Tag Archives: Friendship

Grace Doesn’t Keep a List

This morning I want to look at a verse from Proverbs. But before we do, let us read it in a couple of versions.

He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth [very] friends. – Proverbs 17:9 KJV

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9 NLT

Now, let’s talk about it.

Reminding 

Have you ever had someone remind you of a mistake you made years ago? If you are a husband, like me, then the answer is “Yes!

I may be running the risk of alienating many female readers, but men who are married know that mistakes made today are likely to be discussed tomorrow…and next month…and ten years from now. You see, wives are endowed by God with the uncanny ability to remember every time a man goofs up. I am convinced it’s an ability given to them to help even out the “weaker vessel” playing field.

However, I have also learned something else about wives – they know when to draw the line. If they wanted to, they could talk all day about the stupid things we men do; but they don’t. They remind us just enough to keep us humble, but not enough to break our spirits.

Most wives actually love their husbands, you know.

Repeat Reminding

Sometimes it is necessary to remind a person that is about to make a mistake what happened in the past. For instance, a true friend who might have been robbed by another friend who was drunk, or on drugs, might remind that person of his actions when he is tempted to take another drink. The reminder can be a warning designed to preserve a friendship, if not a life.

On the other hand, there are people who like to bring up the past on a regular basis. Their intentions are not to prevent anything, but to manipulate and control. That is what Solomon was talking about in today’s proverb.

The word translated repeateth is in the “active participle” tense.  So, to put it another way, the person who is losing friends is the one who is continually bringing up the past.

Gracious Love

Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” In other words, it is hatred that keeps uncovering the pain of the past, but love heals as it covers. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything must be forgotten, for even though a bandage covers, the bandage only signifies a wound was there in the first place.

Of course, that’s what makes grace so great. Without sin there would be no need for grace; but because of sin, grace abounds. A love that is real is a love that testifies something is covered.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,

Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!

Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,

There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that is greater than all our sin!

– Julia H. Johnston (Grace Greater than Our Sin)

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Filed under Christianity, grace

I’ve Got a Mighty Friend

Tough Times

A few minutes ago I was reading a post from a friend. He expressed several needs, yet praised the Lord for being in control (Romans 8:28). And just this week we in the Baker home realized we will be facing some additional struggles we had hoped to avoid. Nevertheless, aren’t you glad we serve a Mighty God?

All of us are living in tough and troubling times. For some of you, the road you’re on has far more bumps and potholes than the roads of others. Yet, all of us will agree, wherever we are, that the world is not getting any better. Times are tough, and are only going to get tougher (even with a new President).

But…

But, I have a Mighty Friend who is not affected by the whims of men or the winds of time. As a matter of fact, my Friend is the One who created man and started time.

Ten years ago (2007) I wrote a song for my then-little girls to sing. Every time I listen to it these days I’m tempted to kick up my heels, pump my fists, and waved my hands while shouting, “Praise GOD!

Maybe you need some encouragement? Just read the lyrics I have included below, and if God is your friend, don’t worry (Matthew 6:30-34), He’s got this!

Mighty Friend

Well I may not be as tall as a building or strong as a big ol train
I may not be as smart as a scientist doing things I can’t explain
But I know the One who made the tallest mountain and can whip up a hurricane
And the very One who invented gravity says He even knows my name.
 
Well I may not know what’s comin’ in the mornin’, or what the day may bring
Good or bad, I’m not gonna worry, ‘cause Jesus knows everything.
So I’ll do the best with what God has given me as long as there is time
‘Cause the One that got the clocks a-tick’n told me it’ll all be fine.
 
When the devil acts like a bully, putting on a scary show
Before you run away and hide in a corner there’s something you need to know
The One who spoke the world into existence is standing by your side
And if you look close the devil’s knees are shakin’ cause he knows he’ll lose the fight
 
Chorus:
Cause I’ve got a Mighty, Mighty Friend who watches over me
And He’s the Mighty, Mighty Savior who died to set me free
Well I may not be the greatest at anything, but this one thing is so
The God that is the greatest at everything loves me, this I know.
 

© 2007, Anthony C. Baker (BMI)

Katie the Music Major is going to hate me for doing this…

…but I am going to include the recording I was talking about. This was recorded back when she (Katie) was only 10 or 11 years-old. It’s not Nashville quality, but it’s precious. So, as so many people say before they sing in church, “Don’t listen to how we sing, just listen to the words.”

“Mighty Friend”

 

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Filed under Faith, God, music, Relationships and Family, Struggles and Trials, worship

Nauseous Hosts

Proverbs 23:6-8

“Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee. The morsel [which] thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” – KJV

“Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.” – NLT

Puzzling 

I have been struggling with this proverb. You must admit, it’s a little odd. I mean, what’s the deal with “dainty meats” and throwing up?

The best I can figure, the meaning of this proverbs is pretty simple once you get past the language. For one thing, don’t eat with a hypocrite. Secondly, if you do, you’ll regret anything nice you ever said.

It does seem a little strange, though. Why would someone feed you and say, “Go ahead, dear, eat all you want,” while at the same time regret you ever came to dinner?

Better to Eat Herbs

Solomon must have had an experience or two with people who wanted to entertain him with a meal. But evidently there were people who offered the best on the menu while wincing every time he took a nibble. Have you ever known anyone like that?

What makes a person sick after eating all the nice, expensive food is the guilt one is made to feel. There are some people who want to make you think they care, but then they make you feel guilty for taking advantage of their hospitality. The great Matthew Henry said,

Do not sponge upon those that are bountiful, nor make thyself burdensome to any; but especially scorn to be beholden to those that are paltry and not sincere. Better have a dinner of herbs, and true welcome, than dainty meats without it.*

Gag Reflex

Here’s the point that must be taken: don’t desire the things that belong to the wealthy, nor ask them for a free meal. Sure, there are kindly millionaires who love to give. The problem it that there are many others who love money more than people, but don’t want to seem greedy on the surface. That is why they will say, “Eat and drink,” but gag you in the end.

One commentary says that “Cultivating the friendship of the wealthy is a waste of effort,” and then goes on to say…

“For like a hair in the throat, so he is.” Just as getting a hair in the throat while eating causes a gag reflex and sometimes vomiting (v. 8), even so the wealthy man’s hospitality will leave one feeling disgusted.**

I sure hope the next rich person that takes me to dinner keeps his hair off my food.

Sources:

*Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), Pr 23:6–8.

**Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 195-196.

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Filed under abuse, General Observations, Life Lessons

Another Face-to-Face

Let me think for just a moment… How many bloggers has it been that have come through Chattanooga and visited with my family and me?

Let’s see, there was the cute couple of the century, Daniel and Caitlin Klem, who came through before Christmas a couple of years ago. There’s been James and Lydia Neff who’s been by a few times, which was always an encouragement. The Fry’s (Wally & Heather) and their daughter came through while on vacation last year, and that was fun. And how can I forget Heather, Everette, and Emerson?

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Myself and Jessie Jeanine. Photo by: My wife, Valerie.

Well, this last week another long-time blogging friend paid a visit. Last Tuesday Jessie Jeanine decided to swerve through Chattanooga on her cross-country (and half-way back again) search for a place to re-settle (that’s a long story in its own right). She loved it so much here that she stayed over a week! How cool is that?

I will never get over how bloggers can be a part of a community without ever meeting in person. But it is awesome when people who are friends online can meet face-to-face, confirming the reality that there has always been a genuine person on the other side of the computer screen.

Jessie was one of the first bloggers who really encouraged me to keep writing – because she actually replied to my comments and then followed my blog! For a new blogger that was a big deal, especially considering her story (one of horrendous abuse, working with the FBI, and even being a friend to Hollywood stars). To me Jessie Jeanine was a blogging celebrity, and a celebrity I highly respected. That was like 5 or 6 years ago.

However, this past week Jessie ate with us, worshiped with us, and even asked me to work on her car. What’s more, she got to spend enough time with us to see a few of our bad sides. Yet, real friends stay friends even when they are transparent and vulnerable. Real friends being real, that’s all.

We had a great time just hanging out, watching TV, doing dishes, playing board games, talking church, faith and religion, and dealing with a little bit of family drama.

But every good thing must come to an end, so they say, and Jessie is now somewhere in Houston, Texas, I think. My wife and daughters and I will always be grateful for the time we got to spend with her. Needless to say, there were a few tears shed when it came time for her to leave.

May God bless her, protect her, and provide for her needs during this huge cross-country transition in life.

Oh, and eventually we’re all going to pay David Welford a visit in England! Woo Hoo!

So, any more of you guys coming through Chattanooga any time soon? I know a great coffee shop 🙂

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Filed under blogging, Christian Unity

Guest Posts a Comin’!

Break Time!

As you well know – if you know anything about blogging – vacations, sabbaticals, and illnesses will absolutely KILL one’s stats! That is why it is mucho importento to find a way to keep those hits coming, even when you’re not able to post anything yourself.

But I need a break! I need to refill the imagination funnel! What do I do???

Logical Answer: Guest posts!

Guests

Starting tomorrow (Wednesday) The Recovering Legalist will be hosting several guest writers, a few of which are brand new to my audience. As a matter of fact, one blogger I just met this past weekend!

Be looking out for posts from the following friends:

daniel klemDaniel Klem – Daniel and Caitlin Klem are about the cutest couple you’ll ever meet. I’ll never forget for as long as I live the couple of days they spent with us here in Chattanooga. They live in Arizona, so when we were disappointed one morning to not be able to see the valley from atop Lookout Mountain – because of the low clouds – Caitlin said, “Hey! It’s still water! That’s something we don’t see very often.” Sweet!

David Welford – David has been a blogging friend for a long time – one of my first. We’ve never met, but I hope we will one day this side of heaven. Maybe, just maybe, one day before I die, I’ll see just a fraction of the places around the world he’s visited.

Dawn Liz JonesInspriation with Attitude, what more needs to be said? I mean, I’ve never met Mrs. Jones, but I sense in her a kindred sarcastic spirit. Attitude, I’m telling ya’.

Madblog – I’ll let you try to figure out her name, but she blogs at Messages from the Mythical. I don’t think she’s a favorite of the non-complementarians, but that’s my opinion.

Melissa Zelniker-Presser – What can I say about Melissa? Let’s just say she ain’t Baptist; she knows about real law (not just Moses kind); and for heaven’s sake, don’t call her a Gentile. Melissa is also a friend – so be nice or I’ll “unfriend” you.

FullSizeRender (5)Rachel Smith – I met Rachel and Richard Smith at their booth at Jfest 2016, a Christian music festival in the Chattanooga area. What immediately caught my attention was the name of her ministry…Transformed Wife. Then, there on the table, I saw a t-shirt which I was later given; it said, “Transformed Husband.” Rachel hasn’t been blogging that long, so why don’t you subscribe to her site? This couple has a heart for saving marriages.

So, make sure you keep coming back the next several days…even though they don’t create monkey videos, I’m positive there’ll be some really great things to read!  😉

Seriously.

OH! Please check out each guest blogger’s blog, too!

OH! OH! … The Recovering Legalist (me) does not necessarily approve of everything on all the other blogs. So there, that’s my disclaimer.

That’s all. Seriously. 

 

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Filed under blogging, Guest Posts

I Lost a Friend, and It Hurts

It Happens

If you live long enough, you’ll start losing friends. As a matter of fact, the older you get the more often it happens. That’s the problem with people – we die.

It’s not pleasant to think about, but we need to. So often we get caught up in day-to-day life and all its demands, and we rarely stop to consider that every passing moment is one less we have to live, that our clock is winding down. And what’s more, no one knows how much time is left.

I’m not one who will concede that death is just a natural part of life, for it was an intruder that came along after sin crept in and ruined creation. Yet, since the fall death is the constant we can all count on.

You can get out of paying taxes, but you can’t escape death. That’s an appointment we all must keep.

It Happened to a Friend

david bookhardt 2Yesterday (Monday), a little after 5 p.m., a friend of mine, David Bookhardt, died in a head-on collision, along with the young father driving the other vehicle. It’s hard to put into words how much of a shock it was to hear the news, and it’s still difficult to believe.

I didn’t know David Bookhardt for that long, only a few years. We weren’t very close friends, but he was a man with whom I could share my heart. You see, David had a big enough heart that when I unloaded mine, he could keep a smile. That made him a friend like few others.

I know  a whole lot of people – maybe too many. But David Bookhardt was the type of friend that you couldn’t have too many of. He was kind, uncritical, positive, and an ever-willing mentor. As a businessman, few could compare with his disarming personality, one that made you genuinely comfortable, trusting his expertise. And on those long drives across state lines, or on those long days prospecting for new clients, he was all about bringing you up to his level.

david bookhardt about

The “About” from one of David Bookhardt’s blogs.

My Condolences

Like I mentioned, I was not as close to David as many others, and I was only able to meet a couple of his family members in the short time I knew him. On the other hand, I met many, many who called David a friend.

Therefore, to the family and friends of David Bookhardt, I offer my most heartfelt condolences. If the loss I feel is so weighty, I can only imagine the burden you bear.

But we “do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. … For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 16-18 HCSB

David Bookhardt - The Best Credit Card Guy

David Bookhardt – The “Best Credit Card Guy”

 

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Rock’n and Blog’n

Honored

It was such an honor to take part in the Third Periodic Blogger Convention held in Chattanooga, TN!

Actually, what really happened was that once again I got to meet up with fellow Christian bloggers and spend some time getting to know each other in the non-digital world. It was a total blast to talk face-to-face with these guys!

Wally Fry (Truth in Palmyra) and his family left Arkansas and drove into Chattanooga Saturday night. He and I met for coffee before church on Sunday morning, then later attended church together. To my surprise, James Neff (Men of One Accord) and his wife also showed up for church! James visited a couple of times before, but this was the first time he and Wally had met.

I was also honored that they would sacrifice their time to sit through my preaching. Believe me, it’s always humbling to have people you admire in the audience saying “Amen!

After Church

When the morning service was over, we did what any typical church-goer might do down here in the South – we went to Cracker Barrel. There we shared plates of biscuits, downed plenty of coffee, and shared more stories than a serial Facebooker.

Wally Fry thought that we should get a picture together before all parted ways. Therefore, like proper husbands, we heeded  the suggestion of our wives and sat down in the rocking chairs out front. And you know, even that seemed too fortuitous to be coincidence (but that’s another story).

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Real People

What I hope all of you take away from this story is that behind that computer screen, writing those blogs, are real people. Each one is part of a larger community where genuine friendships can develop. And when you actually get to see these people in person, it’s totally awesome!

But here’s a thought that just came to mind. What do you think it will be like, after all those years of reading his letters…after all those years of communicating across vast distances…to see Jesus face-to-face? He’s real too, you know. Even more real than Wally, James, or myself.

You might oughta be making plans to meet Him for dinner.

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Filed under blogging, Christian Unity, Church, Relationships and Family