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Posts Tagged ‘friend’

Verse 16: “To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

In Holman New Testament Commentary I and II Corinthians (copyright 2000 by Broadman & Holman Publishers) on page 312, the author, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., shared a story:

“I have a good friend who is a dentist. He once told me: “When a patient has a toothache, I’m his best friend. But when he has no pain and I tell him we have to drill, I’m his worst enemy.” Dentists inflict pain to help us avoid pain. That makes them people to avoid, but it also makes them people to whom we run for help.”

Even though that was a life application from the previous chapter, I thought about the application to today’s verse. To those who have rejected the Gospel of Christ, other Christians, to them, are detested (“aroma of death”). However, to those who have become saved by the grace of Jesus through that same Gospel, fellow Christians are welcomed (“aroma of life”). You know, when we bathe routinely, it’s not uncommon to use perfume, aftershave, or deodorant to smell better or to keep smelling better. We, as human beings, want to be welcomed by others.

My wife and I both snore in our sleep (don’t tell her I told you! :-)). And we have both woken each other up with our snoring! When she had to stay overnight in the hospital after some surgery, I slept on the fold-out couch bed in the room. As you guess, I didn’t fall asleep easily; I listened out to see how my wife was resting. Finally, I heard it…she was snoring! A sound that I used to hate when I’d have to wake her to make her stop was at that moment, as sweet as birdsong to me…it meant she was sleeping ok.

How’s your aroma, today, Christian?

Something to think about.

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Song of Solomon 2:1: “I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys.”

Shortly after I graduated college and had my first job, I was travelling home from watching a local high school football game with a friend. It was raining, and I was driving down a dark country road. I hit a tree branch that had fallen in the road; it was large enough that it caused me to skid off the road into a dark ditch. I couldn’t see the bottom of the ditch, so I had no idea if I could climb down; I was close enough to the road that I could climb out the window of my door. It was all but pitch-black and still raining. I had no idea how close I was to my folks’ house (that’s where I was heading), plus being the country, there were bound to be wild animals out. Well, it wasn’t too long after, a truck came down the road, and I managed to flag it down. the driver called out to me from his vehicle and asked was I okay. I told him I was, and asked if he could give me a lift to my folks’ house. He called out my name, recognizing my voice, and said “Is that you?” I aid, “Yes, it’s me! Who are you?” Turns out it was a friend of my family’s (for privacy, we’ll just call him Tommy) When he told me who he was, man, was I ever glad to see him! He told me to hop in, and he’d take me to my folks. The next day we were able to pull the truck out of the ditch with a tractor. At the time, no better friend and hero did I know than Tommy! He was a life saver in my dire predicament.

I always wondered why the “rose of Sharon” was one of the appellations for Jesus Christ. The Song of Solomon is a beautiful love poem between King Solomon and his Shulamite bride. It is also an analogy of the love between Jesus Christ (bridegroom) and the Church (bride). Though it is commonly assumed that this verse is spoken by the bride, many other translations state that it is the bridegroom who makes these statements (I did some research using Thru the Bible Commentary on Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon by Dr. J. Vernon McGee.) In Chapter 2, page 134, of this commentary, Dr. McGee states that “These words describe the Lord Jesus.” He explains that for anyone else to state this, it would be pride, but our Lord came down as a meek and lowly Savior, so it comes across as humility.

As Christians, we not only NEED a Savior, we should DESIRE or WANT a Savior. He should be the hero we need to rescue us in our sinful situation. And He is! The rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley are among the most beautiful flowers in that part of the world. Like my friend Tommy was that night, my Lord Jesus is the most wonderful Person I could see. He is there in times of trouble and of plenty.

To me, the old hymn says it best:
“I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
The Lily of the Valley, In Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.”

There is no more beautiful a Friend than Jesus.

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Matthew 11:19: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”
Mark 2:16-17: “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.””

Garfield the cat was looking down at a caterpillar, who said (thought), “I’m going to be a butterfly”. “And just how are you going to do that?” Garfield asked. “Uh…” the caterpillar says, pauses, and then says, “I know a guy.” When I read that, I smiled, thinking that the caterpillar was referring to the Creator.

Back in my post of Acts 11:25-26, I used the “I know a guy” quote in the analogy of Barnabas and Paul. In society today, it seems like everyone “knows” someone who’s well-connected, has influence or power, or has favors. Garth Brooks turned this phrase on its ear with his old country ballad “Friends in Low Places”. However, when you think about it, it is always nice to know someone who can help you in situations where you cannot help yourself or achieve some goal by yourself.

The scoffers derided Jesus Christ out loud, saying he frequently was seen with “tax collectors and sinners”, the lowest of the low. Even in Mark 2:16-17, they question why He ate with them. How blessed are we sinners that Jesus didn’t separate Himself, but came to us, to save us, to pay our price, to redeem us. Our Messiah wasn’t some upper-crust rich snob who didn’t let himself be seen with those lower in class; instead, He reached out to us, as a Friend.

What a Friend we have in Jesus!

Something to think about.

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Proverbs 17:17-21

verse 17: “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

I remember 2 stories that this verse reminds me of. One pertains to a young couple who were friends of ours; they were expecting their second child, and after her birth, there were some concerns about her health (she turned out to be okay). But during this time, prayers were lifted up as the parents and grandparents felt anxious. I remember when we visited them in the hospital, that the grandfather expressed deep gratitude over our coming to visit. To us, it wasn’t a big to-do…we were glad to visit. However, it always stuck in my memory how fervently this grandfather said he would never forget our coming to visit.

We recently had an older lady in our church who became suddenly widowed; her husband passed away unexpectedly. Several families have pitched in to stay with her, help care for her, and do what they could to help out, while she went through the funeral and burial and moving to an assisted living facility.

I cannot elaborate on the verse above any better than Solomon stated it. Sometimes, friends love with words….at other times, they love with actions. Either way…they are there.

Something to think about.

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