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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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New Website is coming along!

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It has been awhile since I have blogged.  I am not sure why…it just is I guess.  Life is passing by so fast.  I can’t believe it is the end of March already yet some days just drag.  Do you ever have that happen to you?

I am excited that my website is nearing its final stages.  It is looking so good.  Its like when that is completed, I have responsibilities to attend to…like blogging.  Like my website just isn’t altogether right now, so my life is.  I feel scattered, busy yet not, working but not really.  I read a book that really sums up how I see myself and others.  “We are sinful and flawed yet loved and welcomed.” (Counsel from the Cross by Elyse M Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson)  Isn’t that so true!

This week is Holy Week in the church calendar.  As I think about what Jesus did for me because He loves me, it brings me to my knees and ever so grateful.  He died for me a sinner who is flawed but he loves me and welcomes me! He did that for you too!  We don’t have to wear a mask, hiding the imperfections from others.  We are set free from that!  We can live and know that we are worse than we ever thought we were and yet loved more than we ever could hope for.

Romans 8:1-3 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

John 8:36…if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.  Are you in Christ Jesus?  He paid with His blood to cover our sin so we could be reconciled to God.  If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, what are you waiting for?  Your true freedom only comes through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Simplicity

Simplicity

I have often heard people talk about having one word for the year rather than make New Years resolutions.  I looked into it this past weekend and found there is a book about it.  It suggested to pray and ask God to show me the word that would be a mantra for the year.

One word, not two like I wanted to have.  I had thought release and rest, you know, like R&R…but still that is three words!

As I prayed about it, the word simple came in my head.  Simplicity followed.  I looked up the definition and found that it is a noun.  One definition was: the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.

Synonyms included: clarity, clearness, plainness (ugh that is not what I had in mind), simpleness, intelligibility straight forwardness….hummm….really do you want me to have this word Lord?  It continued…quality or condition of being plain (sad face) or neutral.

One definition that did catch my eye when looking from a Biblical perspective was: childlike, full of trust and wonder….ok I think I like this!  Kind of goes along with my release and rest….I wanted to let things go and rest in Jesus that He would and could handle my life better than me.

Then I found…absence of luxury, pretentiousness, free from deceit or guile, sincerity….that kinda sounds like how Jesus lived when He walked the earth.  I do want to be like Jesus.  As I prayed and pondered the word…it really fits in what I want to see God do in my life.

We had our house listed for sale.  The realtors had staged the house rather beautifully.  Not necessarily my taste but nice.  I had their furniture for almost seven months.  That was a lot of work to keep up with.  When they came and took it out last Friday, a burden lifted off my shoulders.  My house looks bigger, less cluttered, so freeing.  I have decided that I really have too much stuff and too much responsibility.  Simplicity in this area will be so freeing.  As the weather gets warmer, one of the things I see God wants me to work on is getting rid of unnecessary possessions. Just the thought sets me free.

How about you?  First do you have a word for the year to keep you on focus? Second, is your life jumbled with too much? Too much stuff, too much to do. too many obligations?  What would it take to make your life more simple?