ALL OF THE FRIENDS …

“Friends with Everyone” is the quest to love people in our lives well. God places people in our lives purposefully. As Christians, we are called to reach outside of our comfort zones in order to serve the people bordering our everyday lives.

“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. 

To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 

To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. 

I have become all tings to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NIV (emphasis mine.)

Love finds common ground. Paul isn’t advising us to change for people in these verses. He’s challenging us to find common ground with the people in our lives. There is common ground to be found. It’s not an easy quest. There are lines we will be tempted to cross and company we wish would could keep closer. We will be called to ruffle a few feathers in righteousness. We will be left out, called out, questioned, and ridiculed. Being friends with everyone requires us to flip all of the hurt into forgiveness, and trust God with transformation.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV

We wouldn’t die for someone that hurt us. We wouldn’t die for someone who didn’t apologize for the hurt they caused …and we surely wouldn’t die for someone intent upon hurting us again. Jesus did. Compassion and kindness come from Him. All of us continue to fall short every day, yet the forgiveness Jesus died to grant us, to go before us and pave for us, isn’t effected by our inability to overcome the broken world we live in. He has already defeated what we could …and cannot. It. Is. Done. A true understanding of forgiveness breaks the cycle of hurt and allows the love of Christ to flow through our lives.

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20 NIV

I believe we take this verse out of context when we use it as an excuse to shun people who are different from us. What good is all of our wisdom about Christ, if we hide from the people that don’t know what we know? Like Paul, through adversity …seek diversity. But we must keep our eyes on Jesus. He is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. He was friends with everyone, without sacrificing His mission.

Jesus had a close group of twelve friends, and out them three were extremely close to Jesus. Still one, John, was Jesus’ best friend on earth. We’re clearly called to choose our close circle of friends with care, but leave the door open. May our light reflect His Love.

I shudder to think of all the rich friendships I would have missed out on, had I not decided to leave my Monday morning Bible Study group open to anyone. Whether or not they go to church or believe in God is between them and Him. Our job is to open the door and share what we know.

“Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious- don’t get infected.” Proverbs 22:24-25 MSG

The more friends we have, the greater the risk of getting hurt. Learning how to survive devastating blows to our character and create healthy boundaries is all part of the package. Can I tell you something? It’s through our reaction to those situations that our faith is put on display the most.

Loving the people in our lives well leads us to brotherly and sisterly love. As we grow in wisdom and away from the lessons of our past, God is faithful to provide friends that are racing towards Christ alongside us. Never take these friends for granted. These are the best friends. The ones who don’t get all awkward and subject-change when we start to talk about Jesus. No, these are the friends who lean in to learn alongside of us. Every broken hearted moment is worth it to find these people in life. But we can’t stay there. 

We are called to be friends with everyone. 

Happy Friending, 

Megs

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These Revelations Changed How I Think about Friendship

Every friendship begins with a hint of selfishness that we all innately possess. But if we learn to flip our vision outward in obedience to God and service to others, His purpose for friendship is revealed.

Jesus set the bar. He came to serve, not to be served. What did that look like in His earthly friendships? He was open to conversation with anyone, friendly with everyone, but held 12 people closer than others. And Jesus knew the best way to befriend someone was occasionally to confront them with the truth, even if it wasn’t what they wanted to hear. He had to allocate His time and manage relationships just as we do on this earth.

What else can we learn from Him and apply to our lives? Here are 10 revelations that have the power to transform friendships.

Click here to continue reading …

Why Your Friendships Change When You Reach Midlife (And What You Can Do About It.)

Friendship is a channel of Jesus’ love extended to and through us. Each phase of life comes with a new battering ram and a different perspective. As we get older, we have the potential to view life through a wiser lens. Experience on earth’s soil brings us closer to God when we continue to seek Him through it, daily.

Friendships change with the phases of life that we go through. Some friendships shift and change characteristics, and others grow alongside each other. By midlife, friendships may have seen a few phases of change.

Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times.” Sometimes this is more difficult than it was before, but friendship within the love of Christ is worth the effort. These friendships help us traverse through each season of our lives.

Here are 10 reasons why friendships change around midlife and what you can do about it. Click here to continue reading …


The Ice Circles (#jammed daily devo, day 350)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 350: Let it Go.

“I will never again remember…” Hebrews 10:17

“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation again …” I droned, and my daughter’s DECJAM16eyeball conquered. We spend a lot of time discussing the same issues.

“What should I do, mom?” she asked.

“Be kind, and include,” I repeated, after deleting all of the other thoughts and sentiments I swirling around in my head.

“Remember, it’s not about what we want to do,” I told her, “but what we’re here on this earth to do.”

Later that morning, I had noticed some ice circles on my walk. Strange, how the ice just froze in circles like that. “That’s what all these never-ending lessons remind me of …” I thought to myself, “frozen circles.”

 

When our patience comes under rapid-fire, as Christians we are called to keep our cool.

Today’s verse quotes a prophecy about a day when the Lord would no longer require sacrifice for sin.

“The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31) …And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”(Jeremiah 31:34)

It’s repeated in the New Testament, as are a lot of OT prophesies. There’s a lot to be said, and a lot that’s been studied, about repetitive behavior. These conversations that we repeat with our children are opportunities disguised as annoyance. As Christians, we live our lives in repetitive format. Each day, spending time in prayer and the Word, and then applying it to our lives the best we humanly can.

The very fact that Scripture is repetitive should tip us off to the fact that God has us wired to be creatures of habit and routine.

The next time we can’t believe we’re having “that” conversation again, let’s try to remember that it’s simply a parental process of repetition. The seeds we’re planting need time to grow and mistakes to be applied to.

Our children are listening. Our God is speaking. He remembers us, but forgets our sin.

He’s cleared off the mess of sacrifice so that we can fill that space with what He’s repeating to us, now. “I will never again remember….” so that we can accept forgiveness, and focus on the good fight of faith.

Jesus’ birth changed everything. It’s a story to be repeated for all time. He took the weight of sacrifice off of us, and bore that burden until He squashed it on the cross. Christmas is a time to repeat the magnitude of His birth. Freeze that circle. Repeat that story. Let it keep moving and growing and revealing more and more with each rotation.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for ice circles, and what the simple elements of nature lay waiting to teach us each day. Thank You for placing us in such a beautiful atmosphere, and forgive us for mistreating or walking by Your wonders. Bless us to notice and repeat Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Circling,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

 

The Last Day

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The product of my rushed suburban childhood is arm-in-arm in that sandy crop of kids, traditionally appreciating the last day of school in their little lake town …where the busiest road has a 35 mph speed limit, and we can count the number of stop lights on one hand. “Rush” is absent from their vocabulary.

PERFECTTraditions can bloom dreams if we allow them to align our intentions with His design. The small lake town I live in has taught me to treasure tradition. In your town, on the farm, amidst a metropolis, or in your move; here are some benefits I’ve uncovered in establishing a little tradition.

#heartseeds

1.Stability

foundation- the basis or groundwork for anything…the natural or prepared ground on which some structure exists. (dictionary.com)

Learning to leave God in our dreams takes faith tough enough to trust that His view of them will undoubtably differ from our expectations a lot of the time. If we learn to look up before we dream out; the surrounding blessings, people, and places in life begin to reveal parts of His purpose. Tradition rooted in Christ yields a stable foundation to dream upon.

“You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the pieces of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20

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Paul reminded the church at Ephesus to embrace the foundation that Jesus laid at the foot of the cross.  We would be wise to do the same. When our dream is drifting with the Creator’s current, living it each day spreads the virtuous kindness and joy of Jesus.

2. Resilience 

“Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good.” 1 Thes. 5:21

I had all intentions of moving by the water to be out on the water, but God threw out the anchor… and beached my boat.  And as I peeled back the layers of blessing from the shoreline, I’m so glad he didn’t let me rush past it all. Changing the direction of our lives is never easy, but layered in the learning are blessings that follow an obedient heart. “Clinging” to those blessings, to who He is, shapes a resilient heart.

resilience the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.- Google

The pre-school years flew by, and the “Last Day” tradition that started with four moms is still growing … each year new friendships form and new laughs are logged. We pray for each other, help each other, laugh, cry and load up on a bus to celebrate milestones together… stand arm-in-arm together.

#dontskipachapter

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3. Confidence

“So, brothers and sisters, all you need to do now is stand firm and hold tight to the line of teachings we have passed on to you, whether in person or in a letter.” 2 Thes 2:15

Paul wrote this letter to clarify some traditions that had been muddled in translation. Can you imagine passing things down accurately without the Internet?

I’ve been privy to witness, that the tradition of excellence my town, has more to do than just the happy disposition that often follows suit with living on the shoreline of one of the world’s Great Lakes. The tale of each home-town Tiger begins with tradition.

From the first day they high-five the elementary-school principal down hallways decked with yellow smiles, they are brought up to believe they can find their best and bring it out in others. The entire town cheers them on until they show up dressed in white to lookout from that shoreline together one last time …arm-in-arm. I’ve watched my daughters watch those beautiful graduates, confident they can conquer anything because they’ve been raised to believe that they will.

Confident, bright, and beautiful blooms are the result of roots. Spectacular moments of growth don’t last forever, but roots remain to break through the soil once again.

PERFECT copyChristians are confident in the joy Jesus. From the very first time we high-five Him as we’re dunked under the water, or whisper a prayer…His truth allows us to bloom beautifully along life’s bumpy road. Like the graduates confident they can conquer the world, He stands with us, arm-in-arm, in a victory that’s already been won.

4.Triumph

“I must say how pleased I am to hear that you remember me in everything and continue to hold on to the traditions I have passed on to you.” 1 Corinthians 11:2

Paul wrote this letter to the believers at Corinth as they were torn by spiritual immaturity in attempting to uphold tradition.

Triumph is synonymous for “coming back.”

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The “Last Day” tradition isn’t always a smoothly executed plan, but we all keep coming back. Tradition gives us a space to embrace our place on this earth.

Sometimes the frustration in having to be still is God whispering that you’re already here. Perhaps the purpose of my dream to live by the lake was simply to slow down and embrace tradition all along. That’s all God asks of us …keep coming back. Keep the tradition of meeting with Him everyday …of looking for Him in everything we experience. Those are strong roots, a stable foundation, a resilient reliance, and a triumphant destination.

Happy Summer!!!

Go Tigers!

Megs

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