Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 November 2021 Matthew 5:10.

Matthew 5:10.      Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

What a morning! The day’s half done, and I haven’t done my business yet. (smile) But that’s how life intervenes sometimes; getting you behind the eight-ball before you have even begun. So, without further ado, let’s begin. And the Good Book opened today on the Beatitudes, those blessings with which Christ began His Sermon on the Mount, and though we are only going to look specifically at the last section, the scholars offer an excellent explanation of Jesus’ message. 

They say: ‘The opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount indicate that the message deals with the inner state of mind and heart that is the indispensable absolute of true Christian discipleship. It delineates the outward manifestation of character and conduct of true believers and genuine disciples. Thus, the life of the believer, described by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, is a life of grace and glory, which comes from God alone. To make this quality of life the product of man’s human efforts (as does the liberal) is the height of overestimation of man’s ability and underestimation of his depravity. 

To relegate this entire message, Jesus’ longest recorded sermon, to a Jewish only life-style, as do some dispensationalists, is to rob the church of her greatest statement of true Christian living. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus states the spiritual character and quality of the kingdom He would establish, and the basic qualities of this kingdom are fulfilled in the church He would establish. Virtually every section of this message is repeated in substance elsewhere in the New Testament. Nothing here indicated that this message is to be limited in its application to the people of Israel only.’ 

Awright friends, so we now have a working knowledge of what the Beatitudes are supposed to mean, because just reading them without a proper understanding, will lead us astray, since all of them begin with ‘Blessed,’ which means “happy,’ but seem to be applicable to people who are suffering. They all seem rather contradictory to what the world expects. How can a suffering person be blessed and happy eh? But that’s because Jesus is talking about His spiritual kingdom, not that of this physical world, and the spiritual world always seems to be the opposite of the physical. 

Now, according to the scholars ‘Blessed is a basic description of the believer’s inner condition as a result of the work of God. These Beatitudes, like Psalm 1, do not show a man how to be saved, but rather describe the characteristics of one who has been saved.’ 

And finally, (smile) we come to the section we want to look at. It says: ‘Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.’ (Matt. 5:10-11) Yes, my fellow saints, if we live the way Jesus wants us to live, we will face persecution, ridicule and hate from the world around us. 

And the scholars explain: ‘5:10.  As Jesus develops His message, He clearly teaches that such a life causes His people to be in direct contrast to the world in which they live. Therefore He reminds us, Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. The plural use of  “ye” in verse 11 indicates that He foresaw this persecution as touching all His followers. Notice 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”  

There’s absolutely no doubt about that friends! No wonder so many of us don’t acknowledge Christ, or our faith in Him in public, because we are either and/or ashamed and afraid of the repercussions from those around us. But we must remember that no cause is ever easily invoked or maintained. 

Please note what the scholars tell us, re verse 11. ‘Again, Jesus warns that men shall revile you, and persecute you. This became true during His own ministry, in the lives of the apostles, and throughout the history of the church. This persecution spoken of here is twofold. First, it involves a physical pursuing of the persecuted, and second, a personal attack of slander against them.’ 

And that’s why I chose that section of the Beatitudes to look at today my fellow brethren. Some of us are naïve, or just don’t know what to expect in being a true and devout Christian and trying to live by the principles that Christ taught. But it is not a simple matter, as we see from the beginning of the church all the way down to right now. And yuh better believe that in many places, it’s open season on persecuting believers. So it’s not something to be taken lightly. 

However, as our Lord and Saviour always does, He provides solace for us even in those times of persecution. He says: ‘Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’  (Matt. 5:12) And I know that’s difficult to do when persecution is staring you straight in the face, but it’s a necessary part of walking with Jesus. 

Listen to the scholars again: ‘5:12. Rejoice is the command that grows out of the blessedness of the believer. The phrase ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad’ means even more, exult! Great is your reward in heaven focuses attention on the eternal destiny of all things. If God is real as He claims, if the Bible is true, if heaven is to be gained, then no temporary earthly trouble or persecution can dispossess the child of God of joy in the prospect of the eternal glory that lies ahead.’ 

And that’s the God-awesome truth! We have to keep our minds tuned to the home we have waiting in heaven for us. Although this one will be pretty rough, the ultimate one will be worth all and any suffering we do down here. Please remember what Jesus said to the disciples later on when He was explaining the whole scenario of His coming and going to them? ‘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) 

And He has overcome the world through His death, resurrection and ascension, but we have to be strong and remember that this earth is not our home, and for Jesus’ sake, with His strength and wisdom, handle whatever comes against us, knowing that He is faithful who promised. And for those of us who are sincerely attempting to do that, let’s go home declaring (awright!!!) 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!’ 

Yes friends, let’s keep that glorious future of heaven in our mind’s eye as we walk this evil and ungodly earth. Much LOVE!

…whatever ‘sufferation’ this earthly life brings…the joy of heaven will supersede and totally erase it…as soon as we get there…                                                                                                                              

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 August 2017 2 Chronicles 15:7.

 2 Chronicles 15:7.   Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. 

It’s another new morning…somewhat cloudy, chilly and windy though! (smile) But we’re alive, and God is working diligently within us to bring us up to Christ’s standards. 

All glory and thanks be to our heavenly Father who takes such a wonderful interest in each and every one of His children, made so intimately in His very image! 

Well today is the big day; the day of the Caribana, sorry, Toronto Caribbean Festival Parade. Hn! Let’s hope that they have better luck than we did yesterday with the Pan Competition. 

Ah Lord eh! Would you believe that the day was going along quite well until around four p.m, when the skies suddenly darkened, then the heavens opened, and the rained poured down steadily for over an hour! 

Chuh! I was just about to leave home to go and meet my panman friend down the street by Leila’s Roti Shop. The plan was to get a couple of Leila’s nice, big, shrimp rotis, with a couple of banana Solos (T&T pop – the best drink to wash down a roti) then head down to T.O for an evening of beautiful and intense pan. 

I left home in the downpour because I knew my friend didn’t have a cell phone and he would be waiting there expectantly for me. But lo and behold, when I got to Leila’s the rain was still pouring down and the skies looked dark like night. 

We hung around Leila’s for a while – I ate half my roti and drank half my Solo (smile) but the rain didn’t look like stopping, and I certainly didn’t feel like driving into T.O in that downpour, with all the Friday evening traffic, to go and sit on the hard concrete steps of an open-air Lamport Stadium. 

So we decided to shelve the Pan Competition idea, and go home and spend some quality time with our families, because with that kind of weather it might have to be cancelled. And so in the still pouring rain, I dropped him home, then came home myself. 

But would you believe, that when I was almost home the ‘so and so’ rain stopped falling! Steups! And after that the evening was clear and beautiful. But by then I definitely wasn’t going back out. In any case my family and I had a good evening together. So it wasn’t too bad after all. 

Don’t even know if they still held the Pan Competition. And that was how my one evening of Caribana involvement passed. (smile) But it’s Saturday, so let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm shared this past week. 

It seems like he was in a positive frame of mind, since all of them dealt with positivity. Here is the first one: ‘Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.’ And that’s a verified fact! 

Now this next quote builds on the first: ‘Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.’ How could it not eh? 

Then: ‘In order to carry out a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.’ That’s only logical, since you can’t have action of any kind without some kind of vision. 

And this one is the biggie: ‘Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.’ 

And is that ever so true my brethren! That’s why we’re constantly told to surround ourselves with positive people, because it rubs off, just like the negativity of negative people does. 

And the final quote: ‘Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems.’ Now that’s advice of mythical proportions! (smile) Too many of us spend too much time belabouring and bewailing our problems, when we should be more focused on solving them. 

And there’s no better way to do all of that than by holding on tightly and sincerely to the encouraging and assuring words of our Bit. ‘Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.’ 

Now true believers should never have cause to doubt that statement, for the promises of our ever-faithful God are infallible. And we’ll close this series of messages with a couple of interesting and important scriptures. 

The first is from Peter, re being good stewards of God’s grace. ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 

But rejoice, inasmuch as (to the extent that) ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 

If ye be reproached (insulted) for the name of Christ, happy (blessed) are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of (blasphemed), but on your part he is glorified.’ (1 Pet.4:12-14) 

Finally, listen to these words of absolute wisdom from Bruh Paul to the Colossians. ‘And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men, Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance (salvation): for ye serve the Lord Christ.’ (Col.3:23-24) 

Yeh friends, in ALL that we do, it is best to consider that we are serving Christ rather than men, since serving men can surely lead us down the path of unrighteousness. And who wants to tread that unwise path eh?  Much LOVE!

…the very word Christian…implies being strong and positive…like Christ…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 February 2017 Matthew 26:39.

Matthew 26:39.   And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Oh friends, can you believe it? My body rebelled against me again to day! Hn, hn! But what can I expect eh, when I keep pushing the envelope? 

What’s it they say about when force meets resistance – one of them has to give? Well I’m the one who’s been giving these last couple days! (smile) 

Meanwhile, the workingman is all excited, loudly declaring: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday! The weekend’s here! The weekend’s here at long last! Is our time now! Glory Hallelujah! And we going to use it just as we please; drinking and eating, dancing and romancing! Thank God for Fridays and the weekend!’ 

Ah mih people, I know that after a hard week’s work, that’s the way many of us feel, but that’s not the optimum way to use our short time off. Our Friday chant presents a much better alternative. So let’s chant it out loud and clear, like how the workingman belted out his song of freedom. 

As one now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. 

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Yes my brethren, it’s all about using our time, talents and energy in the best manner that glorifies our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Our thoughts should constantly be permeated by, ‘will this glorify Jesus?’ for that’s why we were so wonderfully made. 

Just as Jesus was made to glorify His heavenly Father, and did so above all else, as we see from our Bit. ‘And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ 

So ought we to consider the Lord’s will before we do anything at all in this earthly life.  

And today we’ll continue looking at the words of some of the saints on the topic. Listen to the author of Hebrews: ‘Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith (hope) without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke (stir up) unto LOVE and to good works: …

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience (endurance), that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.’ (Heb.10:23-24; 35-36)  

Yes my fellow believers, we have to stand strong in faith, in LOVE and good works and concentrate on doing God’s will, so that we can receive His faithful promise afterwards. If we don’t do His will, there won’t be any rewards later on. It’s as simple as that. 

Now hear Peter as he talks about being good stewards of God’s grace. ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as (to the extent that) ye are partakers of Christ’s suffering; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 

If ye be reproached (insulted) for the name of Christ, happy (blessed) are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of (blasphemed), but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody (meddler) in other men’s matters. 

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf (matter). For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 

And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.’ (1 Pet.4:12-19) 

Ah precious people of God, although our earthly circumstances may be painful and difficult, it’s only in doing God’s will, and with His help, bearing up under the pressure, that we will reap joy when Jesus returns. 

I know it sounds unfair and whatever else, but that’s the way our God operates, and we know that He is a good God, and will work everything out for our benefit in the end. So let’s not lose faith while we wait. 

And we’ll end with this admonition from Peter. ‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!’ (1 Pet.5:10-11) 

What more can I say eh friends? Not a whole lot. Doing God’s will is just the lot of Christians. Much LOVE!

…if ye suffer with and for Christ…you will rejoice and be glad with Him…when He returns…