Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 January 2019 Matthew 28:19.

Matthew 28:19.   ​Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
 
And then it was the first Friday in the new year; a day every working person was just dying to see, because it was a harbinger of the weekend and they so badly wanted to rest their tired bones, flesh and spirits after all the New Year’s celebrations! Ah mih people, the doctor’s appointments business in the big city have begun again yes. But I’m not sure that I’m keeping this one this morning nuh…

Chuh! The ole fella didn’t sleep well last night and is walking around this morning like an ole fogey. (smile) Easy mih first born easy…(smile) She’s already warned me not to cancel any appointments, but she’s not the one feeling the feelings, nor has to trek umpteen miles in the cold and traffic to hear a doctor say: ‘Oh, everything’s healing well. Just keep on doing what you’re doing!’ And I don’t believe that the duchess is too thrilled having to drive me either. But we’ll see how it shakes out after I’m done with the Bit. 

And nobody is more thrilled than the ordinary workingman to see this day as he so enthusiastically informs us: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! I couldn’t work another day even if mih life depended on it! Brother! Them Christmas and New Year’s festivities really drain me yes! Ah guess is time to realize that ah not as young as I used to be…in other words, no spring chicken, so I can’t afford to party as hearty and not feel the resulting rough consequences. Hn, hn! But where there is a will there is a way. 

So watch me, come this year Christmas and New Year’s Eve nuh! Ah going to start getting mihself ready from early o’clock…because who want to miss them fantastic celebrations, sitting down like some ole man in a wheelchair and kyar move and go round the place and eat and drink up other people stuff eh? Not me for sure nuh! So thank God for Fridays and weekends yes, that enable me to renew mih soul and body, so that I could get out and party! Party, party, party…!’ 

Yes mih breddren, it never ceases to amaze me, how we can be so kind and gracious for a couple of weeks, then go right back to the disgusting living we practiced before. But I guess that’s just nature of the human animal. However, since it’s Friday, we need to let our Christian voice be heard in our Friday Chant. It’s not as ebullient and mind chasing as the workingman’s song, but it sure fits our purposes admirably. 

 So altogether now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

Yeh, it’s not spectacular, but it helps keep us out of the enemy’s reach, and doing Jesus’ work. And that’s the most important aspect of our lives, doing Jesus’ bidding! Remember His last words to the disciples, in what we term, ‘the Great Commission’?

‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’ (Matt. 28:19-20) 

There you have it friends, the imperative from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Ours is to spread the good news of His Word around the world, to all and sundry. And note, He assured us, that He would be with us all the time we’re doing His will. What an awesome Saviour we have my brethren! Always thinking of us and our welfare! 

And the scholars give us this explanation: ‘28:19. The controlling purpose of the local church is to make disciples of all kinds of people. Those who are evangelized and converted should then be baptized, attesting to their identification with Christ and the local body of believers. The final phase of the Great Commission is to train disciples in Christian knowledge and for effective service. A church cannot choose one aspect of its responsibility and neglect the others. 

The Great Commission is a simple command with three steps – evangelism, baptism, and education. Illustration: The Great Commission is the strategy by which the church at Jerusalem saturated its community with the gospel. Application: Every Christian should determine that his ministry for Christ in the church upholds God’s objectives for that institution. (First Ref. Matt.16:18; Primary Ref. Matt.28:19; cf. Phil.1:27).’ 

Yes friends, our job is to let the heathen know about Christ, and all the wonderful things He has to offer to those who come to Him in humility and sincerity. And each and every Christian has a part to play in this transformation! The question that now faces us, is whether we’re doing what Jesus requires of us, and if we’re doing it to the best of our ability? 

And it’s obvious that as the body of Christ, the church, we’re not doing such a great job, otherwise our world wouldn’t be in such a state of upheaval and evil. So I’d like to invite each of us to sit down and seriously ponder our current role in Christ’s church, and then ask the Lord to help us do better, for we can ALL do better. Much LOVE!

…I must work the works of him who sent me…while it is day…the night cometh…when no man can work… (John 9:4)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 May 2016 Joel 2:28

Joel 2:28.   And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

And then it was the first day of the week – Sunday – the Lord’s Day…Glory Hallelujah! That means it’s time to get our weekly God-fix! And that’s meant in a positive manner.  It’s time to hie thee to the Lord’s sanctuary and raise the roof, or if it’s outdoors raise heaven’s roof, with songs of praise and worship, of adoration and awe and reverence to our wonderful Creator! 

And the good thing about all that is that it’s not a one way street. In return we will receive God’s peace and confidence, His encouragement and assurance, His strength and steadfastness so that we can successfully face the workday world for another week. 

And all God’s children gave out a delightful and grateful shout of ‘All praise and thanks be to our awesome God, who was, who is, and who always will be! Bless His holy name! Amen.’ 

And friends, today is a special day in the life of believers; it spells the formal beginning of Christ’s church; it’s the day of Pentecost, when the beginning of God’s promise in our Bit was fulfilled. ‘And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.’  

Before this, the Spirit of God worked from the outside, came upon believers individually, temporarily, often to perform some special work. But after that, the Lord’s Spirit was going to work internally, in a permanent manner. It would come upon each and every believer and dwell within them as soon as they believed; accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. 

And that promise from Joel was also renewed by Jesus just before His ascension, when He told the disciples: ‘And, behold I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry (stay) ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.’ (Luke 24:49) 

And the scholars explain that verse thus: ‘24:49. Here is the source of strength for effective evangelism. The promise of my Father stresses that the Spirit’s coming is not an afterthought, but an integral part of God’s eternal will. Endued conveys the picture of one being clothed with God’s enablement. Waiting is part of necessary preparation for the reception of God’s guidance and sanction.’  

And that is exactly what the disciples did; they waited in Jerusalem until they were clothed with God’s Holy Spirit, His enablement!  

Now listen to Luke describe the Day of Pentecost: ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord (purpose or mind) in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  

And there appeared unto them cloven (divided) tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ (Acts 2:1-4) 

Oh how great is our God, my brethren! For as Jesus also told the disciples before His ascension: ‘For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’ (Acts 1:5) And so said, so done! 

Now let me see if I can paraphrase an important distinction made here by the scholars. ‘2:4. Though verse 4 mentions only the filling with the Spirit, both the filling and the baptism occurred. Christ promised that the baptism would occur (1:4-5) and Peter later affirms that it did happen at Pentecost (11:15-16). 

The filling and the baptism are two different works performed by the Holy Spirit. Note their contrasts: (1) Following Pentecost every believer receives the baptism of the Spirit (1 Cor.12:13); hence the New Testament never commands the Christian to receive it. But the filling of the Spirit is not experienced by all believers, and so is commanded (Eph.5:18). 

(2) The baptism is permanent, happening but once and for all. The filling is ongoing, occurring continuously as seen in the present tense imperative of Ephesians 5:18, that is, “Keep on being filled.” The verse commands: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (riotousness): but be filled with the Spirit.” 

The filling of the Spirit is the controlling influence of the Spirit within the believer. Such control is neither universal or unending, thus it must be commanded and does recur within the believers (cf.4:8,31) The baptism is the act by which Jesus, through the Spirit, at conversion brings the believer into relation with Himself and makes the believer part of God’s people, the church. The filling is the continuous experience within the Christian whereby the Spirit, who already indwells him, keeps control over his life.’ 

Ah mih people, I know that sounds somewhat confusing, but if you take your time and read it, you will eventually understand what it’s all about.  (smile) 

And we’ll conclude with some of what happened after the Holy Spirit came upon the early church. ‘And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad (this sound occurred), the multitude came together and were confounded (confused) because every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? 

And how hear we every man in our own tongue (language or dialect), wherein we were born… Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt (perplexed), saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.’ (Acts 2:5-8, 11-12) 

Oh my fellow believers, that must have been a rather tumultuous day in ole Jerusalem! When you hear a bunch of uneducated Galileans speaking about God in your own language, it must give you pause for wonder. And you can’t blame those who thought that the Christians were somewhat inebriated either.  

So today, please, let’s sit and ponder what the Holy Spirit has done, is doing and has promised to do in our lives. And above all let’s try and keep our souls continually filled with Him, and thus let Him control us, for that is the epitome of wisdom! Have a blessed day of Pentecost! Much LOVE!

…what’s there to control and baptize us and keep us filled with Christ…the Holy Spirit…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 April 2016 Luke 9:23

Luke 9:23.   And he said to them all, If any man will (desires to) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

And then it was a dry, warmer, sunshiny Tuesday! Glory to God! Yeh friends, Tuesday has dawned much better than Monday did, and let’s hope the remaining days of the week will do likewise. 

Oh, they are even forecasting temps up in the high teens for the latter part of the week. Let’s hope that the weather people are right, because we do need a break from this rather unseasonable weather. And all God’s people in the beleaguered northern climes shouted a loud ‘For sure!’ (smile) 

But my people, though the weather might be important to a certain extent, we cannot allow it to be a major focus in our lives. It’s not that important. Our focus must be concentrated on Jesus and doing His will here on earth. 

And to help us do that this Tuesday, spring-like morning, (smile) let’s declare, let’s confess our Tuesday Mantra with a whole lot of enthusiasm and conviction. 

As one now: ‘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.’ 

And isn’t that the glorious truth my fellow believers? Indeed it is! We are not defined by whom this evil and adulterated world says we are. No! We are defined as God’s beloved children and all the wonderful things that entails! 

All praise and glory be to our heavenly Father for His mercy and LOVING-kindness, sending Jesus to die for us, then to become our friend and most trusted confidante! Oh what an honour that is! 

Consequently, we are duty bound to share the good news of His gospel and His unconditional LOVE with all we meet, wherever we might go, for we are today’s disciples, entrusted with the sacred duty and directive, aptly named ‘The Great Commission’: 

‘Go therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always(s), even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20) 

Oh friends and neighbours, are we fulfilling that mandate to the best of our ability? I don’t think so nuh, else the church of Jesus; His earthly body of followers would be much larger, more cohesive and Christ-like than it is today. The divisions and dissensions, the envy and jealousy and resentment would surely not be as great as they currently are. 

Now here is some interesting info from the scholars, termed the ‘Purpose of the Church.’ ’28:19. The controlling purpose of the local church is to make disciples of all kinds of people. Those who are evangelized and converted should then be baptized, attesting to their identification with Christ and the local body of believers. 

The final phase of the Great Commission is to train disciples in Christian knowledge and for effective service. A church cannot choose one aspect of its responsibility and neglect the others. The Great Commission is a simple command with three steps – evangelism, baptism, and education. 

Illustration: The Great Commission is the strategy by which the church at Jerusalem saturated its community with the gospel. Application: Every Christian should determine that his ministry for Christ in the church upholds God’s objective for that institution. (First Ref. Matt.16:18; Primary ref. Matt.28:19; cf. Phil.1:27).’ 

Oh my fellow believers in Christ, are we upholding all the aspects of the Great Commission in our local churches, are we saturating our local communities with the gospel? I don’t think so nuh. At least not to the extent that we should. 

Are we evangelizing and training disciples in the knowledge of Christ? Not as we ought to. The church of Christ ought to be more forceful and proactive, not fearful and reactive and divisive as it is. Unless we’re all on the same page, nothing truly constructive will be done to further God’s glorious kingdom. 

And it all begins with us at the individual and local level my people; right down at the grass roots. The church needs a solid foundation at the bottom, just as any successful organization needs to have, if it is to grow strong and prosper for an enduring length of time, and in Christ’s case, forever. 

That finally brings us to our Bit, where Jesus laid down the terms of discipleship in His organization. ‘And he said to them all, If any man will (desires to) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ 

Yes my precious people, to be true disciples of Jesus, we have to take up our cross, and follow Jesus. And please note that He emphasizes a ‘daily’ taking up of our cross, not sometimes, or when we feel like, but each and every day of our lives. 

Now listen to how Matthew characterizes it in his gospel. ‘He that LOVETH father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that LOVETH son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.’ (Matt.10:37-39) 

Yeh friends, Jesus is supposed to be our NUMBER ONE LOVE! No ifs ands and buts about that! And if we LOVE anybody else or anything more than Him, then unfortunately we are not worthy of Him. 

So please, today, let’s take some time to truly ponder what position Jesus holds on the depth chart of our LOVE, and do whatever it takes nuh, with God’s help obviously, to make Him Number One, El Numero Uno! For that is true wisdom. Much LOVE!

…who is the Greatest…Jesus…who is Number One…Jesus…who is our Lord and Saviour…Jesus…who is our Advocate in heaven…Jesus…it’s ALL about Jesus… 

P.S. Please excuse the lateness, but the ole fella’s life been sort of topsy turvy these last few days. Got to bring it into balance. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 June 2015 Ephesians 2:8‏‏

Ephesians 2:8.  For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Oh Friends, unfortunately the two big days off for the weekend are now over… And I hear a loud ‘Steups!’ in response. (smile)

That means today is Monday…yes Monday, and we need to get ourselves up and out to labour for another week, so that we can earn some money, often a pittance, to try and lead a half-decent life.

We all know it’s not the ideal scenario, but it’s what we have, so let’s just get over ourselves, stop the pity parties, the whining and complaining and rise to the occasion as Jesus desires of us. And remember that if you abuse the weekend, you won’t be fit for anything come Monday morning. So enough with the sermon, (smile) instead let’s belt our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with a whole lot of vim and vigour.

All together now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together.

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies.

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle.

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’

Oh chuh people! That was a rather hoarse, half-hearted and off-key rendition! Jesus wasn’t thrilled at all. You could see Him shaking His head all through it, while His face bore an unhappy, puzzled ‘what else can I do eh?’ expression.

Anyway Friends, it’s too late to worry about that now. Hopefully though, just singing it boosted our adrenalin output and put a li’l pep in our step, enabling us to go out and do a good job in Jesus’ name.

We also need to remember quite clearly from whence all our blessings flow; from Almighty God. And one of the biggest blessings, if not the biggest, ever to befall mankind is enshrined in our Bit. ‘For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:’

Mama Mia! I can’t help but say it Friends – what a magnificent and magnanimous God we serve and worship! And there should be NO DOUBT whatsoever about that, just judging from the fact that He gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for our disgusting sins. Has any of the other supposed gods ever done anything like that? Obviously not, because they are all dead, inanimate, ephemeral objects. But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the ONE AND ONLY TRUE LIVING GOD!

And all God’s people shouted a loud and lusty: ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Yes Friends, our God is a true living and breathing Being, who sees and knows all that goes on in our world.

Now let’s turn to some provocative scriptures that deal with grace. And one of the most famous ones occurs when Bruh Paul asks the Lord three times to take away ‘the thorn in his flesh.’ But the Lord’s response is certainly interesting. ‘And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (weaknesses), that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’ (2 Cor.12:9)

Yes my people, in our weaknesses God’s power is demonstrated, for when we are unable to bear up in our own strength, God’s grace pulls us through. Please remember that in times of weakness and frailty. He doesn’t always solve our problems, but He ALWAYS gives us the wherewithal, the grace to handle them in our weakness.

Now hear what Bruh Paul says later on to the Ephesians, re the new life in Christ. ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.’ (Eph.4:29)

Ah mih people, are we following those wise words of advice? I certainly hope so, because it is imperative that our words lift up, benefit those who hear them. We can’t expect others to come to Jesus if our words are negative and self-serving.

Then to the Colossians, he says: ‘Walk in wisdom toward them that are without (outside), redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.’ (Col.4:5-6)

And the scholars offer these explanations on those verses. ‘4:5. Paul turns from his responsibilities for evangelism (v.3-4) to the Colossians’ evangelistic duties (v.5-6). They are to walk in wisdom or “live wisely” in their relations toward them that are without, that is, unbelievers. Redeeming the time is to make the most of every opportunity. They are to seize every opportunity to display wise behaviour toward the unsaved and to use it as a chance for witnessing.’

And yuh know what Friends? Those same sentiments apply to us in these worrisome and difficult times.

‘4:6. An example of wise conduct (v.5) is daily speech that is gracious (with grace) in nature. Such speech is to be seasoned with salt, that is, characterized by the wisdom of verse 5. Gracious, wise conversation will enable the Colossians to know how to answer every man when speaking to him about the gospel.’

That also applies to us today my brethren! 

And we’ll end with Bruh Paul’s words to the Thessalonians. ‘Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath LOVED us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish (establish) you in every good word and work.’ (2 Thess.2:16-17) 

Oh Friends, I wish those exact sentiments upon us all today, as we go out into the crazy world to live and work for Jesus. Much LOVE!

…grace…the totally unmerited favour of God…given to totally undeserving men…a true and wonderful testimony…of God’s great LOVE for us…