We are reprising a few of the favorite devotionals offered over the past several months for these last few issues prior to Advent. Information on subscribing to our Advent Devotions via email — or getting the print version by pick-up or mail — will be coming later this week. In the meantime, love one another.
“My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”John 15: 12 – 14
Some of life’s most important lessons come from unexpected places. Toy Story is one of my all time favorite movies, and “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” is a classic song with a lesson for all ages, including seasoned citizens like me. In the lyrics and musical spirit of this song, Randy Newman has articulated the importance of friendship for each and all of us. We need a friend, especially in these fractured, fractious, fragmented times. Right now I need a black friend with whom I can sit and ask questions, pour out my heart, listen and learn. Fortunately I have such a friend, several in fact. I need a white friend with whom I can share my angst and inadequacies in addressing racism and relationships between often hostile and angry folk, black and white. Fortunately I have such a friend, several in fact.
What I need most is a friend with whom I can share and agonize over those deepest pains of my heart which I cannot voice even with my closest friends, black and white. Fortunately I have such a friend, Jesus, who has promised a friendship which can never be broken or betrayed.
We sing occasionally the old hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The second verse has a particularly poignant lesson for me. “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows bear? Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.”
What a friend we have in Jesus! What a friend for me! What a friend for you! What a friend for all who abide by His command: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Grace and peace from your friend,
Julius R. “Tip” Tipton
Our devotionals are sent by email on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with an occasional lagniappe issue. Please look for these congregation devotionals in your email box at about 6:45 a.m. If you’d like to sign up to receive our mailings, please click here.