Friends for Life

Bill & Stephannie at Lake Louise

Bill & Stephannie at Lake Louise

Friendship is such a treasure and a gift from above. There is a whole chapter about it in my recently published book, and of course it’s the major theme even from the title, “A Friend of the King.” Elizabeth and I were blessed in college to find and get to know several special friends, two of which are Bill and Stephannie. Our friendship now spans almost four decades, and although we’ve not often lived close to each other, they moved back to NWA a few years ago and we’ve reconnected. It’s the kind of friendship where nothing has changed; we just take up were we left off. We enjoy each other, and we’re loyal and devoted to each other.

We thought it best to practice on a small Fort Smith train first

We thought it best to practice on a small Fort Smith train

Life brings plenty of challenges, but when you see your friends from way back, continue to grow in their faith, pour into their family, their church, and their community, you really appreciate them more–for standing, for sacrifice, for service, for faithfulness. Noble people you’re happy to call “friends,” and happy they too are friends of the King.

Living as we do in busy times, with busy lives and busy schedules; the desire to be with each other and share the journey has caused us to fight the trend and slow ourselves to spend time together in Fort Smith and Fayetteville. Eventually it led us to get out of town on an epic (in my mind anyway) week trip to Canada, riding the train across the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia and ending up at Lake Louise in Banff National Park of Alberta. The dates were set,  the planning put into motion, and before we knew it we were on our way on a beautiful friendship vacation to enjoy some of God’s most beautiful creation and to hang out together relaxing and resting. What a concept!

British Columbia by rail

British Columbia by rail

What a blessing from the Lord! One for which both couples are very grateful. We can and should enjoy friendship at work and at rest. It gives both activities more meaning and joy. I think it’s something God intended for us to enjoy, and He enjoys with us.

Besides catching up on children, grand children, and the funny ways the Lord has led us and blessed us, we also shared our kingdom activity and interests. The time afforded us windows into kingdom work in each others churches and communities. We heard about the two Ethiopian kids their daughter and her husband have adopted and an orphanage they support through a foundation they started. I shared I had just left Camp Hope the day before, and when we touched down in Vancouver, I received the following text from a friend at the camp which excited them.

Big Horn Sheep

Big Horn Sheep

“Hey brother, thought you might want to know, 19 kids gave their heart to Jesus at camp. The spirit fell heavy on camp at noon on Friday and never left. I had 4 children in front of me at one time, eyes filled with tears, waiting to give their heart to the Lord …. God is so good!!”

Hearing and sharing heart warming reports like this is wonderful. It reminds you of the old saying about friendship. “Friendship divides our sorrow and multiplies our joy.”

DSCN2170

Breakfast with Friends

At work or at rest, let’s purpose to do each with friends more and more in the days we have left. I don’t know about you, but in our day I think slowing and resting is probably  more needed.

If you  slow to ask Him, He’ll lead. I recently got acquainted with Psalm 23 anew. It’s clear from this passage that “He leads.” But I noticed that the first thing He does is He  “makes us lie down in green pastures.” He makes us lie down and rest in a beautiful, pleasant place. Sounds inviting doesn’t it? It’s what’s in His heart for us. It’s what He did for us on this trip, and perhaps is doing for you in this season, or wants to. Be sensitive. Be willing. Be listening for His voice and leading. Godspeed as you follow.

"The LORD is my Shepard, I shall not want..."

“The LORD is my Shepard, I shall not want…”

 “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing,” (Isaiah 30:15)

Postscript: Just after returning from our trip, Stephannie was injured in an exercising accident and broke her right ankle in three places. Please pray for healing and for the family.

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