God has equipped us with many tools to use in the faith. One of them is friendship. Friendship can edify and "season" our lives in a way nothing else can. There are many examples of friendship and what it embodies displayed in the Bible. Let's take a look at a few.
Aaron and Moses were brothers but God used them as a team in leading the Israelites out of Egypt and in leading them spiritually. Initially, Moses was hesitant. He didn't believe he was cut out for the job. God used someone already in his life to help him meet the task he was given and created to do.
Moses did not believe he had the gift of leadership and felt he was not a good communicator.
But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Then the Lord became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you. Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do. Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say. And take your shepherd’s staff with you, and use it to perform the miraculous signs I have shown you.”
Exodus 4:13-17 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/exo.4.13-17.NL
God gives us people who can help us with his mission for us and the world. Moses had the ability. God knew he had the ability and God wanted him to use his ability. However, Moses was afraid and did not have the confidence needed to execute that ability. So what did God do? God brought his brother into the mix. God knew long ago that Moses would need a spokesperson and would need someone to be alongside him during this time. God knew that Moses could do it but that he would not do it without that helper. God equips us with people to help us in our mission. It may become their mission as well or it may just be that they walk alongside us.
Another example is the four friends who brought their paralyzed friend to Christ on the mat through THE ROOF!!!
When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:1-5 NLT
Can you imagine having friends that move such a barrier to get you to Jesus? That's what true friends do. We are called to carry one another's mats and bring them to Christ when they are not strong enough. That doesn't mean being pushy or bossy. Often it means praying for them, being Christ to them and sometimes it's just listening.
We see another example of a characteristic of friendship in Paul and Timothy's relationship. Paul was a mentor and an encourager to Timothy. He taught him about the faith and he took pride in the mentoring he did so that Timothy could spread the news.
This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
2 Timothy 1:6 NLT
Finally, another characteristic of friendship that we see displayed in the scriptures is loyalty and faithfulness. Naomi was Ruth's mother in law. They had both lost their husbands and Naomi planned to travel away and told Ruth to stay back. She wanted her to move on as she still could have built a life with another man. Ruth would not have any part of this. She wanted to be with Naomi. She was faithful and wanted to walk through the fire with Naomi.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
Ruth 1:16-17 NLT
We have been given friendship as a gift. We can be a friend and we can receive friendship. It is a gift from God and friends are an important part of the joy of life. Be a good friend. Be a strengthener, a mat carrier, a mentor and a faithful friend. Pray for one another. Again, I ask that you pick someone in our church and pray for them. You do not need to let them know and it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Watch what God does with just a friend’s prayer. - Meghan DeGregory
We left our church family and our town last month, mourning the increased losses of our local men due to the new action in the European theatre coupled with the action in the Pacific. Much of our news of this period comes from the Girard News, our weekly newspaper, published every Friday. The first issue in October, October 4th gave the weekly Girard casualties: 2 men killed, 3 wounded. All 5 casualties occurred in France over a month earlier. It is so hard for us here in 2019 to comprehend the slowness of receiving news 75 years ago. Based upon the good news folks were receiving over the radio and at the newsreels about our boys moving across France while pushing the Germans back, some people were thinking that the war might be over soon. It seems hard for us to understand, given the casualty numbers from just our own small town, but the local Girard Ministers were actually planning a V-Day celebration. Sitting here in 2019 looking back, we know that later news over the winter would seriously postpone the V Day celebration.
I only know of the Philathea Class because of their postings of meetings in the Girard News. It seems to have been composed entirely of women and was of pretty good size, as it had at least three units that met separately during the week to work on some kind of projects. Unit 3 seemed to be the most reliable poster in the News and in the October 4th issue they reported that the past Tuesday, 9 of them met at the home of Mrs. Harold Rees for their regular meeting, which was spent sewing. Their next meeting would be October 17th at the home of Mrs. George Williams. I wonder what they were sewing.
Playing at the Wellman Theatre: “Pride of the Yankees” starring Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig. This is a movie I have never seen in its entirety, only the “luckiest man on the face of the earth” clip from his farewell speech on July 4th, 1939. Someday if I see it listed on Turner Classic Movies, I will watch the whole movie. It received 11 Academy Award nominations.
The next issue of the Girard News had no casualties to list. That was good news. It also had another piece of good news –The company that announced in the beginning of September it was going to occupy the old A M Byers Company and produce equipment for the war effort, now announced that it, The Leader Specialty Company, would also move its Main Office to Girard.
The October 20th Edition of the News, reported on two casualties of Girard boys. One who was killed in action of the South Pacific, and one injured in France.
Also reported in that edition was a story of the McElhaney’s being honored by the Friendly Sunday School Class in a surprise party at their new home on Morris Lane. George McElhaney had organized that class fifteen years before, and been its first teacher for a number of years. Now, in 1944, Fred McLean was the teacher. The class had over 100 members and was the largest class in the church. And as promised a couple weeks earlier, Unit 3 of the Phillathea Class met at Mrs. Williams’ home Tuesday evening. The next meeting would be October 21 at the home of Mrs. Martha Williams on East Kline Street.
Our church family and people all across America would not know it at the time, but, now, in the month of October would occur one of the largest naval battles of the war, and possibly the largest naval battle in history. It would involve 300 ships on our side. 67 on the Japanese side; 1,500 planes on our side, 300 planes on the Japanese. The naval battle was in support of the invasion of the Philippines and the return of General MacArthur to complete the freeing of the Philippine Islands from Japanese occupation. It began on October 23rd and was over by October 26th. In the battle, our Navy was combined with the Australian forces. We overwhelmingly outnumbered the Japanese who lost just about all that was left of their navy in the battle. At the end of the battle, the Japanese had no carriers left and lost 3 battleships, all 300 of their planes, 10 cruisers and 11 destroyers, with an estimated 12,500 casualties. Their navy would not be a threat again. But, it was also the first time the Japanese used Kamikaze attacks. We had about 3,000 casualties, and lost 1 light carrier, 2 escort carriers, 2 destroyers, and about 200 planes. It enabled us and our allies to invade the Philippines practically untouched by the Japanese navy. But their soldiers on the islands would fight to the very last man.
October of 1944 – 75 years ago in our church, our town, and our country.
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