Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 June 2009 Proverbs 27:17‏

Proverbs 27:17      Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Ah mih Friends, it’s been another hot, muggy day, with only a sparse amount of rain to cool the proceedings, but we’re still alive and plodding on, no, motoring on, for the servants of the Most High God Jehovah don’t plod, they motor, showing purpose and decisiveness in action that the Holy Spirit divines in the followers of His Son, our Lord and Saviour, the ONLY Superstar; Jesus Christ. Bless His Holy Name my people! Today we’re continuing with the subject of Friends and Friendships, and the Bit I was guided to choose is a powerful scripture that says a lot about it. More wisdom from Sol: ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.’ Wow! What does that mean? In actuality, only something as hard or strong as metal can sharpen it, or cause it to change its shape, since it’s the hard play of one surface against the other that motivates the sharpening and changing process. Even when metal is heated we still need metal tools to shape it into whatever we desire. That translates to another fact; one object is giving unselfishly of itself to the other, honing it, making it better, improving it, and being glad to see the improvement. The same basic laws apply to humans and friendships. ‘So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend,’ means that one friend will uplift the other, strengthen and encourage him, morally, intellectually, emotionally, financially, whatever the friend needs to improve their situation, not forgetting biblically, like I’m trying to do here. (smile) Let’s consider Jesus, when he was here on earth. Now mih people, there never was, is, or ever will be a stronger bit of iron than Him. Just look at how He took the lowliest, the least educated, the socially unattractive and sharpened them nuh; made them fishers of men. He didn’t just gather them together and treat them like a wild herd. No, He spent valuable time teaching them, both by words and example, so that they could go out and do His will. He unselfishly and tirelessly explained His philosophy over and over, although they never fully got it until after His ascension and the Holy Spirit filled their lives. And having told them everything He knew, Jesus stopped calling them servants, but instead called them Friends, because they had risen to a higher level of understanding and fellowship with Him. Ah my people, to be a true friend is to really test your mettle. It means being there in both the good and bad times, sometimes being the only one lending support, giving without expecting to receive, yet trusting that if the situation was reversed, others would do the same for you. It means taking risks on behalf of the other person, whatever risks that are necessary to solve the situation, sometimes even risking our lives. Now that’s not easy, so it entails having a great deal of faith and trust in that person, if you’re going to stick your neck out for them. That’s why Sol warns about standing surety for friends in Prov.6:1. Friendships also go through tests; of circumstances, places and times. Friends move away, their circumstances change, for better or worse, and all these things can impact significantly on a friendship. I have a few friends in different locations and circumstances whom I haven’t seen in years, and we only communicate occasionally, but whenever we do meet, it’s like we’ve been together every day, because a firm bond of friendship was originally formed, which was strong enough to stand the test of time and circumstances. And if anyone needs anything we think the other can provide, there’s no hesitation to get in touch and ask for help. That’s another important requirement of friendship; that neither party is afraid to ask for assistance, since they know that their friend will move heaven and earth to help them. That’s why Sol so strenuously declared that a true friend always shows LOVE and is always there in times of adversity. A great example of that is Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, after their men folk died and Naomi decided to return to her homeland. She told her two daughters-in-law to go back to their own people. Orpah did so, but ‘Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.’ (Ruth 1:16-17) Now that’s what you call true friendship and allegiance! And remember the two women were from totally different cultures, only had a son/husband in common. But Naomi must have shown Ruth something that kept her irresistibly by her side. She must surely have sharpened her countenance; lived a life that Ruth found to be a worthwhile example, so much so, that she wanted more of it, dreaded being separated from her. Oh my people, as believers that’s the kind of trust, faith, belief and dedication we need to bring out in others, especially those we consider friends….and if I spell friends wrong one more time, I’m going to mash up the computer. Would you believe that I’ve spelt it wrong more often than not? Chuh! But freind…Steups! Ah spell it wrong again. And even though friendship is not an easy role to play, to really live, to really make a difference in the lives of others, it’s a role that we must play. If we don’t have any strong friendships, then we’re sadly lacking in life and living. Note, we don’t need many, but we do need a few. Humans are social animals, not hard hearted isolationists, so there must be a few persons that we genuinely cherish, that we’re willing to go the last mile for, and know that they will return the favour without hesitation. That’s what Friends and Friendships are all about. So let’s steadfastly work on, and richly value our Friends and Friendships. More tomorrow, God willing. Till then, may God bless and nurture all our Friends and Friendships. Much LOVE!…a true friend…will always come running when you call…

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