A Friend of God’s Friends

Something so cordial can happen in first introductions when two persons discover that they have a friend in common. In what may be its most memorable form, a big-hearted host welcomes a guest with something like, “So nice to meet you. Any friend of Sam’s, or Samantha’s, is a friend of mine.”
Jesus said something similar. He’d been attracting crowds by healing many. But He’d also been making enemies of local religious leaders by disagreeing with the way they were commercializing the temple and misusing their influence. In the middle of a growing conflict, He made a move to multiply the joy, cost, and wonder of His presence. He gave His disciples the ability to heal others and sent them out to announce that the kingdom of God was at hand. He assured the disciples: “Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me” (Matthew 10:40), and, in turn, welcomes His Father who sent Him as well.
It’s hard to imagine a more life-changing offer of friendship. For anyone who would open their house, or even give a cup of cold water to one of His disciples, Jesus assured a place in the heart of God. While that moment happened a long time ago, His words remind us that in big and little acts of kindness and hospitality there are still ways of welcoming, and being welcomed, as a friend of the friends of God. Mart DeHaan - Daily Bread

God’s Provision

Three-year-old Theo and his mum went to church each week to help unload groceries from the food-bank van. When Theo overheard his mum telling his grandmother that the van broke down, he said, “Oh, no. How will they deliver the food?” His mum explained that the church would have to raise money to buy a new van. Buddy smiled. “I have money,” he said, leaving the room. He returned with a plastic jar decorated with colourful stickers and filled with coins, which amounted to a little over £15. Though Buddy didn’t have much, God combined his sacrificial offering with gifts from others to provide a new refrigerated van, so that the church could continue serving their community.
A small amount offered generously is always more than enough when placed in God’s hands. In 2 Kings 4, a poor widow asked the prophet Elisha for financial assistance. He told her to take inventory of her own resources, reach out to her neighbours for help, then follow his instructions (vv. 1–4). In a miraculous display of provision, God used the widow’s small amount of oil to fill all the jars she collected from her neighbours (vv. 5–6). Elisha told her, “Sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left” (v. 7).
When we focus on what we don’t have, we risk missing out on watching God do great things with what we do have. Xochitl Dixon - Daily Bread

Walking with Others

Billy, a loving and loyal dog, became an internet star in 2020. His owner, Russell, had broken his ankle and was using crutches to walk. Soon the dog also began to hobble when walking with his owner. Concerned, Russell took Billy to the vet, who said there was nothing wrong with him! He ran freely when he was by himself. It turned out that the dog faked a limp when he walked with his owner. That’s what you call trying to truly identify with someone’s pain!
Coming alongside others is forefront in the apostle Paul’s instructions to the church in Rome. He summed up the last five of the Ten Commandments in this way: “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Romans 13:9). We can see the importance of walking with others in verse 8 as well: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”
I recently read one author’s advice: “When someone is broken, don’t try to fix them. (You can’t.) When someone is hurting, don’t attempt to take away their pain. (You can’t.) Instead, love them by walking beside them in the hurt. (You can.) Because sometimes what people need is simply to know they aren’t alone.”
Because Jesus, our Saviour, walks alongside us through all our hurt and pain, we know what it means to walk with others. Anne Cetas - Daily Bread

Dark Moments, Deep Prayers

“I had a dark moment.” Those five words capture the internal agony of a popular female celebrity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adjusting to a new normal was part of her challenge, and in her turmoil, she acknowledged that she wrestled with thoughts of suicide. Pulling out of the downward spiral included sharing her struggle with a friend who cared.
We’re all susceptible to tumultuous hours, days and seasons. Valleys and hard places aren’t foreign, but getting out of such places can be challenging. And seeking the assistance of mental health professionals is sometimes needed.
In Psalm 143, we hear and are instructed by David’s prayer during one of the dark times of his life. The exact situation is unknown, but his prayers to God are honest and hope-filled. “The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed” (vv. 3–4). For believers in Jesus, it’s not enough to acknowledge what’s going on within us to ourselves, to our friends or to medical specialists. We must also earnestly come to God (thoughts and all) with prayers that include the earnest petitions found in Psalm 143:7–10. Our dark moments can also be times for deep prayers—seeking the light and life only God can bring. Arthur Jackson - Daily Bread