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My best friend Rita and I go back to 1999.  I first met her at a reception at the new church I started working at.  We clicked.  The Holy Spirit drew us together.  We had things in common, especially one, being familiar with military life.  She was in the Army reserves along with her husband.  My husband had just recently retired from the Marine Corps. Military families were sparse in Birmingham, AL.  It had been seven years since I lived in a more civilian community.  Civilian life and military life are so different that when God drops you in the middle of a civilian community, its like being a fish out of water.  I think that is what God used to connect us ~ military community.

We have been through thick and thin together.  That one similarity that drew us together and the bond of Jesus keeps us best friends even though we are now miles apart.  We have learned there are many areas in which we are so different.  She is a hard worker.  I am more laid back.  She is on the go most of the time.  I …. well, that is another story.  I am on the go in a whole different way.  We encourage one another through motherhood, wifehood, sisterhood, spiritually and just life in general.  We do life together as best as we can.  Last year she came to Albuquerque working as a traveling nurse and we lived together for several months.  We have done ministry together in many different ways.

We helped with the Luther Hour Ministry putting floats together for the Rose Bowl Parade. IMG_1297

We travel together.

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Besides traveling to CA, we traveled to Hawaii for 10 days.

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We have gone to mission conferences (Bob Goff was the guest speaker and it was his birthday),

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Christian Concerts (Steven Curtis Chapman here),

IMG_0328spent time together in Florida when she was working as a traveling nurse there.

The best part of our relationship with each other is we both have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  That is our bond.

Interesting enough, the Bible speaks about what healthy relationships to one another looks like.  Let’s look at Philippians 2:25-28 NLT

25 Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.26 I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. 27 And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.28 So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you.

Notice Epaphroditus’ character:

  1. He showed genuine Christian love in action
  2. He cared about the Philippians
  3. Missed them
  4. Worried about possibly having caused them sorrow
  5. Model of what Paul had talked to them about in earlier verses
  • Others-centered
  • Not looking out for his own interests, but for others’ interests

Paul described him as:

  1. My brother – they both were Christians. Two children of the same Father, God
  2. My co- worker – Epaphroditus labored physically alongside Paul to make sure the Gospel reached as many people as possible building the Kingdom of God.
  3. My fellow soldier – laboring spiritually with Paul. Wearing the full armor of God by living a godly and righteous life.
  4. Your messenger & minister to my needs – took the gift from the church to Paul, putting his own life in mortal danger.

So What Now?

How do your friends compare to Epaphroditus?  How many of your friends are your brother or sister in Christ?  Which ones are co-workers with you in building the Kingdom of God?  How would your friendships change if you were fellow soldiers together?  How do your friends minister to your needs?  Better yet,  how do you compare to Epaphroditus toward your friends?  How could you be a co-worker with your friends by building the Kingdom of God?  What is one way you could be a fellow soldier with your friends?  How can you minister to your friends needs and those around you?

Real friendships take work.  True friendships in Jesus are others-centered.  Looking out for one another instead of yourself.  I know that this is an area that I could always work on.  Thankfully God does the changing as long as I am willing.  Are you willing to let God change you into a Brother/Sister, co-worker in Kingdom building, fellow soldier by living a godly and righteous life through Jesus, a messenger and ministering to others?  If not, why not?  Let’s hear from you in the comments below or email me   justbefreecoach@gmail.com

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