How many friends do you need?

At least one popular social medium limits friend numbers. I was shocked. I can only have 5,000 friends? Poor me. I can’t have 5,001? No I have to whittle my list.

This actually happened to a friend of mine, not to me. I only have 1,400+ friends on there at the moment—but I’ll be happy to add you.

What is a friend?

I fully realize that a social media friend is way different from a personal friend. It might be an introduction to real friendships. I have found that to be true when I actually get to meet someone I only knew online. Fun!

Friend, according to the dictionary, is “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” (Merriam Webster)

The Bible has a few things to say about friends and friendships. How are we attached to one another? What is real friendship?

God called several people “friends.”

  • MosesAnd the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend (Exodus 33:11a).
  • AbrahamAnd the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God (James 2:23; also Isaiah 41:8).
  • LazarusThese things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11).

Some “friends” are harmful.

  • Job’s three non-helpful friendsMy friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God (Job 16:20).
  • Some friends only care about what they can gain from others. The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends (Proverbs 14:20).
  • Those who spread confidences are poor friends. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends (Proverbs 16:28; 17:9).
  • An angry personMake no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go (Proverbs 22:24).
  • Being a friend of the world makes a person God’s enemy. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4).

On the positive side, it’s easy to make friends. Just be friendly. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

Good friends are beneficial.

  • They’re loyal and helpful in hard times. A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17).
  • They challenge us to be better people. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Proverbs 27:9, 17).
  • They influence. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise (Proverbs 13:20a).
  • They strengthen us in the Lord. And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God (1 Samuel 23:16).

Husbands and wives can be best friends. His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem (Song of Solomon 5:16). In fact, the word for love in Titus 2:4 to love their husbands, is the Greek word for friendship love.

The best Friend, of course, is God Himself, specifically in the Person of Jesus, who said, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you (John 15:13-15).

I hope you know Jesus. He is the best and most perfect Friend.

I hope you have good friends—the kinds of people who encourage and strengthen you.

I hope I can be a good and faithful friend to you, my readers. On my social media list, there’s plenty of room for you.

Fiction Review: The Edge of Mercy

The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli begins when Sarah is on a huge rock and accidentally drops and loses her wedding rings. Her husband has asked her for a summer separation, and worse, he’s invited their teenage son to spend it with him.

Sarah is mad, perplexed, and doesn’t understand at all. Why would Matt need a break from her? Sarah thought everything was going well. No way is she going to talk to Matt about it either. He needed to come to her.

They live in a very nice house with a beautifully manicured lawn. Their son, Kyle, is terrific, and Sarah had thought everything was fine.

Sarah’s neighbor lady dies, and in her will are several surprises. In order not to spoil, I don’t want to tell you more. You simply need to read this.

The parallel stories–one historical, the other Sarah’s–are incredible. The way Ms. Chiavaroli weaves the historical story with the present is masterful.

I loved the stories. The writing is superb, and there’s a wonderful, satisfying ending. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author.

Five stars.

Advisory: While this is a clean story with good moral tone, it is only for mature adults. There is some sensuality in both married and extra-marital contexts. Nothing is graphic, but I personally wouldn’t want a young teenager to read this one.

Over and over again: the routines of life

I woke up this morning and noticed the bathroom sink needs cleaned again. I’m just about ready to get my second cup of coffee and make my cereal concoction—again. Later, I will mess up the kitchen with our main meal preparation and afterwards clean it all up—again.

The rhythms of life include doing a lot of tasks again and again and again.

Get up, work and mess up, clean up.

Repeat.

All day long.

Every day.

These rhythms and tasks are good for us. Did you know that? Much of our life—think about it—is spent in mundane activities. Showers, laundry, kitchen jobs, washing the car, repairing things, driving, grocery shopping. They have a purpose, or we wouldn’t do them.

Do you want food? Tend a garden or go to the store—or both.

Want a clean home? Someone has to clean it. Ideally, everyone in the family contributes.

In life, whatever is worthwhile requires work. Even prayer and Bible reading mean discipline. Ever notice?

One of the most brilliant and gifted men the world has ever known wrote perhaps the most mind-boggling book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I’d like to share some tidbits of wisdom about the mundane things of life. Let’s listen to Solomon.

  • What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God (3:9-13).
  • The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much (5:12a).
  • Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might (9:10a).
  • By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through (10:18).
  • Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (12:13-14).

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do today, even if it’s the same old thing, do it with thy might.

May we find joy in the mundane and do our everyday tasks as unto the Lord.

God bless you.

Fiction Review: Grace Like A River Flows

Grace Like A River Flows is the first book I’ve read by R. Marshall Wright. I look forward to reading more.

Billy Maddox is the proverbial “meaner than a junkyard dog” kind of person. He beats his girlfriend, abuses liquor, and leaves his trash around his badly kept home.

Glencoe is a nice little town, but the Oaks—where Billy lives—is across the tracks and another story entirely. Not even the police like going there.

Brad and his dog Beasley find out Billy is beating Heather, and Brad decides to do something about it. His methods may not be acceptable to the law but they’re effective, and the sheriff doesn’t mind a little bit of help. Brad becomes the conscience of those who act like Billy, and there are several in this town who need his special voice to their consciences.

Reagan Lamb is the pastor at Glencoe Community Church. He has a big heart and an excellent grasp of the gospel. He knows Jesus can transform lives and wants his congregation to get a taste of revival. Reagan’s one vice—if you can call it that—is driving his 1991 Miata sportscar … fast. He has a good marriage and a solid home. If only his church could get a vision for its community.

He answers the call to go and see Heather in the hospital. He can hardly recognize her, since her face is bruised and swollen.

Brad goes to work with his unique brand of “angelic” persuasion, and Pastor Reagan gets busy, too. The Oaks might never be the same.

I absolutely loved this book. For one thing, it has heart—a gospel-centered heart. It is also fast-paced and story-driven.

The writing is not without a few grammar and spelling mistakes, and it uses some crude words (no cursing). Also, there’s some violence, and there are references to bodily functions. But, this is one of the few books I have read where those flaws and my personal preferences didn’t disturb my great enjoyment. Maybe it’s the substance over style thing, but maybe it’s just that it’s a great read, period.

I wish Mr. Wright would have gotten this book professionally edited, but truthfully, it’s charming as it is. His pastor’s heart and down-to-earth style, coupled with his military background, make this a good read for any Christian.

Mr. Wright has written at least two more books. I look forward to reading them.

Five stars for sure.