Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 January 2011 Luke 15:2‏

Luke 15:2.    And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

Oh Friends, it’s Monday, the day when the world sings the blues – all except true believers. (smile) That’s because we have the Spirit of Christ living in us, which enables us to rise above such mediocrity and get a good start on the workweek. And our Monday Morning Battle Hymn is here to help us accomplish that onerous task. So let’s sing it in full voice nuh: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ Ah Friends, I sure hope that got the adrenaline going and drove the blues away, so that we can focus properly, with joy and efficiency on whatever our God will have us do. That brings us to our Bit: ‘And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth (welcomes) sinners, and eateth with them.’ And for those good deeds, they badmouthed Jesus. Hn! But don’t be too hard on the scribes and Pharisees because the regular Jewish Christians afterwards were just as hypocritical, especially in the eating department. Remember in Acts 10, when Peter saw the vision at Joppa, about Cornelius the centurion sending men from Caesarea to invite him to their homes? Well the men showed up soon thereafter, and Peter went with them. He ate and drank with them, possibly some non-Jewish food, since the Lord had rebuked him in the vision: ‘What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” (Acts 10:15) He also preached to them and brought them to repentance and salvation, all through God’s spiritual intercession. However, when Peter returned to Jerusalem, the Jewish Christians had heard about it and acrimoniously accused him: ‘they that were of the circumcision contended (disputed) with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. But Peter rehearsed (explained) the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by (in) order unto them.’ (Acts 11:2-4) He fully explained the situation to his circumcised brethren who, despite their Christian status, still maintained that it was wrong for Jews to eat with Gentiles. But Peter refuted their contention thus: ‘And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?’ (Acts 11:15-17) Of a truth my Friends, who was Peter to withstand the awesome power of Almighty God eh? So must we also be led with grace, mercy, forgiveness, humility, wisdom and understanding before the Lord, to do the works He ordains us to do. And it’s only after Peter explained the whole thing that the ole hypocrites, ‘held their peace (became silent), and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.’ (Acts 11:18) Ah mih people, this just shows that we must not be too hasty to judge situations that don’t seem copasetic to our way of thinking, even if it does seem very unlikely in the natural, for in God’s hands and time, anything at all is possible. Unfortunately, time and space don’t allow us to get into another similar situation where Bruh Paul had to upbraid Peter in Antioch for being scared of the circumcised Jewish Christians and separating himself from eating with the Gentiles, which he had done before. (Gal.2:11-14) So Friends, whatever stand we take on a particular matter, please try and let it be that of God, as we faithfully believe, and don’t try to sit on the fence or jump from one side to the other, because we’re scared of what people will say. Remember a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. So let’s go out there in the big, bad, cruel, evil world and stand strong and steadfast in the truth of God’s Word, for it’s the only thing that will truly set us free. Much LOVE!…follow the Spirit’s leading…and you’ll never go astray…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 January 2011 Luke 15:2‏

Luke 15:2.    And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

Ah Friends, it has pleased the Lord to bless us with another day of life on earth. And all God’s people gratefully mouthed: ‘Thank you Lord!’ Yes my brethren, thankfulness is one of those things our world sadly lacks. Look at the Pharisees in our Bit: ‘And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth (welcomes) sinners, and eateth with them.’ Instead of being thankful that they lived a good life, unlike those gathered around Jesus, they were quick to condemn and criticize Him for doing what they ought to. Unfortunately my Friends, many of us behave the same way nowadays, where instead of giving thanks for our many blessings, our first reaction is to be critical of the good deed that someone else is trying to accomplish. But Jesus was so self-assured and confident in His task that He didn’t let the hypocrite naysayers distract Him from doing the job He was sent to do; namely save sinners. Likewise, we should not allow our critics to stop us from doing God’s work. I like how Jesus always showed them up for what they truly were, a bunch of men-pleasers and law-keepers, oppressors of the poor, unfortunate and downtrodden, who weren’t willing to lift a hand to help any outside of their circle. In this particular case, Jesus tells them three parables to prove His point. The first is that of the lost sheep, where the shepherd loses a sheep but doesn’t rest until he finds it, then comes home rejoicing with it draped over his shoulder. And when he gets home, the happy shepherd calls all his friends and neighbours together, saying: ‘Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just (upright ) persons, which need no repentance.’ (Luke 15:6-7) And it’s good to see that the scholars, in their scriptural wisdom, describe this parable as painting a poignant picture of God’s searching LOVE for all His creation, as well as a telling rebuke to the murmurs and whispers of the Jewish elite in our Bit. The second parable is that of the lost coin, where a woman having ten pieces of silver, (drachma: a valuable silver coin often worn in a ten piece garland by married women) if she loses one piece, she immediately lights a candle and thoroughly searches her house until she finds it. And when she does: ‘Hallelujah!’ She invites all her friends and neighbours over, saying: ‘Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.’ (Luke 15:9-10) Jesus is here making the point that if a woman and her friends can celebrate the recovery of one coin, and a shepherd finds joy in rescuing one sheep, then how much more important and to be praised is the repentance and salvation of one sinner. It also disproves the theory of our God being formal and aloof from human efforts, for Jesus is here teaching His overwhelming concern for each individual. Then we come to the all-encompassing parable of the prodigal son, which we know so well. It’s like many of us who forsake God and go our own way in pursuit of our fleshly lusts. However, when our dissolute living causes the bucket bottom to drop out, and everything crash, we realize the error of our ways and come running back to God. And amazingly, the Father welcomes us back with wide opened arms, unconcerned about our past mistakes and failures, just happy to have us safely back home. He doesn’t even listen to our apologies etc. simply breaks out rejoicing and calls for a big welcome home party. Meanwhile, the elder son, who would have reaped the most benefits from the father’s estate, grouses and grumbles, just like the scribes, the Pharisees and many of us. He even refuses to attend the party. But the Father with untold patience and LOVE, gently rebukes him: ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet (right) that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.’ (Luke 15:31-32) Oh Friends, all of that just shows how important we are to our heavenly Father; even the most atrocious and despicable sinner is very welcome in His house. Remember, it’s His fervent desire to lose no human soul to Beelzebub. As Jesus says: ‘And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.’ (John 6:39) Therefore my people, let’s help Jesus accomplish that task by going out and doing our duty nuh, bringing lost souls to Him. More on this topic tomorrow, God willing. Till then, be good, LOVE your God, LIVE your Faith, and SPREAD His Word. Much LOVE!…every human soul is important to Christ…with no exceptions…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 January 2011 Luke 15:2‏

Luke 15:2.    And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

Oh Friends, much thanks and praise be to Almighty God for the incredible blessing He’s granted us, of seeing another day on this bountiful earth! It’s not all peaches and cream, but it’s certainly worth its weight in gold. And to help us keep that joyful thought, here is a gentle reminder from St. Therese of Liseux, the patron Saint of the Society of the Little Flower. She wisely advises us: ‘Even when alone be cheerful, remembering always that you’re in the sight of angels.’ Oh Friends, isn’t that precious? It sure is! The sad part though, is that when we’re not alone, we’re often in the presence and sight of sinners, of the evil and ungodly. However, that is no reason not to be cheerful, because as Jesus’ representatives here on earth, we ought to be joyful more often than sad. Why? ‘For the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Neh.8:10) And also as Jesus said when talking of the close, interwoven relationship between the vine and its branches: ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ (John 15:11) Therefore, let us try to show a good and pleasant countenance as much as possible, and not the sour frowns that too many believers show the world. That’s the way Jesus operated. He wasn’t always ecstatic inside, but you’d never know it from His gentle, pleasant personality and external behaviour. It’s the same way when the publicans (tax collectors) and other sinners gathered around to listen to Him, the hypocrite Pharisees and scribes complained. ‘And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.’ The Pharisees man-made traditions forbade them eating with any they considered sinful and ungodly. But remember Jesus’ earliest declaration when the same Pharisees complained to the disciples re their Master eating and drinking with publicans and sinners. He righteously declared: ‘They that be whole (are well) need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice: For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ (Matt.9:12-13) So my people, please don’t look down on those who seem to be fallen, or less righteous than us, because that’s our very purpose on this earth; to bring those ungodly beings to Christ. And the only way we can do that successfully is by interacting with them, and not in an, I am better than you manner, or as if you’re doing them a big favour, though you might just be, but the Christ- like presence of humility must always be apparent in our doings. And not because we interact with them, it means that we have to behave like them, or become ungodly too, but owing to the great LOVE of Jesus in our hearts, and the awesome power of His Holy Spirit operating within us, we can be strong enough to overcome and overpower their ungodliness, to lift them up out of their darkness and cause them to see the bright, beautiful and empowering light that’s to be found in Jesus, through His sacrificial acts on our behalf, which lead to a glorious salvation and eternal life with Him in heaven. Ah Friends, it is not for us to overly criticize the sinful and ungodly, but more for us to sympathize with their unfortunate situation, to pray for them, and if we find a suitable situation, to talk to them about Jesus and the good things He has in store for all who believe in Him and obediently follow His holy guidance. That’s the proper behaviour for a true Christian, not one of righteous indignation and condemnation like the ole hypocrite Pharisees and them. Oh Friends, I know that in the lion’s den, in the face of his angry snarl, it’s not always easy to portray a Christ-like attitude, but we have to try our best to do so. Consequently, I’m imploring us to carefully watch our reactions whenever we encounter those who don’t believe as we do, for it’s very easy to stray off the straight and narrow path in the company of persons whose ideals don’t match ours. Please think seriously on this subject my brethren, because too many of us criticize the unbeliever in public, when behind closed doors, we do the same ungodly things that they do. And that’s one of the biggest drawbacks to our ministry, for the unbeliever is quite rightly turned off and justly mocks us when we don’t practice what we preach. We’ll continue this topic tomorrow, if the Lord chooses to bless us with another day on planet earth. Till then, please walk safely in His all-embracing LOVE! Much LOVE!…judge not…so that you will not be judged…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 January 2011 Luke 9:50‏

Luke 9:50.    And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
 
Oh Friends, the weekend is upon us once again, and I can hear the joy and frivolity in our voices as we enthuse and exclaim: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!’ That means it’s time for our Friday chant. So let’s chant, loud and clear. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ And having chanted that prayer, our spirits should be revitalized and able to help us to keep on soaring like the eagles we are in Jesus. Turning to our Bit, which is one of those events that’s not recorded in the gospels of Matthew or John, but are found in Luke and Mark. It stems from a statement by John: ‘Master, we saw one casting out devils (demons) in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.’ (Luke 9:49-50) Ah mih people, Jesus was fond of these little sayings and knew their benefits. Someone casting out demons had to be working with the Holy Spirit, for as He said when talking about a house divided being unable to stand: ‘And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.’ (Matt.12:26-28) So technically speaking, if you’re not obviously rooting for the enemy, then you’re on safe ground. Likewise, He said a little later on in Matthew: ‘He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.’ (Matt.12:30) Contrary to some opinions, the scholars point out that those two verses don’t contradict each other, because they address different situations. In the context of Matthew 12:30, where it boils down to a critical point of accepting or rejecting Jesus, not being for Him amounts to opposing Him, as Jesus declares in John: ‘He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’ (John 3:18) However, if we’re referring to someone trying to work in Christ’s name, but perhaps with limited knowledge of Him, there’s no need to put out or quench that latent fire. And a good example of that is the early days of Apollos’ ministry: ‘This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently (accurately) the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.’ (Acts 18:25) His knowledge was limited to John’s teaching, but instead of shutting him up, Aquila and Priscilla realized his potential and took him under their wing ‘and expounded (explained) unto him the way of God more perfectly (accurately).’ (Acts.18:26) And we know afterwards Apollos went on to do great work in Christ’s Name. So hopefully there’ll be no more controversy over those two passages. And we’ll end with a perusal of Mark’s version of the incident because he gives it much more airtime than Luke. John’s statement is the same: ‘But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly (soon afterward) speak evil of me. for he that is not against us is on our part (side). For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.’ (Mark 9:39:41) Therefore Friends, before we criticize or legitimize situations like those we looked at today, we must first check out the underlying circumstances very carefully, for depending on their context, they could fall into either category, and we certainly don’t want to make poor choices by legitimizing the wrong one, and criticizing the right one. If you know what I mean? (smile) Let’s think on those things today Friends, see if we know of any persons who could fit into either category. And if by chance we do know anyone, consider also if there’s anything we can do to help them. This will surely assist in our understanding of the Lord’s Word. Till we meet again tomorrow, our God in favour, please walk in peace and safety with Him. Much LOVE!…shortcomings are only a problem…if we don’t believe in Christ…and are also rooting against Him…  P.S. As the song on the radio is saying, remember to: ‘Start your day with LOVE, for God is LOVE. And LOVE is stronger than war. LOVE will destroy every foe. LOVE will make your good times last. LOVE will heal our past. So give LOVE today…and everyday… Give LOVE today…and everyday…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 January 2011 Matthew 19:17‏

Matthew 19:17.    And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
 
Ah Friends, here is the Bit I planned to write yesterday, that is before I was strong-armed, railroaded by the Holy Spirit. (smile) But that’s an occupational hazard when you’re working closely with Him. Anyway, let’s begin with a priceless quote from Benjamin Franklin. ‘Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let each new year find you a better man.’ Definitely good words to live by Friends! Just like those of our Saviour when the rich, young man came asking him: ‘Good Master (teacher) what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ (Matt.19:16) And I like how Jesus stopped him in his tracks by saying: ‘Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God:’ And that’s the living truth my people! Only our God is really good through and through. Several of His prophets said it, amongst them Jeremiah, when prophesying on Judah’s revitalization: ‘Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: ‘ (Jer.33:11) The prophet Nahum also declared the Lord’s goodness. ‘The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.’ (Nah.1:7) The important thing to note here Friends is Jesus’ humility. Although He was a part of the triune Godhead, He made no account of Himself here on earth, but shunted all the glory, goodness and praise to the Father, as a faithful and righteous Son is wont to do. And that’s the kind of attitude we believers ought to have in our dealings with others; one of humility, of not making too much of ourselves. Although we may be better off, say in terms of education, economic wealth and political power, we must not let those earthly concerns colour our work for Jesus, since whatever advantages we do have are blessings from the Lord to enable us to do His work. We have obviously invested time, effort and materials, but it’s God who truly gave the increase. In these modern times though, it’s a sad fact that humility is a forgotten word and tendency. The in-thing is to beat one’s chest, blow our horn and egotistically declare: ‘Look at me! Look where I’ve come from; from extreme poverty to immense wealth, power and fame!’ Now it’s all well and good to feel proud of our achievements, but certainly not to the extent that you lord it over others, for you’ve got to remember that if the Father had not blessed your endeavours, you’d be a have-not just like those you despise and look down on. So, first having shown His humility, Jesus then answers the man’s question: ‘what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ This implies that he possibly thought some good deed would bring him that benefit, which we now know is impossible. And Jesus answers him: ‘but if thou wilt (want to) enter into life, keep the commandments.’ The fellow asks which ones, and Jesus tells him about not committing, murder, adultery, stealing and lying, while honouring his parents and LOVING his neighbour as himself. To which he replied: ‘All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt (want to) be perfect, go and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.’ (Matt.19:20-22) Oh Friends, have you ever noticed that though Jesus’ answers are always kindly, they often have a stinging whiplash too? Jesus did not really want the young man to go and sell his possessions and give the money away, He was just pointing out that keeping the outward duties of the commandments is not enough. His great desire to hold on to his immense wealth showed his selfishness, he cared much more about himself than his neighbours, and also cared far more about his possessions than he did God. And so it often is with us when the Lord instructs us to give up certain things, but we walk away with a sorrowful heart because those things are more important to us than the Father’s will. We ought to know by now that the Lord never asks us to do anything that’s not for our eventual benefit. However Friends, please note, per the scholars, that that bit of scripture is there just to show the seriousness of true discipleship, and certainly doesn’t mean that the average man must sell his earthly possessions to be considered a true Christian. We have to realize my brethren that following Christ consists of not only an outward obedience, but also an inner, spiritual undertaking, and neglect of either aspect is disobedience. So please, let’s avail ourselves of some quiet time and ponder whether we are doing both, as we ought to. That’s today’s assignment. Much LOVE!…our bodies are the temple of God…and they contain His Holy Spirit…so both are important to Him…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 January 2011 Matthew 19:17‏

Matthew 19:17,    And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life; keep the commandments.
 
Oh Friends, another day has dawned in this long, cold winter weather that’s trying to kill both my body and my spirit! But I have a zeppo, a message for it from Almighty God that it will kill neither, because the Lord’s working on my behalf both physically and spiritually. He’s faithfully promised that whenever I am weak or stumbling He will strengthen and uphold me with His righteous right hand. And the awesome thing about that promise is that it’s not meant only for me, but for everyone who believes and puts their trust in His Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Wow! What a mighty promise! And all God’s people rose up in joyful gratitude and with one accord loudly declared: ‘Blessed is the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Worthy is His glorious name to be praised!’ Yes, it certainly is. So Friends, whatever is bothering you today, threatening to do you harm, to steal your joy, peace and faith in God, please don’t let it. Put up a STOP sign, a roadblock with the faithful promises of your God, the ONE and ONLY TRUE Deity that exists. He created the universe and all therein and still controls everything that happens in it. So though some of His actions seem counterproductive and even unfair, we won’t be overly concerned because we know He’s operating on a much higher level than our puny human minds can ever imagine or comprehend. He also says in His Word that everything He does will eventually work out for good to those who LOVE and obey Him. And though our lives may be turned topsy-turvy at times, of this one thing we’re very sure and confident; He LOVES us, and that LOVE comes with no strings attached either. Why are we so sure of this fact? Because He sent His only Son Jesus, to die as a sacrifice for us, on an old wooden cross, on a crusty hill overlooking an inhospitable gully. Yes my brethren, the Lord’s Son, Jesus, for our sake, died one of the most despicable, horrible, humiliating and painful deaths possible. Now why would an omnipotent Deity do such an outlandish thing for unworthy, sinful, idolatrous, disobedient, blasphemous souls like us eh, unless he possessed a real great affection for the children of men? And why shouldn’t He feel affection for us since He was the one who made us in the first place? It’s just like we experience with our earthly children, whom we raise as best we can, but some turn out to be real bad seeds and drift off into a totally disgusting lifestyle. Their behaviour obviously saddens us and breaks our hearts, like our disobedience does to God, but if they do change their lifestyle and come back home to us, most of the time we embrace them with open arms, because they are still our children and deep down we still LOVE them.  Oh mih people, it’s the same thing with our God, except for one major, one critical difference; He welcomes back each and every repentant ALL the time. He never stops LOVING us or turns us away, the way we do some of our really good for nothing children. And that’s why He’s such a great God and Father. He is personified by the most amazing and powerful emotion in existence; LOVE. That’s why we say God is LOVE, and LOVE is of God, and that LOVE makes the world go round! Unfortunately though, a major proportion of our society don’t see it that way, and that ungodly reaction ends up causing the many problems that disrupt, destroy, demean and dehumanize our wonderful world. But there are two important thing for believers to remember; first that God is in control – always was, and always will be, and while there’s life, there’s always hope. Jesus died to give us salvation and eternal life and also that we might enjoy this earthly life more abundantly. So why aren’t we doing that eh? Too many of us are living scared, confused, fearful, miserable lives, which simply negates Jesus’ efforts. Please remember that life is a journey, not a destination. We already know that our destination, heaven, will be great, but our heavenly Father also wants us to enjoy the earthly trip to His heavenly home. If we don’t, then we’re not true believers and not showing the LOVE, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, etc. that our Saviour Jesus showed, and said we should show. He expects His followers to live up to a high standard of excellence in all their doings. Oh Friends, we all know that it’s not easy to live up to Jesus’ expectations in this cruel, evil, corrupt and destructive world, but it’s certainly possible if we trust, have faith, believe and surrender our lives to Infinitely Everything. He’s shown us again and again that doing so brings unimaginable benefits, and though interspersed with the rough times, those benefits make the rough times seem like child’s play. And I guess you all are wondering what this Bit is all about eh? Well I wondered too after I wrote the first few lines and then it just took on a life of its own. Obviously I chuckled along the way, but my guess is that the Spirit wanted us to have a general overview of our faith and life’s goals under Jesus’ direction, highlighting the significant aspects that empower, exhort and educate believers, enabling them to stand strong and steadfast, just like the Rock upon which our faith is built; Jesus. Oh Friends, I certainly hope I’ve done that, and these words will help to increase our strength, courage, faith and trust in the One True God of our universe. And for those who think I’ve written nonsense, please remember that the wise man is the one who can pick sense from nonsense. (smile) Just couldn’t resist the temptation to include that. Anyway mih people, we’ll continue this Bit tomorrow, our God in favour. Till then, please walk safely ensconced in the sure embrace of His ever-LOVING arms. Much LOVE!…there is none good but one…that is God…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 January 2011 Ephesians 4:28‏

Ephesians 4:28.    Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
 
Oh Friends, my area is a virtual blanket of white! Unsullied by humans, the snow looks beautiful. But like many other beautiful things, its appearance is very deceptive; it’s cold as hell! (smile) Obviously that sounds like a contradiction of terms, but for some unknown reason, many of us use that analogy. I guess we mean that it’s an exceedingly abnormal temperature, like that associated with Lucifer’s lair. But be it known to all and sundry, whatever term you choose to use, my neck of the woods is brrrr… beastly cold! And for all you fortunate ones in the warm, sunny climes, please pay particular attention to the fact that in these northern parts, neither rain, sleet, cold nor snow is an excuse for not going to work. One is expected to go out and labour despite the severity of the elements. It’s certainly not like in the sunny southlands, where as soon as the clouds darken, or a little drizzle begins, we claim it’s raining and can’t go to work. Hn! Up here, you’d lose that job. But that just shows the different attitudes to work that are prevalent in different countries. So all you folks from down south who desire so badly to come or go ‘a foreign,’ please note that the southern attitude to work, won’t cut it in the north countries. But a healthy work attitude is one of the main reasons why some countries are prosperous, while others are not. And it’s not even a matter of working extra or real hard, but more about working consistently and efficiently. Unfortunately though, in these modern times, even in these northern climes, the work ethic needed to attain and retain prosperity is being eroded, it’s dying a slow and painful death. That’s why so many supposed first world countries are in decline, while some supposed third world countries are prospering. I guess it’s just the nature of the human animal, which seems cyclical: first work hard and become prosperous, then relax, get idle and lazy, wrongly thinking that your wealth is self reproducing and thus everlasting, then finding out it’s not, and consequently sinking right back down into the mire of poverty. Now let’s check out our Bit: ‘Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.’ Oh Friends, our Bit indicates that work serves at least a threefold purpose in our lives. It stops us from doing wrong, puts our time to good use in a legal, moral and godly activity, while also enabling us to have enough earthly substance so that we can share with the less fortunate. And my people, what a wonderful experience it is, having enough to share with others! It is the basic element of our Christian faith; helping others through giving and sharing. That’s what Jesus was all about when He sojourned on earth! And Bruh Paul certainly put it in the right perspective the last time he addressed the Ephesian elders in person. ‘And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto (provided for) my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than receive.’ (Acts 20:32-35) John the Baptist also preached the great value of sharing when he thundered forth out of the wilderness, scourging the people with his strong words on repentance and righteousness, warning them ‘to bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance… And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. And the people asked him saying, what shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats (tunics), let him impart (give) to him that hath none; and he that hath meat (food), let him do likewise. Then came also publicans (tax collectors) to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact (collect) no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man (intimidate or shake down for money), neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.’ (Luke 3:8-14) Yes my people, to build a true Christian society, one worthy of Jesus’ name, certain elements must proliferate in it, namely; a strong work ethic, basic honesty, a genuine desire to share with the less fortunate and general contentment with one’s life, all encompassed by a true LOVE for God and sincere obedience to His Word. That’s the only prescription for a sustained successful society my brethren! And we all know that our society these days is definitely not a reflection of those principles. So, since we believe that a godly society is what we need, and what we will have, then let’s go out, each of us, and in our own small, individual way, try and implement some of the changes we so badly need nuh. Remember Jesus’ parting words to His disciples, of which we are the current crop: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’ (Matt.28:19-20) Yes Friends, let’s get up off our too fat fannies and busy ourselves with Jesus’ work as we ought to, for no godly changes will be made in this evil and cruel world unless we believers cause them. Much LOVE!…Jesus left His earthly work in our hands…what would His current evaluation be of our progress…most likely…not good enough…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 January 2011 Ephesians 4:28‏

Ephesians 4:28.    Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Oh Friends, the dark shadows lighten as the minutes slowly tick down towards the dawn in the Western world. Then suddenly a cacophony of sounds fill the air; music blares, clocks jangle, phones ring or vibrate and a harsh storm of resentment, anger and surly invective is unleashed in numerous darkened bedrooms. Why? Simply because it’s Monday. Those disturbances herald the death knell of the no work, relaxing, fun-time weekend, with most able-bodied, employed citizens now expected to get up and get ready to embrace another week of mundane, often frustrating and repetitious labour. Unfortunately that’s the foundation on which our prosperous society is built, for as Bruh Paul declared to the Ephesians in our Bit eons ago: ‘Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.’  And that is the motto we still live by today, though the human flesh naturally gravitates to and enjoys laziness and luxury, while thoroughly demonizing work. But thankfully, we believers don’t have to behave in such a fleshly manner, for the Holy Spirit of Jesus resides in us and guides us to a more spiritual, godly reaction. And so to chase away those woeful Monday morning blues, let’s all sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with much verve and vigour. ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ Now let’s go out there and make that dream come true my people! Ah Friends, it’s so spiritually rich to be a believer! And our Bit today comes from the section of the Ephesians’ letter where Bruh Paul tells them about some of the good changes they ought to pursue as they embrace the new life in Christ. Things like changing their conversations from the old, lustful, deceitful, corrupt style, renewing the spirit of their minds, putting on the new man created after God in righteousness, refraining from lying and speaking truth to all men, not allowing anger to make them sin, neither going to bed angry, nor giving place to the devil, to stop stealing and work honestly, etc. (Eph.4:14-32) It’s obvious that Bruh Paul had serious concerns and misgivings about believers not working, for here is his exhortation to the Thessalonians on the subject. ‘Now we command you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought (free of charge); but wrought with labour and travail (worked) night and day, that we might not be chargeable (a burden) to any of you. Not because we have not power (authority), but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish (warn) him as a brother. Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.’  (2 Thess.3:6-16) And all I can add to that Friends is a big ‘Amen!’ because that negative behaviour still exists in our society today. However, Bruh Paul has shown us a godly way to deal with it, so please, let’s try and practice it nuh, it can only work for the good of the entire society. More tomorrow on this, God willing. Till then, the grace of God be with you. Much LOVE!…even a child is known by his doings…whether his work is pure…and whether it be right… (Prov.20:11)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 January 2011 Psalm 5:5‏

Psalm 5:5.    The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Oh my beautiful Friends in Christ, I hope this missive finds you all in good health and spirits this Sunday morning. But if it doesn’t, then let me offer heartfelt prayers on the health side of your problem, and proclaim that by the time you’re finished reading this, your spirits will have soared right to heaven on high! (smile) Ah Friends, the ole fella’s feeling a bit chilly in the flesh and bones department himself, although I am in warm confines, and thus I’m forced to cry out for the umpteenth time: ‘How long O Lord, how long before you answer my aching plea for saltwater and sunshine?’ However, the answer is the same as always: ‘In good time my child, in good time.’ But fortunately, though my flesh is cold and disappointed, my spirit is in fine form, especially now that I’ve asked the Most High to lead and guide me in writing this Bit. And I saw an interesting quote today that I must share, particularly with my fellow sojourners in the cold climes. Pietro Aretino has this advice for us: ‘Let us LOVE winter, for it is the spring of genius.’ Hn! Good for Pietro yes! Theoretically speaking, he might have a point, because after the cold, dreary, dead time of winter, with the arrival of spring, everything suddenly returns to a life full of colour and splendour. So reminiscent of Jesus’ death and resurrection: one day He lies dead and lifeless in a cold stone tomb, but the next He is arisen, full of new life and eternal glory! And all God’s people shouted an appreciative, ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Now any other year Pietro might have talked me into LOVING winter, but definitely not this one, which uncharacteristically has me singing the winter blahs, not to mention the extremely cold spell we’re currently experiencing. Most of the readers in the winter areas will think Pietro mad, or at least having one card less than a full pack. Unlike Bruh David, who, in the psalm from which our Bit is taken is pleading for protection from Almighty God against evildoers. ‘Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation (groaning). Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee and will look up. For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell (sojourn) with thee. The foolish (boastful) shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.’ (Ps.5:1-5) And isn’t that the gospel truth my people! The Lord cannot abide sin, or those who take pleasure in it. As Bruh David continues: ‘Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing (falsehood): the Lord will abhor the bloody (bloodthirsty) and deceitful man.’ (Ps.5:6) Yes Friends, that’s the kind of God we worship. But then we also have the prophet Habakkuk’s query: ‘Thou art purer of eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity (wickedness): wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?’ (Hab.1:13) Ah my brethren, that is a question many of us ask today too as the wicked suppress, oppress and persecute the righteous for no just cause. Beelzebub’s cronies are currently having a field day amongst the righteous, with little or no sign of any ease in the situation. But as believers, we have to abide by the Lord’s Word that the righteous will be blessed and the wicked receive their full comeuppance eventually. As the psalmist says of the righteous in Psalm 1: ‘And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.’ (Ps.1:3-6) The road is indeed rough my people, but we believe in the omnipotent, faithful and true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who promised to never leave or forsake us, thus we have to suffer whatever comes our way with His promises in mind. Remember Jesus didn’t have it easy here on earth either, and He constantly looked to the Father for help and guidance, but when the time of reckoning came, His crucifixion, He obediently bowed to the Father’s will. ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ (Matt.26:39) Yes Friends, that’s the same obedient attitude we need to adopt and display even when times are rough for no good reason. If Jesus could do it, under much heavier stress and strain than we’ll ever encounter, then so can we. It’s what our faith is all about: Jesus dying to redeem us, to give us salvation and eternal life, if only we believe. Note, that’s the only criterion we need: belief in Him; that He is who He says He is, and has done the things He’s done, and will do those He promised to do in the future. Nothing else really matters when we have that awesome truth indelibly written in our hearts, minds and souls. Though life comes hard against us, we ought to let nothing shake our belief in Jesus, for He is undoubtedly the Way, the Truth and the Life, and if we stand strong and steadfast in that knowledge, then we will be fine, we will overcome. Lucifer and his iniquity workers won’t conquer our spirits, for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will impart the necessary strength to us through His Holy Spirit, which is stronger and wiser than anything the powers of darkness can throw at us. In conclusion Friends, let’s keep looking on the bright side, the side that believes Jesus when He says: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) So stand strong my people, walk obediently before the Lord and He will surely make your paths straight. Much LOVE!…only believe…all things are possible…only believe…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 January 2011 Proverbs 29:25‏

Proverbs 29:25.     The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

Oh Friends, I had planned to finish this Bit yesterday, but the Hoy Spirit voted against it. I guess He wanted me to clear up a couple of loose ends; namely what happened to Abraham and Isaac after their deceptions were uncovered. Remember God called Abraham a prophet when talking of him to Abimelech: ‘…for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live.’ (Gen.20:7) Now, considering the circumstances, that was simply amazing Friends! And in restoring Sarah to Abraham, Abimelech also gave him numerous animals and servants, plus ‘a thousand pieces of silver,’ though the scholars claim that ‘pieces’ is inaccurate, since there were no coins at that time and everything was weighed, but it nonetheless showed his high esteem for Abraham and Sarah. ‘So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the Lord had fast closed up the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.’ (Gen.20:17-18) And who says our God doesn’t move in mysterious ways eh? For though Abraham was the wrongdoer, the Lord closed up the wombs of Abimelech’s women while Sarah dwelt in his household, and only reopened them after she was reunited untouched with Abraham. As for Isaac, Abimelech sternly rebuked him after he confessed his deception: ‘What is this thou hast done unto us? One of the people might lightly (soon) have laid with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us. And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.’ (Gen.26:10-11) More protection for His anointed one Friends, although Isaac was the original culprit. But what’s really interesting and amazing is that Abraham, after his two deceptions over Sarah, and Isaac after his over Rebekah, both increased very much in material wealth. We already know Abraham’s good fortune, now listen to the Good Book tell of Isaac’s: ‘Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received (reaped) in the same year a hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed (grew) great, and went forward (continued prospering) until he became very great. For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and a great store (number) of servants: and the Philistines envied him.’ (Gen.26:12-14) Oh people, only a magnanimous, forgiving and LOVING God, who otherwise had big plans for those two followers, could have turned their mistakes into positions of higher esteem and greater earthly fortunes. That doesn’t mean though, that we can all expect more esteem and wealth when we make unwise decisions. (smile) The Lord had a purpose, a plan based on those two individuals, and if He had left them to their own devices, they would just have ruined it for themselves and all of us who came after them. It’s highly likely He would do it again today if one of His chosen was endangering an important plan through his fleshly lust and fear. However Friends, that’s not something we ought to count on, or take for granted because every situation is different, and the general process is that we will reap exactly what we sow. In Bruh Paul’s esteemed words to the Galatians: ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.’ (Gal.6:7-8) And I’d like to end with some tried and true words from the story ‘The Seed’ that we recently spoke of. They just give us an idea of the bountiful and godly plants we will reap if we sow certain good seeds. ‘If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. If you plant goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment. If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective. If you plant hard work, you will reap success. If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation. If you plant faith in Christ, you will reap a harvest. So be careful what you plant now, it will determine what you will reap later.’ Oh Friends, let’s go out now and sow as many of those good seeds as possible, so that we will reap a godly harvest later and thus further Jesus’ kingdom, as He greatly desires of us. Much LOVE!…we are the grass that will wither and die…but the incorruptible seed of God’s Word will live forever…sow it daily into the life of your family… (1 Pet.1:23-25)

 

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