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 3 April 2017 Joshua 24:15(a).

Joshua 24:15(a).   …choose you this day whom ye will serve…

Oh friends, it’s Monday, our favourite hate day!  (smile) And we only hate it because it means we have to get up and go out and labour, after spending a soft, cushy, licentious weekend. But them’s the breaks my people. You either go and work or be homeless and starve. 

And yuh better believe you’re darm lucky and blessed if you have a job, because there are millions of people out there who don’t have one and will gladly take yours in a heartbeat. So let’s start living right over the weekend nuh, so that on Monday we don’t have the set of steupsing and complaining we currently have. 

In any case, let’s take the antidote for that there illness right now; the glorious singing of our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. In full voice and perfect harmony, let’s belt it out: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Not bad friends, not bad, but not good enough to get a big rise out of our choirmaster Jesus. Anyway, with that adrenaline antidote taking effect, as it courses through our bodies, raising both our physical and spiritual capacity, let’s get a move on, for Jesus is waiting for us out on the battlefield, so we can fight the good fight with Him. Time to move out mih people! 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘choose you this day whom ye will serve…’ 

Yes friends, we can either serve the prince of this evil world, Beelzebub, or the Prince of Peace, of Light and Eternal Life, Jesus Christ. The decision is totally yours. But let me give you a li’l bit of wise advice. It will be better for you, if you serve Jesus Christ, for He is the mighty conqueror of hell, death and the grave, Beelzebub’s territory! That’s why Beelzebub now has no power over true believers, unless we fall for his lies and deceits. 

Now we all know the numerous times the Israelites turned away from God and suffered adversity, then caught themselves, repented and were welcomed back into the fold of God. Anybody with a bit of common sense can do that, but let’s check out an individual circumstance, where the reward of a Gentile for choosing the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was immeasurable. 

We’re talking about the story of Ruth, the Moabitess, who immigrated to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi from her own land of Moab, after her husband, brother and father in-law had died, leaving three widows behind. Now Naomi, having heard that the ‘Lord had visited (attended to) his people in giving them bread,’ (Ruth 1:6) she decided to return to her people in Bethlehem, where it might be possible for a Jewish widow to scrape together a half-decent living. 

So she kissed and blessed her two daughters’ –in- law and told them to go back to their own people. But they wept and refused. However, eventually the one named Orpah did leave Naomi, ‘but Ruth clave (clung) unto her. (Ruth 1:7-15) 

‘And Ruth said, Entreat me not (urge me not) to leave thee, or return from following after thee: for whither 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) 

And the scholars tell us thus: ‘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 how did the Lord repay Ruth’s faithfulness? By causing her to marry the richest man in the city and having a baby boy whom Naomi the grandmother nursed. ‘And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.’ (Ruth 4:17) 

Ah friends, you never know what our great and wonderful God will do nuh! For from that union of Jew, Boaz, and Gentile, Ruth, came Bruh David and later his descendant Jesus!  So one more mysterious but wise working of our great God! 

And as the scholars declare: ‘from the union of Jew and Gentile would ultimately come the Saviour of all men. (Acts 4:12). The marriage of Boaz and Ruth may thus serve as a picture of Christ and His church through whom all believers become one (Eph.2:11-22).’  

No better way to end today my brethren! Much LOVE!

…as for me and mine…we WILL serve the Lord…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 November 2014 2 Peter 1:7

2 Peter 1:7.   And to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (LOVE).
 
Ah Friends, it’s Saturday – the swing day of the week. You’re tired from the week’s work, but you also have lots of stuff to do around the house, and errands to run outside that you could not do during the normal work hours.
 
You want to sleep in late, but you also want to hit the stores and groceries before the crowd, the others in the same boat as you, hit them and make it a maelstrom of swirling, rushing and jostling bodies.
 
Oh, what a stressful life we live in these modern times! And isn’t it strange and laughable, but also very sad, that all our endeavours throughout the earlier generations were to make our modern lives easier, with little or no stress, with more time for relaxation and fun, more time for family and God.
 
Hn! What a joke! Now we’re busier than ever, with much less free time. We work more than ever – when you can find it – and are more stressed out and anxious in peacetime as never before! Ah mih people, we just seem to have everything backwards.
 
And very foolishly, in all the current rush for power and glory, wealth and material riches, we’ve abandoned the Lord God of Israel, when we were admonished and reminded long long ago: ‘But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish (confirm) his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.’ (Deut.8:18)
 
How unwise of us eh Friends; looking for something by turning away from the One who has the power to grant that same something! Only humans would do that you say… And you’re quite correct!
 
Enough on our misguided ways though, let’s turn to our Bit. ‘And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (LOVE).’
 
And today I want to point out a few instances of kindness in the Good Book, a couple of which eventually led to great rewards. Let’s begin with Rehab the harlot, who helped the two Israelite spies in Jericho. (Joshua 2)
 
Before helping them escape, she said to them: ‘Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by thy Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token (a pledge of faithfulness). (Josh. 2:12)
 
And the men promised: ‘Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring  (gather) thy father and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household unto thee.’ (Josh. 2:18)
 
And the scholars have an interesting note on that last verse. ‘2:18. Rehab’s scarlet thread, bound to the window of her house, made the house easily identifiable by the Israelite troops. The incident is reminiscent of the protection accorded to the Israelites in Egypt at the first Passover (Ex.12:7, 21, 23). The scarlet may also contain an indication of Rehab’s sin, covered by the blood (cf. Is.1:18; 1 Cor.5:7; Heb.9:22).’
 
And that promise was kept when the Israelites captured Jericho. Before they destroyed the city, Joshua sent in the two spies to bring out Rehab and her family.
 
‘And the young men that were spies went in, and brought Rehab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred (relatives), and left them without (outside) the camp of Israel….
 
And Joshua saved Rehab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.’ (Josh.6:23, 25)
 
Yeh Friends, kindness usually begets kindness, though not always right away.
 
Now let’s look at the story of Ruth, whose kindness and fidelity to her mother-in-law, Naomi, caused her to be one of only two women – Esther is the other one – to have a Book in the Bible named after them. Please read the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, if you do not know the story. It’s very short, so it should not take too long.
 
It also caused Ruth to become an ancestor of Jesus Christ, through her marriage to Boaz. That union produced a son named Obed, who then fathered Jesse, Bruh David’s father, to whose line Joseph, Jesus’ father belonged.
 
And remember Friends, that Ruth was a Gentile, which made the union between her and Boaz rather symbolic, as the scholars point out. ‘Thus through the union of Jew and Gentile would ultimately come the Saviour of all men (Acts 4:12). The marriage of Boaz and Ruth may thus serve as a picture of Christ and His church through whom all believers become one (Eph.2:11-22).’
 
Then we have the famous statement of Bruh David. ‘And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness (covenant faithfulness) for Jonathan’s sake?’ (2 Sam.9:1) Remember the covenant between Jonathan, King Saul’s son, and Bruh David. (1 Sam.20:14-17)
 
And there was found a lame son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, living in hiding and abject poverty. Bruh David brought him to his house. ‘And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.’ (2 Sam.9:7)
 
Yes my people, kindness, especially amongst friends is a wonderful thing!
 
Now here are a couple of notes from the scholars that will give us a little more insight into the story, and into the benefits of kindness. ‘9:1. The kindness of David related to the covenant bond into which he and Jonathan had entered. (See the note on 1 Sam.20:14-17)  David’s kindly behaviour towards Jonathan’s helpless son in raising him from a lowly state and providing for his every need stands as an illustration of God’s own grace to men in their need (cf. Eph.2:4-7).’
 
And that note on 1 Sam.20:14-17 says: ‘Kindness and LOVE are essential ingredients in the covenant stipulations of the ancient Near East. They speak of a relationship whereby each party treats the other as a full family member, with loyalty, dignity, and devotion.
 
Jonathan continues with recognition of David’s divinely established preeminence (cf. v.8; 18:3-4). The everlasting covenant between Jonathan and David (cf.vs.23, 42) will be remembered by David when he becomes king (cf. 2 Sam.9).’
 
Ah mih people, if only such kindness existed today on a much broader and wider scale, then our world would not be in such an agonizing, antagonistic and resentful mess!
 
But we can definitely improve the situation if we follow these memorable words of Bruh Paul to the Galatians. ‘And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (do not lose heart). As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.’ (Gal.6:9-10)
 
Oh my fellow believers, please, let’s write those words indelibly in our hearts and minds this morning nuh, then faithfully practice them from henceforth. It’s not only our bounden duty, but also wisdom at its zenith. Much LOVE!
 
…it’s so much easier and wiser…to be kind…than to be cruel…