A Wisdom Retreat - May 17

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

John 15:14-15

You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Joseph Scriven was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1820. After graduating from Trinity College, he had great expectations and plans. He was engaged to marry his lovely Irish sweetheart, and together they had dreams for building their life and home together. Wedding plans were made, business ventures were decided upon, but the day before their wedding his fiancé drowned in a boating accident. His world fell apart.

Joseph moved to Canada, attempting to put all the memories and heartache behind him. Although he was very much alone, he served faithfully as a missionary bachelor, driven to share the gospel with those in need of salvation.

Years later tragedy struck again. His mother became seriously ill and he was unable to be with her. In his absence, he sat down and wrote a poem for her. He scribbled out a copy for himself, and it was later discovered by a visitor.

The powerful lyrics not only brought great encouragement to his mother on her deathbed, but they were put to music and sung in churches, even to this day. His lyrics read: 


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 Savior, still our refuge; 

Take it to the Lord in prayer. 

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? 

Take it to the Lord in prayer, 

In His arms He'll take and shield thee; 

Thou wilt find a solace there. 

To onlookers Joseph Scriven would seem to have lived a lonely life marred by sorrow. But after his death [also by drowning], his poem that circulated through churches and penetrated the hearts of believers for nearly two centuries revealed his heart for all to see—he had been content with life, for his closest friend was Jesus.

What trials, temptations, and troubles are you facing today? What sins, grief, and pain are you bearing? Remember this—before Jesus died on the cross for you, He whispered into the ears of His frightened disciples, "I consider you my closest friends!" No matter that sorrows and cares may come—Christ, who knows your every weakness, will shield and comfort you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

If you are His disciple, you are also His friend . . . forever.

Prayer Point: God's incredible humility is shown by stooping to call us friends when we deserve to be called slaves. Thank the Lord for restoring your relationship to Him, who walked that terrible path to the cross on your behalf.

Extra Refreshment: Read Psalms 23 and witness the faithfulness and the friendship of God in the life of David.

Why We Exist (Single Sermon CD)

Imagine if every church in America closed their doors tomorrow. What toll would that take on our country? What impact would it have on society's ethical beliefs and practices? Stephen reminds us that just as a lighthouse is a beacon for lost sailors, a local church is a beacon for lost citizens. Receive this single sermon CD for any size donation during April!

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Many ministries today expound on life and illustrate with Scripture;
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