The Writer’s Heart: Friends, New & Old

The Writer’s Heart: FriendsIMG_4396

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:

and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24, KJV

Old friends aren’t necessarily old in age. They are those who have proven themselves through their stick-to-itiveness, honesty, encouragement, and their sharing of knowledge and wisdom. We may not see these old friends often, but we find ways of keeping in touch and sharing each other’s joys and sorrows. We continue to learn from each other.

Lately, I’ve been visiting some old friends of the writing world, Bodie and Brock Thoene, by rereading their work, specifically, the A. D. Chronicles. Other favorites from them  are the three connected series of The Zion Covenant, The Zion Chronicles, and the Zion Legacy. The historical setting of these three transport the reader into the period just before, during, and following World War II. Warning: If you start reading one, you won’t quit until you finish them all.

The Thoenes have never heard of me, but they became my old friends. Their writing introduced me to my favorite fictional genres—biblical and historical. They have taught me much simply by reading their work. I could say I aspire to write like them, but that would be wrong.

The Thoenes have their place in the writing world. They have stayed true to their style, to the historical information they share, the encouragement included in each book. They have successfully shared their knowledge, wisdom, and talent with a multitude of readers. Their example encourages me to strive to do the same. But I will never be them. I’ve learned from them what good writing is, and I do aspire to follow their example. I must remember my writing has a purpose defined by God, even as their writing does.

I don’t know what God’s plan for my writing includes. As I follow him, he will bring it to completion, and it will bring him glory. Hopefully, along the way I will make more new friends who turn into old friends.

My next read from the Thoenes is a nonfiction title, Writer to Writer. I didn’t know it existed. Being written in 1990, I expect it to be a little dated as far as technology, but not according to the actual craft of writing.

Before I close—my favorite old friend is still the Word of God. It is filled with instruction, examples, truth, writing prompts, and themes galore. It also includes the best teacher sent to us by our best friend.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,

whom the Father will send in my name,

he shall teach you all things,

and bring all things to your remembrance,

whatsoever I have said unto you.”

John 14:26, KJV

God, the greatest author of the number one best seller for hundreds of years, continues to be my greatest inspiration. He sticks with me, guides me, and encourages me in this journey. He has called me his friend.

“but I have called you friends:

for all things that I have heard of my Father

I have known unto you.”

John 15:15b

He makes known to me what I need to know through his word, his example, the Holy Spirit, and others who have made this journey. I’m thankful for the old friends God has put in my path and the new ones who are teaching and encouraging me now. I do hope I can do the same for others.

Who has influenced your writing journey?


Sticky Friends

IMG_4396Sticky Friends

“My kinsfolk have failed,

and my familiar friends have forgotten me …

All my inward friends abhorred me:

and they whom I loved are turned against me.”

Job 19:14,19, KJV

Exhausted, covered in boils and oozing sores Job sat in a heap of ashes. He wanted someone to extend the comfort his three friends had lacked to do. The nineteenth chapter reveals the close friends and kinsfolk Job had before tragedy struck, were no where to be found when he needed them most.

Tragedy such as Job experienced leaves a person vulnerable to more loss and pain when no one appears to help carry the load. We see it in nursing homes when the elderly sit each day waiting for a friendly face to appear. Death often leaves a person empty and needing a friend, as does those who go through divorce. Betrayal of friends or a marriage partner stabs a person’s heart. Many who once were a part of one’s life—disappear. It is the faithful friend knocking at the door that reminds us—

“A friend loveth at all times,

and a brother is born for adversity …

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:

And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 17:17; 18:24, KJV

When we are friendly to others they respond in like manner most of the time and are a joy to be around. Many of the friendly fill our lives. But it is the friend loving at all times, we carry in our hearts. It’s a friendship that works both ways. If we have one- loves-all-the-time friend we are blessed. I am blessed to have such a friend. The Lord has also made us sisters. When adversity dropped into our lives, we stuck together like gum to the bottom of our shoes. At times the gum stretched tight, but it never let go.

As Job’s friends failed him during his need, we are reminded that humans are weak. We may love but not perfectly. I would never intentionally hurt or disappoint my friend, nor would she me—but we do fail at times. We understand the human principle. Which means we need a friend who can be with us at all times—and there is only One who fits that description. As Job says,

“And as for me,

I know that my Redeemer lives …”

Job 19:25a, NASB

In scripture one who filled the role of redeemer had to be a near kinsman … a brother would do and would step up in time of adversity. Jesus became our brother to bear our adversity, our trouble.

“Therefore, he had to be made

like His brethren in all things,

that He might become

a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God,

to make propitiation for the sins of the people,

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered,

He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”

Hebrews 2;17-18, NASB

As children, no one would have thought my brother and I would ever be friends, but we are. With that in mind, it is not hard for me to accept that Jesus is my brother for the bad times, and my friend always. Jesus, my brother, came to my rescue proving his friendship—

“Greater love hath no man than this,

that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Ye are my friends,

if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Henceforth I call you not servants;

for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth;

but I have called you friends;

for all things that I have heard of my Father

I have made known unto you.”

John 15:13-15, KJV

Jesus’s friendship is offered to all but is exclusive.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses,

know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?

Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world

is the enemy of God.”

James 4:4, KJV
We have a choice to make—to be friends with the world that will one day pass away or friends with God whom we will see even as Job states he will see.

“Even after my skin is destroyed,

Yet from my flesh I shall see God;”

Job 19;26, NASB

The Lord is a sticky friend who carries us through life to death to eternal life.

“And I give unto them eternal life;

and they shall never perish,

neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all;

and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

John 10:28-29, KJV

Which friend will you stick to?

The Pressing Question

The Most Pressing Questionblogmistake-1966448__340

“With friends like that, who needs enemies?” No, that isn’t the pressing question, but it is one we all have experienced or seen someone experience. Job had suffered more in his life than anyone of his day. Not only did he suffer loss of possessions, he walked through the death of his children, and because of his loss, he knew the sting of being accused of sinful behavior by his well-meaning but tactless, uncompassionate friends. Job’s suffering encompassed the physical, mental, and spiritual realms to the extent he asked,

“But how can a man be in the right before God?”

We have been there or know someone who has.

The pillows propped behind Mabel’s head helped her sit up so she could see out her bedroom window. “I enjoy watching the birds, especially the humming birds. They fight worse than my kids ever did.” She smiled.

Cancer had not diminished the beauty my mother-in-law knew as a young woman, or the loving spirit I had always known her to have.

Then, as Mabel picked up a letter from a friend like Job’s friends, laying in her lap, her expression grew solemn. “Do you believe it’s because of my sin, I’m dying? Do you see unforgiveness in me? This person says, if I’d confess my sin, and if I had faith I would be healed.”

Others I’ve known persecute themselves when trials come their way, wondering what they have done and even doubting their salvation. They were much like Job when he stated he could not answer for himself before God. Job had lived right before God—he knew it but didn’t know if it was enough. His dilemma wasn’t unlike the rich young ruler, who lived keeping the commandments but needed to ask Jesus,

“what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

Or the Philippian jailer who asked Paul and Silas,

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Job believed he had no mediator to stand in for him. The rich young ruler didn’t receive the mediator’s answer, and the jailer—he heard of the mediator—

“And they said,

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,

and thou shalt be saved, and thy house …

For there is one God,

and one mediator between God and men,

the man Christ Jesus:

Who gave himself a ransom for all,

to be testified in due time …

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost

that come unto God by him,

seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Acts 16:31; 1 Timothy 2:5-6,Hebrews7: 25, KJV

Job didn’t have the full revelation of our mediator. The rich young ruler refused the mediator standing before him. The jailer believed Jesus to be his mediator and was saved.

My mother-in-law had believed and received Jesus as her mediator many years before she lay in her bed facing death. Not many days later, her mediator received her. She was healed inside and out.

To answer Job’s question, “But how can a man be in the right before God?”

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,”

When Jesus is the mediator between you and God, you can stand before the Father in Christ’s righteousness and know all is well. He is your best friend and the only one who makes you acceptable to God. Choose your friends carefully. And answer the most pressing question of your life. How can you be righteous before a holy, just, all-powerful, all-knowing God? It’s best to know the true answer before the testing comes.

Old Friends

IMG_06062 Corinthians 12: An Old Friend

My daily routine, when I remain faithful to it, includes a walk down the country road my house sits near. My daughter ducks her head as another car passes by. I wave and smile.

“Mom, who was that?”

I shrug. “I don’t know. With those dark windows and the sun’s glare, it’s next to impossible to recognize who’s inside. But it’s good to be friendly.”

She shakes her head. We keep walking and I keep waving.

And yes, I greet strangers in the stores, too. You never know when you might meet a new friend who could become an old friend—one who knows you from the inside out, stands with you no matter what, and is a constant source of encouragement and strength. This week’s scripture is one of those old friends I like to visit often. For when “I can’t” tempts me, my old friend reminds me why, “I can.”

This Week’s Scripture:

“And He has said to me,

“My grace is sufficient for you,

for power is perfected in weakness.

Most gladly therefore,

I will rather boast about my weaknesses,

that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

For Thought: What is a scripture you run to often—one you find in your thoughts just when you need it?

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your all-sufficient grace that covers the many times my spirit becomes weary and my strength leaves me wanting. Thank you for the power of Christ in me that whispers in my ear, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me”—another old KJV friend.”