Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 June 2009 Acts 28:15‏

Acts 28:15     And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.
 
Oh Friends, it looks like another wet, windy day, but take heart, the Lord is in control and knows what He’s doing. From the moment I saw this quote today, I knew I had to share it with you, it’s so encouraging. It’s attributed to one Robert Nathan. ‘Give thanks for sorrow that teaches you pity; for pain that teaches you courage – and give exceeding thanks for the mystery which remains a mystery still – the veil that hides you from the infinite, which makes it possible for you to believe in what you cannot see.’ And that my Friends is called FAITH! However, the word for today is COURAGE. As the Devotional, One More Day, from which I got the quote says; ‘We cannot run away from our problems.’ But unfortunately many of us try to do just that. The old adage, you can run but not hide is totally true, for wherever you go, problems will seek you out and find you too. By the same token, ‘We can’t always be courageous, but fear is dispelled by our inner strength, by our trust that we will overcome problems and do as well as possible.’ This leads us back to faith, to strong belief in something and a willingness to stand up for it, which brings us to Bruh Paul and his staunch stand in Caesarea, where everyone warned him not to go up to Jerusalem. This prophet from Judea, Agabus, came down to them, ‘took Paul’s girdle, (belt) bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ (Acts21:11) After hearing this, his people pleaded with him even more strenuously not to go to Jerusalem. But Bruh Paul, being Bruh Paul, answered them: ‘What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.’ (Acts 21:13-14) Exactly mih people, the will of the Lord was for Him to go up there. But Bruh Paul was really something else though. He only knew one way to go; all out. Whether it was persecuting the early Church, or working tirelessly on its behalf afterwards, he did all with zeal and enthusiasm. He didn’t shy away from the problems he encountered, and turned out to be a real crusader for Christ. Oh, I know we can’t all be as zealous, brave and courageous like him, but I’m sure we can all do better than we’re currently doing, and we don’t have half the problems he had. So he went up to Jerusalem, gave his testimony, re converting unbelievers, was acclaimed, but was also accused ‘that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses; saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.’ (Acts 21:21) Now to orthodox Jews that’s a serious crime. But Bruh Paul was brave and bad, and so filled with the Holy Spirit that he wouldn’t back down from any confrontation. I daresay he even purposely stirred up some himself. Now according to the scholars, his principle of life among Jews was one of accommodation; meaning he became a Jew amongst them, once the principle of grace was not at stake. (1 Cor.9:19-22) That’s why he accepted the advice of his brethren to purify himself, so he could show that he wasn’t hostile towards the Law of Moses, or those who observed it. (Acts 21:23-25) So, after purifying himself for the required seven days, he went into the temple, and as expected, all hell broke loose. The Asian Jews stirred up the people, ‘and laid hands on him. Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.’ (Acts 21:27-28) That last charge was only supposition because they had seen him hanging out with an Ephesian called Trophimus and assumed that he had taken him into the temple. And we all know how a crowd behaves when it’s stirred up, especially about something they consider sacred and holy. The people ran into the temple and dragged Bruh Paul out, planning to kill him. But Friends, it wasn’t yet his time. The Roman soldiers heard about it and rescued him, for news of a lynch mob with a victim spreads like wildfire. I like how the writer of Acts puts it: ‘And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar…and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.’ (Acts 21:31-32) Trust Bruh Paul with his fiery nature to stir it up wherever he went. And I can just imagine him fighting back, for with such a feisty spirit, I refuse to believe he would just accept the abuse meekly, although, for Jesus, who knows what he would do. It was such a riotous situation that after the soldiers bound Bruh Paul, they couldn’t ascertain who he was or what he’d done for the mob to attack him. So they ordered that he be taken to the nearby castle in the fortress Antonia. But even then the mob wouldn’t let up, the soldiers had to carry him up the stairs. (Acts 21:33-35) Oh Friends, I guess that was just another ordinary day in Bruh Paul’s life, so committed was he in serving his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Sadly though, not many of us are even half as committed, and we don’t have to face any of the contentions or physical abuse he faced. But then too, the only way unbelievers will really come to Christ is if they see us totally committed, fighting for what we claim to believe, ready and willing, if needs be, to die for it. Oh my people, our world is currently in such turmoil that it’s only the peaceful, LOVING philosophy of Jesus can save it from self-destruction. And we are the ones entrusted with that awesome task. So let’s get to it seriously nuh. Every minute, hour or day we procrastinate, makes it that much harder and more doubtful that our progeny and our world will survive much longer. Tomorrow, God willing, we’ll continue with Bruh Paul’s eventful journey to Rome. Much LOVE!…we are the catalysts…the ones entrusted to calm the raging storm…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 June 2009 Deuteronomy 10:12‏

Deuteronomy 10:12     And now Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to LOVE him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.
 
Yes my Friends, I thought I was done with that Bit, but the Lord in His infinite wisdom decided there was more to say on His requirements for the way we live our earthly lives. And who am I to say Him nay; to disagree or disobey. But disobedience nonetheless, is possibly the biggest problem He has with us. It’s obvious that we’re born with an inherent spirit of rebellion, cause from birth our natural bent is to do what we’re not supposed to. Now to counteract that natural phenomenon, Moses tried valiantly to instil in his people a continual reverence for the Lord God Jehovah, their creator, provider and protector. Their main duty was to LOVE and serve Him, but they had other ideas. Centuries later, Jesus acknowledged the same thing when a Pharisee lawyer tried to trick Him by asking what was the greatest commandment. Jesus had a ready answer: ‘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.’ Mat.22:37-40) As usual, the elite hypocrites reckoned without Jesus’ extensive knowledge of Old Testament Law. He merely paraphrased Deut. 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18; breaking them down to first, a responsibility to God, and then a responsibility to man. It’s so sad people that Jesus showed the Jewish ruling class His knowledge, His healing power, His authority over demons and other unholy spirits, but yet they refused to take Him seriously. Maybe it was because He harangued them about their hypocritical ways, for being men pleasers, for paying more attention to the laws and opinions of men than to those of God. Some of it must have rang true, and they realized they had to get rid of Him before He spoilt their easy, comfortable way of living. Two thousand years later though Friends, nothing has changed. The majority of us still live in rebellion and disobedience to the Most High God Jehovah. I guess the law of God conflicts with the fleshly lusts of men, and the latter appears to be winning, strongly aided and abetted by Lucifer’s wicked wiles and lies. But the only reason Moses gives for our obedience to God is simple and sensible; ‘for thy good.’ I would consider that rather wise since the earth and all in it belongs to the Lord, and it so happened that He took a liking to our forefathers and chose their progeny to bless above all other peoples. ‘Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.’ (Deut.10:13-16) Oh my Friends, it’s the same reasoning I’m putting forward to us today. The earth is the Lord’s, and reverencing and obeying Him is to our benefit. Remember He needs nothing from us but our obeisance, but all our needs flow directly from Him. It’s a simple formula of self-preservation, and those who purposely diverge from or ignore it will eventually suffer serious consequences. Many of us don’t take sin seriously, but the wages of sin are truly death, for our God, if nothing else, exalts His sense of justice and righteousness, so much so that He had Jesus pay for our sins. Don’t fool yuh fat Friends, all will have to answer for their wrong when the big day comes. That’s why I’m urging us, just like Moses did to the Israelites, to circumcise the foreskins of our hearts, and stop being stubborn, stiffnecked and rebellious. Circumcising out hearts only means removing the covering from them that blocks the incoming flow of God’s Spirit; those hearts of stone. The same goes for our ears: Let’s remove whatever is preventing the Word from penetrating our minds. Also our lips, which speak incoherently, like we have ‘tie-tongue.’ Hn! Long time I haven’t heard that expression. But my people, those are actions we badly need to take; remove whatever is hindering us from absorbing the things of God in our minds, bodies and souls. And as Bruh Paul wrote to Timothy: ‘Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.’ (1 Tim.1:5) And all it means is that the basic goal of God’s commandments is an expression of LOVE, which pours out of a pure and sincere heart, from a clear conscience and genuine faith. Now that’s not so hard to do, is it my people? And it’s imperative that we do it now, for we don’t know when the roll will be called up yonder. Michael Jackson’s sudden demise at the tender age of 50, is a perfect example. It seems he had it all, and was diligently on the comeback trail. But unfortunately the Most High God had other plans. And His plans always take precedence. We can only hope that Michael made peace with His Maker before he was called home. The same goes for us my Friends. And I have to laugh cause our Lord has such a sense of timing and humour that He couldn’t resist giving me a sign. A sudden spike in the power just occurred; all the lights went out and the computer crashed. Luckily though I was still doing my rough draft by long hand. Oh mih people, I don’t know what else to say or do but to keep on imploring us to come to Jesus, and regardless of the difficulties, to stay with Him, live and die in His Name, for that’s the only way we’ll thwart eternal darkness and death and instead receive salvation and everlasting life. Much LOVE!…open your lives…and let God in…it’s the wisest move you can make…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 June 2009 Deuteronomy 10:12‏

Deuteronomy 10:12     And now Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to LOVE Him, and to serve the Lord with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
 
Oh Friends, it’s another beautiful morning, courtesy of our merciful God, so let’s all raise our heads, hearts and hands and say in loud unison: ‘Thank you Lord! Amen!’ And the ole fella also had an astonishing revelation today! Have you ever wondered what the forbidden fruit was; that awesome eye opening, mind uplifting fruit that the Lord commanded our forefathers not to eat? Well this afternoon mih people, while eating one on my front porch, I suddenly had this marvellous eye opening and mind uplifting. It was a Julie Mango! Wow! And it wasn’t even one of exceptional quality, just a force-ripe export. But even that was good enough to get my senses swirling. Yes my people, there’s no fruit that satisfies all the requirements of the senses like a Julie! It smells good; oh what a beautiful aroma a ripe Julie gives off! It’s sweet tasting; juicy and succulent…and all that yellow juice just running down your hands and mouths…Oh it’s heavenly! And no other fruit looks as rich, both inside and out like a ripe Julie in its golden autumn colours! It certainly has all the desirable attributes of taste, smell and sight, what with its heart shaped design. I can now see why Eve, and then Adam, had a hard time refusing it on its own merits, much less with Lucifer’s encouragement. Oh my Friends, many of you might never have seen or tasted a Julie mango, especially a good one. Ah, my mouth just waters as my mind conjures up those scenes of fifty years ago, when, after Sunday School in the afternoon, we fine Christian lads would go down to the Botanical Gardens and steal them. Well we wouldn’t really steal them, just stand under the trees, out of sight of prying eyes and have our fill. Next day though, you’d pay for it from the nether end. (smile) Just goes to show that too much of anything is bad for you, and disobedience to God, in this case pilfering, does not sit well with the Father. You enjoy the sin, then you pay for it. And the Israelites, like many of us today, learned that the hard way. Moses was only gone up the mountain for forty days, and what did they do? They lost faith and talked Aaron into building a molten calf to worship. Moses was so angry when he came down and saw it, that he threw the two tablets of stone bearing the Lord’s do(s) and don’ts on the ground and broke them, then had to fall on his knees and beg the Lord to forgive them. (Deut.9) Oh my people, our Saviour Jesus died so we could get a fresh start, be reinstated in God’s good graces, but only in rough times do we acquiesce to His rules, and said acquiescence lasts only until prosperity returns. This is one of those rough times. We’ve encountered rather stormy seas, but still most of us don’t, or won’t understand that our problems stem directly from prolonged disobedience to Almighty God, and in many hearts, a burning desire to be rid of Him. Likewise, the only salve for our wounds is a return to His rule, with sincere repentance and a total surrender to His awesome majesty and power. But until the majority of nations realize that, our world will be in a state of constant turmoil. And as I keep saying, His yoke is not that onerous. Granted it’s not as eye catching and flesh pleasing as what Lucifer offers, but if we consistently obey Him, He will provide every bit as good, if not better than the evil one. As Moses declared when he exhorted Israel: ‘What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to LOVE Him, and to serve the Lord with all thy heart and with all thy soul.’ Is that so difficult mih people? Not if you genuinely LOVE the Lord and desire to follow Him. How many times did Moses tell the Israelites the same thing; that our job is to LOVE and serve Him? Read Deut.6. Many years later, Micah said it to them again: ‘He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to LOVE mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?’  (Mic.6:8) What’s so hard mih people in doing good eh; in being just and merciful and submitting ourselves humbly to His will? It doesn’t seem that much to ask, especially when He’s our Creator, Father, Provider, and more powerful than us in every respect. It’s silly of us to try to fight Him and do things our way, because we only lose in the end. The problem too is that there aren’t enough believers to make a substantial difference in the world. And Friends, that’s where we few come in. We’re supposed to live a life that sets a good example on His behalf, and to spread His Word to all and sundry. Only by increasing the number of genuine believers living by His rules, will we overcome the evil generated by Lucifer and his cohorts. That’s our job, but we seem to be failing at it, for Lucifer and his people are still controlling the world, possibly even getting stronger. But Friends, for our world to be saved from self-destruction, we believers have to seriously improve our efforts. Note, almost every day a new arena of conflict is opening up, and none of the old ones are really ending. So what does that say? Godliness is certainly not increasing. The secular apparatus is still holding sway. Oh mih people, if you won’t listen to me, I hope you’ll listen to Moses. ‘Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee…’ (Deut.6:17-18) Nuff said mih Friends. Remember, you can only lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink. Much LOVE!…wuh happen…we is deaf ears pickney…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 June 2009 Proverbs 14:20‏

Proverbs 14:20     The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
 
And isn’t that the gospel truth my Friends! On this last instalment on Friends and Friendships, we touching on the significance of wealth and prosperity in their formation. Wherever we go in this world, second-class treatment, or even lower, is meted out to the poor and destitute. Even their own poor neighbours look down on them. As Sol later declares: ‘All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? He pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.’ (Prov.19:7) We see that all the time. The friends of the poor desert them very easily. Regardless of how much they beg them to stay, they still abandon them without much guilt or concern for their welfare. Meanwhile, we’ll sell our souls, and those of our families too, to become bosom pals with the possessors of material wealth. ‘Many will entreat the favour of a prince: and every man is a friend that giveth gifts.’ (Prov.19:7) Now that’s in direct contrast to what happens with the supposed friends of the poor. We gladly run to those who seem to have power, and consider those who dole out material gifts as friends. Even when the wealthy are known crooks and scoundrels, there’s always a line up to get into their good graces. I guess that’s a sad reflection on the priority we place on material wealth. But remember my people, material wealth brings problems of its own, not the least being a sudden glut of friends and hangers on. When you have material wealth and/or power, everybody wants to be your friend then. Just take a look at the bloated entourages that some of these celebrities travel with, where most either do very little or nothing at all. But as soon as the money well dries up, so do the good time friends. Ask people like M.C. Hammer about it. When he was riding high, a coterie of friends and well-wishers were always present. But as soon as he became bankrupt, they all fled faster than the speed of light, avidly in search of the next good time gig. Oh Friends, hear these ever-true words of the vintage song: ‘Everybody LOVES a winner. But when you lose, you lose alone.’ And I’m sure we’ve all had personal experiences with that principle. In the good, heady times, you’re a star, with an enthralling entourage, but when your bubble bursts and and everything turns sour, you’re usually the only one left sucking the lemons. What did Bruh David say when he was suffering? ‘My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.’ (Ps.38:11) Even his close friends and family distanced themselves during his time of ‘sufferation.’ Yes my people, that’s the nature of the human animal; always hanging around when the wine, women and song are flowing, but ne’er to be found when it’s all been consumed; friends only in fair weather, never in foul. That’s why we’ve been warning us to be wary and very careful before we consider people friends, especially if our star is in the ascendancy, for there’s nothing that draws evil hearted people like the bright lights. Just like moths flock to a light and do a death dance around it, so too these no-good parasites hone in on material wealth, suck it dry, then depart just as quickly. And Sol has words for that situation too. ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Prov.18:24) Trust Sol to have an answer for everything eh. (smile) But he’s telling the awful truth! If you have many friends, then you must be friendly to them all. But in so doing, as the scholars translate it, ‘A man of many friends comes to ruin.’ You’re constantly giving to the crowd around you, but not enough is coming back to refill the coffers. That will inevitably lead to a serious downhill slide. And remember mih people, you’ll be sliding down that messy slope all by your lonesome, for the once staunch supporters would all have left at the first signs of difficulty, just like rats are the first to abandon a sinking ship. It is therefore advisable not to spread yourself too thin with many superficial relationships. Better to stick to a few tried and trusted friends, who don’t only want you for the material benefits you can offer, but who have a genuine care and concern for your well-being, and are more than willing to help in times of need. And in these sad economic times, we even have to be more careful, for what little we have has already been devalued, and more people are seeking an easy mark; looking to hitch their wagon to someone who seems well positioned to help them ride out the rough times, or who they can outright defraud and make a killing. It’s not an easy world we live in my Friends, and it’s possibly going to get worse before it improves, so we have to be very careful with whom we associate, and whom we let into our inner circle. I sure hope these Bits on Friends and Friendships have given us some insight into the true reality of the situation, cause a lot of what’s termed reality these days is not really real, but simulated reality. We can now manipulate so many things, that one is never sure what’s for real. So for our own good, please, lets play our cards close to our chests and don’t be fooled by the glad handing, the false smiles and effusive compliments that the iniquity workers use to get into our good graces, only to do us evil. Much LOVE!…remember…the smaller our circle of friends…the better off we’ll be…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 June 2009 Proverbs 27:17‏

Proverbs 27:17      Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
 
Ah mih Friends, it’s been another hot, muggy day, with only a sparse amount of rain to cool the proceedings, but we’re still alive and plodding on, no, motoring on, for the servants of the Most High God Jehovah don’t plod, they motor, showing purpose and decisiveness in action that the Holy Spirit divines in the followers of His Son, our Lord and Saviour, the ONLY Superstar; Jesus Christ. Bless His Holy Name my people! Today we’re continuing with the subject of Friends and Friendships, and the Bit I was guided to choose is a powerful scripture that says a lot about it. More wisdom from Sol: ‘Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.’ Wow! What does that mean? In actuality, only something as hard or strong as metal can sharpen it, or cause it to change its shape, since it’s the hard play of one surface against the other that motivates the sharpening and changing process. Even when metal is heated we still need metal tools to shape it into whatever we desire. That translates to another fact; one object is giving unselfishly of itself to the other, honing it, making it better, improving it, and being glad to see the improvement. The same basic laws apply to humans and friendships. ‘So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend,’ means that one friend will uplift the other, strengthen and encourage him, morally, intellectually, emotionally, financially, whatever the friend needs to improve their situation, not forgetting biblically, like I’m trying to do here. (smile) Let’s consider Jesus, when he was here on earth. Now mih people, there never was, is, or ever will be a stronger bit of iron than Him. Just look at how He took the lowliest, the least educated, the socially unattractive and sharpened them nuh; made them fishers of men. He didn’t just gather them together and treat them like a wild herd. No, He spent valuable time teaching them, both by words and example, so that they could go out and do His will. He unselfishly and tirelessly explained His philosophy over and over, although they never fully got it until after His ascension and the Holy Spirit filled their lives. And having told them everything He knew, Jesus stopped calling them servants, but instead called them Friends, because they had risen to a higher level of understanding and fellowship with Him. Ah my people, to be a true friend is to really test your mettle. It means being there in both the good and bad times, sometimes being the only one lending support, giving without expecting to receive, yet trusting that if the situation was reversed, others would do the same for you. It means taking risks on behalf of the other person, whatever risks that are necessary to solve the situation, sometimes even risking our lives. Now that’s not easy, so it entails having a great deal of faith and trust in that person, if you’re going to stick your neck out for them. That’s why Sol warns about standing surety for friends in Prov.6:1. Friendships also go through tests; of circumstances, places and times. Friends move away, their circumstances change, for better or worse, and all these things can impact significantly on a friendship. I have a few friends in different locations and circumstances whom I haven’t seen in years, and we only communicate occasionally, but whenever we do meet, it’s like we’ve been together every day, because a firm bond of friendship was originally formed, which was strong enough to stand the test of time and circumstances. And if anyone needs anything we think the other can provide, there’s no hesitation to get in touch and ask for help. That’s another important requirement of friendship; that neither party is afraid to ask for assistance, since they know that their friend will move heaven and earth to help them. That’s why Sol so strenuously declared that a true friend always shows LOVE and is always there in times of adversity. A great example of that is Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, after their men folk died and Naomi decided to return to her homeland. She told her two daughters-in-law to go back to their own people. Orpah did so, but ‘Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to 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) Now that’s what you call true friendship and allegiance! And remember the two women were from totally different cultures, only had a son/husband in common. But Naomi must have shown Ruth something that kept her irresistibly by her side. She must surely have sharpened her countenance; lived a life that Ruth found to be a worthwhile example, so much so, that she wanted more of it, dreaded being separated from her. Oh my people, as believers that’s the kind of trust, faith, belief and dedication we need to bring out in others, especially those we consider friends….and if I spell friends wrong one more time, I’m going to mash up the computer. Would you believe that I’ve spelt it wrong more often than not? Chuh! But freind…Steups! Ah spell it wrong again. And even though friendship is not an easy role to play, to really live, to really make a difference in the lives of others, it’s a role that we must play. If we don’t have any strong friendships, then we’re sadly lacking in life and living. Note, we don’t need many, but we do need a few. Humans are social animals, not hard hearted isolationists, so there must be a few persons that we genuinely cherish, that we’re willing to go the last mile for, and know that they will return the favour without hesitation. That’s what Friends and Friendships are all about. So let’s steadfastly work on, and richly value our Friends and Friendships. More tomorrow, God willing. Till then, may God bless and nurture all our Friends and Friendships. Much LOVE!…a true friend…will always come running when you call…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 June 2009 Exodus 33:11‏

Exodus 33:11     And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend:
 
Oh my friends, today was the ole fella’s Sabbath; he rested from his labours. (smile) Then I was guided to talk about the controversial topic of Friends and Friendship. There’s been so much said and written on it, that I doubt we’ll say it all in one session. But there’s no better place to start than with some of Jesus’ thoughts and words on the subject. ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do what I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known to you.’ (John 15: 13-15) From Jesus’ words we can conclude that a friend is a close, dear and special person, a confidant; one with whom we share our secrets and important information. To Jesus it was also someone who would obey His commands, do as He asked. The same goes for us ordinary humans. They don’t have to be yes people, in fact we don’t need yes men for our friends, but people who will tell us the truth, although it hurts. Then the greatest test of friendship is if one is willing to die for the other, like Jesus died for us. All of that entails a great responsibility, because to meet those objectives, one has to care and be concerned for the friend, also be willing to guard and protect their privacy and whatever information they’ve entrusted to you per the said friendship. Now here’s a very interesting quote from Paramahansa Yogananda: ‘There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first.’ That’s gospel! Friends and friendships do call for oodles of unselfishness, for as Sol rightly declares: ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ (Prov 17:17) But by the same token, we’ve got to be very careful whom we admit to our inner circle and consider friends, for as Bruh David points out; ‘Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.’ (Ps.41:9) And that, my people, is one of the conundrums, the hard questions, the riddles in the friend and friendship stakes. A friend is one who knows your business, but because of that a friend is also the one who can hurt you the most. And take it from me people, there is nothing more hurtful than when a person you consider your friend betrays that trust and confidence you placed in them. And I talk from personal experience here, since I seem to easily but wrongly consider people friends, when in fact they are reprobates. That’s why I reiterate, be very careful and very selective of whom you share your confidences with, because your enemies can’t hurt you as badly as your friends, since they don’t have the powerful ammunition that your close relationships have. But the Lord is most certainly a good God and does repay your hurt, for though I doubt in my personal disappointments that I’ve ever prayed like Bruh David did; ‘But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.’ (Ps. 41:10) somehow or other I’ve always rebounded better off than the ones who abused my friendship. Thank you most sincerely, oh my God! Hn! I just can’t seem to grasp the adage that ‘all skin teeth, ain’t laugh.’ And when I recall my youth, it brings forth a few chuckles. Those days when my poor mother constantly warned me about friends, the so-called variety. She didn’t have a college education but she was well educated in the hard knocks school of life. I got a few lashes too for following friends against her advice. One of the first lessons we have to learn about friends and friendships is that the fewer we have the better. By definition though you cannot have too many friends, you can’t let too many people know your business or get too close to you, and a lot of whom we term friends are merely acquaintances. I like how Beres Hammond puts it in his song, ‘Giving Thanks.’ ‘Right here now, the friends I’m surrounded, are but few, glad I’m not crowded; just enough, just enough for me to concentrate.’ Perfect! We only need a few friends; enough that will give us room to breathe, and time to do our own thing, because true friendship can be rather time consuming. If you have too many, then you’re liable to spend too much time trying to satisfy them all and not enough on your own life. And the interesting thing is that friendships, by their very nature, are things, relationships that grow over, and last for long periods of time, regardless of the stress and strain placed on them. Now don’t fool yuhself mih people, friendships do undergo a lot of turmoil and uncertainty, especially if one person always has problems and expects the other to be always there, not only to help with the solution, but to fix the problem. There’s nothing that can erode a friendship like one person being overly dependent and continually seeking help without giving any in return. It’s strange how some friendships can be so simple, but strong and lasting, while others are always in conflict, one complaining about the other and vice versa. I dare say that the latter isn’t a true friendship, but more a dependent relationship. Friends have problems, but true friends work them out, whether it’s by having a knock down, drag our fight, or just agreeing to disagree, but in the long run they get over their differences, which in many cases are superficial. They hug, shake hands and apply Jesus’ cure all remedy; forgiveness. Makes me remember the friend who was supposed to visit me today. I guess she came and/or called, but since the ole fella was resting, he didn’t hear anything. She must have been annoyed, because she didn’t even leave a message on the phone. But that’s my Drama Queen #2. She’ll give me the business, and I’ll apologize profusely, but it won’t cause any rifts, cause we’ve been too much already to let a little thing like that come between us. Now that’s what you call a true friendship; one of the few I have. More tomorrow, God willing. Till then, Much LOVE!…the true test of friendship…the willingness to forgive each other… Oh Friends, I have to laugh yes. I just turned the page to read over what I’d written, only to discover that I don’t have a Bit as yet. There were plenty to choose from, but the passion and the fire to write was so strong that I couldn’t put it off to decide on a Bit. So lemme go and find one now nuh. Hn, hn, hn! Ah guess what deh say is true; the ole fella not crazy, just slightly brain dead. (smile)
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 June 2009 Romans 2:1‏

Romans 2:1     Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
 
Oh Friends, thankfully the last two days are over. I’ve been longing for summer, but now that it’s here, I don’t know if I can handle the heat. After rushing around in the early morning to purchase stuff for my mother, then waiting a couple hours while my car tire and A/C were repaired, I headed across the top of the city around noon to drop off my mother’s things. I couldn’t believe the traffic both ways on the six, sometimes eight lane highways, and it was still some four hours to the official rush hour. At one point it took me almost half an hour to cover a distance that takes about six or seven minutes normally, and there didn’t seem to be any unusual obstructions. How some people do this rush hour commute twice a day, five days a week, is beyond me. Anyway Lord, I pray that you won’t have me repeat the last two days for a while. I’ll rather take annoyances like the fly in my coffee just now, here at home. (smile) But Friends, seriously, I think the biggest complaint against Christians lies in Today’s Bit, where we unashamedly judge and criticize others for doing the same things we do. We don’t have to look far to find examples either. The same crowded highways I was just talking about is full of them. We see others make unsafe, improper lane changes, drive while talking on their cells, weave in and out dangerously, and we mentally, sometimes vocally give them a blast, or a finger. But when you really consider the situation, we all do things on the road we’re not supposed to do. And that’s just a simple example. If we look truthfully at our own lives, we’ll find a lot more serious stuff that conforms to the Bit. We complain when people gossip or bad mouth us, without considering the things we say about others. That’s why Bruh Paul has to chastise us, all we self-righteous moralists: ‘Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same thing.’ Yes Friends, there’s no excuse for that type of behaviour in believers. We automatically condemn ourselves, once we start criticizing others for things we also do. Possibly the best example of that in the Good Book is of Bruh David; the scheme he cooked up when he took Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, then sent him out to the front lines to die in battle. (2 Sam.11) And I just have to chuckle at our Lord’s style; the way He addressed that situation, by sending the prophet Nathan to confront Bruh David with a parable about a rich man with much sheep, taking the one ewe lamb, much cherished by a poor man and his family, to kill and cook for his visitor. Oh brother! Bruh David got angry and indignant, saying to Nathan; ‘As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had not pity.’ (2 Sam.12:5-6) Imagine Bruh David’s consternation though, when Nathan said to him; ‘Thou art the man.’ (2 Sam.12:7) Then he listed all the good things that the Lord had done for Bruh David, yet he went and did the evil. Furthermore, Nathan also spelled out the punishment that was forthcoming: ‘Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me… Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house…’ (2 Sam.12:10-11) And for the rest of Bruh David’s days, he was beset by serious problems within his family. Yuh see mih people, it doesn’t pay to judge, and in particular, not too quickly or harshly. We can’t let all wrong doing go unpunished or uncriticized, but we have to be very careful that we’re not caught up in the same thing. Jesus said it quite clearly: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’  Then he talked about the hypocrites that want to pull the mote from their brother’s eyes, when they have a big beam blocking their own vision. (Mat.7:1-5) Yes Friends, we’re all first class hypocrites in that respect, cause we all do it. Oh Friends, I just LOVE how Jesus operated! In this case, we talking about the woman brought before him caught in the act of adultery. And Jesus’ reaction? ‘He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.’ When He stood up and saw her alone, he asked; ‘Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.’ (John 8:7-11) Isn’t He wonderful Friends? The consummate judge and mediator! That’s the aspiration we believers should have, not the quick to criticize and lambaste personality we now show so much of. I wonder though what happened to the man that she was found with? The man was possibly judged sin free because it was a highly patriarchal society. And sadly, that still happens today in many societies like that. It’s always the woman’s fault, even when she’s brutally gang raped. But as Bruh Paul so sagely asks; ‘And thinkest thou this, O man that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgement of God?’ Certainly not! ‘Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil… for there is no respect of persons with God.’ (Rom.2:3,9,11) Oh Friends, let’s try and curb our hypocritical, judgemental behaviour nuh, for it’s one of the big things that turns people away from our wonderful Christian Faith. Much LOVE!…do so…ain’t like so…
 

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