by David Brenneman
I have been thinking about friends lately. We've moved almost 3/4ths of a year ago and it's come at a cost.
What has it cost us? Oh many things both good and bad. In the good, it's cost us a level of stress that we were burdened under. It's cost us people we used to just get in the car to drive to see. Relationships weren't in heavy supply but there were relationships.
We had to make some rather rash decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of in preparation to move. Not a lot of time to consider the costs of some of that.
But what I have found that's been the most difficult is the intimacy of friends that's no longer there. We may have moved to a familiar area to me, moreso to my Wife, but it's still a new beginning. She's still remembering what used to be as well.
It's been rough on the friends thing though. We left at the behest of God's calling to come here, the decision maker was that it would be here that we would grow in our sanctification. This is God's will for everyone in Christ Jesus. 2 Thessalonians 4:3.
Sorrow is evident at the Church's that Peter, Paul, Timothy and Barnabus frequented upon them getting to the point that the Lord Jesus Christ was moving them on to other things. Sorrow on the part of the Apostles as well as the Church.
Sorrow often grips me in both the friendships left behind and in the need to cultivate new friendships. It's not exactly an easy thing for an introvert. We tend to be really loyal to those whom are in our closest circles.
What's different and difficult is relearning what's become of old friends at times. We don't pretend to know what all God's allowed or taken them through but it's often hard to understand.
In the Scriptures we read of many places where the Lord is referred to as a Rock. Immovable. The same, yesterday, today and forever. His love is unchanging. It's as much for me as when I came to Christ as it is today.
Our world was rocked as was everyone's in the last several years in regards to relationships.
For me, this move was a second chance to live life the way I should have decades ago. Stripping away of bad choices in my priorities was paramount to starting off on the right path. Securing Godly men to surround myself with was among the first things I knew that I needed. Proverbs speaks to this in that it's written that with a multitude of counselors there is victory.
It was about 8 or 9 years ago I was brought to my knees a few times at some Sunday evening services. The Spirit was doing some heavy surgeries on me. My passions in life were misdirected. I was shown what needed to go out of my life. It would still cost me through the years to be different from others because of those evenings at the altar. Being intentional about not living as the world does is often difficult.
Relationships are what we were created for. The greatest is that with Jesus Christ. With family is next, with friends and acquaintances after that.
I am almost always deep in thought about life. Very burdened with not keeping quiet about the times in which we live. To hopefully direct people towards a right relationship with Jesus. To show people, hopefully, how to get back to Him.
It's in this vein that I almost always find myself in regards to life. I could care less about sports or the so-called entertainment world. I don't really follow the news anymore. I may watch a video clip or instructional but that's my extent.
To me, God showed me in those moments at the altar, that I was worshiping those things. I was more passionate about sports teams than I was about whether or not people were going to Hell. I was more knowledgeable about science fiction than I was about my faith or my Bible.
I don't focus on things that take time away from what God is saying is beneficial to my growth in Christ Jesus. I don't focus on food or eating concerning a diet because it too easily for way too many people is an obsession. There's a reason why it's an industry for diets. If I can rely on Jesus for my salvation I can rely on Him for my eating habits. I don't subscribe to programs, pills or plans because of that. It only takes seconds to see proofs of the failures of man made programs and pills by using Google.
Relationships are a necessity for life. What the world offers for solutions to life in Godliness isn't what the Spirit says in God's Word.
I dearly miss the people we left behind. I find myself missing the memory of people that I run across now. We've no doubt changed and they have too.
This perhaps isn't the devotional type post that you might have been thinking was coming but, again, I write what I am lead to write by God.
We just concluded a series at church called "Amen". It was about prayer and praying. One of my new top 6 prayers is to do with relationships. How to deal with the challenges of the changes. Even my family is relearning who we are because of being gone, for the most part 21 years.
I pray concerning our relationships that we had and those we are trying to begin.
I pray for our place at our Church.
I pray for friends far away and what all they are going through. I pray for those we are in contact with now that we have moved. Not all of them have had good experiences in the last 21 years. Some are farther away from God and don't see it. Some are doing well.
My prayers for all are that people would put Jesus as their highest priority. I am gravely saddened to see people who are Christians not living as though they are.
As was the Scriptures a few days ago, the Disciples mentioned that they gave up everything in their lives to follow Jesus.
Attachments to the things in their world was the first thing to go if you read what happened after Jesus said "Come. Follow Me.".
Attachments to Earthly relationships were changed. Learning from Jesus was to be their life and later to teach others to do the same. Relationships took on a different look.
We often try to live with feet in both worlds when Jesus said to keep them both with Him.
God will indeed create new relationships for my Wife and myself. I pray almost daily for those whom I used to be close to. We have been greatly blessed beyond our expectations in moving. In Church, in work, in our home. Relationships are forming. Others are being renewed.
Your relationship with Jesus Christ is extremely important. It ought to be your highest priority. That is at the heart of "be holy as I am Holy". It's at the heart of Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself". If you look at where your passion rests you will see where your heart is. If anything in this world excites you more than your relationship with Jesus I strongly hope you rethink life.
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