Isaiah 41:10, 13… “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand . . . For I hold you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you’” (NLT).

A question came to my mind… “What is a real friend?” Psalm 142:4-5… “I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O LORD. I say, ‘You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life’ (NLT). Friendship is important and I believe the Holy Spirit is pressing this message home today. Society seems to be disintegrating, and friends are few, but we need each other. Proverbs 18:24 reads, “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” Friends lay down their lives. John 15:13 reads, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (KJV). Many folk spiritualize this to mean, “When the firing squad comes I’ll step forward and die for you,” but this verse simply means be willing to come to the aid of your friends. Friends love unconditionally. Proverbs 17:17 reads, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (NLT). This is a day to be found loyal. It is not the time to forsake a friend. Friends speak the truth in love. Proverbs 27:6 reads, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (KJV). Real friends point out errors in love and truth. It hurts for a while, but eventually it saves them. Friends often clash with you. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Constructive criticism is healthy. It is not a setback but a springboard to a greater bond. Friendships are often tested to see if people will hold together.

Pastor George Belobaba

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