November 5

Today's Bible Reading
     II Kings 18
     Philemon 1
     Hosea 11
     Psalms 132-134
''Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!'' (Psalms 133:1)
            One of the saddest indictments against the Christian communities of our day is the lack of unity and fellowship in the body of Christ. Divisions occur not only between different denominations and doctrinal persuasions, but even within the same local fellowships, which is perhaps the most damaging hindrance to our Christian witness. Jesus said, ''By this shall all men know that you are My Disciples, that you love one another." It is important, in the body of Christ,not only that we love one another, but that we be friends in Christ. This will produce unity among the brethren. Jesus is our best example. His ministry was centered in deep friendship with the Twelve which He repeatedly called ''friends.'' (John 15:13-15) There was also the inner circle of three with whom He formed an even deeper friendship, and to whom He bared His heart.
            Today, friendship has fallen on hard times. Few believers have very many good friends, much less deep friendships. Individualism, autonomy,privatization, and isolation are culturally popular, but deep, devoted, vulnerable friendship is not. This is a great tragedy for self, family, and the church, because it is in relationships that we develop into what God wants us to be.
            We must pray specifically for God 's help in effecting inward changes that will expand our capacities for friendship, and we must pray for the opportunities to develop friendships, especially in the church. Such relational requests may not occur naturally to the minds of most men,but they are prayers in which God delights to answer as my own experience,and that of many other Christians amply testifies.  Need some good friendships?  Spiritual logic demands that prayer is the place to begin.
            A wise old farmer was working beside the road when a family moving to a nearby town stopped and asked him if that town was ''friendly." The farmer said he could not really say, but the family pressed him for an answer. So he asked them what the town was like that they came from. They answered that it was terrible - the people were rude and small-minded. The farmer replied, ''That is just how you will find this town."
            For many, salvation is the need.   Before I was saved, the church I attended was full of hypocrites and unlikable people. After I was saved,it was amazing how those people changed . . .you know who changed,don't you?
            Medical missions have been a central component to Christian ministry for many years. The appalling suffering, disease,and total lack of medical facilities in many countries have compelled pioneer missionaries to spend much labor and money to develop hospitals and clinics. This ministry needs prayer in these days of change.
            The primary aim of medical missionary work can sometimesbe forgotten in the busyness of a large institution, yet many can be and are won to Jesus by this means. Our ministry provides medical clinics in many developing countries and many come to Christ because of this ministry.   Pray for the right balance between addressing medical and spiritual needs.
''No angel rolls away the stones of cowardice and greed. It is our strength and ours alone can answer for that need ."
Kenneth W. Porter