A True Homegoing

My dear friend Joan recently passed and is now in heaven with her Savior. As I speak at her celebration of life today, I’ve chosen 2 scriptures to highlight in memory of her. She was a friend like no other. Our example in scripture of true friends is Jonathan and David. They had each other’s backs, could see good when evil was present, kept their focus on what was right in spite of dangers and loved each other. 1 Samuel 20:42 “Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. Today as I think about bidding my friend good-bye, I know that we will be reunited forever and for now I am to go in peace filled with the knowledge that she is with Jesus. We are and will be forever friends. She was a true friend to me like David and Jonathan.

The second scripture I chose was James 5:16-17 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.” My friend was a prayer warrior. I could call her anytime and ask her to pray and she would. She upheld me before God and covered me with His comfort and love. She would always hold my confidence and I never had to worry that she would speak to others about me. Like Elijah, she was a woman of prayer and prayed fervently for others. She prayed believing all things were within God’s power. What a true gem.

I know my friend Joan loved Jesus. She sought to follow Him, intercede with Him, study about Him in the Word, speak out about Him and worship Him. Now she is rejoicing in heaven, singing praise to her God. I was mightily blessed to have her in my life.

Thanks you Jesus for the gifts of love and hope she brought into my life. I am truly richer for having known her.

Because Christ died and rose from the dead, I can rejoice in the homegoing of my dear friend.


Is Your Kindness Showing?

When I looked at the scriptures using the word kind, kindness or kindly, often the word show or treated was used to describe the delivery. Kindness is an outgrowth of the Holy Spirit’s work within us but it does not stay inside us- it moves out and reveals itself to others in our actions. The things we say and do give evidence to God’s kind spirit within us. Here are some examples from scripture of this at work:

David was friends with Jonathan, the son of King Saul. Saul sought to kill David and made the friendship hard for both men, however, they remained faithful to each other. After Jonathan and Saul were killed and David became king, David wanted to show kindness instead of hate (which is what most kings did to living relatives of their predecessors). 2 Samuel 9: 3 tells us that David went looking for someone to bless with kindness. “And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” What David discovered was Saul’s grandson, Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth. He was injured when news came of his father and grandfather’s deaths and his nurse grabbed him and fled in fear for his life. David, as king, did not have to show any kindness to Jonathan’s son, but he did so out of his love for Jonathan. He sought to restore his wealth from his father and gave him a seat at his table going forward. Who do you know that needs kindness that would be unexpected or restorative? Can you reach out an provide that unexpected/restorative kindness in Jesus’ name?

Another time David responded with kindness was when the King of the Ammonites died and his son took the throne. 2 Samuel 10:1-2 ”  In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.”  David allowed the kindness pathway to extend to the new ruler. He assumed a position of continuing kindness. Where do you need to assume a position of continued or passed on kindness? Do you have a new boss or neighbor? Do you need to remember the kindness of others and start a chain of interaction from a position of kindness? This seems to be an example of getting treated kindly and deciding to pass it on.

I will end today’s blog with scriptures that tell us kindness is expected of the believer and has benefits:

Proverbs 21:21 “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
Wow! What a wonderful promise!

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Colossian 3:12 “ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”

Kindness is a choice we have because God created us with free-will. However, in God’s kingdom it is expected of the believer and made possible by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. As you meditate on kindness the kindness of God, how can we not respond? Titus 3:4-5 “ But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” We need to be constantly reminded that God’s kindness is beyond our imaging as He sent Jesus to save us. How can we express our kindness and mercy to others in gratitude to Him? Look for ways to show Christ centered kindness today.


Friendly Influences pointing to Jesus

Paul begins his letter to the Corinthian believers with a word of thanks. What are your first words when someone asks you about a friend? Are they words of praise and thanksgiving for that person’s friendship or quality of character? Here are Paul’s words of praise for his friends in the Corinthian church: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 ” I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

What stood out to me in this passage is Paul’s thankfulness to Jesus for giving these people to him as believing friends who emulated Jesus in speech and wisdom. They had spiritual gifts and used them to build up the body of believers. They lived with anticipation for the return of Christ and were sustained by their faith. Think about a friend you have in Christ. What qualities would you lift up to Jesus in praise about their faith, love and actions towards others? As you think about them, pray that God will use them to influence others as they have influenced you. Pray that they would continue to stand firm in faith and be the Light of Jesus to those around them. Pray for yourself too, that you too will be a friend that shows a zeal and passion for Christ that is evident to all those around you. Think about Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:15-16 “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

May our lives reflect Jesus and shine for all to see.