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 25 July 2015 Proverbs 17:17‏

Proverbs 17:17.  A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Ah Friends, one more day, one more day on God’s planet earth this Saturday morning! Praise the Lord! He allocates them one at a time, which means we have to enjoy each one as it comes along, because we don’t know if we will see another one tomorrow. In His infinite wisdom He might just decide that we have enjoyed enough of His breath of life down here, and it’s time to move on to higher matters and heights.

So please, let’s all give our Creator, Provider and heavenly Father a rousing shout of ‘Thank You Lord! Thank You for Jesus and all that You have done for us unworthy humans. We are Your creation and though we rebelled against You, Your LOVE for us was so great, You found a way through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross at Calvary to reconcile us to You. We can never repay Your LOVING-kindness, but we will be forever grateful! Thank You Lord! We LOVE You and Praise Your Holy Name!’

Yes my people, it’s ever so wonderful to serve and worship such a magnificent and magnanimous God!

Now here is a quote attributed to one of our early church fathers, St. John Chrysostom (349-407). He was born in Antioch and became the Bishop of Constantinople. Constantinople was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine on the already existing city of Byzantium, part of the Byzantine Empire. It is now known as Istanbul, part of modern day Turkey.  

St. John was well known for his writings, public speaking and influence on church affairs, including his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders.  Anyway, his quote says: ‘A friend is clearer than the light of heaven, for it would be better for us that the sun were extinguished than that we should be without friends.’

Ah mih breddren, I don’t know if I would go so far nuh, (smile) but Friends definitely are useful and necessary, especially in these very trying and deceitful times. And according to my One More Day Devotional for People with Chronic Illness: ‘Friendship is our greatest achievement and reward. Our friends are people to care about, celebrate with, and count on.

Within the closest friendships we find the best of each other at all times. Friendships enrich our lives… It is no accident that we become close and maintain our contact. We offer help and hope. We share each other’s pain and enhance each other’s growth. We appreciate our friend’s unique qualities.’

It’s all true my people, but it’s ever so hard to find one of those real friends nowadays, where distrust, deceit, fraud and all kinds of evil are rising to the forefront of our society, where trust is no longer the rule, but rather the exception. 

All of that eventually brings us to our Bit. ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ What awesome truth my people! And how lucky, or rather blessed we are, if we can find even one person to fit that bill in our earthly lives!

The scholars explain it thus: ‘17:17. A true friend has unquenchable LOVE that is not diminished by adversity.’

Ah Friends, do we have that kind of LOVE for anyone in our lives, or does anyone have that kind of LOVE for us? I certainly do hope so, otherwise we’re missing out on a most important part of life.

And what I want to do now is to quote some scripture from Proverbs, where Cousin Sol writes a lot about friends and friendships. Don’t know how many we’ll get in, because there quite a few. We’ll do it by chapters, beginning with 14. ‘The poor is hated even of (by) his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends (the LOVERS of the rich are many.’ (Prov.14:20) And that’s gospel truth!

The scholars put it this way. ‘14:20. Social standing is improved with riches, but the good neighbour will have concern for all, regardless of their status.’ That’s how it’s supposed to be, but there aren’t a whole lot of good neighbors around these days nuh.

In Chapter 16, Sol writes: ‘A froward (perverse) man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief (the best of) friends.’ (Prov.16:28)

And the scholars simply say of this: ‘16:28. Gossip destroys friendships.’

Now we all know that is an indisputable truth since we all have experienced it to some extent. And it hurts like the dickens!

And in chapter 17, early on, Sol says almost the same thing. ‘He that covereth a transgression seeketh LOVE; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very (the best of) friends.’ (Prov.17:9)

Now that’s the real difference between a true friend and an imposter! One will keep quiet about certain private matters, while the other will go and broadcast them to the world.

Meanwhile in chapter 18, Sol pens this highly interesting and oh so true proverb. ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov.18:24)

Now that doesn’t mean exactly what it says. Listen to the scholars. ‘18:24. A man that hath many 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 it is to have (a few) genuine friends who become like family and LOVE at all times (17:17).’ 

And isn’t that the unfortunate truth my brethren! We all know of people who have suffered irreparable damage by having too many hangers on in their lives. Celebrities are a very good example of that. Some of us might even have experienced it.

And these last two come from chapter 27. ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.’ (Prov.27:6)

Hear the scholars: ‘27:6. True criticism from a friend may hurt for a time but may be welcomed, for it issues from his LOVE, whereas the kisses of an enemy are an attempt to conceal his hatred.’

And last but definitely not least: ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.’ (Prov.27:17)

And the scholars explain that thus. ‘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 friendship.’

Now that is the kind of friends we need in these last desperate days! Oh my people, I do hope now that we have a better understanding of what true friendship is all about. So let’s put that understanding into practice nuh, but carefully, for easy does it. Much LOVE!

…I bring myself honestly to my friendships…  (One More Day Devotional).