Today’s Scrip-Bit   19 March 2022 Romans 5:8.

Romans 5:8.     But God commendeth (demonstrated) his (own) LOVE towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

It’s a rainy Saturday morning, most excellent for sleeping in, which I must confess that I did. (smile) Unfortunately, when one is getting on in age, it becomes much harder to burn the candle at both ends, meaning to achieve early rising with a late bedtime. But nonetheless, I’m still working to prove the naysayers wrong. (smile) Anyway, without further ado, that’s more talk, let’s turn to our usual Saturday program, that of checking out the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And the first quote relates quite nicely to our Christian situation. It says: ‘Don’t ever promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise.’ Yes friends, that’s a Christian tenet that should be ingrained in all of us. However, since promises nowadays don’t hold the weight they once held, we don’t pay as much attention to them as we ought to. Currently, the prominent thought on promises is that they are made to be broken. No longer do we keep our word, as best as possible, and if we can’t, then notify the promisee of our inability to do so. 

Sadly, broken promises litter our world today like no other time in history. And why is that? Because there is so little accountability on promises, and thus, to achieve our own selfish ends, we very often make promises we know we can’t keep. Oh, hifalutin promises do look and sound good, and better yet, because of the greedy and selfish tendencies now proliferating in our society, they tend to inveigle others to believe and agree to even the most outlandish promises. That’s why broken promises, or the many tentacles of fraud are spread so wide and deep in today’s society. 

But all of that is a total repudiation of the Christian doctrine of keeping our promises. Cousin Sol, writing as the preacher in Ecclesiastes, puts it quite clearly. ‘Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.’ (Eccl. 3:5) Yes my Christian brethren, it’s always better not to promise than to make promises we know we can’t keep. And it’s even better when we can deliver more than we promised, like Jesus says regarding LOVE for enemies in the Sermon on the Mount. ‘And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain (two). ‘(Matt. 5:41). 

The scholars offer this explanation. ‘In ancient times government agents were able to compel forced service upon a subjugated people. A Roman soldier, for example, could compel a Jewish native to carry his armour or materials for one mile. Jesus now states that if someone compels you to walk a mile, go with him twain. The believer is to be willing to “go the extra mile.” Doing double our duty not only proves our loyalty to human authority, but likewise proves the spiritual intention of our heart.’ And I can hear many of us laughing at that crazy notion, since today we don’t even want to do our basic duty, much less double! 

That takes us to the next quote which also has some strong Christian content. ‘The strong-minded rise to the challenge of their goals and dreams. The weak-minded become haters.’ That’s oh so true! Strong -willed people, which Christians ought to be, always rise to the occasion. They face challenges rather than run from them. And that’s what Christ is asking of those who consider themselves His followers. As He said. ‘If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15) That’s simple enough to understand. 

And we know what Christ’s dream is for us; in a few words, to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. To stand up strong against the enemy and spread His gospel, the good news of His free gift of salvation. As Bruh Paul encouraged Timothy: ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ (2 Tim. 2:3) That also pertains to us my brethren, especially in these rough and tumble times, when our world is turned upside down, and many of us don’t know our A from our E. (smile) 

No, we cannot be weak minded or fearful, because that only leads to negative stuff like insecurity, resentment, anger and strife. It’s absolutely necessary that we do like Bruh Paul said: ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith.’ (2 Tim. 4:7) Oh my fellow saints, that should be our goal: to fight the good fight in Jesus’ name, to show forth His glorious kingdom to the unbelievers by the way we live, with LOVE and compassion for others, filled with the peace and joy, only found in Christ! 

That’s why these next two quotes should be important in our lives. The first one says: ‘Spend your time with those who LOVE you unconditionally, not with those who only LOVE you under certain conditions.’ That’s the gospel truth! For nowadays we tend to LOVE others only under certain conditions. If they behave in certain ways, or do things we approve of. But that’s not how God LOVES us, or Jesus teaches us to LOVE each other. The Good Book tells us: ‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his (own) LOVE towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 5:8) 

Oh friends, that means God didn’t wait for us to become saints before He LOVED us, but showed His unconditional LOVE by allowing Christ to die for us despite our sinful condition. Now shouldn’t we show the same kind of LOVE to those around us, with no strings attached, and even though our expectations are not met? Of course! It’s not easy, because that’s how our selfish sinful nature operates. But with the true Spirit of Jesus working in and with us, we can certainly move on to higher ground, a more Christ-like kind of LOVE. 

And these words from Bruh Paul to the church at Corinth contain possibly the best explanation of unconditional, Christ-like LOVE. ‘LOVE is patient and kind; LOVE does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’ (1 Cor. 13:4-7) 

And it’s only when we come to that kind of understanding, can we become what this last quote declares. ‘Fake friends are like shadows: always near you at your brightest moments, but nowhere to be seen at your darkest hour. True friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but they are always there.’ Now we all know that to be the truth of all truths, because we have all experienced the betrayal and disappointment of fake friends. People who abandon you when troubles come, or your situation changes, and you can no longer give them what they need. 

Unfortunately, our world today is filled with many more fake than true friendships. Oftentimes too, what we call friendships are in truth mere acquaintances. For as Cousin Sol so wisely says in Proverbs: ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ (Prov. 17:17) Or as the scholars explain: ‘A true friend has unquenchable LOVE that is not diminished by adversity.’ Now that’s the kind of stuff Jesus expects from us as His followers, His earthly agents and ambassadors. Please, let’s not disappoint Him more than we have already done nuh. Much LOVE!

…by definition…Christians…are true friends…filled with unconditional LOVE… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   12 March 2022 John 15:13.

John 15:13.      Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Now it seems like the ole fella is taking advantage of the lazy quality of a Saturday morning by getting later and lazier. (smile) But that’s to be expected of a gentleman getting on in age, isn’t it? Or is that just an excuse to be lazy and rise late, especially when you’re not abed until the wee hours of the morning? (smile) Personally, I think it’s a combination of both, but then they say that a leopard can’t change its spots, so I guess I can’t change my peculiar and eccentric ways…not that I want to. 

Anyway, having made my apologies, (smile) let’s turn to our Saturday ritual, looking with a scriptural eye, at the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one tells us that ‘No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.’ Now that’s obviously true, because by definition, a friend is one who has your best interest at heart, and if those in your acquaintance don’t want you to speak up or grow, then they certainly are not your friends. 

And the Good Book tells us quite a lot about friends and friendships. Cousin Sol spoke about it several times in Proverbs. ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ (Prov. 17:17) Then in chapter 18, he asserts: ‘A man that hath many friends must show himself friendly (will come to ruin): and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov. 18:24) And per the scholars’ explanation: ‘A man of many friends comes to ruin. In other words, a man must not spread himself too thin among many superficial friendships. Far better is it to have (a few) genuine friends who become like family and LOVE at all times. (17:17).’ 

Yes my people, by the very definition, the deep and responsible relationship expected from a friend, in a friendship, one cannot truly have a lot of them. And this last wise word from Cousin Sol is a magnificent one on friends and friendships, where he says: ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.’ (Prov. 27:17) Of which the scholars say ‘As the proper tool shapes and sharpens iron for its desired use, so a man sharpens his friend morally and intellectually by their personal friendship.’ 

And that’s the gospel truth! If your supposed friend isn’t improving your mind and morals then he is no true friend. For as the next quote tells us: ‘A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.’ More gospel truth mih bredrin! A true friend will only block you if he sees you are falling, and then steps in to help you back up. 

And the definitive statement on true friendship comes from none other than Jesus, where He tells the disciples: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth, I call you not servants… but I have called you friends…’ (John 15:13 15) And then He went out and laid down His sinless life for His friends! Oh what a friend we have in Jesus! 

But when we talk about great friendships between two humans there’s none like that between Bruh David and Jonathan, King Saul’s son, found in 1 Samuel 20. By lineage, Jonathan was supposed to be the king of Israel after his father Saul. And though he knew that the prophet Samuel had anointed Bruh David for that job, yet he entered into a covenant of friendship with David. 

Instead of being jealous and miserable like his father, he encouraged Bruh David, even letting him know of his father’s cruel, evil and unfair intentions towards him. And then later on when both Saul and Jonathan were dead and Bruh David was king, he sought out and looked after Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth. (2 Sam. 9) That’s how true friendship operates! 

Oh brother, I didn’t mean to spend so much time on the friendship situation nuh, but it just seemed to warrant the time since real friends and true friendships are so few and far between in our current selfish and greedy society. Anyway, the next quote is also an interesting one. ‘The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.’ 

And I’m chuckling here because our friend Anselm provides the answer to that in the very next quote: ‘Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.’ 

Now that’s exactly why we have rebellions; because the conditions of life breed nothing but rebellious attitudes. When people are so dissatisfied and feel that their problems are not being seriously considered, then the last option in their portfolio is simply to rebel. It’s like when you corner a wild animal and it sees no way of escape, it comes right after you, mano a mano. 

It’s been the history of rebellions right down through the ages; the weak have been taken advantage of by the strong, and when they can’t take it no more, they rise up in rebellion. But the strong never learn, they keep on revelling in their power, no wonder it’s been a continuous cycle. And that’s why this last quote might just be true: ‘It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.’ 

Who knows friends, we might just need the apocalyptic message very badly right now; the real revelation of things to come, and very possibly real soon Why? Because mankind being the arrogant and egotistic animal he is, who feels his free will, encased in his supposed power and wisdom makes him godlike, meaning he can do whatever he wants, badly needs a wake up call. And only the roiling, churning and upturning power of the universe, a glimpse of God’s awesome omnipotence can possibly achieve that much desired and oh so necessary objective! Much LOVE!

…it was the water the first time…but the next time…it will be the unquenchable fire… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8        

Today’s Scrip-Bit   13 November 2021 John 15:13.

John 15:13.     Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

So, finally it’s Saturday, and no more work for two, whole, big days! Glory be! But we can’t laze on the couch too much either because there’s housework to be done; stuff that we did not get done during the workweek. So, as they say, there’s just no rest for the wicked! But that’s okay, we can handle anything we have to with the amazing help of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who enables us to do all things. And it’s that enablement I’m counting on right now, (smile) as I try to make some sense of the quotes we got this past week from our friend Anselm, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Now, the first quote says; ‘To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.’ And we know that’s one of the tenets of our Christian faith: you have to believe or imagine it before you see it. That’s what the Good Book tells us in that famous verse on faith, in Hebrews. ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb. 11:1) Yes friends, faith has us waiting with eager expectations for stuff that we’ve imagined or prayed for. The only problem here is that it ought to be in God’s will, or His plan for our lives. And if it is, then we know we will receive it, in His timing, that’s why we can wait eagerly for it. 

The timing scene can ofttimes be a problem though, because waiting is not in our current playbook, we want everything now for now, and the Lord seems to wait until the very last moment. But He’s never late, although we might feel so. That’s the good things about it. That’s why we need to take these two verses from Psalm 27 to heart, where Bruh David adamantly declares: ‘I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait (in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.’ (Ps. 27:13-14) 

Oh my people, if we can plant those two verses in our hearts, then we have won most of the battle! Believe that God will be good to us down here on earth, since Christ said that He came so we could have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) And since you believe that, then you simply wait expectantly for the goodness of the Lord to show. It’s like when you’ve ordered something online that you greatly desire, and you know it’s going to come, but you’re just not sure when, but you still eagerly wait for it. The same way we must eagerly wait for God’s goodness, because it will come eventually. 

Wow! Like I got carried away there. But getting carried away with the Lord’s business is quite okay! (smile) That brings us to the next quote, which is almost the same as the first. ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.’ Yes, we do need to follow our dreams as much as possible, that is if they coincide with God’s plan for us, for if they don’t our dreams will certainly get sidetracked. 

And I can give personal testimony to that since I never in my wildest dreams thought about writing scriptural stuff. Writing was one of my dreams yes, but not on the Lord’s Word. But He obviously had other ideas. So, here I am living my dream of writing, but not what I had intended to write, (smile) because it did not fall completely in line with God’s plans for my writing life. But nevertheless, I’m happy and contented, and still do some of the other writing on the side, so I can’t complain. 

And the next quote tells us: ‘A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden.’ And is that ever the gospel truth! True friends are few and far between, and if you ever are blessed enough to get even one true one, then shout ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ and hold on to them for dear life! There are so many scriptures on the subject of real, good and true friends, that we need to consider some of them. And most of them obviously come from the wisest man ever, that’s Cousin Sol. 

Oh, before we go further, one other thing we need to admit and realize here that the flip side of most of these scriptures are also true; that is, we should not only be looking for a true friend, but also be working on being a true friend ourselves. Now listen to Cousin Sol from Proverbs. He writes: ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ (Prov. 17:17) That means ‘a true friend has unquenchable LOVE that is not diminished by adversity.’ And hear this one: ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov. 18:24) 

Now what does that all mean? The scholars tell us: ‘18:24. A man that hath friends must show himself friendly may also be translated, “A man of many friends comes to ruin.” In other words, a man must not spread himself too thin among many superficial relationships. Far better is it to have genuine friends who become like family and LOVE at all times (17:17).’ Truer words were never spoken. 

Then there’s this most timely warning: ‘Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways and get a snare to thy soul.’ (Prov. 22:24-25) Ah mih people, that simply means, ‘Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.’ And that’s the living truth, since the traits of those we associate with can easily be transferred to us. 

And this one proves what we just said. ‘He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.’ (Prov. 13:20) And the scholars explain that thus. ‘Wisdom as well as folly can be transferred by association.’ And if you haven’t found out that bit of wisdom already, please don’t try to prove it, unless it’s to walk with the wise. (smile) Oh friends, there’s good reason why Cousin Sol is described as the wisest man ever, although he didn’t live it out in his own life. But that’s the same with all of us; we give good advice but never take the same advice for ourselves. 

Now hear this magnificent word on friendship. ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.’ (Prov. 27:17) And the scholars explain. ‘27:17. As the proper tool shapes and sharpens iron for its desired use, so a man sharpens his friend morally and intellectually by their personal relationship.’ 

And listen to this last one from Cousin Sol, written as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes. ‘Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow (companion): but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.’ (Eccl. 4:9-10) More awesome truth friends! If you don’t have anyone beside you and you fall, then crapaud smoke yuh pipe. No wonder, the Lord, after He made Adam, said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him (a helper comparable to him).’ (Gen. 2:18) And that’s how Eve came about. 

But the greatest word ever on true friendship obviously comes from the greatest One who ever lived; our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Hear him declare to the disciples, and consequently to us: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ (John 15:13) Then He called them friends, and laid down His life for them, for all of those who would believe in Him. That’s what true friendship is all about my fellow saints! 

And the last quote simply says: ‘Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.’ And we do that by befriending someone in some form or fashion, lifting them up, being a light in their darkness, the way the Lord put a rainbow in the sky to assure Noah that He would not destroy the world by water again, (Gen. 9:8-17) and the way Jesus died to bring light to our darkened souls. Much LOVE!

…friendship…God’s eternal design between man and man…and between man and God…                                                                                                                          

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8      

Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 October 2021 John 15:12.

John 15:12.     This is my commandment, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you.

Oh brother, when it rains, it does rain yes! All day yesterday, last night, and it’s still wet and drizzly now with no apparent let up in sight. But our God is a good God, and through His most wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, He allows, or rather, enables us to handle any negative aspects of the weather, or for that matter anything else that comes against us in this crazy and mixed-up world. All praise and glory be to the Most High God Jehovah, Creator and Controller of the universe and all therein! 

So what’s happening with us this rainy Tuesday eh my brethren? Are we putting God first and foremost in our lives like Jesus advised, when He said: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) And hopefully, if we are doing that, then we are also leaning wholeheartedly on this promise from Bruh Paul that ‘my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) And that He will too. 

But then, we come to the next important aspect of our Christian faith; the way we treat each other. Now that’s something I don’t believe we’re doing such a good job at, for there’s too much dissension, disunity, feuds and strife amongst the brethren, even amongst the same denominations and cliques. Whatever happened to this directive of Jesus eh? ‘This is my commandment, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you.’ (John 15:12) I don’t think you have to look very far to realize that that’s not a prominent aspect of our Christian fellowship. 

Yes friends, whatever happened to the Golden Rule, that so many of us were brought up to uphold? Jesus also decreed it: ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 7:12) Oh my people, that wasn’t something new Jesus was teaching, but it was the law and had been preached by the prophets since the beginning of time. 

And furthermore, it’s just simple common sense; you do to others what you want them to do to you! You can’t want to abuse and reject people, but then when the shoe falls on the other foot, you cry out for injustice and mercy! But that’s the way of our current world, for selfishness, anger, strife and injustice rule the roost. And yet we expect to live good, healthy and sane lives. 

Hn! Look at the world my fellow saints; it’s in a total uproar. Nobody’s happy about anything. Everybody has some kind of axe to grind; some injustice to be corrected, some right to be fulfilled, but in the meanwhile, we don’t care that we are causing injustice to others, and trampling on the God-given rights of others. No, we just want what we believe we are entitled to, and crapaud smoke the pipe of those who get in our way of achieving it! We couldn’t give a ‘darm’ about their interests or betterment! 

So where does that put us in respect to these words of John in his first epistle? ‘If a man say, I LOVE God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that LOVETH not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he LOVE God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who LOVETH God LOVE his brother also.’ (1 John 4:20-21) 

Now that’s a very good question! And in our current society we see that very thing playing out to a great extent. Even in many biological Christian families, there is serious hate churning amongst the members. The same with Christian congregations. So where is the LOVE and affection we spout about so much eh? And how do we expect others to come to Christ through our unchristian-like examples eh? 

Oh my fellow saints, please, please, let’s remember these telling words of Jesus. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt. 5:20) Yes friends, the scribes and Pharisees were considered the most religious and righteous people back then, but their righteousness was mostly an outward show of self-righteousness. And outward shows of righteousness profits no one anything! It’s what inside a body that really counts. 

That’s why the Lord looks at our hearts before He even listens to our words. And sadly, in these times when believers are supposed to be standing strong and steadfast and bearing much good fruit, too many of us are like the blooming scribes and Pharisees, only outward show! We talk a most excellent talk, but our walk leaves a lot to be desired. Oh my people, whatever happened to these heartfelt verses of scripture from Bruh Paul to the Ephesians? 

‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph. 4:29-32) We have either forgotten them, or simply chosen to ignore them, because today, when they are so badly needed, they are not being practiced by believers as much as they ought to. 

Oh friends, there are so many verses of scripture that deal with treating each other good, that I could go on for the whole day, and still not be done. It’s one of the most important topics in the Good Book; in fact it’s the second most important as Jesus pointed out when questioned by a pompous, arrogant Pharisee lawyer about the most important commandment. ‘Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:37-40) 

And just for our information friends, our neighbour is anyone with whom we come into contact! So why is there all this bad blood betwixt and between us eh? As believers in Christ Jesus, there is no justified reason for it. So please let’s move to cut it out nuh…asap… for if we don’t, when Jesus comes back, many who thought that we’d be herded to His right side with the sheep, will unfortunately find ourselves herded to the left with the goats. (Matt. 25:31-46) And friends, if you don’t know that scripture, then please read it as quickly as possible, because it is very important. It has to do with your earthly behaviour and where you will spend eternity on account of it. 

Now for those of us who are sincerely trying to live for Christ, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. Altogether now: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

Well then, let’s go out and do exactly that; share the LOVE and friendship of Christ with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do! Much LOVE!

…A friend LOVES at all times…and a brother is born for adversity… (Prov. 17:17)                                                                                                              

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8             

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 October 2018 John 15:13.

John 15:13.    Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
 

Looks like a gloomy, ‘riney’ day. But who knows eh? By the time I go back upstairs after writing the Bit, bright sunshine might be flooding the land. The weather is so temperamental these days; temperamental like… wisdom dictates that I not say it, else I might just have a whole horde of women on my case like a plague of locusts. (smile) 

But brother, a majestic clap of thunder echoed through the area sometime in the early hours of the morning! It resonated like a true thunderous boom – that’s the only comparison I can find. I haven’t heard one as loud and powerful as that in a long time. It sure did catch my attention though I was caught up in the throes of sleep. 

This interesting prayer from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional also caught my attention, and I’m going to share it once again because we desperately need this kind of prayer in these desperate times in which we live. This one’s titled ‘What a Friend!’ Wow! And you should know who that friend is! 

But please pray with me. ‘You have never failed, Lord, to be my one, essential, intimate friend. When I was: Lonely in striving – you encouraged me. Lonely in struggling – you lifted me. Lonely in serving – you supported me. Lonely in suffering – you comforted me. Lonely in sinning – you forgave me. Lonely in sinking – you renewed me. Lonely in succeeding – you rejoiced with me. What a friend I have in Jesus! Thank you, Lord. Amen!’ 

Oh my people, my people, what a friend we do indeed have in Jesus! None else can compare to His everlasting friendship! And He backs that up with the words of our Bit: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ And isn’t that the awesome truth! The most valuable gift we can give to someone is our life on their behalf. 

And Jesus did just that for us! Glory to the Most High God for preparing such a wonderful plan and then bringing it to fruition! And we have to give Jesus much thanks and praise too, because if He wasn’t obedient to the Father’s wishes, we’d ALL be headed for hellfire and damnation eternally. But because of His death on the cross at Calvary, we have a second option; salvation and eternal life, but only through belief and faith in Him. 

Now let’s look at a few scriptures that deal with friendship. First off is Cousin Sol’s famous statement that: ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ (Prov.17:17) That just happens to be the true purposes of a friend and brother; to stand by one’s side, especially in the rough times. And as the Greek philosopher Euripides said so long ago: ‘Friends show their LOVE in times of trouble, not in happiness.’ 

Oh my faithful brethren, we do have the greatest friend in the universe always by our side, that’s Jesus, but we do need a few human friends too, but not too many, as Cousin Sol wisely says: ‘A man that hath friends, must show himself friendly,’ (Prov.18:24a) meaning that if you have too many friends, you’re likely to come to ruin. 

And that’s the gospel truth, as some of us have experienced, and we still see happening in our society everyday. Those people with the large entourages never seem to last long, because when their money is gone, so are the supposed friends. However, Cousin Sol does wisely continue: ‘and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov.18:24b) That’s Jesus my people! 

But there are a few human friends who will stick closer than a brother, and we are certainly blessed if we can find just one of those. One like this moving bit of scripture indicates between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, after their men-folk had passed into eternity and Naomi decided to return to her homeland of Bethlehem. Naomi tells Ruth to go back to her people. 

‘And Ruth said, Entreat me not (urge me not) to leave thee, or to return (turn back) from following thee: for wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.’ (Ruth 1:16-17) What faithfulness my brethren! 

As the scholars explain: ‘1:16-17. Ruth’s faith and faithfulness are in evidence throughout the book, as expressed here in her commitment to Naomi’s God as her own. Ruth’s own concern for Naomi is bound by a strong oath made before the Lord Himself.’ 

And yuh know what friends, our God is so wonderful and faithful and rewarding that for her kindness and steadfastness to Naomi, Ruth ended up being the great-grandmother of Bruh David, and thus of the lineage of Jesus! Wow! Imagine that nuh! A pagan woman being in Jesus ‘ lineage! Only our God could and would do such nonconformist things. (smile) And we don’t have time for that other great friendship between Jonathan, Saul’s son, and Bruh David. But you can read about it in 1 Samuel 20. 

Yes my people, let’s hope that in this lifetime we can all have at least one lasting and faithful friendship, because we all need one. Now let’s go home declaring (spelled it right) our Thursday Blessings, letting the world know what it’s like to live and work for Jesus. 

Altogether now, in sincerity and truth: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! 

I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now remember we were given those blessings to share with others, not to hoard for ourselves. So please let’s go out and faithfully do that nuh, in Jesus Name. Much LOVE!

…when we are steadfast and faithful in our friendships…the Lord reciprocates with overwhelming godly favour… 

P.S. I went upstairs a while ago, and the sun is out. Glory be! And yes, it’s long…and late, but good! (smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 July 2015 Proverbs 17:17‏

Proverbs 17:17.  A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Ah Friends, one more day, one more day on God’s planet earth this Saturday morning! Praise the Lord! He allocates them one at a time, which means we have to enjoy each one as it comes along, because we don’t know if we will see another one tomorrow. In His infinite wisdom He might just decide that we have enjoyed enough of His breath of life down here, and it’s time to move on to higher matters and heights.

So please, let’s all give our Creator, Provider and heavenly Father a rousing shout of ‘Thank You Lord! Thank You for Jesus and all that You have done for us unworthy humans. We are Your creation and though we rebelled against You, Your LOVE for us was so great, You found a way through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross at Calvary to reconcile us to You. We can never repay Your LOVING-kindness, but we will be forever grateful! Thank You Lord! We LOVE You and Praise Your Holy Name!’

Yes my people, it’s ever so wonderful to serve and worship such a magnificent and magnanimous God!

Now here is a quote attributed to one of our early church fathers, St. John Chrysostom (349-407). He was born in Antioch and became the Bishop of Constantinople. Constantinople was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine on the already existing city of Byzantium, part of the Byzantine Empire. It is now known as Istanbul, part of modern day Turkey.  

St. John was well known for his writings, public speaking and influence on church affairs, including his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders.  Anyway, his quote says: ‘A friend is clearer than the light of heaven, for it would be better for us that the sun were extinguished than that we should be without friends.’

Ah mih breddren, I don’t know if I would go so far nuh, (smile) but Friends definitely are useful and necessary, especially in these very trying and deceitful times. And according to my One More Day Devotional for People with Chronic Illness: ‘Friendship is our greatest achievement and reward. Our friends are people to care about, celebrate with, and count on.

Within the closest friendships we find the best of each other at all times. Friendships enrich our lives… It is no accident that we become close and maintain our contact. We offer help and hope. We share each other’s pain and enhance each other’s growth. We appreciate our friend’s unique qualities.’

It’s all true my people, but it’s ever so hard to find one of those real friends nowadays, where distrust, deceit, fraud and all kinds of evil are rising to the forefront of our society, where trust is no longer the rule, but rather the exception. 

All of that eventually brings us to our Bit. ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ What awesome truth my people! And how lucky, or rather blessed we are, if we can find even one person to fit that bill in our earthly lives!

The scholars explain it thus: ‘17:17. A true friend has unquenchable LOVE that is not diminished by adversity.’

Ah Friends, do we have that kind of LOVE for anyone in our lives, or does anyone have that kind of LOVE for us? I certainly do hope so, otherwise we’re missing out on a most important part of life.

And what I want to do now is to quote some scripture from Proverbs, where Cousin Sol writes a lot about friends and friendships. Don’t know how many we’ll get in, because there quite a few. We’ll do it by chapters, beginning with 14. ‘The poor is hated even of (by) his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends (the LOVERS of the rich are many.’ (Prov.14:20) And that’s gospel truth!

The scholars put it this way. ‘14:20. Social standing is improved with riches, but the good neighbour will have concern for all, regardless of their status.’ That’s how it’s supposed to be, but there aren’t a whole lot of good neighbors around these days nuh.

In Chapter 16, Sol writes: ‘A froward (perverse) man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief (the best of) friends.’ (Prov.16:28)

And the scholars simply say of this: ‘16:28. Gossip destroys friendships.’

Now we all know that is an indisputable truth since we all have experienced it to some extent. And it hurts like the dickens!

And in chapter 17, early on, Sol says almost the same thing. ‘He that covereth a transgression seeketh LOVE; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very (the best of) friends.’ (Prov.17:9)

Now that’s the real difference between a true friend and an imposter! One will keep quiet about certain private matters, while the other will go and broadcast them to the world.

Meanwhile in chapter 18, Sol pens this highly interesting and oh so true proverb. ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov.18:24)

Now that doesn’t mean exactly what it says. Listen to the scholars. ‘18:24. A man that hath many friends must show himself friendly may also be translated, “A man of many friends comes to ruin.” In other words, a man must not spread himself too thin among many superficial relationships. Far better it is to have (a few) genuine friends who become like family and LOVE at all times (17:17).’ 

And isn’t that the unfortunate truth my brethren! We all know of people who have suffered irreparable damage by having too many hangers on in their lives. Celebrities are a very good example of that. Some of us might even have experienced it.

And these last two come from chapter 27. ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.’ (Prov.27:6)

Hear the scholars: ‘27:6. True criticism from a friend may hurt for a time but may be welcomed, for it issues from his LOVE, whereas the kisses of an enemy are an attempt to conceal his hatred.’

And last but definitely not least: ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.’ (Prov.27:17)

And the scholars explain that thus. ‘27:17. As the proper tool shapes and sharpens iron for its desired use, so a man sharpens his friend morally and intellectually by their personal friendship.’

Now that is the kind of friends we need in these last desperate days! Oh my people, I do hope now that we have a better understanding of what true friendship is all about. So let’s put that understanding into practice nuh, but carefully, for easy does it. Much LOVE!

…I bring myself honestly to my friendships…  (One More Day Devotional).

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 April 2015 1 Thessalonians 5:17‏‏‏‏

1 Thessalonians 5:17.      PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

Ah Friends, the rain finally stopped yesterday, and the sun peeped out from behind the clouds, but then the wind began causing havoc; it played a rough, villainous mas all day. (smile)

Ah Lord eh! When it’s not one thing it’s certainly another! But that’s life my people; good things come and go, and so do bad things. The bad thing, winter, has gone, and the good thing, spring, is a coming, though it’s also bringing with it much rain and strong winds. But as Job said, we can’t expect to get good without bad. (Job 2:10) And one of the good things we can get, and also be, in this crazy, evil world is a Friend.

Yes my fellow believers, Friends are important in this life. But we have to be careful that we don’t have too many supposed ones, or those who are just wolves in sheep’s clothing, meaning they are really our enemies masquerading as our Friends.

And what caused me to follow this line of thought today, is a quote I read by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), the famous American essayist, lecturer and poet. He describes a Friend thus: ‘A Friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud.’

And that’s very true my brethren. That definition of a Friend, and any other implies a certain amount of trust. The closer the friendship the greater the trust. What did Cousin Sol say in Proverbs: ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ (Prov.17:17)

And according to the scholars: ’17:17. A true friend has unquenchable LOVE that is not diminished be adversity.’  

That’s much better than this Proverb: ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly (may come to ruin): and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov.18:24)

And the scholars explain that thus: ’18:24. A man that hath many friends must show himself friendly, may also be translated, “A man of many friends comes to ruin.” In other words, a man must not spread himself too thin among many superficial relationships. Far better is it to have genuine friends who become like family and LOVE at all times.’

That’s gospel truth my people! A lot of times too, friends are more trustworthy and reliable than our family members. And we’ll end this li’l preamble on Friends by saying, that literally speaking, if you want to have friends, you also have to behave like a friend; be pleasant, kind and show yourself to be trustworthy.

Unfortunately though, the corrosive and corrupt state of our world doesn’t lend itself to too much trustworthiness, especially when a premium is placed on selfishness and deceit. So please, let’s all be very careful whom we let into our inner circle, if we want our lives to not get worse than they should.

And as for everything in our lives, when coming to friends, we must also pray about them; pray that the Lord will either make them work out or show us their insincerity very early in the proceedings, so that we can drop them like a hot potato. (smile)

That’s why our Bit tells us to ‘PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.’ Having a prayerful attitude is all for our benefit, not God’s.

And to end this series of messages on the importance of prayer, let’s listen to James as he discusses patience in affliction. ‘Is any among you afflicted (suffering)? let him pray. Is any merry (cheerful)? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess you faults (trespasses) one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual (effective) fervent prayer (supplication) of a righteous man availeth much.

Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are (with a nature like ours), and he prayed earnestly that I might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by (the land for) the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.’ (James 5:13-18)

Oh mih people, yuh see the multi-purpose function that prayer plays in the believer’s life! As we said in an earlier message, prayer is our lifeline to our Creator, Almighty God, and that communication should never be broken, if we want to have a godly and fruitful life.

And we’ll go cruising home with Peter, the rock, this Saturday morning in the spring of 2015. Hear this wonderful verse from his passage on being good stewards of God’s grace. ‘But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.’ (1 Pet.4:7)

Yes Friends, it’s of the utmost importance that believers make prayer a strong and steadfast foundation in their lives, for that is the will and desire of God! It is also wisdom of the heavenly kind! Much LOVE!

…we’ve said it before…but we’ll say it again…prayer should be like breathing…constant and regular…otherwise we die spiritually…

  

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 October 2014 John 15:13

John 15:13.    Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
 
And then Friends, it was Sunday, the first day of the week!
 
That means it is supposed to be a restful kind of day, including a trip to the Lord’s sanctuary to worship and fellowship with other believers, give God His praise and thanks that’s so well deserved, and get encouragement and strengthened faith from the gathering to keep on keeping on in Jesus’ name.
 
It also should encompass some quality family and/or friend time; all the while keeping our souls open to Jesus. As I keep reminding us, the way we spend the first day of the week, is usually a harbinger of how the rest of the week will unfold.
 
So if we have a busy, stressful /Sunday, then Monday will no doubt open with stress and fatigue, complaining and whining, as we have to get up and go out to labour, and the week will probably go all downhill from there.
 
However, if we spend Sunday in prayerful peace, we at least wake up rested and renewed on Monday. Then, at least we’re starting from the top and going downhill, which is always easier than starting from the bottom and having to trudge up hill.
 
And with those words of wisdom (smile) – hope you adopt them – let’s get to our Bit, the same as yesterday. ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’
 
And again, I will remind us, that not as servants, but as valued Friends, Jesus then went out and died for us on Calvary’s cross!
 
I therefore can’t emphasize enough, how important it is that we recognize and truly appreciate His selfless sacrifice at Calvary, for it was indeed the beginning of all our good fortune, which stemmed exclusively from the great LOVE of our heavenly Father, who desperately wanted us to be brought back in to right standing with Him.
 
It’s just like we bend over backwards sometimes with our wayward children whom we LOVE dearly and want to see get back to the right path and right standing with us.
 
Now today we’ll deal with some scriptures that highlight friendship; what it is supposed to be, and as time permits, also look at some friendships, both good and bad, from the Good Book.
 
And first off is the wisdom of Cousin Sol, telling us from Proverbs, what a friend, and friendship ought to be. Listen up closely my brethren. (smile) ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born of adversity.’ (Prov.17:17)
 
And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be my people! As the scholars declare: ’17:17. A true friend has unquenchable LOVE that is not diminished by adversity.’
 
But today, unfortunately, as we all know, that kind of true friendship doesn’t exist as much as it used to. Now friends are only friends when times are good. When they are rough and you need support, you’ll usually find yourself alone, because all you really had were good times friends.
 
However my people, let’s look at what a true friendship ought to be like. It begins with Jehovah God’s covenant with Abraham in chapter 17 of Genesis, where He establishes Abraham as the father of His Chosen People.
 
And we all know the story of Abraham’s tumultuous but interesting pilgrimage throughout the land, and how throughout it all, he stayed faithful and true to God, and God also remained faithful and true to him.
 
It was such a great friendship that centuries later, king Jehoshaphat of Judah, when besieged by foreign armies, could cry out to God: ‘Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend forever?’ (2 Chr.20:7)
 
Then Isaiah, in talking of the final restoration of Israel, declares: ‘But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, my friend.’ (Is.41:8)
 
And later on, James, the half-brother of Jesus, who only believed at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, in talking about faith without works, boldly proclaims: ‘But wilt thou know (but do you want to know), O vain (foolish) man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
 
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works (was working), and by works was faith made perfect (complete)? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed (accounted) unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.’ (James 2:20-23)
 
Yes my brethren, that is what a true friendship ought to be like. Abraham is so revered, that even when we speak of God, and we qualify it by saying, the God of Abraham, everyone knows whom we’re talking about.
 
So today my people, as we fellowship and worship, peacefully rest in prayerful meditation, let’s consider the words ‘friend and friendship.’ Let’s ponder what they mean to us, then on that basis, ponder who our true friends might be in this earthly life, as well as who we might be true friends to.
 
And lastly, let’s ask the Lord for his help, so that at the end of our earthly pilgrimage, our faith and works will be of such excellence and integrity, that we too will be called the Friend of God! That’s the zenith of wisdom! Much LOVE!
 
…oh…to be considered…a Friend of the Lord…and a Man after His own heart…that is my greatest desire…