He’s Always Been There

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

Do you know what it’s like to have the perfect friend?

Chances are, you would say your best friend is someone who has shared your past, shared a meaningful experience with you, or just someone who has “been there” for you.

Jesus is One who has always “been there” for me throughout my life.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Jesus as a young child. So, I remember Him being there—as my best friend—on the first day of kindergarten when I would’ve otherwise felt lost and alone. I remember Him giving me courage when I started to be afraid after accidentally locking myself in my grandmother’s bathroom at the age of seven. I remember His powerful presence by my bed, where I lay for three weeks with scarlet fever at the age of nine.

My Best Friend was still by my side to comfort me when I, as a teenager, learned of my grandmother’s death in a car accident and helped my mother deal with the loss.

During my adult years, Jesus ministered to me every morning when I was on my knees praying for my brother’s safety as a soldier on the front lines of a ground war in the Middle East. When no one else knew what to say to give me strength and faith during that time, God’s words (in His Word) were there every morning, every evening, holding me up, keeping me strong and hopeful.

And Jesus stayed with me – when I would have otherwise been alone – for three days in the cancer ward of a children’s hospital as I watched my 18-month-old daughter undergo a series of tests to determine if she had cancer or leukemia. He listened to my questions, understood my anxiety, filled me with His peace, embraced me in His arms, and held my hand during the night when I couldn’t sleep.

From fearful days as a child to uncertain times as a parent, I’ve never seen the Lord let me down. He was always there to comfort me when no one else was. He rushed to my side when no one else could. He knew what to say when no one else did. That is a true friend.

Proverbs 18:24 (HCSB) says, “A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.” Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 HCSB). That’s the kind of friend Jesus has been. He has proved Himself to me over and over again.

Lord, thank You for being the Perfect Friend who sticks closer to me than anyone else, and who has always been there for me and always will.

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He’s Always Been There – insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including her best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

What Readers are Saying about Drama Free: It was a book I didn’t want to put down. It was packed with Scripture, biblical truth, and helpful resources on how to diffuse drama that we all face in life.

Join the conversation: How has Jesus proved Himself to be a faithful friend to you in the past?

The Impact of Friends

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Anytime you trip in front of your friends, the best thing to do is to just bounce right back up and keep on going. To the airport. And then leave the country. Maybe change your name.

Isn’t it a little hard to save face after your face just did a plant? Especially a face plant on gravel. Exfoliation gone so wrong.

The last time I took a tumble I didn’t do a face plant so there was no eating gravel or anything. But I think I do remember the faint taste linoleum for a while. It was in a busy hallway at church. So it was really more a taste of linoleum and humiliation.

It’s always nice to have friends nearby who will help you up. Well actually, to laugh uproariously for several minutes first, and then make merciless fun of you for years. But at least they do help you up somewhere in between.

I love the reminder in Ecclesiastes 4: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up” (vv. 9-10, HCSB).

Proverbs 18:24 also makes a thought-provoking point. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (ESV). There are times when it’s not enough to simply have someone standing by. Those surface-y kinds of acquaintances will come and go in our lives. But there is a true and lasting blessing in a friend who’s with you through all your ups and downs. Through every victory and through every tumble. And there’s great blessing in becoming that kind of friend to someone as well.

Since our Heavenly Father has so much to say about the importance of our relationships, and since He included this particular bit of friendship information in His Word, I’m taking that to mean I need to be reminded. We need each other—when we’ve just taken a header and just as much when we’re gracefully tiptoeing along. I find myself remembering all the clearer each time a close friend offers godly counsel or encourages me to seek the Lord. I remember it well each time friends spur me on or inspire me to walk closer to Christ by their godly example. And yes, still again each time a friend helps scrape me off the pavement after a spill.

If you’re experiencing one of those seasons in life when your close friends are not as accessible, could I encourage you to keep praying, asking the Lord to send a bud your way? Who knows? He might drop one right in front of you. Maybe even in a church hallway. On linoleum.

Meanwhile, Psalm 37:23-24 tells us that, “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (NIV). Whether there is a friend nearby or not, the Lord is never absent or inattentive. Even if there’s a bit of a spill, we’re lovingly held.

True friends? They’re a blessed bonus. It’s amazing how the Lord can use them to impact our lives for Him.

Good impact. Because now we know there’s impact…and there’s impact on linoleum.

Two are better than one…a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.                                                                                                                                            Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12 NASB

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The impact of friends – thoughts from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 12 books, including Fix-Her-Upperco-authored with Beth Duewel, and a hilarious novel, Turtles in the Roadco-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for a new book and TV series titled, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer. Rhonda enjoys speaking at conferences and events from coast to coast and serves as a consultant for Bold Vision Books. She lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown, mostly-coffee-drinking children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: How has a good friend picked you up and dusted you off in the past?

You Are Never Truly Alone

by Cindi McMenamin

I leaned my head against the window as the plane began to ascend.

How long will I fly alone?  I thought to myself, as I pushed my head harder against the window and felt that familiar tinge of loneliness. Another long flight by myself. Another lonely night in a hotel room. Another weekend alone.

As the plane ascended higher and a layer of clouds covered my view of the high-rise buildings on the ground, I remembered the One who said He’d never let me out of His sight.

David the Psalmist, who must have felt alone at times, comforted himself with a song he wrote about God’s “staying power” and His amazing ability to track us everywhere we go:

If I go up to heaven (if I’m on top of the world and in a place where I think I don’t need You) You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (if I sink to a place where I am helpless), You are there.
 If I live at the eastern horizon (if I move to a place where no one knows me), or settle at                            the western limits (or crawl into a cave where no one can bother me again),
even there Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold on to me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, (if I say “I’m in too deep or too dark of a place                        for You to follow”)
Even the darkness is not dark to You.
The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.”                                                                                                                        Psalm 139:8-12 CSB, emphasized words added

I’m comforted knowing that there’s no place I can go where my God will not follow. No place I can seek out where His presence is not already there. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide (as if I’d want to).  He follows me like a shadow. Not only will He never leave, He’ll never let me out of His sight.

What are you facing today that you think you’re going into alone? What are you dealing with that no one else knows about or understands?

The Bible tells us “there is a friend who stays closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 CSB).  And He stands ready to go into that situation not just with you, but before you…leading the way.

Lord, the next time I begin to feel alone, calm my heart with the reminder that there’s nowhere I can go where Your love will not follow, and no place I can venture where You have not already been.

“…for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 CSB

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold), God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and When God Sees Your Tears. For more on her books and ministry, and free resources to strengthen your soul, marwhen God sees your tearsriage, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

 

Join the Conversation: Where do you feel alone?

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash.

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