Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Friends Are A Gift From God

The cold wind blowing in our faces. Sleet stinging our exposed skin like so many frozen needles on this incredibly cold spring day. Why, oh why did we go walking today? Why? I'll tell you why. Because we are the best of friends. That's why.

Do you have a best friend? Do you have someone you can always depend on? Do you have someone who sacrifices their own wants and needs for yours? Do you have someone who will back you up in a fight? Someone you can borrow money from and they don't care if you pay it back or not? Do you have a friend who sticks with you through thick and thin when nobody else will? If not you should go get one. Or better yet, become one.

Have you ever met someone you felt like you already knew? Why is that do you suppose? Do you think it's random chance we meet these people in our lives who we just get along with so incredibly well? Or is there some divine conductor orchestrating our lives for some purpose we have no idea about? So, what do you think? Random chance? Or intelligent plan?

Sounds like a creation vs big bang debate beginning to form, doesn't it? Not too far from it I agree. I have a problem with the whole "random chance" creation theory. The evidence in this world alone is just too compelling to deny that somebody designed all this stuff we see around us. But I don't want to get sidetracked here. Let's get back to relationships.

I heard a verse today from the Book of Acts that caught my attention. It was about God and His interaction with us humans. Read the Word of God here in these two passages and see if you don't agree that God directs us and molds us to accomplish His will. This is Paul and Silas wondering where to preach next.

"6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." - Acts 16:6-10

And then this happened when they reached Macedonia:

Baptistry at Philippi
"11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us." - Acts 16:11-15

Did you catch all that? God's Holy Spirit prevented the two apostles from visiting several places and then specifically directed them in a vision to go to Macedonia where they preached the Word to Lydia. Lydia, whose heart God had already prepared in advance to hear the words spoken by Paul. Why? So she might believe, and her whole family. Today she is a Saint in the Catholic church.

It is believed that Lydia was the first person in Europe to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. The first of many. And God softened her heart and brought His Word to her in the form of Paul and Silas. Impressive!

Now, do you think that God softens OUR hearts to make certain relationships work well? It says right in Acts 16 that God softens hearts. He also hardens them as well (remember Pharaoh in Egypt?).

Think of your friends. Why did God bring you together? Has one of your friends done something for you? Or you for your friend?

God brought a friend into MY life for His purpose back in 2005. A few months later I gave my life to Christ. I am a firm believer that God orchestrates relationships for His glory - because it happened to me! Pray that it happens to you, then be ready. The next person you meet might be sent from God to become your new best friend.

God's Gift - a mother with Alzheimer's remembers her friend, her daughter.

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