Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 February 2009 1 Samuel 12:20‏

1 Samuel 12:20    And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not; ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.
 
Oh Friends, better advice was never given! Samuel, in his winter years, had made his two sons, Joel and Abiah judges over Israel, but they did not follow in his footsteps, ‘but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgement.’ (1 Sam.8:3) Consequently, the elders of Israel came to Samuel and told him, ‘now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’ (1 Sam.8:5) That request did not sit well with Samuel, but he prayed to the Lord about it. ‘and the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.’ (1 Sam.8:7) Yes friends, the Israelites were not satisfied with the Lord’s structure of rulers, and cried out for a king patterned after the nations around them. Obviously the Lord felt rejected since He considered Himself their king. But being the magnanimous, merciful and forgiving God that He is, He instructed Samuel to grant their request, but warn them of the consequences of having a king, a ruler with supreme authority, whose word was law, and from whom they had no avenue of redress. And Samuel did; even letting them know that if the king oppressed them and they cried out to God for help, He would not hear them. But being a stubborn and hard-headed people, they did not heed his warning. ‘Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we may be like all nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.’ (1 Sam.8:19-20) They failed to realize that they were the Lord’s chosen, and were not supposed to be like other nations. And people, what a high price we end up paying when we reject and/or disobey the Lord. Subsequently, Saul, handsome and taller than all the people was anointed to be king, and after he defeated the Ammonites in battle, ‘all the people went up to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the Lord… and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.’ (1 Sam.11:15) But then Samuel made his farewell speech as their judge, first pointing out his hard work and faithfulness in that capacity, with which they all agreed. ‘And Samuel said unto the people, It is the Lord that advanced Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which he did to you and your fathers.’ (1 Sam.12:6-7) And he pointed out all the Lord had done for them from the time Jacob escaped the famine into Egypt, in spite of all their disobedience, ending with asking for a king, ‘when the Lord your God was your king.’ However, the Lord had granted their request, and if they and their king obeyed the Lord’s dictates, they would prosper, but if not, ‘then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was with your fathers.’ (I Sam.12:15) Ah Friends, how often had the prophets and leaders told them that eh? But it never made much difference, at least not for very long. And it was only when they felt the brunt of the punishment for their disobedience that they came running back to beg for forgiveness. Friends, please let us not fall into that trap for it is fraught with danger and much suffering. Much LOVE!…to prosper…listen to the voice of God…  To Be Continued.
 
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Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 February 2009 1 Timothy 6:11‏

1 Timothy 6:11    But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, LOVE, patience, meekness.
 
‘ I’m getting better…I’m getting better!’ Yes Friends, at long last the ole fella is seeing some improvement on the coughing scene, but it’s not quite gone yet, so we’ll still keep our fingers crossed and yet hope in the Lord. (smile) Anyway, yesterday we looked at the things Bruh Paul told Timothy that we should flee from; the unreliable riches of this world. Today we’ll check out those he solemnly advised us to seek; ‘…and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, LOVE, patience, meekness.’ It sure is a lot of goodly stuff that goes against the very grain of man’s nature, but that’s why we have to actively and consciously seek after them and ‘Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.’ (1 Tim.6:12) Oh people, it’s not a smooth, easy road that a true believer travels, but a rough and rocky path, constantly being buffeted by the evil wiles of the enemy. Now, knowing this, Bruh Paul implores us to stand strong and ‘fight the good fight of faith;’ the daily struggle with sin and adversity which we all experience. When we’re actively engaged in the battle with sin and tribulation, we’re demonstrating our faith, daily maturing in it, witnessing to others and truly seeking salvation and eternal life, to which, as a Christian, we’re automatically called. And how do we accomplish this imposing task of engaging in the continual struggle? By actively seeking those things Bruh Paul laid out above; righteousness, godliness, faith, LOVE, patience and meekness. Whew! It does seem insurmountable, but if we truly believe and seriously buckle down, staying strong in the faith, studying the Word regularly, helping each other and being focused on God, we can do those things. Let’s take a brief look at each attribute. First there’s righteousness. That’s basically behaving and thinking in a right manner; conforming practically in our everyday lives to those behaviour and thought patterns that obey the Lord’s will. We definitely need to begin by doing the right thing, for if we don’t, it negates all else. Then Bruh Paul lists godliness as the next Christian characteristic we should pursue, which means having the proper reverence, respect and appreciation for God; acknowledging His might and majesty, paying due obeisance and obedience to Him. Then comes faith, my brethren. Now that’s the true stickler, the proverbial spoke in the wheel. Faith is what keeps us from giving up, keeps us going on, despite the misfortunes, heartaches and disappointments we suffer in this evil world. That’s the true test of our Christian belief, for it implies a deep-seated trust, complete assurance and confidence in our God; a certainty that He is whom He says He is, and will keep His promises. But the tough, contrary thing about faith is that it needs to grow and mature, to be strong, for us to lead a successful life, but then, faith is only strengthened by trials and tribulation. A vicious circle if there ever was one. However Friends, that should in no way deter us because we also have the most powerful and potent emotional weapon in existence; LOVE! LOVE conquers all things! LOVE is the very nature of God! LOVE makes the world go round! LOVE is the greatest! LOVE is a deep and abiding affection, an undeniable affinity for God and man! That’s why Jesus boiled down the rules to one: LOVE; for God, yourself and your neighbour. But like faith, it’s hard to practice when others are releasing the negative emotions of hate, anger and resentment. Jesus however expects us to rise above these temptations through the power of His Holy Spirit that dwells in the souls of all believers, and with the right kind of attitude and mindset we can prevail, since these awesome attributes of faith and LOVE produce patience in us. That persevering, steadfast, stick-to-it mentality, which allows us to both plod on slowly and also to wait expectantly, creating in effect a spirit of fortitude, that says to the enemy; ‘Now look here Lucifer, ah doh care how difficult life is, how much you tempt and disturb me, I will not give up. I will persevere unto the very end, for my mind, heart and soul are focused on Jesus, the salvation He provided by His death, and His promise of life eternal. That’s way more than what you can truthfully promise, because all you really have to offer is eternal death and damnation. Cheups! Look, get thee behind me and leave me alone eh! Yuh can’t see ah pursuing Jesus business? And yuh real lucky yes boy, cause is only because He want me to be meek, yeh, show gentleness to everybody, that ah don’t knock yuh down and have yuh eating dirt nuh!’ Hn, hn! Yes my Friends, the Christian life is not an easy one to live faithfully, but as we all know, our Creator asks us to do nothing that He hasn’t given us the wherewithal to accomplish. It’s now left up to us to decide how badly we want salvation and eternal life. I assure you, my people, it’s the best offer available in this wicked world. Please take hold of it right now, cause later may just be too late. Much LOVE!…the best way to live life…to live for Christ…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 February 2009 1 Timothy 6:11‏

1 Timothy 6:11    But thou O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, LOVE, patience, meekness.
 
Yes my Friends, very good advice from Bruh Paul, writing to his young associate Timothy. But what are these things we should flee? This relates to Bruh Paul’s famous, but often misquoted and misunderstood statement about money: ‘For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.’ (Tim.6:10) Note people, it’s the LOVE of money, not money itself that causes us problems. When we put it up on a pedestal and bow down to worship it, making it an idol, and of too much importance in our lives, then it’s that overwhelming desire to acquire it that leads us to do all sorts of evil things. However, money is not the source of all evil, or the only one, but it sure is a powerful motivating force. And when we covet it, strive after it as a goal in life, in most cases it causes us to stray from the faith, because then we don’t focus on God, but concentrate on making money, and there are numerous ways of making money that are verboten to the Christian faith. Thus we cause ourselves lots of sorrow, heartache and disappointment. The LOVE of money is like any other obsession; in its relentless pursuit, you usually end up committing stupid, illegal and hurtful actions. It all comes right back to being too caught up in the things of this world; the fleshly lusts and material possessions. As Bruh Paul reminds us, ‘For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.’ (1 Tim.6:7) And that’s the gospel truth my Friends! Job puts it quite succinctly: ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ (Job 1:21) Job acknowledged that he brought nothing when he was born, and whatever he acquired was through the Lord’s generosity, and if He wanted to take it away in one fell swoop, though it cause us severe hardship and heartache, that’s His prerogative. Sadly though my people, this great urge to acquire plenty money, material possessions, social position and political power is the driving force behind the current economic and financial debacle. Many of us know this, but we keep on listening to the evil agents of the enemy and engage in the unhealthy activities, to our subsequent detriment, instead of fleeing from them. Bruh David also commented on it, but in a slightly different manner. ‘Be thou not afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.’ (Ps.49:16-17) So even if we get rich in an acceptable manner, if the Lord blesses us with earthly wealth and power, for whatever reason, don’t be scared or worried about possessing it, just be as good a steward of it as you can, for when you die, it will all remain right here. Neither will your social position, your political power or your mighty exploits descend with you. Forgive me my brethren, but this topic is so important, we should listen to one more pundit; Solomon (smile) ‘There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.’ (Eccl.5:13-15) Oh Friends, we’ve heard from three of the wealthiest, wisest, patient, powerful and god-fearing men ever, and they all give the same advice, talking from personal experience, not hearsay: Put not your trust in worldly riches, for we can’t take any with us when we depart this world. And if you don’t believe mortal men, and I don’t fault you, then listen to Jesus: He’s relating the parable of the sower. ‘He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful,’ (Mat.13:22) My people, that’s the word from the ultimate authority. I like how he puts it; ‘the deceitfulness of riches,’ for that’s exactly how riches operate; here today, gone tomorrow. Look at all the people who were so rich when our economy was motoring along at high speed on a gas tank of only vapour, and in the unexpected blink of an eyelash, misfortune occurred and their wealth either disappeared or was considerably reduced; proving Sol’s contention. So Friends, let’s learn nuh. How many times do we have to see ourselves and/or others suffer severe reversals of fortune because we’re too taken up in the accumulation of earthly possessions? It’s time to concentrate on laying up rewards and treasure in heaven, not on earth. Much LOVE!…is it of man…it will not last…is it of God…it will last forever…  To Be Continued.

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 February 2009 Luke 15:24‏

Luke 15:24    For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to make merry.
 
Ah my Friends, yesterday I was lost, but today I’m found; found by the diligent searching of Christ. I’m still coughing and taking all sorts of stuff for it, but my spirit’s been uplifted by a gentle nudge from Jesus. What a wonderful and caring shepherd He is, who searches for even one lost sheep. ‘What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost until he find it?’ (Luke 15:4) Is there any other like Him? Of course not! ‘And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.’ (vs.5) Praise His Holy Name! He’s so caring that he carries the lost sheep on His shoulders. ‘And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ (vs.6) Oh Friends, isn’t our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ amazing; in fact the Greatest? He would go searching for one lost sheep, and when He finds it, comes home rejoicing with it over His shoulders and throws a party in the neighbourhood. Wow! And my people, that’s exactly how He reacts to any of us who’s lost his way. He goes out and searches for us until He finds us, then brings us back to the safety of His eternal fold, celebrating His find. ‘I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.’ (vs.7) Yes my Friends, that’s just how it is. There’s much rejoicing in heaven even when one lonesome sinner is led to the straight and narrow. Our Saviour just doesn’t feel good or comfortable if any of us are drifting aimlessly. As He explained to Zaccheus; ‘For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ (Luke 19:10) That’s why Jesus did not hang around much with the elite, who figured they were already God’s chosen, but with the supposed dregs of society; the sick and suffering, the lame, the beggars, those of dubious character and morals; like all of His disciples. He came to save those who considered themselves hopeless, who knew in their hearts that they were sinners and were lost. Now that did not only apply to the poor and lowly, but also to the rich, like Zaccheus, the chief publican. And we can see why he was rich; he used his brains. Since he was short, he realized that he wouldn’t be able to see above the crowd forming around Jesus, so he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree to get a grandstand view. And what do you think happened? When Jesus passed by, He looked up in the tree, saw him, and called out to him; ‘Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide in thy house. And he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully.’ (Luke 19:5-6) Wow! Look at that eh. Jesus didn’t even ask Zaccheus if He could come to his house, He told Him so. And Zaccheus was only too happy to oblige. That’s how obliging we ought to be when He wants to come into our hearts and lives. But as usual, the more holy than thou hypocrites always have something negative to say, and these grumbled, ‘That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.’ (Luke 19:7) And what were they eh? But I admire Jesus’ attitude. He ignored their hypocritical complaints, for He knew what He was about, He was focused on His job, that of finding and saving sinners, and with a big one on His line, He certainly wasn’t going to let it get away because of some ole hypocrites. And after Zaccheus acknowledged that he wasn’t the greatest, but tried to do right, Jesus comforted him; ‘This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.’ (Luke 19:9) There you go my brethren; one more sinner saved! The same type of story is borne out in the parable of the Prodigal Son. All the father cared about was his son being alive and home, a son he’d thought lost, or even dead. To him, that was more than enough reason to break out the fatted calf and throw a sumptuous party. Oh Friends, the Lord’s very concerned about those who’ve gone astray, and are floundering in the enemy’s clutches. But believe me, when we return..Hn! He just rushes out and greets us with open arms, enfolds us in a big bear hug, comforts and welcomes us back home. Then He turns to the angels and rebukes them. ‘What all yuh waiting for eh? Yuh ent see mih son who we thought was lost, even dead, is alive and he come back home. Go and bring out the best clean clothes for him to put on. And while yuh at it, kill the biggest pig, the biggest, goat, the biggest cow and nuff yard fowl, so we could have some jerk pork and jerk chicken, curry goat and curry chicken, and some roast and stew beef. Fix up some rice and peas…and some buss up shut roti too. Oh, and some mannish water too! He looking wasted and meagre, like he ent eat a good meal in a long time. The mannish water going strengthen him, put some pep in ‘im stride. And some crab and callaloo too, with some ripe plantain, sweet potatoe and some blue food. Ah sure is long time he ent eat that too. And we going to wash that down with plenty ice cold lemonade. Now all yuh use the real limes and them from off the tree eh! Not the chupid synthetic thing in the bottle. And for dessert is coconut ice cream, with sponge cake and cassava pone. Now doh forget to invite the whole neighbourhood too eh, because tonight is the party to end all parties. Mih young son, who ah thought was lost, or even dead, is alive…Thanks be to God! Ah doh know where he went or what he do…ah doh care either. He come back home safe and sound, though li’l bit skinny, and that’s all that matters. So the food going to be plentiful, the music loud, and the waters flowing!’ Wow Friends! Isn’t that a most wonderful reception after all our sinful behaviour and mistakes? But that’s exactly how the Lord feels when we return to His ever-LOVING fold. So let’s go out there and see if we can’t get more prodigals to come back home nuh! I’m sure the Lord would be extremely ecstatic if the party in heaven could go on non-stop. Much LOVE!…our job…to call the lost to Jesus…to salvation…and eternal life…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 February 2009 Psalm 119:176‏

Psalm 119:176    I have gone astray like a lost sheep: seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
 
Oh Friends, once again I’ve got to expound on our God’s mercy and compassion! His ways truly do amaze me! A short while ago, I came down to my study and began looking for a bit, constantly interrupted by a wicked cough, which I thought was getting better, but now seems to be worsening. I’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to work. As I searched, I sipped on a cup of Neo-Citron fortified with lime juice and a dash of whites. (smile) Be quiet children! Between the constant coughing and my inability to find a Bit, frustration finally got the better of me and I cried out to the Lord for help, stating that I was lost and didn’t know which way to turn. And believe me, the moment the words left my lips, I knew today’s topic had to focus on being lost. Oh Friends, isn’t our God wonderful? And all God’s people sang out: ‘Yes! He is indeed wonderful and worthy to be praised! Bless His Holy Name!’ And yuh know mih breddren, when it comes to giving thanks and praise, and talking to God, no one does it better than Bruh David. As he says; ‘Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word. Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.’ (Ps.119:169-170) Yes my people, when we’ve strayed from the straight and narrow, or like me, just come to a crossroads and don’t know which way to turn, the only answer is to call out to the Lord, to sincerely seek His face and implore Him for mercy and guidance. Say it like Bruh David; let it come from deep within your soul. ‘I have gone astray like a lost sheep: seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.’  But Friends, please remember that we must be sincere when we cry out for help, because the Lord doesn’t just listen to the words from our lips, but more so, those that emanate from our hearts. And He can judge our sincerity. Life is like a long stemmed rose; at one end its beauty shines through in its soft, multi-coloured petals, but to get there, one must traverse a stem girded with prickly thorns, and if we don’t want to be stuck mercilessly by those thorns, we’ve got to navigate our way up the stem very carefully. It’s the same with life, except that when we encounter the thorns of life, we have someone; a higher power, a greater Being than ourselves to call out to for assistance; the great I AM; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And Friends, if we plead in faith, He will answer. Have no doubt about it. That’s what faith’s all about; believing without really seeing, just knowing deep down in your heart and soul that it’s so. The whole thing hinges on our trust and faith, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and is who He claims to be. Jeremiah lamented; ‘My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.’ (Jer.50:6) But Friends, remember Jesus’ words: ‘For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ (Luke 19:10) So my people, if you’re lost, frustrated, bewildered, uncertain, confused, beset by any doubts at all, turn to the Lord, today, right now, and seek His help, His mercy and His forgiveness. They are available 24/7, and only cost belief and faith. Bruh David, in his despondency, pleaded; ‘Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgements help me.’ (Ps. 119:173,175) But don’t forget, after He’s guided you safely, to carry our whatever promises you made. As Bruh David promised, ‘Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee.’ And He did praise the Lord. And my people, that will certainly make Peter’s words ring true. ‘For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.’ (1 Pet.2:25) Yes Friends, let’s not be afraid or ashamed to cry out to the Most High God for help. It’s the only way to successfully navigate the thorny path of this life that leads to our eternal home of beautiful roses. Much LOVE!…when lost…stop…ask for help…then wait patiently…listen for it…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 February 2009 Titus 2:1‏

Titus 2:1    But speak thou things which become sound doctrine.
 
Oh Friends, who says the Lord isn’t in control eh? Today I was guided to Titus, only to realize that it’s really a continuation of our discussion of the last two days; diligently observing the Lord’s dictates. Then, we spoke more in broad, general terms, today we’ll deal with it on a more day to day, micro level. And as always, Bruh Paul doesn’t mince words, he tells it like it is. In this missive, he talks about the organization of the local church and the behaviour of its believers, first cautioning his protégé Titus; ‘But speak thou things which become sound doctrine.’ For as he told the Corinthians; ‘All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: All things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.’ (1 Cor.10:23) So although many things are lawful and legal to do, not all are really helpful, don’t build up the believer’s spiritual life. Our words must therefore be wholesome and proper, that will inform, educate and enrich the believer’s spiritual growth. Then he gets specific: ‘That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.’ (Tit.2:2) That means the mature or elderly believers should display behaviour that’s sensible, dignified, reverent, prudent and thoughtful, while having a strong faith and also being of a LOVING and persevering nature. In other words, they should be a worthy example of godliness to the younger believers. ‘The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to LOVE their husbands, to LOVE their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.’ (vs.3-6) Oh Friends, Bruh Paul would certainly be disappointed by the behaviour of today’s women. Don’t get me wrong, he wouldn’t be happy with the men’s behaviour either, but it just seems that the women’s has fallen further below the standard he set for them, than the men. ‘Oh Lord, please help me to get this right, so the women won’t be screaming for my head! Amen!’ (smile) I know there’s always been a double standard, where men can do almost anything while women are held to more rigid, puritanical standards, and simultaneously being treated like second-class citizens, or even chattel. And sadly, too much of that still exists, in too many societies today. But I believe that in our free choice, western society, both sexes, especially the females, have gone too far. I don’t know if the aged men can be termed sensible, dignified, prudent, or strong in faith, LOVE and perseverance. The word LOVE has been bandied about and become so commonplace, that it’s lost its true meaning. Everybody LOVES everybody else simply for what they can get from them; be it sex, money, power or social position. I believe though that the aged women have done a better job than the men, but somehow, something has been lost in the translation to the younger women. Why? Because they are definitely not given to much holiness, are big on false accusations, gossip and slander. Sobriety is also questionable. To LOVE their husbands and children? That also exists in a grey area. Let’s just say that they are not as meek and docile as before, and do stand up for themselves more. And since they were thrown into the work force by necessity, the home is not as stable or conducive to healthy, productive, nurturing relationships as before. It’s also apparent that women still bear the brunt of the child raising and housework, although they are now an integral part of the nine to five rat race. That however, should not prevent the young women from being ‘discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands.’ That simply means modest and decent, sexually pure, keep a good, clean home, not be idle and lazy, and be submissive to their husbands. Now hold down ladies! (smile) Don’t go getting all wound up. I don’t agree with the submissive part either, but that’s how it was in Bruh Paul’s time, and still is in a large portion of the world today. True submissiveness takes away some of a person’s dignity and self-worth. But our society still considers the man the head of the household, so if he’s going to bear most of that responsibility,  shouldn’t he have a comparable amount in decision making? Ah my people, our world has become so scientifically and technologically advanced, so complicated and busy, that old ways no longer work. And sadly we’ve paid too much attention to those areas and not enough to the social and family relationships, which are further deteriorating every day. We can now have people live successfully in space for months, but we can’t keep the basic unit of our society, the family, from falling apart. Chuh Friends! It’s so sad to witness all the broken homes, bitter, resentful adults, and the host of dysfunctional children they produce. Then we try to fix the fence, after the horse has broken out, with drugs and a whole coterie of supposed professionals who only make matters worse. Oh my people, a lot of it can be easily avoided if we’d only practice some of the things Bruh Paul advises. ‘In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity: Sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.’ (vs.7-8) Yes Friends, many of our problems can be solved by us pursuing integrity, showing reverence where it’s due, being incorruptible, and speaking truthful words, so that our enemies won’t be able to say anything bad about us. Let’s all work diligently on that nuh. Much LOVE!…take care of your character…and your reputation will take care of itself…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 February 2009 Joshua 22:5‏

Joshua 22:5    But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to LOVE the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. 
 
Ring-a-ling-a ling! Hear that school bell ring! School’s open Friends! (smile) And we’ll continue today with the unfinished Bit. But let’s quickly review what we learnt yesterday: The first thing is being very diligent in obeying the Lord’s dictates. And we accomplish that by writing them securely in our hearts, minds and souls, by teaching them purposefully and carefully to our children, and continually talking about them whether we’re at home or abroad. Thus our lives will be constantly focused on God and His Word. Then we talked about the actual laws of our God; ‘To LOVE the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keeps his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.’ We discovered that though it seems a difficult row to hoe, once you know the Lord; His unconditional LOVE, filled with goodness and mercy, you should not have too many problems following Him. But because of our natural sinful nature and the enemy’s tempting, we often find ourselves drifting from God’s law. But we noted too that if that law was written securely in our hearts and souls then we’d usually stay on the straight and narrow, and if we do that collectively, then the Lord will cause us to prosper. And that’s wonderful Friends, but remember there’s another side to that coin; the disobedient side, and that comes with a severe warning. ‘Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods and worship them.’ (Deut.11:16) Now that’s a stupid, senseless, disastrous move my Friends, as so many nations have discovered over the years, including us recently. Because then the Lord’s wrath will be kindled against us. He’ll shut up the heavens so no rain falls and eventually the land will become desolate, our prosperity will vanish and we’ll perish. Let’s not forget my brethren that all things come through God; both good and bad. The general principle is if we obey, then good things happen. If we disobey, then bad things do. As simple as that. The Lord might not necessarily send the bad things upon you, but if you displease Him, or He wants to try your faith, He’ll allow them to befall you. So what’s our choice then? ‘To cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.’ Yes my people, if we cling to Him, like a drowning man to a raft, and do His will faithfully, then He’ll bless us and we’ll prosper. It’s the only way to achieve lasting prosperity in this mortal world. And we know that’s the gospel truth since there are so many examples of failed and fallen societies who refused to obey the dictates of the Most High God Jehovah. Just look at His promise to the Israelites if they served Him faithfully. ‘Then will the Lord drive out all nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.’ (Deut.11:22) Isn’t that an awesome promise people? Another example of David felling Goliath; an act the Lord delights in promoting. So Friends, basic Christianity boils down to four things; obey the Lord, focus steadfastly on Him and His Word, serve Him faithfully and LOVE Him wholeheartedly. And the most important of these is LOVE! For if we truly and sincerely LOVE and seek Him, then all the other things will follow automatically. Please, let’s start putting it into practice nuh, for good intentions get us nowhere until we act on them. And like Moses said; ‘Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. A blessing if ye obey…and a curse if ye will not obey…’ (Deut.11:26-28) Friends, I implore us, let’s choose a blessing today, if not for our sakes, but for future generations. We’re already experiencing our curse of disobedience. Much LOVE!…to obey…and prosper…is much wiser…than to disobey…and suffer…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 February 2009 Joshua 22:5‏

Joshua 22:5    But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to LOVE the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
 
Oh Friends, that’s the Christian Manifesto: The foundation of the Christian Party! That was Joshua’s reminder to the two and a half tribes of Israel that would not cross over the Jordan. And that’s how we’re to live our lives, though, with our inherent sinful and disobedient nature, we tend to not toe the Party line and do our own thing. But Friends, erring from it is unwise, for it only causes us heartache and disappointment. So today the Lord decided to give us a refresher course in how to live as a paid up member of His Christian Society Party. (smile) And remember, we’re all fully paid up as a result of Jesus death on the cross, so dues are not an issue here. What is then? Our general behaviour and deportment as a member of the Lord’s retinue. ‘But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you.’ That’s the first step Friends. We are servants of the Lord, therefore it’s imperative we obey His dictates. The same ones Moses taught the Israelites when they came up out of slavery from Egypt, so long ago. Those laws have not changed one iota my people, and show how true, steadfast and unchanging is our God. His basic edicts have remained the same for thousands of years. So the first law is obedience. Then, Moses instructed the Israelites: ‘And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.’ (Deut.6:6-7) So the second requirement is to imprint the laws of God securely in our hearts and souls, to teach them, note, diligently, not wishy-washy, to our children, and to continually talk of and discuss them wherever we are. Thus our lives will be always focused on God and His Word. Now let’s see what the actual laws are: ‘To LOVE the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.’ Wow! That seems like a lot, but in reality it’s not. Let’s dissect it further: ‘To LOVE the Lord your God.’ Now that’s not difficult. If you really know God; the Creator of all things, the most powerful Being in existence, the most merciful, forgiving, just and righteous, a LOVING Father, from whom all things do flow, then that should not be a problem. LOVE is of God. So if you truly have one, then you ought to know the other and vice versa. Then the next part says, ‘to walk in all his ways, and keep his commandments.’ Now that’s where the problems begin, for the human animal doesn’t like to be told what to do, but there are some things the Lord considers verboten, which unfortunately conflict with our basic, proud, lustful nature. And in comes the fallen angel with his evil agenda and tempts us to do those verboten things. So a tug of war goes on in our souls, where we list from side to side, undecided. At some stage though, we’ve got to make a decision, cause we can’t sit on the fence forever. And that’s where Moses instructions come in, for Friends, if we’ve written the Lord’s law, impregnably in our hearts and souls, the tug of war will be short, with the outcome obviously on the Lord’s side. And this is a welcome solution for all believers. Why? Because the Lord promises that if we are obedient and serve Him diligently; ‘I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.’ (Deut.11:14-15) That’s prosperity Friends! It’s what happens when we’re obedient to the Lord. Much LOVE!…obedience…obedience…obedience..  School will continue tomorrow. (smile)
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 February 2009 John 15:11‏

John 15:11    These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
 
Yes Friends, the word for today is ‘joy,’ as in the joy of the Lord. The dictionary describes ‘joy,’ as a noun, depicting a vivid emotion of pleasure, gladness, things that cause delight, ecstasy or rapture. And as a verb it means to rejoice, gladden, to be buoyant, effervescent and expansive. In Jesus’ time it carried the same connotation. It reflects a positive enthusiasm, which we, as followers of and believers in Christ need to express in our everyday lives; some eagerness, some anticipation, some passion to get out there and do the Lord’s will, even if it’s just walking down the street with a pleasant look on our face. Too many supposed Christians go around with sour, scowl-like looks on their faces, and have attitudes so curt and sharp, that seem to brook no joy at all in their lives. Friends, that kind of disposition simply drives people away. Note, Jesus said, ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you.’ He had just told His disciples about Him being the vine and they the branches, and if they abided in Him they would bear abundant fruit. And Friends, nowhere in the Good Book does it say that Jesus went around with a sour scowl on His face. He wasn’t always laughing like a mad man, but He surely was pleasant and approachable. That’s why so many troubled people reached out to Him in their time of need; they did not get vibes of rejection but rather of invitation. Not only through His words did He say, ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Mat.11:28) His outward attitude and demeanour also extended that invitation. I wish we could say that about some of our fellow believers, who think that because they’re born again, they have to disassociate themselves from anything that causes joy, happiness, or fun. But my brethren it’s the exact opposite attitude we should be embracing and showing if we’re true followers of Jesus, cause our sins have been forgiven, and we have the certain promise of eternal life with Christ, the greatest gift in the world. So why should we be sour and miserable eh? Really Friends, for such a magnanimous, magnificent and merciful gesture from our God, we should be wearing a permanent smile and feeling a constant joy in our hearts, because we know that in spite of whatever trials and tribulations we suffer in this mortal life, we’re confident that our future is secure, it’s assured by the Word of the Lord. We are in the real safe hands of the most powerful Being in existence, whose promises are always kept. So what’s there to be sour and miserable about? Even in rough times, no, especially in rough times, we need to look towards that future, hold it up as the bright, shining light and example it is, and tell ourselves, this too shall pass, because that’s the truth my people. Everything else will pass besides God. To make matters worse, how can we witness with a sourpuss, grouchy attitude eh? You can’t tell people about the good news of Jesus with a sad, melancholy, hang-dog demeanour. Something’s obviously wrong with that picture! It’s obviously not good news if you’re not enthused and eager to share it. I’ve seen that attitude too often and it’s turned me off completely. So if it turns me, a believer off, what do you think it will do to unbelievers? That’s why so many unbelievers consider Christians either hypocrites or jokers, or both. We spout one thing with our mouths but show the exact opposite with our lives. And the dictum that examples work more forcibly than talk is ever so true. Now I know we can’t laugh and smile all the time, but if we’re true believers our basic attitude should be one of joy, congeniality, cheerfulness, conviviality based on a foundation of a good, pleasant and helpful nature that the born again Spirit of Jesus infuses in us. Oh Friends, because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy life. Within the parameters God has set out for us, there’s lots of room to be happy and joyous. And if we don’t accept that, then we’re making a mockery of all that Jesus died for. Remember He died for us to have life, and have it abundantly, not to go around looking beaten and dragged down. And He says, ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ That means we should enjoy life. And enjoying life doesn’t only mean enjoying the fleshly lusts of the world. There are lots of other things in the world worth enjoying. Jesus was so concerned about our joy that He told His disciples; ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ (John 16:24) He even prayed to His Father about it: ‘And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.’ (John 17:13) Even John, in his winter years, when dealing with the churches around him, said, ‘ And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.’ (1 John 1:4) So my Friends, let’s ditch the unpleasant, disagreeable demeanour and replace it with that right spirit which all followers of Jesus should have; that’s faith mixed with diligence, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and LOVE. ‘For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Pet.1:8) Then shall your joy be full my Friends. Much LOVE!…please…let’s practice what we preach…witness by good example…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 February 2009 2 Peter 3:9‏

2 Peter 3:9    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
 
Oh Friends, this verse of 2 Peter is exceedingly important; one that we should possibly commit to memory and certainly contemplate often. It contains two essential elements; the Lord’s promise of salvation, and our part in that cosmic experience. (smile) Now, regarding ‘The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness,’ Peter is saying that the long wait for salvation and the second coming is not because the Lord’s slack, lazy, slothful, negligent, lackadaisical or lethargic, as most of us consider it to mean, but He’s simply giving us a ‘bligh,’ a long chance, sufficient time to get our house in order and help others get theirs in order too. Remember our mental capacity can only comprehend days and years, but our God, the Supreme Being, thinks and plans in terms of eons. What does the hymn say? A thousand ages in his sight is like one evening, or words to that effect. And think how long it took before the Messiah came. But most of all, consider what He said to Habakkuk: ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ (Hab.2:2-3) Yes my Friends, we all know that the Lord doesn’t make idle promises, but this is just another instance of His generous nature, that generosity which we’ve all experienced at one time or another. Note, He told Habakkuk that the date is set, and will surely come, it’s just a matter of when. So people, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that because it’s taking so long, that the day of judgement and salvation won’t come, for the Lord said definitely, ‘it will not tarry.’ We just have to be prepared and wait till whenever it does come. Bruh Paul also emphasized to the Romans; ‘And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.’ (Rom.13:11) For sure my people! Salvation is closer than in Habakkuk’s time, than in Bruh Paul’s, and also in ours…and it’s getting closer every day. So are we prepared? Remember it can come stealthily, like a thief in the night and catch us unawares. And that’s partly why ‘the Lord is long suffering to us-ward.’ He’s already patient by nature, as Bruh David and Isaiah testify. ‘But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.’ (Ps.86:15) ‘And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: For the Lord is a God of judgement: blessed are all they that wait for him.’  (Is.30:18) Yes, He’s given us plenty rope, not to hang ourselves, but because He’s ‘not willing that any should perish.’ He doesn’t want to lose any of His children to the prince of darkness. He told Ezekiel: ‘Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?’ (Eze.33:11) Oh my brethren, what a magnanimous and merciful God we serve! Did that plea reach right down into your very soul and touch the very heartstrings of your being? Well it should have. It just shows the considerable LOVE our heavenly Father bears us, that He could beseech us so poignantly to turn from our wicked ways and live. He just wants nobody to perish, ‘but that all should come to repentance.’ Oh people, how much clearer can the Lord make it eh? He wants all of His children to be saved; to come to repentance by believing in His Son, Jesus Christ, that they may all enjoy eternal life with Him. How wonderful is that eh? However, remember we also have our part to play. The Lord’s given us current believers a chance to repent and follow Jesus, but now we also have the responsibility to tell others the wonderful news; of Jesus dying and paying for our sins. That makes us free! Free from sin, once we believe on His Holy Name! Wow! And all God’s people sang, ‘Thank you Jesus!’ That’s the main reason we’re still here people; to spread the good news of the gospel all over the world. It’s our raison d’etre. Jesus said it: ‘Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’ (Mat.20: 28) Friends, we don’t need to give our lives, Jesus has already paid for everybody’s sins, but we do need to minister, to witness to others and bring them all, every single child of creation, to Christ, so that they too can receive salvation and life eternal. That’s our heavenly Father’s greatest desire. So let’s get busy with that nuh, for there are still millions of people around the world who haven’t heard the good news of Jesus, and we certainly don’t want them to miss out on the best things ever; salvation and eternal life with Jesus. Much LOVE!…as followers and servants of Jesus…we ought to be busy following and serving him…
 

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