Call me silly, but I really enjoy watching the “Toy Story” movies. And, I REALLY enjoy the theme song from Toy Story 2, “You’ve got a friend in me”.
I found myself humming that song this morning as I prepared to fellowship with the Lord. I did a quick scripture search on the word “friend” and found myself wondering if the Toy Story song could be my theme song.
Proverbs give some clues about who is or isn’t a friend. For instance, “Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” There may be some friction at times between friends but the relationship benefits both. “There are ‘friends’ that destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” “A friend is always loyal…” “An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city…” I thought about that verse for a while and realized there have been times in my life, times I’m not proud of, where I had selfish motives in dealing with some of my ‘friends’. Whether or not the friend could discern wrong motives (sometimes we can’t), the results were the same. Wrong motives such as selfishness (what can I GET from this friend?) will only lead to discord, not a healthy relationship. The “sharpening” will only be one-sided. No giving and receiving, no helping for the sake of helping, just an “I’ll help if I can see how it benefits me”.
If someone was to tag you with a “theme song” that described your life, what would it be? Which song would you want tagged with? “Run-around Sue”? “I did it my way”? “Another one bites the dust”? “Rawhide”? Many to choose from, but which one fits the best?
Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” I want my theme song to be, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”.
Luke 5:20 “Jesus saw their faith…”
What was it Jesus saw that convinced Him it was faith? Their actions; their tenacity, timing, tenderness were all tied to the word – Jesus went about doing good and healing all…
Their actions: they did what it took to help their friend. Regardless of the obstacles, their hope was tied to the Word – Jesus will heal their friend.
Jesus saw their timing – the friends knew they had to “seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55).
Jesus saw their tenacity – nothing, not even a crowded room or a tile roof could keep them away from their answer.
Jesus saw their tenderness – the compassion they had for their friend. As they lowered the man down before Jesus He could see their only desire was to see their friend “rise, take up his bed and walk.”
When we approach the right place in the right way, Jesus will see our faith!
They say familiarity breeds contempt. On the other hand, peculiarity breeds favor and admiration, even desire.
Peculiar means: different from the usual or normal. Could it be the church, the Body of Christ, has been too content with being normal? Normal so as to fit in with the world around us. Normal has no drawing power, no interest. Dime a dozen. Makes a person yawn and say, “so what” whenever someone mentions the church.
We are called to be peculiar! After all, God is not normal! And we are being changed into His likeness.
A place called “There” (or “Thaire”, as shown on the map) is a special place. But to get there it’s important to believe there really is a place called “There”. Hope. That’s what it’s called. People don’t start or continue their journey if they don’t hope for a destination. Regardless of how bad “Here” is, that’s where they’ll stay if they don’t know about “There”.
But there is a place called “There”. It’s a place in God where He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask or even think. Just setting our hopes on “There” can help us walk in the peace of God. You see, He has said “He will keep you in perfect peace, when your mind is established, focused, on Him” (Isaiah 26:3). Also, “don’t be anxious about anything but pray about everything…” (Phil. 4:6). Our thoughts and prayers will help decide the amount of God’s peace we’ll enjoy. It is also the key to beginning the journey.
Just like “he that comes to God must believe that He is…”, so to reach a place called “There” one must believe there is such a place and actively begin the trip.
He is able to get you there, if you’ll think and ask. “There” is worth the trip.
I’ve been thinking about something, something that affects us all. As a matter of fact, it affects us many times throughout our lives. The Journey. The Journey from Here to There. The Journey from where we are right now to where we should be or would like to be. The Journey will at times be a spiritual journey, a relational journey, an emotional journey, or maybe a physical journey; but a Journey from where we are to where we will be.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” The word “way” indicates a path, or a journey. Other scriptures reveal God’s desire to lead us and be present with us as we travel on our Journey. And why not? Actually, without Him we will never know the right path to take or how to overcome obstacles that we meet as we travel. Obstacles? You bet! But there isn’t any obstacle that can keep us from “there” if we “trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not to our own understanding; in all our ways we acknowledge Him…”
Speaking of Journey, the Lord has led me to write a series of articles about the “Journey from Here to There”. Every few days or so I’ll add another part to the series. The Lord is speaking several things to my heart which I sincerely believe can help each of us maintain our focus as we are on the path between Here and There. Hope you join me…
By the way, the posted map actually gives you directions from Heere, Germany to Thaire, France. Similarly, God’s Word will give you all the directions necessary to arrive at your destination – There.
This is my buddy Dukie Marvin, from Hanford, California. He recently went to heaven (yes, dogs go to heaven) and will be greatly missed. I put his picture on this page representing “the power of encouragement” because that’s what Duke was all about; that and taking walks and chasing his orange “duck”. I’ll look for him when I cross to the other side.
Though I wasn’t able to spend much time with Duke (his parents were unable to let him come to Iowa to visit), I thoroughly enjoyed the time we did have together. He had something about him that reminded me of what an encourager should be like. He didn’t demand much, was quick to forgive, and made me feel like I was the most special person on earth.
Yep, he’ll be missed, but his spirit lives on. Good ol’ Mr. Duke.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Some of the most important times in our lives happen when mountains suddenly appear, blocking us, at least momentarily, from continuing on the path we are plodding. Our focus is redirected. Though our view is changed and all we seem to be able to see is the obstacle looming before us, it is import for us to have the right perspective – to see beyond the obvious – and position our sights on the glorious, the Glorious One.
Earlier this year a huge mountain appeared before me, taunting me and daring me to continue on my present path. It was overwhelming to say the least. But as I stared at the mountain, as if my glare would make it suddenly disappear, I sensed the Lord directing me to take a few steps back, get a different perspective, and see what He could and would do. As I did, I began to see the beauty in the mountain, the obstacle. I began to see the Lord’s lovingkindness as He revealed to me my path isn’t blocked, it is changed. His path is one of abundance, righteousness, and peace. It is life-giving. It is not a dead-end. As I quieted my heart before Him and started walking the new path, a new hope and vision came into view.
Sometimes mountains don’t need to be removed. So enjoy the view as a redirection occurs.