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I was deeply moved this morning by a passage in my daily Bible reading.

In fact, I want to let it do the talking to your heart. I think it speaks for itself.

“A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” (Job 6:14)

The presence of unconditionally loyal friends is a powerful tool for keeping someone connected to his or her congregation when all hell breaks loose in his or her life. Job’s trials would have been a bit less burdensome if he would have had loyal friends who comforted him unconditionally.

We’ve all seen people who slipped away from church life and have not returned. Sometimes it was because close friendship bonds were lacking before the hard times came.

Sometimes their failure to return was because church “friends” did not seek after them to comfort and restore them.

This is so sad.

I read an article yesterday based on a scientific survey of 1,915 people across dozens of denominations. The top reason given for satisfaction with church membership was the presence of multiple friendships.

Not surprisingly, those with fewer church friendships were less likely to be satisfied in his or her current congregation.

If you see a church member or co-worker or neighbor or school classmate who is despairing, please make sure that they see you as a devoted friend desiring to help in any way you can.

That church member or co-worker or neighbor or classmate might even have a sour attitude toward God at the time, but love them anyway.

Their seeing your faith-based loyalty and love to them just might be the lifeline that he or she eventually grabs in order to be drawn back into God’s presence and into the congregation.

Never forsake your friends. Always pray for them, encourage them, and help them as they allow.

Isn’t that how Jesus treats us?

As always, I love you

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