Closer Than a Brother

Closer Than a Brother

by Sherry Chamblee

Proverbs 18:24  A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
The second half of Proverbs 18:24 says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I used to be convinced this verse was referring to Jesus Christ – and honestly, I still do think it applies to Jesus as our True Friend.

But this entire passage is regarding relationships between each other – it isn’t essentially about our relationship with God. So if we take that into consideration, it’s just as true to say that this verse is referring to the idea that there is a friendship possible that becomes closer than a brother. Those are the types of friendships that get you through trials, but you can’t have them unless you allow them.

Which brings up the first half of that Bible verse – the half that talks about showing ourselves friendly – open to friendships with other people.

I think too often we believe ourselves to be fine on our own – we don’t need anyone else. But this Bible verse encourages us to be friendly – to cultivate relationships so we have a support system when we’re going through trials.

I wish I could say something to everyone who’s hurting. If I could it would be that when you’re hurting, don’t shut people out completely. People around you want to help, and their presence IS something you need, even if you don’t realize it right now.
To this day, I thank God for some pushy friends, and how they were ok with no talking. Let a couple push in, and then let them sit there.

Allow people to help you. Create friendships – exercise those relationships like they’re muscles. They’ll grow stronger with use.

About the Author:

Sherry Chamblee

Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.

Sherry Chamblee can be found at http://www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com Or check out her books at http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Chamblee/e/B00BA06RJ2/

Gloriously Conditional Forgiveness by Precarious Yates

Gloriously Conditional Forgiveness by Precarious Yates

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” – John 20:23

We have only preached half of the gospel of forgiveness. We have preached about asking God to forgive our own sins, while ignoring the other half, which is forgiving those who have wronged us.

We haven’t placed nearly enough importance on this single issue of forgiving others. Once we do, our whole lives will change.

Our sins will be forgiven only to the extent that we forgive others. Jesus said this multiple times.

Unforgiveness breeds hardness of heart, and hardness of heart prevents miraculous healings. I’m not talking about hardness of heart in the person who is sick. I’m talking about hardness of heart in the person asking for their healing. My husband has been sick for a long time and all my prayers for him were ineffective. Why? Because of MY hardness of heart (see Mark 3:5). Now that I have dealt with my hardened heart before the Lord, our marriage is healed. Forgiveness is powerful. His physical healing may or may not come, but my heart is now tender toward my husband. That’s huge.

When God shows us the current state of our hearts, when we recognize the unforgiveness and the hardened heart, we can repent before the Lord and begin to see massive changes in our lives.

We have not seen healing in America on the scale that we have wanted to. Part of the reason for this, I believe, is because we have not extended forgiveness like we need to.

I was taught many times to be unoffensible, which means to not take offense at others when they do wrong to me. But I don’t think that this is a fully biblical response. We should turn the other cheek, yes. We shouldn’t be offended by every little thing, which is so rampant and contagious these days. But I think God wants us to recognize and realize the wrongs done to us and how they have hurt us. Sometimes it is right that we should be angry. Rape scars a person. Abuse leaves lasting damage. To look honestly at wrongs of this scale takes a great deal of courage. But when we look honestly at the hurt, then we can extend full forgiveness.

Choosing to radically and fully forgive those who hurt us can bring forgiveness to us. There are many conditional statements in the Old Testament, but very few in the New Testament. The main conditional statement in the New Testament is this: if you forgive others you will be forgiven. Conversely, if you do not forgive others, you will not be forgiven. The forgiveness we extend to others is powerful. It can mean our own healing. It can mean healing for our loved ones. If we forgive them they are forgiven, John 20:23.

The process of healing bitterness doesn’t mean glossing over the wrongs done to us. It isn’t pretending that the wrongs didn’t happen. It’s acknowledging that wrongs have happened, and then fully forgiving those people who have wronged us. After we forgive, we wash those hurt places in the blood of Jesus, and we ask the Holy Spirit to fill that spot that was once filled with hurt and bitterness. He fills that place with His unrelenting love and resurrection power.

The story of Joseph illustrates this very well. When Joseph’s brothers came to see him in Egypt, his strange actions demonstrated that his hurt was real. The damage to his heart was real. But it was not permanent. God healed those hurt places. God came in and showed Joseph how to live without bitterness. We can see that by how fully he embraced his brothers when he revealed himself (Genesis 45).

God gave him the revelation that although they meant it for evil (which is Joseph acknowledging the terrible things they did), God meant it for good. (Gen. 50:20)

We know we have fully forgiven others when we don’t simply turn the other cheek, but we pray blessing upon them. When we want them to be embraced by the Father and if we are rejoicing with great joy if they have a better life than we do, we know that forgiveness is real and solid and lasting.

If we forgive them but feel justified that they are going to have bad things happen to them then the forgiveness is not real. If we do not fully acknowledge how terrible a person’s sin against us is, we often do not fully embrace forgiveness for that person.

Once we see how truly ugly it can be to harbor unforgiveness, we begin to extend forgiveness much more readily. Because that person may have done something terrible, but worse still is refusing to forgive.

Here’s to a life full of forgiveness!

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their one mastiff and four Pyrenees dogs, three sheep and nine chickens. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms and reading. She holds a masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

CrossReads Short Takes: Mistletoe Mistake: Christmas Mail Order Angels & The Moses Conspiracy

CrossReads Short Takes

Mistletoe Mistake: Christmas Mail Order Angels

Mistletoe Mistake

Matthew Thomas cooked up the whole idea of the Mail Order Angels, but when his own angel appears in the form of Sophia Webster, at first his feet get colder than a Wyoming blizzard. Sophia tries to make a new start in Wyoming by staying true to her word and helping Matthew establish the newspaper, but come spring, it’s back East for her–unless Matthew’s change of heart can convince her otherwise.

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The Moses Conspiracy

The Moses Conspiracy

A trip to post-terrorized Washington, D.C., in 2025 and a buggy accident in Bird-in-Hand, PA, set in motion events that expose a diabolical plan to destroy the Christian community.

Ellie and John Zimmerman find themselves embroiled in a life-threatening investigation, fighting a shadowy enemy. Convinced it’s now safe to visit D.C., Ellie and her 8-year-old son, Peter, travel to the nation’s capital. Both mother and child make an effort to enjoy the sights, but they’re unprepared for the challenges they face. Her nightmares come true when she and Peter are separated.

Back home, John witnesses a neighbor’s buggy accident. The suspicious circumstances and law enforcement’s refusal to take them seriously prompt him to take on the role of detective. He and a tenacious reporter band together and vow to find out what’s happening in Bird-in-Hand.

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Truth & Trust by Heather Bixler

Truth & Trust by Heather Bixler

 

Psalm_46_10

As my husband handed my two youngest children’s birth certificates and social security cards to the receptionist, I wanted to snatch those two pieces of paper up and yell, “NO! They’re my babies! You can’t have them!”, and then run out of there as fast as I could!

I know that may sound crazy, but at the time I truly felt like I was handing them over to someone else. You see they have been somewhat homeschooled since they were in Kindergarten. Even though my two little ones are 16 months apart, I started homeschooling my youngest daughter with her brother when he started kindergarten. They are both now in the fourth grade.

Last year we enrolled them into a blended charter school where they went to a learning center two days a week and then were home three days a week. It took so much FAITH to let them go. All I could think about was how it would be so much easier if I just kept them home with me. That fear made me realize that this school was where they needed to be.

Over the last 21 days of prayer and fasting our church did I was intently praying about their education. Finally God confirmed to me the fear I had about putting them into public school, and He gently encouraged me that it was TIME to release that fear, and to enroll them into our local public school.

It’s been such a journey, and one filled with a lot of turmoil and pain, including the scene I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

You see, faith refined means releasing ANY and ALL fear that might be living in your heart.

FAITH takes TRUST and sometimes it’s just plain HARD to trust anyone, even God.

So now we prepare for the journey ahead. The journey where my two babies will be in school FULL time, away from me. I know one thing I will be doing a whole lot more, I will be praying for them even more than I do now. I will be sitting at the feet of Jesus, even more than I do now.

I will have TIME on my hands, and I trust God will fill it up with His kingdom purpose. I trust that my children will be a light shining for Jesus in a very dark world.

I have an author friend who said, “The faith walk isn’t a cake walk.” Isn’t that the TRUTH!

Truth & trust, just two things we undervalue in this world. I cling to His truth and I trust that His plan is GOOD, that’s my journey today and everyday…it’s where my hope lives.

Disclosure: Some affiliate links have been used within this post.

About the Author:

Heather Bixler

Heather is a Christian Stay at home homeschooling mom of three, married to a firefighter, and a writer. She is founder of www.CSAHM.com among other websites for Christian mothers, and women. Heather is passionate about sharing God’s word in a practical and loving way.

CrossReads Short Takes: A Dream for Love and Kinsale Kisses

CrossReads Short Takes

A Dream of Love

A single mother with a secret past. A Hollywood star who’s life is anything but hidden. Will the past deprive them of a future? Or will they dare to dream a dream for love?

“Sold!”

When the gavel hit the wooden block at the Possible Dreams Auction, Laurel Simmons sat in stunned silence. Her sister had lost her mind, purchasing a week’s vacation stay for two at actor Ryan Crandall’s beach house on Martha’s Vineyard. And then Tammy announced that she was giving the “dream” to Laurel as an early birthday present.

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Kinsale Kisses
She wants stability. He wants spontaneity. What they need is each other. Colin O’Bryan cashed out of the software company he founded and started a new life in Ireland. Content to wander from town to town as a traveling musician, he had no goals beyond healing from the betrayals that led to his career change, and finding his next gig.

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