Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 July 2019 Matthew 16:24.

Matthew 16:24.    ​If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
 

And the alarm goes off…and suddenly you are catapulted out of a sweet dream…and you steups and get up grumpily mouthing: ‘Chuh Blast! And just as the so and so dream was starting to rock yes! This blooming alarm and work nonsense going to be the death of me yes!’ Ah friends, in how many darkened bedrooms are those kinds of scenes playing out right now eh? Too many! 

Welcome to the real world my people! It’s Monday morning and work is a calling. That place where you earn your daily bread; where you make the dough to keep a roof over your head and food on your table and clothes on your back…oh and the place that enables you to send your children to that expensive and elite private school. Yes, that place is crying out for you to get up and get in your new, expensive chariot and hit the traffic jam, so you can get downtown to the concrete jungle jaded and tired, to begin a new week of the never-ending rat race we so glamourously call work! (smile) 

And so many of us are tired of it, would rather retire to the peaceful and quiet countryside. But that’s somewhat like a pipe dream if we want to keep on enjoying our current lifestyle. And the pressure has become so much that we can no longer handle it all in our own strength. Yes friends we need help, supernatural help!  That’s why we have this antidote for whatever ails you on any workday morning, but particularly on a Monday, which is usually the hardest day of the week to get up. We simply call it our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, where we cry out to out wonderful God for grace and mercy to get out there and fight in His holy name. 

So all together now, let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence and sincerely pray: ‘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!’ 

Yes mih people, how can our compassionate and considerate God ever turn down such a sincere prayer request eh, especially if it’s prayed in His Son’s name? He just can’t! That’s why you’re now feeling the rush of adrenaline and the belated enthusiasm to go to work! The Lord has ordered our guide and helper, His Holy Spirit, which dwells within each believer, to activate the necessary controls to make us bright eyed and bushy tailed, so we can go out into the evil world full of spunk, full of…whatever and vinegar (smile) and fight victorious battles on Jesus’ behalf. 

And all God’s people said a loud and proud: ‘Glory to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! They are indeed the best guardians a human being can ever have!’ And all His saints shouted a glorious ‘Amen!’ So be it!’ But friends, please realize that truly and sincerely serving Jesus is not all wine, song and roses. The test of true discipleship is indeed rough, as Jesus said to the disciples: ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ 

Tough words those my brethren, but that’s the reality of the situation. If we really want to follow Jesus, we’ve got to sacrifice our wishes and dreams and take up our cross and follow Him. And the scholars have an interesting explanation on ‘Take up: The meaning is “lift up.” It is a stronger word than that used in 10:38 – “And he that taketh not his cross…’ – and implies a lifting of the cross on high, so that all may see it. This is the strongest statement in the New Testament about the disciple’s need to crucify himself, by yielding to the claims of Christ’s lordship over him.’ 

Yes fellow saints, we can’t serve Jesus only in private and expect to get any citations. Remember He said whoever is ashamed of Him and denies Him in public, He will do the same to them before the Father. (Matt.10:33) And sadly, a lot of supposed Christians try to hide their faith through fear of the consequences, but as Jesus also said to one fellow who wanted to follow Him, but desired to go home first and bid his family farewell. ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:62) 

Ah mih people, that refers to the way to plough a perfect furrow (row). Once you’ve begun to plough it, you can’t look back or it will not end up in a straight line. As the scholars say: ‘One who makes life’s lesser matters of greater priority than God’s work is of little use to Him.’ Similarly, you’re not ‘suitable’ or ‘usable’ in God’s service if you keep looking back instead of forward. 

And it’s something we say every week in our Wednesday Wail: ‘We’re not looking back, our hands are securely on the plough. We’re looking forward to a glorious future with Christ.’ Now let’s go out and prove that this Monday morning nuh my fellow believers! Let’s show them that we are fit for service to Christ, as we lift our crosses high and honour Him! Much LOVE!

…the true disciple… doesn’t mind sacrificing his desires…for those of Christ…

 

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