Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 November 2018 Galatians 5:22-23.

Galatians 5:22-23.  But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.
 

Another wet morning, without even a hopeful ray of sunshine! Steups! But thankfully, there’s no precipitation currently descending from on high! (smile) Ah friends, the gloom persists, but as believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we have all we need to handle it. And to boot, we can also truthfully declare: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps.118:24) 

And we would indeed be foolish if we did not enjoy this extra day the Lord has granted us on His great earth. And yes, every day we’re here is an extra day, so be wise and enjoy it and live obediently for Christ, do the work God has entrusted to you!

For we each have a purpose and a plan of God for this earthly life. Our God doesn’t move vie-ke-vie; in a careless, unplanned manner, so each day we’re down here means we still have work to do under His awesome, gracious, merciful and LOVING plan. So let’s get to it nuh! 

And it being Saturday, we will take a look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first quote says: ‘The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.’

And that’s oh so true! But unfortunately very few of us ever get to truly live the life of our dreams, because life is such a series of ups and downs, and none of us ever experience any downs in our dream life. (smile) 

The fact is that most of us have unreasonable dreams, and even with the reasonable ones, we’re not willing to work towards them. Now dreams are important in this life, but until we’re willing to action them, they will always remain dreams. 

 And the next quote tells us: ‘Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive.’ Now that ought to be motto of the Christian believer! Christ said: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10b) What’s the point of having abundant life and not enjoying it to the fullest eh? It would only make Christ’s sacrifice a waste down. 

But to enjoy our lives, we also have to focus on the positive aspects, especially of Christ’s teaching, because the negative aspects of the world only beat and break us down. 

And the last quote says: ‘Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.’ Now that is gospel truth my brethren! In fact, death is not a loss of life at all, for believers it’s only a journey from one realm to the other, and even more importantly it’s from a short, finite and rough earthly life, to a long and glorious infinite eternal life. So we don’t suffer a loss of life at all, but move up to a higher, spiritual one. 

The problem is the stuff that dies inside of us while we’re living this earthly life. We’re talking about stuff like, hope, faith, joy, LOVE, mercy, forgiveness, empathy, self-control and self-discipline; the attributes of God we need to live a faithful and fruitful life; things we call the fruit of the Spirit.

Thus our Bit: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.’ 

Yes my believing brethren, those are the things we want alive and well in all of us, so that we can live the life Jesus died for us to have, and to do His work. Unless those things are reigning in our lives we’ll be unable to live good, Christian, fruitful lives like Jesus desires of us.

The Holy Spirit of God dwells in each believer, and is there for the express purpose of leading and guiding us in God-filled lives. That means we have to follow the Spirit’s direction if we want to live successful Christian lives. 

As Bruh Paul so astutely continues: ‘And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (its passions). If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.’ (Gal.5:24-25) 

Now here are a few explanations from the scholars: ‘5:22-23. The word fruit is significant for three reasons (1) It means the result, product, outcome or effect produced by the Spirit in the believer’s life. (2) Unlike “the gifts of the Spirit” (plural), only some of which are given to a Christian, each believer is to have all nine virtues composing “the fruit of the Spirit” (singular). (3) As fruit on a tree takes time to grow and mature, so the spirit does not cultivate these virtues in the believer’s life overnight. 

LOVE is the willing, sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of another without thought of return. Joy is gladness of heart. Peace is tranquility of mind, freeing one from worry and fear. Long-suffering is patience with others, the opposite of a short temper, a disposition quietly bearing injury.

Gentleness is kindness. Goodness is generosity. Faith here is dependability. Meekness is gentleness, that is, courtesy and consideration in one’s relations with others. Temperance is self-control, that is, the ability to harness and control one’s passions and lusts.’ 

And there you have it friends, ‘the Fruit of the Spirit Lecture 101!’ (smile) Yes, I know it’s not easy to cultivate all those wonderful attributes, especially with the world on our back to do differently, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can certainly work towards them and be fairly successful if we set our minds to it. 

Remember, as believers in Christ, we are done with carnal fleshly matters, and are supposed to live by the Spirit of Christ imbued in us. So let’s do that nuh, and consequently fulfill Bruh Paul’s desire: ‘Let us not be desirous of vain glory (conceited), provoking one another, envying one another.’ (Gal.5:26). Much LOVE!

…to grow good fruit…we have to sow good seed…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 October 2018 Proverbs 26:12.

Proverbs 26:12.    Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit (eyes)? There is more hope of a fool than of him.
 

Ah mih breddren, unfortunately at 8 o’clock on this Wednesday morning, the last day of October 2018, my neighbourhood is dark, dismal and cold…it’s also raining. To tell the truth, I don’t even remember what rain looks or feels like, for the past two weeks that I spent in Jamaica, I never experienced a drop of heavenly blessing. Yes, a few times the sky darkened, but nary a drop of water fell wherever I happened to be. Hn! 

But I’d better get accustomed to this new state of affairs…and quickly too, because that’s going to be the new norm now. Oh to be in Jamdown once again, experiencing sea, sand, surf and salt, with the occasional bit of rum! (smile) Yes friends, that’s what dream are made of! But here is a taste of reality from the Swedish U.N Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961). 

He piloted the United Nations from 1953 to 1961, when his plane, under mysterious circumstances, crashed in Africa, on his way to try and quell a dispute over there. These are some of the words he left us: ‘Maturity: among other things – not to hide one’s strength out of fear and consequently live below one’s best.’ Words of great wisdom my people! 

And as Christians we have to stop living in fear and proclaim our strengths, strengths which we all have. As they say: ‘healthy thinking requires us to develop and use our many strengths.’

That’s never been truer of Christ’s church than right now, because instead of exhibiting strength, too many of us are embracing weakness and compromising our Christian beliefs and situations. We can’t afford to hide our strengths my people, because that’s when we enjoy our best life. 

And to help us do that, here is a li’l prayer from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional. Please pray with me: ‘Thank you, Lord, for bringing me to the place where LOVE can knock at the door of my heart. O Father, do not let me be afraid. I shall not resist your affectionate touch. Let me, O Lord, have the spirit of a little child and dare to respond and run with open arms to your call of LOVE. Amen.’  

Oh friends, it amazes me that we can even contemplate resisting the Lord’s affectionate touch, much less do it! We must be mad, crazy, or stupid… or all three! But unfortunately a lot of believers do it every day.

No wonder their lives are so confused, strife-filled and unfulfilling. This action reminds me of Cousin Sol’s words in our Bit: ‘Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit (eyes)? There is more hope of a fool than of him.’ 

Yes friends, when we are so conceited that we turn away from God’s affectionate touch, there is more hope for even a fool, than for us. And in chapter 29, Cousin Sol says the same thing though somewhat differently: ‘Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.’ (Prov.29:20) 

And he reiterates his point in Ecclesiastes as the Preacher: ‘Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business (effort or activity); and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.’ (Eccl.5:2-3) 

Oh friends, I doubt there have been ever been more fools than in this present age! Why? Simply because of the rampant technology that allows us to connect so easily to each other, which unfortunately we are using to talk a whole lot of nonsense, drivel and petty stuff, instead of real and serious matters. 

We’ve become a low standards, low level society in all aspects. That new, but oh so foolish phenomenon called ‘Selfies’ are driving us even further into narcissism and ungodliness, because we’re so focused on ourselves, not on God and others.

Everybody’s walking around with their smart phone – except me- thank the Lord –  (smile) paying more attention to it than what’s happening around them. Sometimes I just have to shake my head and steups at how technology has invaded and taken over our lives. 

But here is the ultimate word on our foolish and selfish, conceited behaviour. This from Jesus two thousand years ago, as he spoke to his disciples about the differences between the praying publican (sinner) and the supposedly devout Pharisee.

‘The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 

And the publican (tax collector), standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon (beat) his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’ (Luke 18:11-14) 

Oh my people, in these end times there are too many of us like the Pharisee and not like the publican. Please, let’s try and turn it around nuh, for our sake, as well as our children’s.

Remember the Lord doesn’t need anything from us, but we need a whole lot from Him, and we’ll only get it by being obedient to His word. Now let’s go home declaring our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know our sincere and secure positions in Jesus. 

All together now…lets wail! ‘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 will that future ever be more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…turning away from God…that’s the most foolish thing man can ever do…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 June 2014 Ephesians 5:21

Ephesians 5:21.   Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
 
‘Friday, oh Friday! How I LOVE that day! Friday, oh Friday! The weekend’s coming my way! Oh thank God it’s Friday! And I’m feeling okay! Friday, oh Friday! How I LOVE that day…’
 
Ah Friends, the amount of little ditties we can make up to celebrate Fridays eh. And rightly so, because Friday is a day when we finally see some daylight at the end of the work-week tunnel and envision a wonderful weekend of pleasure.
 
But please remember that the weekend is not only for pleasure, but should also include rest and fellowship with other believers. So let’s chant our Friday Chant, which gives us a better perspective on how to handle the weekend.
 
As one 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.’
 
Now that’s more like it! (smile) And today we’ll continue looking at our simple sounding, but oh so important Bit: ‘Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’
 
And why is it so important? Because it deals with harmony, unity, like-mindedness, goals and values that please God, in His church. And right now there’s certainly not enough of that in the body of Christ.
 
Christianity is way too fractured, and thus dysfunctional to the serious work it’s called upon to do. In too many churches, regardless of religion or denomination, the congregations are divided in to cliques resentful of, and sometimes outright warring against each other.
 
Bruh Paul saw it happening even in the young churches he founded and strenuously pointed out the error to them. Here is what he said to the Galatians on the matter. ‘This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
 
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.’ (Gal.5:16-18)
 
Basically, he’s saying that the flesh seeks to thwart the Spirit, who in turn attempts to frustrate the flesh’s evil desires…. The Spirit-led person is not under the law. The Christian does not need the restraints of the law because his moral life is governed by the Spirit.’
 
And then Bruh Paul goes on to list the works of the flesh (Gal.5:19-21)…’and they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.
 
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections (its passions) and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vainglory (conceited), provoking one another, envying one another.’ (Gal.5:21b-26)
 
Yes Friends, as true believers, the Holy Spirit ought to lead us to produce fruit that is harmonious, united and uplifting to God’s church. But unfortunately too many of us have not sufficiently crucified our flesh, and thus worldly lusts like vanity, envy, resentment and spitefulness still characterize Christ’s church today. What an awful shame!
 
Meanwhile, Peter, who also recognizes the problem, puts it this way. ‘Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
 
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
 
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in (experienced by) your brethren that are in the world.
 
But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory by Jesus Christ, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.’ (1 Pet.5:5-11)
 
Oh Friends, I couldn’t say it any better! And my wish for all of us today, is that we walk carefully, recognizing that Beelzebub is constantly circling, like the vulture that he is, that we stand strong and steadfast, yet humble and reverent before Almighty God, living in harmony and unity, thus bringing untold glory to His Holy Name. Much LOVE!
 
…unity and harmony between God’s people…will not come simply by wishing it…but by diligently working together to make it happen…