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!

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 November 2017 Jeremiah 31:3.

Jeremiah 31:3.    The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have LOVED thee with an everlasting LOVE: therefore with LOVING-kindness have I drawn thee.

And the pendulum of time swings – back and forth – every minute of every hour, of every day, month and year. But who knows when that pendulum of time will stop swinging eh?  Only Jehovah God, who created it, in the first place. It is not for man to know the plans God has for His universe, but to just accept them with humility and gratitude, while praising and worshipping the One who breathed the exotic breath of His eternal life into our frail, mortal bodies.  

Now, as another Sunday rolls around, we gather once more in joyful fellowship in God’s sanctuary to praise and worship, exalt and glorify His Holy Name, as he desires of us. And, as always, we’ll begin the worship by offering up the sacrifice of praise in song. Today’s opening hymn is an old one, ‘Jesus LOVER of my Soul,’ written by Charles Wesley way back in the 18th century. It’s one we all know and cherish, so let’s belt it out with great joy and enthusiasm. 

‘Jesus, LOVER of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high; hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past; safe into the haven guide, O receive my soul at last! Other refuge have I none; hangs my helpless soul on thee; leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me. All my trust on thee is stayed, all my help from thee I bring; cover my defenseless head with the shadow of thy wing. 

Plenteous grace with thee is found, grace to cover all my sin; let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within. Thou of life the fountain art; freely let me take of thee; spring thou up within my heart, rise to all eternity.’ 

Yes friends, Jesus had to LOVE our sinful souls, else why did He sacrifice His righteous life, taking our sin unto His shoulders, while giving us His righteousness? True LOVE could be the only answer. Jesus said it to His disciples. ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ (John 15:13) Then He went out and laid down His life for us all. 

But it all began with the Father, as Jeremiah reports in our Bit, when the Lord promised the restoration of Israel. ‘The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have LOVED thee with an everlasting LOVE: therefore with LOVING-kindness have I drawn thee.’ 

Yuh see how often He allowed Israel to be torn apart, then He LOVINGLY built them back up again. And it’s not only LOVE that God has for His human creation, but also infinite patience! Oh my people, what great and undying concern the Lord has for us! It’s almost impossible to understand the length and breadth and height and depth of it. 

As Bruh Paul said to the church at Rome: ‘For when we were yet without strength, in due time (at the right time), Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure (perhaps) for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth (demonstrates) his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom.5:6-8) 

As the scholars explain: ‘5:8. Christ died for us: His death was vicarious. That is, He did not die merely for our benefit, but in our place. His was a substitutionary sacrifice.’ Oh my people, how touching and heartwarming that is eh! Knowing that Christ died instead of me, so that I didn’t have to die an awful, sinful death… How much more should that make me LOVE Him and place my undying trust in all that He stands for! 

Oh my fellow believers, as we truly study it, the portrait of LOVE coming out of heaven, just keeps on getting bigger and deeper. How so, you ask?  Because Jesus didn’t have to die for us, but because He was sinless, He was the ONLY One who could atone for our sins, pay the sacrificial debt needed to wash and cleanse us and prevent us from being thrown into everlasting darkness. And being the wonderful and obedient Son that He was, He accepted the Father’s assignment without hesitation, and like a lamb, without a bleat, eventually went to the His awful death for our sakes. 

And now, ingrates that we are, we’re boldfaced enough to make nasty jokes about Him, mock Him, put Him down, offer blatant derision and blaspheme His holy name! But friends, that’s a fool’s wisdom, for time is truly longer than twine, and in God’s good time, He will send Jesus back into this horrible world to clean it up, and all those naysayers and unbelievers, and workers of iniquity will not be laughing then, because Jesus will be sitting on the throne of His father David in Jerusalem running things. Glory to God! 

So let the fools have their way now my brethren, we will have the last laugh when Jesus comes back in all His shining glory and mercurial splendor. Then ALL knees WILL bow before Him, and ALL voices WILL declare that He is Lord of all, to the everlasting glory of God the Father! 

Yes friends, that’s how it is going to be whenever the Lord decides it’s time to clean up this awful mess of His world that we have created. So please hang in there, stay focused on Jesus and in serious and sincere LOVE with Him, so that when He returns, we will be numbered amongst His entourage. Much LOVE!

…oh when the saints…go marching in…I want to be amongst that glorious number…oh when the saints…go marching in…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 September 2014 John 10:10

John 10:10. The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 

Oh Friends, it’s been a Willie Shakespeare kind of night, in the sense of when he says in one of his plays – don’t remember which one – to go to bed late is to be up early. Hn, Hn! Well I was up very early because I went to bed very late, around 3:30 a.m. (smile)
 
Anyway mih people, what I want to say is that the last couple of days can be numbered amongst some of the best of my life. That’s because it’s the first time my brother and I have spent so much time continually together.
 
We were always Friends, but never hung out much together, and the thirty years I spent away from Tobago, in exile in the North Country, obviously reduced those opportunities.
 
However mih breddren, the Good Lord, our Creator and sure Provider, in His usual mysterious way, in His unending wisdom and overflowing grace, thirty odd years later has provided a surprise get together. Mama Mia! All thanks and praise to Him!
 
One day, a couple weeks ago, right out of the blue, I received an e-mail from my niece saying that her parents were coming to Canada. And they’ve been here with us the last two days, and oh my people, it’s been such a blast!
 
There hasn’t been that much laughter, merriment and family togetherness in the house for a while, because in this busy society everybody is usually off doing their own thing. But yuh know what Friends?
 
These last couple of days have shown me what Jesus truly means when He says in our Bit: ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’
 
It’s family life Friends, family togetherness He was talking about. That’s basically it. When family and friends and fellow believers get together and enjoy each other’s company under the overwhelming influence of Jesus, then life truly is graced and gifted with abundance.
 
I don’t believe Jesus was referring so much to the abundance of physical treasure and pleasures, but more to the abundance of soulful and spiritual enlightenment. And again we see Jesus emphasizing togetherness, when He says: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20)
 
And what we often forget, especially in this current selfish, cut-throat, greedy society, is that God’s greatest desire is that ALL should come to salvation; that we should live as ONE, in LOVE, joy and tenderness towards each other, as a part of His one, big, collective family. Otherwise He wouldn’t have sacrificed His One Son Jesus, to pay the price for our abominable sins.
 
And believe me people, Jesus did pay and enormous, a terribly high price to free us from the bondage of sin. Every time I consider what He went through to save us unworthy, ungrateful wretches, the very thought of His immense ‘sufferation’ hurts my heart.
 
But then, on the other side of the equation, I’m oh so thankful and grateful that He paid that exacting price, because it shows that the Father and Him truly LOVED, and still LOVES me!
 
This brings to mind Jesus’ directive: ‘This is my commandment, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you. 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.’ (John 12-14) 
 
Then He went out and did exactly that – sacrificed Himself on the cross for us. Bless His Holy Name!
 
But please remember that one proviso: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.’ So if we’re not obedient to the will of Jesus, then we’re not His friends.
 
And sadly, that means a great proportion of mankind are not friends of Jesus, since we have so rudely and foolishly removed Him from all areas of our lives; at home, at work, at school and at play.
 
But Friends, Jesus is the eternal optimist. He believed in the saying that if you build it, they will come. So He died to give us the wonderful opportunity to come to Him in LOVE and togetherness.
 
And staying with that theme of togetherness and abundant life, let’s look at a scripture that appropriately describes it. It deals with Bruh Paul at Troas. ‘And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached (spoke) unto them, ready to depart on the morrow (the next day); and continued his speech (message) until midnight.’ (Acts 20:7)
 
Again, it was a coming together of the disciples to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
 
Oh my fellow believers, there can be no greater joy than when Jesus is amongst, reigns supreme in the lives of a group of people! That’s when the abundant life truly kicks in, and why we need to take togetherness more seriously than we currently do, both as family and fellow believers.
 
Oh my people, being obedient to Jesus so that you can be numbered amongst His friends, is not always easy. In fact it can be very rough at times, when the Lord chooses to test us. But remember that He’s promised to ALWAYS work things out for our good.
 
And I can tell you from personal experience, that if you sincerely try to live obedient to God, then you WILL certainly lead an interesting, adventurous and exciting life, filled with wonder and amazement!
 
And how can we not eh, when our lives are constantly connected to: God’s Faith, God’s Grace, God’s Favour, God’s Blessings, God’s Mercy, God’s Forgiveness, and God’s undying LOVE!
 
So please my brethren, let’s get our acts together, and COME TOGETHER IN LOVE AND OBEDIENCE TO JESUS! That’s the wisdom of all the ages! Much LOVE!
 
…and now abideth…faith…hope…LOVE…these three…but the greatest of these is…LOVE… 
 
P.S. Oh Friends, I surely hope that this Bit makes sense yes, stands together as a structural whole. But even if it doesn’t, I know that you all are smart enough to pick sense from nonsense. (smile) Much LOVE!