THE BLESSING OF A FRIEND
Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
There are “acquaintances” and then there are true friends. I have heard my pastor say many times, that when you die if you have one true friend in this life you have been truly blessed. Friendship is a most precious gift from God for every good gift is from above. The ability to love that friend is also found from above through the love of the Father. God knew in HIS sovereignty that you and I would need friends as helping hands in our lives to keep us going on for HIM. HE has given us these friends to be HIS hands when we need comforting, HIS feet when we need to be carried, HIS love when we are rejected, HIS words when we need peace, HIS companionship when we are lonely, HIS laughter when we are sad and HIS guidance when we have lost our way. As we see in our text, God’s Word tells us that a true friend “loveth at ALL times“. My Christian friend, this is the friendship of God and a friend that our Lord gives us. I recently read an illustration of a little boy who understood this kind of friendship: “There was a four-year-old boy whose next-door neighbor was an elderly gentleman and had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, ‘nothing, I just helped him cry’”
There have been great friendships given throughout history that are perfect examples for us to follow: David and Jonathan are two that God so drew their hearts together that they were knit to the soul of the other. Martin Luther who inspired the Protestant Reformation had a close friend by the name of Philipp Melanchthon. Their bond was so strong that Philipp, when asked about the strength of their friendship answered, “I would rather die than be separated from this man”. They were inseparable and put together by the hand of God for their time for HIS work of the reformation. Even Martin Luther, who stood strong and unwavering in his belief that salvation is of grace, when challenged by the Pope himself and the assembly and Emperor Charles the Fifth, needed a friend that would “love him at all times”.
Even Jesus had his inner circle of three that were with him during the intense moments of HIS life when no one else even knew what was happening. There are those friends that God gives us and you can’t put your finger on it, you just know that your spirit and their spirit are knitted together by the very hand of God. The Lord gives us these friends because HE knows we need them to accomplish the work HE has for us to do. I am so thankful for the friend that I have in Jesus! I am not sure where I would be today without my Savior, my Redeemer and my friend Jesus who laid down HIS life for me. If you are saved, and you know my friend, (Jesus)…where would you be without HIM? Can you imagine living the rest of your life without HIM, now that you know what a friend we have in Jesus? When I am reminded of how good God has been to me, and I look around at my church family and the friends HE has brought into my life, I am overwhelmed by God’s love and grace. The Lord knew how much I would need them every step along the way in serving HIM. I bless HIS name and I just can’t thank HIM enough for knowing who I needed in my life. God knew who would inspire me, encourage me, lift me up, and teach me how to be the man, the dad I need to be and instruct me in righteousness. Today, when you look around…has God given you a friend who loves you completely to the uttermost? Someone who may even be closer than family? If you have ONE of this kind of friend, take some time and give God the praise! Then, I ask you…what kind of friend are you? We will never find this kind of friend, if we are not friendly and willing to be this kind of friend to someone else.
Bro. Lawrence Longworth
Isaiah 61:1 “the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”