Monthly Archives: March 2016

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The sun was slowly slipping behind the horizon while I was driving through the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. As I approached the top of a hill, I saw the most breathtaking view surrounding me. The beauty of the sky and the magnificent view of the spectacular mountains enthralled my soul.

While I was breathing in the beauty, Christ’s presence came to me so powerfully that I felt an inexpressible sense of God’s love. Captivated by the love I felt, I remembered the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

In my heart, it was as though God was saying: My love for you is higher and wider and more magnificent than these beautiful mountains.

With a feeling of awe, I meditated on His perfect love and my spirit soared in His presence. Heaven touched me and drew me close to the heart of God.

In this crazy world, it’s very easy to be in a big hurry and miss the awareness of God’s love. The responsibilities of life can easily rob us of the quietness we need.

Jesus is waiting for each one of us to stop what we’re doing and find the rest we need from the hectic pace of life. Christ beckons us to open our hearts to Him and bask in His love. We don’t have to be driving through marvelous scenery to feel God’s presence. As we practice stillness and prayer, we become more aware of Christ’s love for us.

As we’re celebrating the resurrection of the Lord, it’s a good time to contemplate what the cross really means. Christ died and rose again so that we could live abundantly in His grace.

Because of the cross we no longer need to feel shame or guilt when we mess up. When we stumble, we can simply stand up and ask God to help us begin again. If righteousness could be gained in our own strength, then Christ died for nothing.

We are redeemed by Christ’s love. His love paid it all. Jesus said. “It is finished.”

His love paid the penalty for our sins. This is good news that ought to be shouted joyfully to the world.

Beloved Jesus,

Our hearts long to have more of You. Help us to see and feel how great Your love is. Help us to rest in Your presence continually. We love You. Amen.

“Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

 — Galatians 2: 21 (The Message)




Gift of Friendship - Dawn Camp (3)

Relationships are what matter most in life. We all need friends to walk closely with us. Real joy is found in our closest bonds with the people we love. Only Christ can meet the needs of the soul, but a healthy friendship grows when we each depend fully upon God while offering encouragement and unconditional love to our friends.

After the birth of my first-born child, I learned that I needed friendship more than I ever had before. I was a young mom, feeling overwhelmed while trying to navigate my way through the great adventure of motherhood. Most of my friends weren’t parents yet, and many of them weren’t even married. I was craving friendship with somebody experiencing a similar phase of life.

During that season of being a new mom, I saw an ad in the local newspaper for a support group for mothers. I was intrigued, so I decided to call and inquire about the group. I can still remember the initial phone call.

A sweet voice over the telephone said, “Hi, I’m Roxene!”

I was excited to learn that Roxene was the area leader for the mother’s group. She and I had an instant connection and we had quite a long chat that evening. Our friendship was already beginning to develop.

Within weeks, I joined the group and eventually I accepted the job of co-leader. During the next nine months, the group grew and my friendship with Roxene grew. Things were going smoothly until the holiday season approached and the leadership responsibilities became a burden to me. I wrote a letter to Roxene expressing my concerns and my need to resign as co-leader, and it led to a misunderstanding between us.

Shortly after that, I noticed the warmth in our friendship began turning to coldness. I was faced with two choices. Would I be willing to let go of the hard feelings? Or would I let bitterness begin growing and lose a friend? Being a young woman in my twenties, I had very little relationship experience, but I knew what the Bible says about forgiveness.

In Colossians, it says: “Bear with each other and forgive each other whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

I made the choice to do the right thing. After several weeks with no contact, I decided to call her and make things right. It was awkward and uncomfortable working through our misunderstanding, but it was necessary for our friendship to survive. We talked through our feelings and patched things up quickly.

As I stepped out and chose forgiveness, I could have never dreamed of the blessings that would come from my friendship with Roxene. Through our friendship, I learned that authenticity, patience, forgiveness, and compassion are required for a trusting bond to develop.

The Gift of Friendship - Be Authentic

The depth of our friendship was revealed when my second child was born and Roxene had recently gone through two miscarriages. She was brave enough to lovingly tell me that it was hard for her to be around my newborn son. It was Roxene’s willingness to be authentic that allowed me to work on understanding that she needed extra compassion and time to heal from the pain of her losses. Even though it was a challenging season, it ultimately caused our friendship to grow stronger.

After twenty-five years, Roxene and I are still close friends. We’ve been through the ups and downs of life together. We’ve cried with each other during the darkest seasons and we’ve celebrated together during the joyous seasons of our lives. Laughter and immense joy have filled our hearts when we’ve shared our victories with each other.

Friendship is a powerful bond that requires sacrifice, grace, and unconditional love.

I’ve chosen to work hard on developing friendships, and I am grateful I’ve gained a number of really close friends. Each one is unique in her expression of Christ’s love to me.

We cannot be close friends with people without living authentically and walking through their pain with them and cheering them on wholeheartedly in their successes. Friends are meant to be the ones God uses as the vessels of His love.

We know we have a true friend when we are free to be who God made us to be in their presence. We can enjoy sharing mutual love, respect, forgiveness, trust, loyalty, support, and kindness—all of these magnificent treasures of true friendship.

For encouragement in developing stronger friendships, I recommend that you read The Gift of Friendship by Dawn Camp. I reviewed the book in my last post. To learn more about Dawn’s book, visit her website or get your copy here.


Thank You for the gift of friendship. Let all of our friendships be built on the foundation of Your love, and use our friendships to establish Your perfect will for our lives. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

This post was revised from an article I wrote in 2008 for a prayer ministry. 

Photos were provided by Dawn Camp. 


The Gift of Friendship

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in life. As a woman who cherishes my friends, I was so excited about reading Dawn Camp’s new book: The Gift of Friendship. I absolutely loved it because it reminded me of the special women that God chose for me to be close friends with.

The Gift of Friendship is a book filled with heartwarming, true stories from various Christian writers. It’s an uplifting book that left me feeling very grateful for the genuine friends in my life.

As I was reading the touching stories, I was reminded of how vital it is to have meaningful friendships. I thought about the definition of a friend that I wrote a few years ago.

What is a friend?

A friend is one who believes in others more than she believes in herself.

She is one who allows her friends to put away all pretenses and lets them be who God made them to be.

She lets others share their weaknesses without being afraid of being judged or lectured.

She celebrates the strengths of those closest to her and brings out the best in them.

She hurts when her friends hurt and cheers when her friends are sailing through life.

She isn’t intimidated by the successes of her friends, but finds abundant joy in seeing every one of them succeed.

A true friend loves at all times and her love never, ever fails.

My definition of a friend comes from my experiences with my own beloved friends.

The Gift of Friendship does an exceptional job of defining and displaying the beauty found in deep friendship. Each story is unique, nurturing, and easy to read. I think it would be a great book to give as a gift to a treasured friend and I really believe every woman who values friendship will love this book. Be sure to grab yourself a copy here.

”A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” — Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)