Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 July 2018 Matthew 18:11.

Matthew 18:11.   For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

Oh friends, I had intended to begin with a light hearted opening about going to bed late and getting up late, because that’s what happened to me last night, and put forward some joyful stuff. But our world and our God moves in such mysterious ways that when I opened my e-mail a short while ago, I got some sad news, and now the Bit is now going to be turned into a remembrance for my dear departed friend and brother, Finbar Sebro. 

Oh yes, he was the closest thing I had to a practical brother while growing up in Darrell Spring, though we were not related. I remember him coming down from the country, Castara, and living with his bachelor uncle just down the street from me. My mother Molly cooked for him and he spent more time at our place than at his. 

I remember arguing with my mother about her treating him better than me sometimes. But she always said that was for me, like money in the bank, someday somebody would treat me well too. And it has certainly happened many times over the years. 

One interesting aspect of Finbar and my relationship is when we were prefects in the higher grades in Bishop’s High School, with authority over the lower classes, my mother packed lunch for us in a series of carriers, but neither of us wanted to carry it to school, through both laziness and pride. (smile) 

We already had our books to carry, and who wanted to be seen walking around in our exalted position as prefects, with a bag that everybody knew had food in it. But come lunchtime we couldn’t wait to dive into it. (smile) Taking it home after school was just as bad, especially when Finbar began walking home with his high school sweetheart and eventual wife, Joan. Sometimes we’d even intimidate some youngster living in our area to take it home for us. 

Finbar was always more studious than me, and when I’d be out and about gallivanting, he’d be at home studying. And that discipline certainly paid off as he eventually became the principal of our Alma Mater, Bishop’s High. What a way to go mih brother! 

The last time I saw him was the early part of 2016 when I was in Tobago. Like me, the Lord had called him to do His work and he had become a lay preacher in his Methodist faith. He read the Bit and couldn’t figure out how I could do it day after day. We laughed at the fact at what we were when we were young, compared to how the Lord was using us in our later years. 

Recently I heard that he’d been very ill, but I spoke to him on the phone some four or five weeks ago, and it seemed like he was getting better. Chuh! I expected to meet up with him when I went to Tobago next winter. However, the Lord was apparently ready to take him home. And that sometimes is a much better option to suffering here on earth. Rest in peace Finbar, mih brother! 

And as the tears well up in my eyes, and I can’t go to Tobago to wish you a last farewell because of my own medical problems, I know that one day we will meet again in the sweet bye and bye and will be able to reminisce, without any pain or sorrow about our good lives here on earth. Much LOVE my friend! 

And to you Joan, and his family, my deepest condolences, for you know how dear he was to me. And believe you me friends, I don’t feel like writing the workingman’s song this morning, so let’s just get to our Friday Chant, that hopefully will elevate my spirit some. 

All together now: ‘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!’ 

Yeh friends, though it hurts to see our friends and family go, it is indeed reassuring to know that they are going to a better life than this one, because of Jesus ‘ selfless work on our behalf. As He says in our Bit for yet another day: ‘For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.’ And is it ever true, and are we ever thankful! 

And Jesus made that clear on more than one occasion. Listen to Him as he rebuked the disciples who wanted to call down fire and brimstone on a Samaritan village that refused to welcome them. (Luke 9:51-54) ‘But He (Jesus) turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.’ (Luke 9:55-56) 

He said the same thing when He went to have lunch at the tax collector Zaccheus’ house and everybody derided Him for eating with such a terrible sinner. But Zaccheus repented of his evil ways. ‘And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ (Luke 19:9-10) 

And the scholars tell us: ’19:10. The words seek, save, and lost all appear elsewhere in Scripture in a shepherd context. This verse may be taken as a kernel statement of the central theme of Luke: Jesus is the compassionate, searching Herdsman who seeks to save those who can by no means save themselves.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth of truths! We can’t save ourselves so we need somebody else to do it for us; His name is Jesus! 

And we’ll close today, most appropriately, with some of the most profound, if not the most important words in the Good Book: ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’ (John 3:16-17) 

And all God’s children declared a loud, proud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord!’ And so should we my people for His mercy, grace and forgiveness towards us a most sinful bunch of ingrates! Much LOVE!

…the lost cannot be saved…until they realize that they are lost…


 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 November 2014 Luke 9:56

Luke 9:56.    For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
 

Aye Friends, it’s Wednesday morning! That means we’re halfway home to two big days of freedom! And this is the most important part of the week, the time when we need to show strong discipline and self-control, or as the old folks would say, ‘stick-to-itive-ness.’ (smile) That’s hanging in there, not giving up, even though it’s so easy to let go and quit.

 
This is the time when it often seems so dark and dreary and impossible. But as we all know, it’s darkest just before the dawn, just before daylight, before the sun appears over the horizon. It’s only a couple more days to freedom my brethren, so please hold on and don’t let go, don’t dare to look back and sigh and wonder what if.
 
Remember what happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back as they were fleeing the fire and brimstone that was engulfing Sodom? Despite warnings, she looked back and immediately turned into a pillar of salt. (Gen.19:26)
 
Remember too, Jesus’ words to the man who wanted to go and bid his family farewell before following Him. ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:62)
 
Yes Friends, no one who gives things of little importance higher priority than God’s work is of much use to Him. So just hang on in there this Wednesday morning, put your best foot forward, your nose to the grindstone and move forward with Jesus ever by your side, as Guide and Leader, Lord and Saviour.
 
This brings us to some fateful words of Jesus, including our Bit. ‘But he turned and rebuked them and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.’ (Luke 9:55-56)
 
This happened when Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to fulfill His purpose in coming to earth. He sent some messengers into a Samaritan village to make ready, to make preparations for the large group that was travelling with Him.
 
As befitted His status, Jesus had a fairly large entourage by the standards of those days. However, they weren’t well received in that village because it looked like they were only being used as a stop-gap measure, as Jerusalem seemed to be their final destination. (Luke 9:52-53)
 
And since the Jews and Samaritans were always at loggerheads, it’s only logical to expect the latter not to welcome or favourably receive those bound for Jerusalem.
 
And it’s certainly amazing to hear the disciples’ response to their lack of welcome. ‘And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?’ (Luke 9:54) James and John were certainly hot to trot!
 
And as the scholars tell us: ‘9:54. See 2 Kings 1:10-12 (for Elijah’s story). Peter is not the only disciple to make rash judgements. Retaliation in the face of rejection goes far beyond Jesus’ order in 9:5.’
 
And Luke 9:5 says: ‘And whosoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.’ And it’s useful to note here that Jesus meant rejection by whole cities, not merely isolated individuals.
 
Anyway, that’s when Jesus spoke the words of our Bit to the disciples. And several times during His earthly ministry He made that point; that He had come to save, not to destroy. Let’s look at a few of them.
 
The first one is when He had lunch with Zaccheus, the chief tax collector. And when Zaccheus pledged to refund his ill-gotten gains, (Luke 19:8) Jesus said to him. ‘This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ (Luke 19:9-10)
 
There again my people, Jesus emphasizes His purpose as to seek and save the lost, not to destroy.
 
Then in John 3, Jesus delivers these beautiful, encouraging and uplifting words. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’ (John 3:16-17)
 
And again Friends, Jesus places more emphasis on saving rather than condemnation.
 
And our final words from Jesus on the subject, takes place when some of the Jewish rulers believed in Him, but were afraid of making their feelings public because they feared the wrath of the Pharisees, of being kicked out of the synagogue. As the Good Book says: ‘For they LOVED the praise of men more than the praise of God.’ (John 12:43)
 
And that’s still ever so true of too many of us today my people! We prefer to offend God, rather than man.
 
Anyway, as part of Jesus reaction to those people, He said, ‘And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.’ (John 12:47-48)
 
Yes my brethren, our Lord and Saviour is not a destroyer like Lucifer, but a saviour as His title aptly proclaims.
 
So please let’s stop being afraid, stop being anxious and guilt stricken when we make mistakes, or come up less than we should, because that’s the kind of people Jesus came to save, not the perfect ones, but the sick and suffering, the lost and abandoned, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. Much LOVE!
 
…in need of help…then turn to the one who specializes in helping…Jesus Christ…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 February 2014 Luke 19:10

Luke 19:10.    For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
 
Well a good Sunday morning to all you Friends and fellow believers out there in Christendom! It is the Lord’s Day, so please let’s treat it as such; with reverence and awe, with praise and thanksgiving, with worship and fellowship. 
 
Let’s get out and fellowship with those of like persuasion… and even with those of a different persuasion, for once Jesus is the focus of our attention, we simply cannot go wrong. Remember He specifically said that wherever two or three are gathered in His Name, that He would certainly grace us with His wonderful presence. (Matt.18:20)
 
And if by chance, or design, you can’t get out to fellowship with other believers and hear the Word, then turn on your television set and tune in to one of the many Christian programmes where  the Word is boldly preached and listen to it attentively. Because to know the Word, you must hear it, and how can you hear it without a preacher? (Rom.10:14-15) For as Bruh Paul proudly proclaims: ‘So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ (Rom.10:17) 
 
And just supposing you don’t have a T.V… Well then get out your Bible and read it aloud to yourself, for there’s plenty of power in the spoken Word. Note that God SPOKE the world and all therein into existence. It wasn’t any abracadabra, simi-dimi stuff. The important thing though my brethren, is that the Word of God comes into contact with your very soul, on this, His day.
 
That brings us to our Bit: ‘For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’
 
And all God’s children gave out a loud and joyous shout of “Glory Hallelujah! All praise to the Lord for His goodness to us undeserving sinners.’ And well we should all be grateful and offer the sacrifice of praise my brethren, for without Jesus coming to search for and save us, we’d still be lost.
 
And I like how the scholars explain it. ’19:10. The words, seek, save, and lost all appear elsewhere in Scripture in a shepherd context. This verse may be taken as a kernel statement of the central theme of Luke. Jesus is the compassionate, searching Herdsman who seeks to save those who can by no means save themselves.’
 
We surely can’t my brethren! Now today I want to share some scriptures where Jesus states His avowed purpose in coming to earth. And He does it several times, in several different ways.
 
Let’s begin with when He talks about lost sheep. ‘For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.’ (Matt.18:11) Then He goes on to explain about a shepherd having an hundred sheep, but one gets lost and he leaves the ninety-nine and goes searching long and hard for the ONE LOST SHEEP, and rejoices greatly when he finds it.  (Matt.18:12-13) ‘Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.’ (Matt.18:14)
 
Oh Friends, yuh see the great importance the Lord attaches to even ONE LOST SINNER! Consequently, if there had only been one single sinner in the entire world, the Father would still have sent Jesus to save him.
 
Now let’s turn to a time after Jesus had eaten with a publican (tax collector) called Levi. (Luke 5:27-29) The scribes and Pharisees are questioning Jesus as to: ‘Why do ye eat and drink with publicans (tax collectors) and sinners? (Luke 5:30) That’s because the Pharisees thought it was beneath them, defiling to have business dealings with tax collectors like Levi, much less to eat with them.
 
‘And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole (healthy) need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ (Luke 5:31-32)
 
As the scholars explain: ‘5:32. Jesus is of course not dealing with the question of whether there are in fact righteous people who need no repentance. By ‘righteous’ He refers to the Pharisees, who thought they were righteous, and thus felt they had no need to repent. They were truly self-righteous.’ 
 
In any case, if you came to save sinners, then you obviously need to hang out with them, otherwise how would you teach and testify and bring them to repentance eh?
 
And we’ll close with this instance where Jesus is headed for Jerusalem, but while passing through Samaria is rejected by the people there. At this perceived slight, James and John want to call down fire and brimstone on the heads of the Samaritans. (Luke 9:51-54)
 
‘But he (Jesus) turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.’ (Luke 9:55-56)
 
Ah mih breddren, that’s enough stuff for us to ponder today, to meditate on and write indelibly in our hearts. Please, let’s allow the Word of God to dwell richly in our souls, for ‘it is the power of God unto salvation.’ (Rom.1:16) 
 
And here’s a parting blessing I got from my church in Tobago.  ‘Go now in Peace – Never be Afraid. God will go with you each hour of every day. Go now in faith steadfast and strong and true. Know He will guide you in all you do. Go now in LOVE, and show you believe. Reach out to others, so all the world can see. God will be there watching from above. Go now in Peace, in Faith and in LOVE.’ Much LOVE, my fellow believers!
 
…once you know Jesus…you can’t help but LOVE and glorify and exalt Him…