God’s Blessing of Friendship
A friend loveth at all times.
Proverbs 17:17 (KJV)
As 2016 is ending and 2017 beginning, I find myself thinking about friends. With social media so much a part of people’s lives, we sometimes forget to pick up the phone and call someone or even send a note of thanks or thinking of you.
Many of us have lifelong friends since childhood, college friends, and professionals we work with. Furthermore, we have neighbors. In today’s society we sometimes do not even know who lives in our neighborhood. Fortunately when our family moved to Temple, we found a wonderful neighborhood with one very special lady who lived next door to us—Beth Sheffield. She always had a smile for everyone, never met a stranger, and would go out of her way to help others. She exemplified how God wants us to treat one another.
As 2017 approaches, I hope I can be the friend to others as Beth was to me. Thirty-two years filled with precious memories of our times together encourage me to pay friendship forward. I encourage each of you to think about how you can be Christ’s example to others with kindness, love, encouragement, and time. Will you choose to be a Christ-like friend in 2017?
We all have a story and your story matters. Your story tells the history of your journey with Christ and speaks to the beauty of humanity. We engage in sharing our stories because our stories connect us. As the New Year begins, we want to be women who embrace new beginnings. We serve a God of second chances, and what better opportunity than the New Year to encourage one another to risk hoping for a new beginning!
Through the years, God has taught the women at Taylor’s Valley Baptist Church immeasurable truths about Himself and how our connections matter. Our connections often provide the fuel for vulnerability, a trait necessary for new starts. Over the next 31 days you will meet 31 different women sharing 31 different stories. Our hope is that by sharing our stories, we will show God’s faithfulness in our everyday lives and encourage you to look for God in all the new beginnings of a new year. Get ready to belly laugh, shed a few tears (grab a tissue), and prepare your heart for God to speak through, “A New Year: Thrive.”
“I called to the LORD in my distress, and He answered me.” (Jonah 2:2).
When was the last time you felt the Holy Spirit nudging you a particular direction and your first instinct was to flee? If whatever the task before me requires battling insecurities, my flesh begs me to forgo the fight and just flee.
A few years ago I was asked to serve in a capacity I had only dreamed about in my home church. Almost as quickly as the excitement built at the thought of using my gifts and talents in this area, an equal amount of apprehension overwhelmed my spirit. I reflected on my previous track record with similar tasks. Isn’t that how we evaluate potentially new tasks, through considering and analyzing what we have been able to accomplish in the past?
Despite reciting scriptures encouraging me to trust God’s promise to enable and empower me to complete the task ahead, I stalled and filibustered when pressed to confirm. I was hesitating to step into leadership though I knew God was calling me to that specific purpose.
As God would have it, the next few weeks’ worth of sermons covered the book of Jonah. Though I was familiar with his story, Jonah’s experiences with second chances washed over me in a fresh and powerful way. Jonah flat out refused to obey God’s command to preach to the Ninevites. God could have used another prophet to preach His message of coming judgment, but He loved Jonah enough to punish him, leading Jonah to repentance.
Our God gives second chances. He delights in our steps toward the right direction. Furthermore, when He calls us to a task, He will empower us. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” This verse speaks truth in the face of apprehension. Not only does God work in me to accomplish the task, He also enables me to desire to complete it.
So if God is calling you to a specific role, task, or purpose, and you are hesitating to obey, know God delights in your steps toward His calling. Know He will birth the desire to complete it, and above all, He will work it through you for His good purpose and glory.
Sara Burt, Director of TVBC Women’s Ministry: Thrive