Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 May 2021 Psalm 119:75.

Psalm 119:75.     I know, O Lord, that thy judgements (laws) are right (righteous), and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

Well at long last, it seems like we might actually have a rainy day! Thank the Lord! The earth is most grateful for it because the little sprinklings we have had recently did nothing to soothe the parched land. What’s amusing and interesting though, is that every time they call for rain, the skies darken, but then the wind comes and blows away the dark clouds bearing the life-giving precipitation. But today, we finally seem to have the real thing, even my computer that was earlier on saying mostly sunny, is now calling for rain! Glory be! 

Oh, I just heard that it’s not only rain, but freezing rain, for the temperature has dropped to around five degrees Celsius. Imagine that nuh, a few days ago we had temps in the high twenties, now they are closer to freezing. But anyway, on this rainy Friday, in these tough times, we are going to turn to a most appropriate poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, to give us a li’l enlightening and encouragement. It’s titled ‘The Pain of Growth.’ And that is exactly what we are supposed to be doing in these trying times; growing in God! 

So please pray with me. ‘O God Growth is a painful process. I frankly confess I am a coward about pain. I don’t like it, Lord I never pray for it Or get excited over it. In fact, I often resist it: The pain of emotional trauma So overwhelming So baffling and crushing. The deep-cutting pain Of a broken relationship. Physical pain that goes on and on Until my entire body screams. The pain of cruel cutting words. The pain of loneliness, rejection Of financial ruin. The pain of being misunderstood. 

Lord, the very thought of pain Frightens and unnerves me. Yet it is true – Again and again it is true: My greatest spiritual growth Has come through pain. Through heartache And anguish. And very often in my suffering When I sadly thought You were doing absolutely nothing At that very moment You were doing more within me Than I ever dreamed or hoped.’ 

Oh Mama, Mama! How true are those words eh? In the hurting and awful times when we think that God has forsaken us, those are the exact times that He is working most desperately in us, to grow us and increase our faith and trust in Him. And right now, in these most uncomfortable times of worldwide sickness and strife, when life is rough with so many of us, that’s the very thing He is doing; growing us, strengthening our faith, teaching us to wait patiently and expectantly on Him, deepening our trust in His awesome promises. 

But as always, there’s a part that we must do, and that’s hold on sincerely and tightly to His word and the promises found therein, where He has promised never to leave nor forsake us, to be with us right to the very end, to have thoughts of peace and not evil towards us, to give us a future and a hope. However, we have to sincerely accept them before we can see them coming to pass. 

And I know that this is a time when the Lord is challenging us to come up higher, to show that we truly believe in Him and His promises. The world is rejecting Him left, right and centre, but He is trusting that His followers will stand up strong although the times seem perilous, and come forth like pure gold when we are tested in these hot and evil fires. 

And the Bible Promise for our poem today comes from that mighty scripture, Psalm 119, where the psalmist confesses: ‘I know, O Lord, that thy judgements (laws) are right (righteous), and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let I pray thee, thy merciful kindness (unfailing LOVE) be for my comfort, according to thy word (promise) unto thy servant.’ (Ps. 119:75-76) 

Yes friends, that’s how we have to look at it, otherwise we will just drive ourselves crazy with worry and anxiety, fear and dread of the future, unwisely forgetting Jesus’ wise advice: ‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow (don’t worry about tomorrow): for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil (trouble) thereof.’ (Matt. 6:34) 

Oh my people, everyday has its own problems, and wisdom decrees that we should concentrate on the present or current ones, not the ones we think might come tomorrow, which usually never come. So now, with all that wisdom under our belt, safely stored away in our hearts and souls, (smile) it’s time to get ourselves together and come to our great God in humble prayer through our Friday Chant. 

As one strong and sincere 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 the racial strife is 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!’ 

And if we want to receive a positive answer, then it behooves us to change our evil ways and truly be examples of faithful believers. Much LOVE!

…adversity…the greatest spiritual teacher…                                                     

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 February 2021 Romans 8:31.

Romans 8:31.     ​If God be for us, who can be against us?

And thankfully it’s a wet, rainy morning and not a white, snowy one! (smile) Yeh friends, the precipitation out there is unfrozen water, not the cold, flaky stuff, which makes this Saturday morning an even better time and place to enjoy our lazy fantasies. Yes, we all have those fantasies of being able to lie around and do absolutely nothing all day, or do the things that are nearest and dearest to our hearts. And for some of us, Saturday is the only day we can make some of those fantasies come true. 

However, because of the pandemic and the lockdown, some of us are actually having too much lazy time, being able to indulge our lazy fantasies too much, and too much of anything is no good. So if you’re one of those in the latter category, please find stuff to keep you at least reasonably busy, because the pandemic will end someday, and then what? You will be so immersed in your laziness that you won’t be able to easily get back in the swing of things. And that’s my word of wisdom for today! (smile) 

Now let’s see what interesting quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week. And the first one boldly states: ‘Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.’ And is that ever the God awesome truth! But only if you are a born-again child of God! Yes my people, when you are a child of God, nothing is impossible to you, for nothing is impossible to our heavenly Father. Glory be! And as the Good Book so rightly says: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’ (Phil. 4:13) 

Wow! So as a true believer in Christ, we don’t have to be afraid of anything in this world, or think that we lack courage and talent, because it’s absolutely not true, since our powerful and ever-generous God has given us the wherewithal to do whatever He desires of us. And furthermore, as the scripture says: ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ (Rom. 8:31) Nobody! Not a single dead or living soul! Then we have this other beautiful and encouraging scripture; the memorable words of Bruh Paul to Timothy. ‘For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind.’ (2 Tim. 1:7) 

Oh my fellow believers, with all those good, God-given, encouraging and faithful words in our tote bag of life, how can we ever doubt ourselves or our omnipotent God eh? Our problem is that we don’t fully believe, our faith isn’t mature enough, and thus we continue to let the unfortunate circumstances of the world scare us. But there is only one way to gain mature faith friends, and that’s by going through adversity, for it’s when the fires and storms of life come against us that we truly grow in faith and emotional strength. 

So if you’re going through any adversity now, don’t let it bother you, yes, it is difficult, but you can still find peace in those rough situations by doing the best you can, then putting the rest in God’s hands. Hn, Hn! I’m chuckling here because I never expected that to go on for so long. Couldn’t think of anything to say in the beginning, but look at how much I’ve said in the end. (smile) 

And the next quote says: ‘Pursue what catches your heart, not what catches your eyes.’ Now, on the Christian side, that’s a somewhat troubling quote. Why? Because we tend to think that our eyes are what really catches the things of the world and lead us astray. But the truth is, that’s also possible with our hearts. It’s oh so easy for our hearts to be captured and captivated by the sinful, lustful, glamorous and heady lures of the world. And believe me, it’s worse when those things capture our hearts than just our eyes. 

For as Jesus puts it. ‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man…Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly and is cast out (eliminated) into the draught. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.’ (Matt. 15:11; 17-20) 

So you see my brethren, it’s our hearts and our minds that we must ever be very protective of, for it’s what comes out of them that causes us innumerable problems. And generally speaking, we can see all sorts of different things, but what our hearts and minds concentrate on most, is what we eventually do and become. 

And to the last quote: ‘The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.’ Indeed it is all those things. As the Rasta bredrin that taught me History in High School was wont to say as he scratched his scraggly beard with his feet on the desk: ‘History is a record of the past. And why do we learn History? So we can understand the present.’ 

And that’s exactly how it ought to be. But unfortunately too many of us in these modern times choose to keep living in the past and thus keep making the same mistakes over and over. We can’t progress if we don’t learn the lessons of the past. That’s what it’s there for, to teach us about the present and help us make good decisions for the future. And if we don’t let go of the past, we end up carrying it around as back breaking and life stifling baggage that doesn’t allow us to do anything new, or move forward in more productive and progressive ways. 

Yes, bad and unfortunate things have happened to all of us in the past, but that’s no reason to keep dragging them along with us and let them cause us to fear the future. Oh friends, it’s time for us to let go of the past, of where we’ve come from, and concentrate on where we’re going. And the best way to do that is to surrender our lives to Jesus. Let Him be our guide and pilot of our ship, and He will take us safely through the many storms that we encounter in this earthly life. 

Please remember His awesome words of indisputable truth: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6) And please remember too, that the truth will set you free; the truth of Jesus that is! Much LOVE!

…until you make Jesus the pilot of your soul…you’ll keep drifting aimlessly on the sea of life… and eventually wash up lifeless…on some rocky shore…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 January 2021 Philippians 4:13.

Philippians 4:13.     ​I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

Monday’s on the board friends! How are we going to greet it eh? I hope it’s with plenty hope, LOVE, joy and peace, as our Christian tenets teach us, rather than with fear, anxiety and a whole lot of negativity based on our present troubled circumstances. Yes, we will have trouble, persecution, tribulation and what not in this sinful world, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ said that, but then He went on to conquer the negative stuff, like hell, death and the grave by His crucifixion and resurrection so that we would not have to worry about all the negative stuff that came our way. 

Here’s how He put it: ‘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) What wonderful news that is my brethren! Jesus has already overcome the world, so we just have get ourselves together and maintain that victory! Maintain it with good cheer; that is LOVE, assurance, hope, faith and the promise of eternal life if we endure to the end. 

And no, living the Christian life in this sinful and ofttimes godless world is not easy, but with Christ’s divine help we can do it. Remember how Bruh Paul characterized it? ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.’ (Phil. 4:13) Now that’s quite true, but there’s something more we must learn, and that’s the context in which he said it. He was referring to a gift from the church at Philippi. And though he appreciated their care and consideration and gift very much, he told them: ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.’ (Phil. 4:11) 

And that my fellow believers is something that we all need to learn in these troubled times and times of expected entitlement. Bruh Paul was grateful for their financial gift, but he could also have done without it, because he had learned how to be content whether he had a lot or a little. And the scholars add an interesting message. ‘The Greek here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.’ 

Oh my people, that is a truth that so many believers need to learn. Yes, we ought to be contented in any state in which we find ourselves, with Jesus’ help of course, but it doesn’t happen overnight, and like all other growth it comes with hardship and adversity. So if you’re having trouble in that area, like so many of us in this pandemic time, just remember that you can do all you need to handle the situation with Christ in your corner, but it will take time and also some effort from you. 

As Bruh Paul continues: ‘I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need.’ (Phil. 4:12) Yes friends, it’s something that many of us are learning in these Covid times, when work is scarce and the essentials of life are difficult to come by. 

But we do need to learn how to discipline ourselves in times of prosperity and in times of want, to learn the secret of how to be well fed even in the rough going. So let’s not beat up ourselves if we’re not doing as well as we ought to or want to in these troubled days, remember Jesus is just a prayer away with help. 

Yes, I know it might not come right away, but our faith teaches us to wait and be patient and expectant. No wonder Bruh Paul could promise the Philippians: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) He is aware of their sacrifice on Bruh Paul’s behalf, and thus will generously meet their needs. 

My fellow believers, that’s what God is about; providing, meeting our needs when we sincerely call on Him. That’s His ever-faithful promise. So why don’t we do that right now nuh through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. Let’s bare our very hearts and souls to our Creator, as He desires of us. 

Altogether now: ‘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 natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

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!’ 

Now we have to do our part; wait with eager and sincere expectation, that’s faith, and stay repentant and be obedient so the Lord can see that we’re truly sorry for turning away from Him. Much LOVE!

…life’s not easy in this sinful world…but God is good…Glory Hallelujah… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 December 2020 Psalm 22:28.

Psalm 22:28.     ​For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

So then it was Wednesday – another blessed day for us to draw breath in God’s great universe and give much thanks for the pleasure, just two days before the wonderful day of Christmas, when we celebrate the awesome, incarnate birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And in general, that’s wonderful, but our world, instead of getting better, seems to be getting worse. Like they have discovered some new variant of the Covid-19 virus in Britain, that’s going to cause further problems. 

Meanwhile, some foreign government has hacked into the computers of numerous government and security institutions in the U.S. of A, thus further opening the spying war. And still in the U.S. A, the what you call it of a President, on his shameful way out, hasn’t said a word about that, but has pardoned some 20 crooks, several of whom were his associates, and is hemming and hawing to sign a bill giving millions of starving and suffering Americans some money to ease their ‘sufferation.’ Is democracy dead or what? If it ever was alive? 

And then back here in good ole Ontario, our government has decided to go with a bigger lockdown on Boxing Day, while our Covid-19 numbers remain over two thousand every day. Hn! Now that’s food for thought! Why wait till then eh? That’s what the medical people are asking. But can you imagine the hullabaloo if we were locked down earlier this week, just before Christmas? 

I wouldn’t want to be in the Premier’s shoes cause he would be getting it from both sides simultaneously; the merchants who wouldn’t be allowed to make a quick Christmas penny, and the citizens who wouldn’t be allowed to finish their Christmas shopping, as difficult as it already is. So the Premier took the easiest of the three routes possible; it’s much easier to handle the medical personnel than the citizenry and the merchants. (smile) At least that’s my rational for the whole business. 

Ah mih people, what’s happening in our world eh? Is there no sense of sanity, of togetherness, of coming together? Is there only a sense of division, disunity, hate, anger and strife amongst us? Our world has never been a real peaceful and unified place, but I don’t know if it’s ever been this divided, disjointed and adversarial before, with everybody up in arms about something or the other. Nobody seems satisfied with their lot, be it their fault or not, with all the chickens finally coming home to roost! (smile) 

And this Christmas season is certainly not going to be a merry and jolly one for way too many people because of all the adversity and resentment that’s hovering over and between us. And what’s the answer to it all you ask? Well the only solution I can offer is that we cry out and turn back to the God of our forefathers, like Bruh David did in Psalm 22 – A cry of anguish and a song of praise. Nothing else seems to be working, so what have we got to lose eh? Nothing really. And we have a whole lot to gain, because the Lord has faithfully promised to heal our land and forgive us if we stop being disobedient and return to His fold. 

Friends, it’s time for us to sincerely cry out: ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring (groaning)’ (Ps. 22:1) Now that’s a good start my brethren, but the truth of the matter is not that God is far from us, but we have drifted away from Him. He’s as near to us, as He always is, it’s just that we don’t pay Him much attention or call on Him often enough. 

Here’s how Bruh David puts it a few verses later nuh. ‘Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded (ashamed).’ (Ps. 22: 4-5) Now doesn’t that tell us something my fellow saints in Christ? It ought to. It ought to tell us that trusting in the Lord God of our forefathers is the sensible thing to do, because when they trusted and cried out to Him, He delivered them, and they were not ashamed or confounded like we currently are! 

But no, too many of us feel that we have reached this pinnacle of evolution, enlightenment, or whatever you choose to call it, on and in our own strength. And that’s the biggest falsehood we can ever propagate! Why? Because Bruh David firmly and truly proclaims otherwise: ‘For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.’ (Ps. 22:28) Now friends, that’s the indisputable truth, and until mankind learns to believe and accept that li’l matter of fact, we’ll certainly be in for a rough ride. 

And Bruh David gives good reason for His proclamation. ‘The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live forever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee… All they that be fat (prosper) upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust (death) shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul (keep himself alive).’ (Ps. 22:26-27;29)

That says it all friends; we are not the masters of our own lives, it’s all in the hands of Almighty God, our Maker and Provider and Protector! None of us can extend our lives beyond the time that He has set, and the very breath we breathe is His, so why are we being so foolish, obstinately refusing to come to and follow Him eh? 

And as somebody said, even Satan believes in God and all that He supports. Why do you think the evil one fights tooth and nail to keep the earth in such turmoil eh? Friends, no one knows better than the ex-archangel Lucifer the might and power and goodness and mercy and LOVE of God! So if, evil as he is, he can acknowledge it, why can’t we eh? 

Oh my people, the only way our world will ever get better is if we unite under the banner of Christ; fight the good fight of the LOVE Revolution, and steadfastly resist the evil doings of the demonic devil! Now for those of us who are sincerely trying to do that, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful 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 let’s remember that if we endure to the end, that the future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine. Much LOVE!

…to LOVE…to LOVE…and yet to LOVE…that is the answer… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 September 2020 Psalm 118:8.

Psalm 118:8.     ​It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

So here we are on a Monday morning in mid-September of this historic year 2020, amidst numerous calamities, many trials and much tribulation, overwhelming adversity like most of us have never seen before – and are not liable to see ever again. But the sad fact is that they are here with us, we can’t run away and hide from them, or simply wish then away, that means we have to step up to the plate and deal with them mano-a-mano. 

And the first step in dealing with any problem is one we all know, but don’t invoke as often as we should. I’m referring to turning to Almighty God in prayer; taking our problems to Him and asking for His divine guidance and wisdom in handling them. The sad fact is that too many of us first try to solve our problems ourselves, or turn to other humans, and when that doesn’t work, then, and only then, will we probably turn to God as a last resort. But friends that’s the ultimate in stupidity! 

Remember what the psalmist advises: ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to put confidence in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.’ (Ps. 118:8-9) So, regardless of the earthly status of a human being, our trust and confidence in them ought to be very carefully considered and not taken for granted. That in turn means, our great and sovereign God ought to be our avenue of FIRST resort, rather than the LAST! That kind of action shows up our foolish pride and our lack of faith in Him. 

And you know one thing our God dislikes with a passion is foolish pride that shows up in our not trusting or needing Him. Hear how Bruh David puts it on the Lord’s behalf: ‘Whoso privily (secretly) slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath a high look and a proud heart will not I suffer (endure).’ (Ps. 101:5) And Cousin Sol further reminds us that amongst the seven deadly sins that the Lord hates is ‘A proud look (haughty eyes), a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.’ (Prov. 6:17) 

But unwisely, those are the very things that we have chosen to pursue in our society. We trust man more than God, so much so that we’ve been trying to get God completely out of society, having already removed Him from our schools, our homes and public places. Sadly too, even a lot of what we preach in the church nowadays is not His truth. And don’t talk about lying tongues and the shedding of innocent blood… Brother! Those are some of the hallmarks of our modern, technological society! 

And we can also add a few more things that are abominations to our God, but which rank very high in our society. ‘A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations (devises wicked plans), feet that be swift in running to mischief (evil). A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.’ (Prov. 6:18-19) Yes my people, all those things which the Lord finds abominable, despicable and distasteful, unfortunately are mainstays of our current society. So what else can we expect if we do all that God dislikes eh? Nothing but pain and sorrow, heartache and calamity! 

But the wonderful thing about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is that He is a most forgiving God, and if mankind repents and turns from his evil ways, the Lord is willing to forgive Him. In fact, He’s rather ecstatic when that happens, it warms the cockles of His heart. And I don’t know how many times I have to say it before we believe it: the Lord might not have brought all our worldwide problems upon us, but He has certainly allowed them because He’s tired of our evil ways and our trying to get rid of Him. That’s it in a nutshell. 

And until we realize the error of our ways and turn back to Him in repentance, our problems will keep on driving us crazy. Therefore, in true wisdom, let’s take our problems to God in sincere prayer this morning nuh, so that He can alleviate, or show us how to alleviate them. So in faithful confidence, with humble, sincere hearts, let’s present our petitions heavenward, through 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 natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

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!’ 

Now, our next move my brethren is to reduce the sin and evil in our hearts and in our land. For remember the Lord doesn’t just listen to our words, but more importantly He checks to see if the motives of our hearts are right. And remember too that we’ve just made a vow to repent and turn back to the Lord, so these words of Cousin Sol writing as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes are of the utmost importance. ‘When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer (delay) not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.’ (Eccl. 5:4) End of story! Much LOVE!

…the created cannot overthrow the Creator…Lucifer tried…and failed miserably… (smile)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 June 2020 Jeremiah 13:15.

Jeremiah 13:15.     Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. 
 

‘Turn, turn, turn!’ Oh friends, remember that popular sixties song written by Pete Seeger and made famous by the British band ‘The Byrds’? Oh, I forgot that some of you might be too young to remember! (smile) You can look it up on You Tube though. And yes, it was based on Cousin Sol’s marvellous and ever so true words from Ecclesiastes 5: ‘A time for Everything.’ Oh my people, those words are ever so important and appropriate for these troubled days. Hear them nuh, and please take them to heart. 

‘To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born (to bear), and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 

A time to get (gain), and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend (tear apart), and a time to sew (sew together); a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to LOVE, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.’ (Eccl. 5:1-8) 

Oh friends, oh friends, right now our world is so filled with turmoil, adversity, hate, war and tearing apart, of throwing stones, of weeping and mourning, that if we seriously hope to survive, we desperately need to turn it around and instead make it a time of LOVE, healing, sewing together, of peace, of gathering stones, of embracing, and building up, so that we can eventually laugh and dance together! As the song says, ‘What the world needs now, is LOVE, sweet LOVE!’ That’s the ONLY thing of which we have a real shortage! 

But then again, how can we ever find that abundance of true LOVE that we need to make our world livable and sustainable for our descendants eh? Only ONE Way, and from ONE Place! By turning back to Almighty God, the ONE and ONLY LIVING GOD! He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Because we’ve turned away from Jehovah God, our Creator and Provider, and become dependent on our own inferior and finite wisdom, our world has fallen apart! It’s obvious that we are not fit, either in mental or emotional acumen to successfully rule ourselves. 

When God gave us free will, He expected us to see that and remain under His august umbrella of safety, freedom, peace and LOVE! But when we got so big and bright and full of ourselves, we decided that we no longer needed Him. But my people, that’s the furthest thing from the truth! How can we not need the One who made us and keeps us alive and kicking through His breath of Life eh? But the long and short of the story is this my bredrin! 

As Jeremiah told his people of Israel when they were turning away from God and experiencing the same sort of calamity and disaster like we’re now doing: ‘Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.’ (Jer. 13:15-16) 

Yes people, the Lord is giving us a serious warning and we need to heed it without delay, otherwise we might end up like Israel, who did not listen. ‘But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive. Say unto the king and to the queen (queen mother), Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down (your rule shall collapse), even the crown of your glory.’ (Jer. 13:17-18) 

And that is exactly what’s happening right now friends, the proud, evil rulers and leaders are beginning to lose their power and their glory under the simultaneous onslaught of pandemic sickness and worldwide unrest. These things have never happened together on such a worldwide scale before this, and any fool ought to see it as a serious warning of some kind. A warning that things are not right in our world and we need to change. 

Now listen to this interesting explanation of the scholars: ‘13:15-17. A third illustration concerns a weary traveller in danger of being overtaken by the falling darkness of night. Such was Judah. It must renounce all pride and give God His rightful glory before the final darkness of national catastrophe engulfs it.’ 

Ah friends, our warning above was Jeremiah’s third example of what would happen to Judah if they did not renounce their foolish pride and return to the God of their forefathers. And, unfortunately, the same thing is being said to us today: we are in danger of being swallowed up in the evil and frightful darkness of the enemy if we don’t swallow our pride and stop trying to turf God out of our society, His Creation! 

And if there’s one thing the Lord hates more than any other is the sin of pride, because it says, shouts out loud, that we don’t need Him! That’s a situation to which He has long ago made clear: ‘I AM the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.’ (Is. 42:8) So for those of us who are currently bowing down to all sorts of ungodly images and idols, please let that be a serious and timely warning! 

And having said all of that, let’s go home now declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry 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 then, let it be, let us go out and do Jesus’ will and share His awesome LOVE and friendship with a dark and unfriendly world! Much LOVE!

…obey God…and leave all the consequences to Him… (Uncle Charles – Dr. Charles Stanley)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 May 2020 Philippians 3:14.

Philippians 3:14.    I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
 
So it’s a fine looking Wednesday…what are we up to today eh friends and fellow saints in Christ? I do hope we said something sensible and worthwhile to the Almighty when we arose this morning, so we could set a good tone for our day and get His perspective on it all. And sadly this morning, I must admit that I find myself in the writer’s worst position; having a lot to say, but yet having nothing worthwhile saying. (smile) But then, as I was just sifting the numerous pieces of paper on my desk with oodles of things to say, I came across this saying attributed to John Maxwell, the famous American author, speaker and pastor. 

He reputedly said that ‘The way you deal with the worst determines whether you get the best.’ Now that might sound a bit confusing and sort of backwards, but when you look at it carefully, it does make some sense. All it’s really saying is the way we deal with the worst things in our lives, the adversity and trials and tribulations through which we all will and must go through, will basically determine the outcome. And that’s quite true; the way we handle our failures and disappointments, the rough times, like now in this current pandemic. 

There’s a mighty difference in results between bowing down and giving up, or learning from our problems and coming back strong through our faith and the faithful promises of our great God. It’s all about our attitude towards our problems my people. And when we have this marvellous promise and guidance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we ought not to give up, but have our backbones and bellies strengthened and ready for another run at life. ‘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) 

Mama Mia! What a wonderful scripture of encouragement. Yes, I know it’s easier said than done, but the good things about those encouraging scriptures is that the more often we practice them and put them into action, the easier the next difficulty becomes. It’s like they say; practice makes perfect! And I think we have a perfect example of this in the life of Bruh Paul. He was amongst the best educated and wealthy and powerful young men in Israel, with an astonishing zeal to persecute Christians. 

But after his life-changing encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, (Acts 9) he became rather obedient to Christ, counting all those other worldly supposedly important things ‘dung, that I may win Christ.’ (Phil. 3:8) And in the verse before that He states: ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.’ (Phil. 3:7) So you see in one of Bruh Paul’s worst times in his early days, being knocked off his horse or mule or donkey, (smile) made blind and simply told by Jesus, to go to Damascus and he’d be told what to do, (Acts 9:6) he could have kicked up a fuss, and not obeyed, and his life would never have amounted to what it finally amounted to. 

Remember, this was the man who instigated and encouraged a lot of Christian persecution and abuse, including the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:54-60), and furthermore, he was on his way to Damascus to persecute believers, when the Lord accosted him, who then became the great apostle spreading the gospel of Christ to us, the Gentile world. And look at all the ‘suffereration’ and persecution he went through on Christ’s behalf, to preach the gospel. He did not let them bother him, but rather took them in stride, being assured that the Lord would look after him. 

From one who had not faith at all, to one who had probably more faith than most, is certainly a mighty leap, but it did not come easy, and it was only made possible by the tough times he went through, and how he handled them. His stated goal was : “That I may know him (Christ), and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made comfortable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:10) And he sincerely pursued that goal all his apostolic life. And I think that all believers should set before them, these words written to the church at Philippi, as our basic goal. 

‘Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: (knowing Christ and His resurrection): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) Yes friends, as believers we are all need to move forward in the faith, and we cannot allow the baggage of the past to keep us back. We all have a high calling in Christ, and need to keep pressing forward towards our mark. 

And the scholars offer these explanations. ‘3:14. The mark is the objective of verses 10 and 11 (i.e., knowing Christ). The prize is the personal satisfaction of having attained it, as well as the divine commendation and reward to be granted in heaven for having reached this goal on earth. The high calling of God is the divine summons extended to the believer for salvation.’ Ah mih people, a lot of what happens to us in this life is determined by how we respond to life. And as true believers, we’re required to respond to it with a faithful and positive attitude. 

Just look at all the tough times people like Bruh Joseph, Bruh David, Moses, Job and Abraham went through, a lot of it unfair and unjust, but they all stood strong in the Lord and kept a good attitude, knowing that the Lord would eventually see them through. That’s the strong faith and trust in Almighty God that we need to show in these tremulous end times if we want to be real ambassadors for Christ! Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know of our sincere faith and trust in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

As one strong voice: ‘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 will it ever be glorious when the Lord welcomes us home with these marvellous words; ‘Welcome home thou good and faithful servant!’ Much LOVE!

…receiving heaven’s crown of righteousness…should be the believer’s earthly goal…

P.S. It’s a good thing I kept a good attitude when I didn’t know what to write. (smile) Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 March 2020 Hebrews 12:6.

Hebrews 12:6.    ​For whom the Lord LOVETH He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth, (even as a father the son in whom he delighteth).

 

My most humble apologies friends as we’re a bit late this bright and sunshiny Wednesday Morning. That’s because I had one of those late nights, or early mornings, your choice, and then the muse called sleep was pretty good to me, kept me under for a decent spell. (smile) But welcome nonetheless to a new day of mercies and compassions from our most merciful and compassionate God Jehovah! Give Him thanks for His amazing, awesome and unconditional LOVE for us, who don’t deserve even one iota of His goodness. 

But His heart of LOVE couldn’t help itself way back when He sent His only son Jesus to save us, and even now, despite our abominable sinfulness and disobedience and desire to rid our society of His overall presence, He still LOVES us with the undying LOVE of a heavenly Father! Wow! I know it’s hard to believe that with all the ungodly stuff we do and the low esteem in which so many of us hold Him, that He still goes gaga over us. (smile) But we’re His greatest creation, so just like how we hold important people in our lives to our hearts, He holds us to His. 

Now isn’t it simply wonderful to know that we have a God, a Creator, who LOVES us dearly, despite our many shortcomings? It certainly is! But that doesn’t mean He won’t punish or discipline or chasten us for our disobedience, but even then it’s because He LOVES us that He chastens us. Hear the Good Book tell it nuh, as the author of Hebrews quotes Cousin Sol from Proverbs 3:11-12. 

‘My son, despise not thou the chastening (discipline) of the Lord, nor faint (be discouraged) when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord LOVETH He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth (even as a father the son in whom he delighteth). If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then ye are bastards (illegitimate), and not sons.’ (Heb. 12:5-8) 

Oh friends, a lot of us believe that if God is so good, He should not punish us, but that’s not right, He punishes us because He LOVES us, the same way our earthly fathers punish us for wrongdoing because they are interested in our well being! Remember Hs is not only a LOVING God, but also a holy, righteous and just Deity, which means wrongs have to be righted and justice done. Jesus, in his message to the church at Laodicea, says it thus to John in Revelation: ‘As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.’ (Rev. 3:19) That’s also wonderful advice for us today friends. 

And the scholars offer this insightful explanation. ‘12:6. Whom the Lord LOVETH, he chasteneth: God’s principle of disciplining His own people is completely congruous (in line) with human practices. This quotation from Proverbs 3:12, stating God’s practice, corresponds to the commands God gave to fathers. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that LOVETH him chasteneth him betimes (promptly).” (Prov. 13:24: cf. 22:15; 23:13). LOVE and corporal punishment are not incongruous; they are two complimentary and necessary aspects of training.’ 

Now my people, please look at those reference scriptures because they are rather important in parenting. And it’s exactly why this generation is so unruly, undisciplined, ungrateful, irresponsible and figure the world owes them a living; we parents have not administered the necessary punishment for their wrongdoings. And don’t get me wrong, corporal punishment is not the only way to discipline children, but it is a necessary and useful method. Oh, we parents get so soft-hearted and foolish nowadays believing that if we hit our children it’s child abuse…Steups! 

Yes, some parents overdo it, to the point where it does become abuse. But when there is no sensible punishment and the children turn back and are rude and unmannerly and even hit and kill us, as we’re seeing so much these days, we wonder why it’s happening. But it’s basically our fault; we did not train up the children right and the society is giving them too much leeway for irresponsibility, not holding them sufficiently responsible for their wrongs. And I’m sure that many of us parents, in our youth, were punished for our wrongs, and if it was within reason, I’m sure we’re much better off today because of it. 

It taught us obedience, and responsibility. And sometimes just the threat of punishment is sufficient to keep us from doing wrong. I know in my case, my mother was LOVING and kind, but if she said do something, or don’t do something, and I stubbornly or foolishly refused to comply, I could get the strap. I didn’t always get it, sometimes she was indeed merciful, (smile) but I had no doubts whatsoever that it could be very quickly forthcoming if I didn’t obey. So friends this idea we have that because the Lord is so good and LOVING, bad things shouldn’t happen to us, and we shouldn’t be punished for our wrongs is totally unjustified. 

We live in a sinful and fallen world, with sinful and fallen humans, so sin and wrongdoing and disasters will happen. The Lord never said that He would prevent us from going through all the rough times, but that He would be right there beside us in them. That’s because we need to go through the flood, the fire and the storm if we want our faith to grow, for it’s only in adversity do we see the real us come out and our backbone and belly grow. So today let’s concentrate on doing the best we can, with what we have nuh, and leave the rest to our wonderful heavenly Father, for He has promised to provide all our needs if we seek Him first. And He IS faithful to keep all His promises. 

So let’s go home now declaring (yeeahh!) our Wednesday Wail letting all and sundry know of our enviable position in Christ! All together now, in strong voice with sincere hearts. ‘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!’ 

Ah mih people, that is certainly Wisdom 101! Living for, and with, and through, and in Jesus… Oh that’s the wisest action we can ever take in this sinful world. So let’s take it and stay with it till the end nuh, for if we do, the future will indeed be mucho mucho glorious! Much LOVE!

…come to Jesus…stick with Him…and everything will be made right…eventually…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 March 2020 Hebrews 11:1.

Hebrews 11:1.    ​FAITH: the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.
 
Now it’s Tuesday, a wet, dark day in my area. Hn! What a sudden change from the nice sunny, bright and warmish weather of the weekend! And by the way, I do hope that most of us have gotten over whatever negative effect(s) the change back from Standard to Daylight Saving Time caused on the weekend. Steups! I still don’t understand or see the reason for these time changes nuh. And besides, almost all the population are against it, for it does cause sleep and other related problems. Furthermore, a whole lot of places have either cut it out, or are now making preparations to do so. However, in our Province of Ontario there doesn’t seem to be any serious move to get rid of it, although many people complain about it. 

Personally, I don’t know if it causes me any backlash nuh, because sleep and I don’t seem to be on the same wavelength anyway. (smile) A good example of that is last evening, after having an after dinner nap, I didn’t go back to bed until three something, but by four fifteen my eyes were wide open. I got up and went to the bathroom, then by six something my eyes were wide open again, and try as I wanted, I couldn’t get back to sleep again, partly due to the aches and pains and not being able to find a comfortable contortion for my ole bod.

 Hn! Yuh think it easy? Getting on in age brings a whole lotta problems we not prepared for. (smile) Granted, some of my problems might be attributable to my hating to take  the pain pills…Steups! I’m already taking so many blooming pills for my other problems! Don’t want to turn into a pill popper anymore than I already am. (smile) So I only take the pain stuff when things get real uncomfortable. But yuh know what? With the awesome help of our magnificent and magnanimous God, we can handle anything that comes against us, for as the Good Book faithfully proclaims: ‘We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Phil. 4:13) 

And again: ‘Our God shall supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) And if neither of those scriptures lifted your spirits, then try this one: ‘And Jesus, looking upon them saith, with men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.’ (Mark 10:27) Yes my fellow believers, that is the gospel truth in capital spades! And if you don’t believe that, then you’re wasting your time calling yourself a true believer because you are sadly lacking in faith. 

And remember what the Good Book firmly stipulates: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is (He truly exists), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ (Heb.11:6) Now that is what God is all about: ‘FAITH: the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ Yes my people, sincerely coming to God is all a matter of trust and surrender and large hope, that resounds as faith. You can’t see it, but you can surely feel it. 

And Bruh Paul puts it plainly and clearly to the church at Rome, when he wrote: ‘ For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for it? But if we hope for what we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) (eagerly) wait for it.’ (Rom. 8:24-25) Ah friends, what magnificent and reassuring scriptures! That’s what our faith is built on; hope that leads to perseverance and eager expectancy! But we must first believe, before we see it. That’s how it operates in God’s economy. We don’t adhere to the seeing is believing motto that the world holds on to so tightly and foolishly. 

And it’s not like we don’t have a whole host of examples of strong faith: The Good Book tells us about Noah, who was warned by God of the things to come, and having not seen any evidence of it, still believed, ‘moved with fear (reverence), prepared and ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.’ (Hebr.11:7) And yuh see what happened? Noah’s family was the only one saved when the Lord destroyed the sinful world by flood. 

Likewise Abraham, the father of our modern faith. The Lord called Him to leave his family when he was some seventy years old and go out to a land that he knew nothing about. But the Lord promised Him lots of good stuff and Abraham believed God, trusted Him impeccably, and went out, not knowing whither he went. And look at how the Lord prospered Abraham for his faith nuh. Look at Sarah his wife, who laughed when the Lord promised them a child from their own loins. Yes, it did take twenty five years, but it happened, and note when, when Abraham was a hundred and Sarah was ninety. 

Do you still think that ALL things are NOT possible with God? Look at Moses, look at Jacob, at Bruh Joseph – yes we do have a third Bruh, although we don’t talk about him as much as the other two, David and Paul. (smile) And that ofttimes hurts me, because his story is such a fascinating one, one of awesome faith and perseverance, where despite the wonderful dream promised him, time and time again, he is innocently thrown into serious adversity. But he always keeps his cool under pressure. And you’d note that wherever he went, he always found favour with his bosses, until the Lord was ready to lift him up to the second highest post in the then known world; second only to the great Pharaoh himself! 

No, it’s not easy having true faith, but as we said earlier on, through Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Father; our triune Godhead, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! But we do need to believe it first, and then live by it. And I’m chuckling here, because this wasn’t the sermon I intended to preach this morning…in fact I didn’t have any sermon in mind, (smile) but this is where I was led, and I do hope that it makes some impact on us all today, since our faith needs serious bolstering if we are to make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s camp. 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world 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!’ 

Mama Mia! What a wonderful Lord and Saviour we serve! Let’s go out now and share that LOVE and friendship we have with Him, so that others can come to know Him too! Much LOVE!

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

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…

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