Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 December 2022 Nehamiah 8:10.

Nehemiah 8:10.        …for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

What a great day to be alive my people! And some of you might beg to differ because it’s cold, cloudy, icy and snowy. But that’s just our physical circumstances and we can always handle those, sometimes on our own, but always with the help of Jesus. Otherwise, it’s just great to have the breath of life flowing through us, to enjoy all the things that the Lord has created for us to enjoy and know that our names are not written in the obits. (smile) And today is the epitome of what a lazy Saturday ought to look like, when one won’t venture out unless it’s absolutely necessary. (smile) 

Well, I’ve used up all my allotted laziness, lying in bed for most of the morning, (smile) so now I have to get right to the Lord’s work on the Bit. And since today is Saturday, it means looking at the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first quote says: ‘When you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.’ 

Now, that’s not rocket science but basic common sense. For with the great power of imagination that God’s placed in us, where we can imagine basically anything, why would we ever consider imagining anything that’s not worthwhile eh? Technically speaking we shouldn’t, but it seems to depend on the way our minds are conditioned, which means some things that are worthwhile to some, won’t be worthwhile to others. And the obvious example is what’s worthwhile to Satan’s followers will not be worthwhile to the followers of Jesus. 

That brings us to the next quote which tells us: ‘The moment where you doubt you can fly, you cease for ever being able to do it.’ There again we have the power of the imagination coming into play. And for sure, if you start doubting that you can fly, or do much of anything, you will lose some of the ability to do it, because being able to do stuff is tightly bound up in believing that we can do it. I don’t know if you will lose the ability for ever, but hopefully if you start believing again, you will regain some, if not all of that flying power. 

Then there’s this: ‘What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.’ Now I’m not sure what that quote means nuh. I understand that our past and present are usually inferior to our future, but what does it mean by what lies inside of us? If greatness lies within us, then we will surely do greater things in our future than we’re currently doing. The only greater thing that I can fathom that lies within us is the Holy Spirit of Jesus which indwells all believers. But even if that’s what the quote means, then surely, with the Spirit of Christ living in us, as we mature, grow in faith, our actions will become better as time goes on. 

And I just LOVE this next quote: ‘Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.’ And that’s the gospel truth my people! Happiness is never decreased by being shared! In fact, it increases when shared. But let’s talk about joy rather than happiness nuh, because happiness depends too much on our circumstances, while joy is like an ever-flowing river, not bothered by our circumstances. And where do we get that joy that’s not bothered by our circumstances? Obviously from our Lord God Almighty, as the Good Book reminds us: ‘for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) 

Oh friends, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ expects His followers to share the joy that He’s brought to our lives with others; to light the blessed candles of joy in others, so that they too can come to know that He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one gains real happiness, or joy without being associated with Him! And what’s this ‘joy of the Lord,’ you ask? It’s been characterized thus: ‘The joy of the Lord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.’ 

And there are many scriptures that speak of it, but we only have time and space for a few. Listen to Christ Himself as He speaks to the disciples. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ (John 15:11) Yes friends, one of the things that come from believing in Christ and being obedient to His commandments is the outpouring of joy in one’s soul. And John wrote the same thing in his first epistle when he reassures the believers in the truth of salvation and eternal life. ‘And these things I write unto you, that your joy may be full.’ (1 John 1:4) 

As the scholars say, John wants the recipients of his writings to ‘enjoy and share in the deep sense of satisfaction and purpose that knowing Christ and walking with him brings.’ The same thing applies to us today my faithful brethren. We ought to get a deep sense of satisfaction and purpose from knowing Christ and walking with Him. 

That brings us to our last quote. ‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’ And is that ever so true! It’s also what Christ’s church and individual believers are suffering greatly from in these turbulent and difficult times. We talk a good talk, but don’t sufficiently walk the walk that talk expects. 

As James so rightly says: ‘But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding (observing) his natural face in a glass (mirror). For he beholdeth (sees) himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty (the teachings of Christ), and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (in what he does).’ (James 1:22-25) 

Yes friends, we do have a tendency of looking at ourselves as good people, but soon forget it and then do things contrary to that nature. And James continues with our contrariness in the next chapter, when he says: ‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked, and destitute of daily food. And one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed, be ye filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath no works, is dead, being alone…show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.’ (James 2:14-18) 

Ah my fellow saints, in this strife filled world so many are in desperate need of daily bread, and so many of us are in a position to provide for them, but we’re not doing a good enough job at it. We are allowing the selfishness and greed of this world to make us hardhearted, instead of tender-hearted like Christ expects of us. Please, let’s look at ourselves in the mirror today and remember what kind of person we truly ought to be, as faithful believers in Christ Jesus. Much LOVE!

…you can’t be a Christian…if you’re joyless…and have a heart of stone… 

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