Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 September 2021 John 13:35.

John 13:35.      By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.

So mih bredrin, a warm and wonderful Tuesday to all you who treasure Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour! May His light and LOVE shine through us today, as we go about doing His awesome earthly work, encouraging others to come to Him and enjoy the amazing benefits of being in His blessed organization, His church, and also having a most splendiferous personal relationship with Him! 

What could be better than that eh mih people; belonging to Christ’s body of followers, but also having a personal friendship with him? Absolutely nothing! Yes friends, in Jesus we have the best of ALL worlds! Never forget that! So let’s stop selling both Jesus and us short by thinking and consequently acting like He is not enough, for He surely is…and much more too! 

Ah friends the ole fella’s just getting excited, as I usually do when I talk about the goodness and mercy of Jesus, because I’ve experienced so much of it during my long life, even when I didn’t know what it was. Yes, in hindsight, I can now see and realize that it was indeed the goodness and mercy of God that kept me going through some serious situations before I fully gave my life to Him. 

And since I’ve done that…Brother! I’ve seen so much of His undeserved grace and mercy, that I can’t even count or remember half of them! That’s why I can confidently tell you that Jesus is an awesome friend and Saviour. His work is demanding, but His yoke is light and easy to bear, while His rewards are outstanding! Glory be my faithful brethren! 

And all Jesus really desires of us is to show that most worthy and amazing attribute of LOVE in our everyday lives. When you break it down it looks like this: to LOVE the Father, LOVE Him, and LOVE ourselves and each other. Now that should not be as hard to do as we make it seem, since it’s basically showing kindness and goodness to those we meet. But unfortunately, it seems that the opposite and very negative emotion of hate, found in things like anger, bitterness, resentment, strife and unkindness, are much easier for us to propagate, since it’s that negative stuff that’s now holding our world hostage. 

How sad it is my people, that goodness and mercy can’t seem to outweigh hate and its evil companions. And it’s only when we receive Jesus and hold on tightly to Him and what He stands for that we can ever hope to defeat the enemy and His wicked ways. That’s why Jesus said to the disciples: ‘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 to another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Yes, my fellow saints, that’s the big difference between the followers of Christ and the non-followers; the followers are supposed to have LOVE for each other in words and deeds, not just meaningless talk, nor as He blasted the Pharisees. ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres (whitewashed tombs), which indeed appear beautiful outside, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness).’ (Matt. 23:27-28) 

And sadly, that’s how too many of us supposed believers and followers of Jesus behave nowadays. That’s basically why the unbelievers don’t pay more attention to us, because we don’t truly walk our talk, that LOVE for each other is most definitely not shown in our daily dealings. Just think about all the divisions in the church of Christ nuh, with umpteen religions, sects, denominations etc., which only breed petty differences, resentment, anger and the whole host of negative emotions amongst supposed Christians. 

How can that sad state of affairs draw others to Jesus eh? The enemy is more together, more as one, than we believers are. No wonder they are in the ascendance right now, while we believers are running a far second place because of our many differences and lack of togetherness. 

And in his own way, John repeated Jesus’ invocation to the disciples in his first epistle. ‘And hereby we do know that we know him (Jesus), if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, 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 we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.’ (1 John 2:3-6) 

Yes friends, as the scholars so rightly inform us: ‘The test of knowing God’s LOVE is keeping His Word… While no one can or need duplicate Jesus’ atoning (earthly) ministry, His disciples are called to imitate His devotion to God and compassion for others. See John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21.’ Those are indisputable facts, but unfortunately, our devotion to God and compassion for others is sadly lacking in these terrible times. And I believe it’s my bounden duty to highlight those two passages the scholars referred to above there. 

Listen to Jesus after He had washed the disciples’ feet. ‘If I then, your Lord and Master (Teacher), have washed your feet; ye ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.’ (John 13:14-15) It couldn’t get any clearer than that friends! Jesus is the example we ought to follow. Granted, we can’t do all that He did, but we surely can have much more reverence and devotion to the Father and show more simple compassion for each other. 

And Peter tells it to us thus: ‘For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.’ (1 Pet. 2:21) Don’t know what else to say nuh. So, for those of us who sincerely try to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, let’s go home declaring (yeah!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, telling the whole world who and whose we are; to whom we truly belong. 

Altogether 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!’ 

Now, it’s our duty to go out into the world and share that amazing LOVE and friendship of Jesus with the many who don’t know it! Much LOVE!

…it’s time for Christians…to play a strong and true game of…follow the Leader…                                                                                                           

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 July 2021 John 13:35.

John 13:35.      By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.

Saturday, oh Saturday! Another blessed day in the life! Thank You my heavenly Father, for it is only with Your divine help and protection, your awesome grace and mercy, that I awoke this morning and can put one foot in front of the other! Without You, I’d just be like burnt toast, without any good use, only waiting to be thrown in the garbage. But when You proclaimed Your amazing and unconditional LOVE for me, life just blossomed, like an early morning flower gracefully and gratefully opening to the sun, like an ugly crawly caterpillar being miraculously transformed into a beautiful, colourful butterfly! 

Oh Father God, with such a blessed, secure and comforted life, how can I not LOVE You with all my heart, mind body and soul eh? That’s why Your most wonderful Son, Jesus, when asked ‘Master which is the great commandment in the law?’ quoted the words of the Old Testament Covenant. ‘Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.’ (Matt. 22:36-40). 

And that’s the indisputable truth my fellow saints! LOVING our heavenly Father, our Most High God Jehovah is the number One action that’s called for in our lives! And then we need to LOVE those around us in the same manner that we LOVE ourselves. That obviously means that the action, emotion and mindset of LOVE is ever so important in our lives. So important that Jesus, before His crucifixion said to the disciples: ‘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 to another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Oh my people, once again Christ reiterated the utmost importance that LOVE ought to play in our lives, especially those who claim to be His disciples, His followers, His ambassadors and agents! And as one commentary on the Great Commandment from the LoyolaPress Website explains: ‘Jesus teaches that the moral life can be summed up in terms of LOVE of God, self, and neighbor. 

The New Testament understanding of LOVE is based on the Old Testament understanding of covenant LOVE, which is that God’s steadfast LOVE will never waver. The Christian who cooperates with the Holy Spirit will not waver in his or her LOVE for God. This is a LOVE of commitment and action to a better personal relationship with God. It shows a true appreciation of how much God LOVES the person as an individual — as well as the person’s willingness to serve the neighbor.’ 

Yes my brethren, the three most important words there are ‘commitment and action.’ Those are the backbone of LOVE! We have to be committed and then put that commitment into action, because LOVE is not merely a spoken word, but even more importantly an ACTION word! For you cannot say that you LOVE and don’t have action to back it up. But that’s just how many of us in this evil and ungodly world do it, even supposed Christians. We talk a good talk, but our actions don’t show any real LOVE! 

Remember Jesus said that people would know us as His disciples if we showed LOVE to each other. But you can check out any Christian congregation and the amount of dislike and resentment you’d find would be unbelievable. And John in his first epistle reminded us of that godly action that’s necessary amongst believers. ‘Beloved, let us LOVE one another: for LOVE is of God; and every one that LOVETH is born of God, and knoweth God. He that LOVETH not knoweth not God; for God is LOVE. 

In this was manifested the LOVE of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so LOVED us, we ought to LOVE one another.’ (1 John 4:7-11) 

Oh friends, we couldn’t have a better reason for LOVING God, than His action of showing how much He cares for us by sending His One Son to die for us. And the thing is that God cared for us so much, as Bruh Paul states to the church at Rome: ‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his (own) LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 5:8) Imagine that nuh! We did not have to change first before He LOVED or saved us. But the Lord stepped out first. He showed that He was seriously in LOVE with us by acting on His words and sending Christ to die for us. 

So why is it so hard for us to treat each other decently eh? And yes, LOVING each other doesn’t necessarily mean dying for each other, although that’s a possibility, but simply being thoughtful of and caring for others, especially those of the faith. And that’s why the heathen laughs at us and consider us such amazing hypocrites when we talk about LOVE, because we don’t treat each other in a Christlike or LOVING manner. So why would they want to be like us eh? We ourselves are the biggest detriment to Christ’s church by the evil and ungodly way so many, too many of us behave. 

And I want to close with this important explanation from the scholars, re 1 John 4:7. They say: ‘In context, John is not saying that everyone who LOVES is somehow a Christian, whether they trust in Christ or not. He makes it clear elsewhere that true knowledge of God entails right belief about Christ, as well as right response to God, including LOVE of others. Mere human LOVE apart from Christ’s redeeming presence and motivation falls short of LOVE in its fullest dimension as a human response to God’s perfect and infinite compassion (cf. 1 Cor. 13).’ 

That means you can have all the LOVE in the world, as the world defines it, and don’t have Christ, then you’re still lacking in true LOVE! And I guess you all have realized by now that once again I did not receive any quotes this past week from our friend Anselm. Please, let’s pray that he is all right, and will soon resume his task of aspiring to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Much LOVE!

…regardless of how many gifts you possess…if you don’t have the LOVE of Christ…you’re nothing…                                                                                                   

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 March 2021 John 13:35.

John 13:35.     ​By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.

Well, it’s another day, the one we call Monday; in another new work week, with many of the same problems we had yesterday! But the big difference is that today, there is hope that things will improve in one, many, or all areas of our lives, because we have the faithful promise of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour who laid down His sinless life on our behalf. And with that going for us, there’s nothing that can truly depress or disappoint us, because we can do all things, through Christ who strengthens us! 

Please let that be our motto for today friends, as life and whatever else comes against us. And even when we are weak, and feel like we can’t make it any further, let us not allow the enemy to dissuade us from banking on Jesus, from putting all our hopes and dreams on Him, because He cares for us! And as He so rightfully says: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ (John 14:6) So, if we want to get to the Father in heaven, it means we have to go through Jesus. Simple as that! 

And now, we are also into what we call Holy Week; that ends with Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday and His triumphant resurrection on Easter Sunday! Glory be my people! That’s two thirds of what our Christian faith is based on; the other third being Jesus’ incarnate birth at what we call Christmas. And if all of that isn’t a very strong platform to stand on, then I really don’t know what else is nuh! 

So please, let’s not give up, or get weary as we encounter difficulties on our earthly journey, for Jesus encountered many on His earthly journey too, that’s why He can now empathize with us in ours. And He didn’t give up, but overcame His problems with the help of His heavenly Father. And in like manner, He has promised to help us overcome ours, if we place our sincere faith and trust in Him. Listen to His promise: ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ (John 14:1) 

Yes friends, it’s all about sincerity of heart; believing what we say, and then putting it into practice. If we sincerely believe in Jesus, then we can’t go around preaching one thing, then practicing something else, like the religious people of His time, the Pharisees did, and like so many of us are still won’t to do in these very troubled times. And that’s why so many people have no respect for Christians; our hypocrisy turns them off. So here are some scriptures that ought to clear up that problem. And they are all the words of Jesus. 

‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one , and LOVE the other, or else he will hold to (be loyal to) the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (earthly riches).’ (Matt. 6:24) And that’s not rocket science, just simple logic. Yet too many of us try to sit astride the fence and serve both God and the evil that earthly riches tend to lead us to. 

Now hear this bombshell Jesus dropped on the disciples, as He was explaining how things were going to unfold. ‘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 to another.’ (John 13:34-35) He could not have said it any clearer than that my brethren. 

And do we follow that commandment? Not on your life! The body of Christ, the church, has just as much animosity, dissension and division as the world around it. And yuh know what? If even the Christians alone obeyed Christ’s commandment to LOVE each other, our world would not be in the total mess it’s in! Because the unbelievers would see how good it is for brethren to dwell in LOVE and inity (unity). 

And the sad part is that although we are all suffering from the same problems, the pandemic, the many kinds of strife and natural disasters, you would think those common denominators would bring us together. But no, they are creating more turmoil and more animosity, with each trying to outdo the other to solve their own problems, instead of working together to solve them all. Please remember, that two together are stronger than one, and all of us together are better than each on his own. 

So what does all of that tell us eh friends? That we desperately need to turn down the rhetoric, lessen the noise and the strife and begin working together if we want to come up over our problems. And there is ONLY one right way to begin changing, and that’s with prayer. So let’s go to the ONLY One who answers prayer and confess our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive and standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the many natural disasters that now seem more prevalent than ever. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

It’s now up to us to do what we’ve promised, so God can see our sincerity and positively answer our prayer. Much LOVE!

…when are we going to learn…that God made us for community…not disunity… 

   

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