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Monday, April 4, 2016

Ocean City MD sunrise (photo by Duke)
Atlantic sunrise from Ocean City, Maryland
(Photo by Duke)

"Unlikely Friendships"

Message Summary:
Consider real friends that have enriched your life. In a quote from "It's A Wonderful Life" George Bailey is reminded by Clarence the angel, "Remember, no man is a failure who has friends."

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"The righteous choose their friends carefully" (Proverbs 12:26). "And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself" (Acts 27:3). "But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you" (1 Thessalonians 3:6).

All through life we collect memories, some pleasant, others not so much. We may be able to benefit from the unpleasant as a means of instruction or identifying with others in similar circumstances, but the pleasant memories are a source of strength and blessing. Today I want to share a longtime pleasant memory that is a blessing. It concerns an unlikely friendship.

Auto dealership About 30 years ago we lived in northern Pennsylvania where I pastored a church in the small community of Saint Marys. For many years I was in the Kiwanis Club, a service group that met regularly for luncheon meetings. At that time there were two older members of the club that had an unlikely friendship. Cloyd King, a protestant, was the owner of the local Chevrolet dealership. Buz Salter, a Catholic, owned the local Ford dealership. Of course there would have been some degree of rivalry between the two dealers. Since St. Marys, at the time, was populated with 95% Roman Catholic residents, that also could have been an obstacle.

But Buz and Cloyd were very good friends. Cloyd was the older of the two, and as he aged, Buz helped take care of him. Today, let's consider the blessing of friendships, specifically the blessing of unlikely friendships such as Buz and Cloyd. Have you observed friendships like that? Do you have a friendship that would be deemed unlikely, when measured by the usual standards?

Scalia Ginsburg friendship
On a national level consider the close friendship between Antonin Scalia, who passed away this last February, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Both were long-time members of the Supreme Court. Scalia was an arch conservative, Ginsburg an arch liberal, but they managed to overcome these deep ideological differences to have a very unlikely solid, lasting friendship.

Paul had only lived in Thessalonica a short time but was heartened by the "pleasant memories" the Thessalonian believers had of him. What a great joy it brought to hear of their faith and love for him. He expresses a mutual longing to see them. Do you have people in your life like that?

The greatest source of fulfillment in life is ultimately found in our relationships. First we
consider our restored spiritual relationship with God in our redemption. The phrase, "It's not religion, it's relationship",  says it well.

Quote from "It's a Wonderful Life"
Consider loving families that stick together through thick and thin. They put up with your eccentricities and are a part of your life through it all.

Consider real friends that have enriched your life. In a quote from "It's A Wonderful Life" George Bailey is reminded by Clarence the angel, "Remember, no man is a failure who has friends."

Perhaps you have a few minutes to consider a person that you befriended, or one who befriended you, in the most unlikely of circumstances, then, and even now. As you do so, it will surely warm your heart and bring a smile to your face!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for the family and friends who refresh me; their loyalty and understanding shown to me over the years have brought tremendous blessing and many pleasant memories. Sometimes You use them not only to bring encouragement but they also challenge me to grow in areas where I might otherwise be stagnant. When it comes to friends Jesus stands out above them all, for He is a companion that is with me every moment of every day unceasingly revealing to me His loyalty, His favor and His tender care when I least deserve it. His friendship shows me how to be a true, lasting, and loyal friend to others. And it's in His name that we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I'll Be Your Friend" Video  Michael. W. Smith

"Prayer For A Friend"  Video  Casting Crowns

"Broken Together"  Video 
Casting Crowns

"Jesus, Friend of Sinners"  Video  Casting Crowns

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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