Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 March 2021 John 13:35.

John 13:35.     ​By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.

Well, it’s another day, the one we call Monday; in another new work week, with many of the same problems we had yesterday! But the big difference is that today, there is hope that things will improve in one, many, or all areas of our lives, because we have the faithful promise of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour who laid down His sinless life on our behalf. And with that going for us, there’s nothing that can truly depress or disappoint us, because we can do all things, through Christ who strengthens us! 

Please let that be our motto for today friends, as life and whatever else comes against us. And even when we are weak, and feel like we can’t make it any further, let us not allow the enemy to dissuade us from banking on Jesus, from putting all our hopes and dreams on Him, because He cares for us! And as He so rightfully says: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ (John 14:6) So, if we want to get to the Father in heaven, it means we have to go through Jesus. Simple as that! 

And now, we are also into what we call Holy Week; that ends with Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday and His triumphant resurrection on Easter Sunday! Glory be my people! That’s two thirds of what our Christian faith is based on; the other third being Jesus’ incarnate birth at what we call Christmas. And if all of that isn’t a very strong platform to stand on, then I really don’t know what else is nuh! 

So please, let’s not give up, or get weary as we encounter difficulties on our earthly journey, for Jesus encountered many on His earthly journey too, that’s why He can now empathize with us in ours. And He didn’t give up, but overcame His problems with the help of His heavenly Father. And in like manner, He has promised to help us overcome ours, if we place our sincere faith and trust in Him. Listen to His promise: ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ (John 14:1) 

Yes friends, it’s all about sincerity of heart; believing what we say, and then putting it into practice. If we sincerely believe in Jesus, then we can’t go around preaching one thing, then practicing something else, like the religious people of His time, the Pharisees did, and like so many of us are still won’t to do in these very troubled times. And that’s why so many people have no respect for Christians; our hypocrisy turns them off. So here are some scriptures that ought to clear up that problem. And they are all the words of Jesus. 

‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one , and LOVE the other, or else he will hold to (be loyal to) the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (earthly riches).’ (Matt. 6:24) And that’s not rocket science, just simple logic. Yet too many of us try to sit astride the fence and serve both God and the evil that earthly riches tend to lead us to. 

Now hear this bombshell Jesus dropped on the disciples, as He was explaining how things were going to unfold. ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) He could not have said it any clearer than that my brethren. 

And do we follow that commandment? Not on your life! The body of Christ, the church, has just as much animosity, dissension and division as the world around it. And yuh know what? If even the Christians alone obeyed Christ’s commandment to LOVE each other, our world would not be in the total mess it’s in! Because the unbelievers would see how good it is for brethren to dwell in LOVE and inity (unity). 

And the sad part is that although we are all suffering from the same problems, the pandemic, the many kinds of strife and natural disasters, you would think those common denominators would bring us together. But no, they are creating more turmoil and more animosity, with each trying to outdo the other to solve their own problems, instead of working together to solve them all. Please remember, that two together are stronger than one, and all of us together are better than each on his own. 

So what does all of that tell us eh friends? That we desperately need to turn down the rhetoric, lessen the noise and the strife and begin working together if we want to come up over our problems. And there is ONLY one right way to begin changing, and that’s with prayer. So let’s go to the ONLY One who answers prayer and confess our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive and standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the many natural disasters that now seem more prevalent than ever. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have 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, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, 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!’ 

It’s now up to us to do what we’ve promised, so God can see our sincerity and positively answer our prayer. Much LOVE!

…when are we going to learn…that God made us for community…not disunity… 

   

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 March 2021 John 13:34.

John 13:34.     ​A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another.

Well, it’s a bright, spring-like morning…notice I said spring-like, not spring, (smile) because the warm day time temps we’re currently having are only a façade, for winter is not quite over yet. I’ll take that intermittent break though from the cold winds which March usually bring, but it’s not enough to lift my spirits this morning, for I discovered yesterday that the eldest of my younger sisters had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. And I use that description because I have a sister that’s older than me. (smile) 

Oh friends, it’s difficult when anyone passes away, but even more so when they do so unexpectedly and also alone, with no friends or family around to wish them a pleasant and speedy journey to the hallways of heaven. That’s apparently what happened to my sister, Cheryl Brown a couple of days ago. From all reports she wasn’t sick unto death, just had a case of bronchitis, but when she could not be reached by phone and they went to check on her she was found unconscious and passed away soon thereafter. 

Some of you might be wondering how come I’m talking about sisters when by nature I’m an only child. Well that’s one of the Lord’s greatest miracles in my life. Some fifty odd years ago when I went to live in Jamaica to attend the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, the Brown family kindly took in a penniless son of Tobago, put a roof over his head and fed and nourished him with both food and family LOVE! And thus they became my family, for which I will be eternally grateful and dread thinking of how much rougher my life would have been if they had not taken me in. 

Yes, it’s true that Cher (my nickname) and I always had a contrary relationship, and that’s normal in most families, but when it really mattered, the LOVE always shone through. She had a heart of gold, though she worked overtime to make it seem otherwise. Adult life wasn’t always easy for her, but she persevered and made her family proud by representing Jamaica at several United Nations talks, while ending up as a working lawyer. I heard that she was up and about even during the pandemic with her two bad knees. But that’s the kind of persevering person she was. 

And she will definitely be missed by her two grown daughters, her granddaughter and her three younger sisters, plus her wide-ranging extended family. Cher sweetheart, you always knew your big brother LOVED you, and I will certainly miss the interesting conversations we had every so often; the last one being a couple of months ago when we spoke about my trying to contact you on what’s app and you kindly, but firmly informing me that if it wasn’t working the way it was, then too bad, because that’s exactly how it would stay. 

Ah mih sister, so sad you had to go so early, but I do know that you were prepared because Jesus was always in your heart, thoughts and actions, and that it will be a wonderful reunion with your parents, Aunt Ames (Amy), and Uncle Aubs (Aubrey) in the hallowed halls of heaven. We miss you, and will always remember your kindness and compassion, but we know that you are in a better place now, free from all the problems of this earthly life, so please rest in peace and enjoy the wonders of heaven with Jesus. 

Oh my fellow saints, it brings tears to my eyes when I remember the unexpected kindness and LOVE of the Brown family so long ago. They didn’t know me from Adam, yet took me in, while paying for Cher to live on the campus. And no, they weren’t wealthy, just ordinary hard working, kind-hearted Christian people. I remember the times when I’d complain that my mother wasn’t sending me any money, and Aunt Ames would quickly shut me up by asking, ‘How can she send money when she doesn’t have any eh?’ 

That’s the kind of down to earth people they were. And it’s stuff like that, that has made me the person I am today. How can I be anything other than kind and compassionate when so many people down through the years have been so good to me eh? And in these troubled times, that’s the kind of reaction we Christians need to show to so many who are in need. Yes, some of us might be in dire need too, but as Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say, ‘The best way to forget about your problems is to go and help somebody else.’ 

And it’s quite true, when you’re helping others, your problems don’t seem quite as worrisome, and then God turns around and helps you. And it’s all a function of LOVE my people! Jesus said it so plainly: The first and great commandment was to LOVE God with all you had, then the second was to LOVE your neighbour as yourself. (Matt. 22:37-40) And later on, even when He gave them a new commandment, it was still based on LOVE.‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another.’(John 13:34) 

Yeh friends, all that we do in Jesus’ name should be based on the characteristic of LOVE. Why? Jesus gives us the answer. ‘By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:35) Plain and simple friends. Meanwhile, John, in his first epistle tells us that God is LOVE. ‘Beloved, let us LOVE one another: for LOVE is of God; and every one that LOVETH is born of God, and knoweth God.’ (1 John 4:7) That means God’s redeeming LOVE, not just mere human LOVE. 

And why is LOVE so important in our lives? Because it’s God’s major characteristic. Why yuh think He sent His sinless son to die for us eh? Because He LOVED us! And Bruh Paul in his famous dissertation on the way of LOVE in 1 Corinthians 13, declares (ah Lord eh!) that though one has everything else but no LOVE, then you’re useless. Read that chapter and you’ll see why Peter echoes Cousin Sol in Prov. 10:12, when he says: ‘And above all things have fervent charity (LOVE) among yourselves: for charity (LOVE) shall cover the multitude of sins.’ (1 Pet. 4:8) 

And it surely does my people, meaning that LOVE forgives! Covering sin is basically forgiving it, not sweeping it under the rug, but confronting it, then forgetting it, not bringing it up all the time. And then there’s James’ two cents’ worth. (smile) ‘Let him know, that he which converteth (turns) the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide (cover) a multitude of sins.’ (James 5:20) 

That says it all friends! LOVE should be the number one driving force in our lives! Our lives should reflect a strong LOVE walk! And having acknowledged that, let’s go home now letting the whole world know who and whose we are, by declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra in strong voice with sincere hearts. 

‘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!’ 

So what we waiting for eh? Time is short. Let’s get a move on and share Jesus’LOVEwith the world nuh!Much LOVE!

…and now abideth…faith, hope, LOVE…these three…but the greatest of these is…LOVE… (1 Cor, 13:13)