Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 August 2008 1 Peter 2:5‏

1 Peter 2:5    Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Christ Jesus.
Let’s all say Amen to that Friends! Christ is a living stone! Continuing yesterday’s process of maturation in the faith, we’ve reached the point of no turning back, where we’ve tasted the Lord’s goodness, and hunger for more. Peter compares it to building a house, albeit a spiritual one, where Jesus is the cornerstone. ‘Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him, shall not be confounded.’ (vs.6) Whew! At last I’ve addressed it. I’m referring to the saying, the stone the builder refused became the head corner stone. So many people refer to it, that initially I was not sure how best to use it. It began with Bruh David in Ps.118:22-23. Then Isaiah used it to prophecy  Jesus’ coming. (Is.28:16) Then Jesus authenticated it by fulfilling the prophecy. That’s reported in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Peter said his bit, and also Bruh Paul. But the Lord, in His great wisdom and enduring mercy, guided me to two distinct uses: Simple rejection of something that comes back to play a big role in your life; like Jesus being rejected by the Jewish priest and elders, which we used two days ago. And Peter’s usage today, as a real corner stone to build on. I like this analogy. New believers come to Jesus ‘as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen by God, and precious.’  (vs.4) Yes Friends, though men rejected Jesus, He was chosen by God, who considered Him precious and worthy to be the cornerstone of the new man’s regime. Please note people, this spiritual edifice we’re building is not a haphazard project, but rather the intelligent plan and design of  a Master Craftsman. Each believer has a reserved spot in the stonework of Christ’s spiritual house. ‘Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.’ (vs.7) That’s Isaiah’s prophecy in 28:16  ‘And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.’ (vs.8) The stumbling stone refers to Isaiah 8:14. Bruh Paul clarifies it thus: ‘ For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness. But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men: and the weakness of God is stronger than men.’ (1 Cor.1:22-25) Yes Friends, we’ve a worthy role to play in Christ’s grand design, but remember, a chain’s only as strong as its weakest link. A building’s the same; it’s only as strong as it’s weakest stone. So let’s put our best foot forward and be strong on Jesus’ behalf. We surely don’t want to help build a church that crumbles in the slightest breeze. That would destroy Jesus’ reputation and make us laughingstocks of the enemy. Much LOVE! P.S: (1) Happy Independence Day to all T&Ters; 46 years and counting. (2) My sympathy and condolences go out to all those who suffered the ravages of Hurricane Gustav. It’s not easy, but we’ve got to stand strong and rebuild each time. (3) I made two typos on the Aug. 29 Bit. At the end, it should be (Is. 28:16, not 29. and Ps.118:22-23, not 33.) Please accept my sincerest apologies. I read the Bits several times before I send them, and it really irks me when I find mistakes afterwards. I guess it shows I’m just human, but I hate to make mistakes with the Word, especially since others are liable to use it without checking. Please inform me of any you might find. But the Lord knows my heart’s in the right place. Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 August 2008 1 Peter 2:1-2‏

1 Peter 2:1-2    Wherefore laying aside all malice and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
Yes my Friends, that’s the way a true believer should develop; as a baby does. The infant Christian must first believe that Jesus is the end all and be all, then banish from our spirit all the evil works of the enemy; things like spitefulness, grudges, deceit, insincerity, jealousy and slander. As Bruh Paul says, ‘let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us…’ (Heb.12:1) And once we’re rid of the enemy’s baggage, ‘As newborn babes…’ Here Peter alludes to Jesus statement. ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’   (Matt.18:13)  In Jesus’ teaching, children are the epitome of innocence and purity, and His disciples continued that comparison. Then like hungry babies we ‘desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby.’ Yes Friends, as a believer, especially a new one, we need to be excited about and very desirous of instilling the pure, undiluted word into our hearts and minds. That’s the only way we can grow. For unlike what many people think, you just don’t become a successful Christian overnight; meaning you believe, accept Jesus, and you’re home free. No Friends, there’s much more to the believer’s life. That’s only the beginning:  Then like babies, as they grow and move from liquid to soft to solid food, so we need to learn the word, that we too can grow to maturity in the faith. Following in Jesus’ footsteps is not an easy task, and like most things in life, becoming an obedient foot soldier in His army, it’s a process we learn through study, experience, faith, hope, fellowship, prayer, trials and tribulation. That’s the cruel reality of being a Christian, but one that’s definitely worth the rewards promised by Jesus for our faithfulness. Bruh Paul drew the same comparative picture for the Corinthians in the early stages of their conversion, (1 Cor.3:1-3) saying he could not talk to them ‘as spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as babes unto Christ.’ because they were still caught up in the evil works of the enemy; the jealousy, strife and divisiveness, so ‘I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.’ Even after all Bruh Paul’s coaxing and teaching, they still weren’t ready to handle the tougher spiritual aspects of the faith. Just goes to show how difficult it can be to develop into a mature Christian. But then Friends, once we’ve been fed the milk of the word, and are growing in respect to salvation, Peter says, ‘If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.’ Bruh Paul declares, ‘But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.’ (Tit.3:4) ‘And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.’ (Heb.6:5) But Bruh David says it best. ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.’ (Ps.34:8) Yes people, once we’ve experienced the Lord’s kindness and mercy, then we know we’re on the right path, ready to make the long, winding, uphill, down dale journey of a believer, looking to the end that’s Jesus. But Friends, it’s only the beginning. Much LOVE!…as babies need milk to thrive…we need the word to survive…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 August 2008 Matthew 21:42‏

Matthew 21:42    Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Yes Friends, we’ve all had that experience; rejecting something or someone, only to see it or them come back and play a big part in our lives. Jesus here is referring to the chief priests and elders of the Jewish society, who questioned His authority to teach, and moreover, to teach in the temple. And I just adore Jesus’ reply. If you answer me, I’ll answer you. He played them a ‘riddle I this stylee.’  He was the first to perfect it and turn it into an art form. And He caught them in a conundrum by asking if John’s baptizing was from heaven or men. Thinking if they said from heaven, He would ask, so why didn’t you believe him? And if they said from men, the people would be upset, for many considered John a prophet, they said they didn’t know. ‘Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things,’ Jesus replied. (vs.27) The leaders wanted to play mind games, but didn’t know they were up against the mind-master. And Jesus was always so accommodating. He asked them an easier  question, about a man who had two sons whom he asked to work in his vineyard. The first said no, but later repented and went, while the second, who readily agreed, never went. So who did his father’s will? They said the first. Then Jesus tongue lashed them. ‘Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and harlots believed him; and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.’ (vs.32-33) ‘Hear another parable.’ And He spoke of a man who rented out his vineyard, but when he sent to collect fruit at harvest time, twice the tenants physically abused his servants. So the man sent his son, thinking that they would show him some respect. But they killed him, figuring that they could take his inheritance. And when Jesus asked what the owner would do when he came himself? ‘They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.’ (vs.41) Then Jesus hit them with Today’s Bit, rubbing salt in the wound. ‘Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whomsoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’ (vs.43-44) Wow! Then they realized that all His parables referred to them. Affronted by His impudence, their anger escalated, but they were afraid to lay hands on Him, because the crowd revered Him. Oh Friends, please let’s not be like the hypocritical, self righteous Jewish elite, and suffer their fate. No doubt they knew the scriptures, (Isa.28:16, Ps.118:22-23)  but being enamoured with their own importance, outward form and fashion, blinded them to the truth before their very eyes. A poor, itinerant preacher from Nazareth, could never be the Messiah. How wrong they were. Friends, please be careful, let’s concentrate on our inner, spiritual self, not the perishable body, then we’ll see that Jesus really is the truth. Much LOVE!…only the truth…shall set us free…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 August 2008 Isaiah 41:13‏

Isaiah 41:13    For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee.
Oh Friends, please praise His Holy Name, for He’s such a magnanimous and caring God! What other being that humans worship, says those encouraging things eh, or makes those wonderful promises? None! Friends, if you didn’t know before, then know it now; the Lord’s promises are like money in the bank, that neither inflation, deflation or any man made scheme can devalue. And I like how He makes His pronouncements; not boastful or proud, but with just the right tone of authority, and the right amount of self-confidence. He doesn’t come across as being arrogant and self-centred, that’s because He can do anything and everything, so He’s got nothing to prove. ‘For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand…’ Wow! That alone; just His holding my hand instils a whole lotta confidence in this mortal soul. Shows me that He’s a ‘people God.’ Yuh know, like how we describe humans who take particular joy in dealing with others, as ‘people persons,’ the same way our God is a ‘people God!’ He delights in dealing with us, looking after our many problems and troubles, despite the unworthy, disobedient children that we are. And having taken our hand, He will say unto us, ‘Fear not…’ Mama Mia! (smile) Didn’t want to say wow again. Yes Friends, just the sound of that strong, confident voice, and the strength that’s flowing into my arm, and running like electricity through my entire body, from His gentle but firm grasp, immediately drives away any fears I have. His pleasant and caring demeanour and His calm, forthright manner instil a certain assurance that mere words cannot describe. And when He says, ‘I will help thee…’ Hallelujah! Then my body and soul, already filled with pleasant tension and excitement from being in such close proximity to Him, then…then my entire being automatically releases those pent up emotions, just bursts forth in songs of thanks and praise, for then, I’m certain that everything will be right in my world. And even if the enemy comes a panting after me, the Lord, my God, who has a firm grip of my right hand, will protect me. He will chase away the evil enemy, so that he cannot prevail over my sinful, mortal flesh. Yes Friends, that’s the kind of relationship we need to have with our God. Otherwise it’s all a waste of time. Him offering all that strength, confidence, guidance and help, and we either refusing it, or not making full use of it. That’s the purpose of a God, people! To have someone, higher, brighter, stronger and better than us, to whom we can turn in times of trouble and need. And our God is the One and Only True God there is. The One who made the universe and all therein, including us. As Isaiah says of the other so-called gods: ‘Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing; their molten images are wind and confusion.’ (Isa.41:29) Yes people, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom we worship, is the One,True God. So if we don’t have a right relationship with Him, let’s get one today, right now. And if we already have one, let’s make sure that we keep it, keep it solid and strong. They say we are the most intelligent beings He made, well let’s prove it, let’s allow Him to take our right hand and say, ‘Fear not, I will help thee.’ Friends, that’s the only way to live a successful life. Much LOVE!…from the heart friends…from the heart…that’s where it all begins…and ends…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 August 2008 Mark 13:33‏

Mark 13:33    Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
And that’s the living truth my Friends! We’re certain of Christ’s coming again: ‘And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.’ (vs.26) We just don’t know when. Even Jesus didn’t know. ‘But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven neither the Son, but the Father.’ (vs.32) That’s why people we’ve got to take His advice seriously and pay close attention to the way we live our lives. Jesus gave some generic guidelines for His return; times of much warfare and rumours of war, many false prophets, earthquakes, famines, brother betraying brother, parents against children, and affliction like never before. ‘These are the beginnings of sorrow.’ (vs.8) All these things must come to pass before that fateful day arrives. Several times in the same speech, He warned His disciples. ‘Take heed lest any man deceive you.’ (vs.5) talking about false prophets. ‘But take heed to yourselves for they shall deliver you up to the councils..’ (vs.9) referring to persecution for His sake. And in vs.23 He again warns: ‘But take heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.’ Yes Friends, because He wanted us to be fully aware of future happenings, so we’d live faithful lives and always be ready. And you know what people, many of those things that Jesus talked about are occurring now: The many wars and rattling of sabres in expectation, the overwhelming natural disasters, the tremendous increase in false prophets, the breaking down of morals and family values, brother against brother, parents against children. Sickness is also rearing it’s ugly head like never before despite all our modern medicines. We still can’t cure Aids. Polio is coming back. So is Malaria. The diseases are becoming resistant to our strongest antibiotics. Cancer is now a scourge we can’t even get a handle on, much less cure. Then there’s the enormous stress produced by the violent, fearful, hasty manner in which we live. Oh people, I doubt the world has ever seen a troubled time like this. Can this be the beginnings of those sorrows Jesus referred to? Who knows? But there’s one bright or sombre light, according to how you look at it. ‘And the gospel must first be published amongst all nations.’ (vs.10) Now if the Lord’s waiting for everyone to get a chance to hear the Word before He calls time, then we’ve still got some leeway, cause the Word is not universal as yet. Regardless Friends, it’s imperative that we realize we’re in the midst of a very precarious situation. Jesus even simplified it to make sure we understood. ‘For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.’ (vs.34-36) Oh Friends, Jesus wants us to be ready, whenever He comes. And He ends on a rather stringent note. ‘And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.’ (vs.37) Friends, consider ourselves warned. Much LOVE!…always be prepared…should be our battle cry…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 August 2008 James 3:10‏

James 3:10    Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
Ah Friends, today we continue our discourse on that small but powerful instrument, that ‘unruly evil, full of deadly poison,’ the tongue, which no man can tame, but which we all must try valiantly to control. Not only does its awesome power cause strife and confusion, or hope and harmony, far outweighing its size, but it is also the wellspring of both cursing and blessing. A rather undesirable attribute to say the least people. ‘Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made in the image of God.’ (vs.9) Another anomaly of the tongue Friends, and not a nice one either. How can we bless God, and with the same instrument, turn around and curse men, made in the image of God? ‘And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image; in the image of God, created him..’ (Gen.1:26-27)  So cursing men could not be right people. As James says; ‘My brethren, these things ought not to be so.’ We’re being totally inconsistent. Although our likeness to God has been somewhat tarnished by our fall from grace, we’re still a perfect replica of Him, just our image is now a tad blurry. Bruh Paul states; ‘For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face…’ (1 Cor.13:12) Yes Friends, at the judgement day our images shall be sparkling and clear, and show our perfect reflection of God. So please don’t think that because we’re sinful and have a tainted, blurred image, we’ve lost our godly likeness, and that gives us the right to curse and abuse our fellow man. That’s a fallacy Friends. When you curse men, you’re still cursing God. But even so, following James’ argument; ‘doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine figs? So can no fountain yield salt water and fresh.’ (vs.11-12) That’s the gospel truth Friends! The same fountain cannot give you sweet and bitter water from the same place. Neither can a tree bear other that what it was designed for. That’s how the Lord programmed His creations; one thing or another, not both from the same creation. Why then should we think that we can bless God and curse men eh? On the contrary Friends, just as salt water can’t make sweet, those who curse others, can’t bless God. I know we now have desalination plants to turn salt water  sweet, but in James’ day, they didn’t. However Friends, the long and short of the story is that we can’t bless God and curse people made in His image. Cursing people is a true indication of what lies within us. Bruh Paul advised: ‘Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.’ (Rom.12: 14) And Jesus has the last word; a telling one for sure. ‘O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.’  (Mat.12:34-35)  Nuff said Friends. Much LOVE!…good and bad…can’t come from the same vessel…as simple as that…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 August 2008 James 3:2‏

James 3:2    For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Oh Friends, please heed James’ dire warning re the dangers of the tongue. Words are our main source of communication, so what we say can create harmony or cause disunity. ‘For in many things we offend all.’ Yes people, all of us stumble in many ways, especially with our words. ‘If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man.’ Hn, hn! That brought forth an involuntary chuckle. A perfect man in the use of words? That creature doesn’t exist. But it’s a model to which we should all aspire. That perfect man should be ‘able also to bridle the whole body.’ It’s logical. If we can bridle our tongue, controlling our entire body should be easy. But sadly Friends, for too many of us, controlling our tongue seems impossible. And we know better, for we’ve all said things we lived to regret, when just a little thought and self control could have prevented the negative outcome. We either don’t care, don’t try hard enough or just like to put our foot in our mouths. But it’s imperative we remember, that words, once spoken, can never be taken back. We can apologize, do penance, whatever, but once those unsuitable, unsavoury words trip off our little tongue, they’re gone forever. The hurt and pain they cause will boomerang on us, or spread in unimaginable ways, to places and people we don’t even know. Such is the great effect of our words. Simple, but poorly chosen words create things like grudges, envy and jealousy, that breed anger, resentment and bitterness which cause strife and eventually lead to wars and senseless destruction. Look around the world at all the conflict currently taking place, a lot of it stems from words that someone took umbrage at. James says, ‘But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.’ (vs.8) That’s true to a point. But regardless of how hard it might be Friends, we’ve still got to try and control our tongues, otherwise it will cause us untold grief. And the disturbing thing is that the tongue is so small, but has the power to create worldwide problems. James draws a good parallel; We put small bits in big horses mouths, and small rudders and helms in large ships, so we can guide them where we want them to go. ‘Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.’ (vs.5-6) Yes people, the tongue is a rather small part of our anatomy, but brother, it sure is the most dangerous. Bruh David recognized this long ago. ‘What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips from speaking guile?’ (Ps.34:12-13) That’s a universal truth Friends: To live long, happy lives, we need to curb our tongue, monitor our speech, so that pleasant, uplifting words are our mainstay. Here’s Jesus’ take on the subject. ‘But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’ (Mat.12:36-37) And Friends, come that fateful day, He’ll be the judge, so better pay heed. Much LOVE!…physical hurts heal with time…but those inflicted by words…oftimes never do…

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