Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 September 2019 1 Peter 5:10.

1 Peter 5:10.    ​But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye had suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen, settle you.
 

Welcome to Friday my people; the day we all LOVE to LOVE!  Don’t know if I’m LOVING it all that much nuh, because I’m tired like a dog from all that whirlwind world traveller travelling. (smile) I guess jet lag has finally set in, but I do have to go out the street and do some blood work for a visit to the medic next week. I do hope that it will show that my PSA – prostate cancer level is ZERO, because I really don’t want to go back and do anymore radiation treatments nuh. It’s not hard or painful, but it certainly is inconvenient and disruptive to one’s schedule, and the side effects can be rather invasive and annoying. 

Enough on my problem though, and since it’s Friday, let’s hear what the ordinary workingman has to say. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! My time to shout and party. But brother, are we having some good summer weather this far into September! Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I LOVE it! And I think I’m going to bring out the barbecue every day that it stays hot, give the wife a break from the kitchen and indulge the children somewhat with dogs and burgers. And I’m not forgetting myself or any friends that might come over; we will indeed be having our brews out there on the deck to cool us down in this summer weather. What else can a man ask for eh? Not a whole lot. When friends and family get together it is the best! As they say, the family that plays together, stays together! Thank God for Fridays and weekend yes!’ 

Ah mih breddren those are certainly words of wisdom from the ordinary workingman! The family that plays together, does stay together! And that’s what’s lacking a lot in this modern day and age; families no longer seem to be the important part of our social setup. And what a pity that is because when families behave like families ought, our whole society benefits. But with the plenty infighting that is currently going on in modern families, it’s just helping to drive us further apart and reduce the already small amount of familial LOVE that we now have. 

And sadly this lack of familial LOVE isn’t only happening amongst unbelievers, but also amongst believers. That surely is sad, for if believers can’t live in unity with their families, how can we live in unity with others eh…and that’s something to which we are seriously called to do by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! No wonder there’s such little unity and so much division amongst His church. But it’s Friday, and the weekend is upon us, so let’s chant our Friday Chant, though not as colourful as the workingman’s song, but nonetheless it meets our needs as believers admirably. 

So, in strong voice, with sincere hearts, let’s chant! ‘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 people, for our sake, it does keep us on out toes. However that doesn’t mean to say that we can’t have fun and good times, but just a li’l more cautiously than the ordinary workingman, who tends to let his hair down without any concern for the possible consequences. 

But we believers need to be aware of the enemy and his great desire to get a foothold, or even a toehold into our souls and thus mess up and cause confusion in our lives. That’s his admitted purpose, and he goes after it with zeal, therefore we also have to be careful not to give him even one li’l opening, because he’s quick to jump into any space we allow him. That’s why, as Peter says, we have to: ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:’ (1 Pet.5:8) 

And that’s the gospel truth my brethren, ole Satan just roams the earth, hungry and angry, looking for those whom he can lead into temptation. But please remember he’s a toothless, defanged lion, made so by the death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and he has no real power over us unless we allow him to. But as the ole people would say, he has a sweet mouth, could talk nice and be very deceiving; yuh see how he deceived Eve long ago, and still deceiving us today? And Peter again gives us some advice re dealing with the prince of darkness: ‘Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in (experienced by) your brethren that are in the world.’ (1 Pet.5:9) 

Ah mih people, we’re not alone in our temptations, for the evil one tempts all believers, as it’s his most precious and desired goal to turn believers away from God to his evil way of thinking and life. But we all need to use our faith to steadfastly resist him. That’s the only way we can be successful against the tyranny of darkness. It’s not always easy as some of his temptations are strong and seem very desirable, but before we fall for them, we must always consider the consequences, unlike what Adam and Eve did. That’s because there are always consequences for falling into sin, into temptation, and we can pay a very hefty price, sometimes for our entire life by making one sinful mistake. 

But please know this, our great God won’t allow us to suffer temptation on our own. As Peter says: ‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye had suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen, settle you.’ Yes friends, the Lord will on occasion allow us to go through some rough times, to test us and build our faith, because it’s only in rough times that faith is built and /or strengthened, but be assured that He will eventually make a way for us to handle the temptation. Therefore: ‘To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.’ (1 Pet.5:11) 

Oh, my fellow believers, do we ever need to praise and exalt His holy name for being so kind and generous to the undeserving children of men! Much LOVE!

…the consequences of sin…is death…but belief in Christ Jesus…brings everlasting life…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 May 2019 Ephesians 6:11.

Ephesians 6:11.    ​Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (devious schemes) of the devil.
 

Welcome, welcome, one and all to rainy day Tuesday! Yes the rain has not really eased up nuh. It drizzled most of the night. Good thing it’s mostly drizzles and not big downpours. I guess we can be thankful for small mercies there. But chuh! I’m tired talking about the rain yes! (smile) 

If it’s going to fall, just let it fall and ignore it. It’s got to stop at some time since the Lord promised that He wouldn’t ever destroy the earth by flooding again…but please note He didn’t say anything about no warnings by flooding! (smile) 

Anyway, remember last week when we heard from Gramps Schuller (Dr, Robert H. Schuller) from his Hour of Power Devotional on allowing trouble to lift you up, to let it be a golden opportunity to rise higher? Well today we’re going to continue in that vein, where he says: ‘Let Your Problems Lead You to God!’ And isn’t that the wise and sensible thing to do! 

Now listen as Gramps Schuller elucidates: ‘No problem leaves you where it found you. Read this affirmation out loud: “I will be a different person when this problem is past. I will be a wiser, stronger, more patient person; or I will be sour, cynical, bitter, disillusioned, and angry. It all depends on what I do with this problem. 

Each problem can make me a better person or a worse person. It can bring me closer to God, or it can drive me away from God. It can build my faith or it can shatter my faith. It all depends on my attitude. I intend to be a better person when this problem leaves me than I was when it met me.’ 

Glory be my precious people! That’s the ONLY wise way to go! Too many of us though go the wrong way, and then allow the problems to leave us BITTER and not BETTER! That’s a fool’s wisdom my faithful brethren! As true believers in Christ we are supposed to come up over the problem, and the first step in doing that is taking it to the Almighty, to whom we ascribe that nothing is impossible, and who promises to faithfully help us solve all our problems. 

So if we have someone to whom nothing is impossible, and whose help is assured, why don’t we run to Him with every problem eh? I’d guess that foolish pride or disbelief, or a combination of both keeps us from running to God first with our problems. Only when we discover we can’t handle them by ourselves, do we go cap in hand, miserably seeking the Father’s help. 

And one of the many ways He helps us is by providing protective armour for us in our earthly battle with the forces of evil and ungodliness. As we saw yesterday, Bruh Paul said that it was ever so important we: ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (devious schemes) of the devil.’ 

Yes friends, the devil is always out there like a roaring, but toothless lion, looking for someone to trip up and deceive, and if we’re not wearing our protective spiritual armour, then we’re easy pickings for him. 

Now let’s refresh our memories about what exactly is this spiritual armour we’re talking about. Listen to Bruh Paul to the Ephesians: ‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt about (girded your waist) with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one). And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ (Eph.6:14-17) 

Oh my brethren when we have those necessary pieces of protection, helmet, sword, shoes, shield and breastplate, then and only then are we ready to engage the enemy in battle. 

Now let’s see what the scholars have to say about those individual pieces of spiritual armour. ‘6:14-17. The whole armour of God consists of six pieces. (1) Truth (v.14a) is a knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. The ancient soldier’s loins (waist) were girt about with a leather belt which held most of the other pieces of his armour in place. Similarly, the other pieces of the Christian’s armour depend on, and are held in place, by his spiritual “belt” or his knowledge of the truth of scripture. 

(2). The breastplate of righteousness (v14b) may be read “the breastplate which is righteousness.” It represents a holy character and moral conduct. Obedience to the “truth” known produces a godly life (righteousness) (3) Preparation of the gospel of peace (v15) means “eagerness that comes from the gospel of peace.” 

That is, as the Roman soldier wore special shoes called ‘caligae’ on his feet, enabling him to advance against the enemy, so the Christian must have on his feet (possess) a sense of “eagerness” or “willingness” to advance against the devil and take the fight to him. Such “eagerness” to contend with Satan “comes from the gospel of peace.” The gospel gives peace to the believer, freeing him from anxiety though he advances against such a powerful opponent. 

(4) The shield of (which is) faith (v.16) means taking God at His word by believing His promises. Such trust will protect one from doubts induced by Satan. (5) The helmet of salvation (v.17a): Since the readers are already Christians (2:8) they are not here urged to be saved. First Thessalonians 5:8 describes this helmet as “the hope of salvation” that is, the certainty (assurance) of salvation. (6) The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God(v.17b): The Greek term rendered “word” is not ‘logos,’ referring to the whole word of God, but ‘rhema,’ referring to certain portions or selected verses of Scripture.’ 

Oh my people, I know it all sounds very complicated, but if we sincerely and regularly read, study and meditate on God’s Word, most of those things will come naturally to us. We’ll know the truth of His Word, as well as have a good knowledge of Scripture, that will lead us to a moral and godly life, and the peace that we find in the Word will just make us eager to go out and fight God’s battles, protected by the assurance of salvation and the strong and sturdy shield of our faith, with Bible verses just saturating in our hearts with which to rebuke the devil! 

Remember though friends that the Word is sharp like a two edged sword that cuts right down to the bone! It’s a dangerous weapon my people, so we have to be very careful how we wield it. (smile) Anyway, enough on the spiritual armour topic, it’s turned out to be longer than I planned, but it’s all for our benefit. 

And having absorbed all the above, (smile) let’s go home fully clothed in our spiritual armour sincerely and vociferously declaring (bingo!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are! All together now: ‘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!’ 

Isn’t that just a wonderful situation my faithful saints of Christ! Now let’s go out and share His awesome LOVE and amazing friendship, as He so greatly desires of us. Much LOVE!

…only when faced with adversity…can we know the true strength and maturity…of our Christian faith…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 April 2018 James 1:2.

James 1:2.    My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials).

At last friends, at long last, some of the ice that’s covered the ground from the ice storm a week ago has finally melted…Yay! And we can now see some of Mother Earth’s dirtyish brown grass with specks of green thrown in for good measure. Glory be! 

But not all of the ice has melted, there are still several patches of it all around. And from my kitchen window I can see about three or four solid boulders of ice lying at the side of the road, and the big lump of ice that clogged the entrance to my lane when they cleaned the main road last week is still there, blocking traffic and making it difficult to enter the lane. 

But God is good! Let’s remember that, and a few weeks from now when spring has finally sprung and the leaves and beautiful blossoms are out in all their glory, we’ll look back and laugh at this inconvenience. Hn, hn! Yeh mih people, it’s a good thing the Lord blessed us with short memories. 

However, it’s Saturday, so let’s turn our attention to some of this week’s quotes from our friend Anselm, as he aspires to inspire us to a better tomorrow. Here is the first one: ‘Learn to value yourself, which means fight for your happiness.’ 

Oh my people, too many of us don’t value ourselves highly enough, we have a poor self-image, thus others take advantage of us. Therefore we need to raise our self- image through Bible study and assertive action if we want to control our lives and thus our happiness. And the next quote is basically about the same thing; taking control of our lives. 

‘Don’t let other people decide whether you are going to have a fantabulous or bad day, make that decision yourself.’ Again, too many of us allow others to run our lives and decide what kind of day we’re going to have. That is counter productive friends. We have to learn to stand on our own two feet and make those kinds of decision for ourselves, otherwise we’ll always be at the mercy of others. 

And the final quote says: ‘If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.’ In other words, take a chance! And that is gospel truth! If you never take chances and just stay with the tried and true, the same old, same old, then the same old, same old is all you’ll ever get. 

Our society and our Christian faith was built on our forefathers and the early Christians taking chances, even when it meant running afoul of the authorities and thus possible loss of life. And as we Christians know, whenever we step out to do something for Christ, the enemy will most likely come against us and try to prevent us from doing it. 

But because of Christ’s promises and His power to enable us to do anything, we don’t have to shy away, but press on regardless. And we do that through faith. But faith doesn’t just come like by wishing it. On the contrary it’s something we have to build, through constant hard work and adversity. 

And Cousin Bobby (Bobby Schuller- Hour of Power) says that ‘Faith is not a leap, but an enduring daily trust that God can do the impossible in your life.’ And that’s no lie! Each and every day we awaken we have to learn to keep the trust in God we earned the day before, and to build on it, so that tomorrow it will be even stronger. That’s how we build faith my brethren – from day to day, through whatever trial comes our way. 

That brings us to our Bit, some rather interesting words from James, Jesus’ brother, in his epistle to the Christians dispersed around the world. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials).’ Now who wants to find trials joyful eh? Nobody! But friends, that’s the only way we’ll grow in faith. 

As James continues: ‘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 1:3-4) Yeh friends, as long as we are believers, our faith will always be tested, and we need to stand fast so that we can grow. 

And the scholars got it right: ‘1:4. The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’ Oh, we certainly know it’s rough, and do try to escape, but much to our dismay, that’s just part of the life of faith we’re trying live. 

The scholars further tell us: ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall (Gr. peripipto). 

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.’ 

Unfortunately mih people growing in spiritual faith is not easy, as can be seen from the lives of all great men of faith, especially Jesus. But they all kept constantly looking to the heavenly Father for the strength to carry on, and He gave it to them. Likewise, if we look to our heavenly Father for strength and wisdom to carry on in tough times, He WILL give it to us. 

So friends, whatever is coming against us right now, let’s try and think of it in joyful terms nuh, (smile) believing that God is allowing it for a greater purpose than we can imagine, and lean on Him for the help to come through it successfully. He will not disappoint us. That’s His faithful promise! Much LOVE!

…spiritual growth…is based on fleshly suffering…