Today’s Scrip-Bit   8 January 2022 Matthew 7:20.

Matthew 7:20.     Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Three days straight of cold but decent sunshine…Now that’s indeed a record! Many of us might not have noticed it as yet, because we’re still abed this Saturday morning, enjoying the lazy pleasures of not having to get up and go out to labour. That’s provided we have jobs, what with the new Covid restrictions put in place this past week due to the quickly spiking cases. 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s turn to the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he wishes us a Happy New Year. Now this first one is long and complicated, (smile) but certainly something we can entertain to our benefit. It says: ‘We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.’ 

That’s a very interesting statement, because too often we seem to concentrate on our flaws and mistakes rather than our potential and successes. And that’s not a healthy situation. We need to be concentrating on our God-given potential if we expect to make godly headway in this current confused, strife-filled and ungodly world. 

And to help us generate that kind of thinking, Anselm offers these ‘Things to think about for 2022: 1. Talk less; listen more; 2. Remind yourself you are not the General Manager of the Universe; 3. Sit on your ego; 4. Take one day at a time; 5. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you to do and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it; 6. Pray; 7. Do not Worry.’ 

Now all of those are godly, life enhancing recommendations, and we would be wise to embrace them, which I believe starts with doing what Jesus advises: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) Yes friends, we cannot, or must never lose sight that our aim, our number one priority is the kingdom of God and His righteousness, because it’s only then that we truly find God and begin to enjoy the life He has destined for us. 

That leads us to this next quote: ‘We attract what we think about, that which we lust after and that which we fear. Anything that consumes our thoughts get manifested in the real world.’ Now that’s the awesome truth! That’s just the way the universe is set up; what consumes most of our thinking will eventually manifest itself in our lives. Thus, if we fixate on lustful, carnal, or fleshly thoughts, like the world suggests, then it’s lustful, carnal and fleshly things that will occur in our lives. 

Cousin Sol warns us in Proverbs: ‘Eat not the bread of him that hath an evil eye (is a miser), neither desire thou his dainty meats (delicacies): For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.’ (Prov. 23:6-7) Yes my people, we have to be very careful of what others say to us, and consequently, what we say to others, because very often, what comes out of our mouths does not mesh with what’s in our hearts. And the heartfelt stuff is what truly guides us. 

That’s why Jesus warns: ‘Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’ (Matt. 7:20) We can always tell what kind of tree we are looking at, by the fruit it bears. What, or who we really are will eventually show in our actions, because we are truly guided by what’s in our hearts, not what comes out of our mouths. That’s called hypocrisy. And unfortunately, we are all hypocrites to some degree, because it’s not always what we say we mean. 

But let’s move on to the next quote. ‘Acknowledge that negative thinking has not been helping you. Unless you replace them with positive thinking, you will keep getting the same outcome.’ And that’s oh so true! If you keep thinking one way, mostly negatively, and you’re not getting the results you want, then common sense dictates that you change your way of thinking, try the positive kind. It’s basic logic: you can’t keep doing the same think and expect to receive a different result. 

So please, let’s begin this new year by checking out our way of thinking, and making the necessary changes that will enable our lives to come together and produce positive results. And the best way to do that is by coming to Christ and asking for His divine help. And don’t be afraid, because He NEVER turns down anyone who sincerely comes to Him for help. 

Meanwhile, the last quote tells us that: ‘A fantasy noted down with a date turns into an objective. An objective partitioned into ascertained strides turns into an arrangement. An arrangement bolstered by activities makes your fantasies work out as expected. So this New Year, take your fantasies, travel the distance to their goal and make them a reality.’ 

Now generally speaking that’s how a plan works: we begin with the seed of the idea and build upon it. However, the important thing in a believer’s life is the seed that we intend to plant. Is it an idea that God will approve, is it in His will for our lives? Those are things we need to ascertain before we begin planting or building. That brings us back to Jesus’ words on the tree and its fruit. 

‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening (ravenous) wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil (bad) fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil (bad) fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.’ (Matt. 7:15-18) 

Oh my fellow saints, it means that as followers of Jesus we need to come up with good ideas, plant seeds that bear good fruit, fruit that will be beneficial to Christ’s kingdom. The process of growth and bringing plans to fruition are always the same, building, or growing one step at a time, the important aspect is therefore the seed that we’re planting, and the plan that we expect to realize, are they worthwhile in God’s sight? 

And many of us have all kinds of exciting plans for this new year of 2022, but please, let’s stop and consider if they fall into the category of good and timely fruit before we begin to execute them nuh, because if they don’t, the Lord will not allow them to come to fruition. Much LOVE!

…each new year… many plans are born…but most fall by the wayside…because they don’t meet God’s criteria… 

       

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   18 December 2021 Proverbs 23:7a.

Proverbs 23:7a.      For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.

And then it was Saturday… and the springtime temperatures have evaporated, just as suddenly as they appeared, only to be replaced by freezing times and the white stuff with which we have a LOVE/ hate relationship. (smile) Oh yes, the snow’s just drizzling down nicely out there this Saturday morning, a week before Christmas. And I guess that’s the way it ought to be in these northern climes. Everybody wants to celebrate a traditional white Christmas, although in recent years there have been several disappointing occasions, as there’s been no snow at Christmastime, just warm temps and/or rain. But I guess that’s life in this ever-changing universe. 

Anyhow, since it’s Saturday, let’s see what interesting quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first quote says: ‘Humor comes from self-confidence.’ Now, I don’t know if that is as true as it sounds nuh, because a lot of people use humour as a means of building their self-confidence. I believe, if you ask professional comics, many of them will agree that originally they were not self-confident, but as they worked on the humourous stuff, their self-confidence increased. And yes, when we make others laugh at our jokes, it does build up our confidence level, because it’s not easy to make a group of people laugh. So, it’s indeed possible to say it the other way: that self-confidence comes from humour. 

Then there’s this quote. ‘Perhaps the turning point in one’s life is realizing that to be treated like a victim is not necessarily to become one.’ Now that’s certainly an interesting comment. And there again, our ability to look at ourselves as victims or not, depends a lot on our self-confidence. And that will definitely be a turning point in our lives whenever we acquire the necessary confidence to stop considering ourselves victims, although the reality might say the opposite. And we have the best example in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

I’m sure that most of the people who witnessed the cruelty meted out to Him, His ‘sufferation’ and eventual crucifixion, considered Him a victim of the Roman state and His Jewish leaders. But Jesus was ever so confident in Himself and His purpose that He never considered Himself a victim, but a victor, because He was victoriously completing the task that the Father had assigned Him. And He really didn’t care what it looked like to the multitude, once He was doing the Father’s work. And so should we be also my fellow believers in Christ! Don’t care what others say or think, once we are doing Christ’s work! 

Jesus said it quite clearly to those around Him, as the Good Book recounts. ‘Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18) Ah mih people, how many of us would have died, both literally and figuratively just from the shame and indignity of the public humiliation and cruelty that Jesus suffered. 

That’s why He warned that to be His disciple, we must give up our will, and take up His instead, because in this life, we will suffer trials and tribulations simply because we believe in Him. And when that happens, we need to be exceedingly strong and release the victim mentality, and instead, consider it victory in Jesus’ name. That brings us to this related quote. ‘Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember–the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.’ 

And isn’t that the awful truth! A lot of people only feel good when they abuse or put down others. But there again, we have the best example of refuting criticism in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He paid no attention to the naysayers, like the scribes and Pharisees, the hypocritical leaders of the Jewish people, who sought to extinguish the light He was brining to the lives of the suffering Jewish nation. They only cared about their own authority and aggrandizement, and since Jesus was cutting into their sacred power and advantage, they had to take Him down, belittle and criticize Him and His cause. 

But Jesus gave just as good as He got. And when they realized they could not frighten Him into subservience and quitting, like wild animals, they went for the jugular, a disgraceful public death. But little did they know that they were playing right into Jesus hands, for that was why He came, to shed his sinless blood for the salvation of the world. And so friends, in these dangerous, unruly and ungodly times when we are criticized for doing Jesus’ work, we need to raise the level of our faith and ignore it. 

And no, that’s not always easy to do, because ofttimes the scathing criticism comes from those very close to us. But again that’s why Jesus warned we could only be His disciples if we gave up family and friends for His cause. And that takes us to this next quote. ‘None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.’ 

That’s more godly truth, for remember our Creator made us to be in relationship with Him and each other. Consequently, He never gave any one person all the gifts possible, but spread them around, so that some had some and others different ones, necessitating that we come together and help each other if we want to progress. And it’s why we also have the saying – no man is an island. Because none of us can do it all by ourself, although many times we foolish and selfishly try to, but only suffer heartache and failure. 

And if we look back through our lives, we will all find someone, at some time, who did something in our lives that raised us up, that helped move us up to another level of our destiny. And believe me, those were not chance or coincidental moments, but destiny defining times arranged by our heavenly Father long before we ever saw the light of day. Likewise, we also have destiny defining times in the lives of others, so we cannot afford to be selfish and only interested in ourselves, because with that kind of behaviour, we might probably stop someone else from reaching their God-given destiny. 

And the last quote informs us: ‘Think you can and you can do it. Your thoughts are your life.’ Now we all know that’s the basic truth of life. The first step in accomplishing anything is to believe that we can accomplish it. That gives us an uplifting confidence and the energy to rise to the challenge. And as Cousin Sol says in Proverbs. ‘For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ (Prov.23:7a) Yes friends, our actions will generally follow in the direction on which our thoughts are focused. That’s why Jesus said: ‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ (Matt. 6:21) 

So, if our hearts are concentrated on the corrupt and degenerative things of the world, then that’s what our lives will reflect. And if our hearts are concentrated on the things of heaven, which are incorruptible and do not degenerate, then our lives will reflect the truth of Jesus. The choice is ours, and ours alone to make. Please, let’s make the wise one! Much LOVE!

…I set before you life and death…please choose life…so that you and yours may live… 

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