Stand By Me

John Tilton

James 5:19-20 Brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back,remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
These scriptures bring to mind a well known song, "Stand By Me." One of the renown phrases in the song is "somebody to lean on." James exhorts us to be cognizant and ready to be used by God when the opportunity arises to guide someone back in line with God's will through his grace, when they have fallen in sin. James also points out that our act in helping to turn them from their sinful ways, will save them from the ramifications of a sinful and unrepentant life. We in essence become the pillar of truth and hope that others who have sinned can lean on because we are willing to stand by them. Yet, how often do we let the opportunity pass thinking that we don't have the time to invest or thinking that someone else can and will do it? This situation and act is an example of the love of Christ at it's finest ... why? When we stand by people so that they can lean on us, we usually don't realize a tangible gift in return ... right? So is it pride and being self-cenrered that prevents us from reaching out and helping others? Are we willing to be Christ-like when there doesn't seem to be a benefit for us, but rather a burden of time and effort? James states that if we understand Christ, the benefit and blessing is there for us knowing that we are doing Christ's will and that we are helping to keep someone from death. The benefit is knowing the joy that fills our heart to see someone's life changed and renewed.
I have the current pleasure of standing by a brother in Christ who was serving in ministry and has fallen. I once walked in similar shoes and was blessed to have Pastor Wayne stand by me. I can only imagine where I would be if he did not do so. However, I have seen the numerous and multitude of blessings I have realized because someone was willing to stand by me and give me spiritual guidance and support. I am serving God full time and blessed to be doing it side-by-side with my wife; blessed with a beautiful family and grandson that would probably not be in this present picture of life if Pastor Wayne did not stand by me so that I could lean on him for counsel, correction, encouragement and hope. Now, I am privileged and honored to do the same for a brother in Christ that I get to "pass it on" to. Perhaps I will not realize any tangible benefit, which is not my intention or goal. But rather the point on the matter is that I am realizing a heartfelt joy knowing that I am able to do to someone what was done for me in love and support. I get to example Christ and see someone's life changed, like He changed my life for eternity.
Dear Lord, You stood by us when you allowed your son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. You also continue to remind us that you are standing by us for eternity so that we can lean on your grace and mercy. Thank you for the opportunity to "pass on" the love and support I once received. Please guide me to speak resolution, restoration, hope and love into this brother's life, yet still help him to remember the error of his ways and the consequences that await those who defer from your loving hands and grace.

Devotions for July 21

2 Kings 18,19
2 Chronicles 32
James 5

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