That was the sermon title last night. It really got me thinking. Here is a synopsis of his points so you can understand where I'm going with this. The text was Mark 2: 1-12. You will be able to download the sermon here (it usually takes a few days). His main points were:
YOU KNOW YOU HAVE GODLY FRIENDS . . .
- WHEN THEY GET INVOLVED IN YOUR PARALYSIS v. 3, Js 2:14-16, Ro 12:15
- WHEN THEY ARE DESPARATE FOR YOU TO BE IN FRONT OF JESUS v.4, 2 Ti 2:10, Col 1: 28-29
- WHEN THEY ENTRUST THEIR LIMITE ABLITIES TO THE UNLIMITED POWER OF CHRIST v.4-5 (there was a lot of expounding on this point, I suggest you listen to the sermon—it'll be worth it!)
- WHEN THEY CELEBRATE AND WORSHIP JESUS FOR HIS REDEEMING WORK IN YOUR LIFE
Anyway, he ended with a challenge to be involved in godly friendships—challenging us to be godly friends. He asked who our four friends were. I was so blessed to see that during the "trash dump" time (in our service anyway) there were a lot of men dealing with stuff. Women usually see the importance of deep (though not always godly) friendships and men can struggle with that more.
All that to say, it has made me think of my friends past, present, and (with a possible move) future. First my past. I had 4 best friends in high school—my sister, Kim; Sara, Lisa and Jess. We went through a lot together and spent a lot of time in prayer together. We walked through all the drama of high school, the terminal illness of one of our cousins, Kim and I lost two uncles (one who knew the Lord and one who didn't), losing our youth pastor to a church plant, and early in college the loss of Sara's father. Our lives have gone separate ways but we stay in touch. Kim and Sara have both lost sons. Lisa is expecting her first child. Jess and her husband adopted 3 Russian siblings who didn't know English at first and have lots of baggage from orphanage life. We all married wonderful, godly men. I would be a different person if not for them and how they lived those points out in my life.
Also past are my friends from college—Natha, Amy, and Leanne. They are such amazing women, striving to live lives that honor our Lord. I am in constant amazement every time I hear from one of them. They were there when my cousin finally went to meet Jesus; when I was overwhelmed with working full time, being a full time student, and still not making ends meet; when Sara's dad died; when I broke up with my first boyfriend; and all the drama that comes with being young and in college. They loved on me, encouraged me, kept bitterness at bay, and pointed me to Jesus.
My present has two facets. First, my family—my mom, Kim, Nikki, and my SIL, Tiffany. These women are a-maz-ing! I know that they will always be there for me. Just by their example alone I am pushed in front of Jesus. My mother is living proof that Jesus can change and heal anyone. Kim has walked through overwhelming grief with more grace than anyone I have ever met. Nikki has taught me so much about perseverance through real physical, draining pain and did it all with joy and purpose. Tiffany teaches me about the redemptive power of our Lord—how to accept forgiveness and to live in dignity and humility afterwards. I would be lost without them and long to have them a part of my daily life. I am also "wise" enough to just be grateful to have them at all.
My other present—Amanda, Sarah, Amy, Marisa, Penny. Amanda has walked through so many things with me. I have seen Jesus get a hold of her heart and change her in so many beautiful ways. It makes me get on my face before the Lord and ask Him to work in me the same way. Sarah is new to my circle of friends—she's only been around for a year or so. She teaches me so much about loving others as they are and about intentionally bringing them Jesus. Amy is daily becoming like Jesus. I want to be like that. Marisa I don't talk to near enough but whenever I do I know I am in a safe place—I can share my most intimate struggles with her and know she will love and pray for me. Penny is my hero. She loves Jesus, loves nursing, gets me in trouble (and vice versa), and has walked the "marriage without children road" much longer than me with such amazing grace and peace. She is willing to go to dangerous places to care for those who are sacrificing so much for us. She is light in a very dark place. For a "quiet" person who is not a "social butterfly" she constantly shows me how to get inside people and really know them. There are so many more from my house church (past and present)—Kristi, Kelly, Holly, Amber, Amy, Tracey; but this is already a small novel.
I left the sermon challenged and praising God. I pray you, my friends, have such a list. If not, go out on a limb and make some. They may not look like you. They may be a lot older or younger than you. You may get rejected a few times—try anyway. We are to be known by our love.