Who is your friend, really?

friends

“A friend loves at all times.” (NIV);  “A friend is always loyal.” (NLT)

As humans, we all need a friend who loves us at all times.  We all need a friend who loves us when we are unlovable; when we are at our worst.  As humans we all need a loyal friend.  We all need a friend who does not flip flop on us.  But, how many of us have friends like that?  Do you have a trustworthy, loving, loyal friend?  Better still, are you a trustworthy, loving, loyal friend?   If none, why is that?

Here are ways you can get and become a good friend:

  1. Ask God to direct you to the right person. Ask God to help you be a good friend.
  2. Take the risk. Get to know someone.  Know someone’s name.  Some of us do not have good friends because we do not venture out.
  3. A good friend listens. Learn to listen to people.  Listen not just hear. When you are with people, be aware of their likes and dislikes.  Listen “between the lines.”
  4. A good friend is there for others. Celebrate with your friend.  Remember and do something special on your friend’s birthday or anniversary.
  5. Good friends befriend the entire family. One of family members once thought my friend Robbie was part of our family.  Robbie was always around for important family events.
  6. A good friend is sensitive. A good friend looks out for the When no one else can understand you, your friend will.  Your fiend is one person who will walk up and say, “You are not you today. What’s going on?”
  7. Most of us have friends we last talked with years ago. Good friends stay in touch.  These days, we can utilize various channels of communication that are available.  You can keep in touch in person, by phone, handwritten letter, Facebook, Facetime, text, Skype, and so forth.
  8. I always think generalized complfriendsiments are as good as no compliments at all. It is always best to specifically express what you like about your relationship with your friend. What is it that makes your friendship tick?
  9. When thinking of ministering to your friend – be creative and thoughtful. It does not always have to cost money.
  10. Rekindle your old friendships. I dare you to reach out to those uncultivated, dying friendships.
  11. Have friends who help you carry your burdens. Carry burdens for your friends.
  12. Keep each other accountable. Develop your relationship so much that you can speak life into each other’s life.  Learn to receive encouragement and honest feedback from your friend.  Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Your friend is one person you can trust to watch your back, to point out your blind spots, and stand with you at all times.

Who is your friend?

When the going gets tough, do you have someone who will stand with you?

To have a good friend, you need to be a good friend.  What are you doing to cultivate good friendships?

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10 Lessons I am Learning on My Parenthood Journey

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Today, my family and I had the privilege of witnessing Fiela participate in the San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee competition.  We were all sitting on pins and needles the whole time.  I am sure she was stressed, but I must admit, I was a bigger mess than she!

Today’s experience made me reflect on the many opportunities missed by parents who neglect participating in their children’s activities.  Of all my 13 years in school in Zimbabwe, my own biological father never attended a single event at my school.  I won numerous awards.  I played soccer; I sang in the choir, I played in the brass band, and orchestra. My father was never there.  Today, I am a father of two girls.  I fight to never miss my children’s activities.  I am learning to live a balanced life.  I am striving to be the best father I can be.  I want to share with you the 10 lessons I am learning on my journey of fatherhood.

  1. Keep your promise. Be reliable.  Be a man or woman of your word.  Lying and lack of integrity can damage your relationship with your children for a long time.  Children can smell phoniness a mile away.  It is better to surprise the children, than to shower them with empty promises.
  1. Be There. Participate in the child’s school, church and/or community activities.  Being there does not have to cost money.  Being there does not mean you have to speak or do creative games.  It means showing up where you need to.  Going home to cook and eat dinner with your children.  Some of the best conversations I have had with my children are around the dinner table.
  1. Encourage.  Believe in your children.  Tell them so. Many adults carry around scars of wounds inflicted their parents inflicted upon them many years ago.  The world is full of bullies and naysayers.  You need to be your child’s cheerleader.  Speak life and hope into your child’s life.  If you don’t, who will?
  1. Discipline. Don’t abuse your children, but set parameters. Don’t be the child’s best friend, instead, be the child’s best parent! You do not have to be give in on everything.  Build a relationship of trust.  I have seen parents who are inconsistent in their disciplinary plan.  You need to stick to your words.  Parents should support each other.  Children can be conniving.  If they get a “No” from one parent, they go ask the other parent.  I always say, “What did your mom say?” Whatever she said, is what I will say.
  1. Lead By Example. Whether you know it or not, your children are watching you.  Let them see you treat their parent well.  Let them see you fall in love with Jesus.  Don’t just send them to church, go to church together.
  1. Go on Dates. Let the boys know how to treat a woman from you.  Let the girls know what a gentleman looks like.  On most Saturdays, I take my children on a date.  Sometimes we go to the mall, to the beach, or we just drive around town.  It is at these times I have gotten to know more about what is happening in their lives.  It is at these times that I have answered some theological and life questions I would not trust many people to answer.
  1. Pray For and With Your Children. Let them see you and hear pray for them.  Some people have said, “A family that prays together, stays together.”  (Unknown)
  1. Switch off the TV. Put away the laptop and the phone. Turn off the video games. Go outside and smell the roses.   I am often amazed when I see families at restaurants seated at the table while looking at their individual screens.   Meaningful conversations are now rare.  Children rarely want to play outside, like most of us did growing up.

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  1. Love.  All these would mean nothing if the parents do not love their children.  It may seem like a no-brainer but many people think gifts and gadgets are substitutes for love.  Love is spelt “T-I-M-E!”  The size of your heart determines your depth of love.
  1. Listen. Most days, I get home and my children just download their day on me.  When Fiela started Junior High, I would listen to her, and then would want to suggest something.  I noticed that she always walked away after telling me how her day went.  She was not looking for my input.  She wanted me to listen.  I have learned to listen, and to ask questions.  Keep the communication lines open.

These are a few lessons I have learned as a rookie father.  What are your learning?  What is your advice?

10 Reasons Why I Love Prayer

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Why I Love Prayer

 

  1. I love prayer because prayer gives strength, or rather, prayer is our strength. A Christian living without prayer is like a fish out of water.  It will soon dry up and die.  When I was growing up, people used to say, “One week without prayer makes one weak.” (Unknown)
  1. I love prayer because it is proof of our total reliance on the Almighty God. When we pray, we surrender all to God.  When we pray, we submit to God’s authority and guidance.  We worship God through prayer.  We yield to God’s leading through prayer.
  1. I love prayer because it removes all pride and arrogance. When things happen, it’s not our intelligence, neither is it our skills, gifts, education, connections, or wealth.  We should stop fooling ourselves that we are in control of what happens in life.  After all, “control is an illusion.’ (Unknown)  When things happen, it’s because God is working in our lives. Prayer keeps us away from pride and arrogance; pride and arrogance keep us away from prayer.
  1. I love prayer because through prayer we get to praise and thank God for who He is. We thank God for what he is doing/will do, through prayer.  Prayer is the channel through which we express our attitude of gratitude to our Father in Heaven.
  1. I love prayer because through prayer we communicate with the Creator of the universe. We tell our Father our concerns and struggles, through the avenue of prayer.

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  1. You might have some faith without prayer but you cannot have effective prayer without We grow in faith as we pray.  We exercise our ultimate trust and belief in God through prayer.  The time, value and emphasis we put in prayer are a direct reflection of our faith in God.
  1. Prayer teaches patience – it teaches us to slow down while waiting upon the Lord. Our rushing and busyness rob us of the benefits of hearing from God. Sometimes we are too fast to see God at work, or to hear what God is saying. When we pray, we learn to listen.  We learn to wait for God’s direction.  We learn God acts in His own time, at His on God-determined pace.
  1. Prayer changes our will, and it puts everything into perspective – God’s perspective. Prayer matures us.  There is no Christian maturity without prioritizing prayer. We pray for God to change our situations, but as we pray more, God changes us and how we perceive our situations.
  1. Prayer calms a tumultuous, stormy heart. It quitens the soul.  It brings you to a place where you can feel the very heartbeat of God. Prayer senses the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  We receive peace, the affirmation that God is with us, through prayer.
  1. Prayer is all we have, when everything else is stripped away. Prayer is our source of life.  It is our gateway to the presence of God.
  • Go ahead and prayer. No one can take that privilege away from you.
  • You could be in prison, you could be in the midst of strife; you could be in the bathroom, shower or anywhere else.
  • Go ahead, call on His name.
  • He will hear you.
  • Pray today.
  • Pray now.
  • Pray regularly.
  • Pray when you feel like it.
  • Pray when you don’t feel it.

“Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – I Thessalonians 5:16-18