Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year

It is out with the old and in with the new!

Today is New Year's Eve and a new day is upon us. With 2010 in our midst, we are set to ponder the past year and anticipate the next with hope. For many of us, it is time to purge our closets of outdated clothes, underused gadgets, and forgotten toys to make way for the newly acquired treasures from Christmas. It is a time-consuming yet rewarding venture that usually fills my days in the week before the new year. But this year is different somehow. Rather than emptying my closets, I have found myself purging my spirit. And it started with something wise my seven year old said to me one morning earlier this week.

I had just awoken to a chilly morning as I sat at the computer, drinking my coffee, and checking out the daily headlines. Meanwhile, while my daughter Lily, an early riser herself, colored at the kitchen table. The day was new and the house was quiet and to my delight, Lily was absorbed in her creation. The stillness of the morning allowed me to hear nothing but the birds quietly chirping outside as Lily pushed her crayons across her paper. Enthralled in the news of the day,I was completely enjoying the peaceful beginning of my morning as I rose to get a second cup of coffee. At this same time, Lily finished her masterpiece and proudly brought it over to share it with me. With clarity and love, her simple picture beautifully illustrated the change Christ makes in a penitent heart. "Look Mommy," she said innocently. " We have to get the yucky stuff out of our hearts to make room for Jesus." I sat amazed at the wisdom of my child as God reminded me that now is a perfect time for some spiritual house-cleaning.

So, that is what I have been doing these past few days. When I reflect on the year behind me, I am amazed by the many provisions God has graciously placed before my family. Through God's goodness, we have been lavished with love and protection in countless ways. Truly, the Lord has given us many reasons to offer him praise. And yet, too often my heart has been consumed with worry. Hurried and distracted, I sometimes focus too much on what God hasn't done instead of what He has already freely given in my life. And I am ashamed at my lack of gratitude towards my Heavenly Father. It is an attitude of worry and discontent that must be purged to make room for the hope I have in Christ. It is out with a heart of discontent, and in with an attitude of gratitude. I resolve to embrace faith rather than fear. And in all things, I am committed to seek God first and believe He is near even when He seems silent.

And as we reflect on the highs and lows of 2009, it is most certainly a perfect time to resolve to begin anew with God. With faith and repentance, it is time to make some room in our hearts for the things valued in God's eternal kingdom. Now is the time to "rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit".(Ezekiel 18:31 NIV) For if we turn our heart towards our Savior he promises "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 1:19 NIV) Let's resolve to begin our new year with God and make room in our hearts for Christ.

Dear God,
I repent of the attitudes that keep me separated from you. I give you my discontent, my worry, my empty desires and I ask you for a new heart. Fill me with your goodness, your love, your kindness. Help me be more patient and to demonstrate your goodness to those in my midst. Let me boldy speak truth with love and be the influence you call me to be among those you have placed around me. Let me begin anew as I live for you.

Reflection: What attitudes need to be made new in your heart this New Year?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

God With Us

Reading: Psalm 46

Key Verse: "How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence."---1 Thessalonians 3:9 (NLV)

Confession time... I am a Facebook junkie! I find the mindless downtime to be an entertaining distraction from the structured activity of my day. I especially love the "insightful" quizzes that reveal everything from what your favorite color says about your personality to which dessert best describes you. (by the way, mine is chocolate.) Perhaps one of the most humorous quizzes I have taken was in regards to my name. After answering five seemingly unrelated questions, I found out my name was all wrong. Who knew? Too bad my parents didn't know about Facebook when they were choosing the perfect name for their precious baby girl.

Even without the help of Facebook, God reveals much to us in The Word through His many names as well. My personal favorite is Immanuel. Though it usually conjures up visions of sugar cookies and Christmas carols, I find so much more significance in this name if one ponders the promise in it's meaning. Immanuel...God With Us. In all we do. Wherever we go. Whatever we face. God is with us!

He is there as we confront uncertainty, doubt, and despair. Indeed, there is not a moment in this journey called life when He is not with us, for He is "an ever-present help in trouble." (vs. 2) We are assured that we are not alone for "God is our refuge and strength." (vs. 1) Fear need not cripple the saints, for "The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." (vs 7) Doubt cannot confound us if only we choose to bear witness to the glorious "works of the LORD." (vs. 8) Truly,we need only place our trust securely in Him, as we commit to "be still, and know that I am God." (vs. 10)

God is with us in all things. He is with us right now, this very moment. He will be with us in all our days to come. And in His presence, we can be sure He is FOR us as well. Nothing happens in our lives outside His sovereign control. Therefore, circumstances, no matter how troubling, cannot separate us from His love. For He is Immanuel, and His very name promises we do not go alone.

Heavenly Father,
You are with us...Hallelujah! Nothing can separate us from your gracious hand. You weep with us in our tears and hold us tight in our failures. You rejoice with us in triumph and sit with us in our silence. You are always near, always here. You are with us. Thanks be to God!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Build The Hedge

Key Verse: "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?" ---Job 1:10

Growing up in central Iowa, I have experienced my fair share of brutally cold winters. As a child, the cold was somehow minimized with the magic of snow, but as I grew older, I quickly understood the harshness of the fierce north wind. Memories of walking across the central campus of Iowa State University in the midst of an arctic blast make me shiver even now.

When I was twelve years old, my family moved into my Dad's childhood home. It is a simple farmhouse built with pride over 100 years and has been our family homestead for three generations. And since one wall of the house directly faces the north, our home was sometimes drafty mid-winter. While we didn't mind snuggling up under a warm, fuzzy blanket on a cold winter night, my Dad had the wisdom to build a hedge of pine trees that would grow quickly to shelter our home from the draft. Today, those trees effectively block the cold of winter, while also serving as a perfect place for my children, neices and nephew to play tag and hide-and-seek. Standing tall, they reach proudly to the sky and give our house a feeling of warmth on the coldest Iowa night.

Friendships are like a hedge in our lives. With love, friends stand with us and protect us from the harsh days of life that sometimes cause our hearts to grow cold. When storms rage around us and the winds of change threaten our security, our friendships act as a shield that blocks the penetrating chill of the world. As we walk through life, we grow and change. Likewise, our friendships often change as well. Godly friendships are vital in strengthening our walk with the LORD. And so we must carefully choose our friendships in order to build a sustainable hedge. After all, scripture reminds us that "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24 NIV) The number of friends is insignificant to the quality of the bond.

I am grateful for the women in my life that stand before me and shelter me from life's storms. For me, a few Godly women who love me at my best and my worst serve as a hedge of truth, accountability and shared priorities in my life. Truly, they are blessings to me from God and they help me grow in my relationship with Christ and encourage me to be my best for Him. While some of these women are not geographically near, we remain spiritually close as I say "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.' " (1 Samuel 20:42) And I imagine a day in heaven when we shall greet each other and fellowship for eternity in heaven.

No doubt, we all need friends. And yet, we are called to use discernment as we plant seeds of friendship and build our hedge. Furthermore, we must remember there are different friendships for varying purposes in God's plan for our lives. Some friendships are in fact only with us briefly. These relationships serve a purpose momentarily in life as we are brought together by circumstance. And yet, these relationships do not withstand the demands of everyday life. In time, they deteriorate and decay until they are only a remnant from our past. They endure only for a season and then they are gone. When these relationships are severed, it is best to "forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing." (Isaiah 43:18-19) Rather than missing a friend with whom we no longer connect, we look to God and allow Him to bring fresh new relationships into our midst. In a way, God trims our hedge in order to make it thrive and grow even more beautiful.

Then, there are those toxic "friendships" that poison our spirit. Rooted in worldly desires, ,gossip or malice, they act as a sort of toxin to our spirit and bring out the worst in our hearts. They are not friendship at all, but rather a worldly distraction sent to derail us in our walk with God. In such cases, we are warned, "Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live." (Deuteronomy 23:6) Inevitably, we will begin to look, act, and sound like those with whom we spend the most time. And, we are cautioned that "anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4) These relationships must be uprooted from our hedge in order for our spiritual lives to remain healthy.

True friendship is one of God's greatest gifts in the lives of His children. It is perhaps demonstrated most beautifully in the bond between Naomi and Ruth. These two women, though initially supportive of one another, shared a friendship so woven in faith that they became surrogate family. When given the choice to part ways, they remained intact as they resolved that "your people will be my people and your God my God." (Ruth 1:6) These friendships grow deep and are rooted in God's love. With trust and accountablity these relationships help us to establish Godly priorities as we look to grow in Him together. Such friendships are to be treasured, nurtured, and protected. Despite distance or time, these relationships grow. They protect. They shelter. They endure. They are "a hedge around me and my household" for which I am humbled and grateful. (Job 1:10)

In the winters of my life, my friendships have been a source of support and comfort that help me feel secure, accepted, and safe. Truly, I offer praise for each one of the dear women I call "my friend" and I appreciate the honesty and strength they bring into my life. They are my friends. They know who they are...and they are my hedge.

Dear God,
I praise you for the gift of friendship. I thank you for the relationships that were temporary but have helped me to grow and learn in a season since past. And I give you thanks for those friendships that endure the challenges of life and grow stronger each passing year. May your hand guide me as I choose my friendships wisely. Let the words shared between me and my friends be sweet as we bring you honor in our conversations. May our actions be like the hands of our Savior reaching into the lives of one another. Thank you God, for my sisters in Christ.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:15)

This past Friday night was an ordinary December evening as the kids and I settled down to watch Sofie's favorite Christmas movie, The Polar Express. With our tummies full of hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies and a roaring fire blazing, the mood was set for a bit of Christmas magic. Snuggled up next to Sofie I breathed in her innocence, as images of the North Pole filled her eyes with wonder and she began to imagine that such an enchanting place might truly exist.

When the movie was over, and the house was once again quiet, I pondered the significance of my daughter's naive belief in things unseen. As children, it is easy to embrace the wonders of Christmas. But, growing older somehow steals our ability to believe in that which is not immediately tangible. Our experiences and circumstances somehow grow a spirit of cynicism and doubt into our childlike faith. Still, we are reminded by our Heavenly Faither to believe. As God's children we are called to trust in things unseen. To count on things not yet experienced. To hope for that which seems impossible. We are told that truly "anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:15) Our Heavenly Father asks us to simply believe with the innocence of a child. And in faith we are assured that God is big enough for all that reality offers us.

Christmas is a beautiful example of the kind of faith we are to embrace. For God left his throne to become a tiny baby, fully man and fully God. He was born to a virgin mother and birthed in the town of Bethlehem just as the prophets foretold. To believe in the holiness of Jesus Christ, is to embrace the enduring love of God. It is a story so enchanting that Shepherds and Wise Men came to worship the newborn King. And yet there is more to this story than meets the eye. For this "ordinary" baby who slept peacefully in a manger would grow to be the Savior of mankind. Mesmorized by the happenings in their midst, They followed their hearts to a place unseen to gaze upon the Messiah.

By accepting Christ and trusting in His sacrifice, we grow to comprehend the gift of salvation. Likewise, with the faith and eyes of a child of God, we begin to better understand the wonder of our Savior's birth. For the manger and the cross are wrapped together in the gift of salvation in Christ. If not for the manger, there is no Savior. If not for the Cross, there is no salvation. Lost in sin, mankind needed both the manger and the cross so that we might receive God's greatest gift. After all, there is no way we can be good enough to earn our way to Heaven. We cannot be nice enough to deserve a place with Holy God. Instead, we are offered grace through faith in the saving blood of Christ. For "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18)

Through grace, we are given an invitation to acknowledge and receive the gift of Christ and enter into God's eternal kingdom...another wondrous place beyond our imagination. So, it is with the eyes of a child that I trust in things unseen.(2Corinthians 4:18) CHRISTmas spirit is all around. It's time to BELIEVE.

Heavenly Father,
Hallelujah! We praise you for the gift of Jesus Christ. What a beautiful Savior. What a glorious event, the birth of Christ, Savior for all mankind, the precious Prince of Peace. As Christ's birth draws near, we look past the emptiness of perishable things of this dying world and look instead to the eternal love you have for us demonstrated by the birth and death of Jesus.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Boss

Key Verse: "He must become greater; I must become less."
(John 3:30

Recently, we became dog owners to a playful Australian Terrier named Sydney. She is extremely sweet, but had to learn her place in our family. I diligently read up on the breed to learn that it was vitally important that we train our new dog to understand that she is the "least" in her "pack". For the past few weeks, we have carefully and intentionally sent messages to our new pet about her position within our home. For example, She isn't allowed to sit in a position higher than our children, for that is a place of authority in the dog world. Further, she is always the last to enter or exit the home, for she is not the leader. And, she eats after the rest of the family, for that teaches her that we are before her in prominence. Just this morning, my five-year old daughter Sofie was playing with our dog before school, when Sydney rolled over on her back in submission to Sofie. Delighted, Sofie said, "Look Mommy. Sydney is letting me be her boss." Truly, our dog has learned security in knowing her place and is now free to submit herself to the authority of her new family members.

The Bible teaches of another who knew his place well. John the Baptist was a prominent forerunner to Christ, proclaiming to all an urgent and immediate need for repentance. And yet, when Jesus came on the scene, John humbly knew his place and gracefully acknowledged, "He must become greater; I must become less." (John 3:30) Setting aside his pride, his position, his ego, John willfully took a place behind Jesus in recognition that Jesus was greater than himself. That is the kind of Christian I aspire to be as well. But, I confess, I am not as humble as John The Baptist, nor am I as submissive as my dog, Sydney. Truth be told, I have a healthy ego and I have a habit of making myself the supreme ruler in my life. For that reason, God has taught me, sometimes painfully, that my way usually leads to discipline. Over time, and more specifically the past few years, I have learned the hard way that I must be less, so God can be more in my life. After all, it isn't really my life that matters, but His life living in me that makes a lasting impression in this world.

Truth be told,we could all learn a lot from John, whose humble submission to His Savior cleared a path of Salvation for the world. God's plans are without exception greater than ours. Historically, our Heavenly Father continually challenges his people to set aside dreams, aspirations, and desires and allow Him to direct the course of life. God asks for our submission so that He can remove what is lacking and grant us a richer life. And yet, we stubbornly plan and plot a secure path, denying him access to our future, as we remain god in our circumstances.

Fortunately, that does not have to be the case for God's children. Daily, our Heavenly Father calls us to repent and submit to His authority. And he doesn't want SOME of us, He demands ALL...finances, future plans, families. He wants it all under Him while we acknowledge who is God and who is not. Some days we succeed. Many days we fail. Regardless, we are ordered to press on and submit our lives to the One who brings true enduring peace. So today, let us begin anew as we once more place ourselves under Christ's rule. For regardless of the challenges before us, there is security in making Jesus "the boss".

Dear Jesus,
How we adore you for you rule above all of creation. You are the King of Kings and every knee shall one day bow in your presence. There is nothing that is before you, for you rule supremely over all. Help us to submit to your leading and embrace our position in you. For it is only as you become greater than ourselves that we truly find enduring peace.

Reflection: What areas in your life have you elevated above the LORD?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Restoration from Ruins

Key Verse: "To all who mourn in Israel,he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair."-Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

My recent trip to Vienna, Austria was an extraordinary experience in countless ways. It was truly a place to behold where every one of my senses was stimulated in ways one can only imagine in storybooks. St. Stephan's Cathedral. Schonbrunn Palace. Street musicians and artists galore. Rich Sacher Torte and coffee straight from heaven. Yet, one particular moment marked my heart in a way I did not expect.

Walking around Stephensplatz in the first district, I came upon some ancient Roman ruins over 2,000 years old. My eyes gazed upon the bricks and dust in awe and wonder as I considered that these very ruins were a remainder of a time when Christ was here on Earth. I stood silently as I heard God whisper, "I have always been here. I am here right now. I will always be here. All of creation is mine to restore."

Truth be told, we all have something in our life that needs restoration. A broken relationship. A broken heart. A broken past. We all know what it is to feel the shame of failure. Disappointment. Grief. Ruin.

And yet, we have access to restoration by the power of Christ. There has never been a time where Christ didn't see the ruins in our lives. Despite our many failures and mistakes, he looks upon us with compassion and mercy. Truly, it is Christ's greatest desire to see you restored to God's unconditional love and endless mercy. Today, this very moment, we can experience restoration by the blood of our Savior. Through Jesus, we can experience a new beginning despite the ruins in our lives. In Christ, we receive an instantaneous healing of sin, followed by a gradual process of making all things new in our lives. After all, every great work of art takes time, commitment, patience, and love. In Christ, we are allowed to find beauty from ashes. Restoration from ruin.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross that makes it possible for us to be restored to God's unending love. We know there is no other way to find forgiveness and restoration except through the cross. We accept your gift of salvation and look to you for restoration and healing. Take our brokeness. Take our pain. Take the ruins in our lives and make something beautiful from the ashes.

Reflection: What needs restored in your life?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just a Mommy

It's a story familiar to many of us closer to 40 than 20. With gray hair , wrinkles, and a few age spots, age brings clarity. Quite often nowadays, I find myself slapping my forehead in disgust thinking, "What was I thinking?" To understand the reason for my dismay, I must take you back to another time. I was 12 years old, young, focused, and filled with ideals of being a strong, independent, modern woman. Being raised in what seemed like a "greenhouse" of strong women, the role was easy to embrace. Family. Career. I naively believed I could have it all, do it all, be it ALL.

Then it happened. My cousin, Minniette, who seems to know me better than I know myself, made a wager. She proposed that by the ripe "old" age of 28, I would be a homeaker. Sadly, I remember those words filling me with outrage at the time. So, I took that bet, confident that her dollar was mine while I imagined smugly rubbing her nose in my victory. After all, there was NO way I was going to be "just a mommy". I was on my way and I had things to accomplish. A path to plow. A world to change. My greatest desire was to fiercely pursue the impossible dream of the modern day woman.

Little did I know how right my cousin truly was about my heart. It took a few more years, but turning 28 certainly changed the course of my life. For it was then that God graced me with our son, Jack. He is the first of our three gifts from heaven. Suddenly, with his birth, my priorities shifted. And over the next few years, I began to realize that somebody had sold me an empty dream of materialism and achievement that closely resembled beach front property in the Mojave Desert. Suddenly, the moment I became Jack's mother, I began to rethink the desires of my heart.

Now, I am not suggesting that woman have only a place in the home. Each of us was born with a set of gifts designed for God's purpose and plan for our lives. I am emphatically stating, however, that THIS woman belongs at home. The LORD gave me a heart that longs to care for and protect those whom I fiercely love. Responsible, sensible, and careful, I was the self-appointed guardian of my younger brother and cousins whether they needed it or not. God made my ears sensitive to tones of voice and my eyes keen to body language in order to infer feelings. As I came to truly know my heart, I came to a startling conclusion. I was born to be a caretaker. It seems my cousin saw that better than I even as we were children. And I humbly acknowledge, that I now owe my cousin a big thank you. (And a dollar!)

Today, my sense of identity is firmly rooted in being the heart of our home. At long last, I have stepped out of the full-time workforce as an educator and into the home. Instead of grading papers, writing lesson plans, and attending meetings, my days are now filled with clipping coupons, dropping kids at school, and managing the many responsibilities of our home. There is no earthly recognition, but there is great glory in watching my loved ones flourish, being a steward of all that God has given me. Instead of finding my worth in my performance at work, I am content to be "just a mommy" while I model the love of Christ to my family.

Now, don't be fooled. Life as a full-time wife and mother is not a life for the faint of heart. Our pace is still quick and bedtime is still relished at the Arbuckle home. However, there is a sweetness that has gripped our little house as never before. I believe it is because I am finally walking in my gifts, taking my place in God's kingdom as a wife, mother, and servant of my King. I am, in fact, who I was created to be and in that I find my sleep to be sweet. It took me a long time to swallow my pride and take my place in this world. It isn't grand or filled with accolades, praise, or glory. I won't be winning any awards this side of heaven. But I have peace. I have joy. And I know what it is to be truly happy in the LORD. It's a lesson I pray will stay rooted in my heart as I raise up children to take their place in this world.

They say with age comes wisdom. I find that a refreshing truth in my life. Time has definitely changed my vision of what my legacy will be in this world. With continous prayer, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, I found the courage to step off the road to nowhere and find the path to contentment. And I have learned some important lessons about who I am and what I want to be. Perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned is that true wisdom comes from following God. After all, our Heavenly Father promises that "I will instruct you and teach in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

I pray that God will give each of my kids eyes to see their gifts and talents and grant them the courage to follow their God-given dreams. I hope they are wiser than I was in finding their way in life. And more than any accomplishment, "I have no greater desire than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 1:4) Today, life has come full circle as my son is turning 12 years old in February. Many days I hear my son and two daughters dreaming of what they will "be" when they grow up. A ballerina. A chef. A marine biologist. A musician. And in the words of my youngest blessing Sofie, "A mommy...just a mommy".

Heavenly Father,
We know that each of us is made in your image and are created for a purpose in your kingdom. Too often, we allow the world to define our existence when we were made solely for you LORD. Help us to discover our gifts and talents and use them for your glory whatever they may be. We wish to see you lifted up as we serve you in this life.

Reflection: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Life Moves Pretty Fast...

Key Verse: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.---Romans 15:5-6 NIV

One of my favorite movies is Ferris Bueller's Day Off. If you grew up in the 80's like me, you probably recall the wisdom of our young hero Ferris as he addressed his audience..."Life Moves Pretty Fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!" Indeed, life seems to be spinning faster these days. Some mornings, I fear we are moving so frantically, the earth may spin right off its axis. It seems a sense of urgency has gripped our world as never before, and in its wake we sometimes feel the necessity to be innovative in our communication methods.

Twitter. Facebook. Texting. No doubt, our modes of communication are changing radically. I confess, up until recently, I was a self-proclaimed Facebook junkie. It was exciting to reconnect with long lost "friends", convenient to keep up with current acquaintances, and fun to entertain my "peeps" online. However, life isn't just about entertainment and convenience. Life is far more complicated, and tends to get messy. Therefore, our relationships with fellow believers must be deeper than a Facebook update or a "tweet" on Twitter.

Communication is a priority in God's Kingdom. God has used angels, prophets, the Bible,and His one and only Son to communicate His desires for His children. Likewise, it must be a priority for God's people to "communicate the hope that is in us" (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) Effective communication begins with time alone with God. It is imperative as God's children that we learn to sit at His feet and quietly listen each day. As we read His word and meditate on His truth, our minds are renewed and our hearts transformed to be more like Christ. It is only then that we are truly ready to engage a lost and confused world. For it is in communion with our Heavenly Father that we train our heart to encourage and endure.

Likewise, we are challenged to make time to meet with our sisters in Christ face to face. After all, communication is more than words and emoticons. Expressions and tones can be lost in the translation of a text message, leaving us confused about the motives and actions of our loved ones. Without the clarity of open communication, we are likely to be deceived into making assumptions that damage a relationship unnecessarily. In short, we must allow ourselves to be available to those whom God has placed in our circle of influence. God has placed a number of folks in our midst today. Some are there so that they might be influenced. And some are placed there to be an influence. Either way, influence is greatly marginalized when we limit our interactions to social networking.

Today, let's commit to talk more...really talk. Accountability and honesty must remain in a free transaction between active participants if we are to truly continue to grow in Christ. We must commit to make ourselves vulnerable with trusted sisters in Christ, who can speak truth with love into our lives when the time is deemed necessary. Otherwise, we are likely to be deceived by our enemy who "prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) Let us never become so busy that we forget to check on a friend. And I pray we never become so distracted that we fail to speak loving truth into our friendships. As our methods of communication evolve, we are challenged in this fast-paced world to speak wisely, not in haste but in love. Let's not miss the chance to minister with words of truth and love.

Heavenly Father,
We praise you for you are never to busy for your children. You are always present and you never grow weary of hearing our cries. We confess that we are sometimes distracted by insignificant cares as they drag us away from the relationships you have placed in our midst. Help us to make our relationships a priority by taking time to talk each day. Give us words of loving accountability to encourage one another and give us endurance in these hectic days. We praise you and thank you for the dear friends you have brought into our lives. Help us to connect in real ways that bring you glory, that we might shine for you in this dark and lonely world.

Reflection: How might you connect with a friend in a way that brings unity and encouragement to the body of Christ?