Closer Than a Brother

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 NKJV

My new book, Walking with Lambs is a story about friends and how friendships shape our lives. This week the print version came out and filled with color photographs to put faces with the names of these special people who have walked with me through thirty-five years of nursing home ministry. Today’s verse reminds us that God has a friend for us who is closer than any brother here on earth. In the middle of the muddle of 21st century life, we sometimes need to stop and remind ourselves that He alone is our closest friend. He sticks with us through hard times and sickness, through aging and isolation. There are no doors that can keep Him out nor walls that He cannot pass through. That is the wonderful message we have to bring to our friends who are in long term care. Jesus has given His life so that we could be called His friends. That makes the ground level at the foot of the cross. Passing through the doors of a nursing home, helps us to realize that we are all weak, fragile and in need of help. Though their own family may never visit, and no friends come to call, we have the privilege to come and by God’s grace learn how to be a friend, who, like Jesus, will stick closer than a brother!

If you would like to know more about Walking With Lambs you can find the listing here:

“I wanted to share these with you…”

“Because we are a family and it’s how we get to know each other.” With these words, his aged hands passed me a few black and white photos. My mind jumped backwards to the photos (picture above) taken by my father many years ago. As I looked at each one, he told me something. “That […]

“I wanted to share these with you…”

I was so touched by this post from Patiently Hopeful that I had to share it here today. This is so absolutely a real part of everyday life in long-term-care and it shows that God is still at work in hearts no matter the age or circumstances!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

While everyone needs respect, long term care is especially painful for men because they sense more acutely its loss. Men who have been providers, planners and protectors for others, now need the help of nurses and aides, sometimes younger than their grandchildren to get to the toilet.

In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon gives us a small piece of advice about respect and friendship,

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17 KJV  

Notice, that iron only gets sharper when it is put into contact with something its equal. For us to build friendships, we must begin by treating people as equals. The man lying in a bed, confined to a wheelchair or needing a tube connected to his trach in order to breath is no less important than the one sitting in an office or putting a new roof on our house. The reason that common people wanted to be close to Jesus was that He always treated them with respect. He went to where they were. He sat by a well and waited for a woman. He touched a leper and healed him even though his friends and family stayed far away. Jesus treated them as friends by coming to right where they lived and listening to what they had to say. So, on your next visit to a nursing home, an assisted living facility or to someone alone in senior housing, slow down, sit down and then listen. In giving them this respect, you just might make a friend!

For the next three days I am offering for free my devotional book for caregivers titled Grace for the Road. This is giveaway for the eBook version and includes 40 days of devotions dedicated to making your burden lighter and pointing you to Jesus, who is the caregiver for us all. You can click on the link below, or search for Grace for the Road by Peter Caligiuri.

Being a Friend of Jesus

When Joseph Scriven wrote the words of his now famous hymn, they were actually a poem he sent to comfort his mother who was very sick and missing him terribly back in Ireland. Several years previously, Scriven had lost the love of his life just week’s before they were to be married and in his time of grief he dedicated his life to God and there found great joy and peace. Hearing word of his mother’s ill health he sent these words of the hope he had found. Today they are still sung on job sites by brick layers and in corn fields by farmers. People lying in hospital rooms as well as standing in the largest cathedrals have been encouraged to know that no matter how important others think we are or how much money we have in the bank, there is nothing we could ever have that compare to the riches and power of a life lived as one of the friends of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Joseph Scriven 1855

Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God – Teresa of Avila