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What we long for, Proverbs tells us, is faithful friends who will let us in,

and who won’t let us down. (Pvbs. 20:6)

Who of us cannot identify with the yearning Anne of Green Gables expressed?

I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life…

a bosom friend — an intimate friend, you know — a really kindred spirit friend

to whom I can confide my inmost soul.


Our natural tendency, however, is to turn a good gift into an ultimate gift, expecting the gift to be what only God can be.idolatry

And when we do that, we smother the friendship, and the friend flees for air.

This proverb, while it makes me laugh, is all too true.

Seldom set foot2bf478b54fd88bd913b1f981a3df9442

We’ve crossed the line into relational idolatry when we expect someone to be what only God can be, and press in so close and constantly that the friend feels overwhelmed.

But if this is you, you can’t just tell yourself to stop it! Like everything else we have studied, it is a heart issue. Unless we fall in love with Jesus,

unless we allow Him to be the only One we expect to never let us down,

there is no hope of overcoming our idolatry problem.

What we can do in our spiritual friendships is to

help one another find strength in God instead of one another.

That is the three fold cord Solomon describes: Three fold cord

Last spring, many of you traveled to Ashland, Ohio where I was speaking.

You stayed together at a Bed and Breakfast and talked, into the night.

Mary E.; Laura-Dancer and her daughter; Chris; Susan; Dawn; Nancy and her daughter.

It was so sweet to meet in the flesh those whom we have come to know in their soul.

After having supper together, Laura-Dancer led us all in hand motions to

Spirit of the Living God. 

Susan (in the middle) and Chris (on the right) were willing to be on camera,

and I caught the sweet scene here:

Both visually and verbally, this catches what we can see happen on this blog.

The Spirit of God is falling on us, and as He does, we pour out to one another.

The amazing power we experience is that when

God refreshes us,

and then we refresh others,

then we ourselves are again refreshed!


Yes, just as it is possible to experience God in a place like this,

it is possible to experience friendship.

It’s happening right here, right now!

Sunday Icebreaker

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. Share one specific example of how you have been refreshed by a friend on this blog.

Monday-Thursday Bible Study

Let’s begin with some reflections on fidelity in friendship.

31b1548fc6a41abc9f8948897f2198c5The term “Fairweather Friends” has come to mean those who don’t really love you for you, but for what you can give them. When the storms of life come, on this blog, we can pray and encourage, and some of you who are close geographically might be able to do more. But prayer and encouragement are wonderful ways to help.

With good friends who are geographically close, it means so much when they are present. This last Sunday I had a literal storm that was one of the worst we’ve had up here on the lake. I was in my living room trying to shut windows against the gale when I heard the trees falling. Ten trees came down at once, in the hurricane like wind. Huge cedars that have been here for generations. I looked out my window and began to pray for God to be my husband. Within an hour brothers in Christ started coming down my driveway, or texting me, wanting to help. (My friend Vicki said, when I told her how God answered my prayer to be my husband, quipped: “Polygamy!”) God gave more than I even asked!

Jonathan, a dear man from my church, has been here all day every day all week, cleaning up. Indeed, how much it means to have a “brother” when the storms come.

mail.google.comYet, though we should not be “Fairweather Friends,”  I also think we must give grace when friends let us down in the storm, for we all have feet of clay or are facing our own storms. Proverbs 19:11 says it is to a man’s glory “to overlook an offense.”

3. Have you been holding onto an offense because a friend let you down in a storm? Can you release it, to your glory? Read carefully and I’ll ask for your prayerful reflections: The RSV translates “Proverbs 18:24a” as “there are friends who pretend to be friends.” We all fear this — being approached for what we can give, rather than who we are — yet, as Tim Keller has observed, there is an element of this motivation in each of us — so we shouldn’t be so shocked if others do it. Ellen Davis translates this “Some friends play at friendship, but there is a friend who sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.” She makes the observation that the word translated “some” or “many” implies this is common — in contrast to the singular friend who sticks closer than a brother. I think it is rare for a friend to never let you down — and this is why many see Jesus in this verse, as “the friend who is closer than a brother.” There are different kinds of friendships, and it is helpful to see this. There are friends who are like annual flowers, in your life for a season, and then they are gone. But even though the friendship was fleeting, it has value. And then there friends (few) who are perennials, in your life season after season.  On this blog we have some who come just for Lent, some who visit frequently, and some who are here all the time — but they ALL have value and beauty.  I never want anyone to feel like once they begin they must always stay. Do as He leads you, and we will love both our annuals and perennials! annuals-vs-perennials Jesus had circles of friends: On the outer circle, He had the 12 disciples to whom He confided. All but one endeavored to be true to Him. On the middle circle, He had the 3 (Peter, James and John) with whom He was especially close. But even they let him down in His biggest storm. Friends will let us down, but Jesus will never leave us or forsake us.

4. What reflections do you have on the above?

5. What similarity do you see between Proverbs 18:24 and 20:6?

6. Read Proverbs 19:1-7 and find what it says about wealth and friends. Think of this not only in terms of material wealth, but popularity and power. Search your own heart. Are you friends with the poor, the powerless, and the unpopular?

7. In contrast, read Proverbs 19:22. What do you think this means? unfailinglove

8. Read Proverbs 19 in its entirety and share anything that quickens you — and why.

9. Read Proverbs 20 in its entirety and share anything that quickens you — and why.

10. Rebecca Pippert said “We must learn how to be the host in conversation.” I think this is the art that is described in Proverbs 20:4.  What do you think this means?

Some of you are particularly good at drawing out the deep waters of a sister’s soul on this blog. You ask her what she means, you challenge her, you probe into her heart. You listen. Obviously there are too many comments for you to read them all carefully (though I have a few who do, God bless them!) but I ask you to be led of the Spirit in whom you might mentor or encourage.


Message from Dee on Friendship.Our own Rebecca accomplished a task that was far too daunting for me. She was able to get videos of some of my past teaching on the website. So today, from Falling in Love with Jesus, I’d like you to watch the 2nd video, which is on the mentoring friendship and share your comments.

11. Share your notes and comments.


12. What is your take-away and why?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. 5. What similarity do you see between Proverbs 18:24 and 20:6? 
    “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    Both these verses imply that friends may come and go, but the Lord will stay with us forever.
    6. Read Proverbs 19:1-7 and find what it says about wealth and friends. Think of this not only in terms of material wealth, but popularity and power. Search your own heart. Are you friends with the poor, the powerless, and the unpopular?
    Basically it says poor people don’t draw friends to them and rich people do. This is pretty true to life in the secular world, but I don’t think it is that way for we Christians (as a blanket statement). I do think we tend to hang around those who are like us because it is human nature to do that. It’s like my mom used to describe to me Pittsburgh in the early 20th century…..there was a Polish Catholic Church, an Italian Catholic Church, an Irish Catholic Church, and so on. It was because that was who those people felt most akin to, in language and cultural ways. Today, people try to contrive different ethnicities/races mixing together in neighborhoods (Obamas latest grand idea) and such, but in my experience we still flock to those we are most like. We are human and it is human nature to do so. Asians seem to like being with other Asians, Spanish with other Spanish, and Middle Eastern with other Middle Eastern. In the south it is common to have complete white churches and complete black churches, but this isn’t a racist thing! It’s a human thing! I have danced at churches that have mixed races, but the most fun I ever had was dancing at an all black Methodist church in my own “backyard” in Texas! What a lively time we had, and I felt warmly welcomed with many hugs and hand shakes from the congregation. So, getting back to the question…..I don’t typically pick my friends based on their economic status, but I probably hang around the same kind of places where people like me hang. I don’t generally go grocery shopping or a mall, dance studio, or church in areas outside of my town, so that means I am pronbably only seeing those who a similar to me. I will admit that my daughter tends to gravitate to those whom are not like us at all. However, I think it’s because no one else will accept her for who she is. When I have met people at church who are probably a bit poorer than I, I have tried to be friendly and as kind as I would to anyone else. We might not become best friends, but it’s most likely because the person and I don’t have common interests or we aren’t a similar age With similar aged children. I will be friends with anyone who will be my friend because I value friendship. I think it’s important!

      1. Definitely agree that we should make a conscious effort to be involved with the poor.  I also think it’s good to be involved with others of different ethnic backgrounds. Even if it IS an effort and not in our own communities.  Yesterday, I was part of a group that took about 20 children from our outstate, more rural area church, to the inner city Salvation Army and delivered sandwiches the kids had made in assembly line fashion back at the church.   It was all prearranged and we also had a short tour and explanation of what the SA does and how it shelters people every night.  (6 floors of shelter space).  The message went over the heads of some of the younger children but one 13 year old girl said it was eye opening.  I’m not sure she had ever been downtown.  And from what I gathered, she herself is in a foster home; not sure what the circumstances are, but I think there is not much material wealth in her own background.  Interesting to see the hearts of kids.   They are often so much more open and less daunted by going to an area different than their own.  Several years ago, we observed parents of our all white girl’s basketball team (when our youngest was in 9th grade) behave in a very uptight manner when we had a tournament downtown in a community center setting, where we were by far in the minority.   Some of our parents were believers.  It was concerning to us, how uncomfortable they were.   I’m looking forward to our next field trip with children and families when we visit a Liberian church in the city.  Not that field trips bridge the gap for the long term, but the more experiences children are given, the more opportunity they have to open their hearts.  

        1. Wanda–what I would give to go with you on your next field trip. Makes me sad (kind of sick really) to hear the “uptight” behavior of other parents at the basketball game. I absolutely hate racial and culture division like that–it fires an anger in me that sometimes I just feel I am to do something more, but  I don’t know what. We do serve monthly in a project neighborhood–but my heart feels a weight for more. I’ve had a dream to do mission work in Africa since high school–so I’ve been praying again about how that could happen…sorry to divert! Your good thoughts just got me thinking ! 😉

    1. Laura – what a joyful, joyful picture of you dancing with your brothers and sisters in Texas!!  I chuckled aloud when reading your description!  I’ll bet it was lively indeed.  🙂  

    2. LOVE this post Laura–the dancing at Church–oh that made me smile! One thing I really do miss from TX is the diversity. Where I am now feels very divided and it breaks my heart. You reminded me–in my old Church in Austin, there was an African American Church that used our same building after us on Sundays. One Sunday, our Pastor had us join together for worship–I’ll never forget it. Dancing in the aisles, great singing of praise–it was amazing!

      1. Lizzy…..(I’m still here.  Supposed to be packing!)  Anyway, had to say that the reason we couldn’t visit the Liberian church yesterday (when we were already downtown) was because they also share a church with an established congregation.  🙂  So, now, the plan is to do a Sunday afternoon trip and take families down to worship with them, which is a much better idea I think!  I hope a lot of children are able to come.  Love our new church!  
        ooops….meant to post this above under your comment to me. Sorry!

      2. Laura, me too! 🙂 I sang with a group at an African American church in the city-and oh..They made us feel like we were part of their body-cuz we are! THEY WERE WITH US all the way, a one-ness in worship and community I longed for..I started lamenting, why do white churches have to be so stiff in worship and guarded relationally? We could learn a lot from different cultures. 

  2. 7. In contrast, read Proverbs 19:22. What do you think this means?
    I believe this means to not “act” the friend if you really aren’t one. That is worse than being poor. 
    I do do have acquaintances that I am not too deeply involved with; like true friendship. Sometimes I will go out with these ladies, but it isn’t often, and it’s just for fun….a movie, a lunch, etc. is this not a good thing? Am I acting as a friend but really lying?

  3. 7. In contrast, read Proverbs 19:22. What do you think this means?
    “What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar” (ESV) – I think this means that we are to look past the outward appearances and what a man may or may not possess, such as wealth, to the inner-the heart, and what kind of a person is this? Better to be friends with a poor man who is an honest, true, loving friend, than to be friends with a rich man who is fickle in friendship. We shouldn’t be desiring what a person can give to us, or be impressed by what they have, but rather we should desire and place importance on the things that God says are important – what is in the heart.

  4. 6. Read Proverbs 19:1-7 and find what it says about wealth and friends. Think of this not only in terms of material wealth, but popularity and power. Search your own heart. Are you friends with the poor, the powerless, and the unpopular?
    I am but I so need His softening on my heart to continue toward others in these categories! For example, I use to be so frustrated with people who came here illegally I started to develop a stand offish mindset. God has TOTALLY changed that in me and now I am friends with those in that community God brings along my path. That said, and this doesn’t fit Dee’s categories above, but I have noticed I tend to stay away from people I meet that I sense are trouble makers or are overly dependent on people, etc.  I have a lot going on at home with my family. I honestly don’t desire highly dysfunctional friendships right now-I know we are all dysfunctional-I am too, but I am talking about extreme dysfunction of dependency issues etc, no filter etc..I guess the phrase is ‘high maintenance friendships’ but I know God will help me extend Grace in this as well. 
    7. In contrast, read Proverbs 19:22. What do you think this means?
    I agree with Laura Dancer on this..It means don’t be a fake friend or ‘fair weather friend’. Only liking them for what they can give me. This happens a lot to people in power or who are famous etc. I experienced some of this as a manager so you learn to be discerning with people. I think when someone is a fair weather friend they are not showing unfailing love. When the chips are down-you are at your lowest-say deep depression, anxiety attacks every day or spiritually wandering in the desert..when you are an unattractive friend in those seasons. A true friend won’t quit attempting to connect with you to encourage you. Also, if you are like me and horrible with birthdays and gifts..a true friend still loves you and prays for you that you will become more thoughtful, but they don’t get angry and dump you..They accept your flaws. 🙂

    1. Rebecca, you gave me a HUGE morning smile when I read of how true friends understand and pray for those of us who are “horrible with birthdays and gifts”!!!!!  That is, and has always been, so ME. A scene that is so imprinted upon my brain goes back well over 20 years.  A woman – now with the Lord – named Doris Gotcher was the Director of the Lay Counseling ministry at the very large church that I was a part of for many years.  I was in her lay counseling class and at one point she just mentioned that she, for all of her years in the Lord, STILL continually forgets birthdays and other important occasions, etc.  It was one of those moments that Dee spoke of  “you too??….”.  This tiny little persistent shame that I carried over this issue started to melt away.  Sooooo freeing.  Doris was a woman of God who I loved so and learned so much from.  Doris was a model of Micah 6:8…..but to her dying day she still forgot birthdays.  🙂  

      1. i guess I am a “me too!” person as well ……I struggle with cards and gifts too!

      2. Jackie, :))

      3. Jackie-yep..and I am so glad my family still loves me! I am working on it though for it means so much to my loved ones. 🙂 One time I sent my brother a birthday card with a starbucks card in it-he loves starbucks. He didn’t say it but I could tell he was happily shocked. 🙂

  5. 5. What similarity do you see between Proverbs 18:24 and 20:6? That man can be fickle. “Many” will not be true or helpful and “many” is not necessarily good.
    6. Read Proverbs 19:1-7 and find what it says about wealth and friends. Wealth brings friends, poor men find themselves without friends despite pursuing them with words. Are you friends with the poor, powerless, and the unpopular? I think so, in fact I think I get along better with the poor, the powerless, and the unpopular. God has been teaching me to approach a group of people with asking Him who I should interact with instead of the usual female “ranking reflex.”
    7. In contrast, read Proverbs 19:22. What do you think this means? What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar. I see a value of integrity over a value for riches and power in life. People want loyalty from a friend, truly, even if they are attracted to those who are rich and powerful, once they find out his love is not steadfast, or that he lies for gain, the friendship not only is in risk of ending but even the past shared moments are at risk for being ruined because you wonder if they ever were true, honest, or if they even liked you. In the end it will be the friends that were true, despite their position, that will be valuable to you.

  6. 10. Rebecca Pippert said “We must learn how to be the host in conversation.” I think this is the art that is described in Proverbs 20:4.  What do you think this means?
    I think Dee meant to say Proverbs 20:5 instead of verse 4 here, so I am going to answer this question based on that. “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” (Proverbs 20:5 ESV)
    I think this kind of drawing out of the deep waters is usually dealt with in counselling these days; but I have found that a deeply spiritual friend can also do this.
    My own deep waters are  often a mystery even to me. Many times something is bothering me but I do not even know what it is, or there is a surface issue causing a reaction because there is a much deeper issue underneath. I have a very close friend who knows how to “draw” me out. My relationship with this friend is a deep one, forged by years of commitment and trust, or else I would put up walls and defences at the early stages of her probing. She knows how to ask questions, probe gently (or sometimes not so gently) to try to get at the real issue. Allowing this probing requires me being honest and vulnerable. Once in a while, it is like having surgery. It is painful, but if I allow the questions and probing to do their work, the result is healing and liberating. It helps me see the source of my pain or my sin or idol and helps me heal. She points me to Christ. I only think this kind of drawing out works because of the deep relationship with Christ that we both have.  Otherwise, such vulnerability can lead to relational idolatry/ dependency. So there is a warning here. I’m not sure if this makes sense to anyone else, but this has been the case for me. 

    1. Diane – what an incredibly beautiful portrait of a godly friendship.  A cut and paste example of Proverbs 20:5 for sure!  If each of us is blessed with even one of these quality of friendships in our lifetime we are blessed indeed.  And clearly you have learned well from your friend….for you are able to do exactly what you have described right here with our blog friendships!  🙂  

      1. Jackie – your compliment here saying I have learned well from my friend is a high honour indeed and one I long for, but feel I am not worthy of yet. She is a very godly woman. Even the faint hope that I am learning this brings tears to my eyes! I SO long to be like Christ; to bear his likeness reflecting with ever increasing degree. And the apostle Paul says we can all live in this hope; and for that I pray and am so glad. In the words of Paul, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another …” (2 Cor. 3:18)

      2. Diane, well said…makes perfect sense to me…
        only in trusting another to such a level can we allow our self to be vulnerable with the other to allow that “surgical” procedure that can be so freeing and healing
        …love the thought!

    2. Diane, I agree with Jackie–what a beautiful portrait you’ve painted of your friend, and friendship with her–a wonderful model for me. I love these key elements you pointed out: “ forged by years of commitment and trust“, “She knows how to ask questions” “She points me to Christ.” And I am also struck by your response–“requires me being honest and vulnerable”

      And then, SO KEY: “works because of the deep relationship with Christ that we both have”–yes. That is what I was trying to word last week. I have only recently found deep friendships here that I know will stand the test of storms–because they are each deeply committed first, to their walk with the Lord. They are secure in Him, He is their Rescuer, and they know I am not, and I also know they are not my Rescuer–but we can offer each other a safe place to share. I know when I am broken and weak and share with these friends I am thinking of–they will never judge, but always point me back to Him, and speak truth to my soul when I am too weak to do so myself. 

  7. 4. What reflections do you have on the above? 
    This was a question on Jesus and his circle of friends. To me this is an example of our lives on a daily basis in normal circumstances. We have those around us who we choose to be around on a daily basis. They come and go and can/cannot be intimately involved with out lives. We see Jesus’s 12. Not all were out for the good of Jesus ex. Judas.
    The 3 are the friends we turn to. They are real with us and we are real with them. Just like when Jesus asked Peter “Do you Love me”? and then challenged him 3 times with his question. We do that to real friends it is like asking a friend for a favor and they pause and we ask again to make sure.
    Overall, the example I see in this section for my life at this time is we need to trust God to lead us in our daily lives. We need to allow others in who can and will help us along our way and we also need to trust those few (3) who know us as well as we know them.
    I am not here yet. I am in a new city and have very few Christian friends and others for that matter. God is doing a work in my life and I found Dee through an email from Oneplace.com (FOTF). I prayed God would lead me to some good healthy teachers either close or far away and help me sort through some of the changes He is making in my life. I am pretty much alone BUT I know it is where God has me. I am looking for freinds, woman friends especially so I knew God had sent me here. I am praying for direction and guidance and for a new start. I am an empty nester after 33 years of mothering. I have been divorced for 13 years but a single mom for the past 22 years. I got my Masters degree thinking that would help after the children left but I have found myself unemployed as well as disabled but still I push on. God knows … Thanks for allowing me to come and be apart of this group of woman who are on the same journey I am on and that is loving God and being what He wants me to be to bring Glory to Him.
    In Christ,

    1. SO GLAD you found us Joyce! This is a safe and loving community of learners  and Dee’s teaching is meaningful. Welcome!

    2. Joyce–so glad you’re here.Praying for you now- Lord, I pray that You would bring godly women into her life in her new surroundings–ones who will encourage her and love her well. Please grant her wisdom and guidance in this new season of her life. Thank You for bringing her here with us–amazing how You work, and we are so grateful!

  8. My apologies to Dee, for diverting and bowing out early.   I do want to sign off for the week as I’m  getting ready to be out of town for a couple days.  Actually, ironically (or more likely providentially!) this is the week-end, I am meeting up with 2 high school friends and our mutual friends who would indeed fit the poor, powerless and unpopular description.  C. (who is about my age) has a non specific mental handicap/developmental delay due to probably many factors; (childhood trauma, abject poverty, sexual, emotional and maybe physical abuse in her past). The other, M., is her best friend; a much younger woman, who has downs syndrome.    After losing touch with C. for several decades, we reunited last year at my friend’s lake home.  It was very emotional.  Now, we’ve had regular contact all year and she has been patiently (AND impatiently!) waiting for this weekend again.  This year, we are including M. too.  My other friend will drive the two women and I am bringing most of the food and traveling the farthest to get there.  A real team effort.   At first, I was kind of thinking of this as one of those non reciprocal friendships I queried all week.   And I struggled for awhile with the energy to make the trip.  I was feeling some burn out.  But as we’ve discussed friendship in many ways, this week, I’m seeing a different side of my relationship with C.   It is not really that one sided at all.  Yes, she calls me frequently, sometimes with the smallest little things, and I can get annoyed.  BUT she is also the one who worries about me, calls to check on me when she knows something sad has happened in my life.  When my friend, Steve died last summer, she left me many texts and voice mails the evening of the visitation.  She was so worried i would be falling apart.  I wasn’t.  And I didn’t get her texts till about midnight.  I hadn’t checked my phone as I was I spending the evening visiting with other classmates who had gathered to honor Steve.    I am ashamed to think that I have said this isn’t a reciprocal friendship. C. reaches deep into her heart and tries to comfort me, the best she can, no matter what.  What more could I ask?    My friend who is hosting us this wknd, went through a battle with breast cancer this past year, which is why we couldn’t gather in the Spring as we did a year ago.  C. was so compassionate and worried about her through all her months of chemo too.    I have learned from this week.  I have been wrong to assume that the friendship is more one sided, because I am mentally and financially more capable to contribute to it.  C. may be powerless and poor, but on second thought, she is not unpopular.  Only in the eyes of those who have no heart for what Jesus called the least of these.  (I confess, I have always had a hard time with that descriptor.)   For those, who let her into their world, she will always make a positive difference.  Her interactions will not often look like interactions I have with my intellectual peers, but they will always be sincere and real friendship.  (I cried half of the way home after our last gathering wknd.  To watch her childlike faith in church, was truly moving.)  
    So, I have definitely learned some very good things this week.  (Still hope to watch the video before I leave). 
    My other takeaway is from Chris’ words, which Dawn re-iterated.   I did not see them till this morning.  

     That I could contemplate truth and my suffering sitting in my own living room, a bawling mess, and yet be in community with you all has been priceless. I have expressed things here i know I could not have verbalized face to face.

    My struggles, are different from Chris’ and Dawn’s, yet the bawling mess has described me many times over the past 17 months that I’ve been a part of the blog too.  And the contemplating of truth and suffering has been very real to me.  My biggest heart aches, I have shared, which I would have had a harder time, doing face to face.  I have seen an amazing and truly more than I could have thought or imagined answer to one of them:  our heartache over feeling led to leave our church of almost 3 decades, and how He led us to a place where our hearts are so refreshed.  MORE than I ever thought possible.  So many of you encouraged me in this heart wrenching part of my journey.  To know that others pray for my adult children overwhelms me as another amazing aspect of this priceless community.  (I guess this takeaway is another specific, but yet non specific answer to number 2!  🙂  

    1. Wanda, this is a truly special post…the more I learn about you, the more I really, really like you (and love you, too). What a beautiful friendship you have described here between you and “C”…and “M”, along with the friend who is driving them and the friend hosting you all. “I have been wrong to assume that the friendship is more one-sided, because I am mentally and financially more capable to contribute to it.” And this, “…Her interactions will not often look like interactions I have wth my intellectual peers, but they will always be sincere and real friendship.” Yes, you have described real friendship here. Blessings and prayers go with you this weekend…

      1. Thank you so much, Susan.  I am SO blessed by your love and friendship here.  (and now, I really do have to go start packing so I can get out of here tomorrow!  Just snuck a peek here after I signed off!)  

    2. Wanda Somewhat following when I can this week but I had to chime in this post touched my heart. I know I am not interacting often but I have such a feeling of connection with many and you do bless me. I pray the Lord continue to give you wisdom of exactly where He wants you to be. You have such a  heart of mercy. God Bless you on your trip. 

  9. 6. Read Proverbs 19:1-7 and find what it says about wealth and friends. Think of this not only in terms of material wealth, but popularity and power. Search your own heart. Are you friends with the poor, the powerless, and the unpopular?
    So I wrote my response—but now I’m thinking this isn’t at all what you’re looking for–sorry for anyone who reads this! In my childhood, it seemed we were in some more “financially secure” circles, but always struggling to keep up—and I hated the strain of it on my mom. I have both a fear of too much or too little, “give me neither poverty nor riches” (prov. 30:8). So I looked at this passage not in terms of monetary wealth, because I can’t relate to esteeming wealth at all. But, I do recognize that I am attracted to “wealth” in the sense of those with great spiritual knowledge and insight. I regretfully admit that I would give more “weight” to going to hear Tim Keller speak than a pastor down the street—and that doesn’t feel right.  There is a hard balance between great respect for them and holding them above others because of their accomplishments and knowledge, even if I’m talking spiritual matters. Looking at 4b “but a poor man is deserted by his friend”. If we are only talking material terms, I ca say I do have a heart for the poor, and enjoy serving in ministry to them. But if I look at this more figuratively, the “poor” as those with less prestige, I ask myself if I would ignore the needs of some in my path, in favor of those with more “significance”. I think even within the realm of the everyday people in our lives—do I  give equal value and attention to all without any division? I am praying for the Lord to really open my eyes to these ways I subtly put people into categories, without even thinking. All are precious in His sight—may He help me see with His eyes.

    1. Beautiful heartfelt thoughts Lizzy

      1. Liz–thank you, good to see you here 🙂

    2. Thank you, Lizzy, you made me really think with your post…at first I was really convicted thinking, oh, me too, I would love to see Tim Keller more than most any other pastor.  Then I began wondering if that is necessarily a bad thing.  My desire isn’t related to his popularity and fame, to be able to say “I saw Tim Keller speak,” desiring an autograph, or being in his presence for “who” he is, but because he is a gifted preacher and teacher who speaks in a way that makes such sense.  My heart motivation is pure (as I know yours is) in not idolizing Keller, but just realizing that he is gifted…I think that makes a difference.

      1. Nanci–such good points, I really feel exactly as you said. Whether it’s Tim Keller or Dee, I don’t see them as a celebrity status, but I have great respect for their ministry and am drawn by their wisdom. You helped me with your thoughts–I tend to be overly critical of myself–and can over-analyze my every motive. Sometimes, I think that may be the enemy’s attack more than the Spirit’s conviction-?

  10. 10. Rebecca Pippert said “We must learn how to be the host in conversation.” I think this is the art that is described in Proverbs 20:4.  What do you think this means?
    Hopefully we aren’t dying to tell them about us but sincerely interested in them-we start it off with questions about their life and discern as where to go with the next question based on what they say. Or if we know them well and we discern an issue lurking inside we lovingly draw it out with questions.  

  11. 8.   Read Proverbs 19 in it’s entirety and share anything that quickens you – and why.  
    Verse 21 says “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”  I love the beauty of the Sovereignty of God portrayed in this verse.  Such a God deserves every speck of my trust!  Such a God is a Rock upon which to build my life.  The theology of a Sovereign God pours down like rain into every nook and cranny of my life as well.  Comfort and security in abundance are found under His wings.  I think of James 4:13-15 which says “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ ”  It seems to me that every morning when my eyes open I have 2 choices:  to let the natural pride and arrogance of my heart begin to shape my thoughts with regard to the day ahead…..OR to submit to Christ, my Sovereign God…..and to offer Him my body as a living sacrifice for the day ahead of me…..in worship, praise, repentance and petition for my needs and those of others.  Even after all of these years of following Jesus…..choosing Him isn’t automatic or always even easy.  Fears can dominate my thoughts and my heart begins to pound……but in submission to Him I find rest and peace and renewed strength to face the day.  Yesterday I found myself praying for a dear one……”Oh Lord Jesus….don’t let her feet wander and go anywhere that You are not leading her!  May Your steps be her steps….”  Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  And so it shall be.  

  12. Jackie ~ Yes!   
    The theology of a Sovereign God pours down like rain into every nook and cranny of my life as well. 
    Reminds me of this quote that I have had right out in my kitchen for this past whole summer, so that I STOP, read it, and allow the truth of it to gather up my scattered heart  —  again:
    “Nothing comes to pass without our Heavenly Father’s permission.  By this almighty providence, God overrules and sways all things to His own glory.  There is nothing that comes to pass but God has a purpose in it.  Though the world seems to run at random in blind confusion and rude disorder, yet God governs it to make perfect harmony out of all the seeming discords!”      Ezekiel Hopkins (1634-1690)
    And though I continue to wrestle greatly over what He is allowing in my dear dad’s life right now,  there is a degree of comfort knowing that He is working his purposes.     Praying that I will know how to walk my dad home in these final weeks, months, years.     I do hate what sin brings.  I hate the way Alzheimers has brought such terrible fear and confusion into my dad’s mind.    And, at the same time, I am utterly grateful that He will never, no never forsake us.   That truth is my resting place.

    1. Nila, appreciate the quote from Ezekiel Hopkins from the 1600’s! I needed to read it and be reminded of the faithfulness of God. Some family issues in the Philippines are causing me some unrest. I need God’s wisdom and the courage to step out in faith and not to always have to figure things out before I venture out. I like to play it safe and I know God’s will though not safe from my own point of view will ALWAYS be safe and according to his good pleasure.

  13. I apologize is I have repetition of previous comments…I am not caught up with comments and am doing the bible study questions prior to getting caught up.
    5. What similarity do you see between Proverbs 18:24 and 20:6?
    Both proverbs speak to the downfall of unreliable friendship and the one true, reliable, unfailing friendship found in our Lord.  Proverb 18:24 speaks to the ruin unreliable friendships can bring and to a friendship that is always reliable, i.e., friendship with the Lord.  Proverb 20:6 speaks to the fallacy of the “promise” of unfailing friendship in human terms and the reality of truly only one friendship/relationship guaranteed to be unfailing, that being our relationship with the Lord (if we indeed accept the incredible gracious gift of His relationship).  

  14. 6. Read Proverbs 19:1-7 … Are you friends with the poor, the powerless, and the unpopular?
    In searching my heart, I find that in this stage of my life, the basis of my friendships have more to do with common interests and authenticity, and little if anything to do with power and prestige.  I am not caught up in glitz of popularity, be it musicians, actors, sports stars, political figures, etc…I have no desire to be in someone’s presence for who they are, it is far more important to me to be in the presence of someone for what they are and what they stand for. 
    Yesterday I spent the day with my daughter and grand-daughter visiting my parents.  In our travel to meet up with my parents (1 1/2 hours) we had time to chat.  My daughter mentioned how “over the moon” she would be to meet the Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.  Her excitement in the prospect was not because he is a decent, humble man, obedient to the Lord’s calling in various charitable efforts, kind and generous, but because he is nice looking and famous, on his way to be a legendary Wisconsin sports figure.  This gave me the opportunity to have the above conversation with her…just yesterday…:)  (FYI, I take one question at a time and generally don’t read ahead in the study, in this case, I just saw this question today.)

    1. Nanci–great conversation with your daughter. She (and grand baby!) are so blessed by your example–as am I 🙂

      1. Oh Lizzy, always the encourager…you are such a blessing to me!

  15. 7. In contrast, read Proverbs 19:22. What do you think this means?
    I think it is getting at the value of friendships based on loyalty and kindness, these friendships are genuine and will stand the tests and trials of time.  Friendships based on popularity, power, or prestige are typically transient and disingenuous…one bump in the road and the friendship/relationship is gone.

  16. 10. Rebecca Pippert said “We must learn how to be the host in conversation.” I think this is the art that is described in Proverbs 20:4.  What do you think this means?
    When first reading Proverb 20:4, I thought, huh???  Then in looking at commentary, I get it.  If you don’t do the foundational work, prepare and nurture as needed, when it comes time for testing, what has been built will not stand.  In regards to conversation and relationships, one-sided conversations and relationships will not fair well.  Conversations and relationships need to be mutual, healthy give and take, interest, support, encouragement, etc.

  17. Bing posted an excellent article in the FB group http://laelarrington.com/2015/08/when-friends-frustrate-us-a-bonhoeffer-alternative-to-criticizing-or-withdrawing/
    This quote from Bonhoeffer is powerful: “I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce and dominate him with my love. The other person needs to retain his independence of me; to be loved for what he is, as one for whom Christ became man, died and rose again, as one for whom Christ bought forgiveness of sins and eternal life…I must meet him only as the person that he already is in Christ’s eyes.”

    1. Lizzy, thanks for posting the article from Lael! I have been behind but have been trying to read up on the comments. So rich sharing here. I met up with a friend today and shared the very same thoughts with her. This is the friend whose husband has filed for divorce with. I REALLY tried hard to listen even though at times I feel like I want to just jump in and give unsolicited advice. Our study here on Proverbs about holding the tongue, not having too many words, and the last sentence… “I must meet (her) only as the person that she already is in Christ’s eyes.” So convicting.

    8. Read Proverbs 19 in its entirety and share anything that quickens you — and why.
    “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    I have tried my best to get my children to help with chores around our house and it is always a fight. I have not been one to offer allowance, because I never got one and I believe family members should just participate because they are part of the family.  My grandma always used to say, “idle hands are the devils work.” I guess she took it from this passage.

    1. Laura-lol! I thought I wrote that last paragraph and had to check to see if the picture was me. Seriously!  I have to tell you something funny. I was teaching my boys Proverbs 19:15 and a verse in Proverbs 10:4 when they were slow to do their chores. Isaac, my one with autism, and I were at a parent teacher conference at his public elementary school together. We were discussing how lazy Isaac likes to be with his homework and all of a sudden Isaac blurts out, (and I cringed because i never knew what he would say) “Yeah, we are Christians and my mom reads the Bible a lot. She told us the other day that people who are lazy and poor are losers.” I about died! That is totally NOT how I communicated those verses to them. I was sure his teacher thought we were wackos like Fred Phelps or something. 

      1. Oh my! That is funny 🙂 Sarah can do that to me too! She always tells the “truth” when it comes to me…her version that is!

  19. Rebecca – just wanted to say thank you for your efforts and time in getting Dee’s teaching on the Vimeo website. I have been watching and really appreciate it!
    and Dee, thank you for allowing it to be posted for free. A wonderful resource!

    1. Jill-you are SO very welcome-how sweet of you! :))

      1. Dee-it was a pleasure!

  20. 11. Share your notes and comments.
    Here are my notes: 
    1. This really stood out to me: Our God provides mentors for us, someone who is further along the road. Someone who is blameless. Being blameless doesn’t mean sinless-it means to enjoy a clear conscience. Someone who loves to be in his presence and doesn’t want to do anything to lose being in his presence. 
    2. I love how Dee brought out when Gabriel told Mary Elizabeth was in her 6th month. Mary was sensitive to the Spirit and knew Gabriel had a reason for telling her. She was in the practice of his presence and could sense His Spirit.  So she hurried to go and see Elizabeth and was willing to walk a 70 day walk. She knew it was that important. 
    3. When Mary first saw Elizabeth before she could get the words out of her mouth saying she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah, Elizabeth said it first.  So Elizabeth knew without Mary telling her. That must have really impacted Mary.
    4. Elizabeth could have been jealous, I mean she is just carrying John the baptist but Mary is carrying Jesus. A godly sister isn’t jealous when God blesses a sister, she is happy for her. She said, isn’t it exciting Mary? You and I belong to a God who can make barren a child and make a virgin with child. Blessed are you because you have believed what the lord said of you can be accomplished. You trusted God when He didn’t make sense. Mary was so filled with encouragement she burst out with this song, “My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” 
    5. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months which was valuable mentoring time. We don’t know what happened but maybe Mary told Elizabeth Joseph didn’t believe. Most likely Elizabeth put her arm around her and told her Joseph had a good heart and God would show him. Elizabeth could have told her of Zacharias and how God showed him and then encouraged her that God will take care of her.
    6. God prepared Mary with Elizabeth for when Mary had Jesus on that barren barn floor.  
    God is personal-He knows your longings and will lead you through the wilderness. He will give you Grace to fill the difficulties of life to show you he cares and that he is still God.

  21. Normally I would give this update on our shared fb page but think it is appropriate for this post! Thank you sisters for praying. My first day as a Paraeducator went great. It does break my heart how isolated these kiddos are from their peers-just walking down the halls with them I felt it with them and it was like a knife. Yet I am enjoying building relationships with them already. There is a lot of awkwardness as most struggle with communicating but I am learning to embrace it.  I am fond of all of them, but the girls and I are hitting it off well..one 18 year old with severe downs who likes to rub my arm and tell me my skin is soft and my arm is skinny. 🙂  and two 17 year old girls with autism. The world doesn’t acknowledge them when they walk in a room-like they are nothing and that really bugs me-but I know HE acknowledges them. 🙂  I pray people could embrace the awkwardness and reach out to not just say Hi..but build a relationship. These precious souls desire what all of us do-to be seen..and to be loved.

    1. oh Rebecca–it brings such JOY to my heart to see how He has answered years of prayer for your job situation. How perfectly equipped you are for this position! I picture you with these children, offering them something they have never had access to before–real, unconditional acceptance and love. Oh I could write so much here, but I am just praising Him this morning for His provision–both for you and these precious children. What a beautiful tapestry He is weaving in your life

    2. rebecca! I had no idea you were changing positions this year. I must have missed that somewhere down the line. They are lucky to have you for sure! Perfect place for you! Have a great year!

    3. Rebecca,you seem perfect for the job. I know the Lord will bless them through you and bless you through them!

    4. Yip, yip, hurray! Cool, Rebecca! My husband’s 12 year old nephew has Down’s Syndrome and we so appreciate the help he has been receiving at school. I see him occasionally and the last time he gave me a fist bump before he left. That was awesome! So, thank you for your services and your compassion to these kids. Building relationships-that’s the key and so glad you are there as an advocate.

  22. 8. Read Proverbs 19 in its entirety and share anything that quickens you – and why. So many good Proverbs in this chapter!
    V.2 Desire without knowledge is not good  and whoever makes haste with his feet  misses his way. – I must not try to forge ahead by the seat of my pants but be in God’s word everyday, learning, listening, allowing God to mold my thoughts and be influenced by Him and not influenced by this world. This has so much application for me as I yearn to be ministering to people and while the desire is good God still has me learning and so I will continue to seek His knowledge and wait on His timing. V. 21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand – rest in God’s sovereignty, rest.
    v. 11 the wise/insightful are patient they will be honored if they ignore offenses (EXB) – in our friendship context this is so good. If I am insightful and see other’s with agod’ wisdom I will be more patient and more compassionate rather than offended at small selfish issues.
    v. 23 the fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by hard. – I know this is not a promise but the fear of the Lord does lead to life, both on earth and ever after, I can rest and I will rest completely satisfied.

  23. 10. Rebecca Pippert said, “We must learn how to be the host in conversation.” I think this is the art that is described in Proverbs 20:5  what do you think this means? “The purpose” (looking at different translations) means someone’s wisdom or counsel or advice, so the wise man will reach in deep and draw it in humility, looking for the nuggets that every heart has. You have to work to get to the water, past barriers, and get a long rope (time?). Arrogantly thinking I have the best/better/only wisdom is not drawing from the waters of someone’s heart! The host in conversation asks questions, treats the individual with respect and compassion not because it’s “what we should do” but rather because we realize that each individual has beauty and a story placed by God. 
    Which brings me back to questions. I need to ask good questions! I have been trying to work on this but does anyone have a resource for specifically working on/memorizing good questions to ask people to help them reveal their story/beauty and encouraging them in that beauty and story?!
    As a side note I initially thought that “purpose” could mean the reason behind what we do – the sin beneath the sin, the idols and reasons for what flows out but the different translations don’t seem to support that interpretation, however I think it can be part of playing host in conversation?

  24. Take away…understanding the proverbs is sometimes difficult and it helps to read others’ responses to be able to get the message. Thanks Rebecca for the good notes from Dee’s video. Love the video Dee, can we see more?

    1. Laura-dancer, There are quite a few more already available on Dee’s Vimeo site (click the vimeo link on the video above to “see more videos” or try https://vimeo.com/user13990193/videos )

  25. Hello all. Thanks Dee for the introduction.  

    1. Hello, Joyce! Welcome!

    2. Welcome Joyce! Glad to have you!

  26. Dee, I listened and watched the vimeo of you and Kathy. Thank you! What rich insights into the friendship/mentoring relationship of Elizabeth and Mary. Several things stood out for me:
    God had brought these 2 women for His purposes one of which is for each woman to bring encouragement to one another.
    Elizabeth brought her age and wisdom to the friendship; Mary, her youth and steadfast faith.
    Time and effort are required for true friendship to take place. (70 miles and 3 months stay!)
    God is in the practical. The three months Mary stayed with Elizabeth would have prepared her for the rigor of the Savior’s birth at the most unlikely place. 

  27. These studies on friendship have been wonderful. It is so true that Proverbs are sometimes difficult to interpret and each response is very helpful.
    I loved the video with Dee and Kathy and the wonderful illustration of Mary visiting Elizabeth who mentored her so beautifully.
    I am also so happy for Rebecca’s new position. That is truly a gift and you will be a blessing I know.
    Nila, your quote was wonderful. I need to read this frequently. Each situation we are in is allowed by God for his purpose.
    I am so grateful for a good friend who understood when I was caring for my Mother in her last years, with dementia. It so helps when someone is supportive and I was struggling. Thanks, to each of you for sharing.

  28. I’m going to keep up with the blog and developer some new friendships. 

  29. My last post was a little scrambled. Was on my phone at work and it would not allow me to fix my typo’s. Just wanted to stop in and say hello. I work all weekends and find it hard to get online with my computer. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Joyce 

    1. hey Joyce–we’re so glad you’re with us. Just wanted to give you the link to this week’s lesson so you can join us there 🙂