Monthly Basic Devo | Relationships

 

2022 | THE JANUARY ISSUE: RELATIONSHIPS
"Those who are loved by God, let his love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of him. The one who doesn’t love has yet to know God, for God is love."
1 John 4:7-8, TPT

Hi Friends,

Happy New Year to you!

I am excited to share something NEW with you! You can see from our bright header, we're changing things up! As we launch into 2022, we are making strategic "reinventions" at The Basics With Beth, beginning with THIS Devo.

Our goal is to encourage you in your relationship with the Lord and to keep you strong and flourishing in the Bible Basics!

>> NEW FOR YOU: So, beginning today, rather than a short weekly Devo on various topics; I will send you a long and meaty monthly Devo (on the first Tuesday of each month) that is more in-depth and focused on one particular topic.

By doing it this way, I can load your Monthly Basic Devo with enough content to fill your heart for a month! (I'm not kidding!) The crazy part is that it will only take you 14-minutes to ready today's Devo -- I tested it!

Then, you'll have the rest of the month to dig in, study and apply the material! So, I encourage you to save, print, review ... and share this Devo the entire month of January. You can even use it as a part of your personal devotion and Bible study time with the Lord. I hope you will do that!

I hope you like this new format...I welcome your feedback! If you like it in this format, I will continue to do it this way for 2022. 

>> THE JANUARY ISSUE: So, let's kick off the New Year talking about relationships.
 
Are your relationships where you want them to be? Are you reaping good things in the relationship department from the seeds you have sown? How's your relationship with the Lord? Your relationship with your spouse and kids? Your parents and siblings? Your friends? What does the Lord want to do in and through your relationships this year?

Go ahead and set your 14-minute timer ... and let's start our discussion on relationships with the most important relationship of all...
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

Our church photographer snapped this photo during Valley Family Church's 30th Anniversary celebration and it makes me happy because ever since 1978 when I gave my heart to Jesus, He is the most important relationship in my life! I love to praise and exalt Him!


To think that we can have a real relationship with God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, is beyond amazing! But we don't get to know a "generic" God, we get have a real, personal, heart connection with God -- or what the Bible calls the Godhead: God as our Heavenly Father; Jesus as our Lord, Savior and Healer and the Holy Spirit as our Helper, Counselor, Comforter and so much more. I can't think of anything more satisfying than having a dynamic relationship with the Lord.

How about you? Do you feel the same way? Or, are you struggling with a sense of apathy or disconnect in your walk with the Him? No matter where you find yourself at the moment, the Lord wants a close relationship with you and there are simple things you can do to rekindle your relationship with Him. (We are talking about this topic in our January 2022 series, Heart Ablaze at Valley Family Church. Our son, Eric Jones, recently preached a message that will encourage you in your walk with the Lord -- feel free to watch it here -- "Set a Fire
.")

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I wrote about our relationship with the Lord in my book, "Balance: Today's Christian Women Defined and Realigned" and I wanted to share a little portion with you. We looked at four different kinds of people and their relationship with the Lord. Here's an excerpt -- updated for women and men -- that I hope encourages you to start 2022 off on the right foot with God.


#1: Seeker Sally

Seeker Sally doesn’t know God. She’s never established a real personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, she is seeking. She is tired of the same old, same old empty life she's been living. She is ready to humble herself, repent of her sins and invite Jesus into her life as her Lord and Savior.

Do you identify with Seeker Sally? Are you ready to turn from your own ways and open your heart to God to experience His forgiveness for all of your sins? There's nothing better than being forgiven and at peace with God. Are you ready for that? It starts by surrendering to the Lord and inviting Jesus to be the Lord of your life -- you can pray a prayer like this:

“Dear God, I come to You and I realize that I am in need of a Savior. Jesus, I believe in You. I believe that God raised You from the dead, and I invite You into my life to be my Lord and Savior. Teach me Lord and help me to be the person You have called me to be. Amen.”

#2: Lukewarm Larry

Lukewarm Larry is a “lukewarm” Christian. He's not on fire for God, but he doesn’t hate the Lord either. He isn’t happy being lukewarm because in his heart he knows he is half-hearted. He knows Jesus had some important words for the half-hearted, lukewarm believers, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-17, NLT) 

Lukewarm Larry realizes that he needs to change. He knows it's time to make a full surrender and commitment to Jesus. Can you relate to Lukewarm Larry? Are you ready to get fired up for the Lord, once again? Let’s pray:

“Dear Father, I repent for being so lukewarm. I want to be hungry and thirsty for You. I surrender my life to You, and I ask You to revive me according to Your Word; light the fire in me Lord. I choose to seek You, I am desperate for You and I ask You to surround me with people who will help me to be the on-fire Christian You have called me to be. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

#3: Backslidden Bob

Backslidden Bob has lost his first love for the Lord. He's backslidden in his walk with God and has allowed the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, the busyness and love of other things choke God and His Word out of his life. Now, he’s tired of living a double life and he’s ready to make things right with God again.

Do you identify with Backslidden Bob? Are you ready to return to your first love? Jesus said this, “But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]. Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.” (Revelation 2:4-5, AMP)

Tell the Lord you’re ready to return to Him. Go back to doing the things you enjoyed with the Lord in the very beginning -- maybe reading your Bible more; maybe singing more worship songs or spending more time in pray. Here's a good prayer to get started: 

“Dear Father, I repent for backsliding and moving away from You, my first love. I have let other things creep in and steal Your place in my life. Jesus, You are my first love and I want to rekindle our relationship and do the things I did when I first knew You. I am asking You to help me to pray, seek You and knit my heart to You in a new and fresh way. Thank You for Your mercy and grace and for restoring me as I return to You. Help me to be the Christian You have called me to be. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

#4: Hungry Helen

Hungry Helen is so hungry for God she can barely contain her enthusiasm. Her heart is stirred up, fired up and always eager to know God in a greater way. She's not satisfied with any distance in her relationship with the Lord. She wants to be close to Him. Are you like Hungry Helen? If so, continue to seek the Lord and ask for more of Him! Let’s pray:

“Dear Father, You are my all in all. I am so hungry for You. I thirst for Your Presence, Lord. I seek You with my whole heart and I crave and require You as the necessity in my life. Speak to me through Your Word and by Your Spirit. Help me to live a life worthy of You and fully pleasing to You in every way. I choose to walk in the fear of the Lord and I trust You to reveal more of Yourself to me. Work in my life and help me to be the person You have created me to be. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SPOUSE

This is me and Jeff, my beloved husband of 36 years. I love him and he loves me ... and we love Kalamazoo! 

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Perhaps you've heard this story.

So, a woman died and went to heaven.
When she got to the Pearly Gates she asked St. Peter how to get into heaven.
Peter said, “It’s simple, just spell one word.”
“Great,”
she replied, “what’s the word?”
Peter answered, “Spell L-O-V-E.”
The woman proceeded to spell L-O-V-E perfectly and St. Peter welcomed her into heaven. After a few moments, Peter asked the woman to guard the Pearly Gates because he had to run an errand.
She asked him, “What should I do if someone shows up at the Gates?”
St. Peter replied, “You’ll know what to do.”
Peter left, and within a few minutes this woman’s husband showed up at the Pearly Gates.
“What are you doing here?” the woman asked him.
“I don’t know,” the man answered, “I must have died and now here I am at the Pearly Gates. How do I get in?”
“It’s easy,”
she responded, “you just have to spell one word.”
“Really?”
he said, “What’s the word?” “
Czechoslovakia”
she answered!

Ha! Doesn’t sound like a happy marriage, does it?

The truth is, marriage is God's idea and He wants you and your spouse to be happy together!

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I wrote a chapter on marriage in "Balance: Today's Christian Women Defined and Realigned" and described some of the challenges we all face, as well as the blessings that come when we love our spouse, God's way! Here's another excerpt that I hope encourages you in your marriage relationship.


God’s Word outlines the secret to walking in His blessings as a husband and wife. It starts by keeping Jesus at the center. Without Jesus at the center of a marriage, couples are powerless to love each other unconditionally and are held hostage by selfishness, anger, resentment, distance and eventually a cold marriage. When marriage is done God’s way, the Lord helps couples walk in love to enjoy a marriage made in heaven.  

Before we talk about how to have a marriage made in heaven, let's talk about how to avoid a marriage made by hell.


Hollywood makes a monogamous marriage look boring while it glamorizes adultery, immorality and free sex -- these things are made to look appealing, exciting and free of consequences. On a recent TV talk show, one of the guests who had committed adultery suggested that ninety percent of married men have committed or entertained the idea of adultery. That is a sad speculation. The problem is that in real life, adultery and immorality create heartbreak and pain for all parties involved. Let’s look at this.

Proverbs 11:29 says, "Those who bring trouble on their families inherit only the wind . . ." (NLT) When a husband or wife makes the bad choice of having an affair or walking away from their spouse, their choice definitely troubles their family. Without fail, in the end those who trouble their own family, inherit the wind. As time goes on, they find that their relationship with their children is empty, detached, full hurt and obligatory love. They often have nothing of lasting value to show for their lives. If they don't make the proper course corrections, they often die alone. They’ve inherited nothing! (The wonderful redeeming news is that when people who've troubled their own families experience a godly sorrow that leads to repentance, they can experience God's mercy and grace for a fresh start and His redemptive power in their family.)

We've talked about hell's plan for marriage, but what does a marriage made in heaven look like? A marriage made in heaven starts with the simple basics. Focus on mastering these basics and watch what God will do in your marriage relationship:

>> GUYS: The Bible tells men to simply, "love your wife."


"For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her ...  In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. ... So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33

What can you do to love your wife, today?

>> GIRLS: the Bible tells women to "comfort, encourage and do him good." 

"The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her." Proverbs 31:11-12 (AMP)

What will you do to "comfort, encourage and do your husband good," today?

YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR KIDS

This is our family and almost all of our kids, in-loves and grands. In this pic we have our kids, Meghan, Annie and Eric and our in-loves, Brodie, Zack and Alexa and grandbabies, Eden, Bram and Ollie -- and of course, Jeff and Jonesie-the-dog. Our son Luke and daughter-in-love Kelsey and granddaughter Flo are living in Australia and not pictured here.)

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There is no better investment to make than into your own family! Parenting is hard work -- but the rewards are huge and they compound over time. So hang in there moms and dads -- stay in it to win it and always keep your joy!

Raising kids is a joy as well as a challenge. As parents, our hearts long for nothing more than to raise kids who turn out right—kids who love God, are successful, obedient, kind, giving, joyful, happily married and on and on. We want to raise kids who are unselfish and servant-hearted—kids who feel worthwhile and valuable. We want them to be confident and articulate. It’s our goal to help our children become healthy and balanced spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. We train them up to lead successful lives in God. And we all know it doesn’t happen by accident!

Being a parent isn't for the faint of heart! 

People ask us if we have any "parenting secrets" and I am sad to say, I don't! That's because I don't think there are any magic bullets for raising kids. It's just loving, nurturing, protecting, training, teaching, forgiving and laughing everyday, for most of their life!

Fast forward a few decades and now that our kids are grown, married and becoming parents of their own, I am happy to report they have all turned out to be the great people I hoped they would be. (Of course, I am their mother and super-biased!)

As I reflect back on the years of raising our kids, I do believe that one ingredient is essential for raising a healthy family and the Bible talks about it! That ingredient is: JOY!

Listen to what Psalm 113:9 says, "He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD." 


I love that the Lord not only wants us to be "joyful mothers" (and fathers, too!) but He will help us to be joyful.

What does a joyful mom or dad look like? A joyful parent is someone who trusts in the Lord more than any circumstance they face. They laugh easily, enjoy their children, and they have a glad heart.

Joyful parents know how to nurture, discipline and train her children, and they are intentional about being joyful in the process.

What about you? When was the last time you goofed off with your kids—laughed until you cried, stuck a french fry up your nose, beat them in a burping contest, played hide and seek or told them to skip school so you and they could goof off for a day?

Being a joyful mom and dad will do more for your kids than just about anything. Your genuine joy will open their hearts to hear your words of wisdom and all the other important things you really want to share with them. So, go ahead and make joy a part of your life and family!

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When our kids were in their toddler, preschool and elementary ages, I wrote a fun little newsletter for other moms called, "Just Us Girls" -- to chat it up about motherhood -- partly for my own therapy and partly to bring a joy to other moms in the same season. Here are a few excerpts from those newsletters, I hope it brightens your day! (Sorry guys, this section is definitely focused on moms, but you can glean some good pointers, too.)


>> FOOD THREAT: "Like a good new mother, I had every good intention of feeding my children healthy, balanced meals. But then I regained consciousness. Why did I put myself through the torture? It would have been easier to prepare supper, and rather than putting the food on the table for fifteen minutes while the kids picked at it and then end up throwing the food away, I could have just skipped the “table” step and thrown the food away right after I made it. But no, I played the game.

You know the game: "Food Threat" — “You have to eat what is on your plate or else you will not be able to have a snack; you will go to bed early; you will never eat ice cream again in your entire life; and you will be grounded until you get married.” But, for some reason when your child says, “How many more bites do I have to eat?” and then goes into the gag reflex, you realize you've been outplayed and grandiose hopes of being America’s Top Chef fly out the window."


Any other moms relate?


>> TJ MAXX CHAOS: "Then there’s the trip to the outlet mall . . . I was pregnant with our fourth child when I had a lapse in judgment and took three preschoolers to TJ Maxx for a little shopping. Did I mention I was eight months pregnant? I just needed a few hours circulating with the real world, how crazy could it get?

Annie and Luke were in the shopping cart and Meghan was riding on the outside. I promised them ice cream if they all behaved and obeyed mom. We’d been in the store for thirty seconds when it began.

“Where’s Meghan?” I asked Luke, two and Annie, three and a half years old. “Meghan, Meghan!” I screamed in the store. “Oh there you are hiding in the plus-size rack. No, you don’t need that bra yet, now stay on the cart, honey. Annie and Luke, sit down, don’t stand up in the cart. No Annie, you can’t have those work boots, let’s put them back. Luke, let go of Annie’s hair. Meghan, get back on the cart, do you want ice cream? Sit down Annie. Don’t lean, oh no ...I said, sit down! Annie and Luke don’t lean . . . the cart is going to flip...oh no...”

That’s when I became a pregnant Hercules as I single-handedly gripped the flipping cart and flung it back into its upright position to ensure Meghan, Annie and Luke’s safety and survival. It was also at that time that I became a transformer: nice mommy turned into raving wild woman as 
I marched all three kids out of that store and to the car. You could have heard my lecture three states away, “I asked you to obey mommy in the store, didn’t I? Don’t you understand that I just needed a break today? I can’t believe you kids acted just like 2, 3 and 5 year olds! We are not going to get ice cream, do you hear me? No ice cream for you…”

Anyone else make an 8-months pregnant scene somewhere?


>> SEARS PHOTOS FOR DAYS: "I could tell you about the trip to Sears for the 152 photos in multiple sizes that end up in a huge envelope in a file cabinet for years, for only $24.99…but you can guess how that turned out. I am glad to report that our children aren’t scarred, but we do have some funny memories! And, I know that as a mother, you have your own fun stories!"

Investing into your kids, no matter how crazy the season may be is always worth it! What could you do to introduce joy, laughter and fun into your relationships with your kids, this month?

 
YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR PARENTS & SIBLINGS
These are my three younger sisters (Rhonda, Kelly and Michelle) and brother-in-laws (Tim, Bill and Craig.)

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Our parents split up when I was 8 years old and were divorced when I was 13. In spite of the divorce, my parents did a pretty good job of protecting us kids and they did their best to navigate a rough season. Experiencing that kind of trauma at a young age obviously affected me and my sisters in many ways -- and over the years the Lord has done so much to redeem all of our lives and our family.

These days, both of my parents are in heaven, so I will save the topic of our relationship with our parents for another Devo; but today, let's talk about our relationship with our siblings.

No matter how old we are and no matter where we fall in the "birth order" -- the relationship we have with our siblings can be such a blessing if we will sow into them.

I am the oldest of four girls. My sisters and I are all 18 months apart and we have been pretty close most of our lives. Of course, we had the teen years where we drove each other batty and all of us lived our own "selfish" lives very much unaware or unconcerned about each other. 

But as we have gotten older, we have intentionally sowed into each other's lives as much as possible. It's the little things. Making time to celebrate each other. Rearranging our schedules to attend bridal showers, weddings and baby showers for all of our kids. Being available for sister Facetime meetings, driving a few hours to hangout and sending love and memes in the Sisters text thread! 

To our surprise, as we all approach the "retirement years" -- we are spending more and more time together in our mother's favorite place, The Villages in Florida. For the past 30 years, we've all been so focused on our own families, raising our kids and fulfilling God's call on our lives, this is a season we didn't see coming! But what a blessing and a gift from God it has been to be able to spend more and more time together with all of my sisters and brother-in-laws in these golden years. We don't take it for granted. We are prioritizing each other. We make time to play golf. We meet up to have dinner and play cards. We listen to music together at the town square. Nothing fancy, just spending time together remembering our childhood, laughing about life and looking ahead to all that the Lord has in store for us in our unique seasons. 

What about you? Where are your siblings? Are there ways you could sow into them to strengthen your relationships? I sure hope so, it will be worth every seed sown. What seeds could you sow into one of our siblings, this week?
 
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FRIENDS
God has blessed us with good friends in various circles and I wish I could post pics of all of you whom are our friends! Here's a recent pic on the golf course with two of our good friends, Pastor Paul and Sharon Paino. 
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The friends God sends into our lives are such a gift! The older we get, the more we appreciate our God-knit friendships.

In order to have friends, we must ourselves be friendly. That means being intentional in calling, communicating and carving out time for one another. I will never forget the season of pioneering the church and trying to keep up with our four preschoolers ... I was trying to survive with one nostril above water for years. In that process, I didn't make time to sow friendship seeds. As a result, I reaped a friendship famine. That was not fun. I learned a good lesson -- no matter how busy I am, or how much pressure or lack of margin I feel, I should always make time to intentionally sow friendship seeds into the relationships I care about. I took that lesson to heart and since that time, I have endeavored to sow friendship seeds into the lives of my friends.

Sowing friendship seeds can be as simple as a phone call, connecting on social media, sending a text, sharing meme's, planning a gourmet dinner and games night, inviting a few friends to a getaway weekend or whatever else comes to mind. The result will be a rich harvest of good friends.

Perhaps, you have learned the same lesson and want to sow more friendship seeds in 2022.

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I wanted to share this excerpt taken from my book, "Click: Friendship for New Reasons and New Seasons" to encourage you in your friendships. (Guys, sorry once again this section is focused on the ladies, but there are friendship truths you can glean, too!)

"The first thing God said about relationships in the Bible makes it plain! “It is not good that man should be alone.” It is not good to be lonely. It is not good to be friendless. It is not good to continually fail at relationships.
 
God wants your relationships to be blessed! Whether talking, walking, eating, hanging out, playing, praying, working, fighting and serving—the Bible is full of heartfelt, complex, personal and dynamic relationships! God is into people. He is relational. He has created us with a great capacity for friends; for giving and receiving His love to and through others.
 
Unfortunately, many people—believers and unbelievers alike—are alone! Many people are lonely. They do not have a heart connection with others. Relationship experts tell us that millions of people in America have never had one minute where they could let down and share their deepest feelings with another person. What about you? Are you one of those people? Are you fulfilled and satisfied in your relationships? Is your heart full or empty? Lonely? Alone? Is it time to believe God for some friends? Is it time to ask God to blow fresh wind into the sails of your existing friendships?
 
Jesus is our best friend -- the One who sticks closer than a brother. He’s our first love, but because He knows the value of godly relationships, He brings us together with His family in such a way that He provides divine, God-breathed, God-ordained, God-knit friendships.
 
God’s Word is loaded with wisdom on friendship. He tells us what kind of friend we should be, what type of friends to avoid and how to be a better friend. In their book, “Dealing With People You Can’t Stand”, authors Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner identify the “Ten Most Unwanted” personality types. These are the people you want to avoid and the person you don’t want to be. Let’s turn that around and see the “Ten Most Wanted” personality types according to God’s Word. Let's be these kinds of people and let's look for these types of friends:
 
#1.       Miss Aromatherapy: Friends That Refresh Our Soul
 
Candles, lotions, oils, soap, incense and bath beads—you name a scent and you can get it. There is something refreshing about scents and aromas. It’s true in friendship, too.
 
As Christians, we carry the sweet aroma of Christ and our friendships can do the same. Listen to what Proverbs 27:9 says, "Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul." (The Message)

Do you have friends who refresh your soul? Are you that type of friend for others?
 
#2.       Miss Lip Balm: Friends That Pray
 
The thing I value most in a friend is their heart to pray. A praying friend knows God. To have a praying friend and to be a praying friend is a treasure. When you have a friend that knows how to make real contact with God and pray effectual prayers that heaven answers, you are blessed. If you are that type of friend, you are a big blessing!
 
The Apostle Paul wasn't afraid to ask his friends to pray for him. What friends do you pray for? What friends pray for you? Here's what he said in Romans 15:30-32, "Will you be my prayer partners? For the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake and because of your love for me-given to you by the Holy Spirit-pray much with me for my work. 31 Pray that I will be protected in Jerusalem from those who are not Christians. Pray also that the Christians there will be willing to accept the money I am bringing them. 32 Then I will be able to come to you with a happy heart by the will of God, and we can refresh each other." TLB
 
#3.       Miss Perfect Bra: Friends That Lift You Up
 
There is something about finding the right bra; the straps stay in place, it shapes us perfectly and gives us the needed lift. We need the kind of friends who will lift us up!
 
John Maxwell describes twenty-five “People Principles” in his book, Winning With People. He identifies being the kind of friend that lifts people up, what he calls the Elevator Principle, as one huge key to great relationships. Joyce Landorf Heatherly, author of Balcony People describes the difference between balcony and basement friends. 

One of the best ways to be a balcony friend and lift people up is with our words. Here's what Proverbs 12:25 says, "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up."

Which one of your friends needs a kind word, today? Go ahead and call or send a text!
                        
#4.       Miss Chocolate Cake: Friends That Comfort
 
Are you a chocoholic? I know many women who crave chocolate. It’s a comfort food and they would walk 5 miles, in snow, up hill, both ways to get chocolate! There are times in our lives that we just need some comfort—someone to understand, empathize, encourage and comfort.
 
Thankfully, God will send us friends that comfort, encourage and refresh us. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 7:6, "But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus." (AMP)
 
It’s amazing how the right person at the right time can be used of God to comfort, encourage, refresh and cheer us up. 
 
Who has encouraged you lately? Who have you encouraged lately?    
                                                 
#5.       Miss Double Shot Espresso: Friends That Celebrate
 
Espresso, cappuccino, mochas and lattes all have the capacity to charge your life with a celebrated burst of energy. If you need an afternoon jolt, what do you drink? Years ago some of our relatives came to visit our church. They were from a more conservative church background and our style of worship was new and different for them. After church we asked them how they liked the service. Their comment made us laugh. They said they loved the enthusiastic celebration of worship and described us as “the church on caffeine!” We took that as a compliment. We need those espresso-filled friends in our lives—the energetic, upbeat, positive, motivators—those that will celebrate with us!
 
It’s not always easy to find these types of friends—those who are genuinely happy for your success. Jealousy, envy and competition often enter friendship. It doesn’t have to be that way. Who in your life is the “shot in the arm” friend; the one that motivates and celebrates with you? Are you that type of friend?
 
I love what Song of Solomon 5:1 says, "Celebrate with me, friends! Raise your glasses — 'To life! To love!' "(The Message)
 
The lover in Song of Solomon wanted her friends to share her joy. It’s great to rejoice when good fortune and God’s blessings are overflowing in the lives of your friends. Early in my Christian life, I remember feeling left out, jealous and envious of God’s blessings in my friend’s lives. That was a sign of my immaturity. All of us have to grow in faith and in God’s love so that we eliminate jealousy and envy from our lives and we rejoice with those who rejoice! There are times when your friend is celebrating her greatest moments, while you may be facing your most difficult moments. A friend with strong character and an unselfish heart will be able to rejoice in the success and blessing of God in someone else’s life, even if their own life does not seem so blessed at the moment. That’s when we have to guard against jealousy and envy. I remember a turning point when I made the choice to truly celebrate my friends good fortune, even when I was in a season of struggle. Apparently I was maturing and it felt good to rejoice in someone else's promotion, fresh engagement or their new house -- especially when those were things I also desired. God is faithful and eventually my season to celebrate came and then my friends celebrated with me!
 
Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King are best friends. Oprah tells the story of a defining moment in their friendship. “When you are in the public eye, you need a friend you can trust.” That trust doesn’t come easily to someone like Oprah. She’s found that friend in Gayle. Oprah says, “Gayle genuinely – and I could cry when I say this – I have never met a human being more genuinely excited about my success than she is. There has never been one moment of jealousy. I don’t know – if our roles were reversed—if I could have given my entire open heart to someone I saw whose career was blasting off from the earth, and say, ‘You go, girl, go to the moon.’ I don’t know if I could do that.”
 
Describe a time in your life when you overcame the temptation to be jealous or envious of God’s blessings in a friend’s life and decided to celebrate them and their accomplishments instead?!
 
#6.       Miss Double-Dip In A Waffle Cone: Friends That Are Generous
 
When the ice cream clerk asked our kids if they wanted their ice cream in a cup, cone or waffle cone, they turned around and looked at us with that “pleeeeeeeease, can I have a waffle cone” look! Getting generous scoops of ice cream in a delicious waffle cone is one of life’s simple blessings.
 
We need friends like that in our lives and we need to be that type of friend to others. Friends who are generous.
 
We cannot give what we do not have, if we are rich in God, rich in joy, rich in peace, rich in wisdom, rich in wealth—and generous in sharing our riches—would people be attracted to us? Yes, of course! What do you have that you ought to think about giving to others?
 
In your friendships, are you generous? Do you always request separate checks or do you offer to buy lunch? Do you freely compliment others? Give of your time? Do you look for ways to give gifts, surprises, notes and other special things to your friends at appropriate and even uneventful times? Be a generous, giving friend!
 
I love what Isaiah 32:8 says, "But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand." (NKJV)
 
Have you devised any generous plans lately? Are you on the lookout for ways to be a blessing to your friends? Free yourself from a spirit of stinginess and the next time you go out with your girlfriends, pay the bill and surprise them!
 
#7.       Miss Salt Scrub Exfoliate: Friends That Tell You The Truth
 
These days there are a plethora of bath and body stores, spas, lotions, ointments, oils, salt scrubs, masks, peels and every body care product you could want. Those sugar and salt scrubs are great for exfoliating dry, dead skin cells.

Do you have people like this in your life?
 
We need exfoliating friends, people who will challenge us, rub us the wrong way at times and sharpen us! With friends like this, we can be the pure, aromatic and radiant people God has called us to be.
 
Don’t get mad when your friends tell you the truth. If you see your friend heading towards destruction, it takes courage to tell him or her the truth. I’ve heard more than one story of people who were unhappy with a friend who told them the truth about someone they were dating. Some people don’t want to know the truth about the person they are dating. If you observed your friend making choices that were unhealthy or ungodly, would you have the courage to rescue them by telling them the truth?
         
 Listen to what Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." (NKJV)
 
When a friend sharpens you, they help your life become more congruent to God’s Word and His will, and the result is a peace and purity that changes your very countenance.
 
#8.       Miss Cosmetic Bag: Friends That Cover And Forgive
 
What’s in your make up bag? Our foundation, blush, cover up, lipstick, eye shadow, mascara all serve one purpose—to cover up our imperfections and make us look beautiful. We need friends like that. We all need friends that forgive and forget!
 
All of us make mistakes. We say the wrong thing. We do the wrong thing. We let our flesh dominate us at times, and it’s nice to know we have friends who won’t hold our mistakes over our head and they won’t blab our faults to others.
 
Thankfully, God is patient and kind towards us. He’s merciful and forgiving. We need to give that same type of love, mercy and forgiveness to our friends. That's what Colossians 3:13 says, "You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (NLT)                                                                
#9.       Miss Outdoor Café:  Friends That Share Your Love For God
 
I have always loved the imagery of this passage in Malachi 3:16, "Then those whose lives honored GOD got together and talked it over. GOD saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the GOD-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored GOD’s name." (The Message)
                                                                        
 How would you describe the last “God-talk” you had with one of your friends? The cool thing is: God recorded it! Isn’t that a great thought? I can just imagine an entire wing of God’s massive, heavenly library to be filled with the “Conversation Books” He's writing. So, let’s give Him something to write about! The next time you and your friends get together, take the initiative to move the conversation toward the things of God. Ask interesting questions to find out what God is doing in their lives.
                                               
Think about your circle of friends. Do you have a strong group of Christian friends you relate to? I encourage you to be proactive in seeking Christian friends. Make it a point to attend events where potential friendships would be—church services, small groups, Bible studies, women’s events and other environments where God can connect you to other people. The Lord wants you and I to have deep, heartfelt friendships with other believers; people who share our love for God. It’s needed. It’s healthy and we should cultivate and take pleasure in the godly friends God has put in our lives.
 
#10.      Miss Pantyhose: Friends That Stick With You
 
Pantyhose have a way of sticking to us. We need friends who will stick with us through thick or thin. Proverbs 18:24 says, "Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family." (The Message) Who are your closest, true friends?
 
Smart friends. Kindred spirit. God-knit. God-breathed friendships. Been praying for a friend? Looking for a bosom buddy? A best friend?
 
Remember Anne of Green Gables? She wondered:
 
“. . . do you think that I shall ever have a bosom friend . . . ?”
 
“A—a what kind of friend?”
 
“A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it’s possible?”
 
Rich friendships with bosom buddies are possible! Sow friendship seeds into those around you and watch friendships blossom!
 
EXCERPTS TAKEN FROM THESE TWO BOOKS
The sections: Your Relationship with God, Your Relationship with Your Spouse and Your Relationship with Your Kids are edited excerpts taken from my book, "Balance: Today's Christian Women Defined and Realigned." This book is available at: thebasicswithbeth.com or through Amazon.
 
The section: Your Relationship with Friends is an edited excerpt taken from my book, "Click: Enjoying Friendship for New Reasons and Seasons." This book is available at: thebasicswithbeth.com or through Amazon.
 
BONUS: ENJOY THIS VIDEO ON RELATIONSHIPS!
I think you will enjoy this message that we shared with our Valley Family Church family. We had a great time talking about friendship with our dear friends Pastors Casey and Wendy Treat at the height of the unknown about Covid-19, isolation and uncertain times. The things we discussed are still relevant and important when it comes to our relationships. Enjoy this video!
WATCH NOW
There you go! I hope you enjoyed the January Issue of our new Monthly Basic Devo. Now, you have a month's worth of Bible basic content to chew on and put into practice. I hope you will share this Devo with your friends and save it so you can refer to it all month! 

Be blessed my friend and have a great month cultivating your relationships!

Love and blessings,
 
LET'S PRAY THIS TOGETHER
"Heavenly Father, thank You for the people You have placed in my life. First and foremost is YOU! I want to know You better. Thank You for my spouse, my kids, my parents, my siblings and my friends. Help me to be the kind of friend each of these people need me to be. Lord, I also ask You to add new people to my life -- the kinds of people who will lead me to a closer relationship with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!"
 
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