Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 August 2019 John 13:15.

John 13:15.    ​For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done unto you.
 

Oh my people, it’s a perfect beginning to what seems like a perfect day! The sun’s shining ever so brightly although it’s just eight o’clock in the morning, merrily reflecting off every possible surface. I was quite surprised at how bright it looked when I went outside a short while ago. And the temperature is nice and comfortable, so let’s hope it will continue like that all day. 

But the most important thing is that we’re alive to enjoy it! Yeahhh! Through God’s LOVING grace, mercy and forgiveness, we’re still around to enjoy another memorable day! Wow! Give Him much thanks and praise my fellow saints in Christ for being so wonderful to us when we don’t deserve any of it. 

But most of all, we have to give Him thanks for His most wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed His sinless blood on the cross at Calvary so that we could be made right with the Father! Glory to God! That’s why the Daily Bread Devotionals could tell us: ‘In a world filled with heartache, we can model the compassion of Jesus.’ And furthermore: ‘We serve Christ when we serve people!’ 

Words of gospel truth my brethren! Jesus is the most worthwhile example of all that we should aspire to be! Yes, we can never be truly like Him, be perfect in every way, because of our inherent sinful nature and His accompanying deity, but we can certainly try to get as close as possible to perfection in our humanity. And serving others while having a heartfelt compassion for mankind are possibly the two most important ways we can model Him. 

Oh, we won’t forget spreading His gospel, but people are more receptive to that good news when we first assuage their physical wants. Meaning, if someone’s hungry, before we begin preaching, we should first feed them. And likewise, if they are naked, clothe them first before trying to shove the gospel down their throats. 

And unfortunately that’s a mistake we often make. We reach out to the impoverished, both in body and spirit, but we put the gospel first. But as Sparrow once said in a calypso, ‘Yuh can’t make LOVE on an empty belly!’ (smile) And that goes for almost every other situation. You’re not receptive to much of anything if you’re cold and hungry. So please, in our own li’l worlds or spheres of influence, let’s try and satisfy the physical needs of others before we begin preaching to them nuh. 

And sadly, there are so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ in these supposedly prosperous times who are suffering severe and serious want, especially with all the natural disasters, like flood and famine and sickness, plus rampant greed and strife that’s occurring all over our world in these last troubled and trying days. 

And I just came upon a most interesting and ever so applicable statement of Bruh Paul’s to the Philippians, when he promised to send Timothy to help them in their faith walk. ‘For all seek their own, not the things which are Christ’s.’ (Phil.2:21)  Yes friends, in this age of me, mine and my own, everyone is more concerned about seeking their own needs and wants than those of Christ. 

But remember He said that if we seek first His kingdom and the things that are important to Him, we would be granted all the other ancillary stuff. (Matt.6:33) Sadly though, very few of us really pay attention to those words and instead run off to do what we think is best for us. But I’m straying from the original topic; servanthood amongst the followers of Jesus. 

Friends, we ought not to be too proud to do whatever job is necessary, even if it’s the most menial of jobs, like sweeping the floors or cleaning the toilets. And again in Jesus, we have the best example possible, when He washed the feet of His disciples. That was possibly one of the most menial jobs in Israel in those days, reserved for slaves, since they wore sandals and their feet were always dusty and dirty. 

But Jesus stripped Himself at the Last Supper, the Feast of the Passover, took a basin of water and washed every disciple’s feet. Why? Listen to His reasoning. ‘Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master (Teacher) and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 

If I then, your Lord and Master (Teacher), have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done unto you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord (master); neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’ (John 13:12-17) 

Ah friends, as always, Jesus gives us some dynomite examples to follow! And is that one about doing menial jobs ever so applicable in these days, where we all are so proud and hoighty-toighty and only want to do the jobs that the world thinks are so uplifting and convey what it calls success. 

But please remember that though the C.E.O might make the most money and have the biggest say about how to do things, it’s the lowly factory workers who actually do the jobs, make whatever they sell. Without them, he wouldn’t be in His glorified position. Likewise we should never forget the poor and unfortunate around us and not be too big and proud to help them in whatever way they need it, because that’s what our Lord and Saviour, Our Leader, Jesus Christ was all about. 

And if we want to truly follow His example, then we have to do what He did! And having washed away some of our foolish pride, (smile) let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Tuesday Mantra, telling the whole wide world, in no uncertain terms, who and whose we are. 

All together now in strong and sincere voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

And if we believe it, then let’s follow Jesus’ example and go out and share His amazing LOVE and wonderful friendship! Much LOVE!

…no job…should ever be too menial…for a true believer in Christ…

 

Advertisements

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 February 2019 1 Samuel 16:7.

1 Samuel 16:7.   ​But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
 

And after the long weekend, I do hope that those of you who have to go to work today will make it without too many problems – read, hangovers, tiredness etc. (smile) Well my trusty desktop seems to be working decently again…Praise the Lord! 

Yes, I know it’s old and out of fashion and all that, but it’s like the old saying, new broom sweep clean, but old broom know the corners! And I’m just more familiar with my desktop than my laptop. The former just knows what I want to do and where I want go, especially when it comes to writing the Bit. (smile) 

Now here’s an interesting question for us from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) from his Hour of Power Devotional. I don’t know if I’ve ever posed it before, but I was led to do so today. And the question is ‘Are You Happy?’ I guess though we should pose it as being joyful, since happiness is based more on our circumstances than our beliefs. 

You can read it any which way you want, but this is how Gramps Schuller put it, and it does ask a very good question which most of us should be asking ourselves. Listen up: ‘Happiness – that deep inner strength that is made up of courage, faith, hope, and peace. Mix them together, and you have happiness. Happiness – the courage to hang on in the face of severe adversity! 

Happiness – the faith that God will have the last word, and it will be good! Happiness – the hope that even though you can only see the shadow, someday the clouds will clear away and the sun will shine again! Happiness – the quiet sense of self-esteem that comes when you know you have done your best. 

Happiness – the assurance that you have been merciful and kind to enemy and friend alike. Happiness – the quiet assurance that God will be merciful and kind to you, too. Happiness – the beautiful belief that this life, no matter how difficult it may be, is not your final destination.’ 

Yes friends, if we can answer yes to all of them, then we are giants of our faith! But I doubt that most of us can answer all those questions in the affirmative. The important thing though is that we can definitely answer ‘yes’ to some, and that we are working courageously and sincerely on the others. 

Our God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, because He knows that He created us as imperfect beings, but He does insist that we try to come up as high as possible. That’s why He looks at the secret motives of our hearts rather than our outward actions to judge our sincerity. And the Lord made that quite clear long time ago, when He sent Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the new king of Israel. 

 When Samuel saw Eliab looking big and strapping and king-like, He said this must be the one. ‘But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’ 

There we have it friends, right from the Lord’s mouth. So I don’t know why so many of us still try to fool the Lord with wonderful outward actions when our hearts are dark and black with unresolved, unrepented sin! We can fool our fellow man a lot of the time, but we can’t fool God at any time because He looks at the true story that’s hidden deep inside our sinful hearts! 

That’s why the Lord chose Bruh David to be the king over his brothers; He knew that his heart was right, as right as a human heart could be, and why, in spite of all Bruh David’s mistakes He never set him adrift, though he certainly paid for his failures.

And sadly, that’s what happening to too many of us believers today; our hearts aren’t really right with God. We put on a great Christian show on the outside, but on the inside the devil rules our spirit. 

As Jeremiah so famously said on the Lord’s behalf: ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (incurably sick): who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try (test) the reins (mind), even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.’ (Jer.17:9-10) I think that’s as clear as it can get. 

But the scholars offer this explanation: ‘17:9-10. The heart (cf. Prov.4:23) means man’s innermost being. The bent of man’s natural disposition, apart from God’s redeeming grace, is described as deceitful (lit. crooked) and desperately wicked (incurably sick).

Therefore, man cannot trust his own heart but must leave all to God who alone knows the heart and judges all men fairly. Only a person with a redeemed heart can live in proper fellowship with God (Job 11:13; 1 John 3:18-24).’ 

Please take a moment and check out those two scriptures my fellow believers, for they get right to the heart of the matter! (smile) And I’ll throw in this langniappe (li’l extra) for good measure. (smile)

Listen to Cousin Sol: ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.’ (Prov.4:23) Yes friends, the heart is the figurative seat of our intellect and that in turn controls our minds. We therefore need to keep tight control of our minds, because that’s where all of the battles are fought. 

And having said all that, let’s go home declaring (right ho) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the entire world know who and whose we are. In full voice with sincere hearts and a strong sense of purpose:

‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

And if our hearts are right, then let’s go out and action those statements, as Jesus desires of us. Much LOVE!

…whatever captures the mind…captures the man…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 April 2018 2 Timothy 3:16.

2 Timothy 3:16.    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Ah mih people, this Sunday morning we can go to the Lord’s sanctuary without any fear of slipping and sliding or getting in an accident because of the dreadful weather! Glory be! The ice is slowly disappearing as the weather gets a little warmer. But last week it was something else. And that ice-storm was not half as bad as one a few years ago. They are worse than just the ordinary snow storms. 

Anyway, that’s in the past now, let’s look to the glorious spring weather that’s ahead of us and go to fellowship with other faithful believers, to sing and praise and make merry to Almighty God, and receive His resurgent confidence and enthusiasm in our tired and empty souls. Some of us might need two weeks resurging, since we didn’t get any last week. (smile) 

But whatever, or how much ever we need, we know we will get it in the Lord’s house, so let’s open as always with some praise and worship,  with this foundational hymn ‘Standing on the Promises of God’ written by Russel Kelso Carter, a professor in the Pennsylvania Military College of Chester.

 His bio reads thus: ‘While there he was licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Church. He became very active in leading camp meetings and revivals. After failing health forced him to abandon this work, he studied and became a medical doctor as well as a writer. He wrote novels as well as hymns.

Yeh friends, it’s obvious he knew what he was talking about when he wrote the hymn. So let’s declare it now nuh, with joyful voices and sincere hearts, because those are such wonderful promises we have to stand on, that mere words alone couldn’t do them justice. 

As one glorious choir now: ‘Standing on the promises of Christ my king, through eternal ages let his praises ring; glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, standing on the promises of God. (Refrain: Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God my Savior; standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.) 

Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God. [Refrain] Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, bound to him eternally by LOVE’S strong cord, overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, standing on the promises of God. 

[Refrain] Standing on the promises I cannot fall, listening every moment to the Spirit’s call, resting in my Savior as my all in all, standing on the promises of God. [Refrain].’ 

Oh friends, oh friends, doesn’t that just elevate your soul and spirit to new heights of rapture? (smile) It ought to since we have such golden promises made to us by a most faithful Deity. And today friends, we are going to check out some of those awesome promises found in God’s word. 

And we’ll begin with one that lays the foundation for them all, the words of Bruh Paul to Timothy re the truth of scripture, as stated in our Bit. ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.’ 

That is the first step my brethren; to acknowledge that the word of God is true, and though written by mortal men, was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, under God’s authority and guidance, and it is indeed a guide book for earthly living in righteousness. As Bruh Paul continues: ‘That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished (equipped) unto all good works.’ (2 Tim.3:17) There we have it friends, guidance and regulations to lead a godly life. 

Here are some useful explanations from the scholars. ‘3:14-17. Inspiration of God (lit. “God-breathed.”) describes the unique character of scripture. It is not only written by men, but authored by God. For doctrine means to tell one what to believe. For reproof means to tell one what is wrong. For correction means to tell one how to correct wrong. 

For instruction in righteousness means to tell one how to live. Perfect (Gr. artios, “proficient, capable”) is having everything needed to do what God wants.Thoroughly furnished means “thoroughly equipped.” God’s inspired Word, properly used and applied, provides all we need for life and ministry.’  

Mama Yo mih breddren! Where can you find another all-encompassing tome like that eh? Nowhere else in the world but in the Christian faith! Glory to our great God, who in His endless wisdom gave us ALL that we needed to live the kind of life He desires of us. And so having acknowledged that the word of God is true, let’s look at a couple of promises that are contained therein. 

The first one is a scripture that we all know and quote, but how many of us truly believe it eh? It’s from the prophet Jeremiah and says: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you an expected end.’ (Jer.29:11) 

But that doesn’t come just so friends. We have to pray, call upon God, seek Him with all our hearts, live the kind of life He expects of us, then we’ll see His mercy and favour and the plan He has designed for each one of His people. Now I think we only have space for one more promise; that from Bruh Paul to the Philippians: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.’ (Phil.4:19) 

Yeh friends, because of the Philippians sacrifice on behalf of Bruh Paul, God will meet their need in a glorious manner through Jesus Christ. The same applies to us today my fellow believers – live the way God desires, and you’ll want for nothing. And we’ll end with these most appropriate words of Bruh Paul. ‘Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Phill.4:20) 

More on the promises of God tomorrow friends, God willing. Till then, please walk safely with Him. Much LOVE!

…some promises have conditions…others don’t…but they are ALL readily available…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 December 2016 1 Peter 4:12.

1 Peter 4:12.   Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.

Oh friends, can you believe that it’s already the beginning of December? Wow! This year of 2016 has passed rather quickly, and before you know it, we’ll be into Christmas and then the New Year of 2017. 

Wonder what that will hold for us eh? Hopefully it will be better than this one, more blessings and less trials and tribulations. But what we need to ask ourselves right now, is did we grow and mature in our faith this year? 

Did we have a closer relationship with Jesus? Did God play a larger, a more significant role in our lives? Are we closer to where we’re supposed to be, and further away from where we started? Have we matured to the point where we are eating solid food and not drinking milk still? 

I do hope the answer to all those questions are in the affirmative, otherwise we have wasted precious time, lost our way in the most important aspect of our lives; our personal relationship to Almighty God. 

But the good news is that it’s not too late to begin, we can begin right now! Our God ALWAYS receives those who sincerely come to Him with open arms. There is no condemnation, just lots of LOVE and affirmation. 

So if you haven’t done as well as you should have this year, then simply turn to Him right this moment and ask for His help. He will not refuse it. But be forewarned, the journey with Jesus will not always be smooth, but oftimes rough and rocky, just like Jesus’ earthly life was. 

However, with all of His faithful promises and the guidance, leading and comfort of His Holy Spirit we will be able to overcome anything that comes against us. Remember we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us. (Rom.8:37)  

So we have conquering power over what’s in the world, ‘because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4) Yes friends, our Lord and Saviour is greater than the prince of darkness who rules this evil world! 

That means we have nothing to fear in our earthly pilgrimage, for God and us, are a majority against any foe. 

This brings us to our Bit, which can be very discouraging to some. ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.’ 

Yeh mih people, we should not be afraid when trials come upon us because God uses these trials to test us, to mold and grow us in the likeness of His wonderful, sinless Son Jesus Christ. 

None of us likes these trials, especially when they suddenly spring up against us, but as I keep on saying, with God’s help we can over come any and everything. Listen to this awesome promise of our omnipotent God from Isaiah. 

‘Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon (scorch) thee. 

For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.’ (Is.43:1-3) 

What an awesome promise my brethren! And the Lord kept it by redeeming us through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. So what’s there to fear eh? NOTHING, once we are in league with Jesus! 

Now, remember yesterday, we saw after our Bit, Peter talking about rejoicing in trials and tribulations, because if we suffered with Christ, we will eventually rejoice with Him. Hear now James’ take on the subject. 

‘My brethren, count it all joy, when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials). Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing. (James 1:2-4) 

And the scholars give us this info: ‘1:2-3 …These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing…. 

It is not merely one’s presence in such trials but one’s victory over them that brings spiritual growth and maturity. Those Christians whom God can use the most are those whom God has bruised the most.’ 

Ah friends, that says it all; unless we are bruised, victoriously come through fiery trials, we are of no use to God. Anyway, let’s end on a brighter note; instead of trials, let’s end with blessings. Remember, a blessing is not a blessing, until it’s been spoken over someone. 

So, as one strong voice, let’s declare our Thursday Blessings with sincere passion and strong belief. ‘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 don’t forget to also bless those around us, our friends and families, for they need blessings too. Much LOVE!

…working for the Lord is not easy…but it’s surely interesting and adventurous…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 April 2014 Matthew 5:48

Matthew 5:48.     Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’
 
Oh Friends, today is one of those days when I don’t have a clue as to how to get the Bit going. (smile) But nonetheless, trusting in our wonderful God’s goodness and mercy, I am putting pen to paper, believing, having hungry hope and expectant faith that He will lead and guide me by His Holy Spirit to write something worthwhile. Something that will eventually lead to His glorification and the furtherance of His everlasting kingdom.

 
And if, perchance, He chooses not to run around today in a preamble, (smile) then we’ll just get straight into our Bit, because there are several scriptures which corroborate it, that need to be shared.
 
Anyway, I just want to say here that I dearly LOVE those two phrases I used above; hungry hope and expectant faith. I don’t remember where I first read them, but they certainly resonated, made a huge impact on me. The imagery seems so perfect – a hope that’s hungry, and a faith that’s expectant. They just seem to be made for each other!
 
And from here on in, that’s exactly how I want us to feel and behave. Let’s try to have a sense of hope that’s so strong and vibrant, reflecting the way we feel when we are dying from hunger and want food in the worst way, to satisfy and satiate our growling stomachs.
 
Likewise, with faith, let’s endeavour to have real great expectations of whatsoever we’re believing in and for, because passive, wishy-washy, lukewarm faith just doesn’t cut it. Moreover, if we truly want to attain to the level of our Bit, we desperately need a hope that’s truly hungry and a faith that’s really expectant, for how else can we become perfect like our heavenly Father eh?
 
‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’
 
And remember, yesterday the scholars explained being perfect doesn’t mean ‘sinless,’ but rather ‘complete,’ having a passionate, godly LOVE, burning within us for both those who LOVE us and those who don’t. In other words, my people, a true reflection of our Creator.
 
And in fact Friends, from the earliest days, our God has been trying to get us to be perfect and complete. Listen to the words He spoke to Abram. ‘And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God (El Shaddai), walk before me, and be thou perfect (blameless).’ (Gen.17:1)
 
Then back in the New Testament, we have Bruh Paul, re his service for Christ, writing thus to the Colossians: ‘(Christ) Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.’ (Col.1:28-29)
 
Then in his closing exhortations in Chapter 4, he writes: ‘Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth (greets) you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete (filled) in all the will of God.’ (Col.4:12)
 
And the scholars explain that verse thus: ‘4:12. That ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God means that “you may appear perfect and fully assured in all His will.” Like 1:23, 29, this refers to the Colossians being ushered into God’s heavenly presence in a morally perfect state. When this someday occurs, their experience of progressive maturity and assurance will have preceded it.’
 
Meanwhile, James, in talking of faith and humility encourages us: ‘But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing.’ (James 1:4)
 
And per the scholars: ‘1:4. The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’
 
Ah mih people, to be a true child of God, a new creation in Jesus Christ, we definitely do need to improve our God-like characteristics. Otherwise we’ll end up being big hypocrites, just like the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ time – looking good on the outside, but terrible on the inside.
 
So please, let’s talk our talk, and then walk that talk big time, so that that negative assessment Jesus made of the Pharisees and them, will never be made against us.
 
If we want to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, we have to work at being like Him and our heavenly Father – perfect and complete in every way. It’s not easy to do in this godless and wicked world, but with the help of our triune God-head, remember that ALL THINGS ARE INDEED POSSIBLE!
 
That’s the wisdom of the ages! Much LOVE!
 
…as believers…in all our words and deeds…the world ought to see reflected in us…a mirror image of Jesus…so that they can come to know Him too…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 April 2014 Matthew 5:48

Matthew 5:48.      Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
 
Oh Friends, today we have another two certain harbingers of spring. The first is the rise in gasoline prices, which are currently running around $ 1.40 per litre in the Greater Toronto Area (G.T.A). They say it’s about 15 cents more per litre than it was last year. Ah Lord eh!
 
And if you live in these parts, you’ll know that just around this time, termed the start of the driving season, gas prices are always on the rise. Hn! The ole crooks who control the commodity just laugh at talk of boycotts and other stuff, because they know that we have to buy it, since our modern lifestyle is centered around motor vehicles. We need vehicles, and thus fuel for them, to do almost everything; from grocery shopping, to work, to church, and even to play.
 
Strangely enough too, the prices always seem to be a few cents less outside of the G.T.A. Why is that I wonder? But what really amuses me – that’s strictly sarcasm – is that every time there’s an uproar over the exorbitant gas prices, and some politician(s) check into it, there’s never any case of gouging to be found.
 
But yet the oil companies are making billions of dollars in profit every year, while the poor people whom they expect to buy the gas are losing their jobs by the thousands, to cut costs and increase shareholder returns. Don’t these greedy, short-sighted, capitalist fools realize that it’s the same people they’re putting out of work that they expect to buy their products? Steups! 
 
But enough of that, because the blatant exploitation just makes me angry, and there’s nothing much I can do about it. Now the second harbinger of spring is road closures. Chuh! Roads are closed every day for any number of reasons, including road repairs, walking, bicycling and running marathons, parades and festivals, street fairs, etc. etc.
 
Some days it makes you long for winter, when none of these things are around to make driving so onerous. One lane to the T.O. airport has already been closed for a couple of weeks, and will remain that way for at least a couple of months. So can you imagine the traffic snarl that now creates on an already badly traffic snarled highway?
 
All I can do is praise the Lord that He has significantly reduced my driving these days, so I don’t spend as much money on gas, or time on the road. But the sad fact is that almost anywhere you go, the traffic jams will affect you.
 
Anyway, we can’t do much about the rise in gas prices or road closures, so let’s grin and bear them, and instead focus on something we can control, both individually and together as Christ’s Church; that’s our Bit. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’
 
But Friends, before getting into any other scriptures on the topic, let’s first hear some much needed explanations from the scholars. ‘5:48. This section of the Sermon on the Mount is summarized with the statement Be ye therefore perfect. Since the New Testament is clear that even the believer is capable of sin, the term perfect (Gr. teleios) is not to be taken as sinless perfection. Perfect here means “complete,” that is, possessing a complete LOVE that, like God’s (v.45), embraces those who LOVE you as well as those who do not.’
 
And as my corollary to that, (smile) although it comes before it in the Good Book, listen to Jesus on the subject. ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, LOVE your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully (spitefully) use you, and persecute you;
 
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye LOVE them which LOVE you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans (tax collectors) the same? And if ye salute (greet) your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?’ (Matt.5:43-47) 
 
And now Friends, let’s get some good explanation on all that from the scholars. ‘5:43-44. The law of LOVE, sometimes called “law of Christ,” summarizes the ethical principles of the Sermon on the Mount. “LOVE thy neighbour” summarizes the entire second table of the law (cf. Lev.19:18-34). But the unscriptural addition “hate thine enemy” was a popular concept in Jesus’ day.
 
The admonition LOVE your enemies is one of the greatest statements Jesus ever made. The LOVE enjoined in this passage is LOVE that originates from God Himself. Man is not commanded to attempt to LOVE his enemy on the basis of mere human affection but rather on the basis of a LOVE that comes from God.
 
The quality of LOVE commanded here is expressed by giving. Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute you. LOVING an enemy involves doing good toward that enemy in order to win him over to Christ.’
 
And now for some further explanation from the scholars. ‘5:45-47. In summarizing the importance of LOVE, Jesus reminded that LOVE was a necessary proof of salvation: that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven may be better rendered, “that ye may prove to be sons of your Father.”
 
An initial reading of this text out of its context might seem to imply that LOVING one’s neighbours automatically makes one a child of God. However, the New Testament is clear that LOVE is the evidence that one is already saved by the grace of God (cf. 1 John 3:14). Therefore Jesus reminds us that we are to LOVE our enemies as our brethren, for even the publicans LOVE those who LOVE them. Publicans were public officials of Jewish nationality who worked for the Roman government as tax collectors and were generally despised by the people.’
 
And there we have it Friends, today’s sermon, (smile) ably assisted by the scholars. I do hope that the information they provided will be helpful to us all, giving us a better understanding of what Jesus requires of us, for that’s what the Good Book is all about, and what we’re here to try to learn, mark and inwardly digest. Please ponder it all, asking God for help to understand it, because that’s truly wisdom from on high. Much LOVE!
 
…godly LOVE should be the basis for ALL Christian action and interaction…