Today’s Scrip-Bit   24 May 2022 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 then it was Tuesday, sunny but somewhat chilly, as it still isn’t truly summer, although we are behaving like it is, with the li’l warm weather we’ve recently been having. (smile) It’s also the first working day of this week and I wonder after the Victoria Day celebrations, how many of us didn’t make it to work today, or are so beat up that we are of no real use in the job? No doubt the number is higher than usual because it was the first long weekend up in cottage country after the long Covid lockdown and dreary winter days. 

And sadly, too many of us have become hopeless and discouraged by the trying circumstances of the last two years, but if we have true faith in the One who created us, then we should never become discouraged or hopeless. And today I want to share some good info about discouragement from the marvellous work by Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller): ‘Hours of Power – My Daily Book of Motivation and Inspiration.’ And today’s inspiring and motivating message is aptly titled: ‘Don’t Get discouraged.’ I shared it sometime ago, but I believe, with all the unfortunate circumstances that are currently plaguing our world, it’s time to share it again. 

So please read with me. ‘Do not be discouraged if you do not accomplish everything that you set out to accomplish. Surely if you do not expect to succeed you will hold back your full power, investment, and enthusiasm. Immediately the kind of people who help to move you on to victory begin to draw back. Your conservative and cautious attitude will reflect itself in an anxious look on your face that will disturb and discourage people from helping you. 

There are two major reasons why people fail. Both stem from a lack of mountain moving faith. (1) People who fail are often people who are indecisive. They cannot make decisions swiftly and surely. The fast moving opportunity is past before they decide – too late – to take hold. 

(2) Then some decisive people fail because, after making the decision, they fail to move forward with an expectant confidence. They grab the opportunity, only to lose nerve, get cold feet, and begin to wonder if they have done the right thing. They have gripped the plow but now they are looking back. Want to be a success? Develop the ability to appraise opportunities intelligently, seize opportunities swiftly, and promote those opportunities confidently.’ 

Yes friends, I do hope those words of wise advice will cause us to take a good look at ourselves and enable us to come up higher in these tough times. That recalls one of Dr. Schuller’s favourite sayings: ‘Tough times never last, but tough people do!’ And that’s the gospel truth, for if we are believers in Christ, then we ought to be tough, for we have the greatest example of toughness in our Lord and Saviour! You can say whatever you want about him, but you can NEVER say that He wasn’t tough, for He took all the ‘sufferation’ and rejection that was thrown against Him in stride, never bat an eyelid or complained about it, just went about the Father’s business in faithful and dutiful obedience. 

Now, we obviously don’t have all the divine parts that Jesus had, but we can still do a better job than we are currently doing. We have life so easy nowadays that we complain about any little misfortune or setback. We’ve lost the belly and backbone we had when times were not as easy. And that’s not done us any good, for there will always be ups and downs in our lives, and if we don’t have that resistant, resilient belly and backbone we’ll never be able handle to the tough times, exactly what we’re seeing with the current unsettling situations. 

Remember what it takes to be a true follower of Christ. Jesus said it quite clearly and plainly. ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ (Matt. 16:24) That means we have to be tough and decisive if we want to follow Christ. And it’s not like we don’t know that He will always be there to help us. We claim it all the time. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ (Phil. 4:13) And we also mouth this other reaffirming scripture: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil 4:19) 

But unfortunately, when the going gets tough we seem to forget about those encouraging scriptures, we moan and groan and wonder what’s happened to God. Yes, it’s ever so easy to follow Christ in the good times, but it’s when the hammer hits the nail, that our faith needs to come up strong. Gramps Schuller calls it mountain moving faith. Jesus said it to the disciples when they couldn’t cast out a demon from a young boy. ‘Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.’ (Matt. 17:20) 

That’s how much a li’l faith can accomplish, so can you imagine when we have great faith, the mighty things we can accomplish for Christ in His awesome name! And that’s exactly what He’s expecting of His followers right now in these calamitous times. He expects us to be the true salt of the earth and light of the world, showing the unbelievers who are living in darkness the true way to the truth and the light, to the Father and Creator, and that’s through Him. We desperately need to let the world know what Jesus said on that matter. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ (John 14:6) 

And that’s the indisputable truth! There’s no getting to heaven, no receiving salvation and eternal life without receiving Christ as Lord and Saviour. Christ laid the foundation and now expects us to build His body, His church, stone by stone, brick by brick with our earthly efforts. Yes, it’s only through us, His earthly hands, feet and body that the world will get that message. He’s depending on us my brethren to do the work that must be done for the world to come to salvation. 

And for those of us who are rising faithfully to the challenge, let’s go home now declaring (yesss!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. As one strong and confident 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!’

 Now let’s go out and do just that nuh; share Christ’s amazing LOVE and friendship with those who don’t know him, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do! Much LOVE!

…as our faith grows…so will our work for Jesus grow…  

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

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