True Friends

Today I was in  Denver. I had the opportunity to connect with my son, Christian. He celebrated a birthday yesterday. I also made a stop by the new  180 Ministries/Teen Challenge office and the men’s center. It was great to see how well the program is doing. Daniel Petruska has served Teen Challenge of the Rocky Mountains for over 10 years and know in the role of CEO, he has taken the organization to a new level of stability and effectiveness.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NLT

In my book, “The Longest Campaign” I open a chapter entitled, “Help from Unexpected Sources” with this observation: “If you want to discover faults you didn’t realized you had, face unjust criticism, and deal with “fair weather” friends, run for political office. But if you want to discover true friendship, loyalty and unconditional love, see who surfaces during a crisis.”  

I often said during my political years, that my greatest challenge was to, “keep from making enemies our of friends I didn’t have.” In other words, I wanted to make sure I didn’t alienate someone who could be a friend and supporter of my cause before I even had a chance for them to know me personally.

Friendships, relationships are part of life. Some have many friends, some have few, but everyone has someone they consider a friend. Someone who will “be in your corner” when tough times come and some one who will serve as a source of encouragement and relationship along the journey of life.

Friendships need to be valued and cherished. They need to be guarded and protected. We also read in Proverbs 18, An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.” (Proverbs 18:19 NLT)

We all have many acquaintances, but not everyone has a close number of friends.  Solomon “hits the nail on the head” when he says, “a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

A friend has the freedom to “speak into our lives.” We may not want to hear what they have to say, but they are willing to speak that which will help us even if it is difficult, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6 NIV)

Being friendly, promotes friendship. The New King James Version, translates the first phrase of Proverbs 18:24 this way, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” I think of a friend who told me that when she was in elementary school, she met a girl with the same name as her’s. She asked her, “do you want to be my friend?” The two developed a friendship that lasted through high school.

Sometimes that is what it takes. A willingness to step out, to connect and to be a friend. One of Jesus’ most intimate statements to his disciples was, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends…” (John 15:15 NIV)

Prayer for today… Lord, thank You for being our friend and showing us what real friendship is like. Help us to experience, practice and cultivate, true friendship.