Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 November 2021 Proverbs 13:20.

Proverbs 13:20.     He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Okay friends, it’s Saturday morning, and like the last few days, we can’t tell whether it’s going to be cloudy or sunshiny because it keeps changing from one to the other. You’d wake up and look outside, like I did this morning, and see bright sunshine and give thanks for a sunshiny day, but a little while later when you again look out, it’s become cloudy. 

Chuh! The day can’t seem to make up its mind, but we don’t have any trouble doing that with Jesus in our lives. So let’s give thanks for our first blessing of the day nuh; that is, we woke up this morning. Praise the Lord! Our heavenly Father was graceful and merciful enough to allow His breath of life to keep flowing through our bodies, and for that we ought to be ever thankful, because from that flows everything else. Without breath we can’t do anything. Consequently, let’s say thank you Lord for waking me this morning, and ask that you stay with me throughout the entire day since I can’t get through it successfully without your help. Thank You Lord! Amen! 

And now that we’ve given sincere thanks, (smile) let’s turn to the ordinary matters of the day, like 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 one declares: ‘It’s not what we have in life, but who we have in our life that matters.’ That’s the indisputable truth! It’s the people around you that make you and your life successful and worthwhile, or not. 

You can have all the wealth and possessions in the world and still be unhappy because you don’t have true and decent people around you. But then, with the right people around you and not a penny in your pocket, you can have a joyful life. Possessions don’t make the man, it’s the people around him. 

That’s why this next quote strongly advises: ‘Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” And do we ever need that kind of companion in these turbulent and deceitful times my brethren. For as Cousin Sol warns in Proverbs: ‘He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.’ (Prov. 13:20) That’s because both wisdom and folly can be transferred by association, so you need to associate with those who are higher up the ladder than you, who can teach you something worthwhile and lift you up to their level, not people who will drag you down to theirs. 

And therein is the reason Bruh Paul warned in his first epistle to the church at Corinth: ‘Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt (bad company corrupts) good manners (habits).’ (1 Cor. 13:33) Or as one translation puts it: ‘Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  And Cousin Sol tells us on that subject; ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly (or may come to ruin): and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov. 18:24) In other words a man with a lot of unreliable friends usually comes to ruin, while a few worthy friends are ofttimes worth more than a brother. 

We see that writ larger than life in all the hangers ons found in the entourages of today’s celebrities. When they are on top of the world, they have numerous people hanging around them calling themselves friends, but as soon as their sun wanes, the so-called friends, drift away, because there’s no more free life left to be had. And in all of that is the implied advice that you need Christian people around you, people who pray, who have the same basic objectives and beliefs like you. 

No wonder Bruh Paul advised the Thessalonians: ‘Wherefore comfort yourselves together (encourage each other), and edify (build up) one another, even as also ye do (are already doing). (1 Thess. 5:11) So in plain today language, he’s saying: ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing right now.’ And we also see the results of prayer in friendships, for after Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)

 Meanwhile, the next quote says: ‘Friendship is when people know all about you but like you anyway.’ More awesome truth there my fellow saints! That’s the backbone of true friendship, liking each other despite our faults and foibles. We all have weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, so if we turn away as soon as we espy some difference, something we don’t particularly like in another, then we won’t have any friends or friendships at all. That’s why it’s ever so important to limit the number of your friends, and also to know them as intimately as possible, and make sure you all are on the same basic page. 

Cousin Sol, in his inimitable, unique manner, describes friendship thus: ‘Ointment and perfume rejoice (delight) the heart; so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel (counsel of the soul).’ (Prov. 27:9) Or as one translation puts it: ‘Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.’ Or more succinctly, ‘A sweet friendship refreshes the soul’ And there’s no doubting the awesome truth of those words, because that’s the whole basis of friendship, to help, encourage and look out for each other. 

And the following quote shows up that contention in spades. ‘You find out who your real friends are when you’re involved in a scandal.’ Now that one takes the cake…because it’s oh so true! We see it blown up in the media every day in the lives of the politicians, the celebrities, the wealthy and the powerful. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t also happen in the lives of the lesser known individuals, it just doesn’t get as much exposure. Right now that kind of stuff is what’s driving the news and social media platforms. 

Those who were supposedly friends before the scandal broke, are now dishing dirt on their earlier relationships, either to extricate themselves from any fallout, or for their own aggrandizement. There’s absolutely no solidarity or having each other’s back in our crazy, angry, deceitful, selfish and totally misled world. And we see that in the exchanges between Job and his supposed friends. They lay grief on him, without knowing the truth of the situation, but he replies. ‘To him that is afflicted (in despair) pity (kindness) should be showed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.’ (Job. 6:14) Or, “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” 

If you can’t be kind to a friend, then whom will you be kind to eh? That brings us to this last quote. ‘In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.’ And you better had believe it! Please note, how a cookie isn’t chocked full of chocolate chips, but only a handful, and the few that it contains are spread around, so that you can taste one with each bite. That’s the way friends and friendships are; few and far between, but sturdy and close enough to make a difference in a time of need. 

So, please my fellow saints, let’s concentrate on making a few, good, close, sturdy, long lasting friendships that will uplift our lives and the lives of those around us, with Jesus as the basic foundation of them all. Much LOVE!

…friendship is like the ice cream on a cone…or like the icing on a cake…they complement each other so well… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   19 September 2021 Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28.      Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Ah mih people, how quickly these days are passing! Would you believe it’s Sunday already? Didn’t we just celebrate it a few days ago? (smile) We might have. But it’s time to gather for worship once again on the Lord’s day, be it physically in His sanctuary, or at home through technological means. And today we will sing a song of hope, that was born out of a sorrowful life. The song is titled ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus,’ and it’s the indisputable truth, but the life of its author Joseph Mendicott Scriven (1819-1886) was not a happy one. Instead, it was filled with many trials and misfortunes that eventually brought him to his knees. 

The hymnary.org website tells us that Scriven was an Irish immigrant to Canada. Before he came here, apparently poor health caused him to give up his dream of a military career, and then his fiancée died in a drowning accident in 1844. He moved to Ontario, Canada soon thereafter and became a teacher, but misfortune followed him when his new fiancée died after a short illness in 1855. Poor fellow! And that seemed to be the last straw, for after that his life was never stable, and his eccentricities alienated him from his neighbours. 

They say, as a member of the Plymouth Brethren, he went about doing menial tasks for the poor and disabled, trying to live as literally as possible according to the Sermon on the Mount, and during his remaining years obviously needed the solace of the song he had written. But unfortunately, it never seemed to have cured his depression, thus it’s unknown whether he committed suicide or accidentally drowned in Rice Lake in 1886. But despite that sorrowful life, Scriven did leave us a gem of a song. 

And it’s worth noting that many of the wonderful songs we sing today came from adversity in the lives of the authors, who took a moment to pen their thoughts, their griefs, their sorrows, and also their hopes in Almighty God, so that we who came after them would have a means of solace in our time of misfortune and grief. So let’s pay some belated homage to Joseph Scriven right now nuh, as we sing those haunting but oh so true words he wrote in his time of need, so long ago. In soulful harmony, let’s raise our voices in sincere sacrificial praise. 

‘What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer! – Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer! Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer! – 

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Saviour, still our refuge– take it to the Lord in prayer! Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In his arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there. What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! Yes, What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!’ 

And isn’t that the living truth friends? It most certainly is! We have a wonderful friend in Jesus, and an awesome privilege of taking all our problems to Him in prayer! Wow! The problem though is that we don’t take those amazing benefits of being in communion with Jesus as seriously as we ought to. We either feel that we can handle our problems ourselves, or that Jesus doesn’t have time or the desire to deal with our matters. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth my people. Jesus has the time, and also the inclination to deal with any and all problems we might have. 

Why do you think He offered us the Great Invitation eh? ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) Now does that sound like someone who doesn’t have the time or the inclination to help His followers? Obviously not! But ofttimes it’s our foolish and stubborn pride that keeps us from going to Jesus for solace and help in our time of need. 

And even in olden times the Lord encouraged His people to come to Him. Hear these words from the prophet Jeremiah when the Lord promised a glorious return to the captives from Babylon. ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and might things, which thou knowest not.’ (Jer. 33:3) Yes friends, from the beginning of time the Lord has always been entreating and encouraging us to call on Him, since He is our refuge and fortress and strong tower. 

Now listen to how Isaiah puts it on the Lord’s behalf nuh. ‘Can a woman forget her suckling (nursing) child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee. Behold I have graven (inscribed) thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me.’ (Is. 49:15-16) How much more encouragement do we need to go to God in sincere prayer eh when troubles befall us eh? Jesus engraved us in the palms of His hand when He bore the nails in them on the cross. That’s another promise kept! 

And hear what Moses told the children of Israel before he died. ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ (Deut. 31:6) But that’s exactly why the Israelites spent forty years wandering around in the desert; they were scared and afraid and didn’t believe the promises of God, even after he had parted the Red Sea and allowed them to cross over on dry land, then drowned Pharaoh and the Egyptian army. 

Ah my fellow saints, we have it so good it’s not funny! But sadly, we don’t truly believe it, and thus we can’t truly appreciate it, otherwise we wouldn’t be having all this fussing and fighting amongst ourselves and turning away from Jehovah God. And we shall close with these wonderful words of promise from Psalm 91 – God is a refuge and a fortress. 

The psalmist ends it with God speaking. ‘Because he hath set his LOVE upon me, therefore will I deliver him. I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. he shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life (length of days) will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.’ (Ps. 91:14-16) 

What more can I say eh friends? All the cards are in our hands. Remember we need God much more than He needs us. It’s up to us to go to Him now, for He has already come to us. Much LOVE!

…if you can’t believe the promises of God…what can you believe eh…                                                                                                                  

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