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<< Encouragement for Today

Encouragement for Today - Nov. 24, 2006

  • 2006 Nov 24
  • COMMENTS

 

November 24, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

Principle 6

 

“The Friendships of Women”

Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Proverbs 31 Speaker and Author

Key Verse:                                                                                                            Ecclesiastes 4:8-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

Devotion:

A study of elementary school activity recess revealed that boys and girls play differently on the playground structures.  Researchers have found that girls are more likely to swing and climb to the top of the play structures and yell down at their friends who are close by on the ground.  Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to run around the structure or the playground. 

 

Apparently, these findings concerned the researchers because they worry that girls aren’t using enough of the playground.  Isn’t that interesting? Without any suggestion from teachers or parents, the girls place themselves in closer physical proximity to each other, thereby increasing their social contact.

 

Although little girls tend to disagree more than boys, their need for friendships is obvious, and at a young age, seek each other out.  God designed this need in us, and friendships offer more than companionship, they also offer protection.

 

With Satan as our enemy, and sin as our nature, we are weakened.   One of Satan’s most effective tools is isolation.  He knows if we stay away from godly friends, he can start planting lies in our minds, and thereby bring us down.  But with good friends to surrounds us, and affirm God’s truth in our life, we are less susceptible to attack.

 

Consider frost damage.  In a forest, a tree is more likely to be killed by frost if it is standing alone.  The same goes for plants and bushes around our homes.  However, when the trees are clumped together there is a natural protection and they survive the cold.

 

This is a lot like people.  None of us expect a difficult time to come – but we live in a fallen world and bad things happen.  To a person without godly friends, a time of frost can kill them emotionally.  However, when a person is surrounded by friends, they are more likely to survive. 

 

For many of us, friendships are whipped cream on the ice cream sundae of life.  They are an added bonus, but not essential.  However, God thinks otherwise.  In Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 we have the following words of advice: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

In another book of the Bible, we are advised to confess our sins to others.  James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  Since I’m probably not going to confess my sins to someone I don’t know, this verse affirms the importance of godly friends.

 

As we enter a busy time of year, take time to be with friends.  Plan a holiday gathering and share the things you are thankful for.  Look for opportunities to include friends in your planning and preparation for the big events in the next two months.  While you are getting things done, take time to share what’s going on in your life.  Our time invested in friendships is time well spent.  It’s in our God-designed make-up to need each other and it accomplishes God’s desire for our protection when the hard times come. 

 

My Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your almighty power and great love.  I confess the times I have neglected to develop godly friends.  I pray for wisdom to know how to be a better friend to those You have placed in my life.  Thank you for answering our prayers and for Your faithfulness.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Additional Resources:

The P31 Woman Magazine

 

Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith

 

Building an Effective Women’s Ministry by Sharon Jaynes

 

At the Feet of Ordinary Women by multiple authors

 

Application Steps: 

Identify one or two friends you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while.  Plan a time to get together or talk on the phone.

 

Reflection Points:

What are some common hindrances to maintaining strong friendships?

 

What character of friendship is most important to you and why?

 

What are some examples of how pride comes between friends?

 

Read John 15:13.  What does to “lay down his life” mean to you? 

 

Why does showing love often involve a sacrifice?

 

Power Verses: 

I John 4:11-12, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (NIV)

 

Romans 15: 5-6, “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.”  (NIV)

 

Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.”  (NIV)

 

James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (NIV)

 

Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  (NIV)

 

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