Today’s Scrip-Bit   18 June 2022 Proverbs 20:13.

Proverbs 20:13.      LOVE not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

Oh brother, did we ever have some savage winds blow yesterday… all day and into the night. It seems like they wanted to blow away everything, and it did do some damage, but the strange part is that through it all, the sun shone brightly with not a cloud in the sky and people went about their business as usual. And that strong wind looks like it wants to continue today as the trees outside are still having a rough time of it. 

This makes me think that it’s just another factor in the climate change scenario, because I don’t remember ever having so many strong windstorms, especially in the summertime, until the last few years. But recently an intense wind system has become the norm. Anyway, as Cousin Sol says so wisely in Ecclesiastes. ‘To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.’ (Eccl. 3:1, 11:4) 

So, let’s not observe the wind or regard the clouds, but do what it’s time for under the heaven this Saturday morning, (smile) that’s checking out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. The first one tells us that ‘In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.’ Yes, there are 1440 minutes in a day, and when you put it like that, it appears like we have plenty time available to make a good impact for Christ. 

However, in reality, it doesn’t work that way because we need time to sleep and do other functions that aren’t conducive to making positive impacts on others. That means, to be a good ambassador of Christ, we have to use the time left very wisely, we can’t afford to waste even a minute of it, because every minute lost, means a soul possibly lost to Christ. That’s why we have wise sayings like ‘make hay while the sun shines,’ and Cousin Sol’s words from Proverbs; ‘LOVE not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.’ (Prov. 20:13) 

In other words, don’t be lazy or procrastinating, but be up and about, actively producing a positive impact in the world for yourself and Christ. And the next quote says: ‘There is no advertisement as powerful as a positive reputation travelling fast.’ Now that’s very true, but not very easy to do, especially in a slanderous, evil, greedy and strife-filled world like that in which we currently live. But thankfully our friend Anselm has given us some useful pointers in the other quotes that he’s sent us this week, so we’ll just use them to paint a beautiful picture…all for Jesus Christ. 

Before we get to those quotes though, we must make one definite pronouncement, remembering that we can’t do anything worthwhile without Christ in our lives. He said it as plainly as it can be said. ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) And if the Son of God, who is the way the truth and the light, the only way to the Father, says that, then it must be true. So the basic foundation of creating a positive and fulfilling reputation is by having Christ in our lives. 

Then, as Anselm says in the next quote: ‘It’s most important that you surround yourself with positivity always, and have it in your mind at all times.’ Yes friends, we can’t do positive things if we are not filled with positive thinking, but positive thinking based on the word of Christ. That’s the crucial aspect of it all. Christ is the most positive thinker there’s ever been, therefore, to think like Him, His word must always be uppermost in our minds. That brings us to the next quote, the next step in the building process. ‘I surround myself with positive, productive people of good will and decency.’ 

Now, that’s possibly the most essential part of the whole building process! Why? Because, although we personally have all the parts necessary for the purpose, we can’t build anything strong and worthwhile by ourselves, without good material, without good folks around us. And though we might prefer them to be Christian like ourselves, they don’t have to be, since there are good, decent hard-working folks out there who are not believers in Christ, and likewise, plenty supposed believers whom you don’t want around you at all. If you get my meaning. (smile) 

That’s how Christ desires us to build our lives and consequently His church; first on the strong foundation of His word, and then with good, positive, productive helpers, for nothing good is ever constructed with poor, negative, lazy help. And I like this last quote, because it is the sum of all that we’ve spoken about so far, it brings all those things into a Christ-like fulfillment. It says: ‘When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.’ 

Oh my people, that’s the gospel truth! When we’ve taken what Christ has given us, the fruit of the Spirit, and used it wisely, there’s a heavenly joy that rises up in us that nothing or no one can take away from us, and people see and recognize it and want to be continually around us; ‘like a sun in the centre of every constellation!’ Wow! I like that analogy because it blends in beautifully with what Jesus asks and expects of His followers. 

Remember these poignant words of His in the Sermon on the Mount? ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:14-16) 

Oh my fellow saints, that is what Jesus expects of us, especially in these times of so much fear and confusion! He expects us to be the ones showing a positive outlook to the world since we have all the good things that He’s bequeathed to us, that He’s died for us to have, like forgiveness of sins, peace, LOVE, joy, salvation and eternal life! 

But we are not doing such a good job, because, if we were, the enemy, the purveyor of darkness would not have the death-like grip he currently has on the world. Instead, the harbinger of light; that’s Jesus, would have been in the ascendancy. So please, let’s get to work nuh. Since we claim to be true believers, it’s high time we do as Jesus desires of us, to bring forth much good fruit. We have all the tools, all the necessary credentials…so what’s holding us back eh?  Much LOVE!

…wherefore…by their fruit…ye shall know them… (Matt. 7:20)   

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 November 2015 2 Peter 1:8‏

2 Peter 1:8. For if these things be in you (are yours), and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (useless) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Aye Friends, as I was walking down the street just now, on this wet and windy November morn, this is the chorus I heard emanating from within the confines of a small business place on the corner. 

‘Thank God is Friday… We going out and party tonight! Thank God is Friday… We going to have a good time! Thank God is Friday… We not going home till morning come…Thank God is Friday… We going to sleep out the whole of Saturday… Thank God is Friday yes!’  

Hn, hn! Don’t laugh Friends, because that’s what a lot of us do. We party on Friday, then sleep away Saturday, or party on Saturday then sleep away Sunday. Some of us even party all weekend then can’t get up to go to work on Monday and complain about how the job is interfering with our lives, when the problem is that we overdid it. 

Anyway, there’s no explaining human nature, so let’s just chant our Friday Chant and try to get a better perspective on it all. Chanting: ‘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, that is a much better way to handle the short two days off from our jobs. It calls for a balanced schedule of fun, relaxation, worship and fellowship. Bringing balance to our lives is the only way that we can successfully live this earthly pilgrimage. 

But Lucifer and his evil cohorts do their best to make us lose that sense of balance, because they know that then we are particularly vulnerable to their wiles and lies. So having balance is not only a sensible physical thing, but also a spiritual necessity. 

Now let’s turn to our Bit. ‘For if these things be in you (are yours), and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (useless) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 

Ah mih people, we saw yesterday from Aristotle’s quote, that excellence is a habit, and if it’s one thing Jesus desires from ALL of His followers is excellence. And as Peter told us yesterday we have already been filled with all the things we need to be excellent followers of Jesus, we just have to work diligently at it. 

We need to diligently combine our faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance (self-control), patience (perseverance), godliness, brotherly kindness and charity (LOVE) into one effective whole. For as our Bit tells us, if those things abound in us, then we won’t be useless or unfruitful. 

Remember Jesus said by our fruits we shall be known. (Mat.7:16) And we can only bring forth good fruits if we have good things within us, and we work diligently at them. 

Now let’s look at a few scriptures that deal with excellence. First up is that well known passage from Psalm 36 – The steadfast LOVE of God – where Bruh David proudly proclaims: ‘How excellent (precious) is thy LOVING-kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.’ (Ps.36:7)  

Then Cousin Sol tells us in Proverbs 17: ‘Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.’ (Prov.17:7) And remember Friends, as believers, we are of the royal household of Christ, which means we are all princes and princesses, thus only excellence becomes us. 

And the prophet Isaiah when talking about Jerusalem being warned, boldly declares: ‘This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working (guidance).’ 

Yes my brethren, if we truly study our wonderful and omnipotent God, we’ll discover that ALL He does or says is excellent. Excellence is His middle name! 

And Bruh Paul, when talking to the Philippians about thanksgiving and prayer, says it thus: ‘And this I pray, that your LOVE may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement (discernment); That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.’ (Phil.1:9-11). 

And we’ll end with explanations of those two last verses from the scholars. ‘1:10. Things that are excellent means “things that really matter.” This refers to important issues. As the Philippians LOVE increases in knowledge and discernment (v.9), they will be able to accurately distinguish the vital and worthwhile things in life from those that are not. 

Contextually, the readers’ LOVE for Paul vexes them as they are anxious over his imprisonment. He wants them to perceive his imprisonment as being among those “things that really matter” because of the good that God will bring out of it. The purpose for such discrimination is that ye may be sincere (or, morally pure) and without offense till the day of Christ.’ 

‘1:11. This verse could be translated, “filled with the fruit that is righteousness, which comes through Jesus Christ for the purpose of glorifying and praising God.” The believer who is pure and without offense before God (v.10) has divinely developed in him a practical “righteousness” or daily moral life that measures up to God’s standards in character and conduct. The ultimate purpose for this “righteousness” is to glorify God.’ 

So my fellow believers, let’s try and put all that we have heard into practice today nuh, obviously with God’s help, so that we truly be worthy of the name, ‘children of God.’ Much LOVE!

…the three most important words in Christianity…excellence…excellence…excellence… (smile)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 November 2015 2 Peter 1:8

2 Peter 1:8.  For if these things be in you (are yours), and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (useless) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Aye Friends, this going to bed early is truly for the birds yes! Steups! I tried it last night and what a fiasco it turned out to be. 

Chuh! I was up almost every hour on the hour, then couldn’t find a comfortable position to go back to sleep, and thus kept turning and tossing. 

Then I was finally forced to get up by my aches and pains. It surely seems like they have all come out of the woodwork this morning, and have me doddering around like a real old man. (smile) 

Don’t know how people lie in their beds for 8 to 10 hours nuh. I could not even make seven comfortably. After about five, if so much, things begin to go awry with me. 

But you know what Friends, I will take those aches and pains any day over the more serious problems that more than half the world has. I at least have a roof over my head, food on my table and a comfortable bed to sleep in, I just can’t spend too much time in it. (smile). 

However, a lot of our brothers and sisters around the world, don’t have those luxuries, and may never have them throughout their entire lives. What a sad tale in a world of plenty! 

At least I know that as the day goes along and I move around, my aches and pains will gradually diminish, but there are too many unfortunates in this rich world whose lives will never change without help, and it is our bounden duty to help them in whatever way we can. 

We have to be people of excellence, of LOVE, care and compassion, as Jesus desires us to be, and share our good fortune with the less fortunate. That’s how people will know that we are true disciples of His. 

And while we’re on the subject of excellence, listen to this quote attributed to the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C). It says that ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ 

And that’s very true my people. You just don’t develop excellence overnight; you have to work at it continually. That means that excellence can only be achieved through repetition. And that is why we practice and practice and practice yet again, at the things we want to be excellent in. 

Nowadays everybody wants to be a supposed superstar, but unfortunately they don’t want to put in the effort and work necessary to become one. I think it’s the same with our Christian faith. We all want to be mature and righteous and otherwise, but we don’t want to do the things it takes to become such. 

Those Christian attributes don’t come overnight nuh mih people. Like everything else, they do take a lot of toil and time, effort and energy, misfortune and suffering. But the beauty of our situation though is that we have the powerful help of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in becoming excellent Christians, provided we’re willing to do what it takes. 

No other faith has that divine body continually with them, and I’m sure it disappoints Jesus when we don’t use His Spirit to the max, or in the best ways possible. 

Now let’s turn to our guidebook, the Bible, where we have this passage from 2 Peter that exemplifies all that we’ve been speaking about. ‘Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like (the same kind of) precious faith with us through the righteousness of (our) God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through (in) the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this (but also for this very reason), giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 

And to knowledge temperance (self-control); and to temperance patience (perseverance); and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (LOVE). 

For if these things be in you (are yours), and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (useless) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’(2 Pet.1-8) 

Yes Friends, we already have everything we need to live fruitful lives, we just have to raise them up and work continuously at them. That’s the only way we can grow in spiritual maturity, which Peter is encouraging us all to do. 

And Peter doesn’t stop there, he also shows us the other side of the coin. ‘But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off (is shortsighted), and hath forgotten that he was purged (cleansed) from his old sins. 

Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall (stumble): For so an entrance shall be ministered (supplied) unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ (2 Pet.1:9-11) 

There we have it Friends; to become excellent in the knowledge and glory of Christ, we have to work diligently at it. And a large part of becoming mature in Christ is that as we grow, we also put our knowledge, faith, virtue, godliness, brotherly kindness etc. to work. 

For we ALL need to remember that our faith, Christianity, is not merely a lot of talking, but even more importantly, plenty, plenty action. So today, as we grow in faith, let’s also grow in our actions nuh, so that others may see our worthwhile fruits and desire to come to Jesus, and get what we have. Much LOVE!

…wherefore…by their fruits ye shall know them…  (Matt.7:20)