True Friendship

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Proverbs 18:24

 24 A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.

Steel and wood don’t fold into each other. At least, wood doesn’t in the way that others metal fold into steel. All metals have to be fashioned to join together with any form of tree. In other words, you carve a handle and fit it to steel. Metals can be forged into a compound, but metal and wood are normally coupled together.

That doesn’t make them any less valuable. In fact a hammer is one of the most useful tools in anyone’s tool chest. The same is true of friendships. Yes, you should be compatible with your friends, similar interests are nice. There are friends though, that are more important than whether or not you like the same basketball team. Go Celtics!

The people in your life that mean the most are more important than the color of their jersey. This is true, even if they disagree with you on the best phone, car, or even crime fighter. Friendships, like metal and wood, build homes. The nail in one beam may hold a picture frame, while another connects the beam to the frame.

[tweetthis]Friends can be blood, or not blood, but true friends will always become family![/tweetthis]


One minute you’re watching a game with a friend, the next, you’re driving to the hospital together. My friends know what makes me smile, and makes me sad. They know what makes me angry, and what makes me laugh. They’ve been with me, both to dry my tears, and to hold me until I was through weeping.

Friends can be blood, or not blood, but true friends will always become family! If you don’t have a friend like this, first, there is hope. It wasn’t always like this for me, but it is now. Second, the Scripture says to have a friend, “you must show yourself friendly.” Find someone that’s hurting, and be their friend.

Do this, without expecting anything in return. Maybe they’ll reciprocate, maybe they won’t, but it’s good practice. God sees that void in your life, and He wants to fill it. First, with a relationship with Him, for “He is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Second, with loved ones who will help you in dark times.

Psalms 68: 6

 6 God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains:

The Bible says that, “He sitteth the solitary in families, and brings out those bound with chains.” Maybe you’re afraid to have friends, you’re afraid for them to see your scars. We all have them. No matter how hard you try, someone will notice that you’re not perfect. Perfect by the way, in a Biblical sense, means mature. It means you’ve grown, you’re complete, and you’re whole.

 

[tweetthis]Isaiah 49:16 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of [my] hands; thy walls [are] continually before me.[/tweetthis]

 

The Lord Jesus is perfect in both, the sense of being infallible, and in the sense of maturity. He came to Earth because He loved us. He grew as a man to be among us. He died as a man to take our scars, and according to Zechariah, He kept them because He wants to show His Friendship.

Zechariah 13:6

6 And [one] shall say unto him, What [are] these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, [Those] with which I was wounded [in] the house of my friends.

He will keep them, even with a glorified body, even though He need never suffer again. He kept them for His friends, as proof of His Friendship. This is true, not just in the day Zechariah talks about, but every day of our lives. The Lord Jesus opened Zion to both Jew and Gentile, and He told them something in Isaiah 49:16. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I won’t forget you, I have carved you in the palms of my hands.”

Isaiah 49:16

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of [my] hands; thy walls [are] continually before me.

The Iron Conference

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PruittWrites.com is so excited to attend The Iron Conference this November 6-7 @ Point Of Mercy in Nashville, Tennessee.  If you haven’t registered yet, we recommend that you do as quickly as possible.  You can do this by going to www.TheIronConference.com.

The line up of Speakers features men and women who have committed their lives to improving others. We have included the bio of one of these incredible speakers, Joyce McCool.  This is just a small preview of what you will experience at the Iron Conference.

Joyce McCool is the wife of Bishop Spencer McCool and former First Lady of Greater Life Ministries, Utica Michigan.  Lady J, as she is affectionately known, was baptized in Jesus’ name at the age of 6 and filled with the Holy Ghost at the age of 7.  Even at this tender age, like Samuel, she had sensitivity to the things of God.

 She and Bishop McCool were married as teenagers and in 1965 began their early ministry in the evangelistic work.  Ten years of evangelizing, First Lady of two pastorates, and with hours of prayer, her ministry has developed into a ministry of helps for men and women of all ages.

In her lifetime she has suffered the loss of three children, is a cancer survivor, and had a near death experience in an automobile crash.  Sis. McCool certainly knows what it means to be an overcomer.  Her testimony will encourage you, strengthen you, and help to bring you to higher heights and deeper depths in God.

The Sea Horse: Who Is Doctor Aaron Matthews

The journey ended, the Senator turned to leave, and then stopped.  “You took a huge risk revealing yourself to me.  Why?  Isn’t your secrecy your best weapon?”  The Sea Horse smiled.  “Would you have listened to a doctor or a vigilante?”  The Senator laughed.  “Neither, but that’s why you sent Henry. I respect him.  His leadership has transcended politics, race, and national boundaries.  If you ask me, he should have run for the Senate instead of me.”

Henry spoke up.  “Do you know why I didn’t? Because I had a hospital to run.  My work may reach outside of this area, but my heart never leaves that hospital.”  The Senator sighed.  “I should have kept walking, but I ask too many questions.  If I can help, in any legal way, I will.”  He shook hands with them both, and Henry returned him to his hotel.

That night, Dr. Aaron Matthews rendezvoused with the Chief Of Surgery in Henry’s office.  “Craig was right, you did take a huge risk.”  Aaron laughed.  “In this day and age, it’s not a question of will someone discover who The Sea Horse is.  The question is, can we keep the secret until we no longer need to keep it?”

This time Henry smiled.  “Oh I thank so. How are your new living quarters?”  “Nicer than I deserve.  Thank you Henry, one day I’ll pay you back for all that you’ve …” Henry held up a hand.  “You pay me back ever time you go out on patrol. Your Dad would have done the same, if he were still here.”

Aaron winced.  “He would have thought I was crazy.”  “At first, but then he would have done the same thing that I’m doing.  The only thing that he couldn’t do, was get used to the new name.”  “It is legally my name.”  “Yes, but it’s not the name you’ve been called since I delivered you on that boat that night.”

“That’s what I’m counting on.  One day, they will discover that The Sea Horse is Dr. Aaron Matthews.  My plan is for them to never find out who Dr. Aaron Matthews is.”  Henry and Aaron left the hospital with the excuse of meeting Henry’s wife Carla for supper.  In reality, they were to rendezvous with her at the Sea Horse’ base on the sea floor, directly on the underside of Machias Seal Island.

Famous For Building

imagePsalms 74:5
5 A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.

In American folklore he is a legend. His mighty axe felling trees that no mere man could cut down. He was famous, not for fighting crime, or rescuing worlds, but cutting down trees. It may not sound as impressive now, but you have to understand what Paul Bunyan’s story represented.

He was clearing land for houses in an expanding country. Paul also represented progress. America would become a rich nation, thanks in part to hard work, and harvesting our resources. You and I know that Paul’s story was greatly exaggerated, but what it meant wasn’t.

2 Chronicles 2:8-9
8 Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,
9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.

Recently I found a much more real set of heroes in Scripture than Paul and Babe his blue ox. They are in Psalms 74:5. These men, both Jew and Gentile, worked together to supply the timber for the Temple. These nameless citizens to you and I, were not kings or priests, but they were famous in the congregation. They were known for the trees they selected and secured for Solomon.

In Gill’s Commentary, he offers this note from Kimchi. “When the temple was built, he who lifted up his axe upon a thick tree, to cut it down for the building, was known, as if he lifted it up above in heaven before the throne of glory; all so rejoiced and gloried in the building.” It is a beautiful picture, these normal men, producing something that reached to Heaven.

I can’t help but imagine it, picture two of them. One man, a member of Israel, who may have never been outside of his borders. The other, called to secure trees for a God that he had never known. Over time, friendships were formed, and stories exchanged.

“If you’ll hold your axe this way, you’ll get more results.” The one instructed the other. “This isn’t just any building. The God that we serve, brought us out of Egypt. He vanquished the Philistines, and took down Goliath. Our God sat David on His throne.” He taught his new friend about The God of Israel. There was a sacredness to what they accomplished, isn’t it amazing?

What is so incredible is the fact that you and I can be a part of this in a different way. As Christians, we can be a part of the very real work of building the Church, one soul at a time. Throughout Scripture, God has compared Christians to trees planted in the courts of The Lord.

We can, in our every day lives, form very real relationships with those in need of God’s love and mercy. We can show them that both He, and we, care about them. People will hear our message once they’ve seen our hearts.

Like Paul Bunyan, logs weren’t the only part of the industry, there was the running of the camps. Things had to be maintained, equipment had to be oiled, and food prepared for the loggers. We can volunteer in the local Church to make a difference.

These men weren’t Solomon and Hiram. They weren’t architects, but tree cutters, yet they built the Temple. You and I don’t have to sing, preach, or play an instrument to build the Church. We don’t have to have great ability to make a difference, only to be available.

When we involve ourselves in the work of The Lord, we are lifting beams to Heaven. Jesus said that we are laying up treasures there that can’t be corrupted or destroyed. In the end, making a difference isn’t magical or mythical. It’s the act of mortal men in the hands of a Divine God, directed by the Man Of God He has placed in our lives!

The Shepherds Tent

Painting By Charles Jaque
Painting By Charles Jaque

Song of Songs 1:8

“8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.”

This verse represents part of a conversation between Christ and His Church. He is The Shepherd, and The Church is the Fairest of all. In it, He tells her the way to find Him. The Lord says to follow the path of the footsteps of the flock, and to feed thy children beside of the Shepherd’s tents.

This is beautiful for so many reasons, one of which is this, sheep don’t leave footsteps. Only Shepherd’s leave footprints. We know He isn’t only referring to Himself as The Chief Shepherd because shepherd’s tents is plural. This is a reference to the Pastors in our lives.

The men who, while following The Good Shepherd, walk every mile of our journey with us. They go ahead, securing the path to our future, to make sure it is safe for us. A shepherd would only take a tent with them when the journey was a long one. They would spend more time outside of it than inside it.

Most of their time was spent carving for their flock. It is no different today, Pastors spend most of their time bearing our burdens, caring for our loved ones, and smiling through tears. The life of a Shepherd is bound up in the life of his sheep.

The Lord Jesus gave His life for the sheep on Calvary, and spends every waking moment watching after us. He has positioned His Pastors to do the same through the sacrifices of their every day life. He never sleeps, Yet He did while here on Earth. Jesus knew His Under Shepherd’s would get weary, even as they gave their heart for His people.

That is why He gave them a tent, a refuge from the weariness that they gladly experience for the good of the people. As a Minister myself, and as a member of the flock, I’ve seen firsthand the sacrifices of The men, women, and children that commit all to the care of the sheep. Pastor’s and their families sacrifice for the Church. I’ve watched them work, not tirelessly, but in spite of fatigue if a sheep was hurting.

Aches, pains, and their own problems are placed on pause when they hear a cry from the flock. The Only trouble with this that we, as sheep, have been guilty of expecting this to be their pattern. The Lord intended it to be, not merely a blueprint for His leaders, but an example for His flock.

Just as The Lord said that we are all to be Kings and Priests, we are to care one for another. It is also our privilege to show care to those who care for us. October is Pastor Appreciation Month, one month out of the year, we honor those who are there for us all the other days of our lives.

When I think of the births and the goodbyes, the happy moments and the tear filled ones, I see my Pastor there. Smiling, while sleep deprived, skipping meals because of a hospital call, or just listening to someone for hours. Wishing he could be spending time with his own children while at the hospital for one of God’s children.

The Lord never takes lightly their sacrifice. This is why He tells His Bride, The Church, you’ll find Me in the footsteps of the flock, which are the shepherd’s prints because only shepherd’s leave footprints. He also tells her something else, feed the children by the shepherd’s tents.

It’s not only because they provide us the Preached Word. It’s because of the lesson in the manner they share it. They serve selflessly, honoring their God, loving His flock. That is why He provided rest for them, by supplying a tent for the journey. Christ brings that tent to the attention of His people too, reminding them to make sure we care as much for the caretakers, as they care for us.

The Sea Horse: Welcome To Oceania

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The Sea Horse On The Docks

The news coverage was intent, a hooded man sprang from the sea onto Oceania’s Calloway docks. Five men, known to work for John Cater were unloading a boat. The caped figure attacked them. One of Cater’s men, aware that the security cameras were on grabbed his taser.

He could explain it much easier than the glock in his coat. The taser seemed to have no effect on this brightly colored figure. His response was to pick the largest of Cater’s men up and toss him against the side of the boat.

Another of Cater’s men sliced at the figure’s arm. The stranger responded by flipping over the man’s head, landing on his knees, and knocking the man’s legs out from under him.

As the figure left, the camera caught one good view of this stranger. He seemed to pause just for a millisecond, blood pouring from his lower lip.

He was clothed in dark blue, with a yellow cape, and a yellow and blue striped mask. On the side of his chest was a symbol made up of a seashell and a seahorse.

He ripped the boxes, marked restaurant supplies open, exposing the drugs inside. Then leaping over the side of the boat, disappearing into the sea.

Dr. Henry Mills looked across the desk at Senator Craig Fine as he read the article. “Dr. Aaron Matthews is a surgeon here at Highlands Hospital. He is a talented, and skilled doctor with an interesting history. Among his many degrees is that of a marine biologist. He could be Chief Of Surgery, if he wanted.” “Who wouldn’t want to be Chief Of Surgery?” The Senator asked, not sure why he was involved. “Someone who already has an equally taxing second job.”

Henry had known Craig for a long time.  He had supported the young, former councilman from a distance, two cities away.  Together, they stood against corruption that had attacked their state.  Henry had a reputation for backing solidly, but quietly.  He was a force of a man, mentally as well as physically.  Craig admired him for a number of reasons.

Henry was a muscular, six foot two, businessman who had forged this hospital through skill and sweat.  His voice was soft, but powerful, his hands were skilled, and calloused. Henry’s hair was white now, but his green eyes were still keen, and his ears were always opened.    He had built this hospital from nothing, having fought hatred, fear, and greed to make the hospital a reality for all cultures in their community.

They left the conference room and headed for Henry’s Lexus. It was around midnight. Neither said anymore until they were pulling out. “Why are you telling me this Henry?” “You need to know. You’re only the second one to know.” “How will he feel about it?” Henry smiled. “Who do you think asked me to tell you?”

Internally, Henry wasn’t as sure as Aaron had been about this.  Craig was a fine man, even an honest man, but he was a politician.  He glimpsed at the man beside him.  Craig was barely forty, no sign of gray yet, except his eyes.  While he hadn’t fought the racism that Henry had, Craig knew hardship.  Sadly, in this business, that was a asset.  His hair was black, his skin pale.  It had once been very tan, but Washington wasn’t known for catching waves, just making them.

Henry continued his tale. “It started, not on land, but on the sea. He was born on a boat, just outside of U.S. Waters. Elaine went into labor before they could make it back home.  She was an Ambassador, but they had to leave the country abruptly.”

“He doesn’t talk much about his family.” “No, he says very little most of the time. His life was fairly quiet, until he was 18. A girl broke his heart, her name was Wanda. They were to be married, she ended it the night before the wedding. He didn’t know why.”

Craig looked out the window. “Not knowing is tough, similar thing happened to me. I never learned why she left.” Henry frowned. “Sometimes learning why is even worse. It was in his case. Her family went into the witness protection program. Her father saw something he wasn’t supposed to, something that would force their family into hiding for the rest of their lives.”

Henry stopped. Craig looked at him. “What was it?” “Sorry, for your own safety, you don’t need to know. I will tell you this, he never stopped loving her. That was event number one. Event number two came when he was 19. A very bad man shut down the harbor. He put several families of fishermen out of a job.”

Craig knew Henry. He was leading to something. Suddenly, Henry took a side road. They had reached a little area overlooking the water. He stopped the car. As they got out, Craig asked, “What was number three?” Henry’s voice was thick with anger. “Number three was when they killed Norm Silva. That is, I feel, the moment The Sea Horse was created.

A moment later it surfaced. Craig knew from reports that it was called The Sea Swallow. It was the strangest craft Craig had ever seen. It was an almost blue black, with yellow LEDs. A hatch opened, and out climbed a hooded figure. Other than that he was Caucasian, with deep blue eyes, Craig couldn’t make out much.  He had a firm handshake, and a strong voice. “Thank you for seeing me Senator. Welcome to Oceania.”

The Happy Series

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As you know, Ashley and I are blessed to be part of Point Of Mercy Church in Nashville, Tennessee. This month, our Lead Pastor, Pastor Denny Livingston is sharing an incredible set of messages called “The Happy Series”.

This series reveals the practical way that we can find, maintain, and thrive happily in a troubled world. We invite you to click on the link and experience it for yourself.

It is our hope that you will join us for these life altering services the next few weeks. So cast all your cares away, and come on, get Happy!