply had no margin. I was so busy that there was little room for anything fresh to come in. Little was growing, and I felt as though all I was giving others were crusty leftovers.

I met with my pastor and he encouraged me to evaluate the way I was using my time. He challenged me to guard the most important tasks the Lord has given me to do and say no to what wasn’t part of that agenda. Since that meeting, I’ve recognized six things that have significantly supported my spiritual and emotional health. I’ve put them in the form of questions so you can think personally and critically about how well you’re covered in each area.

1. Who Is Teaching You?

While it sounds simple, I realized that part of my problem was that I’d stopped learning. Teachers often forget to take time to be taught. Even if you don’t consider yourself a teacher, we all need to be fed and led spiritually. In addition to being involved in a local church that feeds your soul, commit to a Bible study, take an online seminary course, listen to podcasts by teachers who point out truths from God’s Word. Continuing to learn and grow is vital to our personal refreshment.

2. Who Do You Pray With?

In busy seasons we tend to depend on our resources and strength to make it through, meanwhile prayer is the first thing to go. Several years ago I decided I wanted to see God do immeasurably more than I could ever do on my own. I wanted to be an intercessor for others who are hurting, sick or stuck. And because I love what I do, I also wanted to make sure I have a stronger relationship with Jesus than I have with my ministry. Prayer has been the game-changer for me in these areas. Whether it’s praying alone in the mornings or praying with a group, this is where the supernatural happens. So make a commitment to be renewed and encouraged in prayer, and don’t allow it to be edged out by busyness.

More at: https://outreachmagazine.com/features/discipleship/38152-6-ways-to-gauge-your-spiritual-health.html

The Fruit of the Spirit

Three Reasons Why Men Need Community

by Chris Surratt

We all need community. In fact, we were designed by God to be in community. You can see it modeled for us with the perfect relationship of the Trinity in Genesis.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” – Genesis 1:26

And then Jesus prayed for this community with His final prayer before His death on the cross:

May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. – John 17:21

So why do so many of us try to go it alone? We are men. That is the general answer and is what a lot of us were taught growing up. Real men can pull up the bootstraps and get ‘er done on our own. Even the appearance of leaning on someone else can make us look weak and feel like failures. I could go on and on with a long list of cultural excuses why you can’t be in community, but here are three strong reasons why you should be.

1. Being a man can be a lonely world.

Because we have been taught from birth to go it alone, we end up lonely. Even though we may have people around us all day at the office, we can still go without the life-giving community we desperately need. Your family can provide a piece of it–and our community should start there–but they can only do so much. Ultimately, we need fellow brothers in Christ to walk alongside us.

Read more: https://blog.lifeway.com/leadingmen/2018/12/11/three-reasons-why-men-need-community/?ecid=387181040&bid=308280756#.XBu-5KfMzN1

Why We Need to Sing in Worship Even When We Do Not Know or Like the Song

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/321019-need-sing-worship-even-not-know-like-song-chuck-lawless.html