Devotions from the Lake: Bonfire Friends
It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. — Daniel 4:2 ESV
Smoky fireside smells, sticky s’more ingredients, and crackling flames popping in a pile of wood welcome friends comfortably around a bonfire at the lake. Trees line one side of the grassy opening with the lake bordering the other. The water carries into the dark distance, meeting the stars that stud the inky sky over the group huddled in a circle around the fire pit.
The glow around the blaze mesmerizes each member and a hush falls on the group. Moments pass with everyone in a retrospective mind-set until someone says, “One time, when I was younger…” One by one memories surface and are shared within this sacred space of trusted friends.
The narratives of our lives are complex and mysterious. Our winding roads create grooves in our hearts and shape our minds in ways we don’t even realize. When we talk them out with close friends, the perplexing parts can become clearer and our friends can offer fresh insight and encouragement. When we open up to a devoted community in our lives, we have the chance to be better known and therefore better loved.
God draws us to Himself first, and then to our right and left we will find friends in our circle whom we can trust with the deeper parts of our stories. They become our bonfire friends. Like Daniel we can share with them “the signs and wonders” of our lives lived with God.
Father, draw me to You and connect me with bonfire friends so I can gain depth of understanding of my story and who I am in You. Amen.
Excerpted with permission from Devotions from the Lake by Betsie Painter, copyright Thomas Nelson.
Devotions from the Mountains: Camping
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together… but encouraging one another. — Hebrews 10:24-25
Part of the fun of camping or backpacking is sharing the adventure with our companions: the misery of the grueling hike to the campsite, the mosquitoes that will not quit, the mysterious noise in the middle of the night that turns out to be just porcupines, not bears. All those not-too-fun moments become stories to laugh about later. Of course some moments truly are enjoyable — a breathtaking view, butterflies weaving through wildflowers, a swim in a shockingly cold lake, fresh-caught fish, s’mores around the campfire. And there are shared projects: working together to put up the tent, to cook meals outdoors, to secure the food out of reach of those nosy bears, to break camp and clean up. For anyone who enjoys the outdoors, it can be a great bonding experience.
Sometimes the church draws together in a similar way. There are important jobs we’ve been given to do: to be Christ’s witnesses and to care for widows and orphans, for instance. We often have fun together, whether it’s at a barbecue, a day at a water park, a ski retreat, or just a gathering of friends over coffee. Then of course there are necessary, practical tasks, such as helping with church cleanup days and giving money to pay staff and keep the lights on. Being the church means collaborating with other believers. Maybe it can also be an adventure that brings us together.
Father, thank You for all Your good gifts, including the beautiful outdoors, our fellow believers, and the work You have for us to do. Help us to work together with joyful hearts, knowing that this pleases You.
Excerpted with permission from Devotions from the Mountains by Lisa Ham, copyright Thomas Nelson.
* * *
One of the greatest gifts we have been given as believers is friends to do life with, grow together with, enjoy, strengthen one another, and spur each other on to do the good things God set before us. Who are you thankful for today? Share these devotions with them and leave a comment on our blog about your dear friends. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily