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That's What Friends Are For (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2021 8:00 am

That's What Friends Are For (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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September 13, 2021 8:00 am

Six traits found in true friendships; based on Jer. 6:16, Prov. 17:17, Prov. 27:17, and other passages. (Included in the 5-partseries Old-School Wisdom We Still Need Today.)

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Consider this from Ecclesiastes 4, verses 9 and 10.

Two are better than one, for when one falls down, the other is there to pick him up. Coming your way next, Pastor Paul Sheppard shares today's Destined for Victory message, that's what friends are for. But before we get to that today, we want to talk for just a moment about how much we appreciate your partnership with us. You know, every day on Destined for Victory, we ask people to stand with us financially. That's because we are a listener support.

And let me underscore that for just a moment. This means the only way we exist is through the prayers and financial support of people just like you. And in 2021, our prayers that you might consider, if you haven't done so already, becoming a Destined for Victory partner. Partners are a special group of people that give a monthly gift of at least $20.

If you can make that commitment today, we have some special gifts I'll tell you about in just a few moments. But Pastor Paul joins me right now. Let's take a moment and tell us why Partners is so important to this ministry.

Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up, Wayne. Partners are really the lifeline of this ministry. Without those people committed to giving regularly, we literally could not continue doing what we're doing.

I guess people hear that a lot, but it is really true. Without Partners, we simply can't get the gospel out to the world. The gospel is free, but the plumbing costs and all sorts of other things. We have a lot of money, and we want to continue preaching. As I've said in times past, we've got generations to reach that have never heard the gospel, and they misunderstand when they hear people talk about things like serving the Lord.

And we need to make it plain to them. The only way I can do it is with my partners helping us reach them through their generous gifts. I'm so grateful for every single partner, and I'm praying in 2021 that God will give us thousands more. There are many more outlets and many more opportunities we could take advantage of in our ministry, but the only thing that holds us back is lack of income. So I'm praying that God's going to touch the heart of many more people to realize that with just your gift of $20 or more, you can help us remain strong on the stations and outlets we're on and reach many more with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

All right, thank you. That's what it's all about, reaching more people with the gospel. Today, when you make that commitment by pledging $20 or more per month to help us do that, we'll send you with our thanks a couple of great gifts, including one of Pastor Paul's most popular CDs, The Best of Let My People Smile. It's a compilation of some of pastors most humorous illustrations and stories, something that will be sure to make you laugh and learn at the same time. Call 855-339-5500 to mail your gift, letting us know you wish to become a partner.

The address is Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. But of course, you can also sign up by clicking Become a Partner right at the top of our homepage at And if you're already a partner, Pastor Paul and I want to say a heartfelt thank you and challenge you to consider becoming a legacy partner. Our special ministry friends are able to support us with gifts of $2,500 or more each year. The details are available at the website,, or by calling 855-339-5500. Now, if you can't become a partner but would like to make a generous donation to Destined for Victory, we'll be glad to send you a booklet from Pastor Paul based on his message, Junk Removal for the Soul. It's our gift to you by request for your gift to Destined for Victory. You know you got a friend when they can encourage you even if it costs them, that they can get excited about your job even when they lost theirs.

Come on, somebody. They can get excited about your house even though theirs got foreclosed on. Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you were doing. You're listening to Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. And today, pastors share some of the key traits of godly friendship, one of which is a commitment to encouragement.

With this message, that's what friends are for. Here's Pastor Paul. I told you years ago, my friend Bishop Thompson from Boston, he ran to the Boston Marathon twice, once in 1987, once in 1992. He failed to finish in 1987, whereas he completed it in 1992. And when I was talking to him back in those days and I said, what was the difference between the failed attempt and the successful one? And as we talked, he told me it pretty much boiled down to, it was a full conversation, but it boiled down to three points. One was that he failed to keep the proper pace the first time because he saw this little thin woman and she came by him and she's experienced marathon. Some of them kind of people don't even have thighs, like regular thighs. Them kind of folks just make you sick. Just shut up.

Just get out of here. And so she came by and she said, hi, how you doing? This is his first marathon. And so he tried to chat with her a little bit and told her this is my first and all that. And they had a little quick chat and she said, OK, well, it's going to be a great day.

Enjoy your race. And she took off. And he said, it hurt my feelings.

I'm a grown man, pastor of a great church doing great things for God. And this little thin child going to just run past me like I'm not even here anymore. And he says, so I started trying to keep up with her and it changed my pace. Second thing he did wrong is he didn't eat the right things. They told him what to eat before the race in 1987. And he thought, I've trained well so I can eat what I want. And so he didn't eat what they told him to eat. He ate what he felt like eating. He said, but at mile 11, he felt the call of nature that could not be ignored.

And some of you heard I preach a full message on just from his one race. And so what he did was there was a member of his church whose house was right down the street from the race course. And so he just went down the street to this sister's house and knocked on her door. She said, oh, pastor, what you doing? He said, I'm in the race, but can I use your bathroom?

She said, oh, sure, come on in. And he went and used the bathroom. He said, but when I got up, yes, he had to get up. All right, we got the revelation.

Everybody got the revelation. He said, when I got up and washed my hands and left the bathroom, my legs began to talk to me. And he said, they said to me, if you think we're still in this race, you got another thought coming. He said, my legs shut down, and I was done. And then the third thing that he did right, that he didn't know to do the first thing the first time, the second time, the thing he did right, besides correcting those two mistakes, is he had somebody to help him to increase his effectiveness.

Now, he didn't even know about this, at least how it was going to play out. He said, but he had an experienced marathoner in his church, a woman who ran it, and she was experienced. And when she heard he was going to do it again five years later, and he told the church, I'm going again, pray for me. He said, she came up to me and said, pastor, I'm so proud of you, glad you're going to do it again. And she said, listen, I run every other year these days.

I don't run it every year like I used to. She said, and this is not my year to run it, but if you don't mind, I want to help you cross the finish line this time. And he said, oh, by all means, whatever you can do to help me. She said, well, I know that you're going to hit the wall at least twice during the race, so if you don't mind, I'm going to station somebody at key places where I think you're going to hit the wall.

And he said, when they see you, they'll call out to you, and all you got to do is run by, and they're going to hand you something that I will give them to hand you that will help you. And he said, all right. And when he was running the race and he did his preparation right and he did his eating right, he got past that 11 mile point with no call. He said, I was feeling good. He said, but when I got to mile 14, I hit the wall.

Marathon is 26.2 miles. When I got to mile 14, I hit the wall. He said, which means I felt like my energy's completely gone, I can't go any farther. He said, just then, I heard somebody say, Pastor Thompson. I looked over, he said, she had stationed one of the members of the church, and they had a half-peeled banana and a cup of water.

And I went by and grabbed them. They said, go ahead, Pastor. And I drank the water and tossed the cup, and he said, I started eating that banana. He said, man, let me tell you, God was in that banana. God was in that banana. See, she knew that the banana would have a property that would help him. I guess it's the potassium or something.

You all would know. And so she knew that that would help him, and it renewed his strength. And he broke through that wall, that threshold. He said, I hit mile 15, hit mile 16, hit mile 17. He said, when I got to mile 18, I felt the drainage again. And he said, oh, man, I made it farther than the first time, but I still don't believe I'm going to have to drop out at mile 18. He said, just then, I heard, Pastor Thompson. He said, and I looked over, and she hadn't just stationed another person from the church with another cup of water and a banana. He said, it was the sister herself. He said, when I ran over to her, instead of her just handing me the stuff and saying, go on, like the first person, he said, she jumped out on the road.

He said, then I saw that she had her own number. And as we began to run, she told me, Pastor, you know, this isn't my year to run, but I was so anxious to make sure you were effective this time. I decided, let me go on and get a number, and I'll just meet you at mile 18, and I'll run the last 8.2 miles with you to make sure you cross the finish line. See, if you've got a friend, a friend is somebody who won't just say, go ahead. Sometimes a friend will have to get in the race with you.

Oh, I'm preaching better than you saying amen. A friend will get in the race with you. A friend will come alongside you, find out what you need. He said, she handed me my banana. She had the water.

I drank that right away and tossed a cup. He said, and then she just talked and talked. She knew I was too winded. I ain't had nothing to say. I was winded.

I'm trying to survive. He said, but she did all the talking. She wasn't trying to get me to do what I couldn't do. She said, oh, Pastor, we're so proud of you. I can't wait till we get to church, and we're going to announce your victory to the church. They're going to go up in prayer. Oh, Pastor, this is so exciting. We have a great day today. They just talked.

She talked for 8.2 miles because she knew she needed to keep his mind off of how he felt and get his mind on the finish line. Some of y'all need to let somebody be a banana friend to you and jump in your race and help you get across the finish line. They'll sharpen you. They'll make you better than you are by yourself. You need the kind of people who, when they're gone, your life, quality of life is hurting because they spent good time and energy and effort making you better, increased effectiveness.

Let me move on quickly. The E stands for encouraging words. 1 Samuel chapter 23 tells us the story of David at one of the worst times in his life. David is on the run from his friend Jonathan's daddy who is King Saul.

You know the biblical context? David did nothing wrong. He only tried to serve the king, but the king had a spirit of jealousy that was crazy because the king had been rejected by God for his own, not only disobedience, but refusal to repent. And so God told Saul, I rejected you, and Saul knew that God's hand was on David to be his successor, and he didn't want a successor. He wanted to remain king, and even though God rejected him, he took it out on David. So David was a fugitive. In fact, when you look at the history of it, David ran. He was a fugitive for 10 years.

Imagine 10 years of your life you spend running from somebody. All you did was help. All you did was serve them well. All you did was take care of their needs. All you did was promote them.

All you did was make them better. But yet something that was in him would not stop pursuing David. And David's a fugitive, and he's somewhere hiding, but his friend finds him. You know a friend because a friend will find you no matter where you are. God will make sure a friend can catch up with you when you need them the most.

And look at what happens. When Jonathan goes to David at Horesh and helps him, he helps him by helping him find strength in God. King James said he strengthened his hands in the Lord. He helped him find strength in God.

You need friends who will help you find strength in God. And then look at the next verse. He says, Jonathan says to David, Don't be afraid. My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you.

Even my father Saul knows this. You've got to understand now, Jonathan is the king's son. By all rights, Jonathan would expect to be his daddy's successor.

He would expect to be the next king. But he is such a friend that he encourages David and reminds him, God has promised the throne to you. God has promised to you what rightly should be mine. But I'm not going to be like my daddy. My daddy has heard from God and rejected it. I have heard from God, and I'm going to be excited for you, even though what I heard from God demotes me.

Y'all missed that. See, I can tell I got a friend because when God blesses me, they get happy. You ever had somebody you thought was a friend, but the acid test was God started blessing you, and they started rolling their eyes all up in the back of their head, and they started putting little punchy Facebook things on and little innuendo, and they started looking at you different and acting funny and all of that, and they started saying, you think you cute? No, you must think I'm cute the way you reacting. You ever seen somebody get ugly trying to describe how uncute somebody else is? Thinks he ain't all that. Well, why your face torn up?

You must think she's all that, else your face wouldn't be torn up, and you're not cute enough to tear your face up, so you need to cut it out. You know why you got mad? I said it. I'm the one who said it. Look at those encouraging words. He said, although your blessing is going to demote me, I'm excited for you. You know you got a friend when they can encourage you even if it costs them, that they can get excited about your job even when they lost theirs.

Come on, somebody. They can get excited about your house even though theirs got foreclosed on, because, see, when you got a friend and they got a house, you got a crash pad if you really push, come to shove. Well, I'm going to get mad at your house before I'm living in my car.

You would at least give me your basement or something, short term, something. You would do something to help me if we're really friends. Don't get mad at friends that get money.

That means if you all have a real friendship, you can get broke off a little bit. I told you, when I was a young man in my early 20s, my best friend, just before he died, he died tragically, had a heart condition, but just before that, he had signed a contract to play for the Atlanta Hawks. He and I were going to spend a lot of money.

It was going to be on. And he died unexpectedly. I eulogized my best friend in my 20s, and it was one of the most painful times in my life because we had grown to be so close. I helped him assure and develop his renewal of his commitment to Christ in the last days of his life. The day before he died, we spent 10 hours together, and we spent a lot of that time talking about the Lord.

It's the most unusual thing, but God had it set up because he was backslidden. He had gotten his girlfriend pregnant, and he was just really wondering about his life. He didn't even tell me about the pregnancy.

She told me later he was so ashamed, and he was trying to figure out how to tell you and all of that stuff. But I spent that day not knowing God was using me to make sure he understood God's love didn't run out just because he had messed up. And before I left him that night, he had a smile on his face, and he was basking in the reality that God loved him and that God received him fully. And neither of us knew that 12 hours later he'd be laying in the hospital morgue.

Listen, you need a friend who can bless you and help you and encourage you no matter what it costs them. And thank God Jonathan was able to make David feel good about his success even though it demoted his friend. Now look at the N. The N stands for notable, notable sacrifices. What do I mean by that? Well, an example of that is in 2 Samuel chapter 23, 2 Samuel chapter 23.

There you'll find, let me just give it to you real quick. David now is in a place. He's got some mighty warriors around him, some men who are flanking him. And they're in a war scenario, and David is extremely thirsty. And David says, I wish I could get some water to quench my thirst. And three of his mighty men heard that, and look at what they did. They broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem, and carried it back to David over a simple request that we don't even know how serious he was about it.

You know, sometimes you just express your exhaustion, your frustration. I wish I had. He didn't ask anybody to do it.

He just said, I wish. And these three men risked their lives to grant him his wish. It was so impactful to David that he refused to drink it when they came back with the water. Instead, he poured it out before the Lord because it was so precious.

He knew it was so precious not only to him, but to God, that they were committed to him at that level, that he turned it into a spiritual sacrifice. Now, see, you all carnal, so the first thought you was, look, if I go lay down my life, see, I know, I know that's where you all were. I wish I would go risk my life. They don't want to kill me.

And I come out, you better drink that water. You don't get it. They got their blessing because God saw their heart. And he blessed them to overcome in the war, in large part because he saw the heart of people like those three mighty warriors. And God gave them the victory. At the end of the day, if God doesn't give you the victory, not only is David going to die a thirst, all of you all are going to die. So you got to get it straight. So it was no slap in the face. It was nothing short of David realizing, God, you have blessed me in so many ways, and one of the ways you've blessed me is to put people like this in my life.

And he blessed God for that. You have to have people who are willing to sacrifice. See, I can't use a friend who gives me their hours. Personally, you might be able to work with that. The way my life goes, you can't be my friend and say, now, call me up till 9.30 because you know I go to bed early. Your regular routine, whenever you go to bed, that's fine. But if I'm a friend and I need you at 2.30 in the morning, you're going to have to lose some sleep.

Anybody feel me on that? I can't work with, I can't wait till it's 8 in the morning so I can call him. The devil might have killed me by 8 in the morning. I need some help 2.30 in the morning. Get your butt up. Don't even lay down, try to talk to me. I just woke you up and you're going to try to stay comfortable under the covers and try to understand whether I can use that. I hear you all snuggled in there. No, that's not going to work for me. Get up, get out to bed, walk in another room so your wife don't hear you.

Sprinkle some water, turn on the light, do something. Show me that I'm more important in your sleep in this moment. I need somebody who's willing to make the notable sacrifice. Thanks for being here for today's message, That's What Friends Are For. If you'd like more information about the Destined for Victory ministry or this month's special thank you gift for your generous donation, be sure to stop by our website,

That's There are some good things that are stored up in you, but it is up to you to bring them out of you. God put it in, now you bring it out. God gives the vision, you make it a reality. You cannot say, well, the same God who gave me the vision is just going to make it happen. That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Finding the Right Partners. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-23 07:33:00 / 2023-08-23 07:42:46 / 10

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