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I HAVE FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES

Garth Brooks' song has ascended, descended, come and gone, and been forgotten. People all over America sang along with him for awhile as he glorified the camaraderie of drinking buddies and the bravado of a scorned lover getting even with his ex. Not exactly sermon material. But then again, he may be on to something. I do have friends in low places.

I'VE GOT FRIENDS IN THE LOW PLACE OF SIN. The first verse of Love Lifted Me reads, "I was sinking deep in sin, Far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, Sinking to rise no more, But the Master of the sea Heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me-Now safe am I." We sing it in the past tense, but many of our friends would have to use present tense verbs to be honest. Sin always brings the sinner down: "0 remember not against us former iniquities; let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low" (Psa. 79:8); "...and were brought low for their iniquity" (Psa. 106:43). When the prodigal son had spend all his money on wine, women, and song, he found his fair weather friends had somewhere else to be (Lk. 15:13, 14). He soon found himself at the lowest point in his life-a pig farmer! To a Jew, there was hardly a lower job. To top it off, he was so hungry he wanted to eat the pig's food, but he could not. He is a picture of those who do not know Christ--and- His Gospel.   -Speak--a -saving word-to your- friends- in -low places (Mk. 16:15).

I'VE GOT FRIENDS IN THE LOW PLACE OF BACKSLIDING. When Jonah rebelled against God he went down to Joppa, down into the ship, down into the ocean, and then down into the belly of the fish (Jonah 1:3, 15, 17). As with Jonah, all backsliders sink lower and lower as they move away from God. When someone falls down, they need a helping hand to lift them up. So it is with our friends who have forsaken Christ. Why not give them a helping hand and an encouraging word (Gal. 6:1, 2)? Speak a reproving word to these friends in low places.

I'VE GOT FRIENDS IN THE LOW PLACE OF DISCOURAGEMENT. Do you know any whose secret prayer might sound like David's, "Attend unto my cry; for I am bought very low..." (Psa. 142:6)? Many around us may "paint on a happy face in the morning," but if the truth were known " ... they are ... brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow" (Psa. 107:39). We need to turn sad eyes to Calvary and Christ. "The Lord preserved the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me" (Psa. 116:6). Speak an encouraging word. It can make all the difference to friends in low places.

I'VE GOT FRIENDS ON THE ROAD TO THE LOW PLACE OF HELL. The majority is traveling the road whose signs read, "DESTRUCTION AHEAD." Its lanes are all downhill. The rich man had to lift up his eyes to see Abraham's bosom (Lk. 16:23). It is a pit into which sinners are cast (Rev. 20:3). If our friends could see that the path they travel plunges into the abyss, maybe they would change. Speak a sobering word to your friends on the road to low places.

"Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate"

(Rm. 12:16b).-thanks to Keith Mosher, Sr. for the idea