04/01/16 Friends II

READING: 1 Samuel 21-24

Saul was chasing David, seeking to kill him. David went from place to place, seeking hiding places from the jealous king. Into the story again entered Jonathan, Saul’s son and David’s close friend. I love the way the NIV describes what Jonathan did: “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God” (1 Sam 23:16). He came to strengthen David’s hand, assuring him that he would be king and offering to serve alongside him. In what is the last recorded meeting between the two men, Jonathan sought to bolster David’s faith. 

Today, I think about people who in my 35 years of ministry have shown up at just the right time to help me find strength in God. Sonney was a deacon who found me weeping on the church steps after an angry church member hollered at me; like a father in the faith, Sonney talked me through my frustration and challenged me to press on. Ed stepped into my office just as I was about to make a hasty organizational decision, pushing me to slow the process down — and rightly so.  I met Shirl, a great prayer warrior, at just the time that I needed someone praying for me.  Tom, who was first my student and later my boss, has a knack for speaking truth into my life at precisely the right time. Even today, an unexpected email, a Facebook message, or a phone message from a friend can make a lot of difference in tough times. I’ve learned that I most often find my strength in God when others help bear the burden.  

Christian friends are indeed gifts from the Lord. What can you do to help someone else find strength in the Lord today? Pray for “divine radar” so you don’t miss opportunities to encourage somebody else this day.  

ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps:

  • Listen closely to people today. Read emails with ministry eyes. Hear the needs around you, and Intentionally encourage somebody. 
  • Don’t end the day without first trying to strengthen somebody else. At a minimum, offer to pray today for somebody who’s hurting. 

PRAYER: “Lord, I praise You for people who’ve encouraged me over the years. Make me an encourager today.”   

TOMORROW’S READING:  1 Samuel 25-27