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Creamer column: Thoughts on friendship

I am a very blessed person because I have lots of friends. My wife often teases me because I have a very busy “social calendar.” I make a positive effort to keep up with family and friends. Sometimes my life gets busy and I don’t have or take the time to be with others, but more often than not I try to keep up with family and friends.
Last week I had a very busy social calendar. I had dinner with a good friend who always challenges me to think deeper. His faith is real and his spiritual insight makes for great conversation. I got to see my brother for a little while. We shared a soda, some good memories, and a little break from the pressures of life.
Late in the week I was able to spend a little time with my pastor. Our friendship is growing as is our respect and appreciation for our varied backgrounds. On Sunday afternoon I slipped down to North Stanly High School for a Faculty Comet Players reunion. I was able to see several former faculty friends and acting cohorts. We shared several laughs as we reflected back on the plays we had acted in together. I was especially glad that I could thank our director and fellow thespian who became a good friend through all the rehearsals and faculty productions.
Last week was unusual, but I do work on maintaining my friendships. The best way to maintain a friendship is to invest time. You can’t build a friendship without staying connected. Any good friendship is dependent on being open and honest. It always helps to throw a little laughter in the mix, too.
While it is great to have the opportunity to build and maintain friendships, I wonder if we understand God’s desire to be friends with us. Most of us know that we are children of God. Scripture teaches us that we are servants of God. We may even go so far as to consider ourselves men and women of God. We know that growing from childhood to adulthood requires feeding and nurturing our spirits. But, friends with God?
I imagine we all have trouble understanding how we can become God’s friend. You can’t exactly grab a cup of coffee with God. I am afraid it might be a one-sided conversation. It’s hard to become friends with someone you can’t see. There aren’t many people in the Bible who are known as friends of God, or even Jesus.
When I think about people that I consider friends, there is one unique quality that makes that individual stand out. When something bad happens in my life and everybody turns their backs and leaves, a true friend walks in. A true friend will not leave my side no matter what happens. People who become God’s friend have this quality.
We all know how to give our prayer requests to God, but how many times have you gone to him and asked him what’s on his heart? It’s not impossible to imagine that sometimes God wants to talk with someone about a difficult decision He must make. Abraham talked with God before he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. After three years of ministry, Jesus called his disciples friends. They were with him, listened to him, and after spending time with him, knew him as friends.
I believe God wants to have friendship with us, but we are often too busy to draw close to God. When we do take time to be with him, we fill the time with our prayer requests. It’s important that we lay our concerns at his feet, but we should also take time to listen and see what is on his heart. We can learn a lot about God through the scriptures, which is his love letter to us. But to really know the heart of God you have to spend some quiet time in his presence. True friendship is birthed out of a personal experience with God. This is God’s deepest desire for each one of us.
I want to encourage you to consider what makes someone your best friend and then apply those qualities to your relationship with God. A friendship is birthed because your heart is open and you spend time together. God’s heart is open and I know he will clear his calendar for you. Wouldn’t it be great to give God exactly what he wants? We have a wonderful opportunity to become God’s friend on this side of eternity. The question is, will you take it?Doug Creamer’s Web site www.dougcreamer.com . You can e-mail him at doug@dougcreamer.com

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