Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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Who's a Friend?

Dannah Gresh: Who's your dearest friend in the whole wide world? Got a name? Ok, here's one of mine, Erin Davis—with some interesting memories about friendship: 

Erin Davis: My best friend’s name in kindergarten was Angie. She was a quirky strawberry blonde who had a habit of wearing a tutu and cowboy boots to kindergarten. She might be where I got my fashion sense. I like to say my personal style is bag lady chic.

In high school I went to church camp with another girl whose name was Erin, and we became fast friends, but unfortunately, a tendency to like the same guy eventually ended that friendship.

I spent most of my adult years largely friendless. Now, don’t feel bad for me. I had plenty of acquaintances and lots of people to spend time with, but I lacked deep intimate friendships because I’m not sure—as grown women—we have a clue how to do the friendship thing.

Dannah: Do we have a clue? Sometimes friendship’s difficult, isn’t it? Let's learn together today on Revive Our Hearts Weekend

Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend. I’m Dannah Gresh. 

In a world of social media—Facebook, Instagram and the like—you can be “friends” with anyone. For example, I follow Pasta Grannies on Instagram! Truth be told, I may need an intervention, I cannot stop watching these grandmas in Italy who still make pasta by hand Now, I know a little about these women, what they like what food they make their families, and I see lots of photos and videos of them often their their grandkids, but am I really their friend? If I were to visit Italy, would I ask them out for coffee? It’s Italy, so maybe a cappuccino! 

Being a friend in real life is a little harder than just clicking the ‘follow’ button. Real friendship is hard.

This summer I plan to invite you to spend some time with me looking at friendship. Pull up a chair and sit with me here on my farm. (Don’t mind the stray goat or two! And don’t be surprised if you hear a peacock or a rooster!) I make a mean lemonade! We’ll sip some together and learn what God intended friendship to look like.

Let’s start this journey in God’s Word by considering how Jesus did friendship. Erin Davis, who’s an author and also my precious friend who I would, in fact, have coffee with should I visit her hometown, has a great perspective to share. Let’s pull out our Bibles or phones and find Luke 10 so we can follow along. In this chapter, Jesus visits the home of two of his dear friends, Mary and Martha. Mary was thrilled to just sit with Jesus and visit . . . but Martha well, I’ll let Erin take it from here.

Erin:

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me" (Luke 10:40–42).

I recognize the shrill tone, don’t you? Like, “Jesus, do You not see what I am doing here for You? And do you not see that Mary is just sitting there, and the turkey is burning, and the mashed potatoes are overflowing, and there are spots on the dishes—and she’s just sitting there. I want You to tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answers her so sweetly, really.

But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

Jesus gently rebukes and teaches Martha in this moment. He doesn’t just say what He thinks she wants to hear.

Now, hear me young women, a friend who just says what they think you want to hear is not a friend. That’s the first principle of friendship that Jesus models for us here. First, He pushes her toward the truth. He genuinely cares what’s going on in her world, and He gets involved. He meets Martha where she is, and then He helps her recalibrate back on course when she’s off-track.

There’s so much we can learn from true friendship from this sweet, simple, short encounter that Jesus has with Martha. In a culture completely obsessed with feeling good . . . We’ve been raised with the idea that our self-esteem should be fed into. That there should be this steady drip of people making us feel good about ourselves and giving us those gold stars.

Often we look to our friendships to satisfy our craving for constant ego strokes. This is not the formula that Jesus modeled with Martha. He doesn’t just say, “Oh, thank you for all you’re doing!” and go on and on and on and affirm her. He takes a moment and says, “Martha, we’re a little off course here.” Instead of stroking her ego, He tells her what she needs to hear instead of what she wants to hear. That’s a great quality of a good friend.

We tend to think of this encounter as some sort of living object lesson for being a good type of woman versus a bad type of woman, but that’s not what it is. Jesus wasn’t blasting Martha. He was being a true friend. Instead of simply stroking her ego, He helped her see where her priorities were out of whack.

He was helping her find peace when she was so wrapped up in the tyranny of the urgent. I don’t want to put words into Jesus’ mouth . . . the way He handled it was perfect. But for me, it’s helpful to think of what this encounter might look like if I was in Martha’s shoes. 

So, Jesus comes over, and I’m stressed to the max. It’s the morning-before-Thanksgiving-dinner stressed to the max. We had Thanksgiving dinner at our house last year, with only forty-six people in our living room! So Jesus comes over and forty-six people are going to be at my house at any moment

. . . and I forgot to thaw the turkey!

. . . and I didn’t realize that everything was going to have to go in the oven at the same time, so I have sixteen side dishes in one oven, and they’re not all going to go in there.

. . . and the rolls didn’t rise.

. . . and my crust burned on my pie.

. . . and my toddler has hidden my hairbrush.

. . . and I am stressed. 

I am stressed to the max! You guys know this version of stress, right? That’s the kind of stress that Martha was feeling. Now, what would a true friend do in that circumstance? Would a true friend come in—and I’m screaming, and I’m slamming pots down—so she starts screaming and she starts slamming pots down, too. Because I’m stressed, she’s stressed. 

No! That would not be helpful! Would she lie to me, right to my face? Would she say, “Listen, everybody really likes their turkey on the rare side.” No! This is also not helpful. A true friend would take an approach much more like Jesus did with Martha. “Erin, I know you’re stressed out about many, many things, but there’s really only one thing that matters about this day. The purpose of this day is for us to come together and to give thanks to God. Whether the food is good or it isn’t, whether the dishes are clean or they aren’t, or whether you ever brush your hair again—it doesn’t matter.

"What matters is that we’re together, and we give thanks, and your children see you giving thanks, and your parents see you giving thanks, and your grandparents see you giving thanks. The one thing that will never be taken from this day is gratitude. We’re going to eat those leftovers, and then they’re going to be gone. Your dishes are going to go back in the china cabinet. None of that really matters. The one thing that you need to choose in this moment is gratitude.”

That would be the approach of a true friend. So, I don’t believe Jesus was trying to make Martha the poster child for all that’s wrong with being Type-A. I think He was being a true friend.

John 11:5 says, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister [Mary].” Jesus loved Martha. Jesus loved Martha. There was a relationship there, a friendship there. Jesus was being such a sweet, true friend by saying, “Listen, you've done lost your mind. You need to get focused on the one thing that matters, which is that I’m here. I want to spend time with you, and I have a lot to teach you.”

Listen to the entire episode "An Encounter with Friendship." This program came from the series "Beautiful Encounters by Erin Davis."

Dannah: Jesus has so much to teach us! If we could just BE with Him. I love that story of His encounter with Martha. Not only did he model how to be a good friend here on this earth, but I’m reminded of this precious Truth: He wants to be my friend. He wants to be your friend. 

John 15:15 records that Jesus said this: "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." Wow!

If you want to dig deeper into your friendshp with Jesus that entire teaching from Erin Davis An Encounter with Friendship is available on our website at ReviveOurHearts.com. 

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Oh what peace we often forfeit,
Oh what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.1

Dannah: If you’re a bit of a Martha-personality, like me, you might need to consider why friendship matters in order to prioritize it properly. An understanding of what friendship actually accomplishes can help a Type-A girl embrace the slower pace of just being with a friend. Dr. Amy Baker, a certified biblical counselor, sat down with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for a truly insightful conversation on the purpose and goals of friendships. Here’s Amy Baker.

Amy Baker: When we think about doing friendship God’s way, it’s easy to get it backwards. It’s easy to think about my desire for friendships. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But sometimes we get it backwards. We think about what friendship is going to do for me and the blessings that will come to me, as they will, in genuine biblical friendships.

But to have that kind of view of friendship would not be consistent with God’s Word because all throughout God’s Word, God talks about the goal of our life—it is not about me; it’s about Him. It’s about bringing glory and honor to Him. One of the ways that we do that is by ministering to others.

If we’re going to apply God’s Word and His principles to this particular area of our lives and develop godly, genuine friendships, I believe that that means our focus is going to have to be on reaching out to minister to others in order to bring glory and honor to God. That then becomes the definition of a genuine friendship.

It’s not about what I get from it. It’s about me giving to people; ministering to meet needs in their lives so that God can be glorified.

Nancy: Isn’t that what Proverbs tells us? If a person wants to have friends they must be friendly. They must reach out.

Amy: That friendliness means I’m looking for ways to serve, to minister to people and come alongside of them and just share what God has done—not in words, but to treat them the way God has treated me.

Nancy: Often we have this emptiness, this ache, this longing in our hearts to have a close friend, to have someone who’s a kindred spirit. I know that’s what a lot of people are looking for in marriage and then are disappointed when they get into marriage and find that there are parts of their female heart that no man, no matter how wonderful he is, can reach into and touch.

There is this unfulfilled longing. If I allow that unfulfilled longing to control my life, to devastate my life, to leave me miserable or depressed, it’s really an evidence that I’m going about it backwards as you said.

Amy: I think what you just said points out that there is an underlying presupposition here. There’s an underlying assumption that in order for us to have genuine friendships with others we’ve got to begin with a genuine friendship with our Savior. It becomes a futile exercise and very, very frustrating if that isn’t established first.

When we think about godly friendships, we’ve got to think of, first of all, the One who came to be a friend to us and made all this possible in the first place. We need to think of how His focus was not on coming to earth and spending time with humans because it was going to do something for Him.

His focus in coming was to minister, to sacrifice for us, to make it possible for us now to not only have salvation, but to have a different life, a life that can bring glory and honor to Him right now.

Nancy: In Ephesians chapter 5, the first couple of verses there talk about that very thing. It says that we’re to “walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (v. 2). In that friendship and that relationship, it’s God doing all the giving.

He’s the one who gave Himself up for us. It’s a sacrificial love. It’s a serving love. It’s a giving love, and as you said, not because He has anything to gain from it. He’s doing all the giving.

Amy: Exactly. What a wonderful example for us to say, “I want to be that kind of friend to others, out of my gratitude, out of my love for God and what He’s done for me—that He would do this. I want to show my love for Him; I want to show my gratitude. I want to learn to be that kind of friend to others.

Listen to the entire episode "Friendship for God's Glory." This program came from the series "Friendship, with Amy Baker."

Dannah: I do too, Amy! I want to be that kind of friend to others. The kind that pours out love for others because of how God poured out His love for me. That was one of my new friends Dr. Amy Baker, talking with my long time friend Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth about the purpose of friendship.

A few years ago Nancy wrote a book that I call her legacy work: Adorned: Living Out the Gospel Together. It is an absolute a must-read! In it she shared this practical friendship tip. She writes,

As you encounter fellow believers at church, a Bible study, as they come to mind through the week, or even as you interact online, consider how you might be able to extend kindness that goes deeper than a shallow, “Hi, how’s it going?” because most people aren’t doing “fine, thanks.” Your gift of timely kindness, asking sincere questions, expressing interest in the happening in their life, offering practical assistance for a need they’re facing, or stopping to pray together may be the means God ministers grace to them that day.”

Amen. Maybe instead of just, “How’s it going?” We could say, “I want to know how I can help you. What are you facing right now?" or “I want to pray with you; I know what’s been happening in your life.” Extend genuine, unusual kindness. Take the time this week to be a true friend. You’ll be glad you did.

This is Revive Our Hearts Weekend. I’m Dannah Gresh, and we are sitting here on my farm talking about friendship. Can I refresh that lemonade for you, cause we are getting to some good stuff. 

When you look up the definition for friend in Hebrew, the word can mean a "companion." And here’s what’s interesting: the word is related to other words that have to do with shepherding. Think about that for a second. Each of us needs a companion who is further along the path in life. Someone to shepherd us—an older, wiser friend. Sort of like the friendship Mary, the mother of Jesus, enjoyed with Elizabeth. Do you have someone like that?

Karen Loritts has been a friend of Revive Our Hearts for many years. She and her husband, Crawford, have spoken at a number of True Woman conferences. And that’s where she was a few years back when she talked about our need for a shepherding friend. So friend, what Karen has to say is really important. You might need to lean in just a little. Here’s Karen Loritts.

Karen: One of the great things that happened to me when we moved from Dallas, Texas, to Atlanta, Georgia, was that I had an Elizabeth. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, and so I was pitiful. I was so pitiful. I knew nothing about it. The only thing I knew was I loved this man, and he was a minister, but he was born and raised in an intact family—a mother and a father. He had a mother who just loved her husband.

And so you had these two different backgrounds coming together. It was like the collision of two mighty steamships coming together, and so I needed help.

I love my husband, but he was a man’s man, and I was raised to be self-sufficient, but I knew that wasn’t God’s way. God had called me to this. He had saved me, and now I was going to be the first in my family to walk and talk the Bible. So, I needed help.

When I got to this church, Sister Ponder sort of scoped me out. I don’t know if it was my body language that gave me away, but she came up to me and introduced herself. She said, “I’m so glad that you’re here, and welcome to Atlanta, Georgia, da-da-da-da-da.” I had two little babies, a five-year-old and a nine-month-old, and she just got into my life.

That was kind of hard for me, because I said to myself, “I have a mother.” But Sister Ponder was abandoned by her husband to raise six children, and God turned her around incredibly, and so she knew something about what I was going through. She was this older woman, but she just came and made herself to sit down in my life, and she became my Elizabeth—an older woman.

She would tell me stuff that would curl your hair—in a nice way. I thought that I was talking to my husband right, but this Elizabeth in my life would say, “Oh, Karen, is there another way that . . .” and she’d just go on and say what I needed to do, and I’d be mad at her. I wouldn’t call her all that next week or not answer the phone when I knew that she was calling me, and all that kind of stuff. But we need an Elizabeth in our lives, someone that will speak into our lives.

What does this Elizabeth look like? She is an older woman. She will invest time, energy, wisdom, and will hold you accountable for maturity in Christ. We all need to find some woman in our lives who’s going to hold our seats to the fire. She will invest time, energy, her wisdom, and hold you accountable. So, we need to have an Elizabeth.

Another person we need to have in our life is a Mary. A Mary is a young person in whom we can invest our own lives, a young person to whom we can give time and energy and hold them accountable. This is some young person. Because we have been given much, we need to give much.

Then, for sure, we need a Martha. All of us need somebody who is our peer that we’re maybe in the same age group; we’re going through the same season in life. We’re respecting each other’s time. We give each other that time and energy, we hold each other accountable, so it’s a mutual relationship.

So, the Elizabeth is the older person, the Mary is a young person, and the Martha is a peer. Those types of things will help us mature in Christ. When we get to the finish line in life, I want to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I may get across the line a little raggedy, a little worn and torn, but I want to get across the finish line fulfilling what God has called me to do, and we need this other group of people to help us in this whole portrait of friendship.

Listen to the entire episode "A Portrait of Friendship, Day 2. The program comes from the series "A Portrait of Friendship, by Karen Loritts."

Dannah: Ah, don’t you love what Karen Loritts shared with us? As she was talking I couldn’t help but think about someone pouring into us and then us using that to pour into others. Isn’t that a beautiful picture? We need an Elizabeth, someone older, a Mary, someone younger, and a Martha, a peer. 

Who are those women in your life?

Let me rephrase, how are you being those women in the lives of others? It’s easy, for example, to sit back and think, I wish I had an Elizabeth!  And then throw yourself the world’s best pity party because you don’t have an older shepherding friend. But, I have discovered that this all works a lot better if we each set out determined to be someone’s Elizabeth! 

In fact, since I was in my twenties, I’ve intentionally sought out younger women to mentor. Do you know who my very first was? Erin Davis! After nearly thirty years of friendship, well, today she’s one of my dearest and most-trusted Marthas—a peer friend!

Now, being that Elizabeth in someone’s life, what does it look like? How does it work? I’m so glad you asked! We explored the idea of godly friendships on a Revive Our Hearts series called “Women Helping Women” Here’s a story we heard on that series.

Marlene: She lived right down the street from me. We were neighbors.

Leslie: Gwen knew Marlene was facing some big challenges in her family and Gwen could relate because she had faced some of those same challenges. When Gwen would just stop by, it had a big effect on Marlene.

Marlene: There would be days that I would be so depressed and the kids would be running around the house. She would take her walks, and she’d pop in my screen door.

Leslie: She still remembers the way Gwen would greet her when she came through the door.

Gwen: Honey?

Marlene: She’d walk in the house and she would just be there. Nothing fancy, nothing. We would pray. Sometimes we would talk. Sometimes we would laugh.

Leslie: And in those times Gwen would share out of her life experiences.

Gwen: What she was going through, I’d already been there and done that, and I was willing to share that.

Marlene: That is such a key when you mentor people. You have to walk the walk before you can teach it.

Leslie: Marlene has been able to look back and see the influence Gwen had on her life, and she’s been able to thank her for it.

Marlene: I don’t know if you knew, but God would just send you at the right time. When I would just give up, here was that “Honey.”

Leslie: And because that made such a big difference in Marlene’s life, she wants to pass it on. She wants to invest in other women as well.

Gwen: When people spoke into your life, you feel a burden to make sure that you speak into others' lives.

Listen to the entire episode "Women Helping Women." See the video "The Story of Gwen and Marlene."

Dannah: Wow, I love that! 

To hear the entire series, “Women Helping Women” visit ReviveOurHearts.com

As we began sipping this lemonade together today, I asked you to think of the dearest friend you know? Well, that’s probably your Martha. But now I want to ask: Who is the Elizabeth in your life? What about your Mary? Who’s encouraging you, and who are you encouraging? 

I hope our time together on the farm has been encouraging to you today and has helped you to see friendship a little more clearly.

Dannah: Psalm 94:18–19 says,

When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. 

That was a promise from God’s word that I needed to hear today. Of course, that promise is from the Bible, but I read it today from a booklet titled 50 Promises to Live By. This booklet was compiled by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and is an easy way to read promises from the Bible and make them part of your life. We’d like to send you the booklet as our thanks when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size.

And remember your gift helps us guide women all around the world into authentic friendship with Jesus. Could you prayerfully consider making donation to this ministry? You can do that by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com and clicking on the donate button up at the top of the page, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Be sure to ask for the booklet, 50 Promises to Live By.

Throughout this summer we will continue to look at friendship, not every week, but every so often, because I truly believe that as we grow closer to one another, we will grow closer to our truest friend, Jesus. 

Next week join me to get in the mood to memorize—Scripture that is? What? You're never in that mood? Well, I think it might be a little like running the more you do it, the more you feel like it? You’ll want to listen to the next Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Thanks for listening today. 

I also want to thank our team for helping to make this program possible—to Phil and Rebekah, Justin, and Michelle. In fact, Michelle just moved to town, and she needs friends. If you have any advice for making friends after a long distance move, leave a comment on our website, ReviveOurHearts.com, and we might share it on an upcoming program.

You’ve been listening to Revive Our Hearts Weekend. I’m Dannah Gresh. Revive Our Hearts Weekend is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

“What a Friend.” I Belong. Kathryn Scott & Integrity’s Hosanna! Music. © 2010 Integrity Music.

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About the Teacher

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guests

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Amy Baker

Amy Baker

Dr. Baker serves as the Resource Director for Faith Church Ministry in Lafayette, IN. She is the author or co-author of over a dozen books and booklets. Dr. Baker is an ACBC certified biblical counselor; an instructor and counselor at Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries, and a Council Board member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. Amy and her husband, Jeff, have two children.

Karen Loritts

Karen Loritts

Karen enjoys her four grown children and grandchildren. A speaker, teacher, and author, she has served in ministry since 1972 with her husband, Crawford.