Thanks A Bunch!

June 24, 2017
by JJ Ollerenshaw

1 John 4:11 – Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (NIV 2011)

Why is it that here in North America, a gift of flowers is reserved for Mothers Day, romantic occasions, or perhaps a sick female friend? We rarely give flowers to a man, except at his funeral — unless he's a horticulturist by trade. In England and Europe, flowers are given for any occasion or no occasion at all, just as a simple act of friendship.

This spring, my daughter took me to the annual Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa, Ontario. During World War II, Canadian forces led the liberation of the Netherlands, and Canada hosted the Dutch royal family in exile. At the end of the war, the Netherlands presented Canada with a thank-you gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs. More bulbs followed, and this year, Canada's 150th anniversary, there were more than a million flowers on display in our nation's capital city.

The many beds of tulips, in every colour imaginable, were gorgeous. Bright colours are so welcome to us in the north after a long, cold, monochrome winter. Waves of different shades of red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, white, and even black flowers delighted all ages. Hundreds of thousands of visitors posed for pictures against a background of flowers swaying gently in the breeze. As I wandered about, I thought that God was surely smiling happily when He created flowers for us!

Message boards explained that the tulips symbolize the friendship between Canada and the Netherlands. The Dutch have never forgotten their gratitude to Canadians in more than seventy years. Spring bulbs that multiply and reappear year after year are indeed "the gift that keeps on giving", yet still, the Dutch royal family sends more each year.

The Bible has a lot to say about friendship. King David and Jonathan swore friendship with each other in the name of the Lord. Job spent a great deal of time listening to his friends' advice. God spoke to Moses face to face as one speaks to a friend, and Abraham, too, was called God's friend.

Proverbs 18:24 – One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NIV 2011)

That friend is none other than Jesus. We've all heard the saying, "A friend in need is a friend indeed", and Jesus is just such a true friend who helps us when we really need help. When we ask Him to come into our life, we're adopted into God's family, and Jesus becomes our Brother. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Friends, if you don't know Jesus, I encourage you to welcome Him into your heart today. Make Him your best friend. He doesn't need anything from us apart from our love and obedience. He promises that one day, we'll go to heaven and live with Him forever. What more could you want from a friend?

Prayer: Father, we all need a friend. We confess that we don't spend as much time with You as we do with others. We neglect to show both You and others our appreciation. We're often guilty of being a "fair-weather friend". Help us to love one another as You love us, and help us to show our love and gratitude to You by being obedient. Amen.

About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie@yahoo.com>

Belleville, Ontario, Canada


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great encouragement JJ.


    Thank you very, very much for my lesson for today!


    Thanks for sharing this devotional with us and making us aware of the close ties between Canada and the Netherlands. Blessings.


    Amen JJ. I too have seen the Ottawa tulips in full bloom and indeed they are magnificent and such a witness to friendship between nations.


    Thank you for today’s devotional “JJ”. “Go West” is a saying……for out here, we give flowers or plants for any reason and for no reason at all……and even to men who we know would appreciate them.
    Keep up your writing.


    Thank you so much JJ for your beautiful devotional today. Having been married to an incredible Dutchman for many years, made it very special. Also, I have a son who faithfully sends me flowers on special days. I love his thoughtfulness, but I agree that it would be very nice to receive them from anyone anytime of the year.
    In the flower beds around the main area of our church, the pansies are thick with growth. I look in the adorable faces that I like to think are looking back at me, see so much life, and thank the Lord for them for the joy they shed to all those that stop to admire them. PTL
    (California)


    Thank you, JJ, for reminding us of the priceless gift of a Friend.
    Every blessing on your day.


    Hi JJ
    Jesus is a true friend indeed.
    Thank you for writing.

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