Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 December 2020 Mark 8:34.

Mark 8:34.     ​Whosoever will come after me (follow me), let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.

Oh mih people, you’ll be so proud of the ole fella! Yes, yesterday afternoon, despite the inclement weather, I decided to go out in it. And yuh know what? Our God is so great and wonderful that just before I went out, all the precipitate that was precipitating stopped precipitating (smile) and the sun peeked out of the clouds! So I went out in much better weather and got all I wanted to do, some of which glorified Him, with no problems or complications whatsoever. Even in the beer store, where I accidentally dropped a six-pack of Guinness stout, the clerks cleaned it up for me and gave me another one! Glory be to His most holy name! 

That is what you get from sacrifice and obedience. And it wasn’t really a big sacrifice or anything of momentous obedience, just simple everyday stuff…so you can imagine what our wonderful God would do for us if we were to sacrifice big and be much more obedient? And even in the times when God’s people were supposed to offer animal sacrifices to Him, what did He say to them? 

The psalmist Asaph puts it this way in Psalm 50 – God is the judge: ‘If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving: and pay thy vows unto the Most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ (Ps. 50:12-15) 

Meanwhile the prophet Hosea says it thus on the Lord’s behalf: ‘For I desired mercy (faithfulness), and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.’ (Hos. 6:6) And Cousin Sol wrote it thus in Proverbs: ‘To do justice and judgement (righteousness and justice) is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.’ (Prov. 21:3)

 So although sacrifice, in the form of burnt offerings were an important part of their worship, what the Lord really wanted was their faithfulness and knowledge of Him and their thanksgiving! It was more a personal sacrifice He desired; the effort they put out to know, to LOVE, to thank Him and to live obedient to His laws. And although today we don’t need any burnt offering sacrifices for Jesus has paid the whole debt with the sacrifice of His life, the Lord still needs personal commitment from His followers if His kingdom is going to survive and prosper. 

That’s why Jesus called the people and disciples unto Him and said to them. ‘Whosoever will come after me (follow me), let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’ (Mark 8:34) And that includes us as well my brethren. And that simply means we have to die to ourselves, stop being selfish, surrender our lives to Christ and be willing to undergo anything that comes across our path, knowing that He won’t allow us to bear more than we can tolerate, and will eventually work everything out for our good. 

But we have to be prepared to bear some ‘sufferation’ for living for Jesus is usually not a Sunday evening stroll in the park. For as He so rightly warned: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) So a life following Jesus will most likely have troubles and disappointments, but He has promised to take care of all who serve Him faithfully. Hear him after telling them about taking up their cross and following Him nuh. 

‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ (Mark 8:35-38) 

Ah friends, as usual, Jesus spells it out clearly and simply: If you want to follow Him, then you need to stop worrying about your own desires and worry about His work. And if you are ashamed of Him and His words, then when He comes in His glory, He will also be ashamed of you and leave you out. Oh my brethren, our bodies and the things of this earth are not the most important in our lives, for those things perish and are eventually destroyed by means of rot and moth, but our souls, that is the biggest treasure we have, so we need to look after them very carefully, for they live on through eternity. 

So we need to take Jesus’ advice very seriously. ‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ (Matt. 10:28) That means we should be more afraid of God than men! But it doesn’t seem like we are, because we keep doing what men want us to do and not what God requires of us, and for that there WILL BE consequences, like being left on the outside looking into heaven during the long days of eternity. And believe me, that won’t be fun. 

Then let’s wake up and do what’s required of us nuh as supposed followers of Jesus; let’s sincerely walk the talk, so we don’t get left out of heaven. And to do that we need to first acknowledge God’s divine blessings on our lives, then put them into action. So let’s declare (steups!) our Thursday Blessings with much gusto. Altogether now: ‘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 it’s time to be as magnanimous and generous to others as God has been to us! Much LOVE!

…why kill your soul…when it can live on forever…in heaven with Christ… 

P.S. The lateness isn’t all my fault. Had to spend half an hour outside with a gentleman fixing my garage door opener. Oh, the joys of comfortable modern day living eh…but are the headaches and costs worth it when they break down…? Who knows eh? (smile) Much LOVE! 

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