Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 June 2020 1 Peter 5:7.

1 Peter 5:7.    ​Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
 

One more Sunday, one more day of technological fellowship and thanksgiving. Hn! And are we ever getting good at it! But it’s never ever going to be the same as worshipping our great God in a physical space together, with hugs and kisses and handshakes and godly greetings, because the Lord made us to be people of physical fellowship, not this over the airwaves stuff. (smile) But since we don’t have much choice right now, let’s enjoy what we have, because the Lord is ALWAYS pleased with praise and worship however, or wherever we perform it. 

So let’s get to some praise with this awesome and oh so appropriate hymn for these turbulent times, written by John W. Peterson (1921-2006) and titled ‘No One Understands Like Jesus.’ And if that isn’t the living truth friends, then I don’t know what is nuh! Therefore, with raised voices, in heartfelt sincerity and soulful harmony let’s thank our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for His unbiased understanding and sincere empathy, because as a man, He experienced the trials and tribulation of earthly life, like we’re currently doing. 

Now let’s unleash our sacrifice of praise which our God LOVES to hear. ‘No one understands like Jesus; He’s a Friend beyond com-pare. Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for You there. (Chorus: No one under-stands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim. No one is so near, so dear as Jesus; Cast Your every care on Him.) No understands like Jesus; Every woe He sees and feels. Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals. 

(Chorus ….) No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail. You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail. (Chorus…) No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way. Though you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon You today. (Chorus: No one under-stands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim. No one is so near, so dear as Jesus; Cast Your every care on Him.) 

Ah mih people, in this time of sickness and strife, there’s no better place to cast our care than upon Jesus, for remember He understands what we’re going through, since He also went through dark nights of rejection, discouragement and enormous pain and suffering. So our troubles are nothing new to Him. That’s why Peter tells us so emphatically: ‘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.’ And that’s gospel truth or God would not have sacrificed Jesus and have Him pay for our sins. 

And Jesus Himself dearly and desperately wants us to come to Him for hope, comfort and succour, peace, LOVE and joy; all the wonderful things that heaven allows. Hear Him in the Great Invitation nuh… and don’t tell me yuh tired hearing it either, because if we’d only listen and accept it, we wouldn’t have half the problems we now have. So please listen up and positively action the invitation, the greatest one that’s ever been offered! ‘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 friends, I don’t understand us nuh; man is supposed to be the wisest creature in the universe, but when we find ourselves in trouble and can’t get out of it on our own accord, we still refuse to turn to Jesus for help. We prefer to suffer in our despair and tribulation. Now is that wisdom? Not in my book! And the sad part is that the scriptures have so many encouraging and comforting words, if we’d only wake up and own them. Let’s check out a couple nuh. Hear this one from the longest chapter in the Good Book, Psalm 119: ‘Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me (given me life).’ (Ps.119:49-50) 

Oh my people, we were created to use the Word as a lifeline; to give us hope and comfort from our afflictions! So why aren’t we using it eh? And hear Bruh David from Psalm 61: ‘Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.’ (Ps. 61:1-3) Oh my fellow saints in Christ, if Bruh David, a man after God’s own heart, could cry unto the Lord when his heart was overwhelmed and find succour, why can’t we eh? 

Now hear Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘For whatsoever things were written aforetime (beforehand) were written for our learning, that we through patience (perseverance) and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.’ (Rom.15:4) Yes mih bredrin, the scriptures were indeed authored so that we could have hope! And if in these disastrous times you don’t have hope, then turn to the scriptures, that’s simple common sense! If there’s one thing we need to live this life successfully it’s hope! Without it, we’re dead in spirit. 

And here’s something I believe I’ve quoted before, but it’s ever so timely right now. It comes from an article titled ‘Prisoners of Hope,’ by one Joshua Ryan Butler. And he unequivocally states: ‘Hope is a revolution, a powerful presence that breaks in from the future and transforms today. Jesus’ arrival has brought God’s destiny for humanity crashing into now – an explosion of life into a world marked by death. It changes everything.’ 

And that’s the kind of world we’re currently living in; one marked by death, and the only real hope for us to move from death to life, is to embrace Jesus and His wonderful revolution of hope, which ultimately fosters His LOVE Revolution. Yes friends, Jesus is, was, and always will be the ultimate revolutionary! Much LOVE

…want to be in a successful revolution… then join Jesus’…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 April 2020 Matthew 5:16.

Matthew 5:16.    ​Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
 

So the caffeine’s hot and strong and sweet and plentiful…just the way I like it, (smile) and everything remains the same. Yes the Covid-19 still has a stranglehold on us and we are still fighting amongst ourselves to determine the truth about it, rather than putting all of our combined energies into finding a cure or something that will stop its rapid spread. Steups! But that seems to be the way of our current world, even when we’re dropping like flies in vinegar or honey and we don’t know why. 

Oh, and that raucous wind we said had died down yesterday…well that was only for a time. By midday it had picked up again, squealing through the leafless trees and the over the rooftops. I went out in mid-afternoon to run some errands and did it play games with me. At one stage I dropped a glove and the wind just kept moving it further away from me. Then it blew off my hat…and it was a joke to see me running down the middle of the street after my ole dungaree hat. It’s a good thing the road was empty of traffic. One fellow who saw my epic run, told me that I had gotten my exercise for the day. 

And would you believe that in the wind storm, there were also flakes of that white stuff twiddling down from the sky yesterday afternoon, and that this Wednesday morning, the 22nd of April there are remnants of that white stuff on the ground and on the rooftops! Granted, it’s not a lot, but it sure is noticeable, and it surely makes you sit up and wonder…Hn! Makes you think of Mother Nature and ponder on her eccentric ways. (smile) But getting to more important matters; here is this rather interesting and oh so truthful message I got from a friend a couple days ago, re the Coronavirus…what else eh! (smile) It’s titled: ‘We Are Not In The Same Boat.’ 

So let’s read together. ‘I heard that we are all in the same boat. But it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship can be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa. For some quarantine is optimal: moment of reflection, of re-connection. Easy, in flip flops, with a whisky or tea. For others, this is a desperate crisis. For others it is facing loneliness. For some, a peace, rest time, vacation. Yet for others, torture: How am I going to pay my bills? Some were concerned about a brand of chocolate for Easter (this year there were no rich chocolates). Others were concerned about the bread for the weekend, or if the noodles would last for a few more days. 

Some were in their “home office”. Others are looking through trash to survive. Some want to go back to work because they are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine. Some need to break the quarantine to stand in line at the banks. Others to escape. Others criticize the government for the lines. Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it, some are not sure their LOVED ones are going to make it, and some don’t even believe this is a big deal. Some of us who are well now may end up experiencing it, and some believe they are infallible and will be blown away if or when this hits someone they know. 

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come. So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different. And each one will emerge, in his own way, from that storm. Some with a tan from their pool. Others with scars on the soul (for invisible reasons). It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, more than looking, seeing. See beyond the political party, beyond religion, beyond the nose of your face. 

Do not underestimate the pain of others if you do not feel it. Do not judge the good life of the other, do not condemn the bad life of the other. Don’t be a judge. Let us not judge the one who lacks, as well as the one who exceeds him. We are on different ships looking to survive. Let everyone navigate their route with respect, empathy and responsibility.’ ~Unknown Author~ 

Yes friends, it’s all gospel truth! And it’s sad that author’s name isn’t known, because I think he, or she, covered the situation quite well. It’s a sad time for sure, and there are different realities for different people; from being able to enjoy moments of peace and reflection in a prosperous manner, right down the line to facing severe want, even poverty, hunger, homelessness, and total destitution. And we do need to treat this most serious and very dangerous situation with respect, empathy, and responsibility, for our situations can change in the blink of an eye, and then we’ll need others to respond that way to us. 

But as always, as firm, and true believers, in these desperate times, we desperately need to turn to our Creator and heavenly Father who has sincerely promised to never leave nor forsake us: ‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is. 40:11) Yes friends, this is a time of faith testing! And we believers do have to answer that call in a true manner; like Jesus says, be the salt and light of the earth! Now is not the time to hide our lights under a bushel, but be like those proud sentinels of earlier times; the lighthouses on the rocky shores with the waves crashing mercilessly against them. 

And there’s many a sad tale that those lighthouses prevented from happening because of their protective and warning light, and we also need to be like lighthouses right now my people. Let’s step up to the plate, reignite our passion, and obey Jesus’ heartfelt declaration: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ And there’s never been a time in our generation when that has been ever more necessary than now! So please my faithful brethren, let’s stand up and show our true colours nuh, the beautiful colours of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

And we’ll begin by declaring (chuh man!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our true and oh so enviable position in Christ. All together now: ‘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 are true and faithful to the end, then that glorious future will be even more glorious than our finite and foolish minds can think or imagine! Much LOVE!

…it’s time…for ALL believers to stand up and face the music…be shining lights for Jesus…in this dark, evil  and very dangerous world…  

P.S. There’s still some coffee left in the cup, but it’s cold now…Steups! I’m still drinking it though… (smile) Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 November 2019 Jeremiah 17:7.

Jeremiah 17:7.    ​Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
 

Well the promised snow did not come during the early morning commute yesterday as promised, but by mid morning it was certainly flying, and continued to do so for most of the day. So yesterday afternoon’s commute was, and this morning’s will be indeed a horse of a different colour! (smile) But please be careful, the white stuff sure looks beautiful when lying quiet and undisturbed, but when tangled with, it’s just as dangerous and deceitful as the prince of darkness himself. Looks like we might even have had a record amount of snow for this time in November, and the month might even be colder and snowier than usual. 

Ah, but not to worry, for we have Jesus, and when we walk closely with Him, He makes everything right! And all His followers gave a loud, proud and grateful shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah! Bless the name of the Lamb that was slain for us! Bless his holy name indeed!’ Oh friends, there never was, and never will be anybody like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And are we ever blessed to have Him as our guide and leader, especially in the evil and ungodly world in which we now live, where everybody wants to do their own thing, and right and wrong are whatever you figure them to be. 

That brings me to this sad, but ever so true commentary. It comes from a recent episode of the comic strip ‘Mutts,’ but is it ever so reminiscent of our current society. One of the characters, a cat, says to two dogs: “I’ve started and endangered list.” “What’s on it?” the dogs ask. The cat simply replies: “Empathy, compassion, kindness, sympathy, decency, sensitivity, integrity, altruism, affection, benevolence, heart, tenderness, LOVE, humanity, charity, grace, courtesy, tolerance, mercy, intelligence, leniency, understanding, common sense, goodwill, patience, wisdom…” 

Yes friends, you don’t have to be a believer, only a half-decent observer, to notice that all those good qualities above are being practiced less and less in this …I don’t know what to call it society! It’s the essence of everything that’s wrong with our current lifestyle! When those things are absent in any group of people, that group is certainly on the downswing towards chaos and anarchy! Why is that you ask? The answer is real simple: It’s those things that create a strong, well-functioning organization, a real and true society. 

The dictionary defines ‘society’ as ‘an organization of a civilized nation.’ And it’s impossible to be civilized without those positive and godly things playing a large part in any group that wants to succeed and grow. So what does that say about our society now eh, when all those things are fading away, and as the cat truthfully says, becoming endangered? Sadly, not a whole lot. But yuh know what? I just discovered that they’d left out one important factor from that endangered list…HOPE! ‘Glory be! And we all know friends that once there’s hope, there is indeed life! So if hope isn’t amongst the endangered habits, then there is still a chance for us to turn this thing around! 

And where does that wonderful thing called HOPE come from? From the Lord our God! Hear Jeremiah declare it: ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.’ Wow! And in his Lamentations, he reiterates that sentiment, recalls the Lord’s goodness in his time of great sorrow and need: ‘This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 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. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.’ (Lam. 3:21-26) 

Please notice my people, that it’s because of two things on the endangered list why we’re still around; the Lord’s compassion and mercy! That means we ought to show the same sentiments to our fellow humans. Now let’s look at some scriptures that encourage and fill us with hope in the Lord. Hear Bruh David from Psalm 31: ‘Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.’ (Ps.31:24) And the sons of Korah declare: ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance (my salvation), and my God.’ (Ps.42:11) 

And we all know these awesome words of Bruh Paul to the Roman church. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) (eagerly) wait for it.’ (Rom. 8:24-25) Yes friends, hope is not what we see, for if we see it, why do we hope for it? Hope is the essence of our very being, our spiritual connection with Almighty God! That’s why this verse from Zechariah, when he’s talking about Zion’s future king, is one of my favourites on hope. ‘Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render (restore) double unto thee.’  (Zech. 9:12) 

Oh my people, the Lord God Almighty is indeed our stronghold, our rock, our fortress, and I’m pleading with us to be ‘prisoners of hope, because that’s our only positive solution to turning around our embattled and embittered society!  Now let’s go home showing that we’re true prisoners of hope, by declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are. In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ Now let’s action those words nuh! Much LOVE!

…when you’re a true believer…hope springs eternal…

Today​’s Scrip-Bit 25 April 2019 Philippians 2:8.

Philippians 2:8.   ​And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
 
Well a blessed Thursday to you my faithful Scrip-Bit brethren! I do hope that the day has and or will bring you substantive joy and peace as you walk the strait and narrow path that our Lord and Saviour Jesus desires of you. Oh, we all know that this earthly life is not an easy one to hoe, but with Jesus on our side, right beside us all the time as He sincerely promised, we do have a better chance than the unbelievers to live a life blessed with joy and peace. 

But it just won’t fall into our laps, as some of us seem to think. We need to get up and do our part in this partnership, this everlasting covenant with Almighty God. If we do our part, He will certainly do His, but if we don’t, He won’t. It as simple as that my people! 

And what’s our part you ask? Again, it’s pretty simple: believe in His Son Jesus Christ and walk in faithful obedience to His Word! Granted, it’s much harder than it sounds, but then again the Lord has promised to help us in any area in which we are deficient or lacking. We just have to come to Him in sincere prayer and ask for his help. 

And He’s also promised not to give us more than we can handle. He’s God, and merciful, gracious and forgiving, plus He knows all our frailties and weaknesses, so why will He give us more than we can handle eh? No reason whatsoever! Oh, He will test us occasionally to see if we really believe the stuff we talk. And I can personally tell you about that, because some days before I’m even finished writing the Bit, I’m bombarded with tests about what I’ve written. 

But then again, if we fail, He always gives us more chances to come back and take them. That’s why He’s known as the God of Numerous Chances! And that’s all to our benefit! Praise His holy name my people! For though He’s righteous, a stickler for justice, He’s also a pardoning judge. Because He created us, and thus knows what we’re all about, He has great empathy and LOVE for us. 

And He proved it by the celebrations we just had this past Easter weekend, where He sacrificed His Son for us, to pay for our sins once and for all time. There could be no greater LOVE than that! The Creator of the universe, and all therein, sacrificing His sinless Son to appease the need for sinless blood to cleanse the sins of His disobedient, rebellious creation. He LOVED and cared for us so much that He went to such drastic lengths to provide a means of redemption for us. 

How wonderful He is my brethren! There is NONE other like Him in the world! All the others are mere pretenders, jokers and fools! So since He’s provided ALL that we need to live a godly and righteous life, and come to salvation through His resurrected Son, then technically speaking, the problem(s) we face nowadays stem mainly from our lack of obedience to His Word. And if you claim that you don’t know His Word, then that’s still disobedience, because He’s admonished us many times to read, study and meditate on it. 

And since we’re talking about obedience, I believe it’s only right to mention two of the most profound statements on the subject in the Good Book, both not surprisingly made by Bruh Paul. The first one is found in his missive to the church at Rome: ‘For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.’ (Rom.5:19) 

Yeh friends, we all fell into sin by Adam’s disobedience. Although, come to think of it, I don’t know why Adam get’s blamed for the dastardly deed nuh, when it’s Eve who supposedly first took a bite of the apple, and Adam foolishly followed? But be that as it may, our forefathers weighed us down with sin by their disobedience, and it was only with the coming of Jesus Christ that we were granted a way to get out from under that deathly and damning sin. 

And as Bruh Paul says to the church at Philippi: ‘And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ 

Oh friends, do you think Jesus wanted to die, and even more, such a murderous, unfair and painful death! Obviously not! But He knew that the Father wanted to save us more than anything else, and that He was the ONLY ONE who had the parts to accomplish the Father’s plan. So He obediently went along, even to that disturbing and horrible death on the cross because displeasing the Father was a no no in His mind. 

And all I’m trying to point out here, by saying so much (smile) is that if Jesus, God’s Son was obedient to the point of giving His life for us, we, mere mortals, mere puny and flimsy creations of God, should also be very obedient to God’s Word because we have so much to gain and so much to lose. Please remember that ALL the Father and the Son did, was purely for OUR benefit not theirs. 

And Jesus has already been exalted for His sacrifice with a name above all names and to whom each knee must eventually bow, and sits comfortably at the right hand of the Father, so we are the ones who now need to take up the baton and lead a righteous and obedient life, if we want to enjoy salvation and eternal life with our Triune God. Sermon done! (smile) 

Now for those of us who are sincerely attempting to do as Jesus asks, let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Thursday Blessings, those wonderful aspects of life that He’s showered down on us to help us do the job. 

So altogether now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! 

I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

And the corollary to all that is that we must now go out and share them with others, not selfishly hoard them for ourselves, because that’s why we were given so much! Much LOVE!

…the best way to live…obey God…and leave all the consequences to Him… (Uncle Charles – Charles Stanley) 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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