Numbers 25:1-3
“Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.”

A dangerous and all too common cycle is exposed in these verses. Some of the men of Israel were drawn into unhealthy relationships, which led to ungodly practices. Their sin led them out from under the blessings of God and into a place where they were chastened by the Lord. Unhealthy relationships are one of the chief causes of sin throughout Israel’s history. Whenever they were drawn to the nations around them, it was not long before they were involved in the practices of those nations. After years of this cycle repeating itself, Solomon wrote,

Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

There is another cycle that we also see repeated in Scripture and in life. When a person chooses to surround himself with those who are committed to, and living for, the Lord, he will find that he grow more quickly and serve more faithfully. Joshua found that to be true by spending time with Moses, David was bettered by his relationship with Jonathan, Timothy developed into a mighty man of God, through the time he spent with Paul.

The relationships we choose to invest in are the ones that will forge us into the person we become. While it is true that we live in the world, and God wants to use us to bring others to himself, it is also true that many Christians have slipped away from the Lord because of the worldly friendships they have chosen to keep. If you are involved in a relationship that is pulling you away from the Lord, perhaps it is time to establish some new relationships, with those who are committed to following after and serving Christ.

Pastor Jim



Nehemiah 4:19-20
“Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.’”

Nehemiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem were facing the challenge of rebuilding the walls of the city, while facing opposition from the enemy. Their task was difficult and dangerous. In order to secure the success of the project, and the safety of the people, Nehemiah established a means of aiding one another. Each section of the city was assigned a trumpeter. When the situation became intense, he would blow the trumpet calling others to aid those in the midst of opposition. This practice drew the people to one another, and ensured the success of their endeavor.

One of the key components of success in following Christ, is to surround yourself with others who want to walk with the Lord. The New Testament calls this, “fellowship”, and encourages each Christian to get involved with others who will help us follow Christ. Too often, we let pride, hurt feelings, selfishness, or some other petty thing, get in the way of admitting our dependence upon one another. The fact is, we are all facing trials and temptations too much for us to handle. We need to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

If you are facing a difficult time, blow your trumpet and call others to your side to pray with you and encourage you with the promises of the Word.

Pastor Jim


Strong Hands 

1 Samuel 23:16
“Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.”

Things seem to be going from bad to worse for David. Saul’s rage forced him to flee the palace, and live the life of a fugitive. For safety sake, he dwelt in caves to hide from the king and his spies. He and his men came out of hiding at the command of the Lord, and risked their lives to rescue the city of Keilah from Philistine invaders, only to find the citizens of Keilah had sold them out to Saul. It is easy to see why both David and his men could become discouraged by their circumstances.

It is during this dark hour that David receives a visit from his closest friend. This visit will prove to be a source of great strength for David, and a powerful example for all who walk with Christ down through the ages. We read that Jonathan arrived and “strengthened the hands of David.” This figurative term speaks of encouraging him in such a way that David is able to step back into life and prevail over his difficulties. It is vitally important that we learn how to have our own hands, and the hands of others strengthened.

1 Samuel 23:17 “And he said to him, ‘Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.’”

Notice Jonathan did not encourage David by simply painting a rosy picture of life. He did not give the patent “everything will be OK” speech. Platitudes and empty promises of hope are of little value in the real world. Jonathan gave David a true source of strength, reminding him of the promises of God. No matter what his circumstances said, the Word of God promised David would sit upon the throne of Israel. Jonathan brought David back to the unshakable promises of God, which brought strength to his weary soul. No matter what you are facing, you will find great encouragement in the pages of your Bible. Promise after promise is given, to strengthen our hands for the journey we are traveling, as we await the coming of the Lord.

Pastor Jim



Proverbs 18:24
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

IMG_1230.JPGFriendship is one of the most important parts of life. We were not designed to live in isolation or face all the struggles of life alone. We have some wonderful examples of friendship in Scripture. We are told that when Jonathan met David, he loved him as his own soul. He expressed this love by taking his armor and giving it to David (1 Samuel 18:4). As the son of the king, this action showed he believed David was chosen, by God, to reign in the land. From that time forward, Jonathan lived to encourage David to be the man God had called him to be. His actions illustrate Paul’s words to to the Philippians.

Philippians 2:3
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

Barnabas, in the New Testament, is also a great example of friendship. When Saul of Tarsus first met Christ, no other Christian would have anything to do with him. The church basically thought his conversion was an elaborate ploy to get close to Christians, in order to imprison or kill them. It was Barnabas who risked it all and befriended Paul. After meeting with him and seeing he had, in fact, given his life to Christ, Barnabas stood up for Paul to the other church leaders (Acts 9:26-27). Later, Paul was given opportunity to serve the Lord alongside Barnabas.

Both of these examples reveal the benefit of godly friendships. All of us long to have someone in our lives who would act like a Barnabas or a Jonathan. Solomon gives a practical tip as to how to develop and keep godly friendships. He writes,

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

If we desire friendship, we must be friendly. Instead of looking for someone who will come alongside and support us, we should be looking for those whom we can come alongside and support. One of the simplest ways to do this is at church. It is not uncommon for people to enter a church, sit by themselves, and leave without ever making contact with any other believers. After weeks and weeks of this, they may start to think the church is an unfriendly place, because no one has reached out and befriended them. While that may be true, it is equally true, they have not reached out to anyone else. One of the best ways to establish friendship, is to look for someone who is sitting alone and join them. Ask them if they want to grab a coffee or get a meal after church. I am not suggesting you use the church as a place to get a date, but as a place where you can establish godly friendships, which will help you walk with the Lord. instead of looking for someone to be the friend you need, look to be the friend someone else needs.

Pastor Jim