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ENCOURAGEMENT FROM A FRIEND


There are times when you will be pushed out or pushed aside. You can be on the right road and still find yourself in a situation that is so severe that you cannot survive it on your own. Mark it down: You are not exempt from times of suffering, rejection, or disappointment. And you will need others who will warm you up when life leaves you in the cold. You will need the friendship, support, encouragement, intercession, and generosity of others to warm you up when life leaves you in the cold.


The first time I heard the late Dr. E. K. Bailey in person, he told of his senior year at Bishop College in which he preached at seven vacant churches. And each one called someone else. Hurt, frustrated, and disillusioned, he determined never to preach at a vacant church again. But when he preached at the eighth vacant church, Dr. C. A. W. Clark of the Good Street Baptist Church in Dallas walked in the side door. He had left his pulpit on a Sunday morning to support Bailey. When they asked him to have words, he told that congregation, "I can't vote. But I can hope. And I hope that you vote for this young man. He's full of potential. And he has suffered some disappointments. But I stake my ministerial reputation on this young man. He'll be a blessing to you, if you give him a chance." Dr. Bailey said that church called him a few months later, not so much because of his giftedness, but because of the recommendation.


I submit to you that there will be times in your life when you need a Caesar Clark to come in the side door of your life and to encourage you when you are in the cold. And the best way to make sure that happens is for you to be a Caesar Clark for someone else who is in the cold. While we often condemn "fair-weather friends," this verse tells us that it is important to cultivate friends while the sun is shining. An anonymous author wrote: "I went out to find a friend and they were nowhere. I went out to be a friend and they were everywhere." You can't live in a way that keeps everyone at arm's length, demanding your space, then except people to rush to lie next to you when life leaves you in the cold. You need to develop and maintain intimate relationships of mutual trust when the sun in shining. That way, when life leaves you in the cold, you have someone close enough to come lay beside you to keep you warm.


(From a sermon by H.B. Charles Jr., Two Are Better Than One, 6/12/2012)

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