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…