Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 October 2019 Matthew 16:24.

Matthew 16:24.     If any man will come after (follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
 

It’s a somewhat damp and foggy Tuesday morning in my neck of the woods, so please be careful all you who have to get out on the road, because you know the kind of craziness that exists on our roadways these days. If you can wait until the fog lifts, please do so. And today we’re going to look at a very interesting quote from one of the leading Protestant Theologians of our age, Jurgen Moltman (1926) of the German Reformed Church. And the quote says: ‘The more passionately we LOVE life, the more intensely we experience the joy of life.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth friends! When we’re passionate about life, or anything really, we enjoy the experience that thing brings more than if we’re not passionate about it. And there’s nothing to be more passionate about than the LOVE of God and the LOVE of life! Unfortunately though, too many of us have lost the passion we once had for real life and for God, and instead have embraced the unrealistic, soul destroying, short-lasting and unproductive passion for worldly stuff. We have to remember that life is not, and will never be completely smooth sailing, but a combination of storms and calms, highs and lows, and ‘choosing to live life on its terms brings enthusiasm and passion into our experiences. Our decision to LOVE life – despite the highs and lows – allows us to delight in the highs and to accept the lows as unavoidable, but momentary setbacks.’ 

Yeh friends, as someone once said, ‘setbacks are only opportunities in disguise.’ Therefore, though we may not like them, and they may prove to be difficult and frustrating, we still need to embrace them as important aspects of our lives, because we know that it is only through setbacks and adversity that we truly grow. We can’t hide from the difficult things, or those we don’t like, else we’ll never know or experience the true fullness and joy of life. Those who are passionate and enthusiastic about life, despite its many shortcomings, are the ones who rise to the top of the enjoyment heap. (smile) 

And the BEST way to handle life’s ups and downs is through the acceptance of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives! If you didn’t know that before, then you know it now! (smile) Oh my people, with Jesus as the mainstay, the mainmast, the pilot of our lives, we can remain calm through every storm, and handle every high and low with equanimity. But only the LOVE and acceptance of Jesus enables us to have those wonderful qualities! And why is that eh? Because when Jesus enters into our hearts and lives He puts the power of His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and it’s that Holy Spirit that leads and guides, teaches and convicts, comforts and LOVES us, so that we can handle whatever comes against us with a good and sane attitude. 

Now, before we go any further, let’s make one thing real clear; following Jesus is wonderful, but it’s not always easy! And unless you’re ready to truly hunker down and do what He asks, then you’ll find yourself frustrated and unhappy from the very get go. So let’s look at some of the important but difficult stuff that Jesus laid out for His followers. The first and most important, but also most difficult requirement is laid down in these words of our Lord and Saviour to the disciples. ‘If any man will come after (follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’ That statement there usually stops many of us right in our tracks! The idea of denying ourselves and taking up a cross doesn’t sit well with any of us, but to follow Jesus they are necessary prerogatives. 

And here’s what the scholars have to say about it. ‘16:22-28. Deny himself, that is, refuse his own claims upon himself. Take up: The meaning is “lift up.” It is a stronger word than that used in 10:38, and implies a lifting up of the cross on high, so that all may see it. This is the strongest statement in the New Testament about the disciple’s need to crucify himself, by yielding to the claims of Christ’s lordship over him.’ Ah mih people, although it seems like we’re asked to give up so much for Christ, the reality is that we get back much much more than we give up when we’re steadfast and sincere. 

Now here’s what I LOVE about Jesus; He can give you comfort at the same time as promising adversity. Listen to Him to the disciples, and consequently to all His future followers. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) Oh glory be my faithful brethren! What a mighty promise! The world is full of trials and tribulation, but when we embrace Jesus, we can have His peace! And what kind of peace is that? Listen to Jesus again: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

And hear how Bruh Paul describes that peace to the Philippians nuh. ‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:7) And what kind of peace is all of that? The scholars explain: ‘4:7. The peace of God is that tranquility of mind freeing the believer from fear and worry. “Peace” which passeth all understanding means (1) peace divinely bestowed in times of anxiety, so wonderful that it exceeds one’s ability to understand it; and (2) God’s peace far surpassing one’s own understanding of the problem, and his ability to cope with and solve it.’ 

Yeh friends, when you walk sincerely with Jesus, ALL bases are covered! That’s not say you won’t have problems and face adversity, but you will be able to handle them with the awesome help of the Holy Spirit! Wow! Now, for those of us who truly believe and try to be faithful, let’s go home lifting up our crosses high, so the whole world can know who and whose we are. 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 let’s go out and do exactly that nuh my faithful brethren, as it behooves us as true followers of Christ. Much LOVE!

…to walk with Christ…is to walk in true peace…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 October 2019 2 Chronicles 26:5.

2 Chronicles 26:5.    ​And he (Uzziah) sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions (fear) of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.
 

So today looks like another rainy and cloudy day, but I guess that’s what fall weather is all about. But who knows, with the way things are going these days, by lunchtime it could be pouring down sunshine! (smile) Yeh, the weather patterns are so unpredictable these days that I feel sorry for the weather forecasters. But regardless of if the physical sun is shining or not, we need to remember that we have the One who created the sun dwelling inside of us, and therefore there should always be a bright light, the bright light of Jesus, shining in our souls and spirits. 

Glory to God for that eternal sunshine! That sunshine that keeps us joyful and fresh, and peaceful and righteous and leads us along the strait and narrow path that Almighty God has ordained for us to follow! Give Him much thanks for His unceasing goodness to us, the disobedient children of men. Without His amazing grace and mercy we’d surely be lost in the mire of sinfulness, headed straight for Hades and its ruler, the evil one. And I’ve just encountered an interesting scripture in the Old Testament that is still oh so relevant to our modern times. It deals with the sixteen year old Uzziah succeeding his father Amaziah as king of Judah. It says: ‘And he (Uzziah) sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions (fear) of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.’ 

What a wonderful scripture for us meditate on and consider this wet and cloudy morning my people, because it is still a happening fact in our time. When you seek God sincerely and constantly, He causes you to prosper. And prosper doesn’t necessarily mean material wealth, but also peace and joy in your life and your surroundings, and the lack of strife and other negative emotions and situations. But before we move on, here are a couple of notices from the scholars. The first is that Uzziah is called Azariah in 2 Kings 14:21; 15:1-7. And the second is that the Zechariah named above is not the same prophet who wrote the prophecy of Zechariah. 

This brings us to another instance where the same basic ideas were floated to a Judean king. Listen to this warning from the prophet Azariah. ‘And the spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet (before) Asa, (the king), and said unto him, hear ye me Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; the Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.’ (2 Chr.15:2) Yeh friends, that warning still applies to us today. And I like what Azariah said after reminding them that Israel had been in a rough state for a long time, without a prophet, disobedient to God, and thus suffering much adversity. However he advised: ‘Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.’ (2 Chr.15:7) 

Yeh friends, it still works even to this day! Remember Bruh Paul’s words to the Colossians: ‘And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance (salvation): for ye serve the Lord Christ.’ (Col.3:23-24) It’s like the author of Hebrews said: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him (God); for he that cometh to God must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ (Heb.11:6) That’s sort of the reverse side of the coin; you can’t come to God sincerely unless you believe that He will reward your diligent seeking of Him. Oh I just went outside to check on a problem and it’s already sunny out there. Yuh see, just like we said earlier on! (smile) Glory to God! 

Now here are James’ words on the subject. ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God: Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded. Be afflicted (lament), and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness (gloom). Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.’ (James 4:7-10) Oh my people, in these evil times, times of so much selfishness and greed, many of us, even Christians, need to humble ourselves before Almighty God, so that He can lift us up. 

Yes, it’s a fact; if we don’t humble ourselves before Him, there will be no lifting up! And once we do that, He will bless us so abundantly, that we won’t know what to do with the blessings. Listen to some of them. We call them our Thursday Blessings. They need to be spoken out loud for them to take effect, so please declare them with me in loud and sincere voices. ‘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 everyday! Amen!’ 

And that’s gospel truth friends! But one important reminder: those blessings are for us to generously share with others, as the Lord has generously shared them with us, not for us to selfishly hoard. Much LOVE!

…you can only find God…if you diligently look for Him…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 October 2019 Matthew 14:33.

Matthew 14:33.    ​And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

 

And then it was Sunday…Oh beautiful Sunday! Time to join fellow believers in praise, worship and thanksgiving at the Lord’s house on His special day. What a wonderful privilege to come into His presence with others of like mind, to hear His Word, exalt His holy name and receive His awesome confidence, LOVE, mercy, grace and strength that enable us to keep on fighting the good fight in His name! So, without further ado, let’s do as we always do nuh, (smile) begin with a song of praise. And today’s song is aptly titled: ‘LOVE LIFTED ME!’ And so it did friends; Christ’s great LOVE for us, lifted us out of the mire of sin, through His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary that paid the price of sin for all time. 

But we all know that, so let’s check out something that we might not know, namely the story behind today’s hymn. According to the web site GodTube, it was written and published in 1912 by Arthur James Rowe (1865-1933), a copper miner’s son, an immigrant to the U.S from Ireland in 1889. He worked for ten years on the New York railroads, then became an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society. The hymn was inspired by two biblical stories, both about Jesus and His disciples on the stormy seas of Galilee. (Matt.14:22-33) & (Matt.8:23-27). ‘Rowe masterfully incorporates both stories, using sinking or being swamped into the sea as an illustration for “sinking deep in sin…sinking to rise no more.” Jesus, “Master of the sea,” hears our pleas for help, reaches out to us in LOVE, and lifts us up into the well being of grace.’ Oh what a beautiful description! 

So now that we have some idea of what the hymn is all about, let’s sing it nuh, in strong, soulful voice, with exquisite harmony, and much sincere thanks and gratitude appropriately flowing from our hearts. Altogether now: ‘I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me, now safe am I. (Refrain: LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me. LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me.) 

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling, In his blessed presence live, ever his praises sing. LOVE so mighty and so true merits my soul’s best songs; Faithful LOVING service, too, to Him belongs. [Refrain] Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves; He will lift you by His LOVE out of the angry waves; He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey, He, your Saviour wants to be, be saved today. [Refrain: LOVE lifted me…When nothing could help…LOVE lifted me…’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my fellow believers? It’s only something as powerful as LOVE that could have ever lifted us out of the depths of sin! The amazing LOVE of Jesus is the only thing ‘that can lift us out of despair to salvation.’ Now let’s refresh our memories about those two stories on which today’s hymn was based. The first one tells us about Jesus entering a ship with His disciples. ‘And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ (Matt.8:24-27) 

Ah friends, as the hymn says, Jesus is the ‘Master of the sea.’ He was intimately involved in making it, therefore, it must do as He directs it. The second story happens after Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. When Jesus heard of it, He was saddened, and took a ship to a deserted place to be alone. But the crowds followed Him, and Jesus being Jesus, was filled with compassion and He taught them and healed their sick, then later on He fed them; five thousand men, beside women and children. (Matt.14:1-14) After that, He sent the disciples away in a ship, dispersed the multitude, then went up into a mountain by himself to pray. However, while Jesus was up on the mountain praying, the disciples were having an extremely hard time crossing the sea of Galilee because of a severe storm, brewed up by a contrary wind. 

By the fourth watch (3-6 a.m.) they were obviously tired from rowing all night and not making much progress. Then suddenly this apparition appeared unto them walking on the water. They claimed it was a ghost and cried out in fear. ‘But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I, be not afraid. Then Peter with his impulsive self blurted out: ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee  on the water. And he said,  Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous (violent) he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.’ (Matt.14:27-33) 

Ah mih people, please note Jesus response in both situations: ‘O ye of little faith.’ He challenged them on the substance of their faith. They had seen Him do all sorts of miracles, yet still they were scared of their own shadows. When He walked on water to them, a few hours earlier they had seen him feed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fishes, and still pick up twelve full baskets of left overs. So why should they be so afraid seeing Him walk and water and calm the stormy seas eh? The sad part of the story though is that unfortunately, we are in the same boat as the disciples. We talk a good talk, but when adversity strikes, we forget all the wonderful miracles that Jesus has done in our lives, and we too cry out in faithless fear. 

But the long and short of the story is that we know much more about Jesus and how He works, than the disciples did, so we ought not to be as afraid as so many of us are. Each adversity we undergo, and He brings us through successfully, ought to build our faith and make us stronger. So please, let’s ponder on all that we’ve said today nuh, and promise ourselves to try and do better, faith wise, with God’s help of course. Jesus needs us to show strong faith to the unbelievers, so that they too will want to share His salvation! Much LOVE!

…it should not be as hard for us…as it was for the disciples…to truly believe…that Jesus is the Son of God…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 June 2019 Hebrews 13:5a.

Hebrews 13:5a.    ​I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
 

Ah mih people, life is as changeable as the weather! Yuh remember yesterday I complained that it was going to be another ‘riney’ day? Well, lo and behold, by mid-day, it had turned into a perfectly beautiful warm and sunshiny day, lots of blue skies and cool breezes! Shorts and shirtsleeves weather! 

Well it’s the same way our lives can change rather abruptly, with no warnings at all. One moment you might be going through a perfect period of peace and calm, then all of a sudden calamity and adversity strike and you feel lost and out of your element. Or the opposite can happen; you’ll be going through a real rough time, and then for no apparent reason, the storm, the winds and the seas just suddenly become calm and you find yourself sailing along in perfect peace! 

Wow! That’s what we call life! Unpredictable, unreliable and unforeseeable! (smile) Consequently, too many of us struggle to maintain our equilibrium in the sudden and scary ups and down of life. But there is a most positive antidote, a positive and productive way to handle life…His name is Jesus! 

Yes friends, Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can help us successfully handle and navigate through the vicissitudes of life! Without Him, we are at the very mercy of life’s ever-changing circumstances. And that’s the gospel truth! But more on that later, because the workingman is just dying to bellow out his song this bright and sunshiny morning. (smile) So let’s give him a listen nuh. 

‘Woyoyo! At long last I can shout TGIF! Thank God is Friday! The weekend, the weekend, it’s here, alive and in blazing sunshine too! Let’s just hope it stays so yes. We’ve been disappointed too often in the last few weeks. And I’m all ready to get out there in mih short shots and tank top and grill a few steaks, dogs and burgers, while sipping some cold brewskis! It’s June now, a week into it, so is high time we could go out there and do that sorta thing without any worries about cold weather! 

Steups! Wuh happen, we living in the North Pole or something, that the weather so blooming cold and miserable? And if yuh check it out, up there right now they must be having long, hot bright days, enjoying a good summer already, while we down here having this expletive deleted kinda weather! 

But is not much we could really do about it nuh, so let me stop complaining and just have a positive mindset and get mih self ready to get out there this evening when ah get home and do mih own thing. Mama Yo! Thank God for Fridays and weekends yes, at long last, ah chance to get away from the slave driver and them work…and party hearty too! I’ll be in mih essence then!  

Yeh friends, the workingman surely tells it like he sees it. And generally speaking, nothing’s wrong with that, it’s just sometimes he goes overboard, or crosses over the line that we believers in Christ Jesus can’t afford to cross over, for fear of having the enemy infiltrate our already less than strong and mature souls. (smile) 

And there’s no shame in that, it’s just common sense to shy away from danger before it hits you…and believe me the enemy we’re fighting is pretty dangerous when we give him a chance. On his own, he’s harmless, a toothless tiger, but once we open the door, brother, he’s all over us with his evil self like white on rice! (smile) That’s why our Friday Chant is not as expansive and expressive as the workingman’s song. So let’s chant it now nuh, in full voice and strong sense of purpose. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Yes brothers and sisters in Christ, ours is a dedicated life that requires some borders and fences so that we don’t cross over into enemy territory. But that’s the beauty of living for Jesus…He gives us the wherewithal to handle ALL that comes against us, as well as constantly being by our side. And furthermore, He’s made an everlasting and ever faithful promise: ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ 

Wow! What an awesome promise! And we know He’ll keep it, because that’s the kind of Lord and Saviour He is. And it’s not like it’s something He just said the other day; He’s been saying it for ages now! Listen to how He said it to Joshua when He assigned him leadership of the Israelites after Moses’ death. ‘There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ (Josh.1:5) 

And we know that the Lord kept that promise to Joshua in spades! But even before that, the Lord had made the same promise to the Israelites through Moses, when He brought them out of bondage in Egypt, leading them towards the Promised Land. Hear this encouraging and reassuring part of Moses’ last speech to the Israelites: ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ (Deut.31:6) 

So friends, that’s definitely not a new promise, and every time the Lord made it, He kept it, so why should it be any different now with us eh? No reason whatsoever! The Lord our God never changes, so His promises last for a lifetime. That’s why we need to embrace His Son, Jesus Christ RIGHT NOW, and gratefully and humbly accept all that’s He’s already done, as well as all He’s promised to do for us. 

That’s because there’s no one, or nothing else that can give us that kind of reliable, steady and steadfast life, through each and any situation, through calm and storm, through adversity and peace, like Jesus can! He is the ONE and ONLY ONE friends! So please, let’s be wise and come to Him in all sincerity nuh, and then hold on to Him for dear life, because He is indeed the Way, the Truth and the Life…as well as the Light! Much LOVE!

…to LOVE and LIVE for Jesus…Wow!…it’s the most wonderful thing…in God’s great universe…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 May 2019 Ephesians 6:11.

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

Welcome, welcome, one and all to rainy day Tuesday! Yes the rain has not really eased up nuh. It drizzled most of the night. Good thing it’s mostly drizzles and not big downpours. I guess we can be thankful for small mercies there. But chuh! I’m tired talking about the rain yes! (smile) 

If it’s going to fall, just let it fall and ignore it. It’s got to stop at some time since the Lord promised that He wouldn’t ever destroy the earth by flooding again…but please note He didn’t say anything about no warnings by flooding! (smile) 

Anyway, remember last week when we heard from Gramps Schuller (Dr, Robert H. Schuller) from his Hour of Power Devotional on allowing trouble to lift you up, to let it be a golden opportunity to rise higher? Well today we’re going to continue in that vein, where he says: ‘Let Your Problems Lead You to God!’ And isn’t that the wise and sensible thing to do! 

Now listen as Gramps Schuller elucidates: ‘No problem leaves you where it found you. Read this affirmation out loud: “I will be a different person when this problem is past. I will be a wiser, stronger, more patient person; or I will be sour, cynical, bitter, disillusioned, and angry. It all depends on what I do with this problem. 

Each problem can make me a better person or a worse person. It can bring me closer to God, or it can drive me away from God. It can build my faith or it can shatter my faith. It all depends on my attitude. I intend to be a better person when this problem leaves me than I was when it met me.’ 

Glory be my precious people! That’s the ONLY wise way to go! Too many of us though go the wrong way, and then allow the problems to leave us BITTER and not BETTER! That’s a fool’s wisdom my faithful brethren! As true believers in Christ we are supposed to come up over the problem, and the first step in doing that is taking it to the Almighty, to whom we ascribe that nothing is impossible, and who promises to faithfully help us solve all our problems. 

So if we have someone to whom nothing is impossible, and whose help is assured, why don’t we run to Him with every problem eh? I’d guess that foolish pride or disbelief, or a combination of both keeps us from running to God first with our problems. Only when we discover we can’t handle them by ourselves, do we go cap in hand, miserably seeking the Father’s help. 

And one of the many ways He helps us is by providing protective armour for us in our earthly battle with the forces of evil and ungodliness. As we saw yesterday, Bruh Paul said that it was ever so important we: ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (devious schemes) of the devil.’ 

Yes friends, the devil is always out there like a roaring, but toothless lion, looking for someone to trip up and deceive, and if we’re not wearing our protective spiritual armour, then we’re easy pickings for him. 

Now let’s refresh our memories about what exactly is this spiritual armour we’re talking about. Listen to Bruh Paul to the Ephesians: ‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt about (girded your waist) with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one). And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ (Eph.6:14-17) 

Oh my brethren when we have those necessary pieces of protection, helmet, sword, shoes, shield and breastplate, then and only then are we ready to engage the enemy in battle. 

Now let’s see what the scholars have to say about those individual pieces of spiritual armour. ‘6:14-17. The whole armour of God consists of six pieces. (1) Truth (v.14a) is a knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. The ancient soldier’s loins (waist) were girt about with a leather belt which held most of the other pieces of his armour in place. Similarly, the other pieces of the Christian’s armour depend on, and are held in place, by his spiritual “belt” or his knowledge of the truth of scripture. 

(2). The breastplate of righteousness (v14b) may be read “the breastplate which is righteousness.” It represents a holy character and moral conduct. Obedience to the “truth” known produces a godly life (righteousness) (3) Preparation of the gospel of peace (v15) means “eagerness that comes from the gospel of peace.” 

That is, as the Roman soldier wore special shoes called ‘caligae’ on his feet, enabling him to advance against the enemy, so the Christian must have on his feet (possess) a sense of “eagerness” or “willingness” to advance against the devil and take the fight to him. Such “eagerness” to contend with Satan “comes from the gospel of peace.” The gospel gives peace to the believer, freeing him from anxiety though he advances against such a powerful opponent. 

(4) The shield of (which is) faith (v.16) means taking God at His word by believing His promises. Such trust will protect one from doubts induced by Satan. (5) The helmet of salvation (v.17a): Since the readers are already Christians (2:8) they are not here urged to be saved. First Thessalonians 5:8 describes this helmet as “the hope of salvation” that is, the certainty (assurance) of salvation. (6) The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God(v.17b): The Greek term rendered “word” is not ‘logos,’ referring to the whole word of God, but ‘rhema,’ referring to certain portions or selected verses of Scripture.’ 

Oh my people, I know it all sounds very complicated, but if we sincerely and regularly read, study and meditate on God’s Word, most of those things will come naturally to us. We’ll know the truth of His Word, as well as have a good knowledge of Scripture, that will lead us to a moral and godly life, and the peace that we find in the Word will just make us eager to go out and fight God’s battles, protected by the assurance of salvation and the strong and sturdy shield of our faith, with Bible verses just saturating in our hearts with which to rebuke the devil! 

Remember though friends that the Word is sharp like a two edged sword that cuts right down to the bone! It’s a dangerous weapon my people, so we have to be very careful how we wield it. (smile) Anyway, enough on the spiritual armour topic, it’s turned out to be longer than I planned, but it’s all for our benefit. 

And having absorbed all the above, (smile) let’s go home fully clothed in our spiritual armour sincerely and vociferously declaring (bingo!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are! All together now: ‘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!’ 

Isn’t that just a wonderful situation my faithful saints of Christ! Now let’s go out and share His awesome LOVE and amazing friendship, as He so greatly desires of us. Much LOVE!

…only when faced with adversity…can we know the true strength and maturity…of our Christian faith…

 

 

 

 

Today​’s Scrip-Bit 6 April 2019 Matthew 13:8-9.

Matthew 13:8-9.   But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
 
‘Hello…Hello in there! Anybody home?’ Hn! Like nobody wake up yet, everybody sleeping in this Saturday morning – everybody except the ole fella. I’ve been up since minutes to six, doing my own thing, even though I went to bed fairly late.

Chuh! I don’t like this thing that developing here nuh; going to bed late and getting up early, especially when I’m supposed to be on holidays! But one can’t do a lot if the body decides that it has had enough sleep. Might as well get up and make hay while the sun shines, or be like the early bird that catches the juiciest worms! (smile) 

But enough with the clichés, is Saturday morning so let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And we have a full slate – and they long too. (smile) 

Check out this first one: ‘LIFE – is a four-letter word that is complicated enough that no one will ever decode its true meaning. Whether you were born into a wealthy family or a poor one, your life will be full of ups and downs. The goal in life is to minimize the down’s and live a happy and inspiring existence.’ 

And that’s certainly true! Whether we born rich or poor, we all have to face the vicissitudes of this crazy life; ups and downs, of sickness, financial problems, relationship problems, etc. etc. We all face adversity in this life, and the only way to be able to truly handle it is by being in a good relationship with Jesus! 

Remember what He said? ‘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) Glory be my people! So though the world throws it’s best shot at us, we can always be peaceful because Jesus lives and reigns in us! Give Him much thanks and praise nuh! 

Then there’s this one that fits in nicely with the first: ‘The only thing that you have control over is your mind and your body. Everything else is decided by a bunch of people and external conditions. If you are truly happy, no one else can snatch it from you.’

Again, there’s a lot of truth in that statement! We can only control what’s in our personal universe, namely our minds and bodies. But once we have serious control of them, nobody can take away our joy, especially if it’s based in Jesus, for the joy of the Lord is our strength! (Neh.8:10) Yes friends, when we are joyful in the Lord, nobody or nothing can take away that inner peace and contentment. More thanks to Christ again! 

Now hear this: ‘When you were a baby, you had to cry to get what you want. If you didn’t, your parents probably thought you didn’t want it. The same applies when you grow up, the world doesn’t just hand you what you want unless you ask and fight for it.’  So true my faithful brethren! The world takes pleasure in beating us down, and if we allow it, it will beat us down to the death! 

Yeh, the world is an advantageous entity, that knows no mercy! That’s why we have to stand up and fight, especially as true believers in Christ, because the world wants to beat down believers more than anybody else, since we go against its sinful and evil nature! No wonder Bruh Paul warned the Ephesians to ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph.611, 13b) 

Yes my people, only when we are fully clothed with God’s armour, can we resist, rebuke and beat down the enemy, who’s greatest wish is to destroy us. So please try and stay fully armoured at all times! (smile)

So, considering all that we’ve already said, then this next quote makes a lot of sense. ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. — Why live a long and unhappy life?’ Good question! Especially in light of Jesus’ immortal words: ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it abundantly.’ (John 10:10) 

Yes friends, Jesus came to give us life, abundant life, both here on earth and throughout eternity with Him in heaven, so why spoil it eh, when we have such a good thing going eh? No reason whatsoever…unless we mental! (smile) And yes, I know some of us are mental enough to throw away, or not accept all that Jesus offers, but that’s not you or me! Glory to God! 

And then we come to this last quote: ‘Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.’ Now that’s something we believers are not very good at. We expect to reap a harvest as soon as we done sow a seed…and a big harvest at that. But as Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘You reap what you sow, more than you sow and later than you sow!’ And that’s gospel truth! 

Moreover, the process of sowing and harvesting is a time thing; not now for now, like we want it to be! The seeds we sow, be they real or figurative seeds need time to germinate, to take root and grow. That process doesn’t happen overnight, and all of us know it from our association with the planting of seed in the soil and waiting for it to grow, so we can reap a harvest. 

The same applies to any figurative seed we sow in people’s hearts; it takes time to grow, and we should not be too concerned about how much harvest those seeds will produce, but rather about how many seeds we plant in Jesus’ name! And also about if the seeds that we plant are good, and the type of soil that we plant them in, for all of that has a bearing on the kind of harvest we’ll eventually reap. 

Remember Jesus’ words in the parable of the sower. (Matt.13:1-9) The sower sowed plenty seed, but they all fell on different kinds of soil and produced different amounts of harvest – even no harvest at all, because the soil they fell in wasn’t conducive to producing fruit. ‘But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ 

Yes friends, it’s ever so important that we sow the seed of Jesus amongst the many lost of this world, but we also need to find the good soil and then water and nurture the seed so that it can grow good fruit. For as Jesus also said to His disciples: ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.’ (Matt.9:37) 

No doubt about it friends, there are many more unbelievers out there than believers, and it’s our bounden duty to harvest them before Jesus comes back, else they will be lost to hell fire and damnation for all eternity! And that’s not a very nice place to be. So let’s pull up our britches and go out and be more serious and concerned about planting seeds in good soil nuh, rather than the harvest those seeds are likely to bear. The Lord will reward us for the harvest later on. Much LOVE!

…I have planted…Apollos watered…but God gave the increase… (1 Cor.3:6)

 

Today​’s Scrip-Bit 18 March 2019 2 Corinthians 1:4.

2 Corinthians 1:4.   Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble (tribulation), by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Oh my friends and Scrip-Bit family members, in the immortal and reassuring words of Bruh Paul to the Galatians, I greet you similarly this Monday morning: ‘Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world (age), according to the will of God, and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever.’ (Gal.1:3-5) 

Ah mih people, he say’s so much in just one mouthful. But we need to remember those very basic but oh so fundamental facts of our faith if we are to grow strong and mature in it from glory to glory. But I know that some of us are shaking it somewhat rough this morning, especially those who have just come back from a March Break vacation in some warm, exotic locale and now have to immediately go back to work in the cold weather. But that’s life! 

Remember that Jesus said we’d surely face adversity in this world, but we ought to be cheerful about it, because He had already overcome the world. (John 16:33) Yes, He has indeed defeated hell, death and grave, but it’s not always easy to just grin and bear our adversity, that’s why we have antidotes for times like this one, it’s called our Monday Morning Battle Hymn! And for it to help us we have to declare (right ho) it together in all sincerity and humility. 

So let’s send our heartfelt prayers up to heaven nuh, as one strong, unified and harmonious voice. ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

And we know our prayer was heard and answered by our wonderful heavenly Father because we can already feel our spirits lifting and the adrenaline beginning to flow through our mortal bodies as his Holy Spirit works its miracle powers in our souls! Praise His holy and faithful name my people! 

That brings us to some more of Bruh Paul’s memorable words, this time to the Corinthians: ‘Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble (tribulation), by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.’ (2 Cor.1:3-4) 

Mama Yo! What a wonderful God we serve and worship my brethren! And the scholars offer this explanation. ‘1:3-4. Blessed (Gr. eulogetos –well spoken of) is used in the New Testament of God (e.g. Eph.1:3). It is a term of adoration and praise. The Father of mercies: The mercies in view here include everything here from deliverance from the world, sin, and Satan, to participation in sonship, light and life. But the force is even more than this. The stress is that the Father is characterized by mercy (cf. Ps. 86:5; Dan.9:9; Mic.7:18).’  

Yes friends, those mercies of the Father run the whole gamut of our human and spiritual existence in both the now and the hereafter! That’s what makes Him such a wonderful Deity; He has provided for us in all situations! We don’t have to worry about a thing; just believe sincerely in His Son and be obedient to His will! And I strongly advise you all to take a moment and look up those scriptures suggested by the scholars. I just did, and they are indeed beautiful and useful ones. 

But my favourite of those two verses is our Bit. Bruh Paul says that our God is also the God of all comfort, and I like how He uses that attribute; to comfort us, so that we can also comfort others who are facing adversity. Chuh! What a wonderful plan! Only our God could think up something like that! (smile) 

And the prophet Isaiah says it thus of our God when proclaiming that the faithful will be comforted. ‘I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a (mortal) man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass.’ (Is.51:12) And again, when talking about Zion’s future hope, Isaiah reminds us that God will not forsake us, but ‘As one when his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.’ (Is.66:13) 

Ah my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, there’s not much more for me to say because the scripture says it all! So let’s be wise and faithful and look to God for mercy and comfort nuh, so that we can share them with others, as He so desperately desires of us in these sad and woeful times. That’s Christianity 101! (smile)Much LOVE!

…from our heavenly Father comes…all that we have…and all that we are…so to whom then should we pay reverential homage…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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