Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 April 2020 Matthew 10:22.

Matthew 10:22.    ​And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
 
Welcome friends, to Thursday April 30 in the year of our Lord 2020 – the year of the Coronavirus pandemic! Unfortunately, some three months in, the deadly virus is still causing havoc and confusion amongst us. Nothing much has changed. We still don’t know anything much about it, but everybody has their opinions. Hn! What a bam bam! Now the panic is increasingly becoming not only about contracting the virus, but more about work, money and food, as a serious shortage is beginning to show up in those vital areas. 

And believe me, I wouldn’t want to be a political leader in these times at all, because the virus has dropped them right between the proverbial rock and a hard place, the devil and the deep blue sea, for now the decision has to be made between the medical and economic fronts; either save people and keep social distancing going, or save the economy and open back up the business, which at this crucial time could lead to a worsening of the medical situation. You’re damned if you do either, because there are strong sentiments in the populace for both actions. So friends, let’s pray that our leaders get it right yes, else we’re in for a long, extremely difficult time. 

But here’s something I heard a preacher recently talk about, something called the Stockdale Paradox, coined by the author Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t.’ And does it ever  seem rather appropriate to our current situation. Apparently Admiral Stockdale, a Navy Pilot spent seven years as a Vietnam prisoner of war and surprisingly he witnessed that those prisoners who were optimists were dying before the pessimists, because after several disappointing episodes of predicting freedom, they lost their hope and gave up. The pessimists, already without hope just went about their business in pessimistic fashion and died off as expected. (smile) 

When asked how he managed to keep his sanity and faith, despite several severe bouts of torture, the Admiral replied: ‘I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.’ Imagine thinking and doing that in a prisoner of war camp nuh!  And he added: ‘You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.’ 

What words of awesome wisdom my people! Words that I believe will certainly help us in these scary and confusing times. Faith will allow us to believe that we will eventually prevail, but we must also be wise and disciplined enough to recognize and confront the hard and unrelenting facts of what we’re currently going through. I think we saw that principle magnificently epitomized in Jesus, especially during His torment in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. 

Yes, as a human being, He was terrified of having to face the cross, so much so that three times He prayed ‘Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.’ (Luke 22:42.) The Good Book further says: ‘And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ (Luke 22:43-44) Yeh friends, Jesus certainly didn’t have it easy. 

And the scholars offer these interesting explanations: ‘22:43-44. Only Luke notes this. Jesus is borne up in His hour of greatest need, when He must intercede not only for Himself but for His followers, who are about to leave Him in the lurch. Agony appears only here in the New Testament; it points to the intensity of Jesus’ struggle. Surely Jesus wrestles, not so much with death itself, but with His own destiny to be made the sin-bearer for all mankind for all the ages. The punishment that had to be borne for our sins brings Jesus to His knees in anguish.’ 

But as the Son of Man, the Son of God, Jesus knew that was His major purpose for coming to earth was to be the sacrificial lamb for sin, and He really couldn’t escape it. He also knew though that He would win the battle eventually and be resurrected victoriously from the grave. So like Admiral Stockdale said, He didn’t lose faith, although things seemed rather dim, but also faced the reality of His crucifixion, knowing that He would win in the end. And that’s the exact kind of behaviour we believers need to exhibit in these trying times my brethren! 

We know that we will win in the end, Jesus has promised it: ‘And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.’ So we need now to hold on tightly to that promise, while wisely facing our current reality. Remember our motto for this Covid-19 season: ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power (His Holy Spirit), and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind.’ (2 Tim. 1:7) Let’s use them nuh. And in addition to those attributes, we also have our Thursday Blessings, such wonderful blessings that God has also given to us so we can perform His awesome work down here on planet earth. 

So let’s declare them now nuh, in strong voice, with truly sincere hearts: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! 

I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and generously share those blessings as the Lord greatly desires. Much LOVE!

…strong faith…with wisdom…and endurance…win the crown every time…

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