Today’s Scrip-Bit   6 January 2023 Matthew 4:4.

Matthew 4:4.       It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

And then, finally and thankfully, it was Friday! And though the rain has stopped in my area, the day is still damp and cloudy, but it didn’t stop people from joyfully shouting: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!’ Some are glad that they can rest their tired souls and bodies after the Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, while others are just dying to continue those celebrations. (smile) However, let’s remember that although Jesus participated in several feasts as His Jewish faith required, when tempted by Satan, He still rebuked him thus: ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ (Matt. 4:4) 

And it will surely do us a wealth of good this year of 2023 if we practice living by God’s Word rather than the materialistic ways of this evil world. Now all Jesus did when He rebuked Satan was quote the word of God to Him. and that quote is actually written in Deuteronomy. Listen, as Moses triggered the Israelites memories of God’s care in the wilderness. 

‘And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the Lord doth man live. 

Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee (thy clothing did not wear out), neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart (know), that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.’ (Deut. 8:2-6) 

Now my brethren, there’s a lot we can learn from those scriptures. First of all, the Lord allowed His chosen people to suffer so He could test them. And that ought to remind us that since we declare that our God doesn’t change, He’s the same yesterday, and today, and forever, (Heb. 13:8; Mal. 3:6) that means He’s still testing those who call themselves His people. That’s us. And yuh know what? Like the Israelites, we’re not taking the testing too well. (smile) We’re complaining all the way to the Promised Land. 

That’s why some of us are having more difficult lives than others although we seem to live the same lifestyles. Complaining will kill us every time my people, especially if we claim to believe in God’s LOVE for us, and His faithful intent to work out all that happens for our eventual good. (Rom. 8:28) That’s why the Israelites wondered in the wilderness for forty long years: because of disobedience and distrust. Why would our lives today be any different eh? 

The next thing we should note is that although the Lord chastens His people, He never totally leaves them to suffer. Yes, although the Israelites had it rough in the wilderness, their clothes never wore out, their feet didn’t swell and they always had food, heavenly manna, which they didn’t know and didn’t like, but it kept them healthy. (smile) But it was all due to the Lord’s compassion. And it’s the very same way the Lord deals with us today. He chastens us, but does not set us adrift, or apart from Him. His continuing to bother with us proves that He LOVES us unconditionally, as He’s said from the very beginning. 

That brings us to these everlastingly important verses of scripture, especially in these turbulent and unprincipled times. The timely words of the author of Hebrews. ‘For consider him that endured such contradictions (hostility) of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint (discouraged) in your minds (souls). Ye have not resisted unto blood (bloodshed), striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children (sons), 

My son, despise not thou the chastening (discipline) of the Lord, nor faint (be discouraged) when thou art rebuked by him. For whom the Lord LOVETH he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then ye are bastards (illegitimate), and not sons.’ (Heb. 12:3-8) 

It’s simple friends; just like our earthly fathers discipline us when we do wrong (vs. 9-10), likewise, if we disobey God’s word, He disciplines us. The problem though is that none of us like to be disciplined even when we’ve done wrong, and that’s very emphasized in our current society where the state of entitlement is so prevalent. Meaning that we desire to sin as we want and to not be chastened for it. But as the Bible further enlightens us: ‘Now no chastening (discipline) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby.’ (Hebr. 12:11) 

Oh my people, it’s just a natural part of life; if you do wrong, then you have to pay the price. It’s like Uncle Charles (Dr. Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘You reap what you sow; more than you sow and later than you sow.’ And that’s the gospel truth, it’s a life principle we ought not to forget. And as we look around our strife-filled and sinful world today, let’s remember that our saving grace is to live by the Word of God, and be determined to do that, this year of 2023! 

Now let’s go to God, through our Friday Chant, for divine help to do it. As one sincere 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!’ 

Now friends, it’s up to us live those promises so that God can answer us in a positive manner. Much LOVE!

…you can’t expect to live wrong and strong…all the time… 

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