Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 May 2021 1 Corinthians 12:6.

1 Corinthians 12:6.     And there are diversities (various kinds) of operations (activities), but it is the same God which worketh all in all (all things in us).

It’s a grey looking day in my neighbourhood, but I’m sure the spirits of true believers are riding high because of the presence of the Holy Spirit of Christ that’s leading and guiding us. And all I’m trying to say there, is that our outer circumstances should not always be a measure of our inner status. That with Christ in our lives, as Lord and Saviour, we ought to be flourishing even when things are not looking so good on the outside. And a particularly good example of that is our current worldwide predicament that’s causing so much sickness, death, strife and upheaval. 

But through it all, followers of Christ Jesus are expected to stand up strong and make a positive difference in some form and fashion. And our Leader knows that is not an easy task, but a very doable one, since He’s already given us all we need to do what He requires of us. That includes the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, the nine attributes we receive when we live by its guiding – LOVE, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23) 

Now that’s plenty to fight this evil and godless world with. But added to all of that is also what we call the Gifts of the Spirit. Those are roughly nine more different gifts, given to different believers to do their earthly ministry. They include – the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom, the Gift of Prophecy, the Gift of Faith, the Gift of Healings, the Working of Miracles, the Discerning of Spirits, Different Kinds of Tongues, the Interpretation of Tongues. I think it best though, to let Bruh Paul give us some basic explanations. 

He says: ‘Now there are diversities (various kinds) of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations (ministries), but the same Lord. And there are diversities (various kinds) of operations (activities), but it is the same God which worketh all in all (all things in us).’ (1 Cor. 12:4-6) Yes friends, there are all sorts of gifts, activities, and ministries, but they all stem from the same source, the Holy Spirit of God. 

‘But the manifestation (or gift) of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (All).’ (1 Cor. 12:7) And it’s especially important for us to note that my fellow believers: whatever gift we’ve been given is not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of ALL! Unlike the fruit of the Spirit, we don’t have ALL the gifts of the Sprit. Some have one, or some, and others have different ones. 

As Bruh Paul continues: ‘For to one is given by the Sprit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same spirit. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers’ (different) kinds of tongues (speaking in tongues); to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing (distributing) to every man severally (individually) as he will.’ (1 Cor. 12: 8-11) 

Ah mih bredrin, with the Fruit of the Spirit, and the Gifts of the Spirit, we believers are certainly wired for battle and eventual victory over this sinful world, provided we use those tools the way we ought. And I like how Michael Bradley puts it in his article on the bible-knowledge.com website. ‘For the record, we feel that the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit are much more important than the 9 gifts are. As the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit have to do with God imparting part of His divine nature into the core of our personalities to help make us into a much better and holy people. 

God’s ultimate aim for all of us is our sanctification in Him, and part of that sanctification process has to do with the Holy Spirit Himself transmitting 9 specific divine qualities and attributes into our personalities.’ Then He seems to quote someone else: ‘But if the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit are the cake, then the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit are the icing on the cake. Put these two together, and allow God to work with a believer with both sets of these 9 fruits and 9 gifts. And you will have one mighty sanctified soldier of Jesus Christ, as the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit will give you some serious heavy ammunition to have at your disposal as you walk with God’s anointing in your daily life.’ 

I couldn’t put it any better friends – with all that ammunition at our disposal, we ought to win whatever war in which we become involved. So today, as the world falls apart around us, let’s use our most potent tool nuh; prayer, to ask our great God for His divine help to halt the scary proceedings that have us wrapped up in much fear and anger. Therefore, as one voice, let’s raise up our Friday Chant to high heaven, sincerely pleading for release from our current demons. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the racial strife is causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. 

And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now, my people, it’s up to us, to show the Lord that we are truly faithful believers, by using all the gifts with which He’s so generously endowed us to help make our world a better place. Much LOVE!

…God will not do His part in restoration…until we do our part… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8          

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 May 2021 Psalm 107:6.

Psalm 107:6.     Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

Give it up for Thursday friends! Give thanks for the renewed breath of life flowing through us, with the Lord’s new mercies and compassions, fresh off the line, made especially for today! It is certainly an immense pleasure and privilege to do life with Jesus on another new day! Oh, glory be my people! Therefore, like the psalmist of old, we can most definitely declare (steups!) in grateful appreciation: ‘O Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever.’ (Ps. 107:1) 

Yes, my faithful brethren, we ought to be continually pouring out our thanks to the Lord God for His unending goodness to the children of men! I hate to think what would become of us if His mercies and compassions were not always available to us, despite the inherent sinfulness in our souls. And Psalm 107 is such a magnificent acknowledgement of God’s goodness to mankind that we going to look through it and cull some wonderful scriptures from it. 

Here is the first one: ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.’ (Ps. 107:2) And yuh better believe that is what we ought to be crying out in loud voice and sincere appreciation my brethren, because the Lord went out of His way to redeem us from eternal separation and destruction by sending His sinless Son to die on the cross to atone for our abominable sins! Now isn’t that something to be proud of and everlastingly grateful? It surely is! So why aren’t we proud of Him, and shouting out to all and sundry His wonderful mercies eh? 

Because we are a bunch of proud and arrogant ingrates! And why do I say so? Just listen as the psalmist continues. ‘And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness is a solitary (desolate) way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.’ (Ps. 107:3-7) 

Yuh see that mih people, when Israel found themselves in difficulty from their gross disobedience, they cried out to the Lord and He saved them from their problems. And I like how Asaph puts it in Psalm 50 – God is the judge. Talking about sacrificial offerings of animals, he speaks on God’s behalf. ‘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 up unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ (Ps. 50:12-15) 

Yeh friends, that’s how the redeemed of the Lord ought to behave! No wonder the author of Psalm 107, takes issue with us and sadly declares (spelled it wrong there too): ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men.’ (Ps. 107:8) We should have no problem in doing that nuh mih bredrin. But unfortunately, we seem to have just such a problem. 

And here’s why the psalmist tell us to give thanks and praises to our great and wonderful God. ‘For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron (prisoners). Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned (despised) the counsel of the Most High:’ (Ps. 107:9-11) 

Oh precious people, those words speak directly to our situation right now. We stubbornly and arrogantly rebelled against God, trying to kick Him out of our society! And what happened? ‘Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.’ (Ps. 107:12) Any fool can see the obvious resemblance there to our current society, where we are suffering all kinds of problems and the more we try to solve them in our own strength, the greater the mess and confusion we’re making. 

So what’s the answer eh? It’s obvious friends: ‘Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder (broke their chains in pieces).’ (Ps. 107:13-14) Yuh know, it still boggles my puny mind, that in all the troubles that we currently facing in this sick and strife filled world, very few of us, and none of the powers that be, are even considering calling unto the Most High God Jehovah for help. We’re only concerned about doing it in our own strength. 

But what about the God of our fathers eh? Have we forgotten so quickly how good He was to them when they called out to Him in troubled times? It certainly seems so. But friends, please believe, that our problems will not be solved until we turn back to the God of our fathers, and do like the psalmist says: ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men!’ (Ps. 107:15) 

And now that we have set us straight on that matter, (smile) let’s go home declaring (oh yeah!!!) our Thursday Blessings, which our magnificent and magnanimous God has seen fit to bless us most generously with to do His earthly work. In one loud and sincere voice: ‘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 has 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 every day! Amen!’ 

Oh my faithful believers, we are ever so blessed, that we can’t truly appreciate it! However, let’s go out now and generously share all those wonderful blessings with others who so desperately need them nuh, for that’s what Jesus desires of us! Much LOVE!

…man’s first responsibility…is to praise God… to give Him thanks…to glorify His holy name…                                  

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8         

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 May 2021 2 Chronicles 20:12b.

2 Chronicles 20:12b.     …neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.

And then it was Wednesday; the mid-week relief moment, the time when we were just getting reaccustomed to the new work week. But that was then…now, Wednesday is the mid-week crisis moment, when we’re wondering how and if we are going to make it through the rest of the week. Life has changed so drastically and unexpectedly during the past year that everything is in a state of turmoil and uncertainty. 

But yuh know what friends, in all the desperation and anxiety, fear and confusion, there is ONE place of safety for all of us, one place that has never, and will never change. That is at the foot of Christ’s cross, or in the waiting arms of our heavenly Father, or in the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. It simply means that our great God is the definitive place we must turn to for refuge from anything, or anyone, that comes against us in this earthly life. 

And these words from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin magnificently describe the process. The piece is titled: ‘Nobody Can Possibly Help Me.’ And as true believers in Christ, deep down we know that is not true, but it’s just when troubles keep coming relentlessly at us, we tend to lose the faith we need to carry us through the moment. 

But listen to what Ms. Calkin writes: ‘How wonderful! You can shake hands with a king. His name is Jehoshaphat, and his story reads like a letter from someone who feels desperate – maybe like how you feel right now. You don’t know where to turn. Neither did he. Jehoshaphat had no forces to oppose the “great company” marching against him. Standing achingly helpless (as you are), what did he do? He literally threw himself on God. He prayed. “O our God, we have no power to face this vast army attacking us. We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (You’ll find the story in 2 Chronicles 20.) 

Do you see yourself in the mirror of the story? Do you feel overpowered by a “great company” of temptations? Are you stumbling through confused days and tossing through sleepless nights? What is the answer? Stoic endurance? No. That brings only deeper despair. But you can pray Jehoshaphat’s prayer! His God is your God if your faith is in Jesus Christ. You can plead with God on the grounds of His great power, His promises, and His LOVE. And all the while you can keep your eyes steadfastly on Him. The result? As you trust, you will one day say as Jehoshaphat said, “The Lord has given me cause to rejoice.’ 

And that’s the gospel truth my fellow believers! In times of difficulty the Lord wants and expects us to cast all of our cares upon him, because He cares for us. Remember, Jesus unequivocally invited us in His Great invitation, to bring our burdens and woes to Him because He can take them from us and lighten our load. So, in spite of how things may seem, once we turn in all sincerity to God, our rocky road will gradually get smoother. As we raise the level of our faith in our Creator and Provider, we get better at handling the problems that we encounter in this earthly life. 

So as the song says: ‘There’s life in Him…There’s Hope in Him…There’s a bright future in Him. So don’t give up now… don’t give in…hang in there until things get better.’ And they will eventually, if we do like Jehoshaphat did; that’s stay with God. And here is the Bible Promise for our story today, Jehoshaphat’s pleading prayer. ‘O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen (nations)? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? 

Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? …O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.’ (2 Chr. 20:6-7, 12) 

Ah friends, the same thing applies to us today: we need to keep our eyes steadfastly focused on God, for that’s where the answer to everything and every question in our lives lie. Like Peter, when he walked on water with Jesus, if we take our eyes off Him and focus on the circumstances and problems then we’ll begin to sink. And if the great king Jehoshaphat could call out to God in such fear and uncertainty, who are we to do differently eh? And yuh see how the situation ended? 

Jehoshaphat and all his people of Judah fasted and prayed, then God sent them a message through Jahaziel: ‘Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s….Ye shall not need to fight in the battle: set (position) yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.’ (2 Chr. 20:15, 17) And the next day the Israelites went out and didn’t lift a hand but ended up victorious, for our great God made the three armies that were coming against them to fight amongst each other and destroy themselves. 

Oh my people, our God has not changed or become weak and immobile. He is still the omnipotent Creator and Provider, and He is telling us the same thing in these trying times: to not fear, leave your life in His powerful hands, just do what we are supposed to do, and He will protect us, because the battle is not ours but His. So let’s remember that in these turbulent times and stand strong and faithful. That’s all God is asking of us. He will do the rest! 

Now for those of us who are sincerely trying to do just that, let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. So as one strong and sincere voice: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And just in case you’ve forgotten, (smile) if we endure to the very end, then that future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…in spite of what comes against you…stay with God…that’s wisdom for the ages…                                   

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8        

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 May 2021 Matthew 19:26.

Matthew 19:26. ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’ 

Come on down Tuesday and let’s get going for Jesus! No time to waste or linger, for time is in short supply! All roads this morning are leading to the cross of Jesus, those two pieces of old wood upon which He fashioned the greatest miracle and gift of all time; salvation for sinners like you and I! 

So let’s give Him much thanks and praise for that indomitable feat, that selfless act of great courage, His awesome LOVE and outstanding obedience! If we only had one iota… sorry, that should be, if we had only shown one iota of the courage, LOVE and obedience that Jesus showed, our world would definitely not be in the mess that it currently is in. 

Yes friends, it’s not that we believers don’t have the parts to change the world, but rather, we have not used them sufficiently for that purpose. Consequently, the evil enemy has stepped into the breach that we left wide open, took advantage of our lackadaisical attitude and set up his dominion, and now has a stranglehold on our society. That means we must work even harder than ought to be necessary, to remake our world into a Christian stronghold. 

And, based on the authoritative words of Jesus, that’s not an impossible feat my fellow believers. Remember what He told the disciples after mentioning that it was easier for a camel to go a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God? (Matt. 19:24) ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’ (Matt. 19:26) That needs to be in the forefront of our thinking friends: ALL things are possible with God! When we sincerely believe that, then we can truly go on to move mountains in His omnipotent name! 

So, it’s up to us, the die-hard followers of Christ, to get a move on and begin changing the terribly negative situation in our world. Jesus is depending on us to do it. It won’t be easy, but if we put our best foot forward, we will make a sizeable impact, because right now, with all the strife and sickness that’s in our world, people are desperately seeking solace and sustenance like never before. That means, now is our time to shine, our time to roll out all the wonderful things that Jesus has bestowed on us to help our fellow human beings. 

And before we give up and claim that the task is too great, let’s hearken back to these encouraging words of the prophet Isaiah. ‘Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.’ (Is. 40:28) Yes friends our mighty God doesn’t faint or get weary, and neither can we understand how He moves, because as He says later on in Isaiah, that His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours. (Is. 55:8-9) 

So please stop using our finite minds to judge what the Creator of the universe can or cannot do. Instead, let’s believe that nothing is impossible to Him, and live our lives on that solid premise of faith! Remember these momentous words of Isaiah. ‘He giveth power to the faint (weak); and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.’ (Is. 40:29-31) 

Oh my people, what encouraging words in this time of pandemic and strife; words that we so desperately need to hear, understand and believe, if we are going to make a serious difference in the current world! Yes friends, now, in this time of much fainting and weariness, it therefore behooves us to not fall into those categories, but instead to turn to our great God and let Him renew our strength, so that we can rise up with wings like eagles, and walk and run as necessary, but certainly not faint! 

That’s the only way we will ever take back what the enemy has stolen from us and remake the world into what Jesus desires it to be! Oh yeah, I know that we won’t fully accomplish our task until Jesus comes back, but in the meantime, we have to do our best, do what we can, so that souls are not lost to the enemy, but won for Christ. That’s our job as His ambassadors, as His earthly representatives; to show the world what wonderful opportunities He provides for those who believe in and follow Him. The end results being salvation and eternal life! 

Consequently, my fellow believers, this is not a time to give up, but to rise up, for we were made for such a time as this, when we can stand strong and show the world what Jesus is really all about, and the immense, the eternal value that He offers to fallen human beings! 

Now, let’s go home declaring (ah Lord eh!) our Tuesday Mantra, telling the whole world who and whose we are, to whom we so safely and strongly belong! As one strong and sincere voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’  

And the obvious consequence to that declaration, (yeah!!!) is for us to now go out and generously share the awesome LOVE and friendship of Christ with others, so they too can receive the amazing benefits He bestows on His followers. Much LOVE!

…when times get tough…the tough…that’s Christians…rise up and show their mettle… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8           

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 May 2021 2 Corinthians 3:5.

2 Corinthians 3:5.     ​Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.

Another merry-go-round Monday friends! It’s amazing how quickly the days are passing by although we are immersed in so much conflict and sickness. And it’s so sad that many of us don’t know whether we are coming or going, with our lives all confused and topsy-turvy, with no plausible ending currently in sight. But as positive and serious believers in Christ Jesus, we are expected to hold on tightly to Him and ride out the storm with His lead and guidance. Remember His teaching re the vine and the branches? 

‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:4-5) That’s putting it very clearly and straightforward friends! Without Christ, our abilities are very limited. But with Him, we can do all things, because He strengthens us. Glory be! 

And Bruh Paul corroborates Christ’s statement when he says to the church at Corinth: ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.’ (2 Cor. 3:5) Now that’s exactly why we need to hold on to Christ and His faithful promises, especially in times of indecision and crisis like we’re now experiencing. And we know that many of our problems stem from our own mistakes, by our terrible inhumanity and critical lack of compassion for our fellow man, as we allowed the evil and negative aspects of the world, the lusts of the flesh, as it were, to take control of our society. 

We’re talking about the same things that Bruh Paul so long ago advised the Galatians against. ‘Adultery, fornication, uncleanness (sexual impurity), lasciviousness (sexual excess), Idolatry, witchcraft (sorcery), hatred, variance (contentions), emulations (jealousies), wrath, strife (selfish ambitions), seditions (dissensions), heresies (organized divisions or cliques), Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings (excessive eating and carousing) and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’ (Gal. 5:19-21) 

So, basically, most of our problems stem from those things being too prevalent in our modern-day world. We lack what Bruh Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit. And here’s how he explains it to the Galatians. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (it’s passions).’ (Gal. 5:22-24) 

And the scholars offer this basic explanation. ‘5:19-23. By contrasting the works of the flesh (vs. 19-21) with the fruit of the Spirit (vs. 22-23), the believer can know whether he is walking by the Spirit or being controlled by the flesh.’ And there’s no doubt that too many human beings are currently walking in the lusts of the flesh and not in the fruit of the Spirit, thus the ghastly and grievous situation that now exists in our world. 

Now, here’s another important scholarly explanation, I think I ought to mention. ‘5:22. The word fruit is significant for three reasons. (1) It means the result, product, outcome, or effect produced by the Spirit in the believer’s life. (2) Unlike “the gifts of the Spirit” (plural), only some of which are given to a Christian, each believer is to have ALL nine virtues composing “the fruit of the Spirit” (singular) (3) As fruit on a tree takes time to grow and mature, so the Spirit does not cultivate these virtues in the believer’s life overnight.’ That’s an important distinction we need to note between the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ and the ‘gifts of the Spirit,’ One is singular and the other is plural. 

And just for good measure, (smile) I’ll throw in some more scholarly explanations, this time in a little more detail, re the fruit of the Spirit. ‘LOVE is willing, sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of another without thought of return. Joy is gladness of heart. Peace is tranquility of mind, freeing one from worry and fear. Long-suffering is patience with others, the opposite of a short temper, a disposition quietly bearing injury. Gentleness is kindness. Goodness is generosity. Faith here is dependability. Meekness is gentleness, that is, courtesy and consideration of one’s relations with others. Temperance is self-control, that is, the ability to harness and control one’s passions and lusts.’ 

So now, we can’t say we didn’t know what the fruit of the Spirit is, (smile) which brings us to these closing words of Bruh Paul on the subject. ‘If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.’ (Gal. 5:25) That means, since we are supposed to live by the Spirit as believers, let us really follow the leadings and promptings of the Spirit in our lives.

 Finally, let’s go home pleading in prayer, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, for God’s mercy and grace on our current untenable situation. As one voice: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems. 

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. Please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again, we say: Amen!’ 

And the obvious corollary to that is for us to now go out and seriously and sincerely live by the Spirit, if we want to see substantial change in our world. Much LOVE!

…only by sticking close to Christ…like white on rice…can we crucify…the inherent lusts of the flesh… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8          

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 May 2021 Ephesians 2:8.

Ephesians 2:8.     ​For by grace are ye saved (you have been saved) through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Another Sunday morning friends, another grateful day of praise and worship! Oh, how I wish though, that we could say like Bruh David did of his companions on that fateful Sabbath day: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps. 122:1) But right now, that’s only wishful thinking for most of us, what with the serious state of the Corona virus lockdown, and the many restrictions placed on actual sanctuary gathering. 

However, because we are children of the Most High God Jehovah, we will not be defeated. We might be constrained or restrained, but we will never stop worshipping our God on His day, especially with all the modern technological inventions that allow it to be done virtually. Yes, this way does detract some from the spontaneity and togetherness that comes from gathering in person, but in these troubled and perilous times, any kind of worship is better than no worship at all. And it’s been going on for so long now that most of us have become accustomed to it. 

So enough with the talk, let’s get to some praise and worship, singing the well-known and much LOVED, hymn, written by John Newton, the ex-slave trader back in the last half of the 18thcentury. We all know it as ‘Amazing Grace.’ And according to the GodTube website: This isn’t a song of theology – it’s John Newton’s own heartfelt expression of gratitude to God, who helped him turn from his profane and wicked life and eventually fight against the ills he practiced.’ Therefore, with our own sincere and heartfelt gratitude, let’s sing it out now nuh, letting all of heaven and earth know just how much we truly value God’s grace in our lives. 

So, in soulful harmony, let’s raise our heads, hearts and voices to the sky. ‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace. 

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, who called me here below, Will be forever mine. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, Than when we’d first begun. Oh yes, When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, Than when we’d first begun.’ 

Oh, what magnificent, Bible based sentiments my people! And did we ever express them well! (smile) But seriously though my brethren, who would have thought that an ex-slaver could write such exquisite words and declare such heartfelt emotion. Only through the grace of God, you say! I guess so. And the story goes that it was during a serious storm on the ocean, when their ship did not look like it would survive the relentless pounding, that Newton’s mind turned back to the God his mother had taught him about at an early age. 

And I can tell you about a personal experience on Lake Ontario, when caught in a storm late at night, in the middle of the lake in a small boat, and I saw drunken men pray like mad. I wasn’t drunk, but believe me, I prayed too! That’s also the first time I truly understood what the words ‘shivering of the timbers’ meant.’ (smile) I can laugh about it now, but then it was really scary. So Newton’s reaction is not surprising, because it’s ofttimes during serious storms in our lives, literal or figurative, that our thoughts turn to Jesus, and we realize that He is our only answer for calming the storms. 

And it’s said that Newton’s behavior was so terrible that it even shocked the sailors themselves, who already had a bad reputation for profanity and licentiousness. And it does say a lot about the power of God’s grace, if it could save such a disgusting heretic. As one commentary puts it: ‘Only God’s amazing grace could and would take a rude, profane slave-trading sailor and transform him into a child of God. Newton never ceased to stand in awe of God’s work in his life.’ And so he should! 

It’s not surprising then, that Newton described God’s grace as ‘amazing’ and the sound sweet to his ears in saving a wretch like him. Oh, the power of God’s grace! He was once lost, but God’s grace found him at his lowest ebb, where God usually finds us, and also opened his blinded eyes to see the value of salvation. That’s why Bruh Paul emphasizes to the Ephesians, and also to us, the great importance of God’s grace in our salvation. ‘For by grace are ye saved (you have been saved) through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ (Eph. 2:8-9) 

And you ask, what is this grace and faith that we’re talking about? Well, grace is basically ‘the expression of God’s goodness towards the undeserving.’ It’s the unmerited favour of God; meaning we don’t deserve it, but He’s so good to us, He gives it to us anyway. And faith is the way we gain God’s grace to be saved. That’s by believing in Christ Jesus, believing that God sent Christ to earth to die on the cross at Calvary to pay for or atone for our sins. 

So when we have that faith in Christ, then we can be saved by God’s good gift of grace. And Bruh Paul made sure that we knew salvation could not be obtained by works, but only by grace, God’s gift, otherwise men would be boasting like crazy, not that that has stopped them down through the years. (smile) 

Now, let’s end with this last tidbit on Newton’s conversion. It’s reputed that he found a New Testament and while reading it, Luke 11:13, seemed to assure him that God might still hear him. That verse contains these famous words of Jesus’ teaching on prayer. ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?’ That’s a very good question friends. And obviously John Newton took it to heart, and asked God for the Holy Spirit, and it was given to Him. 

So today, as we give God the glory He so richly deserves, it would be a good idea to sit and ponder how we each came to faith in Christ and thus received the free gift of salvation, through God’s amazing grace. Much LOVE!

Salvation’s source is grace… the means of salvation is faith… (Bibleref.com) 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8         

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 May 2021 Matthew 15:11.

Matthew 15:11.     Not that which goeth into a man defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Glory be friends! It’s lazy-day Saturday, and also the first day of the month of May! That means our world has already gone through four months of this year of 2021 ensnared in the brutal fangs of the Corona virus, racial, political and religious strife and numerous natural disasters. And we’re still locked down with no sign of relief in sight. There are vaccines aplenty, but the pandemic is still roaring ahead strong. And don’t talk about all the different kinds of strife, they seem to be proliferating daily because we keep fanning the flames around them instead of squelching them with LOVE and togetherness. 

Consequently, there will be no Labour Day marches and celebrations of the hard-won benefits that the Labour Movement have won down through the Industrial Age. Instead, our sad state of affairs have given the owners of the means of production a chance to retract and restrict some of those hard-won rights. It has always been, and will always be, an uphill fight against the greed and avarice of the owner class of society. They are not really interested in the betterment of the society as a whole, just in that of their upper crust section. 

And, unfortunately, we cannot fix the wrongs of the world in the pages of our Bit, but we can certainly offer encouragement and ideas that will help us survive, and eventually overcome. And all God’s children said a loud, proud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord!’ So let’s keep that promise by checking out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Now, this first quote is the building block, the foundation of all the others. ‘Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.’ And that’s the indisputable truth friends! You can’t have a good relationship with anyone else until you have a good one with yourself. Why do you think Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment was to LOVE our neighbours as ourselves eh? (Matt. 22:39) Because He knew that only if we had a good feeling about, or relationship with ourselves, that we could have the same with someone else. 

That means whatever is inside of us, is what we have to share and nothing else. No wonder He also said: ‘Not that which goeth into a man defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man…. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.’ (Matt. 15: 11, 18-20) 

So that’s why this next quote is also very important in the life of each individual. ‘There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go.’ That’s more indisputable truth my brethren. It’s a waste of life and precious time to keep toting our baggage from the past constantly along with us. Like the quote says, it’s just ‘punishing your future for the mistakes of your past.’ And that’s certainly not wise. 

We need to leave our baggage behind, but certainly learn from it, so that we can have good energy and increased wisdom to move into the future and do better than we did before. And the best way to do that is to accept Christ’s invitation to lay it down at his feet, at the foot of His cross. He sincerely invites us: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest… For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light’ (Matt. 11:28, 30) 

You can’t do any better than giving your problems to Jesus’ friends, because He’s the problem solver, the miracle worker, the I can do anything you want me to individual! And when we do that my people, this next quote comes shining through in our lives. ‘When I accept myself just as I am, I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me.’ 

Oh, praise be my precious fellow believers! When we give ourselves and our burdens to Christ, we don’t need to seek acceptance from anyone else, because, Christ, the Lord and Saviour is the ONLY one we truly need acceptance from! Once He accepts us, we are free and clear of the worldly burden that the enemy tries to put on us, saying we must do this or do that to be acceptable in the sight of the world! Give thanks to His holy name friends for freeing us from all the foolishness, deceit and burdens the enemy tries to lay on us through the evil world system! 

That brings us to our last quote, another beauty: ‘Confidence is the ability to feel beautiful, without needing someone to tell you.’ Isn’t that wonderful? It surely is! But then you ask, where do we find that confidence that leads to the ability to feel beautiful? From Jesus Christ of course my friends…From Jesus Christ! You can’t get than from no one, or nowhere else but the One who sacrificed His sinless life so selflessly on the cross of Calvary on our behalf! That’s what He gives us when we accept Him as Lord and Saviour and live the righteous way He desires of us. 

But unfortunately, that doesn’t happen overnight, it is a gradual process. We can’t live one way for several years and then expect to change to another completely different form in the blink of an eye. And it does take effort on our part, because it’s a partnership we enter into with Christ. There are some things we need to do and some that only Christ will do. And please believe me when I say that He won’t do the things we need to do, so our progress or regress depends quite a lot on us. 

And those things include reading, studying and meditating on His Word, the Bible, which is His Guidebook for our earthly lives. Then we not only need to know what that guidebook contains, but even more importantly, we need to practice what it says. Now that’s the major difference between a confident and non-confident Christian. The confident ones go out and do stuff, make things happen in Christ’s name, while the non-confident ones just talk and don’t do anything to grow Christ’s kingdom. 

Yes friends, please remember that’s what we are supposed to be all about on this God-given earth nuh, spreading Christ’s Word and growing His kingdom. So, let’s get out there today and do just that nuh, with the wonderful confidence that He so generously instills in us when we truly believe in Him! Much LOVE!

…in Christ we live and move…in Christ we have our very being… (Acts 17:28) 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8