A Good Friend

four people walking while holding each others arms
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Originally published on DailyDevos.org  (for teens) Oct. 20, 2016

Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)
     I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of
you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel
from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who
began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day
of Christ Jesus.

     Who are your friends? Do they always want things from you? Do they get
you into trouble? Or do they help you and encourage you? Do your
friends make you a better version of you? Or do they tear you down and
bring out the worst in you?
      In the book of Philippians, Paul is really thankful to God for his
friends; and he lets them know it! Even though he’s under house
arrest (basically, he’s in jail), he writes this letter to his
friends with joy. Paul’s friends prayed for him, encouraged him and
even sent someone from their community to be with him during tough
times. Paul’s friends were his partners (from a distance) as he
traveled around and shared God’s truth. They loved Paul and Paul
loved them.
      With any good friendship, the give and take of help and words of
encouragement are mutual. So being a good friend back to the
Philippians, Paul shares encouraging news: The God that they serve
together has started something powerful in them. And over time, God
will continue to work out good in them until the end of their lives
when they reunite with Jesus.
      This message is an encouragement, not only to the Philippians, but
for for us who believe in the same God! We are works in progress,
being molded by the one who created us and knows us best. And when we
allow God’s truths to sink in, we have great hope that our best
friend, Jesus, has our back.

     Find good friends like the ones mentioned above and surround yourself
with them. Are you being a good friend? Brainstorm ways you can be a
good friend by helping, encouraging and pointing people to Jesus’
truths. Then do it.

12 Days of Christmas Ornaments: A Tradition of Memories — Day 11

IMG_3752On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me – 11 friendly families,

10 gifts from giving, 9 wooden beauties, 8 family trips, 7 Bruins beating Trojans (38-28!), 6 Asian Orbs, 5 manger scenes! 4 major awards, 3 dancing pigs, 2 handmade bells, and a portrait to put on the tree.

Whether friendly families, friends of the family, or simply family… today is about giving to the ones we love. It goes without saying that the people in our lives are of utmost importance. And because I believe that the soul is eternal, individuals should be treated with respect, allowing relationships to take precedence over circumstances or things.

Giving is one way of showing honor and love and when it’s personal (even personalized), it’s even more specifically for that individual.

On the first day I mentioned hanging photos on your own tree of those who are close to you. But taking that idea a step further, I actually like giving ornaments as gifts. Since there are as many kinds of ornaments as there are people, you’re bound to find one that fits someone pretty well.

So whether giving or receiving a hanging figure, bringing it out each year, reminds me of the giver: how well they knew me or how thoughtful they were to commemorate a shared moment.

Personalized ornaments can also make the exchange that much more fun. And though the specialized pieces can get pricy from those carts in the middle of malls, an after-Christmas discounted one where you write the year and the name yourself with a Sharpie can be just as nice (but if it’s for the following year, don’t forget where you stored it.)

A small token of friendship and appreciation for the ones God placed in our lives by chance or by choice (no matter the kind and whether or not there’s writing on it), these little treasures are an excellent addition to any tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – visit here tomorrow to see.