Today’s Scrip-Bit   5 December 2021 Luke 14:27.

Luke 14:27.     And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Here we are together friends on another Sunday, just thrilled to be in each other’s company, whether physically in the Lord’s Sanctuary, or by technological means. The important thing is that we are together for worship, prayer and thanksgiving. And I recently read an interesting statement where a lady asked a pastor why we go to church, and he replied that we go to church because someone might need us there. That’s good. It’s also true. And the corollary to that is also true, we too might need someone there. 

Now if you have doubts about why we gather on the Lord’s day, then listen to these moving words from Hebrews, written to the displaced Christian Jews who were suffering serious persecution all over the Roman Empire. The author writes: ‘Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith (hope) without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke (stir up) unto LOVE and unto good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.’ (Heb. 10:23-25) 

And the scholars explain: ‘10:25. Not forsaking the assembling: This admonition involves far more than an erratic attendance. It involves the entire worship of Christ and is an outward indication of an inner condition. The assembling of God’s people provides opportunity for reciprocal encouragement, strengthening, and the stirring up that can be gained from one another (cf. Col. 3:12-16) It consists of participation in worship and fellowship. The church is a body interacting (1 Cor. 12:14-17); it is not merely a dispensary of spiritual food and medicine.’ 

Wow! Yes friends, we don’t go to church just to be spiritually revived, but also to give of ourselves and to interact with others in praise and thanksgiving to our wonderful God. And now that we have a better understanding of why the saints of Christ ought to assemble, let’s get to some good old fashioned hymn singing, offering up praises to our heavenly King and Father. No doubt some of you are surprised that we didn’t begin as usual with the singing, but I happened upon those verses of Hebrews, or was led to them, who knows, and thought it a good idea to refresh our minds on the subject. 

And today’s hymn is a great favourite, one written around 1896, by the American hymnwriter, Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855-1939) and most appropriately titled ‘All to Jesus I Surrender.’ So, in a soulful, harmonious, scintillating, mid-tempo riddim, let’s offer up our sacrifices of praise from deep in our sincere hearts. 

‘All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give; I will ever LOVE and trust Him, In His presence daily live. (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.) All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken. Take me, Jesus, take me now. (Refrain: I surrender all..) All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Saviour, wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine. (Refrain: I surrender all…) 

All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy LOVE and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me. (Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame; Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His name! (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all…I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all… All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all…’ 

Ah mih people, that was a wonderful rendition, but the problem now is how many of us are truly ALL surrendered to Jesus? We sing it like we mean it, but in actual life do we give Him our ALL, do we let every aspect of lives fall under His omnipotent dominion, or do we hold back some parts that we still feel the need to control? Remember Jesus sees our hearts and explores the real motives that lie hidden there, so it doesn’t make any sense to sing one thing and deep down inside do something else. We might fool our fellow believer, but we won’t fool Jesus. 

And remember Jesus said He requires all of us, or nothing at all. Please don’t forget what He told the rich young ruler who enquired about eternal life, about keeping the commandments. And when the ruler said he had been doing that all his life, ‘Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt (want to) be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.’ (Matt. 19:21) 

Obviously, the man didn’t want to do that back then, and so do a lot of us today. We want to follow Jesus, but we don’t want to give up our earthly possessions to do it. However, Jesus requires us to sacrifice our will for His own. As Luke recounts of Jesus in his epistle. ‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren (brothers), and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14:26-27) 

Those are certainly tough words my brethren. But they are surmountable ones. Hear how the scholars explain them. ‘14:26. In comparison to one’s devotion to Christ, one’s family ties must be secondary. This does not set aside Jesus’ other teachings to LOVE one’s enemies, to honour father and mother, and the like. It does highlight that absolute loyalty to Christ is paramount, even though in many societies, including the one in which Jesus taught, as well as many today, following Him, involves precisely the either-or that this verse sets up.’ 

Thankfully though, in our current society, most believers do not have to give up all their physical belongings to follow Christ, but He does need our spiritual wherewithal, which can call for different kinds of sacrifices on His behalf. And that’s the main point in being a follower of Christ…that we subordinate our will to His, and are willing to give up whatever it takes, to make whatever sacrifice that’s necessary to do His will. 

Now that’s something for us to ponder on today. Considering all that we’ve said, are we fully surrendered to Christ? Only the individual believer can truly answer that. But let’s hope that we can all answer truthfully the question with a resounding ‘YES! Much LOVE!

…surrendering all to Jesus…is small potatoes…compared to what He surrendered for us…His sinless life… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   4 December 2021 Joshua 14:12a.

Joshua 14:12a.      Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day;

Oh yes! We’ve made it through another workweek! Thank the Lord! Now it’s Saturday, our lazing time; sleeping late, not rushing to do anything, even bypassing things we earlier felt were so important to do. (smile) That’s what Saturday brings for many of us, especially the ones without young children and a busy household schedule. 

Wish I could say that, because on Saturdays, I have to put on my thinking cap and try to decipher, with God’s help obviously, what the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week means to believers in Christ Jesus. And ofttimes they are quite inciteful and do inspire us to have a better tomorrow. 

So, let’s see what our first quote today says. ‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.’ And isn’t that the God-awesome truth! Yes friends, as long as we are alive and able to do stuff, we should never stop learning, because learning is what keeps us alive, not only metaphorically, but also physically, for if we don’t use our faculties they will dry up and we will die. As they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it. And age is no drawback to learning. I just read recently about an eighty something year old woman receiving her first college degree and planning to go on for a second one. 

Now that’s how we ought to be, always planning on something, even though we’re not sure to make it. And I believe one of the best examples of that sort of thinking in the Bible is Caleb, at eighty-five years old, saying to Joshua: ‘Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, than I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said,’ (Josh. 14:12) 

Remember, Caleb and Joshua were two of the dozen spies who checked out the Promised Land at Moses’ behest. And they were the only two who had faith to believe that Israel was able to defeat the inhabitants, and thus were the only two people from those who originally left Egypt, blessed to enter the Land of Promise. That segues nicely into this next quote: ‘Inspiration comes from within yourself. One has to be positive. When you’re positive, good things happen.’ 

I don’t know if inspiration necessarily only comes from within you, but for sure, you must be positive. And when you are, good things usually happen. The opposite is also true: Think negatively, negative things will most likely happen. That’s just the way of the universe. The way God planned it. Cousin Sol wisely said, as a man thinks, so is he. (Prov. 23:7) Now that’s no lie! And as Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say: ‘Something good is going to happen to me today. And something good is going to happen through me today.’ 

It’s always good to keep a positive mindset. Especially if you are a believer in Christ Jesus, for He says that nothing is impossible to Him, and consequently nothing is impossible to those who sincerely believe in Him! Wow! What an encouraging word in these discouraging times! 

Moving on, we come to the following quote: ‘Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.’ I believe that most of us would agree with that statement, as there are so many moments in our lives that we never paid much attention to at the time they were taking place, but when we look back, we discover that they were indeed precious and memorable. Yes, hindsight is 20-20 vision. But please, let’s stop being so busy and enjoy the moments of our lives as they happen nuh, rather than appreciating them only in hindsight. 

That brings us to this quote: ‘You do not find the happy life. You make it.’ And is that ever so true. We ought not to wait on others to make us happy, otherwise we will often wait in vain. True happiness begins with us. It’s a decision we make to be happy, to be fulfilled, come what may. And the first thing on that road to happiness is having a positive outlook on life, because happiness entails a positive state of mind. 

Then we need to have a good attitude towards the difficulties that come with life. For life is never a smooth, flat ride, but more often a roller coaster, with numerous up and downs, twists and turns. And the best way to get that good attitude is by believing in Jesus! Remember His memorable words to the disciples. ‘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) 

Yes my people, the only way to achieve a true kind of happiness, one that’s not dependent only on our outward circumstances is by having Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. That’s because He enables us to have the inner peace and happiness we term joy, which is oh so essential for living in this dangerous and disastrous world. And our last quote encourages us as it says: ‘Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.’ 

Oh friends, being a ray of light in someone else’s life is ever so important, and it’s not very hard to do. We just have to be a friend, a mentor, or even a simple passer-by to inject a dash of sunshine into another’s life. And yuh know that’s the basic element of being a Christian, a follower of Christ! He said that we were supposed to be the light of the world, and to let our light shine so that others may see it and glorify our heavenly Father. Well, if that’s not being a rainbow in someone else’s dark cloud, then I don’t know what is. 

And all it takes sometimes is just a smile, a kind or encouraging word, or quietly listening as someone pours out their hearts, but being there with some form of help. And having written that last sentence, it just occurred to me how easy it is for us to be a shining light, a rainbow in another person’s life without a whole lot of sacrifice on our part, and yet how many people go around shrouded in dark clouds because we supposed believers are too selfish, too busy or simply can’t be bothered to offer that li’l ray of sunshine we are quite capable of offering. 

So today, my fellow saints, I’m asking us to get serious on the matter of brightening up the lives of others. And do we all need someone to offer us a ray of sunshine in these calamitous times. All we have to do is pay a li’l more attention and let the power of the Holy Spirit play a greater part in our lives. Let’s promise ourselves and our God to do that today nuh, so we can make our world a better and brighter place. Much LOVE!

…being a true Christian isn’t always difficult…it can also be as easy as…one, two, three… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   3 December 2021 Daniel 9:9.

Daniel 9:9.     To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him. 

Just one more day…one more day of life being life! Steups! Yuh know, those days when everything just seems to go wrong right from the start. You wake up feeling lousy, with a headache, and then as you try to get out of bed, a cramp suddenly hits you in your right thigh. But thank the Lord it is not one of the terrible ones, so you only moan and groan and try to calm it for about five or six minutes. 

Then a li’l later, you are coming down the basement steps to write the Bit with a cup of sweet java in your hand, next thing you stumble and spill some of it on the steps. So, you must clean that up before the duchess sees it and castigates you for your sloppiness. And then outside it seems to be another grey looking day. 

Brother! I’ve never seen so much cloud cover in my life! There’s no day where the sun just seems to shine with no surrounding dark clouds. How wonderful it is to have Jesus and His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and walking beside us to calm and protect us from all those irritating and frustrating storms of life! And all God’s children said a loud and grateful: ‘Thank You Lord!’ 

Yes friends, we need to be ever so thankful for Jesus because even with His divine help, life still gets difficult. So, can you imagine if we didn’t have Him, or how those who don’t have Him manage? And yuh know what, the Good Book opened at an interesting passage of scripture this morning which I believe is oh so appropriate for our times. It comes from Nehemiah’s prayer for his people Israel when told of Jerusalem’s sorry state. He admitted to God: ‘We have dealt (acted) very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgements (ordinances), which thou commandedest thy servant Moses.’ (Neh. 1:7) 

Ah mih people, there’s no disputing that we have done the exact same thing; turned away from the God of our forefathers! No wonder our world is in such a terrible state. Way back when, Moses had warned the children of Israel: ‘But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto (listen to) the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do (obey) all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. (Deut. 28:15) 

And just for our information, the blessings in that chapter run from verse 3-14, but the curses from verse 16-68. I don’t need to tell us that the curses were more numerous and disastrous. It’s sad, but all down through the ages, the supposed people of God have at one time or another turned away from Him and paid a terrible price for their disobedience. The psalmist said it when he wrote in Psalm 106, titled, Israel sins against God’s LOVE. ‘We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.’ (Ps. 106:6) 

And Daniel said it thus in his prayer for Israel when they were in captivity in Babylon. ‘We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgements.’ (Dan. 9:5) Oh, for certain sure my brethren, we have sinned and done dastardly deeds against our wonderful God! We have rebelled against Him, especially by trying to turf Him in no uncertain terms from our society, from the world and all therein that He so thoughtfully created. 

The awful cry these days is ‘There is no God!’ But most of us know better than that; that there is a God, a true and living God, He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! A God who will not let us get away with our infantile behaviour forever. And I think Daniel hit the nail on the head when he said in a couple verses later: ‘O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces (shame), as at this day…’ (Dan. 9:7a) 

Oh my fellow saints, confusion certainly reigns in our world today, but obviously not enough shame for our sins and wickedness committed against out heavenly Father. Otherwise, we would have already turned back to Him with a great revival, when we saw that we can’t fix our problems in our own strength. But no, we persist in trying to fix it ourselves, and the situation is just getting worse every day. 

However, as Daniel also said: ‘To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.’ (Dan. 9:9) That means our Lord and God is a forgiving and merciful God, and if we swallow our foolish pride and return to His fold, we will be forgiven. So please, let’s wake up nuh, and see the utter folly of trying to fix what’s wrong by ourselves, for only with God’s divine help is it possible. Let’s therefore go to Him in humble repentance and ask for His forgiveness and guidance through our Friday Chant. 

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

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

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

Now, if we want God to help us, we must fulfill those promises we’ve just made. It’s as simple as that. Much LOVE

!…rebelling against God…the Creator and Controller of everything…is utter foolishness… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   2 December 2021 Romans 5:5a.

Romans 5:5a.     And hope maketh not ashamed (does not disappoint); 

Oh friends, unfortunately, Thursday has not opened as nicely as Wednesday did; it’s wet and cloudy, but as always, the wonderful news and Spirit of Jesus lifts us up regardless of the quality of the physical day. And we’ve drawn breath today, so that makes it even more important! That’s why we confidently declare: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!’ 

Yes mih bredrin, life might not be a bed of roses, but since we have life, we have hope.. ‘And hope maketh not ashamed (does not disappoint); because the LOVE of God has been shed abroad (poured out) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.’ (Rom. 5:5) Oh my people, what we have in Christ Jesus through His Holy Spirit is more than hope, it’s a certainty of our eternal home and destination. 

But here’s how the bibleref.com website explains it nuh. They say: ‘Paul introduced a challenging idea in the previous verses (1-4): that Christians can see suffering as a cause for rejoicing. He did not mean by this that anyone should necessarily feel happy or enthusiastic about hard circumstances. Instead, those who are saved—who have expressed faith in Christ—can declare to ourselves that this suffering is worthwhile. It provides an opportunity to grow into the people that God is calling us to be. 

He began by showing that suffering produces endurance: a deeper, longer trust in God. This produces character, meaning we more consistently choose to do what honors God. This, in turn, produces hope, where we experience growing certainty that our ultimate destiny is an eternity of good in God’s presence. Now Paul concludes this chain by saying that our hope will never put us to shame. By that, Paul means our hope will be fully vindicated. We will never, in the end, be disappointed for hoping to receive God’s goodness forever.’ 

And of that we can be certain sure my fellow believers, because our wonderful God has already proven His awesome LOVE for us by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us while we were yet sinners. Yes, through His shed blood we’ve been justified, sanctified, redeemed, saved from God’s wrath, received salvation, been reconciled to the Father, atoned for and all the other wonderful things we gain by being true believers in Christ Jesus! 

Wow! Which other supposed God has anything better to offer eh? NONE! Because they are not real gods, just wannabe imitations of the One and Only True Living God, He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! And that’s the indisputable truth! There is no other God but Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim, whatever name we choose to address Him by! 

That’s why Bruh Paul could also write in his second letter to the church at Corinth, these encouraging words. ‘For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timothy, was not yea, and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us is God; Who also hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.’ (2 Cor. 1:19-22) 

Oh friends, the promises of God in Christ Jesus are all yes, yes, yes! Now hear the scholars’ explanation of that passage of scripture. ‘1:20-22. Amen is equivalent to yea. Whether one is a Gentile (yea) or a Hebrew (amen), the promises of God are sure. But the force of Paul’s analogy is that his word is as good as the gospel, because he which establisheth us with you in Christ…is God. 

Sealed us: The sealing of the Holy Spirit has a threefold significance in the New Testament: (1) to indicate ownership (we belong to God, through Christ Jesus); (2) to indicate genuineness; (3) to preserve and keep safe (cf. Eph. 4:30; 2 Tim. 2:19; Rev. 7:2-3). This last idea is amplified with the earnest of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit Himself is the down payment, or pledge , of redemption. The indwelling Spirit is the surety and the “security” of all that is to follow in the final salvation of the believer (cf. Rom. 8:9-11, 23; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:14).’ 

What more can we ask eh friends? Nothing really. God didn’t only send Christ to pay for our sins, but He also sent the Holy Spirit to seal us as His personal property. The Good Book tells it thus: ‘For ye are bought with a price: (the blood of Jesus): therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ (1 Cor. 6:20) Yes my people, we belong lock, stock and barrel to God! And He stakes His claim on us by sending His Holy Spirit to indwell us, as well as to give us security and surety of His promises. 

That means our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, consequently, we need to behave in a manner worthy and appropriate of such a high honour. Please, let’s try doing that nuh. We all know what it means and what it takes, but we need to put out a serious effort to make it happen, especially in these tough times. And our God is so good and wonderful that He even gives us the tools, numerous blessings, so we can do just that, and show the world what a magnificent God He is. And since those blessings don’t take effect until we declare them, let’s declare what we call our Thursday Blessings 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!’ 

Now, the onus is on us to go out and share those blessings just as generously with others, as God shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God…whereby ye are sealed…unto the day of redemption… (Eph. 4:30) 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   1 December 2021 Philippians 2:14.

Philippians 2:14.     Do all things without murmurings (grumbling) and disputings.

Well, we’ve opened unto a fairly decent Wednesday, the first day of December; with no snow and some sunshine. Yes, the clouds are there, tirelessly fighting for supremacy, but the sun is in ascendance right now. Thank the Lord! But friends, how I do wish that we, the followers of and believers in Christ had that unflagging, indomitable, unconquerable spirit like those clouds have as they fight the sun’s awesome power, where we never give up, where we are impervious to defeat and only think victory all the time! 

That’s the kind of faith and spirit we need more than ever in these over-the-top, mind-blowing times that none of us have ever before experienced. And instead of complaining like we do, we ought to be crying out to Jesus and living the way He wants us to, believing, as He faithfully promised, that everything will work out for good in the end, for those who sincerely LOVE and abide in Him. And as we promised yesterday, if God spared our lives, which He’s obviously done (smile), we’ll continue talking about that disgusting and ungodly attitude that we too often have, called ‘Complaining.’ 

Now yesterday we saw back in olden times where the Lord chastised the Israelites for too much complaining, especially when He was keeping them in food and drink. They didn’t like manna, and wanted meat, so He gave them so much meat that it eventually turned their hearts against it, became loathsome to them. And I theorized that the same thing is happening to us today with all the disasters, both natural and manmade, as well as the Covid plague that just won’t go away, because of our stubborn, foolish pride and disobedience to Almighty God. 

But enough of my theorizing, let’s turn to the New Testament for some words on the subject of complaining, since some of us wrongly believe that the Old Testament has nothing to offer us in these supposed modern times. And Bruh Paul, the wise man that he was, spoke to the subject in no uncertain terms in his letter to the Philippians. Listen as he tells them. ‘’Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’ (Phil. 2:12-13) 

And we know that means not literally working for our salvation because that’s a free gift given by God, and has nothing to do with our works, but the carrying out of it to its logical conclusion depends on us. We need to work out the new life not just for our profit but for the benefit of others also. And if we work out and show the new life divinely worked in us, we will live worthy of the gospel, in harmony with each other, seeking the progress of the gospel. We will also regard each other as more important than ourselves, be concerned with the needs of our fellow brethren, and make the appropriate sacrifices in obedience to God, as did Jesus. 

In doing all of this, we will work out or express the new life we have through Christ. And having said a lot of that in the beginning of the chapter and elsewhere in his letter, Bruh Paul continues: ‘Do all things without murmurings (grumbling) and disputings. That ye may be blameless and harmless (innocent), the sons (children) of God, without rebuke (fault), in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (generation), among whom ye shine as lights in the world.’ (Phil. 2:14-15) 

Bruh Paul couldn’t be any clearer than that! Christians are not to be continual grumblers and complainers and disputers! Now remember, it’s God who is working in us, for us to do His good will and pleasure, and that can ofttimes be difficult, calling for sacrifices and such, but don’t lose sight of the fact that in the end it will all work out to our benefit. 

And I like the scholars’ explanation of verse 14. They say: ‘Since God is producing in the Philippians the willing and doing of His good and perfect will (vs.13), there can be no legitimate reason for murmurings and disputings. Not only are they forbidden to complain about the difficulties and persecutions that will befall them in carrying out God’s good pleasure, but quarreling among themselves is also prohibited.’ 

Wow! Now that declaration also stands for us today my fellow believers. And how I wish we could all function in such a Christian manner. But unfortunately, Christ’s church right now is a hot bed of grumbling and complaining, of cliques and groups resentful and jealous of each other, of a whole lot of antagonism and evil doings in the body of Christ! If we follow verses 12 and 14, then we would become blameless and harmless. But due to the significant amount strife in the current church this is presently not true 

And are we ever living in the midst of a perverse, crooked, evil and depraved world. Thus, we are expected to help the lost, since that’s the only way that they will ever know Christ. However, in doing so, we must try and not call our witness into rebuke or disfavour by behaving like the world. Instead, as Christ Himself describes us: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid….Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:14, 16) 

Oh friends, our crazy, discombobulated world desperately needs us to be bright lights shining in its evil darkness! Please, please, let’s come up higher nuh, so that we can be the kind of light that Jesus desires us to be. And one way to do that is by stopping the grumbling and complaining that we do daily, over petty and unimportant stuff. Don’t you think it’s breaking Jesus’ heart when He sees the disgusting and disturbing state of disrepair that His church has fallen into? I’m sure it does. And we can’t give Him wrong if sometimes He even asks Himself if His life sacrifice was worth it, considering our willful disobedience and unchristian behaviour. 

So we all need to look in the mirror and truthfully ask ourselves if we are indeed shining lights in the world’s darkness, or just adding to its darkness. Now, for those of us who are sincerely trying to be lights, let’s go home declaring (awright!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful and enviable position in Christ Jesus. 

Altogether now: ‘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 need to be in it for the long haul, because those who endure to the end will find that the future is even more glorious than we can ask or even imagine! Much LOVE!

…Christians ought to…be in the world…but not of the world…  

P.S. Please excuse the lateness of the Bit, but life, as it is wont to do, unexpectedly intervened and delayed my writing. Thanks for the forgiveness! (smile) Much LOVE! 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   30 November 2021 Numbers 11:1a.

Numbers 11:1a.     And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord:

And then it was Tuesday!  We’ve left a miserable Monday in its wake! Glory be! And thankfully too, there are no more piles of dead leaves littering my driveway…not for another year anyway. (smile) But yuh know how it is when we wish for something to stop happening, it does stop, but oftentimes something worse takes its place. As they say, we go from the frying pan into the fire. Well, I believe that’s what’s happening to me right now. Although there are no more dry leaves in my driveway to collect, we now have that beautiful white, but ever so deceptive and dangerous stuff called snow covering it. 

However, there is a small silver lining to that situation, namely, I no longer shovel snow. Too old and broken down for that now. And sometimes I do miss it. I remember those days I would get out in the driveway, open my garage door and the trunk of my car, turn up the stereo and dance and sing while shovelling. People walking by would look at me and laugh, but that was okay. I was enjoying myself, although I was doing some hard physical labour. 

And that’s the way we ought always to be my fellow believers; joyful when doing stuff that seems difficult, because we have the joy and strength of Christ our Lord and Saviour flowing through us and enabling us to do our tasks with a good attitude. Too many of us adopt a bad attitude when we face difficult situations, but that’s one of the purposes of having Christ in our lives, to give us a good attitude. That’s why, in collecting the leaves, even though I knew my back would hurt me from bending so often, I still tried to keep a smile on my face and a prayer in my heart, that the back pain would not be too bad and would soon go away. 

So many of us complain about our jobs, our friends, our spouses, etc. etc. But you know how many other people would gladly take who and what we’re complaining about, because they don’t have any of it?  We have life so relatively easy now, that we complain about anything that exerts us even a little. But friends please realize how dangerous Complaining is, and how much it displeases God. And these words from the website JollyNotes.com explain how complaining is the work of the devil and can lead to further sin. 

‘Grumbling and complaining are sins that can lead to further disobedience, and give the enemy a hold in our lives (God forbid!). In the Bible, complaining is considered an act of unbelief toward God. We have to remember that complaining does not change situations, or even make anything better. Conversely, complaining increases our frustration. Complaining is also very contagious and if not checked, it will spread discord, discontentment and negativity to others.’ 

Unfortunately, complaining is not a new thing, it’s as old as mankind itself. The Israelites began complaining the moment they crossed the Red Sea, about lack of water and fresh meat and the hard journey. They even contemplated going back to their servitude in Egypt. Eventually the Lord got so fed up with their complaining about the manna they received from His merciful hands, that the Good Book tells us: ‘And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled (aroused); and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts (outskirts) of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched.’ (Num. 11:1-2) 

But that did not stop them from complaining, for the rabble rousers stirred them up again to complain about fresh meat. Just like the rabble rousers of today are stirring things up leading to much anger, hatred and strife in our society. But I like how the Lord dealt with the Israelites about their plea for fresh meat. He told Moses: ‘And say unto the people, sanctify yourselves against tomorrow, and ye shall eat flesh (meat): for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord saying, 

Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and you shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you, because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before him,  saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?’ (Num. 11:18-20) 

And as always, the Lord kept His promise. Later on, the Good Book details: ‘And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.’ (Num. 11:31) Brother! Our God doesn’t make joke nuh! When He says He’s going to provide a thing, He surely does. The Israelites had meat around them a day’s journey on either side of the camp, and two cubits high at that! 

‘And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. And while the flesh (meat) was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath (anger) of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote (struck) the people with a great plague.’ (Num. 11:32-33) 

Oh my people, doesn’t that sound very much like what’s happening to us today? For ages we’ve been complaining about all kinds of stuff, turning away from God, being evil, disobedient and proud as ever. Then up crops the plague Covid! And it is a plague because it’s worldwide and doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. In fact, it’s mutating and getting more dangerous as we bicker and complain and don’t want to get together and fight it as ONE! Just like the Israelites way back then, thousands have died from it. 

Our greed, disobedience, and efforts to rid our society of God is no doubt fuelling His anger against us. And until we wake up and see that our only option is to turn back to God, many more will suffer, and many more will die. Oh friends, there’s much more to say on the subject, but we will end on that hopefully sobering note. Tomorrow, God spare life, we will continue with the subject of ‘Complaining, Murmuring, Griping, Whining, Grumbling, Beefing, Belly-Aching, Moaning’; call it whatever you like. 

Now, for those of us who are sincerely trying to do the Lord’s work, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we joyfully belong…Christ Jesus! As one strong voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

And our bounden duty is to go out and do just that; share the amazing LOVE and friendship of Christ with others, so that they too can get to know and LOVE Him like we do. Much LOVE!

…it’s only logical…that if you try to negate the Creator of the earth and all therein…you will suffer dire consequences…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   29 November 2021 Psalm 50:14.

Psalm 50:14.     Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High:

Well, mih bredrin, fighting the traffic with its numerous bad drivers, in the early morning darkness, on these wet and slushy roads is definitely not the best way to begin the work week! We all desire a bright, dry, sunshiny day to help us get back into work mode. But unfortunately, we’re stuck with what we have, and just have to make the best of it. 

At least let’s give thanks that it’s not several inches of snow or tons of rain like what has been dumped on several other communities over the weekend. And best of all, we have Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, Redeemer and Friend to boost our spirits, lift our joy and get us to wherever we must go safely and on time! Wow! Give Him some much deserved thanks and praise my fellow believers! 

That recalls the words of the psalmist Asaph as he talks about God being the judge in Psalm 50. As pertaining to not desiring blood sacrifices, God says: ‘Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove (rebuke) thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock (bull) out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds: 

For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls (birds) of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ (Ps. 50:7-15) 

That says it all right there my people! The Lord doesn’t want animal or blood sacrifices, but the sacrifices of our hearts and mouths, through praise and thanksgiving and the keeping of our promises. Remember what Cousin Sol says in Ecclesiastes about promises? ‘When thou hast vowed a vow unto God, defer (delay) not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than thou shouldest vow and not pay.’ (Eccl. 5:4-5) 

Words of eternal wisdom my brethren. Promises are made to be kept, especially to our God. But we have a bad habit of making promises willy nilly when we desperately want something, then not keeping them. However, God puts great store by promises, both by His and those made to Him by others. And if we don’t keep ours, He won’t keep His either, because many of them are conditional on our behaviour. Meaning, if we do such and such, then God will do so and so. 

And that’s one the reasons why many of our prayers go unanswered. We talk a big talk to God, but don’t walk the talk. So what else do we expect but unanswered prayer eh? And don’t forget about that thing called obedience; a small and piddling irritant in our eyes, but a most important element in God’s. That’s another stumbling block on which our prayers and lives falter. 

Listen to what Samuel told Saul, Israel’s first king when he failed to obey God’s command to totally destroy the Amalekites, but instead he spared their king Agag and the best of their animals. ‘And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.’ (1 Sam. 15:22) 

Yes friends, that one disobedience caused Saul to lose his throne! And who knows how much we have lost through the glaring and rampant disobedience that is currently being carried out in our sinful and ungodly world, where the heathen wants to get rid of God, and too many supposed believers don’t have the parts to stand up strong and truly fight the battle on God’s behalf? 

But thankfully, our God is a good God, a forgiving and merciful God, who will forgive and administer His grace and mercy to those who are sincerely repentant. As the psalmist so rightly reminds us above. ‘Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ 

And if you don’t believe that this is a time of serious trouble in our world, then something is seriously wrong with your mental apparatus. So please, let’s take the bull by the horns, believe God’s word and go to Him right now in prayer, with sincere repentance and thanksgiving flowing from our hearts, so that He can help us in this our time of desperate need. As one voice, let’s offer up our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

‘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 please remember that God’s promise is conditional on us changing our evil ways. Much LOVE!

…the wisest way to live this life…obey God…and leave all the consequences to Him… (Uncle Charles – Dr. Charles Stanley). 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   28 November 2021 Job 19:25.

Job 19:25.     For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter (last) day upon the earth.

It’s a chilly Sunday morning friends, with a touch of snow in my area, the first of the season, but we can’t allow a li’l snow to stop us from gathering to worship our wonderful Lord and Saviour on His Sabbath Day. No, we obviously cannot do that! But for those who are frail and still wary of the Covid, what with another new variant now in circulation, just get out your electronic devices and you can worship online with us. 

And as always, we open with a magnificent song of worship. Today’s is aptly titled, ‘I know that My Redeemer Lives. Wow! What a powerful song authored by Samuel Medley (1738-1799), who, while fighting as a member of the Royal Navy, got severely wounded and was forced to retire. He eventually became a pastor of a Baptist church and wrote several hymns, this one possibly being his most famous. So, in soulful harmony, let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise to heaven, singing these heartfelt words as though we are truly grateful for Jesus. 

As one voice: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives! What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, he lives, who once was dead; he lives, my ever-living head! He lives triumphant from the grave; he lives eternally to save; he lives all-glorious in the sky; he lives exalted there on high. He lives to bless me with his LOVE; he lives to plead for me above; he lives my hungry soul to feed; he lives to help in time of need. 

He lives to grant me rich supply; he lives to guide me with his eye; he lives to comfort me when faint; he lives to hear my soul’s complaint. He lives to silence all my fears; he lives to wipe away my tears; he lives to calm my troubled heart; he lives all blessings to impart. He lives, my kind, wise, heav’nly friend; he lives and LOVES me to the end; he lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing; he lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King. 

He lives and grants me daily breath; he lives, and I shall conquer death; he lives my mansion to prepare; he lives to bring me safely there. He lives, all glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives! He lives, all glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!’ 

And do we ever know that as an indisputable truth my fellow saints! Jesus is our great Redeemer! Job foreshadowed His majesty and glory before He ever came to earth, with these words of total faith. ‘For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter (last) day upon the earth.’ (Job 19:25) And did our Lord and Saviour ever stand proudly on the earth during His first coming and will even more majestic and powerful when He returns the second time! 

He’s done, and is doing all that the songwriter says above there! The first and most important thing is that He Lives. He once was dead, but rose triumphantly from the grave, eternally to save, setting us free from the shackles of sin. He’s our comfort, our intercessor, our pain bearer and way maker. He grants us daily breath and because of Him, we too shall conquer death. Oh friends, those are only a few of the things that Jesus does on our behalf. We could spend the entire day writing about His goodness and mercy and still have some left over. That’s How wonderful our Jesus is! 

Now there are some other wonderful scriptures on the subject that I think we should consider. Hear the prophet Isaiah talk to his people about ‘The Lord the Redeemer of Israel.’ ‘I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee. Sing O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.’ (Is. 44:22-23) 

Ah mih people, that’s the way all the earth should behave on account of Christ’s wonderful and selfless redemption! Meanwhile, Titus, in the New Testament, when talking about the Christian life, says it this way. ‘Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar (special) people, zealous of good works.’ (Titus 2:13-14) 

And we are indeed a people set apart, sanctified through Jesus’ death and resurrection, expected to do good works in His name. But we are not doing the good works that He expects of us, otherwise so many of our fellow humans would not be suffering as they are today. Instead, we are, for whatever reason(s) banding with the evildoers of the world, not raising the name of Jesus sufficiently. Obviously, we are not taking the words of Bruh Paul to the Galatians as seriously as we ought to. ‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled with the yoke of bondage.’ (Gal. 5:1) 

Yes friends, Christ died to make us free from the law, from the yoke of sin. Why are we succumbing to it again eh? Don’t we remember Jesus’ momentous words on the subject? ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ (John 8:31-32, 36) 

And as I keep saying, these tough and dangerous times are when all believers ought to raise up their level of faith and stand strong for Christ, because He is the ONLY One who can help us get through the ‘sufferation’ so many of us are currently experiencing. That’s why He is the Redeemer! And if you don’t want to call on your Redeemer, and place your trust in Him during hard times, then what’s the purpose of having a Redeemer?  

Now, let’s end with the words of this momentous conversation between Jesus and Martha, Lazarus’ sister when He finally came, after Lazarus had died. ‘Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead (may die), yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth, and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ (John 11:23-26) 

And that’s a very good question for all of us supposed believers to ask ourselves this Sunday morning, in these dark and mightily troubled times. Much LOVE!

…a Redeemer…is only as good as…the help we seek from Him… otherwise…His redemption is wasted…                                                                                                                                         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   27 November 2021 Matthew 19:26.

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

So what does Saturday have to say for itself eh? Nothing much nuh. Just a weary sigh, as it tries to recover from a rough work week. Unfortunately, that is made even more difficult when it looks outside and sees the sun and the dark clouds struggling to see who is going to rule the roost for the day. Ah Lord eh, it complains. It’s always a battle, always a struggle, always a fight to see who will rule. Why can’t we just live in simple peace and harmony eh? 

Then it sighs again, as the reality hits home. Apparently, that wasn’t meant to be until Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom. So, till then, like we have no choice but to keep up the good fight as we live for Jesus. And on Saturdays, we try to philosophize biblically (smile) on the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us in the past week as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

The first one says: ‘It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.’ And that’s fairly true. A bad, or ‘no can do’ attitude at the beginning of any task will just make it even more difficult than it is already. We have to inject some measure of positivity into our thinking if we even expect to accomplish the task, much less accomplish it with as little heartache as possible. 

That applies even more when you are a believer in Christ, because He has promised to strengthen and help you in everything you do, once it falls under His will. So, as a Christian, you must come to everything with a positive, I can do this though it seems difficult attitude, because your help comes from Christ, your Lord and Saviour, your Enabler. 

Meanwhile, the next quote tells us to ‘Limit your “always” and your “nevers.” Now that’s a very good idea. You know how we like to use those two words a lot; for example, we’ll ‘always do this or that,’ and we’ll ‘never do that or this.’ Well for our sake, it’s wise to cut down on the times we say always and never, since those absolute pronouncements have a habit of coming back to bite us in the butt, like a boomerang comes back to the one who throws it. And I can testify to that from personal experience, because in my younger years there were a couple of things I promised myself to never do, but, as life would have it, I ended up doing them. 

Then we come to this interesting quote. ‘What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.’ I believe that has a lot of truth to it, if your goals are worthwhile in the first place. That’s because to achieve your goal you have to work at it and while you are working you are also growing character wise. So, by the time you have reached your goal, you will be at a higher level of maturity than when you began. 

And growth in our earthly walk is as important a part of setting goals as achieving them. We have that picture laid out perfectly before us as believers, when we consider that we need to walk in the Spirit and at the same time, bear the fruit of the Spirit. Bruh Paul wrote thus to the Galatians. ‘This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.’ (Gal. 5:16-17) 

So friends, to achieve our goal of bearing good fruit, as Christ desires of us. ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) And what is the fruit of the Spirit that’s so important to us? 

Bruh Paul characterized it thus: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law… If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.’ (Gal. 5:22-23, 25) The goal is to bear good spiritual fruit, (those nine things listed above), but to do that we have to walk in the Spirit, and as we do both things, we will become more spiritually mature with each step we take. 

That brings us to this quote: ‘Believe you can and you’re halfway there.’ That’s oh so true, for without belief in the success of whatever you are planning to do, you will put a negative spin, or curse on it before you even begin. Jesus said it so often during His earthly sojourn. It’s a sister quote to the one we dealt with above:  ‘It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.’ Our prevailing attitude is always very important in whatever we do. With a good or positive attitude, we enhance the success of our project, while with a bad or negative attitude, we sort of jinx our project from the very start. 

Now here is our last quote, which says: ‘Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m possible!” The play on the word ‘impossible’ is certainly interesting. But then again, as believers in Christ Jesus, we all know that nothing is impossible, because all things are possible with the Creator of the universe. 

Jesus Himself said so when talking to the disciples about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. The Good Book tells us: ‘When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ (Matt. 19:25-26) 

Oh my fellow saints, what a wonderful note to close on this cloudy Saturday morning. Please, let’s spend some time considering all the ramifications of that most encouraging statement. Much LOVE!

…Christians…the most optimistic people on planet earth…                                                                                                                                       

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 November 2021 Matthew 6:8.

Matthew 6:8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before you ask him.

What shall we say to opening our bleary eyes to a bright new shiny day eh? A simple answer like ‘Thank You Lord for allowing me to see another day. I praise You and bless your holy name,’ will do. Our wonderful God doesn’t need a whole lot of verbiage to satisfy His soul, just our heartfelt thanks and gratitude. 

That’s why Jesus uttered this warning to His listeners, a warning which I believe is also very timely for us in these trying and turbulent times. He said: ‘And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites (pretenders) are: for they LOVE to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. 

Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet (inner room), and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.’ (Matt. 6:5-6) 

Now friends, that doesn’t mean that praying publicly is wrong, because it’s decreed in many parts of the Bible, the problem is the misuse of prayer, praying so that men can see us and believe we are so righteous and holy, when we are nothing more than a bunch of hypocrites using it for our personal glory. 

And as the scholars explain: ‘The principle here is that the believer should not make a show of his prayer, nor of the answers he receives of prayer in such a way as to call unnecessary attention to himself.’ Unfortunately, many of us today, do just that; make showy attempts of prayer, so that others can see us and think we are such prayer warriors, when we are nothing of the kind. 

Jesus knew the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, so He continues on the subject of prayer. ‘But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ (Matt. 6:7) Yes my brethren, we don’t need to babble on in our prayers, saying the same things over and over, or speaking without thinking, like some of the heathen and false prophets found in the Old Testament. 

Thus, this last word from Jesus. ‘Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before you ask him.’ (Matt. 6:8). For sure! He is God, the Creator and controller of the world, who’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours, so He must know what we need, although He likes us to come to Him in prayer and ask, to acknowledge our submission to His will and not ours. 

And the scholars offer a wonderful explanation on prayer through that verse. ‘6:8. Prayer is not man’s attempt to change the will of God. Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance to answer, but laying hold of His willingness to help. Prayer in the life of the believer is an act of total confidence and assurance in the plan and purpose of God. 

The following sample prayer is given to the disciples as an example of a suitable prayer. This prayer, often called the “Lord’s Prayer,” is in reality a disciple’s prayer. In no way does the prayer itself embody all of Christ’s teaching about prayer; and having just warned against vain repetition, he did not intend for this particular prayer to be merely recited with empty meaninglessness.’ 

Oh friends, we all know the prayer, and ofttimes we just mouth it without really thinking about what we’re saying. And yes, it’s good to have God in our mouths, but He should also be in our hearts and minds. And we won’t go into a line by line break down of the prayer, but be it sufficient here to know that it contains two major parts; the first is adoration, and the second is petition. 

Now that’s the way most prayers, especially in the Psalms are devised. They open with thanks and praise, then they ask for their needs, and I believe that’s a healthy way for us to design our individual prayers. Don’t just jump right into what we need, unless it’s a dire emergency, but first offer up thanks, and remember what the Lord has done in the past for us, and His overall goodness in our lives, show that we appreciate His grace and mercy, before we begin asking for things. 

And by the way, please make sure the things we ask for are things that are in His will for our lives, not merely our selfish wants. Now, what we’ve said above, is not the end all and be all on prayer, but hopefully, it will upgrade out thoughts on prayer and help us to pray in a more meaningful manner. 

So, with that in mind (smile) let’s go to God in prayer, right now, through our Friday Chant. As one voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. 

And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. 

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

Please remember, that if we want positive answers to our prayers, we need to keep the promises we’ve just made. Much LOVE!

…Prayer…God’s method of communication with His children… 

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