Tag Archives: Friendship

Happy 10th to the Recovering Legalist

It’s My Anniversary!

Actually, it’s not MY anniversary, but it IS a special day for this blog, TheRecoveringLegalist.com!

That’s right, it’s been 10 whole years since I started my blogging adventure with WordPress (I was with Blogger for a few months), and I just want to say a big THANK YOU! to all of you!

This blog has played a huge part in my life, from giving me an outlet to express my feelings and thoughts, to introducing me to many wonderful and interesting (some only interesting) people. Some I have met in person, most I have not, but many have become life-long friends.

Influencers

When people on TV receive awards, they go on and on about the people to whom they are thankful, and they praise those who helped them be successful. I want to do something similar.

First and foremost, without question, I want to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, my Father in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit for not only giving me the talent to think and to write but also the reason for the hope that is within me. This blog, along with the ones it inspired (ProverbialThought.com and i4daily.wordpress.com) would be pointless if it wasn’t for the grace that lifted me up and set me on solid ground.

Next, I want to thank my wife and my girls for allowing me to write. Even though there were times when they got irritated when I spent too much time doing it (and they had every right), they still supported me and told me they were proud that I was making a difference in the world through this medium. Without their support, I would have given up a long time ago, and not just with this blog.

Last but not least, there are the numerous bloggers I’ve met over the years who have influenced me, encouraged me, prayed for me, and reaffirmed that the Christian blogging community is the next closest thing to family – nobody here gets an inheritance (that I know of). Then again, maybe it is a family.

I don’t know whatever happened to Heather Joy, but her early encouragement made a huge impact. Other folks like David Welford, Jessie Jeanine, Heather Mertens, Daniel Klem, Jessie Clemence, James Neff, Wally Fry, and Chris Jordan made lasting impacts. There are others, too. I wish I could remember them all.

The Posts

As most of you know, it’s always fun to look back at the stats to see what posts had the most views. Aside from the “pages” and stuff, below are the Top Ten from the last 10 years.

  1. Was John R. Rice a Heretic? 
  2. Just the Sound of BB’s
  3. What to Wear to Church
  4. The Brief Departure of a Friend
  5. Dinosaur Bones Found On the Moon
  6. Does Divorce Disqualify?
  7. Liberty or License?
  8. Work, Work, Work
  9. “Please, Lord, Help Me Get One More”
  10. Why Be a Legalist?

Proudest Moments

As I was compiling the above list, the question came to mind: What were your proudest moments over the last 10 years?

Honestly, I guess the proudest, or rather most honored I ever felt was when total strangers would walk up to me and ask, “Don’t you have a blog?” One time this happened when I was shopping at a Lifeway (can’t do that anymore) and a man told me he read my blog all the time – in another country! Sadly, I can’t remember where he said he ministered, but he was a missionary who’d come home to see family and recognized me!

Another time I was recognized was at a Subway. The guy behind me asked, “Are you that guy? The Recovering Legalist guy? The one with the blog?” I said, “Uh, well, yeah, I am.” He was so excited! He then told me how amazing it was to run into me at a Subway in his own town, and then he asked, “So are you just traveling, or something? What brings you here?” I answered, “Well, I just live down the road.”

Of course, how could I forget the day I was told I my blog was going to be featured on “Freshly Pressed“? THAT was neat!

What’s Next?

What will the next 10 years look like? I have the sneaking suspicion that I will slow down a little because of my new schedule and workload. However, what I hope is that the posts I do write will be more substantive and worth reading.

Many times I have written just to be writing, and I guess there is a time for that. But what I would like to develop is the reputation of posting such quality, Spirit-led work that whenever I do publish something you guys will not be tempted to pass over it. I want it to be worth your time.

Besides that, I want to set aside more time to read the stuff you guys write! I know I’ve missed a lot of blessings by writing more than I read.

One more thing. I’m going to set aside a specific time each week to pray for other Christian bloggers like many of you. Some of you may feel like what you are doing is making little difference, but you are wrong! If it’s of the Lord, even just one “click” could have an immeasurable impact on the lives of others.

God bless, and thank you for your following and friendship. It means more than you can know.

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Filed under blogging, community

What Kind of Friend Are You?

Do you consider yourself to be a good friend? What makes a good friend? More than that, what makes a real, true friend? I believe there is a difference.

A Good Friend

Good friends are the ones you have over to watch a ball game, but don’t worry if the house is messy. He’s the type of friend that you don’t mind bringing along to dinner with the family. She’s the one with whom you don’t mind sharing your gripes and complaints, like when your spouse ticks you off, or your co-worker make you jealous.

A good friend is one that remembers to invite you to a birthday party, a movie, or loans you a pick-up truck to move a piano (God bless’em). They’re the type of friends you get along with, even though you may have different tastes or opinions. You care about each other and say things like, “If you need anything, just let me know.”

Job had Good Friends

Job (as in the Bible, not to be confused with Steve) had some good friends. Really, they were not that bad. Just look at how they acted when they saw Job after the tragedies came about.

And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” – Job 2:12-13 NKJV

Obviously, his friends cared enough about him to break down into tears at the sight of his brokenness. They were good enough friends to even tear their clothes, sit down with him on the ground, and weep with him for seven days. They even cared enough to keep silent seven days so Job could pour his heart out in grief. They were good friends.

Superficial Friends

If the friends of Job had only been the partying type, do you think they would have come to see him after hearing of his loss? No, if they had only been superficial friends, they would have stayed far away from Job and his problems. They would have said, “Oh, that’s so sad…we should send him a Hallmark card…Honey, where are my keys?…I’m going to be late to the gym.”

Religious Friends

Anyone who goes to church has these. Religious friends are the ones who always have a smile and a warm handshake, but never really want to hear about your life. These type of people give a bad name to church folk. Have you ever met any? If you have, you know. They ask, “How are you doing today?” Then, just as you start to give a response they say, “Great, great…love your heart…well, I’ll be praying for you, honey, don’t you worry.” Riiight.

User Friends

This is not a scientific assessment of friendship types, but sometimes I think most friends are only users. When you stop and think about it, how many friends would you have if you had nothing to offer? At least Job’s friends weren’t users. They came around when Job had nothing to offer but tears. They came to offer him something – if only judgmental advice.

True Friends

This may only be my definition, but I think it is a good one:  A real, true friend is one who lets you cuss, spit, and even question God when times are tough. A real, true friend is one who will not only cry with you when you hurt, but stand there by your side as you kick the furniture, throw the dishes, slam the door, or even ask, “Why?!

The truest test of real friendship is how he/she responds when you say things you may regret. This is where Job’s friends fell behind.

Job came to the point where he “cursed the day he was born,” and asked God, “What have I done to you? Why have you made me a target?” Job literally became suicidal and terribly depressed as he struggled with trying to understand the reason for his troubles. But instead of keeping quite, or simply saying, “It will be OK, Job,” his friends started accusing him of wrongdoing. They blamed him for the trouble he was enduring, even though they had no proof. All they could do was pour salt on his wounds.

When Job cussed and spit, these friends said things like, “How long will you speak these things, and the words of your mouth be like a bunch of wind (Job 8:2)?” They called his painful rants “empty talk” and “vain words” which proved he deserved God’s judgment.

A real friend will let you expose your pain in ugly ways, with ugly words. Job’s friends should have understood that his words were spoken in grief. They should have understood that sometimes we say things we don’t mean when we are hurting, but need to say them, anyway. A real friend would have taken it, listened, and given only kind words of encouragement.

To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” – Job 6:14 NKJV

If you know someone who is going through a tough time, don’t be judgmental – just love them. Even if they say things that are wrong, even vulgar, let God be the Judge – you just love them.

Job had to answer to God for the things he said, but the only ones who incurred the wrath of God were Eliphaz and his cohorts (42:7). As I see it, God understood Job, but He found no excuse for the response of his self-righteous friends.

Don’t just be a good friend – be a real friend. You may wish you had one, someday.

  • Friends (anotherchristianblog.org)

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Christian Unity, Do not judge, legalism, Relationships and Family, Uncategorized

Grace Doesn’t Keep a List

This morning I want to look at a verse from Proverbs. But before we do, let us read it in a couple of versions.

He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth [very] friends. – Proverbs 17:9 KJV

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9 NLT

Now, let’s talk about it.

Reminding 

Have you ever had someone remind you of a mistake you made years ago? If you are a husband, like me, then the answer is “Yes!

I may be running the risk of alienating many female readers, but men who are married know that mistakes made today are likely to be discussed tomorrow…and next month…and ten years from now. You see, wives are endowed by God with the uncanny ability to remember every time a man goofs up. I am convinced it’s an ability given to them to help even out the “weaker vessel” playing field.

However, I have also learned something else about wives – they know when to draw the line. If they wanted to, they could talk all day about the stupid things we men do; but they don’t. They remind us just enough to keep us humble, but not enough to break our spirits.

Most wives actually love their husbands, you know.

Repeat Reminding

Sometimes it is necessary to remind a person that is about to make a mistake what happened in the past. For instance, a true friend who might have been robbed by another friend who was drunk, or on drugs, might remind that person of his actions when he is tempted to take another drink. The reminder can be a warning designed to preserve a friendship, if not a life.

On the other hand, there are people who like to bring up the past on a regular basis. Their intentions are not to prevent anything, but to manipulate and control. That is what Solomon was talking about in today’s proverb.

The word translated repeateth is in the “active participle” tense.  So, to put it another way, the person who is losing friends is the one who is continually bringing up the past.

Gracious Love

Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” In other words, it is hatred that keeps uncovering the pain of the past, but love heals as it covers. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything must be forgotten, for even though a bandage covers, the bandage only signifies a wound was there in the first place.

Of course, that’s what makes grace so great. Without sin there would be no need for grace; but because of sin, grace abounds. A love that is real is a love that testifies something is covered.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,

Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!

Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,

There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that is greater than all our sin!

– Julia H. Johnston (Grace Greater than Our Sin)

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I’ve Got a Mighty Friend

Tough Times

A few minutes ago I was reading a post from a friend. He expressed several needs, yet praised the Lord for being in control (Romans 8:28). And just this week we in the Baker home realized we will be facing some additional struggles we had hoped to avoid. Nevertheless, aren’t you glad we serve a Mighty God?

All of us are living in tough and troubling times. For some of you, the road you’re on has far more bumps and potholes than the roads of others. Yet, all of us will agree, wherever we are, that the world is not getting any better. Times are tough, and are only going to get tougher (even with a new President).

But…

But, I have a Mighty Friend who is not affected by the whims of men or the winds of time. As a matter of fact, my Friend is the One who created man and started time.

Ten years ago (2007) I wrote a song for my then-little girls to sing. Every time I listen to it these days I’m tempted to kick up my heels, pump my fists, and waved my hands while shouting, “Praise GOD!

Maybe you need some encouragement? Just read the lyrics I have included below, and if God is your friend, don’t worry (Matthew 6:30-34), He’s got this!

Mighty Friend

Well I may not be as tall as a building or strong as a big ol train
I may not be as smart as a scientist doing things I can’t explain
But I know the One who made the tallest mountain and can whip up a hurricane
And the very One who invented gravity says He even knows my name.
 
Well I may not know what’s comin’ in the mornin’, or what the day may bring
Good or bad, I’m not gonna worry, ‘cause Jesus knows everything.
So I’ll do the best with what God has given me as long as there is time
‘Cause the One that got the clocks a-tick’n told me it’ll all be fine.
 
When the devil acts like a bully, putting on a scary show
Before you run away and hide in a corner there’s something you need to know
The One who spoke the world into existence is standing by your side
And if you look close the devil’s knees are shakin’ cause he knows he’ll lose the fight
 
Chorus:
Cause I’ve got a Mighty, Mighty Friend who watches over me
And He’s the Mighty, Mighty Savior who died to set me free
Well I may not be the greatest at anything, but this one thing is so
The God that is the greatest at everything loves me, this I know.
 

© 2007, Anthony C. Baker (BMI)

Katie the Music Major is going to hate me for doing this…

…but I am going to include the recording I was talking about. This was recorded back when she (Katie) was only 10 or 11 years-old. It’s not Nashville quality, but it’s precious. So, as so many people say before they sing in church, “Don’t listen to how we sing, just listen to the words.”

“Mighty Friend”

 

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Filed under Faith, God, music, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials, worship

Nauseous Hosts

Proverbs 23:6-8

“Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee. The morsel [which] thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” – KJV

“Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.” – NLT

Puzzling 

I have been struggling with this proverb. You must admit, it’s a little odd. I mean, what’s the deal with “dainty meats” and throwing up?

The best I can figure, the meaning of this proverbs is pretty simple once you get past the language. For one thing, don’t eat with a hypocrite. Secondly, if you do, you’ll regret anything nice you ever said.

It does seem a little strange, though. Why would someone feed you and say, “Go ahead, dear, eat all you want,” while at the same time regret you ever came to dinner?

Better to Eat Herbs

Solomon must have had an experience or two with people who wanted to entertain him with a meal. But evidently there were people who offered the best on the menu while wincing every time he took a nibble. Have you ever known anyone like that?

What makes a person sick after eating all the nice, expensive food is the guilt one is made to feel. There are some people who want to make you think they care, but then they make you feel guilty for taking advantage of their hospitality. The great Matthew Henry said,

Do not sponge upon those that are bountiful, nor make thyself burdensome to any; but especially scorn to be beholden to those that are paltry and not sincere. Better have a dinner of herbs, and true welcome, than dainty meats without it.*

Gag Reflex

Here’s the point that must be taken: don’t desire the things that belong to the wealthy, nor ask them for a free meal. Sure, there are kindly millionaires who love to give. The problem it that there are many others who love money more than people, but don’t want to seem greedy on the surface. That is why they will say, “Eat and drink,” but gag you in the end.

One commentary says that “Cultivating the friendship of the wealthy is a waste of effort,” and then goes on to say…

“For like a hair in the throat, so he is.” Just as getting a hair in the throat while eating causes a gag reflex and sometimes vomiting (v. 8), even so the wealthy man’s hospitality will leave one feeling disgusted.**

I sure hope the next rich person that takes me to dinner keeps his hair off my food.

Sources:

*Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), Pr 23:6–8.

**Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 195-196.

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Filed under abuse, General Observations, Life Lessons

Another Face-to-Face

Let me think for just a moment… How many bloggers has it been that have come through Chattanooga and visited with my family and me?

Let’s see, there was the cute couple of the century, Daniel and Caitlin Klem, who came through before Christmas a couple of years ago. There’s been James and Lydia Neff who’s been by a few times, which was always an encouragement. The Fry’s (Wally & Heather) and their daughter came through while on vacation last year, and that was fun. And how can I forget Heather, Everette, and Emerson?

image

Myself and Jessie Jeanine. Photo by: My wife, Valerie.

Well, this last week another long-time blogging friend paid a visit. Last Tuesday Jessie Jeanine decided to swerve through Chattanooga on her cross-country (and half-way back again) search for a place to re-settle (that’s a long story in its own right). She loved it so much here that she stayed over a week! How cool is that?

I will never get over how bloggers can be a part of a community without ever meeting in person. But it is awesome when people who are friends online can meet face-to-face, confirming the reality that there has always been a genuine person on the other side of the computer screen.

Jessie was one of the first bloggers who really encouraged me to keep writing – because she actually replied to my comments and then followed my blog! For a new blogger that was a big deal, especially considering her story (one of horrendous abuse, working with the FBI, and even being a friend to Hollywood stars). To me Jessie Jeanine was a blogging celebrity, and a celebrity I highly respected. That was like 5 or 6 years ago.

However, this past week Jessie ate with us, worshiped with us, and even asked me to work on her car. What’s more, she got to spend enough time with us to see a few of our bad sides. Yet, real friends stay friends even when they are transparent and vulnerable. Real friends being real, that’s all.

We had a great time just hanging out, watching TV, doing dishes, playing board games, talking church, faith and religion, and dealing with a little bit of family drama.

But every good thing must come to an end, so they say, and Jessie is now somewhere in Houston, Texas, I think. My wife and daughters and I will always be grateful for the time we got to spend with her. Needless to say, there were a few tears shed when it came time for her to leave.

May God bless her, protect her, and provide for her needs during this huge cross-country transition in life.

Oh, and eventually we’re all going to pay David Welford a visit in England! Woo Hoo!

So, any more of you guys coming through Chattanooga any time soon? I know a great coffee shop 🙂

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Filed under blogging, Christian Unity

Guest Posts a Comin’!

Break Time!

As you well know – if you know anything about blogging – vacations, sabbaticals, and illnesses will absolutely KILL one’s stats! That is why it is mucho importento to find a way to keep those hits coming, even when you’re not able to post anything yourself.

But I need a break! I need to refill the imagination funnel! What do I do???

Logical Answer: Guest posts!

Guests

Starting tomorrow (Wednesday) The Recovering Legalist will be hosting several guest writers, a few of which are brand new to my audience. As a matter of fact, one blogger I just met this past weekend!

Be looking out for posts from the following friends:

daniel klemDaniel Klem – Daniel and Caitlin Klem are about the cutest couple you’ll ever meet. I’ll never forget for as long as I live the couple of days they spent with us here in Chattanooga. They live in Arizona, so when we were disappointed one morning to not be able to see the valley from atop Lookout Mountain – because of the low clouds – Caitlin said, “Hey! It’s still water! That’s something we don’t see very often.” Sweet!

David Welford – David has been a blogging friend for a long time – one of my first. We’ve never met, but I hope we will one day this side of heaven. Maybe, just maybe, one day before I die, I’ll see just a fraction of the places around the world he’s visited.

Dawn Liz JonesInspriation with Attitude, what more needs to be said? I mean, I’ve never met Mrs. Jones, but I sense in her a kindred sarcastic spirit. Attitude, I’m telling ya’.

Madblog – I’ll let you try to figure out her name, but she blogs at Messages from the Mythical. I don’t think she’s a favorite of the non-complementarians, but that’s my opinion.

Melissa Zelniker-Presser – What can I say about Melissa? Let’s just say she ain’t Baptist; she knows about real law (not just Moses kind); and for heaven’s sake, don’t call her a Gentile. Melissa is also a friend – so be nice or I’ll “unfriend” you.

FullSizeRender (5)Rachel Smith – I met Rachel and Richard Smith at their booth at Jfest 2016, a Christian music festival in the Chattanooga area. What immediately caught my attention was the name of her ministry…Transformed Wife. Then, there on the table, I saw a t-shirt which I was later given; it said, “Transformed Husband.” Rachel hasn’t been blogging that long, so why don’t you subscribe to her site? This couple has a heart for saving marriages.

So, make sure you keep coming back the next several days…even though they don’t create monkey videos, I’m positive there’ll be some really great things to read!  😉

Seriously.

OH! Please check out each guest blogger’s blog, too!

OH! OH! … The Recovering Legalist (me) does not necessarily approve of everything on all the other blogs. So there, that’s my disclaimer.

That’s all. Seriously. 

 

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Filed under blogging, Guest Posts