Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 August 2019 Luke 9:23.

Luke 9:23.     ​If any man will come after (desire to follow) me; let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
 

Well hello, hello, you beautiful fellow saints in Christ! Blessings and mercy and peace and forgiveness and all the other good things that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has made available and possible to us! And they are plentiful and wonderful! That’s why Bruh Paul reassured the church at Philippi after they sacrificed their own wants to send him a gift. ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:19) 

And He has, and will continue to do so my faithful believers, even for those of you who are still tired and bedraggled from the Caribana partying. (smile) And note it’s Wednesday; the hump day, so only a couple more to go till Friday. You can handle it perfectly if you just keep hanging with Jesus, our Leader extraordinaire. 

And talking about Leaders, here is a quote on the subject, reputedly from one Sam Chand, a supposed leadership guru. It says: ‘Your ability to lead is equal to your tolerance for pain. Leading is bleeding – You need to be resilient.’ No lie about any of that my brethren! That’s why Jesus was and still is such a wonderful leader. 

His tolerance for pain, both figuratively and physically are off the charts. I doubt that any of us could have withstood the pain and suffering He did with little or no complaining. And He certainly bled – literally- on our behalf to boot! And He was certainly resilient too as His awesome resurrection on Easter morning showed! Satan could not keep Him down in Hades for long! So even by man’s standards Christ was an awesome leader! Glory to God! 

And something else that a good leader also has is what we term ‘charisma.’ And there are several definitions of it. Here are a few: ‘a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others; a divinely conferred power or talent; a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (such as a political leader); personal magnetism or charm; a type of leadership seen as extraordinary. The term “charisma” is used to describe a particular type of leader who uses “values-based, symbolic, and emotion-laden leader signaling” Whatever that means! (smile) 

But we know that Jesus had charisma in spades, everybody wanted to follow Him, until they discovered that following Him was not exactly an easy row to hoe. And Jesus set out His terms of discipleship quite clearly and up front, as He always did. ‘If any man will come after (desire to follow) me; let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ No mincing of words there friends. 

And I like how Luke puts it; we must take up our crosses ‘DAILY’ not just when we feel like it! And that’s a major problem with many a supposed believer because they think that taking up their crosses daily is a bit too much and too hard. It’s like the young rich ruler who came to Jesus asking what He must do to be saved. Oh, he gallantly answered that he did all the easy parts found in the Ten Commandments. 

‘Then Jesus beholding him LOVED him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast; and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.’ (Mark 10:21) And we all know that he walked away sadly because he could not fathom the thought of selling all of his possessions. 

But you’ll note too that the Good Book says that ‘Jesus LOVED him;’ that is felt compassion because He knew that following Him would never be an easy task, especially for one who had much worldly wealth. But as the scholars say: ‘10:21. Jesus identifies the one area that revealed the man’s true lack of devotion to God. A clear-cut issue must be decided.’ 

Oh friends, the same thing applies to us today. We have to truly decide whether the material things and ways of the world are more important to us than doing the will of God through the leadership of Christ! Now, just ponder on this nugget for a moment nuh: Supposing Jesus had thought the same way like the rich, young ruler and so many of us today, and reacted in like fashion, refusing to give up His wealth and health and good life in heaven, what would be our state right now eh? 

Crapaud smoke we pipe for sure! We’d be hell-bound with Lucifer forever! And remember too that the Father didn’t force Jesus to take up His cross nuh. He asked Him nicely, and because Jesus LOVED the Father everlasting and didn’t want to disobey Him, He took up His cross and daily carried it while here on earth. 

And what we have to realize friends and supposed believers is that taking up one’s cross doesn’t mean giving up everything we have, and/or not desiring the good things of life, but just denying ourselves when our desires cut across or conflict with the will of God. Remember Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.’ (Matt.6:33) So if we put God’s business first place in our lives, then He will provide the necessities of life for us. Just like Bruh Paul said at the beginning of our Bit to the Philippians. 

And remember too Jesus’ words: ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) Now that surely doesn’t mean that His followers should live broken down, poor and bedraggled. In fact He expects us to be the exact opposite, the most joyful and fun-filled people on the earth, the salt and light of the world, because of all the good things His sacrificed life and blood has provided for us! 

So let’s smarten up nuh mih people, let’s pick up that cross daily and step out strong with it, because Jesus will also give us the strength and wherewithal to bear it gallantly and joyfully. Bless His Holy Name! Now let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know our wonderful position in Christ. In strong voice with a sincere sense of purpose: 

‘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 if we keep shouldering our crosses daily, oh boy, oh boy, will that future with Christ ever be glorious! Much LOVE!

…there’s no leader like Jesus…He’s already done ALL that He now asks us to do…and He helps us to do it too…Glory be…!

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 July 2019 Matthew 10:22.

Matthew 10:22.    ​And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
 

Ah friends, Saturday, the day of all days! (smile) What’s on the agenda for today eh? For most of us it’s sleeping in, then a lazy day on the couch, or fun and games, barbecuing and enjoying the summer weather. For others though it can mean a busy day at home; cleaning and washing and replenishing groceries and stuff; possibly harder work than what you get paid to do during the week. (smile) 

But that’s how life goes, and once you have Jesus walking in you and with you, then you don’t have to worry about getting whatever job it is done. Oh yes, it might be somewhat difficult, but you’re assured that with Jesus’ help, you will get it done successfully! All praise and glory to our great and wonderful God for the help He gives to us frail and mortal humans! 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s see what gems of wisdom our friend Anselm sent us this week nuh, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this one: ‘Life is too short to waste in the company of those who can’t wait to put you down. Let them say what they want. Their opinions aren’t your problem. Keep doing good, as you’ve always done. No matter what they do or say, don’t doubt who you are and what you’re doing.’ 

That’s wise advice friends! In this current mish-mash world, people are only too glad to put you down once you’re trying to improve yourself and your situation. Possibly because of jealousy, or their own laziness, they don’t want you to rise above them. But once you’re sure of who and whose you are, that you belong to Jesus, for you were bought with a high price, that of His precious blood, then you can ignore all the naysayers and go about Jesus’ business with confidence. 

And then there’s this: ‘Being quiet and calm doesn’t mean you’re weak. Such people show strength that’s under control. The most intelligent people know when to speak, know when to listen, and know when to be quiet.’ Oh what truth my brethren!

But unfortunately, with the current burst of technology that makes communication so easy, everyone has an opinion on everything and are not bashful to share it, thus the great explosion of social media and the large amount of nonsense, endless talking, false information, lies and deceit they provoke. 

Now here’s a gem: ‘You’ve been in situations where you thought you’d never make it out, but you did. You’ve lived through it, you’ve learned from it and you survived. So whatever it is that you’re currently going through right now, you can and will get through it if you are determined to push thru.’ 

Yes my faithful brethren. We’ve lived through numerous times of adversity and trouble, but with the Lord’s help we got through them all, stronger and more mature. So why worry about whatever tough situation you’re experiencing now eh? It’s a problem too many Christians face; not turning back and remembering what the Lord brought us through, and realizing and believing that if He’s done it a million times already, He’ll do it a zillion times in the future, for that’s His awesome, unbreakable and ever-faithful promise. 

And I particularly like the last two quotes, which fit together quite nicely. The first says: ‘People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.’ That’s an undeniable fact! That’s possibly because of the leader’s charisma or charm, or some sense of trust and reliability that they exude. There’s no better example of that than Jesus. Look at how He chose His first four disciples: 

‘And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers (fishermen). And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed him.

And going on from thence, he saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother in a ship with Zebedee their father mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.’ (Matt.4:18-22) 

Ah mih people, those fishermen must have seen something in Jesus to just drop their livelihood and follow him, the last two leaving their poor father to manage on His own. And Jesus called Matthew the same way. Matthew was sitting at his tax office, adding up his money, when Jesus passed by and said to him, ‘Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.’ (Matt.9:9) 

Now who in their right mind would give up the lucrative position that the tax man held back in those olden times to follow some itinerant preacher eh, and more importantly why? But Matthew did it, so he must have seen something in Jesus or felt some abnormal pull to just give up his lucrative tax job to become a fisher of men. 

Now the last quote says: ‘Leadership is not wielding authority — it’s empowering people.’ And that’s exactly how a true leader ought to operate. If you’re secure in yourself and your authority and power, then there’s no need to blatantly wield said power. What you need to do is raise up your followers so that they too can embrace your vision and help you bring it to fruition. 

And again, Jesus is the best example of empowering leadership. He knew who He was, and what power He had, and realized that He could not proselytize the whole world on His own, so He brought together the twelve most unlikely candidates to help Him, and over a three year period He taught them and empowered them, so that they could go out and do His work after He was gone. 

I like how He told them: ‘Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless (innocent) as doves.’  (Matt.10:16) Imagine telling your workers that nowadays nuh! I doubt you’d have too many after that. And that did happen to Jesus. When some of them saw how difficult the task was, they simply quit. 

Furthermore, He warned them thus: ‘And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.’ Oh friends, those are indeed tough statements to hear and bear, and they still pertain to us today. But please note that the true disciples bought into Jesus’ vision and did withstand all the trials and tribulations they encountered to spread His Word. 

And they did such a wonderful job, that two thousand years later, despite all sorts of problems, that magnificent and true Word has come down to us, with all the same provisos and tough conditions.

Yes friends, the baton, the glowing torch of Christ’s salvation, has now been passed to us, to keep it burning, until we pass it on to the next generation. Please, I implore us, don’t let it be said that that eternal torch was extinguished on our watch! That would be such a dismal stain on our report card. Let’s stand strong and endure to the end! Much LOVE!

…to be eligible for a prize…one must finish the race…