Friday, May 29

It's a Wonderful Life

We’ve been looking at friends…what is a BFF, what does friend mean, covenant friend gift, and what is hospitality. This is the last in the series. And you’re wondering what the heck It’s a Wonderful Life has to do with this post, right? Well, let’s see.

Jesus said, “I have called you friends.” (John 15:15) If we consider Jesus our friend, do we consider His friends to be our friends? Do we consider how we should treat His friends?

This may give us something to think about. A friend sent my husband an email with what I will loosely call a joke that went something like this: A man died and went to heaven.

When Peter greeted the man at the front gate, the man asked Peter, “What’s the difference between heaven and hell?”

Peter replied, “Come along with me. I’ll show you.”

So, Peter led him to the first room and opened the door. When the man stepped in, he immediately inhaled the great aroma of stew cooking. As he looked around, he saw emaciated and unhappy people standing around a pot of stew and others lying on the floor. The man noticed that all the people had a 36 inch spoon strapped to their arms and, when they dipped their spoon into the stew, they could not bring it to their mouths.

How sad, the man thought, that they are all inhaling the wonderful aroma of this stew and, yet, could not eat the stew because of the long spoon.

Peter then took the man to the next room. Opening the door, the man’s nose detected the same wonderful aroma of stew. However, all the people looked healthy and happy, yet, they all had a 36 inch spoon strapped to their arms.

Why, he wondered. Then he saw it. As each person came to the stew pot, they dipped their spoon into the stew…and fed each other!

Sobering thought, isn’t it?

Do you remember who was called the richest man in Bedford Falls in It’s A Wonderful Life? Nope, it wasn’t crotchety, old Mr. Potter. It was financially-challenged George Bailey.

While the bank examiners and the sheriff search for George, believing he has misappropriated the bank’s $8,000, he wishes he had never been born. After an encounter with Clarence, the second-class wingless angel, George experiences not having been born. After finally coming to the conclusion that he really does want to live, he dashes home.

In the meantime, Mary has spread the word of George’s dilemma with the bank examiners and dozens of townspeople come to his rescue, bringing all the spare change and dollars they can find. As George’s hero brother arrives and raises his glass to toast his big brother, Harry pronounces George the richest man in town.

Why? Because he had so many friends that he had helped.

At the end, George opens the book Clarence has left for him. George reads the inscription Clarence wrote, “Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.”

No matter how much money you make during the day, no matter how many deals you close, how many hamburgers you turn, how many diapers you change, how many letters you type, how many garbage cans you empty, how many stocks you trade, or how many patients you treat, at the end of the day, after brushing your teeth, putting on your jammies, pulling back those cozy covers, crawling into that comfy bed, and laying your tired ol’ head on that puffy pillow, the heavenly measurement of your success for the day is not how many zeros you added to your checkbook. It is this:

Did you bless someone today?

At day’s closing, ask yourself…

* Did I love someone?
* Did I encourage someone?
* Did I use my gifts to the Father’s satisfaction?
* Did I make a difference in someone’s life today?
* Did I give willingly and generously, even out of my lack, to meet another’s need?

Would someone call you the richest person in your town?

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Monday, May 25

What is Hospitality?

What do you think the Bible means by hospitality?

In order to understand it, we need to start with bread. Bread? Yup!

In Biblical times, bread was thinner and crisper than our bread today, which brought about the term “breaking bread.” It signified sharing fellowship at a meal, or as it was called, the bread of fellowship.

It was one’s sacred duty of hospitality (called the sacred law of hospitality) to offer bread, give lodging, and protect any traveler that came to one’s door, treating him as a guest.

If the homeowner and the guest broke bread together, this bound them together by the strongest ties of friendship, as in covenant, and was confirmed occasionally by the giving of gifts. This was a pledge of reconciliation and peace and would descend to their heirs, for it was in perpetuity.

If the guest declined the offer, it meant, in essence, that the host’s bread was unfit for use, which violated the sacred law of hospitality and contained sever penalties.

In Chechnya, every family has a special guest room that is always kept ready for a visitor. No one is allowed to use this room. Food is always available to serve a guest if he or she should appear.

In the Middle East, if someone knocks on your door, you are obligated to let them in, to feed them, give them a place to sleep, and they can stay as long as they like and you cannot kick them out!

When Jesus sent out the disciples, He commanded them to take no bread or money with them, so that they would depend solely on the hospitality and acts of kindness of others and make covenant friends.

Therefore, if the disciples had rejected the hospitality offered them by others, it would have been considered rude or an offense, hindering their efforts to spread the gospel.

Also, Jesus gave them instructions on how to respond to the cities that did not receive them in hospitality, “When you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (Matt. 10:14-15 NKJV)

If they refused the disciples who were in partnership with Jesus, consequently, they refused Jesus. This was serious stuff!

Concerning this same sense of hospitality, Jesus spoke to the disciples of that future day of separating the sheep from the goats, “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matt. 25:34-40 NKJV)

(‘Stranger’ also means a guest-friend, bound by ties of hospitality. ‘Took’ or ‘take in’ means among other things, to entertain hospitably, to bring one into your house for hospitality.)

Jesus continued, “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.” (Matt. 25: 42-43 NIV) You received Me not; you did not receive me in hospitality.

This should be a wake-up call for us. Hospitality is more than having a potluck supper for our Bible study group.

Paul urges us, “When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night.” (Rom. 12:13 TLB)

May you receive others to break bread in the spirit of hospitality.

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Thursday, May 21

Covenant Friend Gift

Last time, we looked at a condensed explanation of covenant. Without it, you would not have the appreciation for what I am about to tell you. (If you haven’t read it, you might want to read it first. You can click on it here.)

A covenant partner was one who was considered as a member of the family. Most covenants consisted of a full-coverage policy that blanketed not only the person with whom covenant was made but also the person’s entire family. Therefore, each would make a vow to take care of his covenant partner and his family if anything should happen to him.

Only death could part the two, as Ruth said to Naomi, “The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me,” (Ruth 1:17 NKJV). That was covenant language.

Several years ago, when my sister-in-law Vicki was having some difficulties in her life, the Lord led me to do something I had never done before, or since, nor had I ever heard of anyone else doing it. He told me to give her one of my belts.

As I did, I told her that, when she underwent any difficult situation, she should wear it, and I would pray for her. She has worn it on several occasions…under her blouse though. It wasn’t her color!

As I lost the final draft of the note I gave her with the belt, this is basically what I wrote:

“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me…”

“…for (His) strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.”

Because we have taken on the Lord’s Name together, we have an eternal covenant with Him and each other. The belt was a symbol of a man’s strength. Therefore, the exchange of belts was symbolic of giving your covenant partner your strength.

So, when your human strength falters, and you need someone to come alongside you from whom you can draw strength, I will be there. My belt is yours.”

I should have added Ruth’s sentiment to Naomi, “Don’t ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the LORD’s worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!” (Ruth 1:16-17 NLT)

As Jesus knew the meaning of giving up of one’s life for another, His words echo throughout the halls of eternity, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends,” (John 15:13 NKJV).

A friend will readily exchange his life for his covenant partner. I would lay down my life, if necessary, to save my covenant belt partner, Vicki.

Vicki later returned the kindness, giving me one of her belts. So we made the exchange, just as David and Jonathan did. I also nicknamed her David, and I am Jonathan.

As we have seen, covenant is a very special bond between two partners, whether between you and the Lord or you and another. When a difficult time surrounds a very special friend or relative of yours, or even when all is well, you may want to do this for her or him, giving that person the comfort of knowing that someone will come alongside to lift her or him up in prayer.

This exchange works two ways…one, the owner of another’s belt may wear it knowing that the other person is there beside him/her, interceding for him/her and offering encouragement and strength; two, the other can wear the belt of the one who is in need of prayer to intercede for that one.

Is there someone with whom you can exchange the gift of a covenant belt and share strength and defense, standing before the Lord and interceding for each other?

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Sunday, May 17

What Does "Friend" Mean?

Continuing on our thought from the last post of a BFF, a best friend forever, what does the Bible say about the term “friend”? And how were they connected forever?

The answer? Covenant.

In ancient, Hebrew times, Israel needed to make treaties with certain nations in order to be in agreement with them for several reasons and would enact a covenant.

Covenants were made between individuals, between a king and his people, between two groups or nations, or between God and a man or His people. Not only a treaty of peace, covenant was an agreement or alliance of marriage or friendship.

This agreement required each party to make promises, which were sealed with signs, pledges, or oaths and were never to be broken - ever!

The sacrifice of flesh most often ratified covenant. It was a very serious action taken to solidify one’s agreement with another. The animal’s flesh was cut in two and then the two agreeing parties walked through the pieces of flesh, which was a walk into death, meaning that death was the result for breaking covenant.

Abiding by the conditions ruled each partner’s relationship. This agreement consisted of a full-coverage policy blanketing not only the covenant participant but also his entire household. So, if one died, the benefits and blessings of covenant were still extended to the rest of the family. At the conclusion of cutting covenant, each participant was considered to be a friend.

Over the centuries, the covenant understanding of “friend” has completely lost its meaning. To comprehend it a little better, let’s take a peek at the most revealing and tender of all covenants of friendship between those in the Bible…that of David and Jonathan.

Scripture says that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul…Then Jonathan and David made a covenant…And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Sam. 18:1, 3a, 4 NKJV)

In essence, he stripped himself of all his personal possessions, essentially naked to the world, defenseless and vulnerable, giving it all to David, and laid down his life for his friend. This was the covenant exchange.

In this exchange, when the occasional trading of robes took place, it meant that identities and authorities were interchanged, symbolic of “putting on” the other, which irreversibly connected the two as one in an eternal bond of covenant friendship.

From time to time, an exchange of weapons would take place, symbolizing protection against the other’s enemies. It was an inherent obligation to lay down one’s life, if necessary, to defend and protect the other from his enemies, as Jonathan did for David when Saul sought to kill David. Jonathan vowed to protect David and David was bound to reciprocate.

The definition of ‘ransom’ means that which is given in exchange for another as the price of his redemption. As Jesus gave Himself for our redemption and walked out that covenant-walk of death, we join Him in agreement, becoming His covenant partner and friend, for He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” (John 14:6 NKJV) through His sacrifice of flesh.

In His covenant exchange, Jesus stripped off His earthly robe of habitation and laid down His life for us as His friends. This was the exchange of identities, and, when we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, our spotted garment of sin becomes His and His robe of righteousness becomes ours, irreversibly connecting us in an eternal bond of covenant friendship.

Jesus stated, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NKJV) A friend will readily exchange his life for his covenant partner’s life.

So, is Jesus your BFF?

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Wednesday, May 13

What is a BFF?

The other day, I read something in one of my devotionals that made me stop and think. That’s what a good devotional is supposed to do, right? I won’t tell you what it was just yet.

I am mainly writing this as a reminder for myself. However, you are certainly welcome to hop in my little red wagon and come along for the ride with me! (Pay attention: I’ll have a question for you at the end!)

Because of what I read, I asked myself…

What is a BFF?

Because of today’s method of rapid communication, text messages have taken over and now have their own set of abbreviations. BFF means best friend forever.

Therefore, I asked myself…

If I have a BFF, do I always expect that friend to be doing things for me?


Do I take time to do things for this friend? How do I treat this BFF?

Here’s a list of things that I asked myself. It is, by no means, complete.

Do I…

*keep in touch with her/him?
*watch her/his kids when needed?
*offer comfort when grief attacks?
*share from my heart with her/him?
*try to bring healing to scarred past?
*see that I speak or act out the Word?
*give food or clothes in time of need?
*give her/him little surprises occasionally?
*listen when she/he is misunderstood by others?
*stand shoulder to shoulder through all her/his trials?
*take her/him to an appointment if she/he needs a ride?
*seek to bring peace to her/him from the stings of the world’s arrows?
*tell her/him that I love her/him, that I would lay down my life for her/him?
*speak lovingly to her/him to bring understanding of those who love her/him not?
*pray for my BFF?

So, if I ask myself, who my BFF is, what would be my answer?

My husband (or wife)? My female (or male) friend? My mother or father?

What happens if I ask myself the above questions and reference them to my relationship to Jesus? Does He show up on my list? Is He at the top of the list?

So, this is what the devotional did for my thinking: If the old saying is true…to have a friend, you must be a friend…and if Jesus is my BFF, then how do I treat Him?

Do I…

*keep in touch with Him?
*offer to help His children?
*speak or act out the Word?
*share from my heart with Him?
*carry on a conversation in prayer with Him?
*give comfort to Him for the hurts of those who love Him not?
*tell Him that I love Him, that I would lay down my life for Him?

Two of the people in Jesus’ life that I would consider His BFFs are Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, and the disciple John. Would we treat Jesus as they did?

Do we lean upon our Best Friend’s breast as John the beloved did, just to be near Him, or sit at His feet as Mary did, just to serve Him in worship by pouring out our thanks and our tears as fragrant oil upon His body?

Here’s your question: Who is your BFF?

May Jesus be your…Best Friend Forever!

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Tuesday, May 12

Simply Wisdom Blog Tour

I am privileged to be a part of another blog tour today for Kennisha Hill, a Christian author, speaker, and entrepreneur. God has equipped Kennisha with the ability to present to people words of exhortation that stems from biblical wisdom as well as her personal experiences.

After going through rejection in various forms, Kennisha decided to use her testimony to deliver a message of hope and inspiration to those who are seeking to fulfill God’s purpose. She does this in her new release, Simply Wisdom: Tidbits of Inspiration for Your Journey. Kennisha is happily married and a stay-at-home mom to her one-year-old son and soon to-be-born daughter. They reside in Dallas, Texas.

Simply Wisdom is a great read that is designed to help stimulate you to press forward in what God has for you to do. If you suffer with the fear of failure, overcoming rejection or objections, and are unsure about your God-given purpose, this book is for you. Simply Wisdom is a book of encouragement that is sure to help you walk in your divine purpose!

Kennisha, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. I moved to Atlanta, Georgia when I was 19 years old but then relocated back to New Orleans a few years later. Shortly after, I relocated to Dallas, evacuating from Hurricane Katrina where my husband and I got married and we have been growing well together as husband and wife ever since.

When did you come to know that writing was your calling?

I have been creative writing since I was a young girl. I wrote for my high school and college paper. I majored in journalism, so I always knew I’d do some sort of writing. Since then, I’ve been blessed to be able to bless others with words of inspiration for their daily journey.

Tell us about Simply Wisdom: Tidbits of Inspiration for Your Journey.

This is my very first release! I am ecstatic to finally deliver the message God has given me. The chapters in Simply Wisdom all have one thing in common: exhortation for those who seek to walk in their purpose.

What’s next inline for your writing career?

I’m currently working on the second book in the Simply Wisdom series titled Simply Wisdom: Tidbits of Inspiration for Newlyweds. Besides that, I am also anticipating my first novel Awakened to be published and released soon.

If you could share one word to readers who are seeking their purpose, what would you say?

Trust God! It doesn’t matter if you’ve faced rejection in the past or if you are just terrified to move forward because of your fear of failure. God does have amazing things in store for you. Faithfully seek His will and purpose and watch how God moves mightily in your life!

Thanks so much, Kennisha. May the Lord bless you as you follow His call on your life.

Here's a link for purchasing Simply Wisdom...

Friday, May 8

Where Do You Take Jesus?

If you were a reader at Christmastime, you may have read my post on Immanuel.

I started by saying that, in the Old Testament, God’s name and His presence were virtually synonymous, which was evidenced in His name Jehovah-shammah, meaning the Lord is present or there.

Jehovah-shammah, dwelling on the throne of heaven, lowered Himself to earth to be born in another form, to live personally with His people.

In the New Testament, Jehovah-shammah appeared as Jesus, as scripture says, “‘They shall call His name Immanuel,’ translated as, ‘God with us,’” (Matt. 1:23b NKJV) and “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14 NKJV)

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He returned to the Father’s side, which resulted in Him having two homes…heaven and a believer’s heart.

If you are a believer, God resides within you now as Immanuel, for “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God.” (1 Cor. 6:19a NLT)

Jesus said, “And be sure of this - that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20 TLB) If we could rephrase that, we could think of it this way, “And be sure of this, I am with you wherever you go.”

When a bride takes the name of her husband, she becomes one with him. Filled with love for him, she carries his name and presence within her, and, in essence, he is always with her. In the same way, we now carry the Bridegroom’s name and presence within us, for He says each of us is “a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name.” (Acts 9:15 NKJV)

Consequently, as His vessels, we cannot mistreat His home, physically, mentally, or spiritually, by allowing anything we think, feel, say, or do to contaminate His living room.

Since He lives within us, where do we take Jesus? Where do our footsteps take us throughout any given 24 hours? To work, to school, to do chores, to run errands, to appointments, to see friends, to church?

So, where else do we go or do? To bed with someone other than our spouses, to see wrong movies, to watch internet porn, to cheat a business partner, to ruin the reputation of a competitor or a friend?

The world’s way cannot be our way, for the standards of the world are in opposition to the holiness of God. God has not lowered the bar of His standards nor relaxed His tolerance for sin because of the world’s beliefs.

Remember, where you are on Saturday night represents who and what you say you are on Sunday morning!

So, what does God expect of us? The answer lies in the requirements God gave Israel through Moses, “So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in His presence in holy reverence, follow the road He sets out for you, love Him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today - live a good life.” (Deut. 10:2 Msg)

God fills us with His holiness but the upkeep of that holiness depends solely on us. It is absolutely necessary, as Paul persuades, “Dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1 NKJV)

The fear of the Lord, for a child of God, is a healthy fear that dreads displeasing the heavenly Parent. It is not a negative thing. The fear of the Lord means to have a deep respect and reverence for Him that compels us to be obedient to His will and His Word and to live a life that results in honor, worship, humility, and total submission to Him.

How well do we do that?

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31b NIV)

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Monday, May 4

Quiet Time Dance

Whirring lawnmowers. Annoying blowers. This was how my morning started. How could I attain quiet for a conversation with the Lord?

I walked to my family room window and looked out. Bazillions of beautiful blossoms arrayed the trees, and, at the same time, spewed out their allergy-packed pollen as thick as fog, prompting tissues to peek out of all my pockets. A brisk breeze released the grip of the “helicopters” on the maple trees, as the tiny descendants concealed the ground in a blanket of ancestry.

These sights and sounds heralded the profusion of nature’s new, spring season.

As I stood there gazing at God’s hand of creativity, a brief, spring sprinkle fell delicately on our patio, animating the dried seedlings to hop and dance.

Giggling at the delightful sight of dancing seedlings, the thought crossed my mind: sometimes the blustery winds of a new season blow against us, and we succumb by loosening our grip on the Lord as our Vine of nourishment. In letting go, we find ourselves lying on the ground, disconnected from our fellowship with Him.

When this happens, we usually misunderstand the point of what has come our way. Yes, sometimes the enemy blows his hot blast of affliction upon us, but, other times, it is God’s sweet breath of purpose.

Along with His wind of purpose, God occasionally sends showers, whether as gentle dews or great downpours as an answer to our prayers. Either way, we are not always hopping and dancing at the answer He provides.

When we learn to welcome, with open hearts, all the elements of each new season in our lives, whether heat, cold, rain, or drought, as being the gentle guidance of the Lord to rejuvenate us and bring about a new season of growth in our lives, praise and thanksgiving will begin to emerge from deep within us.

Starting down in our toes, praise will to bounce around, creep up into our throats, and dart out, causing our spirits to delight and dance before the Lord.

When you feel like a dried seedling lying on the ground, do you welcome the spring rains of circumstance that fall upon you? Do you understand that they are sometimes the answers to prayers? Do you dance in praise to the Lord for them?

As the saying goes…

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to’s about learning to dance in the rain.

Joel 2:23 says, “Rejoice in the LORD your God! For the rains He sends are an expression of His grace.” (The Life Recovery Bible NLT)

Prayer: Lord, May I recognize those things that come into my life as being elements of guidance and growth so that I may follow Your lead and welcome them with dancing feet in praise and thanksgiving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~~Blessings, Lynn~~