Today’s Scrip-Bit   15 March 2023 Matthew 6:21.

Matthew 6:21.       For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Well friends, we’ve come full circle around again to another Wednesday, the middle of our work week. Some of us look forward to Wednesday as a sort of harbinger of Friday, that magic day when labour ceases for most of us. Yes, just two more days to go. But Wednesday, in and of itself is a very good day. It has all the new mercies and compassions that the other days have, and it also gives us another chance to get closer and more intimate with our Creator and to make a much needed difference in our crazy, turbulent world.. So please stop looking at Wednesday, just in terms of Friday. (smile) 

And to show how special Wednesday can be, this morning we’ll open with the words of Bruh Paul to the church at Ephesus, a greeting that’s unlike any other greeting. So listen up, pay attention. My fellow saints, all over the world where this missive is read or heard, ‘Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be (worthy of praise is) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ (Eph. 1:2-3) 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul has deemed the Lord as being worthy of much praise because of the spiritual blessings He has put aside for us in heaven, through His Son, Jesus Christ. And what are those spiritual blessings that are in our names in heaven. Here are a few of them, as noted by the scholars. 

The first one is the Christian’s citizenship, which is listed in Bruh Paul’s letter to the Philippians, when he advises them to imitate him and not others who ‘are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind (set their minds) on earthly things. For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence we also look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.’ (Phil. 3:18b-21) 

So, if we follow Christ, sincerely, the first thing we’re assured of is citizenship in heaven with Him. The scholars also note that our High Priest is in heaven. ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into (through) the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses), but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:14-16) 

Wow! What a wonderful high priest we have in heaven my brethren! One who can identify with all of our faults and frailties. It certainly does help to be able to go to Him and know that He will understand whatever we’re going through. Then there’s our hope. As Bruh Paul puts it in his missive to the Colossians. 

‘We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the LOVE which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:’ (Col. 1:3-6) 

And I like some of the scholars’ explanations of those verses. As per vs. 4, they say: Evidence of a person’s faith is Christ Jesus is his LOVE…to all the saints.’ And we cannot deny the truth in that statement. Then as per vs. 5, they explain that ‘Hope is salvation, as it refers to the object for which one hopes. While Word of truth of the gospel could be rendered as “the message of the gospel which is true.” This is meant to contradict the Colossian heresy: unlike its false teaching, or “vain deceit” (2:8), the gospel is true indeed. 

And then in vs. 6, they explain that ‘The universal spread and effectiveness of the gospel verify the assertion in verse 5 that it is the truth. The Colossian heresy is merely local; while the gospel has come to the Colossians, it has gone beyond them in all the world. And it bringeth forth fruit; that is, when embraced by faith, the gospel produces godly character and noble conduct in its converts.’ Let’s hope that’s true of us my people. 

Then we have our ‘inheritance’ which Peter talks of thus: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-5) 

Ah mih people, salvation begins a new stage of life for us, and we have that certain hope because it’s guaranteed by the death and resurrection of Christ. and our inheritance is imperishable, cannot rust, be tainted by moth, stolen or ravaged by the passing of time. And it’s securely preserved and guarded in heaven for us by our heavenly Father. Wow! Now why would I choose to bow down and worship any other god eh? No way Jose! 

And lastly, we have our treasure stored up in heaven as spoken of by Jesus. ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt (ruin), and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt (ruin), and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ (Matt. 6:10-21) And I do hope we’ve taken Jesus seriously and laid up our treasures in heaven rather than down here on earth, for it’s all safe and secure up there. 

So you see friends, some of the spiritual blessings we have laid up for un in heaven by the Father through Christ, and which are ‘being progressively dispersed to us on earth in accord with our need and Christian growth.’ We couldn’t have a better life than that friends. That’s why it’s wise to hook up with Jesus and stay hooked up! Now for those of us who have done that, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the whole world 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 one last bit of encouragement. If we endure to the very end with Christ, then that future will be even more glorious than we can ever ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…if living for Christ brings heavenly blessings…why live for Satan which brings hellish curses… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   13 March 2022   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.     ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’

There they go again, the powers that be, stealing an hour of my oh so valuable sleep time! I already don’t get enough, (smile) but they insist on speeding up the clock with this Daylight Savings Time business, which no one seems to want, and they can’t prove to whom it’s useful. On the other hand, it’s been proven that it destroys people’s sleeping patterns and the tenor of their lives in general. But unless, and until, a majority of the populace think it’s worthwhile to rise up in opposition, then we’ll continue with the nonsense back and forth every year. 

And although that situation is a veritable thorn in the side, the positive side of the ledger is more than overflowing. That’s right, we always make more of the fewer negatives in our lives than the many positives, but that just keeps us from truly enjoying the many gifts bestowed upon us by our heavenly Father. And today we are going to open with a song which encourages us to take the latter position, namely: ‘Count Your Blessings!’  

Yes, my fellow believers, we are going into God’s gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise this Lenten Sunday morning, singing this wonderful song written by American businessman, local preacher and prolific hymn writer, Johnson Oatman Jr. (1856-1922). The song so wisely teaches us to concentrate on our blessings rather than our sorrows. 

And I like how the website www.godtube puts it. ‘God truly gives us so many blessings each and every single day. Some may even be so small that we might overlook them. The classic hymn ‘Count Your Blessings’ truly reminds us to stop and give thanks for all God has done in our lives. This is definitely a pause we all need to take. Amen.’ So friends, let’s take that pause right now nuh, let’s stop and give thanks for all we have as we sing ‘Count Your Blessings!’ in a wonderful, up-tempo version, letting all the true thankfulness shine forth from our hearts through the sacrifices of praise that emanate from our mouths. 

As one beautiful and thankful voice: ‘When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. (Refrain: Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.) 

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by. [Refrain] When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; Count your many blessings, money cannot buy Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. [Refrain] 

So, amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. [Refrain: Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.)’ 

Ah mih people, that is the wisest thing we can do in these days of much loss and plenty travail; remember and give thanks for what we have, and not be weighed down by the memory of the things we’ve lost. It’s the only way to live the abundant life that Jesus died for us to have. As one commentator so wisely says: ‘‘If you always find yourself numbering your troubles, you will never find time to count your blessings. There is no use becoming frustrated in your difficulties while you have all the opportunities hiding in them for a turnover.’ 

That’s the gospel truth, for in our difficulties are hidden opportunities for us to improve ourselves and our lives, but we will never see or find them, if we only concentrate on the negative side of the problem. And the fault lies predominantly with us because we don’t take the promises found in God’s word seriously enough. The Good Books talks a whole lot about the blessings to be found in His kingdom. And if you don’t believe me, let’s check out a few. 

Listen to how Bruh David puts it in Psalm 40 – Praise for answered prayer. He confidently declares (yeahhh!!!): ‘Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us ward they cannot be reckoned up (recounted) in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.’ (Ps. 40:5) 

And we all know that Bruh David endured a lot of unfair trouble in his life, as well as the consequences of his own mistakes, but he still could declare (awright!!!) that his blessings and the good thoughts of his God towards him were more plentiful than the negative aspects. And I’m sure if we counted our blessings they would also add up to more than our disasters. 

As Bruh David plainly acknowledges again in that magnificent Psalm 139 – The everlasting presence and power of God – where he recounts how God knows everything about us and the wonderful way in which we were made. In perfect praise and thanksgiving he declares (yess!!!): ‘How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.’ (Ps. 139:17-18)  

And let’s not forget this one from the prophet Jeremiah that we all know and preach, but don’t action enough, where he proclaims on the Lord’s behalf: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you an expected end (a future and a hope) (Jer. 29:11) Now isn’t that a scripture to cling to? Of course it is! 

Meanwhile listen to what Bruh Paul said to the Ephesians: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ (Eph. 1:3) Yes friends, our God is worthy of much thanks and praise because He has opened a blessings account for each of us in heaven, through the work of Christ, from which He disperses it to us here on earth as we need it. 

And we certainly can’t forget these marvellous words of Peter. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-4) Now can we ever forget the greatest gift and blessing ever, that of salvation through Christ Jesus! No way…not if we are wise! (smile) 

And we’ll close with these most conclusive verses from Bruh Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, where he advises and admonishes: ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess. 5:16-18) Now that’s the epitome, the perfect example of the Christian life; rejoice, pray and give thanks! 

So, in these difficult, turbulent and uncertain times, let’s not forget that our great and wonderful God is still on the throne of heaven and in perfect control of His universe, and all we need to do is immerse ourselves in His word and all the promises found there, because He has NEVER reneged on one promise, and will NEVER do so! Much LOVE!

…remember the good things…forget the bad ones…like God has done… 

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