“A friend is always loyal, 
      and a brother is born to help in time of need.”  Proverbs 17:17
     I’ve never jumped out of a plane.  Never actually wanted to.  Sure it looks like fun, but why jump out of a perfectly good aircraft?  I have been in one of those wind tunnel free-fall sky diving simulators though.  I put on the flight suit, got my “pre-flight” briefing and entered the chamber.  There are certainly a lot of things to remember when you’re in the air!  The angles of your legs matter… your arm position matters… if you make a mistake, your body speeds up its descent toward the ground and you sink like a stone.   
    While I was in the simulator I couldn’t help but think that if this were a REAL jump from a plane, we’d need someone even more important with us.  Someone who, besides the pilot, would have an impact on my experience in a profound way.  That person?  The parachute packer. 
Yes… the one who would put that nylon piece of cloth into my backpack just right.  He would literally have my entire life in his hands.  If he mis-packed it… or didn’t check the releases… or neglected to close the bag correctly… I was in trouble.  My parachute tech would need to be there for me and make sure my jump was a successful one.  
When I successfully landed on the ground, he’d be the first hand I’d like to shake.   
Why?  Because he was there for me when I needed him.  He had allowed me to get through a scary time simply by being there for me and doing what he needed to do for me to be successful.
So here’s my question for you today… who is packing your parachute?  Who is it that is there for you when you need them?  Who is making sure you are ok when life scares you or makes you wonder.  Do you have someone in your life that is taking care of you?  Holding you up?  Ensuring you will land ok?  If so, count your blessings. That person is who the Bible is talking about in today’s verse:  “A friend is always loyal….”  Friends are to be treasured, appreciated, and loved.  People say that if you have 5 great friends over the course of your lifetime you are lucky.  I say think bigger.  Hang around with people that honor God with their lives, will be there for you, honor you with their words and actions, and challenge you (in love) if the need arises.  
Which brings me to my final question of the day…. Who’s parachute are you putting in the bag?  Do you have people in your life that trust you?  Is there someone counting on you to be there for them in crisis?   Honor that commitment!  Christ wants us to be that type of friend to others:  trustworthy, loyal, and loving… just like Him.  

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