Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 June 2020 Matthew 5:14a.

Matthew 5:14a.     ​Ye are the light of the world… 
 

Yes, we’re disappointed because there’s still no corporate worship on this Sabbath Sunday, but since we’re true and faithful followers of the great, powerful and imaginative Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we will find a way to worship and celebrate the Sabbath while physically distancing! (smile) No doubt about that my people! And we’re not worried, because we know that some day, as soon as the Lord is good and ready, all these present troubles will pass. And all God’s children gave a loud and positive shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah! This too shall end!’ 

But until it does, we have to keep worshipping through technological means, and to tell the truth we still get to do most things, except the physical gathering and touching. But enough talk…we come here to worship not engage in idle chatter. (smile) And as always, we open with a sacrifice of praise, today’s hymn being titled, ‘Give Me Oil in My Lamp.’ And to tell the truth, I didn’t even know that was the correct name until I looked it up yesterday. I always knew it as a local spiritual ditty called, ‘A li’l more Oil in My Lamp,’ sung in some of the more evangelical churches, that got the spirit moving and the feet dancing. 

And so, in honour of that ‘Ole Time Religion,’ we going to sing it that way. I hope you like this one, mih pardner Scotty… hope it brings back memories. (smile) So let’s get the hands a clapping and the feet a dancing and voices in full, harmonious throat, as we sing praises to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! 

‘A li’l more oil in my lamp, to keep it burning. A li’l more oil in my lamp, I pray. A li’l more oil in my lamp, to keep it burning. Keep it burning till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!) A li’l more LOVE in my heart, to keep me sharing. A li’l more LOVE in my heart, I pray. A li’l more LOVE in my heart, to keep me sharing. Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain) 

A li’l more joy in my heart, to keep me singing. A li’l more joy in my heart, I pray. A li’l more joy in my heart, to keep me singing. Keep me singing till the break of day. (Refrain) A li’l more faith in my heart, to keep me praying. A li’l more faith in my heart, I pray. A li’l more faith in my heart, to keep me praying. Keep me praying till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!)’ 

Ah mih people, that was indeed a rousing rendition. It reminded me of how the Pentecostal Church where I grew up would be humming and jumping when they gave praise. But I guess to each his own, and I don’t think the Lord refuses any kind of praise, once it’s sincere. And I have one person’s view point on the benefit of the song. ‘For the religious, one interpretation is that it signifies a thirst for spiritual food—spiritual food to get one through the darkest of times in hopes of a brighter day, a clearer vision of one’s path or until one gains their salvation.’ 

And believe me friends, it certainly gives us spiritual food for dark and tough times! When we seek to have more, light, LOVE, joy and faith in our hearts and souls, it does inspire us to rise above our earthly problems and also receive divine guidance and wisdom to do the work that Christ desires of us. And right now I’m seeking some of that divine guidance and wisdom to know where to go from here. (smile) And I believe this is where I’m being guided. 

The first place is to the parable of the ten virgins; five who were wise enough to take extra oil for their lamps, and five who were foolish not to do so. We are expected to be like the first five; wise and take oil with us when we go to wait for the bridegroom at the wedding feast, so that our lights don’t go out if He takes a long time to come. Remember, Jesus expects us to be bright, shining beacons to the world: As He clearly says: ‘Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:14a; 16) 

And to do that in an excellent and diligent manner, as the song says, we need other things; like LOVE. And hear Jesus on the subject: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) Oh friends, that seems clear and straightforward! But does our behaviour tell that story? Not nearly enough as it ought to! 

And would you believe that if we truly followed Jesus’ advice, our lives would be filled with that unsurpassable blessing called joy? And not the joy of this world, but Jesus’ special kind. ‘These things have I spoken unto you; that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full.’ (John 13:11) And later on, He again told the disciples: ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ (John 16:24) And let’s not forget ‘that the joy of the Lord is our strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) So without it, we’re weak, fragile and unable to do His work properly. 

That brings us to the last piece of the puzzle, but the first one we need to acquire, and the one that keeps us keeping on; faith. That ‘substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb.11:1) Yes friends, buoyed by hope, we achieve faith; assurance in the New Testament, and this brings us to a certain and sure conviction in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Obviously we can get deeper into all of those topics, but hopefully this will suffice for now, will serve as a catalyst to keep us strong and steadfast in prayer, with LOVE for each other, like shining lights filled with joy, and doing the best we can in these turbulent times. Much LOVE!

…to know Christ’s joy…and LOVE…and peace…is to accept Him forever…as Lord and Saviour…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 September 2016 Hebrews 11:1.

 Hebrews 11:1.    Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.

Welcome my Scrip-Bit friends and family to this glorious Thursday morn; the first day of September 2016! Our God is alive and well in His heaven, faithfully looking over His people here on earth. And all God’s people said a loud and grateful, ‘Thank You Lord!’ 

Now the 1st of September in the northern climes usually means that the summer is technically over; the free paper burn, holidays are over, no more weekends at the cottage, it’s back to school and work, and begin thinking about the winter weather that will be upon us in another couple of months. 

But before we get to that (smile), I want to share ‘A Prayer for Solutions,’ from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional. 

Please pray with me. ‘Lord, thanks for assuring me that you’ll solve the problems if I’ll exercise the faith and make the right decision! Forgive me for waiting for all the difficulties, real or fanciful, to be resolved before deciding to make my commitment. 

I confess I have too often allowed problems instead of possibilities to take over leadership of my life – to make my decisions – and take command over my destiny. I know, now, what faith is, Lord! It’s making the right decisions before I see solutions to all the problems! Increase my faith! Amen.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth my people? It surely is! We allow the problems, rather than the possibilities to run our lives.  Remember, we live; we walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor.5:7) So as our faith goes, so go our lives. 

If our faith is strong, then we walk comfortably with the Lord. If our faith is weak and we have many doubts, then our walk of faith is not as strong and we are liable to take more missteps and make more mistakes than we ought to. 

And I sincerely believe that lack of true faith is one of the Christian’s biggest problems nowadays. With the world and all its evil and lustful pleasures and demand for material possessions coming against us so strongly, it’s very easy to falter, to lose faith and sight in God and succumb to the temptation. 

That’s why faith is so crucial in our everyday lives, something we need to keep at the forefront all the time, since it’s so easy to lose faith when the trials and tribulations beset us. And what is faith you ask? 

Well the Good Book gives us this definition, which is also our Bit for today. ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ Yeh friends, technically, it’s about hoping for and believing what we cannot see. 

But here is an excellent explanation on our Bit from the scholars. ’11:1. Verse 1 is not so much a definition of what faith is, as it is a description of what faith does (cf.11:6). Two truths concerning its activity are stated here. First, faith provides substance (Gr. hypostasis). Though broad in its usages, this Greek word normally has the meaning of “assurance” in the New Testament (cf. 3:14, 2 Cor.9:4; 11:17) and this seems to be the best sense here. 

Second, faith provides evidence (Gr. elegchos). It is evidence in the sense of proof that results in conviction. The difference between assurance and evidence would be minimal were it not for the phrase qualifying each: of things hoped for and of things not seen. 

The first involves future hope; the second involves present realities that are unseen. The first includes the hope of the resurrection, the return of Christ, and the glorification of the saints. The second involves unseen realities, such as forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice and the present intercession of Christ in heaven. Hope is faith relating to the future; conviction is faith relating to the present.’ 

Oh friends, I know that is somewhat convoluted and might prove confusing, but please take your time and reason it out, and it will eventually become clear. Faith is the biggest thing in our Christian walk. It’s what keeps us attached to our awesome God; to the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Only by faith can we believe it all! 

As the Good Book tells us: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ (Heb.11:6) 

So my brethren, it’s all about hope and belief. Remember, you can’t have faith if you don’t first have hope, for hope is what stirs the pot of faith and keeps it bubbling up strong and positive. 

Now let’s truly acknowledge our hope and faith by enthusiastically declaring our Thursday Blessings, for a blessing is not a blessing until it’s been spoken. 

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!’ 

Wonderful my people! Now let’s go out and put our faith into action nuh, because it’s useless unless and until it is acted upon! Much LOVE!

…faith calls for works…and works demand faith to do them…