Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Hershey, PA
Driving through Hershey on Tuesday HERSHEY COCOA caught our eye as shrubs are clipped into ornamental shapes in the foreground of the iconic Hershey Chocolate Company smokestacks. We see this often in our routing, but this time the blooming trees brought about a different appearance.
Click on photo to enlarge

"A Consideration Of Friendship"

Message summary: Today we consider friends that have enriched our lives. 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."

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"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).

New friend
All through life we collect friends. If we make it a goal to also maintain friendships we will have quite a collection as we age. We don't want to stop making friends as we consider the enrichment even recent friends have brought to our lives. As the old saying goes, "You can never have have too many friends".

Just yesterday I made a new friend (see below). Brooksyne made a new friend on Monday. His name is Marion Williams (in left photo). He was very friendly as they visited together in his back yard.  As they became acquainted he told her he was born in 1928, so that would make him in his early nineties. Brooksyne told me he looked much younger by his appearance and I would agree as evidenced in the photo that he very graciously let her take. He was a landscaper in his early youth and his yard reflects that.

Today we want to share about a special friendship that made a deep impact on me. It's a rather unlikely friendship similar to that of Jonathan and David in the Bible.

In northern Pennsylvania we lived in the small community of Saint Marys where I was a pastor for nearly 16 years. For many years I was in the Kiwanis Club, a service group that met regularly for luncheon meetings. At the 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. Buzz Salter, a Catholic, owned the local Ford dealership. Surely there would have been some degree of rivalry/competition between the two dealers. St. Marys, at the time, was populated with 95% Roman Catholic residents, and that also could have been an obstacle to a friendship, particularly in that time and in that community.

But they had a model friendship in spite of their competing businesses and different church backgrounds. Cloyd was the older of the two, and as he aged, Buzz helped take care of him. I still recall walking into the hospital room to visit Cloyd when he was gravely ill and sitting right there beside him was his friend Buzz. That was some 30 years ago, but I'll never forget that special setting and example of friendship.

Today, let's consider the blessing of friendships, specifically the blessing of unlikely friendships such as Buzz and Cloyd. Have you observed friendships like that? Do you have a friendship that would be deemed unlikely, when measured by the usual standards?

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 through Christ. The phrase, "It's not religion, it's relationship",  says it well.
  • Secondly we consider loving families that stick together through thick and thin. They put up with each other's eccentricities and are a part of each other's life through it all.
  • Thirdly we consider real friends that have enriched our 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 special friendships in your life. Perhaps it's an unlikely friendship making it all the more special. If you do so, may reflections of these friends bring warmth to your heart and put a smile on your face!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, thank You for the family and friends who refresh me; their loyalty, understanding and kindnesses bring about 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 friend that is with me every moment of every day unceasingly revealing to me His loyalty, His favor, His forgiveness and His tender care. His friendship shows me how to be a true, lasting, and loyal friend to others. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Prayer For a Friend"  Video  Casting Crowns

"By Your Side"  Video  Tenth Avenue North

"God Gave Me You"  Video  Dave Barnes

"What a Friend We Have in Jesus"  Video  Paul Baloche

Josh Beers
Yesterday Josh Beers, who is a leader at One Life Institute, stopped by to visit and share about his ministry. Onelife is a nine month Christian Gap Year Program for students who want to grow in their faith, experience genuine community, serve others, and travel while earning college credit. One Life is for students out of high school and we discussed ways that Brooksyne and I may be of benefit to the ministry. I was refreshed by Josh's heart for ministry and for young people.

Hershey, PA
Another view of the Hershey Stacks
Click on photo to enlarge

Walk in the neighborhood:  I (Brooksyne) regularly take our pets for a walk either on the Donegal Springs trail or in our neighborhood. These tulips on Kelly Avenue catch my eye every spring as they are plentiful and in an array of colors.

Arbor of foliage
We introduced you to Marion Williams in our message today (see photo above). This natural arbor is one of two clipped by Marion years ago right in his back yard.  About ten years ago the yard was filled with rows of beautiful rose bushes, but as he has grown older he can no longer tend to such heavy duty gardening. Ester caught up with me and the dogs while riding her bike on Kelly Avenue so I recruited her for this photo.

The lavender phlox is in full bloom and sure makes the ground pretty!

Hens and chicks
Chicks and Hens grow profusely in Marion's Terra Cotta pot with side holes in it.  He told me he never touches the plants and yet they look healthy and vibrant year after year when I walk past his home.

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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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