July 2

As I grew from a boy into my teenage years, I noticed that my parents became much more concerned about the friends I hung around. When I was a kid in the summertime, I remember leaving my home after I ate breakfast, and not coming in until lunch. I would then leave again and stay out until my mom rang the bell to come in for supper. I would then leave again and stay out until dark. All this time was spent with my neighborhood friends. As I got older, I began to hear questions like … “Where are you going, and who are you going with?

As a teenager, I began to realize the importance of the people I hung out with in my leisure time. As a boy, I never considered it at all, it was all about having fun and exploring. I began to really scrutinize the friends I had during my time in High School. I remember after I got my driver’s license, being so excited to be able to drive to school. I remember picking up my friend Billy, who had not gotten his license yet, and being so pleased that I could drive him to school. He got in my car and lit up a cigarette. My mind was whirling. I told him that I was glad he was my friend, but the cigarette had to go! He got mad at me and our friendship died. I was not upset.

Today I read, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:63). I am an old man now, and the people I call friends are very important to me. I realize today that the people I choose to be my friends will heavily influence the way that I think and act. I now understand why my parents asked so many questions during those teenage years. Today, as a leader in my own home, and a leader in ministry, I depend upon the advice and opinions of my friends. I want to be sure that the person I call, “friend,” is one who fears the Lord. I want to be the friend to others who fears the Lord and walks with Him every day. I want to find people who will come along side me to be my friend who will fear the Lord more than they fear man. I want a friend who is strong enough to stand for the Lord if I head off in the wrong direction, and help me to find my way back to the Lord. I want to be a friend who will stand for what is right, whether it is a popular opinion, or not. We are in need of people today who will fear the Lord, and who will stand for him. This is the kind of friend I want; it is the kind of friend I want to be; and it is the kind of friend that I want our children and grandchildren to find. These kinds of friends will not be found in the world. I am constantly seeking to be a man who fears the Lord, and I am looking for people who are doing the same to come with me.

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