I am a big fan of Proverbs 27.   The chapter is an odd assortment of proverbs that seem rather random.  I hope when I get to heaven I will be able to spend some time with King Solomon.  David’s son was a thinker and a writer.  I imagine him getting up in the quiet hours of the morning and jotting down his thoughts.  I wonder what happened in his life that prompted Proverbs 27:6: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”   Every king had to wonder if someone was a true friend or simply after a relationship with power.

My favorite proverb from chapter 27 is verse 17.  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  I am grateful to have a group of special friends that I trust.  God made us for relationship with him and relationship with others.  I am blessed to have friends that will hold me accountable when I get out of line and support me when I need help.

My favorite teacher/friend is Anne Graham Lotz.  She isn’t a friend I shop with or meet for lunch.  She is an iron sharpens iron friend.  I am headed for the Cove this week for such a time.  The Cove is Billy Graham’s retreat center and Anne has a workshop that I, and several friends will attend.  It is always a privilege to sit under great teaching and every time I have heard Anne it has been like a great spiritual banquet.   I sit through every course and leave “full and content.”

I recently read an article in Relevant Magazine titled “Why Quiet Times Shouldn’t Just Happen Alone” by Drew Dickson.  He wrote the article after hearing a pastor say, “If you want to grow in your relationship with God, you have to study the Bible for yourself.”  Dickson made a point that I had never considered.  He said:

The idea of a personal quiet time is a relatively new concept. For the vast majority of Christian history, believers have not had the privilege of personally studying the Bible. Prior to the printing press, personal quiet time was not possible except for a privileged few. For much of Christian history, the primary context for spiritual formation was in community, as people gathered together to listen to and discuss God’s Word.

The article went on to say that we should study our Bibles with other people as well as on our own.  Community provides an accountability to study and learn from those who are wiser and more experienced.  All of us need to have personal Bible study, but all of us need to be taught by others as well.  I rarely ask anyone “How does that passage make you feel?” or “What does that passage mean to you personally?”  I am more likely to ask “What did that passage say to the people it was written to?” or “What does the passage mean?”  I think those are the questions that the Holy Spirit is most likely to use to personally apply eternal truth to our lives.  God’s truth is personal, but it is truth for everyone.

I am looking forward to absorbing some good teaching, surrounded by other Christians who are seeking to learn God’s word.  I am also looking forward to seeing the fall colors displayed on those North Carolina trees.  I will hike the trails and find quiet benches where I can sit and pray.  Iron sharpens iron and I am grateful for the chance to grow under Anne’s teaching.

I hope each of you have a place where you study and discuss God’s word with others.   I hope each of you have a quiet spot at home where God’s Holy Spirit can speak to you personally.  We are a blessed generation.  We have a Bible we can open at any time.  We can access God’s word on our cell phones and computers.  But we join every generation that has preceded us when we sit with a group of God’s people and discuss the Word.  Iron sharpens iron when one person sharpens another.  Find some good friends and enjoy Scripture together.

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