Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 December 2007 James 1:22-25‏

James 1:22-25    But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
 
All thanks and praise to the Most High for bringing us safely through another crazy, tumultuous year! It’s a time when we review the year just past and resolve to do better in the coming months. Full of vim and vigour, often assisted by heady libations,(smile) we faithfully promise ourselves that this will be the year we work those resolutions through to the very end. But alas, faced by the stress and busyness of our lives, within a short period, those resolutions fall by the wayside and we plod along just like before. It’s not easy to make changes to an accustomed lifestyle, but sometimes we’ve just got to take the bull by the horns and do it. And for 2008 Friends, I want us to make one resolution and resolutely follow it; that’s to be doers of the word and not only hearers. It’s very easy to listen, but downright difficult to get out there and actually do. But that’s the job we’re called on to perform; spreading the Word. And how can we spread the Word if we don’t meet people and tell them about it, then put what we’ve spoken into practice eh? Remember, personal examples are much more powerful than mere words. As Cousin James nicely puts it, if we’re only hearing and not doing, then we’re deceiving ourselves. I’m not as politically correct though, I’ll tell it like it is: We’re just a bunch of so and so hypocrites when we spout the Word and don’t practice it. But that seems to be the prevailing style nowadays. Everybody’s running around mouthing, ‘Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!’ etc, etc. But ask them when last they gave somebody in need, a cup of hot water or a piece of bread, or an old coat to keep out the winter chill. Hn! They won’t be able to answer. As James says, we’re too Narcissus-like; looking in the mirror and only seeing ourselves. Friends, I believe that’s one of the serious shortcomings of our faith today; too much feel good jargon and not enough actual getting down and dirty in the trenches. The Christian faith is supposed to be one of action; helping, working, forgiving, loving. That’s the type of person Jesus was; a mover and shaker. He did not simply sit around and spew forth high sounding doctrine. We need to get up and do. It’s the only way to keep the faith strong and growing, running with a smooth, beautiful riddim. It’s like any living organism or mechanical apparatus, if you don’t service and maintain them regularly, they eventually die. That’s why I’m pleading with us people, that this year, if we only make one resolution, please let it be that we’ll all endeavour to be better doers of the Word. It’s also in our best interest, because, as Cousin James rightly says, a doer shall indeed be blessed. Now isn’t that wonderful? Much LOVE!…let’s do people…let’s just get up and do…plenty blessings will follow…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 December 2007 Isaiah 59:1-2‏

Isaiah 59:1-2    Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
 
I like how Isaiah doesn’t mince words with the rebellious Israelites. It’s not because the Lord’s hand is shortened, or His ear heavy, that He’s not saving or hearing you. It’s your sins that have come between you and your God. It’s your sins why He has hid His face from you, and won’t hear your selfish pleas. Friends, that’s quite true. Nothing has happened to our God; He’s still the same, yesterday, today and forever. That simply means, if there’s a communication breakdown between us and Him, then the odds on bet is that it’s our fault. We have done something to displease Him, or haven’t done what He’s required of us. It’s only disobedience that causes the Most High to hide His face and turn a deaf ear to His beloved children. Just look at our own lives; one of the tools we use for bringing our children to heel, if they’re disobedient or just downright annoying, is simply ignoring them. and it works most of the time. After a while, with no response from us, they finally get the message and clean up their act. It’s the same with our Heavenly Father. When He gets tired and fed up with our selfish, stupid shenanigans, He just tunes us out until we smarten up. But Friends, that’s the worst thing that could happen to us; our Heavenly Father, our rock, our shield, our fortress strong, our refuge, our safe hands, ignoring us…Oh no! It means that during that period we are bereft of all  the benefits He provides, which is certainly not a good thing, because that’s exactly when the enemy will strike. He knows we’re most vulnerable when the Most High has blocked our number and doesn’t answer our calls. Note, His line is not simply busy, what we’re getting is dead air, and any radio operator will tell you, that’s the most distressing thing to happen in radio land. At least if the line is busy, you know that someone is at the other end. But when it’s just complete silence, then Friends, that means the connection is broken. So I’m pleading with us today, don’t allow a communication breakdown between us and our Heavenly Father. Let’s try our very best to be obedient to His will, so He won’t have cause to turn away His face or shut His ears to our pleas. It’s the most disastrous thing that could ever occur. Much LOVE!…dead air between us and God…it sadly means we’re without protection…a disaster waiting to happen…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 December 2007 Psalm 92:13-15‏

Psalm 92:13-15    Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing. To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
 
Most definitely Friends, most definitely! Like the cedars of Lebanon, those strong, towering trees that Bruh David is talking about, all of us who are rooted in the Lord, who stand strong in the faith, shall flourish wherever we’re planted in God’s fertile earth. Consequently, we shall bring forth fruit in our old age. Isn’t that wonderful people? To know that even in the winter of our days, we’ll still be useful and contributing to our family in Christ. We won’t just be a burden; a mental and physical wreck, but still a fat and flourishing part of the Christian community. And what will all of this prove? It will show that our God, the Most High, Jehovah, is a just, fair and upright God. He takes care of those who believe and stand strong in His worthwhile cause. It shows that He’s our rock, that we can depend on, lean or fall back upon in times of adversity, and that there is no guile, deceit or unrighteousness in Him. He does what He promises to do. Friends, I’m sure that all of us would love to be fat and flourishing in our declining years, so sink your roots deep down in the faith, and flourish right where you’re planted. That’s the formula. Use it…else you’ll lose it! Much LOVE!…smile people…it’s short and sweet today…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 December 2007 Mark 2:17‏

Mark 2:17    When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
 
Edifying words of Jesus my Friends! He had cause to enlighten the hypocrite elite of the Jewish society, the Scribes and Pharisees, when they questioned Him about eating and associating with sinners and publicans. On this particular occasion, at the house of one Levi, a tax collector. It’s obvious they did not understand J.C’s purpose down here. He was meant to be the propitiation for our sins; our Saviour from the wicked world, so who else was He supposed to hang out with eh? Definitely not the righteous, like they considered themselves. That group was already saved. It was the ones who weren’t saved that He came to claim as His own, so to do that He had to hang with the unrighteous, and unsaved. That’s the only way He could interact with them and teach them about His Father’s mercy and loving kindness and fulfil His destiny. And just take a look at the rough, uncouth group that Jesus put together to be His disciples nuh. That alone speaks volumes about His perspicacity: whom better to use as an example than one(s) from the same group we’re trying to proselytize? (smile) That’s one of the qualities I admire most about Jesus. He hung out with what was considered the wrong crowd; the prostitutes, the drunks, the low life; in fact the ordinary people, the salt of the earth. Two thousand years later, too many of us are still like the hypocrite Scribes and Pharisees; turn up our noses at the fallen and downtrodden, considering ourselves too nice, too prim and proper to even give them the time of day, much less eat or associate with them. But Friends, those are exactly the ones who need our help, those are the sick ones who need the healing of the Great Physician. It’s out there, in the rough parts of the world, that we’re expected to go and spread the Word. We’re not meant to just sit in our comfortable middle class surroundings and hypocritically pat ourselves on the back for the wonderful job we’ve done building our earthly wealth. That’s heifer dust people! What about the spiritual wealth? There are so many of our fellow children of God, out on the highways and byways, the alleys and shanties, who need spiritual heart transplants, who for one reason or another have fallen, or have never heard or understood the Word. They are the ones who need our helping hand. Remember, our calling is to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, and He went, walked to boot, all over His countryside, meeting, greeting and helping the poor and spiritually downtrodden. Friends, to be a sincere, successful follower of J.C, that’s what we got to do too.Much LOVE!…let’s…eschew the comfortable life…get up…go out…and spread the Word of LOVE…where it’s so badly needed…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 December 2007 Ezekiel 33:31‏

Ezekiel 33:31    And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after covetousness.
 
What an awesome truth people! Ezekiel faced the same problem of hypocrisy that we’re experiencing today. The Lord told him that the people were talking about him, encouraging others to come and hear the Word. But sadly, it was all show without any substance. They talked a lot of LOVE, but never walked that talk, because their hearts weren’t really into obeying the Word. Deep down, they still preferred the selfish, lustful, covetous life the world had to offer. The same thing’s happening today Friends, especially in this Christmas season. It’s one of the few times in the year that some of us darken a church door, and we’re all full of LOVE and fellowship, plenty hugs, kisses and good wishes. But how much of that is for real eh people, especially when we go right back to our old, ugly ways in the New Year?  LOVE is the most bandied about word nowadays, but like so much else in our cosmetic society, it’s mostly talk and very little action. But Friends, LOVE IS AN ACTION WORD! We’ve got to do it, show it, through empathy, kindness, caring and all the other things it entails. Sadly though Friends, our current world seems to be very lacking in this motivating and encouraging emotion. It’s the negativity that’s prevalent; the anger, hypocrisy and duplicity (a nice name for our most pervasive crime; fraud) It’s much harder to get a kind word than an angry one. And when we’re lucky enough to get a compassionate expression, we’re not even sure that it’s really sincere, because it can either be the forewarning of some fraudulent act, or it’s just put on for show. We’ve become a society of show-boaters; there’s too much emphasis placed on outward appearances, plenty show and little substance, and this only leads to a lot of fakery, fraud and hypocrisy. Is that the kind of society we want to bequeath to our children? I doubt it. But we’ve got to move quickly and try to regain the ground we’ve lost, because every moment we delay, we sink deeper and deeper into the enemy’s evil quagmire of hypocrisy and deception. Friends, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot allow this to happen, so let’s regroup and get the LOVE Army marching forward into battle again.  Much LOVE!…any talk we talk…please, please…let’s walk it…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 December 2007 Proverbs 8:17‏

Proverbs 8:17    I  LOVE them that LOVE me, and those that seek me early shall find me.
 
Yes my Friends, this is the season of LOVE! A time when friends, families and even foes get together to share in the abundance of what the Most High has provided; food, drink, presents, good fellowship, and above all LOVE. That’s exactly what our Heavenly Father showered us with us that long ago Christmas. The Scripture says He LOVED us so much that He gave His only begotten Son for our sins. Not many of us would do that. And this is the time of year when there seems to be more positive fellowship than at any other. We get so excited and animated that we do godly things we’d never dream of doing at any other time. And it’s all engendered by the birth of Christ. So why doesn’t it last longer eh Friends? Why is it only during these yuletide festivities that we spout kindness and loving sentiments to each other, friend or foe? What happened to the rest of the year eh? Jesus doesn’t only exist at Christmas time you know. I realize that it’s a tad unrealistic to expect the euphoria to last, especially when too many people are worried about paying the holiday bills, but it certainly doesn’t have to drop to the low level it does, and not so soon either. Come the 2nd or 3rd of January we’ll be right back at each other’s throats; the fingers, the road rage, the animosity, the venom. Why? Is this spirit of Christmas so false and put on, that we can discard it and change chameleon-like between one sunset and one sunrise? Oh People, I hope not, because genuine LOVE, kindness and affection are not things that should be turned on and off like water from a tap. It’s something that should be constant, without such sharp peaks and valleys. Friends, for Jesus’ sake, let’s see if we can’t make this Christmas attitude last a little longer, nuh, like say until Easter, when we’ll have the Easter festive attitude.(smile) Realistically speaking though, let’s not allow it to plummet into the depths of the dark valley of anger and dissension, but keep it at, or close to the apex of the mountain of LOVE.  As always, Much LOVE!…if we LOVE Him…then we’d best find Him…and the sooner the better…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 December 2007 Matthew 1:21-23‏

Matthew 1:21-23    And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted is, God with us.                                 
 
Hallelujah! It’s Christmas day Friends! Praise Him and give Thanks! It’s one of the four most important days in Christianity; the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Oh what a blessed, significant day it was when Mary gave birth to Him in that lowly manger! It meant that our Salvation; freedom and forgiveness from sin was underway, had begun in earnest. The Most High had promised it centuries before, but since His time  frame is different from ours, we just had to wait until whenever He was ready. I know that many people dispute whether He was really born on December 25, but what day He was actually born on is not that important. Plenty of us in this modern day and age with all the record keeping don’t know when they were actually born either. What’s important is that He was born, period. And through whatever circumstances, this is the day the Faith chooses to celebrate it. So let’s just do that and forget all the other stuff that causes strife and drives wedges between us nuh. One of His many titles is The Prince of Peace, so as His loyal followers, we need to glorify His Name by living in peace and fellowship with one another. It’s the constant animosity and divisions amongst ourselves, over trivialities, that turn off non-believers, as well as new believers, who encounter that unexpected negativity. Today is a day of Celebration, so let’s just Celebrate! And celebration means people coming together in Peace, in Joy, in LOVE. It’s a day to loudly proclaim PEACE and LOVE: the two abiding principles of our Most Wonderful Saviour. If we claim to LOVE Him, then let’s prove it by bonding with our friends and neighbours, whether they be believers or not. For He came to save the entire world of unworthy sinners, bearing His powerful message of LOVE. Remember People, that beautiful emotion conquers all! So on this blessed day, let’s give Thanks and Praise to our Heavenly Father for the most precious gift ever bestowed; the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who unselfishly took our human form, and came down from His comfortable place to this selfish, treacherous earth, to live amongst us, and eventually proclaim the good news of eternal salvation, through His Death, Resurrection and Triumphant Return. So Friends, for at least today, and hopefully this holiday season, let’s try and get along, show our everlasting gratitude by living in PEACE and LOVE with each other. That’s the only way we will promote His cause, spread His word and ensure the glorification of His eternal Kingdom. Much LOVE!… let’s be like the three wise men… faithfully follow the star of Jesus that’s shining brightly in our hearts… MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 December 2007 Jeremiah 18: 19-20‏

Jeremiah 18: 19-20    Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them , and to turn away thy wrath from them.
 
The cry of the Prophet Jeremiah, pleading with the Most High to help him in his struggle with the disobedient Israelites. As usual, they had gone their own sinful, selfish way, and when Jeremiah tried to warn them about the calamities God was planning to befall them, they arrogantly ignored him. In their obstinacy, they even wanted to ‘devise devices’ against him, ‘to smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.’ I know how Jeremiah must have felt. Ungratefulness can really kill the spirit, do irreconcilable damage to the soul and psyche. There he’d been, faithfully interceding with God on their behalf, asking Him not to make the punishment for their disobedience too harsh, then, ungratefully they turn on him. I’m sure some even plotted violence in their hearts. O Friends, unfortunately it seems that that is a part of our human nature. It happens so often…too often; the people we try to help are oftimes the very ones who turn against us. As Jeremiah bewailed, ‘shall evil be recompensed for good?’ Sadly Friends, the answer is yes. But Jesus, our Leader, said that we ought to LOVE those who hurt us, turn the other cheek and  forgive them. And not only to think that in our souls, but more importantly show it in our actions. Feed them and give them drink. That way, we’ll heap burning coals on their heads, hopefully shame them into rethinking their sinful ways. And if any retribution is necessary, the Most High will repay. That’s His job, not ours. Our task is not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. Ah People! I know it’s difficult; certainly a hard row to hoe, and sometimes it even seems impossible. But that’s the reality of our faith, and remember that with God, all things are possible. I know we don’t have the wherewithal that Jesus had, being the Son of God, sinless and all that, but He still requires that we try to be like Him. That’s why He gave us His Holy Spirit to live within us. It’s supposed to be our rock, our anchor that steadies us in the time of storm. It’s a perfect reflection of Him; His strength, His mercy and His loving kindness. We will never attain the level He did; perfection, because of our sinful nature, but He requires His followers to die, trying. Much LOVE!…when we truly aspire to be like the Son…the Father smiles down on us…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 December 2007 1 Corinthians 15:58‏

1 Corinthians 15:58    Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
 
Those encouraging words that Paul spoke to the Corinthians in the early days of the Church have admirably stood the test of time. Now they are witnessing to us. Friends, let’s not be fooled. A true, Christian walk is not easy. Jesus, Himself, said that the lives of those who picked up their cross and followed Him would be fraught with problems and difficulties. Proclaiming His name would attract even more negative attention than normal. However, the Salvation He promises at the journey’s last stop, the pot of gold at the rainbow’s end, is worth every bit of hardship, persecution and suffering. In fact, that great gift of  Salvation is worth much much more! Just think about it nuh people; spending eternity with J.C after He’s defeated the forces of evil! Hn! How can anything be better than that eh? But as for all things, there’s a price to be paid. And as our esteemed and most venerable philosopher Confucius says, ‘good thing no cheap, and cheap thing no good.’  (smile) A very profound statement Friends, one we all know deep down, but yet clamour for the cheap things of this world, then complain when they don’t last. Salvation is free; but it’s not easy, because the philosophy of Jesus, that encompasses deep LOVE and true Humility, goes against the very grain of our human nature and the dictates of a selfish society. That’s why Paul spent so much time and energy encouraging the people to whom he ministered. And if anybody knew the rigours and suffering possible by proclaiming Christianity, it was certainly Paul. And nothing has really changed since Paul’s time; the powers of evil are still fighting against and denying the existence and sovereignty of the One, True God. That’s why Friends, it’s of the utmost importance that we encourage and keep encouraging our family in Christ. We need to emphasize that the enemy won’t give up, so neither should we. We need to stand strong, to keep the faith by harnessing the power of the Holy Spirit, and always endeavour to do the right thing, because  in the long run, yes Friends, it will all be worth it. Salvation will be ours. Jesus promised this. And He’s faithful who promised. Much LOVE!…remember…you don’t find gold…you mine it…that entails hard, but worthy, worthwhile work…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 December 2007 Matthew 19:30 & 20:16,27.‏

Matthew 19:30 & 20:16, 27.    But many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first.  So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many be called, but few chosen.  And whosever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.
 
O People, very significant words of the One and Only Superstar, Jesus Christ. Hn! The audacity! As if He ever spoke any insignificant words eh? Anyway, it’s one of those times when I had something else planned, but while scanning through Matthew, I chanced on this one page with those three verses underlined, where Jesus said basically the same thing, the last shall be first and vice versa. And since I’ve perused Matthew many times and never noticed it before, I felt that there must be some significance, some Divine guidance at work. Moreover, it tied in quite nicely with the humility aspect in yesterday’s Bit. In those three verses, J.C is simply reiterating His basic philosophy of Humility; of dying to self, of putting others first, of giving of oneself to help others, even though you may need more help than them. In the first verse He’s telling His listeners that who ever gives up their earthly wealth and family to follow Him, will be moved to the head of the line when He returns in all his Princely glory and splendour. The second verse comes at the end of the parable about the land owner who hired workers at different times of the day and paid the last hires the same as the first. Obviously the first set complained, figuring they deserved more because they’d worked the longest. And it does seem unfair, but as the owner rightly pointed out, that was the nature of their contract, so he was not obliged to pay them more. This led J.C to make the assertion that many are called, but few really chosen. And we see this in all walks of life. There are auditions and interviews for everything, sometimes thousands of applicants for only a handful of roles or positions. And finally, the third verse. Here, Jesus gathered His disciples around Him and explained that unlike the normal world, where the leaders are always first and have it cushy, in His philosophy, whoever wanted to be the head honcho, must first be the servant, the ordinary man. A good leader must also be a good follower, else how would he know what it takes to make people follow him. And Jesus personified this theory splendidly! He was kind and gentle, clearly explained what He was about, and even washed His disciples feet, which in olden times was considered a lowly, demeaning job. Friends, it simply means that to be a real follower of Jesus Christ, we need to give up our own selfish desires and concentrate on putting others first in a humble, unselfish, but enthusiastic manner, like J.C. did. Oh, I know  it’s easier said than done, what with all the worldly stress and pressures, but that’s our calling, and the reason we were given the ever present, tireless assistant, the Holy Spirit. So let’s try and up our efforts nuh, so we can bring greater glory to His Name.  Much LOVE!…remember…only in dying to ourselves…can we live for Him

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