Today’s Scrip-Bit   31 December 2022 Philippians 4:13.

Philippians 4:13.         I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Now, it’s a wet, drizzly and cloudy New Year’s Eve in my neighbourhood, but I definitely prefer that to the white stuff some people are getting, and others have not dug themselves out of since the big snowfall on Christmas weekend. It’s been a rough time for many North Americans, thankfully though, my area didn’t get the snow others got, we just got rain and howling winds for a couple of days. 

And though the rain will no doubt dampen some of the New Year’s Eve excitement, I’m sure it won’t curtail the basic exuberance of many partygoers, who will party on, come rain, snow or shine. (smile) But since it’s Saturday, let’s take a look at the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And the first one says: ‘Belief creates the actual fact.’ Now that’s something that’s spouted by the world, but it certainly isn’t true. Yes, what you believe might become a fact to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually a truthful fact. For example, many people, believe there is no God, does that make it a fact that there is no God! Absolutely not! It’s the same way back in time when they believed that the world was flat, but that didn’t mean it was flat, although some still argue that fact today. (smile). 

And in today’s confused society there are so many truths that you will trip over them if you’re not careful. Whatever you believe nowadays is considered truth; that’s your truth, but that doesn’t make it factual or even true. The only things we can believe that are true and also factual are the words of God written in His venerable library, the Bible. Why? Because it is a collection of ‘divine instruction.’ 

As Bruh Paul wrote to Timothy. ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished (equipped) unto all good works.’ (2 Tim. 3:16-17) Now that’s where belief meets truth and facts! 

Then there’s this quote: ‘I’m not going to continue knocking on that old door that doesn’t open for me. I’m going to create my own door and walk through that.’ Now the first part of that statement makes sense, why bother knocking on a door that’s no longer opening for you. However, the next part of the statement is somewhat tricky, especially if you are a believer in Christ Jesus. The world says that you must press ahead and open doors for yourself, but Almighty God desires that you wait and let Him open doors for you. 

In His divine plan for our lives, He closes them and also opens them as He sees fit. And the worst mistake we can ever make is to try and open doors for ourselves that the Lord doesn’t want us to go through, or He’s not ready for us to go through. I can speak on that from personal experience. You’ll just keep bouncing your head until you wake up and realize your mistake, or He thinks it’s time to open that door. 

Now that doesn’t mean you just sit and do nothing while waiting for God to open the next door. No! You prepare yourself through prayer and study of His word and whatever is behind the door that will be opened. For lots of time the door doesn’t open because you’re not ready, knowledgeable and experienced enough to manage the promotion that opened door will bring. 

And the next quote advises: ‘Wake up determined, go to bed satisfied.’ Yes, that’s certainly an interesting quote, one to which we should all aspire! We should be determined every day to do God’s will, whatever it might be! After giving thanks for seeing another morn, then we ask for His purpose and guidance, our daily bread, so that we can fulfill His desires for that day. Then we get moving and are obedient to His will. That way, we can go to bed at night satisfied! 

And in the process of doing God’s will, the next quote tells us: ‘Do not allow people to dim your shine because they are blinded. Tell them to put some sunglasses on.’ Now is that ever so true, since in our daily journey the enemy will send naysayers to belittle or lessen us in the eyes of the world. But once we know we are doing God’s will, let’s not allow them to do that! 

Yes, if they think we’re shining too brightly, then they ought to put on sunglasses, because Jesus said that we’re the light of the world, and we should shine, shine bright and sparkling all over the world! On the other hand, if they would just accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, they would be able to shine bright and sparkling like us! (smile) 

And the last quote says: ‘Not having the best situation, but seeing the best in your situation is the key to happiness.’ That certainly has some truth to it. It’s a proven fact that our attitude towards our situations always affects our reactions to them. And it’s definitely the key to our response. A negative attitude will engender or produce doubt, fear and an inability to deal successfully with the situation. However, a positive attitude, though it might not change the circumstances, will allow you to think clearly and find a way out without the added baggage of fear and doubt. 

But overall, that consistent kind of positive attitude is only possible when Jesus is your Guide and Leader, since He is the One who empowers us to have that attitude. Remember these words of Bruh Paul: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Phil. 4:13) Yes, it’s through His power that we are able to stand strong and steadfast through whatever circumstances we encounter. It’s through belief in His goodness and mercy, like Bruh Paul says later on: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) 

Oh my fellow believers, we’re living in a tough, cruel and evil world, but if we believe the words of Jesus, like these enlightening and encouraging ones: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) And He has definitely done that through His death and resurrection. 

So, if we allow words like those to continually simmer and bubble in our hearts and souls, ready to be used at an instant’s notice, then we will be able to overcome the hard knocks of life and enjoy the abundant life that He’s promised. But it all depends on us: on our sincere belief, trust and surrender to Him! Much LOVE!

…until you really get to know Jesus…you won’t really know how wonderful He is… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ       

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   30 December 2022 Colossians 3:14.

Colossians 3:14.       And above all these things put on charity (LOVE), which is the bond of perfectness.

And so we come to Friday…and the shouts of TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!’ are even louder than usual, because this is another long weekend, and a more party going one too; New Year’s Eve! What a time of celebration the end of 2022 will be! It’s been a tough, unexpected, uncontrollable year, but we’ll make sure and close it off with joyful expectations for 2023. (smile) But please my people, don’t expect 2023 to be any better than 2022 unless we work to make it better. It’s going to be another tough year, but hopefully not as tough as this past one. 

And it’s only going to improve if we believers do as Bruh Paul warned the Colossians way back when. As we said yesterday, we have to actively put on the new man, leave all our old behaviour behind and put our sincere trust in Christ Jesus: ‘Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond (slave) nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.’ (Col. 3:11) Yes friends, that’s the attitude we believers need to adopt in this new year. 

And as always, after giving us the theory, Bruh Paul gives us the practical lessons. (smile) In this case, he says: ‘Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies (tender mercies), kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering (patience); Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.’ (Col. 3:12-13) 

Oh my people, that is the only way our lives and that of Christ’s church will ever improve, regardless of what kind of year we have! We absolutely need to take on those virtues and qualities that lead to peace and ‘bowels of mercies’ or heartfelt compassion. None of us has arrived, or become so mature that we don’t need these lessons. 

And thus, the scholars explain: ‘As the believer is developing these virtues, he must be forbearing and forgiving toward his fellow church member. For his Christian brother is also in the process of acquiring the virtues of verse 12 and therefore retains some flaws, deficiencies, and weaknesses. Hence the need of forbearance and forgiveness.’ 

And that’s all so true my brethren! We all still have flaws and some residue from the old man; therefore we all need to have patience and forgiveness towards each other as we all are in the growing and maturing process of Christian living. Without that forbearance and forgiveness, it will all fall back into the shambles it currently is! And please remember how Christ forgave us! That alone should encourage us to be patient with and forgiving to others! Now that’s not all, for Bruh Paul continues the lesson in putting on the new man. (smile) ‘And above all these things put on charity (LOVE), which is the bond of perfectness.’ (Col. 3:14) 

And is it ever! Here’s how the scholars explain that verse. ‘Charity is LOVE, here called the bond of perfectness. LOVE is the crowning grace completing the list of virtues required for perfectness or spiritual maturity. As a “bond” it binds all other virtues together in harmony and unity.’ Wow! And it’s the gospel truth! No wonder we say that LOVE makes the world go round! And the lack of LOVE in our world today is what’s making it not go round as smoothly as it ought. 

Therefore, in Bruh Paul’s words: ‘And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.’ (Col. 3:15) Yes friends, ‘the peace of God is the harmony and concord created by God among His people. And when that rules in our hearts, it means that whatever course of action that brings peace and harmony is the course to be taken by disagreeing believers.’ Then too, Bruh Paul highly recommends: ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.’ (Col. 3:16) 

Oh what wonderful advice my faithful brethren! And the scholars tell us that ‘When believers are forbearing, forgiving (vs. 13), and LOVING (vs. 14) toward one another, when peace reigns among God’s people (vs. 15), then the church is fertile soil for the blessings produced by the word of Christ.’ There’s so much truth in that my people! And it’s one of the main reasons why today’s church is so infertile; too much petty bickering, envy and jealousy, which makes for a divided and therefore weak church! 

Meanwhile, Bruh Paul closes this section with these words. ‘And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.’ (Col. 3:17) That’s the clincher my fellow saints! Doing all we do in Christ’s name, with thanks to our heavenly Father! Without that, nothing will work! And the scholars reinforce that by saying: ‘The beneficial influence produced by the indwelling word of Christ is not only to affect public and private worship (v.16), but it is also to control all areas of Christian life.’ 

Glory be my people! That tells us that the Christian life is a complete entity in itself. It does have different parts, but all must be lived out before one can claim perfectness or spiritual maturity. And that’s what we’re aiming for in the upcoming year of 2023 my fellow saints; a heightened maturity! We might not get to be perfect, but we must improve our level of Christ-like behaviour, if our world is to become any better than it currently is. Matter fix! 

Now, let’s go home declaring (yeah!!!) our Friday Chant asking the Lord for His divine help to do all that we said needs to be done. As one voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the confusion and anxiety caused by the pandemic and our many other serious problems. We can’t fix them on our own Lord, so 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 the simmering unrest in our land. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, without further serious setbacks. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to return backsliders to your fold, show them the error of their ways. And please introduce a new flock of believers, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic, the bubbling discontent and dissatisfaction in our land, as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, wake up and smell it sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And all our pleading will be useless, unless we get serious and do what we know we need to do! Much LOVE!

…one can only be a new man…by divesting oneself of the old…and putting on the new… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ        

Today’s Scrip-Bit   29 December 2022 Luke 9:23.

Luke 9:23.       If any man will (desires to) come after me (be my disciple), let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Well, here’s another ‘Can you believe it’: On Thursday 29th December 2022, the sun is shining and the weather is fine! The temperature is about 8 degrees Celsius. That’s in the middle of winter. Rain is expected not snow! As the old people would say, what  en’t reach you, en’t pass you! In other words, you won’t believe it until you see it! So it’s obvious that times are a changing; both in weather and the nature of man, and thus in our society. Mankind is certainly becoming like Bruh Paul wrote to Timothy so long ago. 

‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be loves of their own selves, covetous (money lovers), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers (irreconcilable), false accusers (slanderers), incontinent (without self-control), fierce (brutal), despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady (reckless), highminded (haughty), lovers of pleasures more (rather) than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (mere religion without the power of a spiritual life): from such turn away.’ (2 Tim. 3:1-5) 

Oh friends, it seems that Bruh Paul is in our midst today writing about the sorry state of our world. For, unless you are blind, deaf, dumb and totally not involved, you have surely noticed the decline of our society, debased to the level of all the things Bruh Paul spoke to Timothy about. I don’t know if there’s ever been an angrier and more strife-filled time in mankind’s history across the whole known world at the same time, like we’re now experiencing, where everybody is in an uproar over something, and nobody’s satisfied about anything. 

I daresay the last days can’t be far ahead. But until that time, it is the bounden duty of we believers to fight tooth and nail to keep the world for Christ! This is the time for which we were created. We have all we need to change things, but we are just fearful and lazy, preferring to enjoy the pleasures of the world rather than do the world-changing work of God. 

Yes my people, please, let’s remember Jesus’ parting desire, His Great Commission. ‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:19-20) 

Now my fellow believers, please tell me what aspect of that is rocket science eh, that’s so high that we don’t understand it? It’s simple and clear forward like everything else Jesus says! We just don’t want to make the sacrifice it entails to do His work. But please remember these words of Jesus also; the requirements for being His disciple. ‘If any man will (desires to) come after me (be my disciple), let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ (Luke 9:23) 

Oh my brethren, the life of a follower of Jesus involves daily sacrifice if necessary. It is a good, abundant and prosperous but also sacrificial life, like Jesus’ was. He never asks us to do what He never did, or will not empower us to do. The problem is that we need to raise the level of our faith, the level of our trust and surrender to His faithfulness. We can’t just lie down and play dead before the evil doings of the world. No! We need to put on the armour of God that we recently spoke about and join the spiritual battle that’s taking place for the soul and spirit of our world, our children and our families! 

Unfortunately though, most of that fight is being conducted by a handful of believers. And when Christ’s church should be so deeply involved in this fight, it’s not, because it’s divided, disunited and torn apart by selfish, petty disagreements. The enemy has successfully divided and conquered it. Yesterday we saw where Bruh Paul spoke to the Colossians about putting off the old man.  Today though is a different day, one where we desperately need to listen and do as he exhorts: ‘And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.’ (Col. 3:10) 

Oh friends, that’s what we need in our world today; the new man, the new person we are supposed to become after accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour. And to paraphrase the scholars, that’s a man with a new nature, a Christ-like one, ‘with new values, aspirations and a new lifestyle. And that new man needs to be constantly renewed or developed until he attains a mature knowledge of the God who (re)created him. The more a believer knows and understands God, the more he will be like God in character and conduct.’ 

And isn’t that the living truth! It surely is! That means to improve our Christ-like mettle, improve our faith and desire to do Christ’s bidding, our first priority is to learn more about God, that’s read, study and meditate on His awesome Word. And a dusty Bible, sitting unopened and unused in a corner is not the way to learn about God. Rather, as they say, the Bible is for everyday living, not only for weekends. So you need to open, read and study it, EVERY DAY, if you truly want to know more about your heavenly Father. That’s the long and short of the story! 

And what I LOVE about our great God is His faithfulness and generosity, where He showers us with undeserved blessings so that we can do His earthly work. We call them our Thursday Blessings, but we have to declare them before they can be activated. So let’s do that right now nuh. As one strong 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’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 every day! Amen!’ 

So now that those blessings have been activated, let’s get out there and enthusiastically share them faithfully and generously, and thus put and keep the devil in his rightful place…that’s in hell. Much LOVE!

…we believers need a resurgence of faith and courage…which can only come from serious study of the Bible…and a time of serious gospel revival…

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ       

Today’s Scrip-Bit   28 December 2022 Colossians 3:2.

Colossians 3:2.       Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth.

Can you believe it’s already Wednesday, the middle of the work week! And today is the first day some people are going out to work! It’s sure good to have Christmas fall on the weekend. But I wonder how much work is going to get done this week, with the Christmas celebrations still holding us in grip, and all the exciting and wonderful memories we have to share. Then, adding the upcoming New Year’s Eve excitement, with all the amazing plans in store, I’m sure not much work will be done in next the few days. (smile) 

You can’t do much about it, because that’s just the nature of the human animal. But as followers of Christ Jesus, we are expected to always put our best foot forward and do what we’re getting paid to do, for though our employer might not be watching us, the Lord is certainly watching and evaluating us. Remember the words of Bruh Paul to the church at Colossae. ‘And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance (salvation): for ye serve the Lord Christ.’ (Col. 3:23-24) 

And though Bruh Paul was referring there particularly to the slaves of men, it also applies to us, possibly even more, because we are servants of the Living God. So, generally speaking we should not abuse our privileges at work, but do our best all the time, not only when our employer is watching. And since the year is coming to an end, and we’re talking about always doing our best for Christ’s sake, I guess it’s apropos for us to consider a couple of things that we should endeavour to accomplish in 2023. 

Like seeking the things that are above, as Bruh Paul explains to the Colossians. ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.’ (Col. 3:1-3) 

And the scholars explain that situation thus. ‘As all wisdom and knowledge reside in Christ (2:3) (In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.) So, the believer’s new life is stored up in Him. This means that the Christian life belongs to the spiritual or heavenly realm. Jesus is in intimate relation with God; so are his followers. And since the Colossians (and us) now belong to the heavenly realm and are intimate with God, they (we) should seek those matters and interests pertaining to heaven and not to earth.’ 

Yes my fellow believers, as followers of Christ, it’s essential that we concentrate on heavenly things and not all the ungodly things of the earth. Stuff like ‘current heretical philosophies, legalistic practices, and vices, nor should we dwell on things that are not wrong in themselves, (houses, jobs, careers, ambitions etc.) but can be wrong should they become priorities over Christ.’ And it’s ever so easy for us to make things of this world take priority over Christ, which makes whatever it is an idol! 

It’s therefore important in this coming year to have our priorities in proper order. Which, as Christ so plainly declared: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) Now that’s been our proverbial problem. We say we believe it, but we don’t act like we do. We still go out and try to make all the things we want happen in our own way and time, and only when we are unsuccessful, do we remember to turn to God. 

That brings us back to Bruh Paul’s advice to the Colossians, where he says: ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore (put to death) your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection (passion), evil concupiscence (desire), and covetousness, which is idolatry.’ (Col. 2:5) That means ‘put to death all the various sins that exist, and seek to express themselves through different “members” of the human body. Inasmuch as they “are dead” to sin (vs. 3), they are to make this death to the old life a reality in daily living.’ Now that should be one of our major goals for this new year; being truly dead to sin in our daily lives. 

And Bruh Paul continues: ‘For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.’ (Col. 3:6-9) 

And what a wonderful world we would have if just we believers would do as directed and give up the things of our old lives, before salvation, before receiving Christ as Saviour! That’s because we still do too much of that stuff; too much worldly thinking and sinful acts. We still engage in too much anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and evil communication. If we just stopped or even lessened those five things, there would be such a great improvement in our individual lives, the church and the world at large. 

Now it’s not that difficult to do, if we concentrate on Christ’s direction: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye have LOVE one to another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) And why can’t we have LOVE to each other eh my fellow saints? If we would just do what we are supposed to, then there’d be no cause for all the negative stuff that’s currently taking place among believers. 

And Peter puts it this way: ‘And above all things have fervent charity (LOVE) among yourselves: for charity (LOVE) shall cover the multitude of sins.’ (1 Pet. 4:8) Oh my people, LOVING each other is not always easy, but with God’s help we can certainly do much better than we’re now doing. And that’s what is expected of us in this new year of 2023. Now, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ. 

Altogether: ‘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 we like to add this l’il bit of encouragement. If we endure right down to the end with Jesus, then that future will be even more glorious than we can ever ask or imagine. So, let’s hang in there right to the very end nuh! Much LOVE!

…our world can be made better…if we believers make ourselves better…  

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ      

Today’s Scrip-Bit   27 December 2022 Psalm 119:169.

Psalm 119:169.       Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.

And then it was Tuesday…and the Christmas celebrations are winding down. But just until the weekend, when the big New Year’s bash takes place! Ah, what a difference a year makes! And let’s hope that we will do a better job of living and LOVING in 2023, a better job of safeguarding our wonderful planet, and lessening the considerable strife, anger and hate that presently has it coloured in human blood. Let’s hope that it’s the redeeming blood of Jesus that will engulf us, and not the blood of our fellow human beings. 

So, in light of all the sad happenings in ourselves and our world, let’s listen to this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, which describes a lot of what we’re currently going through. It’s titled ‘Unexplainable Mystery.’ Please read with me. ‘Mysterious God Today I am desolate I am puzzled I am heartsick That I must wait so long When you have promised so much. At the same time I am conscience-stricken That I should feel such bitter rebellion. 

Yet, to try to hide my emotions Would only build up a pretense That would eventually be exposed. I suppose, O God In the great perplexities Of my unpredictable life One of two things will always happen: Either I will crowd You out (Slowly but surely) Or I will acknowledge Your sovereignty In every area of my bewildered life. To offer myself to You Regardless of the circumstances May always bring unexplainable mystery. But rejecting You totally Brings the depth of despair.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth my brethren! Rejecting God totally, can only drive us to the depths of despair! Accepting Him and His sovereignty takes some getting used to and sometimes drives us crazy when we can’t find answers. But deep down, we know that total rejection of Almighty God is the biggest mistake we can ever make, because then we have no one or nothing to fall back on, to lean on when the circumstances of life rear up and come against us, as they most definitely will! That’s why so many of us who have crowded God out of our lives are suffering so much affliction we can hardly breathe! 

Yes, living for God isn’t easy, there will be trials and tribulations, but living without Him is unbearable! And why is that? The answer’s simple. When the Lord created us, He built in a special algorithm that causes us to yearn for Him. He left this empty space in our souls that ONLY He can fill. And until He fills it, we will always yearn for something more, something greater than ourselves, although we try to do life on our own. It’s not rocket science friends. It’s just the wisdom and common sense with which our Lord created us; He gave us free will, but also to always feel the need of and for Him, despite, or in spite of all our rebellious actions. 

And yuh know what friends, that hunger for God that’s buried deep within us, usually manifests itself when we are at the lowest point, the very ebb of our lives, and it forces us to cry out like the Bible Promise for our poem from Psalm 119. ‘Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word. Let my (prayer of) supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word (promise).’ (Ps. 119:169-170) Oh my people, there is no sense in fighting against Almighty God since He is our Creator. He is the Potter and we are simply the clay which He can form or mold in whatever shape He desires. 

It’s like fighting against a raging sea or a wind of hurricane proportions. You just can’t do it on your own. And have you ever noticed how, the first words that come out of the mouths of even the biggest atheists and unbelievers in their time of misery or dire circumstances are: ‘Oh God!’ Closely followed by ‘Help me!’ That’s because of the built-in algorithm to seek for our heavenly Father when all else fails, so He can fill His reserved space in our souls! And those words of the psalmist are ever so important in a believer’s life; ‘give me understanding according to thy word.’ 

All through the Good Book, or rather the Good Library, (smile) it’s continually echoed as the way, the lifeline for earthly living. The psalmist himself wrote earlier on: ‘The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.’ (Ps. 119:144) Wow! Understanding of God’s word is essential for righteous earthly living! 

And Cousin Sol puts it so nicely in Proverbs 2. ‘My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee (treasure them); So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thy heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear (reverential awe) of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.’ (Prov. 2:1-6) 

Yes friends, wisdom and understanding are ours for the asking, but we have to diligently seek them, like a prospector searches for gold. James, Jesus’ brother writes in his epistle. ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (not doubting). For he that wavereth (doubts) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ (James 1:5-8) 

That says it all my fellow saints; there must be no doubt in our minds and spirits when we go to God seeking wisdom and understanding. But what are these things called wisdom and understanding, you ask, and why are they essential? Well, because they enable you to live a wise, godly and righteous life! Wisdom is basically ‘skill in living, wise behaviour, good sense, or wise dealing’ in one’s affairs. And understanding is the ability, or ‘capability to distinguish between true and false, good and bad, what matters most and what does not matter at all.’ In other words, discernment, that’s being able to grasp, to comprehend what’s not totally spelt out. 

So, if we desire to live a wise and sensible life, we have to seek wisdom and understanding, and since it only comes from Almighty God, it’s reasonable to assume we need to connect with Him to get it. (smile) And if you haven’t yet made that essential connection with the Father, please do so asap. Believe me, it will greatly help in living life. But for those of us who have already formed that connection and are doing our best to live in wisdom and understanding, let’s go home declaring (awright!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. 

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 both my immediate neighbours and the whole wide world! Glory be!’ 

Now, it’s time for us to go out and share Jesus’ amazing LOVE and friendship, so others can come to know and LOVE Him, the way we do! Much LOVE!

…in Jesus…we have all that we will ever need… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ     

Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 December 2022 Ephesians 6:11.

Ephesians 6:11.       Put on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil.

Now this is one Monday that we all are going to LOVE! Yes, It’s Boxing Day, and a holiday for many of us, meaning an extension of the Christmas celebrations for another day. It’s always good when a Public Holiday falls on the weekend, because it gives us the next day off in lieu of the holiday. And since Christmas Day fell on this Sunday, and New Year’s Day will be falling on the next Sunday, lots of time off is in the offing. (smile) But please, let’s not use all our free time for physical celebrations, do spend some in valuable self-examination, looking back at what we did in 2022, and evaluating our goals and dreams for the new year of 2023, which will be another tough cookie. 

That means we have to buckle down in our faith, in our walk with God; either giving Him more of our time or simply digging deeper into His Word to find more of His eternal wisdom and understanding, for we will need those things even more in the turbulent days ahead. Why? Because life seems hell bent on getting more difficult and unnerving in the near future, than getting easier. And now is when believers need to strengthen their faith in Almighty God so that we can stand strong and steadfast in His name against the evil enemy who is putting up a stout fight, with no intentions of backing down. 

And with all the ungodly and negative stuff that’s happening in our world we must know that we’re in a fight for our lives, both spiritually and physically. But the good news is that we already possess the weapons to win that fight, provided we want to use them, and not simply give up in fear. NO! Not on your life! As soldiers in the army of Christ we must arm ourselves and fight the enemy mano a mano! That’s our God-given purpose, our bounden duty, which too many of us are currently shirking. 

But friends, this upcoming year of 2023 will separate the boys from the men, the sheep from the goats, and hopefully we’ll be numbered amongst the men and the sheep. But not unless we get serious about God, do like Bruh Paul says: ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil.’ (Eph. 6:11) And please remember we’re not talking about physical warfare, but spiritual: ‘against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world (age), against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ (Eph. 6:12) 

That means you won’t see the demons and the powers of darkness that are coming against you, including Lucifer himself, but you’ll feel them invading your spirit, attempting to lead you astray, away from the straight and narrow path that leads to Jesus. And we cannot afford to make such a serious mistake, for the consequences of that are eternal. So, what do we do to prevent it? Like Bruh Paul writes: ‘Wherefore take unto you (take up) the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph. 6:13) 

Oh my fellow believers, it’s essential to avail ourselves of God’s provision for we are facing a formidable foe, an expert at mind bending, and if we’re without God’s armour, then he can destroy our Christian witness and ministry, his avowed goal. So, in ‘the evil day,’ that’s when we face those enemy onslaughts, we must do all we can, that’s dressed in God’s armour and staunchly resisting the enemy. And I know you’re anxious to recollect the six pieces of God’s armour. So here they are in a nutshell. 

The belt of truth; a knowledge of the truth of God’s Word that holds up all you believe. The breastplate of righteousness, which ‘represents a holy character and moral conduct. Obedience to the known “truth” produces a godly life (righteousness).’ Then, one’s feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. That’s an eagerness or willingness to advance against the enemy, to take the fight to him, not just stand back and allow hm to come to you. Remember, the best method of defense is attack! And the gospel gives us peace from anxiety, which then allows us to advance fearlessly against Satan and his evil cohorts. 

Next, we need the shield of faith to protect us from the fiery darts of the wicked. That means trusting God, taking Him at His word, believing His promises. That trust will protect us from doubts induced by his satanic majesty. And we cannot go into battle without proper head gear, that’s the helmet of salvation; that’s the hope, or assurance of salvation! Neither can we enter a fray without a weapon to do damage to the enemy, and our weapon is the mightiest one in existence: ‘the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.’ 

Mama Mia! What awesome power! Remember how Hebrews describes God’s word: ‘For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of (able to judge) the thoughts and intents (intentions) of the heart.’ (Heb. 4:12) Wow friends! Imagine the damage we can do with the word of God nuh as we wield it through the army of the evil doers! 

But wait, there’s one more important and powerful addition to all that armour, that’s the power of prayer. Yes my people, we must wrap up all that stuff in ‘prayer and supplication in the spirit, watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ And all that about the pieces of armour can be found in Ephesians 6:15-18. Please remember to read it occasionally so we don’t forget it and get caught napping by the enemy. And I know that some of you might not think this Christmas season a good time to talk about armour and warfare, but it is in fact the best time, when we have let our guards down to celebrate, and the enemy is just licking his chops and moving in for the kill. 

Now, to wrap it all up in prayer, let’s go to God with our Monday Morning Battle Hymn sincerely seeking His divine assistance. As one strong 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!’ 

Now, let’s look to turning from our evil ways if we expect to see God’s grace and mercy! Much LOVE!

…Christmas is not only a season to celebrate…but also one to raise the level of our faith… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ    

Today’s Scrip-Bit   25 December 2022 Luke 2:14.

Luke 2:14.       Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men

MERRY CHRISTMAS !

It’s Christmas Day my people! Glory to God! At long last the Big Day is here, when we celebrate the marvellous and most miraculous birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Wow! He is the best present we’ve ever had! Couldn’t be a better one either! For He was born so that our sins could be paid for, so that we could have the option of salvation and eternal life. And for that we give Him much thanks and praise! This year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, and there’s no better day to have all the pomp and pageantry than on the Lord’s Day. 

So, let’s open up with a classic old hymn, written by the renowned hymnist, Charles Wesley (1707-1788). It’s a most appropriate song of praise and worship titled ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing.’ Some people sing it slow and dirge-like, but today we’ll sing it in a lively, up-tempo beat, effectively showcasing the joy and gratitude we truly feel over the incarnate birth of our Immanuel, two thousand years ago, and who is still going as strong as ever. In fact, He’s stronger than when He lived on earth. 

Therefore, with voices of sacrificial praise, in sweet, heartfelt harmony, let’s deliver up our song to heaven. Singing: ‘Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King: peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies; with the angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” (Refrain: Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King”) 

Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord, late in time behold him come, offspring of the Virgin’s womb: veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the ‘incarnate Deity, pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel. [Refrain] Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings. Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die, born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth. [Refrain]’ 

Oh my people, we did a fantastic job of letting heaven know how grateful we are for Jesus! No doubt about it! And it’s such a wonderful song with all kinds of scriptures intertwined. I like this commentary on it: ‘Containing biblical phrases from Luke, John, and Paul, the text is a curious mixture of exclamation, exhortation, and theological reflection. The focus shifts rapidly from angels, to us, to nations. The text’s strength may not lie so much in any orderly sequence of thought but in its use of Scripture to teach its theology. That teaching surely produces in us a childlike response of faith; we too can sing “Glory to the newborn King!” 

And is that ever the gospel truth! Now let’s look at some of those scripture verses that the song emphasizes. It opens with Luke’s telling of the Christmas night story, where an angel suddenly appeared to shepherds out in the fields, scaring them half to death, then telling them of the birth of Christ in the nearby town of Bethlehem. While he was telling them the good news of the Saviour’s birth, the Good Book declares: ‘And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:13-14) 

Yes friends, that’s where the herald angels sang. And in the next line, Wesley throws in the aspect of reconciliation, most likely from Bruh Paul’s words to the Corinthians. ‘To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.’ (2 Cor. 5:19) And are we ever glad for that ministry of reconciliation! 

And the first part of the next verse seems to reflect Bruh Paul’s words from Galatians. ‘But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made (born) of a woman, made (born) under the law.’ (Gal. 4:4) And there’s no doubt that the last part of that verse relates to the first chapter of John’s gospel, in particular, verse 14. ‘And the Word was made flesh (became flesh), and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14)

Now, per the last verse, there are a number of scriptures that seem to be referenced, the first and most notable being that favourite scripture from Isaiah. ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ (Is. 9:6) Then there are these referenced sentiments from the prophet Malachi: ‘But unto you that fear (reverence) my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall (grow fat like stall fed calves.)’ (Mal. 4:2) 

And we all know where ‘Mild he lays his glory by,’ comes from. That favourite scripture from Philippians 2: ‘Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made (came) in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Phil. 2:6-8) 

And the last referenced scripture comes from 1 Peter. Those famous verses we all know and LOVE. (smile) ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-4) 

Ah my people, how wonderful is the Word of God eh! It’s just filled with so many marvellous prophecies and promises, one of the best being the birth of our Lord and Saviour on this Christmas Day some two thousand years ago, that began God’s reconciliation and our salvation. Wow! It is only right that today we should praise and honour our Triune God for all the good things He’s done for us, His greatest, but most disobedient creation! So, let’s enjoy the day; eat drink and be merry, ‘and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) Much LOVE!

…without the incarnate birth of Jesus…there’d be no Christmas season… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ   

Today’s Scrip-Bit   24 December 2022 Matthew 19:26.

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

Oh friends, it’s Saturday; lazy day Saturday, Christmas Eve Saturday! Glory be! Wow! The day is at hand and so many expectations are floating around. Let’s hope the most important and prevalent one is that we remember Jesus, the reason for the season, in all of our festivities. For you know when the celebrations get somewhat noisy and boisterous, we are very liable to throw out the baby with the bathwater. (smile) But for this season, please, let’s keep Jesus first place, uppermost in our minds, as it’s supposed to be. End of sermon! (smile) 

Now, let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one says: ‘I just want you to know that if you are out there and you are being really hard on yourself right now for something that has happened. it’s normal. That is what is going to happen to you in life. No one gets through unscathed. We are all going to have a few scratches on us. Please be kind to yourselves and stand up for yourself, please.’ 

And that’s the awesome truth. We all will be hurt at some time or other, and make mistakes too, but that’s all a part of life. And sometimes we get down on ourselves for some of our mistakes and failures. But it’s not necessary to beat up ourselves about them. Oh, we must admit them and then go to God seeking grace, mercy and comfort. That’s the only sensible way to deal with our hurts. And sadly, many people, especially Christians tend to be too hard on themselves, erroneously thinking that browbeating oneself will make it right, or okay. 

But the only thing that will make anything right in this world is the LOVE and forgiveness of Almighty God! However, that doesn’t give us carte blanche, or a blank check, to do as we please, or let ourselves completely off the hook. That brings to mind Bruh Paul’s words to the Romans: ‘What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.’ (Rom. 6:15) No! We don’t take advantage of or abuse anybody or anything, including ourselves. 

And the next quote is also an interesting one. ‘Be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in. When you are in your rocking chair talking to your grandchildren many years from now, be sure you have a good story to tell.’ There’s also a lot of truth in it. We all need to be courageous in this rough and tough evil world. Remember some of God’s first words to Joshua as the leader of the Israelites after the death of Moses, were: ‘Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’ (Josh. 1:9) 

Now those are words of immortal wisdom and command! It’s essential that believers stand up strong and steadfast for what they believe in, i.e. ‘Jesus Christ! But it’s sad to say that too many of us supposed believers are not standing up for what we claim to believe in. We’re living in fear and doubt, or simply lethargy under the world’s dominating system. But that’s not good enough my people. Jesus expects us to stand up for Him and the beliefs we claim to have. And there is no better time to do so than this Christmas season when we celebrate His momentous birth! If we do that zealously, I can assure you that we’ll certainly have plenty of good stories to tell our grandchildren as we sit in our rockers. (smile) 

Then the next quote tells us: ‘At the end of the day, whether or not those people are comfortable with how you’re living your life doesn’t matter. What matters is whether you’re comfortable with it.’ And, to a certain extent, that’s quite true. You can’t overly concern yourself with what others think or say about you and your lifestyle, especially if you’re a believer in Christ Jesus. They will criticize you at every turn. 

But once you know you are doing the right thing, living the way Jesus expects to the best of your ability, then you don’t need to bother with ‘those people.’ Because ‘those people’ are usually just a bunch of hypocrites themselves; say one thing and do something completely different. Like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, who exhorted the Jews to live one way, but they themselves never lived the same lifestyle. 

Now here is possibly the most important quote of the day: ‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.’ And that’s the gospel truth my people! In fact, Christ expects us to be always learning and producing good fruit until the day we die! If we’re not being productive and mentally active then we die, both spiritually and physically. Just look at the number of people who work for so many years, then retire and do nothing. They eventually become vegetables and die much sooner than if they had kept active in some form and fashion. As the saying goes: ‘If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!’ 

And to back that up, listen to what Psalm 92 tells us. ‘The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree (date palm): he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon (big and strong). Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat (plump) and flourishing (green). To show that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.’ (Ps. 92:12-15) Yes my brethren, the way to live to your fullest is to be always learning and doing something productive, regardless of your age or physical ability. We need to keep God’s greatest invention, the human brain, ever active while we’re alive. 

That brings us to this last quote, which, as true believers in Christ, we all know as certain fact and truth. ‘Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’ Yes, it does say so. But the reason why it’s really so, is because Almighty God is the sovereign ruler of this world. He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, meaning that He’s all-powerful, can do anything; He sees everything, and is everywhere at once. 

And His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who’s birth we’re currently celebrating in this Christmas season, said it ever so plainly and truthfully when here on earth talking to His disciples about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He said: ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’ (Matt. 19:26) 

Now that’s one thing we should never forget my fellow saints: ALL things are possible with our great God! And it’s exactly one of those supposedly impossible situations that we’re celebrating right now: the incarnate birth of Christ, the birth of a baby, Jesus, from His virgin mother, Mary’s womb! How exciting, thrilling, stimulating, encouraging and reassuring my people, to know that God worked one of His many miracles, so that we could celebrate the Birth of his wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, tomorrow on Christmas Day! Much LOVE!

…it’s all about Jesus…yes…let’s sing it…it’s all about Jesus…nobody else but…JESUS… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ         

Today’s Scrip-Bit   23 December 2022 Luke 2:10.

Luke 2:10.        And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 

At last it’s Friday! And many shouts of ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday’ have gone up around the world! But in my area we’re especially thankful that the major snowstorm forecasted for yesterday never materialized. Praise the Lord! Instead, wind and rain materialized. However, we’re not yet free from the crazy machinations of the weather, for as we speak, freezing rain is coming down outside my window, and who knows how or when it will end.  And believe me, the freezing rain is indeed worse than the snow; have you slipping and sliding any which way, while freezing up on your windshield, often making visibility extremely difficult despite your wipers strenuously working. (smile) 

So, the proviso for yesterday still holds true for today: don’t go out unless you have to! And since the Lord was gracious enough to give us life this Friday morning, I guess we ought to continue with looking at the Christmas story as we promised. Now we ended yesterday talking about the necessity of humility and peace in Jesus’ philosophy, things that the world doesn’t value very highly. The warmongers, the arrogant, and haughty are whom the world celebrates. But not Jesus. In His kingdom you must be humble, seek peace and be willing to serve others! And that’s the example He gave us during His time here on earth. 

Unfortunately though, too many of us supposed Christians display none, or very little of those attributes that Jesus considers so important to His cause. But that’s another sermon for another day. (smile) Let’s get back to the Christmas story. As we said yesterday, the lowly shepherds were the first people to know of the birth of Jesus. Can you imagine this surreal scene. The shepherds are watching over their flocks in the middle of the night, when the Good Book says: ‘And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon (stood before) them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore (greatly) afraid.’ (Luke 2:9) 

And who wouldn’t be afraid eh, if an angel of the Lord suddenly appears in the dark of night with all the Lord’s glory shining round him? And these were mostly unschooled, uneducated, poorer folk, so their fear factor was possibly even higher than most. ‘And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ (Luke 2:10-12) 

And then a heavenly host, a multitude of angels suddenly showed up and began making music, singing and praising God. (Luke 13-14) Can you imagine the shepherds’ predicament? But before we move on, hear this interesting explanation from the scholars on the subject of ‘Swaddling clothes. They were bandage-like strips of cloth wrapped around an infant to ensure that the limbs would grow straight. Not to swaddle a child would be a form of abuse (Ezek. 16:2-4). This wrapping would aid the shepherds in identifying Jesus.’ 

Wow! How different from our procedures today! Wrapping up a child like that now, would probably get you charged for abuse. (smile) However, when all the hoopla had ended and the angels had gone away, the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem and check out the angel’s news. The Good Book says: ‘And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger (feed trough). And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered (marvelled) at those things told by the shepherds…And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.’ (Luke 2:16-18, 20) 

Ah friends, what a marvellous story! And you’ll notice whom the Lord chose to spread the news of our Saviour’s birth? The poor, lowly shepherds, not the entrenched news media of the day! And they were excited over the news and began praising and glorifying God! That wasn’t the reaction though of the religious leaders and supposedly important people of the society. Anyway, the Lord got the news disseminated the way He desired, and that’s the important thing. (smile) 

But you know one of my favourite verses of scripture deals with Mary and all the things she experienced and heard during Christ’s lifetime. And it’s a simple but very provocative verse. ‘But Mary kept all these things, (that were told by the shepherds) and pondered them in her heart.’ (Luke 2:19) And it wouldn’t be the last time that was written of her. When Jesus was presented in the temple at the eight day, as was the custom, the priest Simeon and prophetess Anna also said wonderful things about Him. ‘And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.’ (Luke 2:33) 

And again, after a visit to Jerusalem, Jesus, as a twelve-year-old had strayed away from the caravan on the way back home, and his parents found Him three days later in the temple ably conversing with the wise men. And we all know Jesus’ answer to His mother’s condemnation. ‘How is it that ye sought me? wist (knew) ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.’  (Luke 2:49-51) 

Ah mih people, Mary’s life certainly was not easy. From the day she accepted the Lord’s offer of bearing the incarnate Son of God, it became a roller coaster ride, unto the very end when she had to look at her first born impaled by big, rusty nails on an old wooden cross. But the Lord in His utmost faithfulness, gave her the wherewithal to handle it, like He gives most mothers the ability to raise their children and handle whatever problems they encounter. Now, let’s go to God, and open up our hearts to Him, through our Friday Chant. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the confusion and anxiety caused by the pandemic and our many other serious problems. We can’t fix them on our own Lord, so 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 the simmering unrest in our land. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, without further serious setbacks. 

And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to return backsliders to your fold, show them the error of their ways. And please introduce a new flock of believers, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic, the bubbling discontent and dissatisfaction in our land, as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, wake up and smell it sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And if we want to receive positive answers to our prayers, then we need to do the things we promised. Much LOVE!

…Christmas…a joyful season…despite the many ills in our world… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   22 December 2022 Luke 2:14.

Luke 2:14.        Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

Well, Thursday, the fourth day of this Christmas work week has opened bright and sunshiny, but if the weather forecasters are right, we will be engulfed by a major snowstorm sometime today. Let’s hope that they are somewhat over-zealous in their forecast and it will not be a storm of major proportions, although many parts of North America have already seen some heavy snowfall and the snow season has just begun. 

But, turning to a more immediate and much better season, that of Christmas, hopefully you’ve already done all your shopping and whatever else is on your to do list, because if the forecast comes true, it will tie up everything in awful knots, with lots of places inaccessible, or dangerously so. And since the reason for this joyful Christmas season, this happy holiday time, is Jesus, it’s only right that we should talk some about Him. And what shall we say eh? 

Let’s see…that He was the biggest and best present ever given to man! Unfortunately, because of lack of hotel space, He was born in a manger, animal stable, in the city of Bethlehem to parents called Mary and Joseph, who had left their little village of Nazareth to answer the census summons of Herod the king. Everyone had to go to their hometown and register, and since Joseph was of the line of David from Bethlehem, he journeyed there with his pregnant wife to do the king’s bidding. 

The big difference in this couple though was that the child Mary carried was not Joseph’s but that of Almighty God, implanted in her womb by the Holy Spirit, so that the Saviour of the world could be born sinless, not of man, but of God. And that was the most important aspect of the whole scenario, because a child born of sinful man could not pay for the sins of men. It needed a sinless soul to accomplish that task. And, unfortunately, Jesus was the only one available who fit the bill. 

But nonetheless, He was born on Christmas day to much pomp and glory from heavenly angels, who told of His birth to the shepherds in the fields watching over their flocks. The shepherds were quite afraid at the sudden coming of a multitude of angels, singing praises to God, saying ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’ (Luke 2:14) 

Oh yes friends, to bring peace to earth and the goodwill of men to each other, was indeed one of Jesus’ jobs! The prophet Isaiah spoke of Him long before, when he said: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ (Is. 9:6) 

Wow! That big prophecy come true at Christmas, my people! And isn’t it interesting that the Son of God was born in a stinky animal barn, to poor parents, and the first persons to hear the good news of His birth were poor, ordinary, looked-down-upon shepherds? That’s because God wanted to show that His Son wasn’t coming to be a big-shot, be rich and famous, but to be humble and ordinary, to show that nothing was wrong with being humble and ordinary. 

In fact, the Lord prefers humility to pride and arrogance. Or, as Cousin Sol says in Proverbs, one of the seven abominations to God is a ‘proud look.’ (Prov. 6:17) No friends, our God cannot stand haughty, prideful people because they have no use for Him. That’s why He demotes and debases them with all haste. Unfortunately though, today, in our sinful and ungodly society, pride and arrogance rule the roost! 

Everybody’s avidly searching for individual power, so that they can walk about with pride, then use that power to browbeat others. Today seems to be set once more for the rise of the dictator. And in my early years studying history, I always wondered how people got to be dictators. Well, now I’m seeing it unfurl before my very eyes. Foolish people bow down to arrogant men with a little power, fall for their lies and deceits, which allows them to increase their power, until they are all-powerful and cruelly lord it over the same ones who gave them that power! 

Hn! Echoes of his satanic majesty! But let’s not forget Bruh David’s wise words from Psalm 37: ‘Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the herb.’ (Ps. 37:1) That’s the promise of our ever-faithful God, and it will certainly come to pass in His way and time. 

But we have strayed from the Christmas story. (smile) And, per the humble origins of Christ, that was exactly as planned by the Father. Listen to Jesus as He explains His philosophy to the disciples re greatness in His kingdom, after the mother of Zebedee’s children had asked for them to sit on His right and left hand in His kingdom. 

He said: ‘Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion (lord it) over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (servant); And whosoever will be chief (first) among you, let him be your servant (slave). Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto (served), but to minister (serve), and to give his life a ransom for many.’ (Matt. 20:25-28) 

Oh my brethren, Jesus came to serve, not to be served! He wasn’t looking for applause and plaudits from the crowd, but sought to serve and save them from the darkness and evil of Satan’s world. And that’s how we ought also to be as His sincere followers. We can’t allow pride and strife like the world desires, to be numbered amongst our assets, or rather our dysfunctions, if we want to be true disciples of Christ. Peace and humility must be at the top of our list. 

And we’ll stop there for today. Tomorrow, the Lord willing, we’ll continue with the Christmas story, and some of the wonderful things that were born out of it. Now, in strong and sincere voice, let’s declare (yesss!!!) and thus activate, our Thursday Blessings; underserved ones that the Lord has bestowed on us to do His earthly work. 

Altogether: ‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

And having made that declaration, (awright!!!) it’s now our bounden duty to go out and share those blessings with others, so that they can come to know and LOVE Jesus like we do! Much LOVE!

…the Christmas story…everything else is wrapped up in it… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ       

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