I was awakened this week in the middle of the night. While attempting to go back to sleep some uncontrollable thoughts came to my mind. For some reason, I began thinking about people who had been important in my life from as early as I could remember. I began to think about the earliest days of my life. I was straining to remember the names of people who had impacted my life. Many of those people were friends of mine. Eras of time began developing. I could not remember anything in my preschool years. I just know the facts as I have been told of those years. But, I do remember some events and people from my kindergarten education. I remember a girl who was desperately in love with me. Her name would be difficult to forget. Her name was Georgetta Krumknocker. It sounds just as it is spelled. Seriously. The main event that I remember...with a degree of fogginess...is that my class was sitting on the stage for our graduation. During the graduation, Georgetta, who was sitting next to me, leaned over in front of everyone and planted a kiss on my cheek! That was embarrassing.
I remember people and events through my younger elementary years, older elementary years (I attended three elementary schools while my father was receiving his education), then my years in junior high school then on to high school and through college and into my adult years.
But, during one elementary year while living in a suburb in Kansas City, Missouri I was introduced to a friend who has affected my life until now. One summer day while sitting with my father on our back lawn shelling pecans my father asked me if I had given much thought to receiving Jesus Christ into my life. Through that conversation, he led me into a personal relationship with Jesus that has been significant for everything in my life since. I have had friends through the years. In my waking hours this week, I began to think about those friends and what significance they have had in my life. I have never had a lot of friends at one time in my life. As I looked back I was grateful for one or two people who I considered real friends. Oh, yes, I have had a lot of acquaintances...but few real, "I'm with you no matter what", friends. It's the kind of friend I want to be to others. My father was one of those types of friends to me. He not only introduced me to Jesus but, one evening while sitting in my bedroom as a teenager I overheard him talking to my mother about a girl in our church who had just gotten her braces off her teeth. I heard him say, "She sure is a pretty girl." Well, the next day I had to find this girl. I went to school...where she attended as well...and checked her out. The rest is history. Three years later I married that pretty girl! She has now become my best friend for life.
Well, I could write a book on this. The story continues today. I have friends in my life today who are extremely important in my life. I then thought about the lives of the people God spoke about in His word. We just finished the study of Jeremiah. His trusted friend was a man named Baruch...the one God used to write the messages given to Jeremiah. I recall how the great apostle, Paul, asked for John Mark to come and be with him during his final days on earth. Also, how Paul became a close friend to Doctor Luke who recorded the events of the book of Acts...most of which was concerning the life of Paul. I think about Timothy who Paul mentored in the Faith and in his ministry. There are two of at least three letters that Paul wrote to Timothy that have been canonized into the scriptures. During different eras of Paul's life, he had trusted friends. There were Paul and Barnabas. Then there was Paul and Silas. While teaching in Samaria there were great men of God joining Peter while building the kingdom of God in preparation for reaching the Gentile nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There were Peter, James, and John leading the charge in the city of Jerusalem following the ascension of Jesus which bridged into the coming of the Holy Spirit into the lives of believers.
In the Old Testament, there was David and Jonathan...Moses and Aaron...Elijah and Elisha.
Friends. No one was a "Lone Ranger." Missionaries, evangelists, pastors, teachers, all joined together with friends to share the new life that God offered through His Son, Jesus. God has given to me great friends to help carry out His work. We need each other. Now more than ever. When the enemies of God rise up to defeat God's message...we need each other for support and prayer and encouragement. While serving overseas for nearly thirty years I realized that the power of God saving so many people was delivered through the prayers of friends in my own country and the support of the friends in my own country and the preparation for preaching the Gospel by my friends on our team on the ground in each country where we shared Jesus.
Remember, the Bible says that "Two are better than one." Ecclesiastes 4:9. "Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11. But, make sure you are associating with friends because 1 Corinthians 16:33 says, "Don't be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character."
Yep...friends are important in our serving God. For those who are reading this email and are my friend...Thank you.
May God Bless You!
TO GOD BE ALL GLORY!