Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 November 2021 Proverbs 13:20.

Proverbs 13:20.     He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Okay friends, it’s Saturday morning, and like the last few days, we can’t tell whether it’s going to be cloudy or sunshiny because it keeps changing from one to the other. You’d wake up and look outside, like I did this morning, and see bright sunshine and give thanks for a sunshiny day, but a little while later when you again look out, it’s become cloudy. 

Chuh! The day can’t seem to make up its mind, but we don’t have any trouble doing that with Jesus in our lives. So let’s give thanks for our first blessing of the day nuh; that is, we woke up this morning. Praise the Lord! Our heavenly Father was graceful and merciful enough to allow His breath of life to keep flowing through our bodies, and for that we ought to be ever thankful, because from that flows everything else. Without breath we can’t do anything. Consequently, let’s say thank you Lord for waking me this morning, and ask that you stay with me throughout the entire day since I can’t get through it successfully without your help. Thank You Lord! Amen! 

And now that we’ve given sincere thanks, (smile) let’s turn to the ordinary matters of the day, like checking out the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one declares: ‘It’s not what we have in life, but who we have in our life that matters.’ That’s the indisputable truth! It’s the people around you that make you and your life successful and worthwhile, or not. 

You can have all the wealth and possessions in the world and still be unhappy because you don’t have true and decent people around you. But then, with the right people around you and not a penny in your pocket, you can have a joyful life. Possessions don’t make the man, it’s the people around him. 

That’s why this next quote strongly advises: ‘Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” And do we ever need that kind of companion in these turbulent and deceitful times my brethren. For as Cousin Sol warns in Proverbs: ‘He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.’ (Prov. 13:20) That’s because both wisdom and folly can be transferred by association, so you need to associate with those who are higher up the ladder than you, who can teach you something worthwhile and lift you up to their level, not people who will drag you down to theirs. 

And therein is the reason Bruh Paul warned in his first epistle to the church at Corinth: ‘Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt (bad company corrupts) good manners (habits).’ (1 Cor. 13:33) Or as one translation puts it: ‘Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  And Cousin Sol tells us on that subject; ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly (or may come to ruin): and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov. 18:24) In other words a man with a lot of unreliable friends usually comes to ruin, while a few worthy friends are ofttimes worth more than a brother. 

We see that writ larger than life in all the hangers ons found in the entourages of today’s celebrities. When they are on top of the world, they have numerous people hanging around them calling themselves friends, but as soon as their sun wanes, the so-called friends, drift away, because there’s no more free life left to be had. And in all of that is the implied advice that you need Christian people around you, people who pray, who have the same basic objectives and beliefs like you. 

No wonder Bruh Paul advised the Thessalonians: ‘Wherefore comfort yourselves together (encourage each other), and edify (build up) one another, even as also ye do (are already doing). (1 Thess. 5:11) So in plain today language, he’s saying: ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing right now.’ And we also see the results of prayer in friendships, for after Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)

 Meanwhile, the next quote says: ‘Friendship is when people know all about you but like you anyway.’ More awesome truth there my fellow saints! That’s the backbone of true friendship, liking each other despite our faults and foibles. We all have weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, so if we turn away as soon as we espy some difference, something we don’t particularly like in another, then we won’t have any friends or friendships at all. That’s why it’s ever so important to limit the number of your friends, and also to know them as intimately as possible, and make sure you all are on the same basic page. 

Cousin Sol, in his inimitable, unique manner, describes friendship thus: ‘Ointment and perfume rejoice (delight) the heart; so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel (counsel of the soul).’ (Prov. 27:9) Or as one translation puts it: ‘Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.’ Or more succinctly, ‘A sweet friendship refreshes the soul’ And there’s no doubting the awesome truth of those words, because that’s the whole basis of friendship, to help, encourage and look out for each other. 

And the following quote shows up that contention in spades. ‘You find out who your real friends are when you’re involved in a scandal.’ Now that one takes the cake…because it’s oh so true! We see it blown up in the media every day in the lives of the politicians, the celebrities, the wealthy and the powerful. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t also happen in the lives of the lesser known individuals, it just doesn’t get as much exposure. Right now that kind of stuff is what’s driving the news and social media platforms. 

Those who were supposedly friends before the scandal broke, are now dishing dirt on their earlier relationships, either to extricate themselves from any fallout, or for their own aggrandizement. There’s absolutely no solidarity or having each other’s back in our crazy, angry, deceitful, selfish and totally misled world. And we see that in the exchanges between Job and his supposed friends. They lay grief on him, without knowing the truth of the situation, but he replies. ‘To him that is afflicted (in despair) pity (kindness) should be showed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.’ (Job. 6:14) Or, “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” 

If you can’t be kind to a friend, then whom will you be kind to eh? That brings us to this last quote. ‘In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.’ And you better had believe it! Please note, how a cookie isn’t chocked full of chocolate chips, but only a handful, and the few that it contains are spread around, so that you can taste one with each bite. That’s the way friends and friendships are; few and far between, but sturdy and close enough to make a difference in a time of need. 

So, please my fellow saints, let’s concentrate on making a few, good, close, sturdy, long lasting friendships that will uplift our lives and the lives of those around us, with Jesus as the basic foundation of them all. Much LOVE!

…friendship is like the ice cream on a cone…or like the icing on a cake…they complement each other so well… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   13 November 2021 John 15:13.

John 15:13.     Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

So, finally it’s Saturday, and no more work for two, whole, big days! Glory be! But we can’t laze on the couch too much either because there’s housework to be done; stuff that we did not get done during the workweek. So, as they say, there’s just no rest for the wicked! But that’s okay, we can handle anything we have to with the amazing help of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who enables us to do all things. And it’s that enablement I’m counting on right now, (smile) as I try to make some sense of the quotes we got this past week from our friend Anselm, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Now, the first quote says; ‘To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.’ And we know that’s one of the tenets of our Christian faith: you have to believe or imagine it before you see it. That’s what the Good Book tells us in that famous verse on faith, in Hebrews. ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb. 11:1) Yes friends, faith has us waiting with eager expectations for stuff that we’ve imagined or prayed for. The only problem here is that it ought to be in God’s will, or His plan for our lives. And if it is, then we know we will receive it, in His timing, that’s why we can wait eagerly for it. 

The timing scene can ofttimes be a problem though, because waiting is not in our current playbook, we want everything now for now, and the Lord seems to wait until the very last moment. But He’s never late, although we might feel so. That’s the good things about it. That’s why we need to take these two verses from Psalm 27 to heart, where Bruh David adamantly declares: ‘I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait (in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.’ (Ps. 27:13-14) 

Oh my people, if we can plant those two verses in our hearts, then we have won most of the battle! Believe that God will be good to us down here on earth, since Christ said that He came so we could have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) And since you believe that, then you simply wait expectantly for the goodness of the Lord to show. It’s like when you’ve ordered something online that you greatly desire, and you know it’s going to come, but you’re just not sure when, but you still eagerly wait for it. The same way we must eagerly wait for God’s goodness, because it will come eventually. 

Wow! Like I got carried away there. But getting carried away with the Lord’s business is quite okay! (smile) That brings us to the next quote, which is almost the same as the first. ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.’ Yes, we do need to follow our dreams as much as possible, that is if they coincide with God’s plan for us, for if they don’t our dreams will certainly get sidetracked. 

And I can give personal testimony to that since I never in my wildest dreams thought about writing scriptural stuff. Writing was one of my dreams yes, but not on the Lord’s Word. But He obviously had other ideas. So, here I am living my dream of writing, but not what I had intended to write, (smile) because it did not fall completely in line with God’s plans for my writing life. But nevertheless, I’m happy and contented, and still do some of the other writing on the side, so I can’t complain. 

And the next quote tells us: ‘A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden.’ And is that ever the gospel truth! True friends are few and far between, and if you ever are blessed enough to get even one true one, then shout ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ and hold on to them for dear life! There are so many scriptures on the subject of real, good and true friends, that we need to consider some of them. And most of them obviously come from the wisest man ever, that’s Cousin Sol. 

Oh, before we go further, one other thing we need to admit and realize here that the flip side of most of these scriptures are also true; that is, we should not only be looking for a true friend, but also be working on being a true friend ourselves. Now listen to Cousin Sol from Proverbs. He writes: ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ (Prov. 17:17) That means ‘a true friend has unquenchable LOVE that is not diminished by adversity.’ And hear this one: ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov. 18:24) 

Now what does that all mean? The scholars tell us: ‘18:24. A man that hath friends must show himself friendly may also be translated, “A man of many friends comes to ruin.” In other words, a man must not spread himself too thin among many superficial relationships. Far better is it to have genuine friends who become like family and LOVE at all times (17:17).’ Truer words were never spoken. 

Then there’s this most timely warning: ‘Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways and get a snare to thy soul.’ (Prov. 22:24-25) Ah mih people, that simply means, ‘Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.’ And that’s the living truth, since the traits of those we associate with can easily be transferred to us. 

And this one proves what we just said. ‘He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.’ (Prov. 13:20) And the scholars explain that thus. ‘Wisdom as well as folly can be transferred by association.’ And if you haven’t found out that bit of wisdom already, please don’t try to prove it, unless it’s to walk with the wise. (smile) Oh friends, there’s good reason why Cousin Sol is described as the wisest man ever, although he didn’t live it out in his own life. But that’s the same with all of us; we give good advice but never take the same advice for ourselves. 

Now hear this magnificent word on friendship. ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.’ (Prov. 27:17) And the scholars explain. ‘27:17. As the proper tool shapes and sharpens iron for its desired use, so a man sharpens his friend morally and intellectually by their personal relationship.’ 

And listen to this last one from Cousin Sol, written as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes. ‘Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow (companion): but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.’ (Eccl. 4:9-10) More awesome truth friends! If you don’t have anyone beside you and you fall, then crapaud smoke yuh pipe. No wonder, the Lord, after He made Adam, said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him (a helper comparable to him).’ (Gen. 2:18) And that’s how Eve came about. 

But the greatest word ever on true friendship obviously comes from the greatest One who ever lived; our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Hear him declare to the disciples, and consequently to us: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ (John 15:13) Then He called them friends, and laid down His life for them, for all of those who would believe in Him. That’s what true friendship is all about my fellow saints! 

And the last quote simply says: ‘Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.’ And we do that by befriending someone in some form or fashion, lifting them up, being a light in their darkness, the way the Lord put a rainbow in the sky to assure Noah that He would not destroy the world by water again, (Gen. 9:8-17) and the way Jesus died to bring light to our darkened souls. Much LOVE!

…friendship…God’s eternal design between man and man…and between man and God…                                                                                                                          

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