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 14 July 2018 Lamentations 3:22-23.

Lamentations 3:22-23.   It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Ah mih Scrip-Bit breddren another hot summer’s day is in the offing… But what do we expect eh? It’s summer! It’s supposed to be hot! We’re just a bunch of pampered, selfish people, who only want it to be the way we want it! It’s a good thing though that our God thinks differently. (smile) 

Anyway, it’s Saturday, so let’s get going with some really interesting quotes this week from our friend Anselm, who aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one says: ‘Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.’ And that’s no lie friends, for all the material wealth in the world cannot be compared to the figurative wealth, talking about wisdom and experience and simple joy that one gets from living a full and productive life. 

That brings us to this next quote that’s tied up with the first. ‘Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think, and experience life. I realize how important it is to use the time I have.’ 

And is that ever so true! When we’re young, energetic and supple, we feel like time is there waiting on us, like we have oodles of it. But the older we get, the more restricted our bodies become and we realize that time’s not waiting on us, and we need to use whatever we have left in a big way. The old fogies like me, will recognize the ultimate truth in that statement. (smile) 

Therefore, one has to ‘Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.’ That also relates back to our first quote, because we all know that a life lived on the safe side does not produce any real joy and excitement, just a bland, so-so existence, and that’s not the kind of life that Jesus died for us to have. 

We were put down here to experience life, not merely go through the motions. That means we need to step out of our comfort zone and take some risks every so often; for that’s the only way we will ever grow, both in Christ and in the living world. 

And the last quote is rather eye opening: ‘Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms.’ 

Yes friends, if we could only see life through another’s eyes, we would not be as judgemental and cynical and repulsive and repugnant as we are. And only when we try to understand another’s position or circumstance can we have that wonderful trait called empathy, which is just another name for compassion. 

That brings us right to our Bit. ‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’ 

h mih people, it’s the Lord’s empathy towards us that has us breathing and experiencing another day in His world! That’s what Jesus had for us, that’s why he came and died to pay for our sins, and it’s the same thing we need to have for others, even though they may be different in many or all respects from us. And I want to finish the scriptures on compassion today, so let’s get right to it. 

And the first scripture comes from a parable of Jesus, one we all know and talk about but don’t practice nearly as much as we ought to, else life would not be as bad as it is. (smile)  That’s the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Levite and the priest, supposedly good and religious people, passed by the wounded man on the ground with nothing but a mere glance. 

Regardless of what excuses they might have had for their behaviour, in Jesus’ eyes, they were heartless, unsympathetic people. ‘But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.’ (Matt.10:33) And we all know the story of how he looked after him, took him to an inn and paid for his recovery. 

And the scholars offer a good explanation of the situation surrounding the parable. ‘10:33. Jews and Samaritans were bitter rivals (John 4:9). The Samaritans were despised for having at least partially Gentile ancestry (due to Assyria’s conquest of Samaria in 721 (B.C) and for having a different worship centre (Mount Gerizim; John 4:20). 

Thus Jesus’ parable was highly provocative. Samaritan was to Jesus’ hearers automatically a term of reproach. To portray a Samaritan as fulfilling the commandment (see v.27) (LOVE thy neighbour as thyself), but Jews as circumventing it, would be a supreme insult to the listening lawyer (v.25) and to the rest of the audience.’ 

Unfortunately though my brethren, that’s exactly how a lot of us supposed believers behave, while unbelievers offer more empathy, sympathy and compassion to their fallen brethren. And just like it shone a poor light on the priest and the Levite, it likewise shines a poor light on us. So let’s try and be more supportive of others nuh, regardless of their race, creed or class, because that’s what Jesus asks of, and expects of His followers. 

And we’ll end this series of messages on compassion with the most important scriptures of them all on the subject; Jesus’ Great Invitation to a suffering mankind. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28-30) 

Oh my people, my people, what a magnificent offer! No one else has ever offered such an invitation besides Jesus, because NO ONE else had, or has the ability to keep it! So please, I implore us, in these crazy times, let’s turn to Jesus and accept His invitation nuh, it’s the wisest decision we can ever make. And furthermore, let’s also try and get others to do the same, for it’s our bounden duty as followers of Christ! Much LOVE!

…the Christian life is all about…compassion…compassion…compassion…as per Jesus’ example…



Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 July 2018 Mark 12:29.

Mark 12:29.   And Jesus answered him, The first (foremost) of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is One Lord:

                                  HAPPY  BIRTHDAY  CANADA !

Yeh friends, today is officially Canada’s 151st birthday, but we’ll talk about it tomorrow, when the Big Bang really happens. (smile) But just remember to follow Granny’s advice: Sonny boy, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business. Words of absolute wisdom my brethren! 

And my humblest apologies for the Bit being this late, but as the old people would say, what ent meet you, ent pass you. (smile) Now thank the Lord, I don’t usually have headaches, but I had a truly disgusting one this morning. I couldn’t even move my head without it feeling like it wanted to explode. I haven’t had anything like that in years. 

Steups! And I definitely didn’t want to venture writing the Bit under those less than positive circumstances. So I just took a couple of extra strength Tylenol and went to lie down. I didn’t even go to church. But I do have a new empathy for those who suffer with constant headaches, especially migraines. I guess the Lord felt I was having things a li’l too easy nuh. (smile) 

Anyway, enough pity party chatter, let’s get on with our Sunday morning, or rather afternoon proceedings. And as usual we’ll open with a song of praise to soften our stone hard hearts and make them more receptive to God’s word. And today’s ditty is taken from the old musical Godspell (1971), supposedly based on the Gospel of Matthew. 

It’s a song composed by Stephen Schwartz, one we’ve heard a thousand times down through the ages, but really haven’t paid much attention to – at least I haven’t, until I heard it this past week on commercial radio and had to check it out to see if the lyrics I heard were truly true. And by gosh, they were! 

That’s why we can now belt out the song ‘Day by Day’ with much gusto and heartfelt sincerity. As one earthly choir, sounding like a heavenly one though, (smile) let’s sing: ‘(Slow) Day by day, Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, LOVE thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, day by day 

(Chorus (fast) Day by day, day by day Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, LOVE thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, day by day Day by day, day by day, by day, by day. (Slow) Day by day, Day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, LOVE thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, day by day (Chorus (fast)… Day by day, day by day, by day, by day…. Day by day, day by day, by day, by day…’ 

Yes friends, the words aren’t plentiful, and are somewhat repetitive, (smile) but you can’t find a better prayer than that anywhere! We’re only asking for three things: to see the Lord more clearly, LOVE Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly… Wow! If we could only get those three things, we’d be in seventh heaven, doing exactly the things the Lord desires of us, the things He created us for! Would there ever be great joy and peace on earth! Hn! 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘And Jesus answered him, The first (foremost) of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is One Lord: And thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first (foremost) commandment.’ (Mark 12:29-30)  

Yes my brethren, that was Jesus’ answer to the question one of the scribes asked Him, one day when He was holding forth on the topic of resurrection, trying to trip Him up, and thus find reason to accuse Him of blasphemy or some other foolish crime. 

But Jesus, as usual was too much for those hypocritical fools. If they had believed Him, they would have realized that He wrote the Good Book and thus knew all the answers. But such is man’s foolish pride, that he figures he knows everything, when in actual fact he knows nothing whatsoever! 

And as the scholars explain: ‘12:29. See Deuteronomy 6:4. These are the opening words of the Shema, the Jewish call to worship. They establish the basis of LOVE for God in the fact of God’s being the Lord our God, the God who has covenanted to redeem us to Himself.’ 

Yes my brethren, those were the words Moses spoke unto Israel when he gave them the Great Commandment, warned them that they were to worship ONE absolute God!  Logically speaking, there couldn’t be more than one, Supreme Being, else there would be no absolute, and thus oodles of confusion. 

And please notice the meaning of the word ‘Shema’, the first word in Hebrew: ‘HEAR!’ That’s what Moses was trying to drive home to the people when he gave them that message. And it’s what I am trying to drive home to us today my faithful followers of Christ: ‘Hear! Listen!’ so that we too can obey it, as well as the continuation of Moses’ message. 

‘And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.’ (Deut.6:6-9) 

And NOTHING has changed since then friends and fellow believers: we are still supposed to do all those things…as well as the Second Great Commandment that Jesus added: ‘And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.’ (Mark 12:31) 

And to tell the truth, that wasn’t even Jesus invention at that time, because Moses had already told the Israelites in Leviticus: ‘Thou shalt not avenge (take vengeance), nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.’ (Lev.19:18) 

What more can I say eh friends…nothing really. It’s all spelt out there for us. We must now use wisdom and accept and action it. Much LOVE!

…only two things are really asked of us in this earthly life…LOVE the Lord our God…and our neighbours as ourselves…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 February 2016 Psalm 53:1‏‏‏

Psalm 53:1.   The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

Oh friends, there is so much I want to say this beautiful Thursday morning, but I simply can’t say anything! Chuh! 

Has that ever happened to you? My mind is a jumble of thoughts and whatever else that I can’t seem to make sense of, but I’m not worried because I know that our great and magnanimous God will eventually look down on me with empathy and guide me to what He wants me to say. 

I guess that part of my problem is that I have a touch of the flu and cough that’s causing my asthma to act up a bit. And there’s nothing that drives me bonkers like coughing. 

Anyway, I went to the funeral of an old schoolmate yesterday afternoon in Mt. St. George – and now I realize why it’s so named, for we had to drive up a steep, winding road littered with potholes to reach the church, then come another steep winding one to get back to the main road. 

It’s a good thing the duchess wasn’t my co-pilot, because I don’t know if we would have made it back safely. (smile) 

The funeral was well attended, and I saw people whom I hadn’t seen in donkey’s years (smile). The deceased lived in the U.S but was brought back home to her village for burial, exactly what I want to happen to me. 

And to show how our God moves in mysterious ways, he took one home but also breathed life in to a newborn son of one of my surrogate daughters down here. Glory to God! 

Now a buddy and I was supposed to go touring today, but it seems that he imbibed a tad too much last night, so he is also under the weather, which means that tour will have to be put off indefinitely. 

Ah mih people, my time in sweet Tobago is swiftly drawing to a close, and as the duchess said recently, the problem is not how we’re going to face the cold up in the Northern climes, but how we’re going to leave this paradise? It will definitely be hard, although every day we complain how the sun is so hot. 

So I guess today will just be a day of rest and later this evening I’ll go to the Bible Study class up the road. I heard they missed me last week when I was in Trinidad. I missed them too, because it was a spirited gathering, West Indian style. And call me biased, but nothing beats anything, West Indian style! (smile) 

Now that’s the end of my news, but before we get to our Bit, I want to share these words of wisdom from one Leviticus, whom I assume was an olden Greek philosopher. And he is reputed to have said that: ‘He who attempts to resist the wave is swept away, but he who bends before it abides.’ 

And I rediscovered that in reality recently on the beach. I tried to fight off a big wave and it sent me crashing into the sand. But another one, instead of trying to fight it, I rode it successfully into the shore. 

The same way it is with life my friends, especially when we are getting up in age and can’t fight all the unusual stuff that’s coming against us; all the aches and pains and illnesses. We have to learn to bend with the tide, if we hope to continue living a full and enjoyable life. 

That also means we cannot emulate the people in our Bit. ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.’ 

Now, though we know better, the prosperity of the wicked can sometimes drive us to want what they have. Listen to the psalmist Asaph, as he discourses in Psalm 73 on the Mystery of Prosperous wickedness. 

‘Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean (pure) heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone (I had almost stumbled); my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish (boastful), when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.’ (Ps.73:1-3) 

Yes friends, although Asaph knew better, the sinful human nature still enticed him to be envious of the wicked in their earthly prosperity. And unfortunately it still does the same thing to us in these very trying and difficult times. 

But we need to see the treachery and deceit of material possession and earthly prosperity for what it really is; ofttimes a temptation of the enemy, and don’t allow it to get us caught up in its wicked tentacles. Because once we sell our soul for those things, it’s not very easy to get out of Lucifer’s contract. 

Now hear Bruh Paul to Titus on Christian citizenship and the basis of the Christian ethic. ‘Put them in mind to be subject to principalities (rulers) and powers (authorities), to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers (not contentious), but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men. 

For we ourselves also were sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and LOVE of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed (poured out) on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. That being justified (declared righteous) by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.’ (Titus 3:1-7) 

Yes my fellow believers in Christ, it’s only through God’s grace and mercy and LOVING-kindness, poured out on us through Christ that we are able to withstand the wiles and lies of the evil one. That means we have to stand strong and steadfast in faith if we want to resist the enemy. 

Now here is some info from the scholars on the term ‘regeneration.’‘3:5. Regeneration refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation experience that produces new life in the believer. To express this concept, Jesus used the expression “born again” in His conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:3-7). 

Regeneration is the work of God, through the Holy Spirit, of placing in one who has faith a new nature, capable of doing God’s will. The Holy Spirit is the agent or divine workman of this regeneration. His instrument is the Bible, which is likened to a hammer that judges sin (Jer.23:29), a mirror that reveals sin (James 1:23), a sword that defeats Satan (Heb.4:12), and a lamp that guides the believers (Ps.119:105). 

Illustration: People are instantaneously “born again “the moment they trust Christ as Saviour. (1 Pet.1:23). Application: Christians should be careful to cooperate with God in growing as children of God after they are regenerated, or given new life. (First Ref. John 3:3), Primary Ref. Titus 3:5. cf. Eph.1:15.).’ 

Oh friends, only by cooperating with God and growing in the likeness of Christ, can we ever hope to stave off the foolishness and deceit of the enemy! And it will benefit us all, if we looked up the references the scholars provided. (smile) 

Now let’s end with some more words of Bruh Paul to Titus. ‘This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.’ (Titus 3:8) 

There’s nothing left to say my brethren, except that we should all go out, each and every day, being careful to do works that enhance the gospel of Christ, so that the heathen can see the true beauty in living for Christ and want to come to Him. It’s our bounden duty. Much LOVE!

…talk is cheap…but good works cost something…Christians should be prepared to pay that cost…  

P.S. I know it’s long, but God’s word is worth it. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 April 2015 Philippians 4:13

 Philippians 4:13.     I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
  

Oh Friends, I really don’t know what to say this cold, wet and windy Wednesday morning nuh. I was most surprised when I opened my bleary eyes and saw that it was after eight o’clock. But I guess the Lord saw that the body needed more rest than I was prepared to give it and He allowed me to sleep in. Hn!

But then when I did get up, the ole body was aching all over, from head to foot, which also shows that too much rest is not good for it. (smile)
 
But the long and short of the story Friends is that I’m up and about, though not kicking as strongly as I would like – yet. However, I do know that our wonderful God is on His heavenly throne in full control of all activities in His beautiful universe.
 
The brilliant light from His awesome Son Jesus surrounds us. His never ending and unconditional LOVE enfolds us. His unimaginable power protects us, while His faithful and comforting presence continually watches over us. And that means that ALL is well my people!
 
So there is no need to worry, because the gracious and merciful and forgiving I AM, has everything under control, the universe is proceeding and unfolding as it should. What a marvellous God we serve and worship my brethren! Never let anybody tell you differently nuh!
 
On the other side of the coin though, this morning I read where a farmer, a middle aged woman in Oregon, U.S.A was found guilty of murdering two men over a period of a year and feeding their remains to her pigs. How gruesome a crime – especially to be perpetrated by a woman!
 
We certainly don’t expect that sort of crime to be committed by women. And the sad part is that her picture shows her like a caring, motherly type. It just goes to show that we truly can’t judge others by their outward appearances, and unfortunately only the Lord has the power to see into our hearts and discern our real motives and agenda.
 
That means we have to be very careful of whom we allow in to our lives and associate with. What a sad time we’re living in my brethren. How ironic that at the most enlightened and advanced time in man’s history, that we’re possibly the most corrupt, cruel and sadistic, though in more refined ways.
 
We’re certainly not using the advances and enlightenment for good purposes like we should, but rather for evil and wicked stuff. Things like moral character, integrity and high standards are disappearing from our world, only to be replaced by stuff like greed, selfishness, heinous cruelty and ungodliness.
 
However my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, the good news is that we’re here to try and rectify the terrible situation that now exists in our world. And though it looks like a long, uphill battle, with our kindness, caring, empathy and the good news of Jesus’ gospel, we can prevail over the evil powers of darkness and win the battle of good over evil.
 
Glory Hallelujah! And we are assured of this in the wonderful words of encouragement that flow from Bruh Paul through our Bit. ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’
 
And all God’s people shouted a loud and delirious; ‘Glory to God who empowers us to do whatever He wills!’
 
Yes my fellow believers that’s gospel truth and a basic tenet of our faith, which we must clearly and dearly believe and then act upon it with faith. But before we go any further, let’s hear the scholars’ important explanation on that verse.
 
‘4:13. The apostle’s ability of knowing how to live skillfully on little or in prosperity does not mean that he is a spiritual superman. The reason he can live in such extremes is not owing to his own ability.
 
Rather he can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth him, thus enabling him to adapt to his various, ever-changing circumstances. God orders Paul’s various situations, and God gives him the strength to be content in them all, trying and perplexing though they may be.’
 
Oh my people, my people, those words also resonate with heavenly truth in our modern day situations. God allows us to be in different kinds of situations, then gives us the wherewithal to endure them and come out more Christ-like on the other side.
 
Thus we can, or ought to be able to say like Bruh Paul does before our Bit. ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
 
I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ (Phil.4:11-12)
 
Oh Friends, all of that also pertains to us today! But please note one thing, that process of being content in any situation does not come easily, neither from book learning or overnight, but from hard practical experience. It has to be learned, as Bruh Paul says: ‘I have learned.’
 
So too we must learn from all the experiences that God allows us to go through, remembering that with His empowering strength, we can do whatever He calls us to do, and also that He has a good plan and a future for our lives, as well as He works everything out for the good of those who LOVE Him and are called to do His bidding.
 
Oh Friends, I had to chuckle at that last Spirit-induced sentence, as it contains three basic but ever-faithful tenets of our faith and the everlasting LOVING-kindness of our God. I’m not going to elaborate on them, because they are three faith-feeding scriptures that we all should know.
 
So let’s ponder them this fateful day, as we give thanks for the breath of life that God has allowed in us, and all the other mercies, blessings and forgiveness that He daily bestows on us, many of which we are totally undeserving of.
 
And all God’s people gave a loud and grateful shout of ‘Praise the Lord! For his goodness to the children of men endures for ever!’
 
And that’s gospel truth Friends! So with all that stuff in mind, let’s go out and show the world the real joy of being a follower of Jesus, so that they too can want, can greatly desire to follow in His footsteps. Much LOVE!
 
…where He leads me…I will follow, follow…for He will never lead me astray…that’s His faithful promise…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 August 2014 Matthew 5:20

Matthew 5:20.    For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 
Ah Friends, the ole fella’s paying the price for disobedience this morning, an aching back. Too much rest it would seem. (smile) Apparently I ignored the wake up bell this morning and slept in. But my body was tired, I pleaded! No excuse, I was summarily informed. When the bell goes, you arise. End of story! 
 

Ah what a hard taskmaster. But I guess dem’s the breaks! (smile) I know the rules, so if I don’t abide by them, I’ll just have to pay the price. And that’s the way it is with most things in life my people. If we don’t do right, especially if we know what’s right, then we pay.
 
Anyway, today I want to share with you a couple of passages from an article in the July issue of In Touch Magazine, titled ‘Know Your Place,’ by Jim Daly. Some of you might have read it already, but didn’t even pay it any real serious attention, but Friends these words and actions are of vital importance in the life of each and every Christian believer.
 
Mr. Daly quotes Timothy Keller, from his book, ‘The Prodigal God.’ “You can’t live the Christian life without a band of Christian friends, without a family of believers in which you find a place.”
 
And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! We can’t live a truly Christian life alone, it’s too difficult to do, especially with all the inviting and exciting wrongs the world has to offer nowadays. We need the empathy, encouragement and bolstering that a tightly knit group offers.
 
And in any case, Jesus didn’t desire and plan for His people to be separate and apart, but be together as one, as one body in His name. It’s all well and good to go to church and participate in the ceremonies and rituals on an individual basis. 
 
But as Mr. Daly later adds: ‘But if we’re not making an effort to connect and engage with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re missing out on a key element of the church as described in the New Testament.’ And that’s the fostering of true community amongst the Christian brethren.
 
Oh Friends, that’s why there is so much resentment, jealousy and antagonism in the church today. We don’t individually nor collectively foster a sense of true community in the body of Christ. We talk it, but don’t actually walk it. Consequently, we’re not able to be as productive in spreading the good news of the gospel, as we ought to be.
 
We need to put away the selfishness and petty things that keep us apart, die to our own selves, and encourage the things that truly bring us together. And though the leaders in the church might be to blame for some of that, every single believer also has to shoulder some blame too, because it all begins with us as individuals.
 
And that brings us to this passage from Bruh Paul’s epistle to the Romans, where he talks of the people having zeal but no righteousness. ‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel, is that they might be saved. For I bear them record (witness), that they have a zeal of (for) God, but not according to knowledge.
 
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law, for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ (Rom.10:1-4)
 
And the scholars have a good explanation of that scripture. ‘10:4. Christ is the end of the law.  Israel mistook the purpose of the law. The law pointed to the righteousness that is attainable only by belief in Christ. Israel also mistook the scope of the law.
 
The righteousness to which it pointed was universally available to all who responded to God’s revelation of Himself through the law. But by Paul’s time many had substituted works for faith. Rather than seeking redemption in God’s mercy, they pinned their hopes on their own religious achievement.’
 
And sadly my people, today too many of us are still doing the same thing; depending on our own religiosity rather than God’s available mercy and grace.
 
But please note what our Bit says about that behaviour. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.’
 
Those are the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, so obviously there’s no doubting them!
 
And the scholars provide a wonderful explanation of all that. ‘5:20. Because of the necessity of righteousness as a requirement to enter heaven, Jesus then declares that except their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees they could not enter heaven.
 
The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered these people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness.
 
In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behaviour demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. Here we discover the practical application of genuine Christian character to true spiritual living. Here we see the gospel in action:’
 
Sadly Friends, it’s the same thing a lot of us are still doing today, depending on self, rather than God. And the scholars add a very useful list of what the Law required and what the Spirit of God desired.

 LAW                                                                        SPIRIT

 

No murder                                                                No anger

 

No adultery                                                               No lust

 

No divorce                                                                Commitment

 

No oath-taking                                                          Speak the truth

 

No retaliation                                                            Forgiveness

 

Hatred for your enemy                                              LOVE for your enemy

 

  (tradition allowed it)                                                   (commanded)

 

And there we have it my people, a simple breakdown of the things the religious Law called for and/or allowed, as well as the things that Jesus desired, and still desires, of His true and faithful followers.

 

So let’s sit down today and consider our own reaction and behaviour to all those things nuh, and then, as always, sincerely ask God to help us improve in whatever way we need to. That’s heavenly wisdom my brethren, for we know He will NEVER refuse any requests to draw closer to Him! Much LOVE!

 

…to be a true believer…one must lose the self in self-righteousness…

 

P.S. That makes up for the short Bit yesterday. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 May 2014 Luke 21:19

Luke 21:19.    In your patience possess ye your souls.

 

Oh Friends, the party’s over! Yeh, like the man said, it’s time to call it a day and get back to labouring. (smile) So all you people who were fortunate enough to have yesterday off in honour of Queen Victoria, please get it together and get out there today and work hard for Jesus, like the rest of us, provided you didn’t overdo the partying yesterday.

And even if you did overdo it, then just suck it up and do what needs to be done, regardless of your physical feelings. I’m sure you didn’t have any qualms about anything when you were living it up yesterday, so please don’t have any today when Jesus is counting on you to be His ears, arms, eyes and heart in an ungodly world which badly needs His LOVE and encouragement.

And now that you’ve been suitably admonished, (smile) let’s get down to brass tacks here ourselves, and with the guidance of our great God, write something that’s inspiring and encouraging.

And in seeking something inspiring to begin, I found these words of encouragement from one of my favourite writers and preachers, Dr. Robert H. Schuller.

Listen closely Friends and fellow believers. Dr. Schuller tells us that ‘The joy of being at the top of the mountain is the joy of reaching down to help others see and develop their (own) possibilities.’

And what a riot of wisdom and truth that is my brethren! For what other purpose can their be at the top of the mountain if you’re a true and faithful follower of Jesus eh?

None really my people! Because that’s what Jesus did every day of His life; go about doing good, helping and healing people, and if we want to truly follow in his footsteps then we need to do the same. Yes my fellow believers that is our mandate; to help the needy, in all walks of life, in whatever way we are able!

But just as our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, didn’t have it easy, we won’t have it easy either. There will always be trials and tribulations to face as our God tests us, and the heathen, the unbeliever and evil powers of this world try to break down our faith.

But as Jesus so wisely says in our Bit: ‘In your patience posses ye your souls.’

And that’s more awesome truth Friends! For it’s only if we settle down without fear and anxiety and accept the promises of Jesus and stand fast and strong on them that we will grow and mature in out faith walk and thus further His glorious kingdom.

And today again I want to fill our minds, hearts, souls, bodies and wherever else (smile) with more encouraging and uplifting scriptures on patience, perseverance and endurance, while walking steadfastly in faith with Jesus.

Now let’s start with some beautiful heartfelt words from Bruh David. Yeh, you can call me biased because I LOVE to begin with Bruh David and end with Jesus. (smile)

Anyway listen to Bruh David as he declares praise for answered prayer from Psalm 40. ‘I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings (steps).

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.’ (Ps.40:1-4)

Oh my brethren, yuh see what can happen when we wait patiently on the Lord? Meanwhile Bruh Paul told it to the Romans this way when talking about the results of justification.

‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience (produces perseverance);

And patience, experience (character); and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed (does not disappoint); because the LOVE of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.’ (Rom.5:1-5)

Ah Friends what a moving and touching scripture; one that we all know, but resist following because we’re afraid of trials and tribulations. But if we don’t experience some misfortune and suffering, then we won’t grow in the LOVE and reflection of Jesus.

And to show that it’s all gospel truth, James, in his epistle, tells it to us this way. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations (various trials); Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing.’ (James 1:2-4)

And as the scholars so wisely remind us: ‘1:4. The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’

And as we all know, but fear and refuse to accept, that’s undeniable truth! For it’s only when we’re under fire, that the real us comes forth, we find out what we’re truly made of, and how much we truly LOVE and desire to work for Jesus.

Anyway Friends, I think we’ll end there because I don’t want to give us too much scripture to ponder at anyone sitting. See how I consider your busy lives! (smile)

So in light of all that’s been said above, let’s go out today and do as Jesus did everyday of His earthly sojourn: help the hurting and the needy, despite our hurts and needs, thus reflecting the true character of Jesus. That’s wisdom from on high! Much LOVE!

…sympathy comes from the mind…but empathy comes from the heart…through personal experience…




Previous Older Entries