Friends and Thanksgiving — A Meditation on Proverbs 18:24

Friends and Thanksgiving – Proverbs 18:24

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Banquets, anniversaries, and friends. How do you manage them all? On Friday morning received an invitation to attend a student’s anniversary celebration. On Friday afternoon the pastor’s wife called me to request that I speak at her church’s Thanksgiving banquet. Only by the grace of God was I able to give my well wishes to the student-pastor at noon and then be in place to share a devotional at the Thanksgiving banquet.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs says much about friendship. The writer of Proverbs uses his antithetical parallelism to speak of the highs and the lows of friendship. At every level there is dependability. You can depend on friends for better or worse. Let’s begin at the bottom and see where it leads.

Harassing Friends – These are friends who you can depend upon to lead you astray. They are your “dare-and-double-dare-you” friends. When the writer of Proverbs in chapter 1 speaks of the companions of the youth inviting him to crime, these are harassing friends. See Proverbs 1:10-19.

Happenstance Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend in a pinch. Your paths cross by happenstance, but these friends are there for good and God. Proverbs 27:10 says, “better a neighbor nearby that a brother far away.” On an Easter weekend I found I had a problem. I had been visiting family, and when I stopped about noon I made a bad discovery. Stuck in the tread of a tire I spotted a screw. What was I to do. I reported the problem to a member of the family. She called the tire store that had serviced her car when she had a flat. They said they closed at 1 PM, but they would wait until I got to the shop. I drove to the shop on State Line Road, met the men who were working on their car for a weekend race. They put my car on the rack, removed the screw, and plugged the tire. All this took about fifteen minutes. I asked the service technician the question, “How much do I owe you?” He said, “Five dollars.” The men working at Haywood Tires were being happenstance friends. Thank God for every one you and I meet. Pray that you and I can be that too.

Honorable Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend time and again. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Glenda is on my honorable friends list. When my late wife was ill, Glenda supported the family and assisted in ways only females understand. When some years had passed and my father-in-law fell ill Glenda was there again. She would bring a pan of hot homemade rolls to the house just because Jim loved them. She was there. Now if I am visiting I always get a welcome telling me I am loved and missed. Yes, Glenda is an honorable friend.

Holy Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend absolutely for God’s sake. They will push you closer to God. Have you found a holy friend? It may be someone who just takes time to say that they are concerned about your eternal salvation. Paul writing in Romans tells us all we can have just such a friend. That friend is Jesus. Read Romans 5:6-8: you see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Give thanks for the good friends you have. Give thanks for the holy friend who is available to us all, Jesus.

Advertisements

Studies in Daniel – Chapter 12

The prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Chapter 12

Daniel 12:1-4

See also: Rev. 20: 12-13; Exodus 32:33; I Thess. 4:15-16; I Cor. 15:52

A-W-A-K-E

Animosity will end v. 1 The time of distress and conflict will end.

Waiting will end v. 2 Deliverance will come.  The prophesies will be fulfilled.

Anxiety will end v. v. 1 If your name is written in the book, you will have no more worries. As Freshmen in a Christian college we signed a book called the “Book of Life”  We were enacting a drama that will come to pass at the end of the age.

Killing will end v. 2. They dead will awake to life.  The little children who were killed while they were going to church will live again.  Thanks be to God.  Here is an Old Testament reference to the coming resurrection.

Eternity will just begin v. 3. The wise and the righteous will shine for ever and ever.  The hymn writer asked, “Will there be any stars in your crown?”  For the faithful the answer is a resounding Yes.

Exemplary story:  JoAnn was not expecting an answer when she ended her phone call. She had just situated her two-year-old daughter in her car seat when the phone rang.  JoAnn’s husband had called to say that a worker had been injured on the job, and he was asked to stay late tonight to finish the daily quota, and he would be working through the weekend.  Their wedding anniversary plans would have to be postponed.  The baby sitter would not be needed for the evening. With tears in her eyes the mother spoke aloud without thinking and said, “When will it ever end?’ To her surprise the mother heard her two-year-old repeat a phrase she had picked up somewhere, “God only knows.”   JoAnn looked in the rearview mirror to see the two-year-old smiling contentedly.  This time JoAnn was thinking when she spoke aloud and said to her daughter, “Jen, you are so right.  God only knows.”  God knows the outcome of life, and from that we can take great comfort.

Studies in Daniel – Chapter 9

The prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Lesson 9

Daniel 9:20-27

See also: Ps. 32:5; I John 1:9; Luke 5:21; Jer. 25:11-12; Gen. 2:3

S-E-V-E-N

Shame of Sin, v. 8, 9 The righteous Daniel has a burden for his people and their sin.

Ear of God v. 18 God has heard Daniel from the moment he prayed.

Vision v. 21-23 Daniel is given a vision of renewal and restoration.

End of Sin v. 24 The awful tribulation of the people of faith will come to an end.

Numbers  7 and 62 and 1  lead to hope v. 25  When we count the number of years we are led to the beginning of the life of Christ in 26 AD.  The ministry of Christ traditionally was spread over three and a half years, that is, time-times-and-half-a-time.

Note:  From 457 BC to 26 AD there are 483 years.  We arrive at the prophetic number of 483 when we add 62 weeks and 7 weeks for a total of 69 weeks and multiply 69 by 7.

Exemplary story:  Not long ago I spotted a poster that said, “When you add three nails plus one cross you get ‘4-given’.”  What a wonderful addition forgiveness makes to our lives.

Studies in Daniel – Chapter 6

Prophet Daniel in Augsburg Cathedral

Prophet Daniel in Augsburg Cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lesson 6

Daniel 6:10, 16-22

L-I-O-N-S

See also: Ps. 30:5; James 5:15; Prov. 15:8; Ps. 91:11-13; Dan. 3:25; I Thess 5:17

Litigation v. 5 A law made of jealousy was used to condemn Daniel.

Intercession –  v. 10 Daniel prayed. He prayed not the first nor the last time.

Oath v. 15-16 The King was true to his oath.

Night of trial v. 17-18 Daniel was tested, and the King was tested. When Daniel met the lions,   there was no smell of fear.

Salvation v. 21-22  God’s angle came again. The angel came to the furnace, and the angel came to the lions’ den.

Exemplary Story : A man in Tennessee was said to have met a bear and her cub.  He knew the bear, and respected her.  About to turn away he spotted a cougar.  To his surprise the bear came to his rescue and defeated the cougar.  Likewise we are rescued by our God.

Studies in Daniel – Chapter 2

The prophet Daniel

The prophet Daniel (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Daniel 2:25-30, 44-45

See also Mat 1:20; Acts 2:17; Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 21:1-2; Prov. 16:33; Ps. 139:2;  2 Kings 19:27

DREAM

Divulgence in a dream – Though the message was gone like a fog, it was sent from God.

Rampage – The king asks, “If you cannot interpret the dream, what good are you?”

Entreaty – Daniel made prayer a priority and enlisted the prayers of others.

Answer – Brain wave theorists say the delta brain waves put us in touch with a deep and common thought pattern.  Daniel had a vision of the dream God sent.

Meaning – As Daniel relates the dream it gives reassurance for now to the king and for us             later.  The stone is the stone of stumbling that grows to into the church.

Exemplary story:  There is a passage in the writings of the poet Carlyle that I treasure.  It tells of a man who dreamed he walked in a field of flowers.  When he awakes he finds a lily upon his breast.