Today’s Scrip-Bit   12 May 2022 John 13:34.

John 13:34.      A new commandment I give unto you, that ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. 

Come on friends, let’s see some Christ-like smiles on those faces on this beautiful spring Thursday nuh! Christ is LOVE, the Good Book says so (1 John 4:8) and the first appearance of LOVE from us should be a smile! Yes, my brethren our Christian faith walk all begins with a smile, for when we realize all the marvellous and miraculous benefits we have in and from Jesus, and they all start to flow out of us, there must be a smile of joy accompanying them, otherwise, how are people going to know that we are happy in Jesus eh? 

So, if there is true joy in our souls, then it will show on our faces through a smile. And it’s sad, pathetic really, the number of sour faced, miserable, unhappy looking supposed Christians walking about the planet! Some of them falsely believing that they are pilgrims and pilgrims suffer, so they need to look like what the cat dragged in. 

But that’s not true friends. For even if you are a supposed pilgrim and life’s rough, with all the wonderful stuff that Jesus has given us and placed in our hearts and souls, the joy, which is the strength of the Lord and the fruit of His Holy Spirit that’s been planted in us and growing beautifully like the new spring grass, must manifest itself in our behaviour, starting with a big smile and a heavenly look on our faces. 

Remember what Jesus said about the stuff that comes out of a man? ‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ (Matt. 15:11) And that’s how it ought to be with believers, the good stuff of Jesus coming out of our mouths and lighting up our faces with His joy. ‘As the song says: ‘Oh happy day, oh happy day, when Jesus, when Jesus washed, when my Jesus washed all my sins away!’ 

Now, that day and that action ought to be always percolating in our souls and spirits, and cause us to live rejoicing every day. And rejoicing means letting the joy in our soul and spirit being made manifest on the outside, beginning with a glow on our faces and Christ-like actions reaching out to those with whom we come into contact. That brings us to these fateful and very crucial words of Jesus to His disciples, when he said unto them. ‘A new commandment I give unto you, that ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one for another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Yes, my fellow believers, the world will only recognize us as true disciples of Jesus if we show the LOVE He showed to us, toward each other. And sadly, that’s not happening as much as it should because many of us supposed Christians don’t even talk to one another because we are of a different religion or denomination, we have a different doctrine or some such nonsense. But the only doctrine in Jesus’ book is LOVE, and LOVE is an action-based reality, you can’t just talk it, but must show it, like Jesus said back there, if we want to be His true disciples. 

And He said it to them again later on. ‘This is my commandment, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you.’ (John 15:12) And I like how John sets it all out in his first epistle, when he talks about tests of true knowledge. ‘And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandment is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the LOVE of God perfected: hereby know we that are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought also to walk, even as he walked.’ (1 John 2:3-6) 

Oh my fellow saints, those words are ever so important in our walk of faith because they testify of our genuine knowledge of God, of true discipleship, which can only be accomplished by obedience to Christ’s commandments. It must be a conscious and enduring effort, for the true ‘test of knowing God’s LOVE is keeping His Word.’ And the scholars explain verse 6 thus. They say: ‘Even as he walked refers to Jesus’ earthly days. While no one can or need duplicate Jesus’ atoning ministry, His disciples are called on to imitate His devotion to God and compassion for others. See John 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:21.’ 

And just to refresh our memories, (smile) let’s look at those two scriptures. In John 13:15, Jesus says to the disciples after washing their feet. ‘For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.’ Then Peter corroborates that statement when he writes. ‘For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile (deceit) found in his mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again (in return); when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.’ (1 Pet. 2:21-23) 

Oh my people, are we doing those kinds of things like Jesus did, or at least attempting to live that way? Hopefully, our answer to that will be a decisive YES! And if it’s not, then we are not living for Christ and are not His true disciples and need to change our lifestyles if we truly want to be made over in His image. And the great thing about Jesus is that when we truly desire and try to live for Him, He showers us with numerous blessings to help us do just that. We call them our Thursday Blessings, and when we declare them out loud, they serve to refuel and renew our hearts and souls, so that we can go out and do His work with new enthusiasm and LOVE. 

So, let’s declare them right now nuh, in loud and confident voice. ‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

Now it’s up to us to go out and generously use those blessings to serve others, just as generously as Christ shares them with us. Much LOVE!

…talk is cheap…but LOVE…that’s action…calls for sacrifice…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 January 2021 Psalm 119:75.

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

Brother! I thought that 2020 went fast, but like this new year planning on going even faster! Is already Thursday the 7th, and the year just started. (smile) Just wish our calamities were going away as quickly. But what to do eh? We brought most of them on ourselves, and we’re not behaving in a manner that will encourage them to leave as quickly as they came. 

What a blessing to have Jesus on our side! The Good Book plainly and truthfully states it: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ (Phil. 4:13) That means, with His help, His awesome grace, mercy and strength, we can handle anything that comes against us, even if it is of our making. And furthermore, we’re also told: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) 

Yes mih bredrin, if Christ will strengthen me and cause the Lord to provide all my needs, who or what else do I need eh? NOTHING, or NOBODY! For Christ is sufficient in and of Himself! That’s why He instructed us to ‘seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:34) 

Oh friends, when we put Jesus Christ first and foremost in our lives, He will provide all that we need to live an abundant life. And that doesn’t necessarily mean rich in personal possessions, but certainly rich in spiritual things, maturity in spirituality, a good example of Christian living. So I don’t understand how so many of us refuse to follow Jesus, or only give Him lip-service and are not truly faithful to and in sync with Him. 

 I’m guessing that’s partly because living for Jesus is not easy. As His ambassadors, His earthly representatives, He expects a lot of us. He expects us to grow tremendously and shine brightly on His behalf, and that is ofttimes a difficult row to hoe. But as the ole people would say, ‘no pain, no gain.’ And that’s certainly highlighted in this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. It’s appropriately titled ‘The Pain of Growth.’ 

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 Or 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.’ 

And that calls for a big ‘AMEN!’ my brethren. For it’s definitely through pain and somewhat uncomfortable circumstances that the Lord grows and matures us in His economy. And there’s nothing in that list of painful things above that Jesus never suffered on our behalf during His earthly sojourn. That’s why He can empathize with our suffering now. 

That’s why the author of Hebrews could confidently proclaim: ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (confession of faith). For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (empathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (our 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) 

Yes my fellow saints in Christ, our Lord and Saviour, our venerable Leader felt every pain and suffering that we’ve ever felt…and more than any of us have ever felt to boot! And in Isaiah 53, Christ suffering is laid out, so much so that He’s known as ‘a man of sorrows.’ (Is. 53:3) And I like how the website www.gotquestions.org explains it. ‘Jesus is called “a man of sorrows” because of how much suffering He had to endure. He suffered first by leaving the glories of heaven and entering the human race as a man. Then He suffered all the things that humanity suffers, and then finally He suffered the wrath of God as the sin-bearer.’ 

So when He asks us to undergo a spot of suffering on His behalf, we ought to just shut our blooming mouths and do it without the hemming and hawing we’re so famous for. What would have happened if He hemmed and hawed about going to the cross for us eh? When Jesus asks us to jump, the correct answer is simply, ‘How high Lord?’ 

And before we run out of time and space, let’s look at the Bible Promise that was used for the poem above. It comes from the great psalm 119: ‘I know, O Lord, that thy judgements are right (righteous), and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.’ (Ps. 119:75-76) 

Yes people, the psalmist realized that God in His righteousness and justice would not afflict Him without a good reason. And furthermore, His LOVING-kindness, His unfailing LOVE, would comfort him during his trails, just like He promised. 

So please, if we want to be known as true and serious followers of Jesus, let’s cut out the foolishness nuh, and grow up, stop being selfish, petty and afraid and stand up to anything that comes against, because He’s faithfully promised to bring us safely and stronger through our trials and tribulation. And if you can’t believe His promise, what’s the point in being His follower eh? 

So for those of us who are willing to undergo the troubles of the world without too much complaining, let’s go home now sincerely declaring (oh yeahhh!) our Thursday Blessings, those magnificent blessings the Lord has so generously bestowed on us to do His earthly work. Wow! 

Altogether now: ‘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 please remember, those blessings are not to be selfishly hoarded, but generously shared, just like the Lord generously shared them with us! Much LOVE!

…for whom the Lord LOVETH…He chasteneth… (Heb. 12:6)