Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 October 2019 Proverbs 16:32.

Proverbs 16:32.   ​He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

 

Yeah, it’s Friday! And though the sun is struggling to get out from under the cloud cover, there is joy in the land, simply because it’s Friday and the workweek is ending! Thus, there are many ‘Praise the Lord’s!’ both sincere and insincere, (smile) ringing out from all parts of the world. And there’s none louder than that of the ordinary workingman, who never shies away from expressing his true feelings. 

And today, he shouts: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! What a week it’s been! I ate and drank and partied so much this past Thanksgiving weekend, that I was truly sick come Tuesday and couldn’t go to the slave master’s work. Obviously he tried to give me a hard time when I showed up on Wednesday, but I just ignored him, because I have my sick time rights and this one was certainly legitimate. He feels that nobody should ever book off sick, because he loses money when they do. 

But when he books off sick is okay though, because he’s the boss… Chuh! Just forget the li’l greedy man yes! And yuh better believe this weekend is going to be strictly rest! I like mih food and drinks, but not to the extent that I want them to get me sick. I surely hope I learn mih lesson this time yes. Thank God for Fridays and weekends oui!’ 

Ah friends, yuh see what happen when we overdo it? Unwanted consequences usually come back to haunt us. As Uncle Charles (Dr. Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘You reap what you sow; more than you sow, and later than you sow.’ And that’s the gospel truth! It holds in all situations in life! So let’s turn now to our Friday Chant nuh, which isn’t as verbose and in your face as the workingman’s song, but does do the trick for us believers. 

All together in true sincerity 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!’ 

Yes, we do need to be careful how we operate, because the enemy, like the roaring, toothless lion that he is, is always lurking around seeking ways to get into our lives and create havoc. And I have a very good testimony on that point to share. This morning as I was getting ready to write the Bit, my trusty desktop computer began playing the fool. It just would not access the Internet after booting up. 

And as the Lord would have it, I opened the Good Book and began flipping pages and just happened to stop in Proverbs 16…no I don’t think that just happened nuh, because the Word that I read plainly said: ‘He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.’  

That was certainly more than mere coincidence, because every time I turned my computer off and on, and got no progress, I could feel the anger rising up in me and I wanted to give it a few good thumps. But with that scripture staring me straight in the face, and knowing that the Lord, or the enemy was testing my resolve, I managed to not thump it, and it did behave properly after the fifth or sixth time of turning it on and off. 

I believe the Lord saved me though, because I’m pretty sure that I would have thumped it if I had had to go through the annoying rigmarole one more time. (smile) So I passed the test…but just barely. And that’s the way this earthly life is my faithful brethren. Life just likes to test us, to muddy our waters and see how we react. 

Sometimes it’s the Lord, other times it’s the enemy. But whoever or whatever causes us to find ourselves between a rock and hard place, we need to be able to bring up scripture written indelibly in our souls, bodies and minds, to help us handle them in a godly and sensible manner. And today we just going to check out a few of those scriptures that we need to have as our bedrock, our fortification against unnecessary anger. 

Hear Cousin Sol earlier on: ‘He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit (impulsive) exalteth folly.’ (Prov.14:29) And that’s certainly no lie, as many of us have found out over the years. And just recently we featured these immortal verses from Bruh Paul to the Ephesians. 

‘Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:31-32) Words of eternal wisdom my brethren! 

Meanwhile James adds his two-cents worth thus: ‘Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not (does not produce) the righteousness of God.’ (James 1:19-20) And if you’re a true believer, you ought to know that. But listen to the scholars’ explanation anyway. 

‘1:19. This is a key verse because it expresses three topics that James develops later: hearing, verses 19-27; speaking, 3:1-12; and wrath, 4:1-12.’ ‘1:20. Trials require silence and patience because talk inflames anger, and anger inflames talk. Anger also distracts from listening to God.’ I hope we all hear that friends: anger distracts us from listening to God, and when we don’t listen to God, we go astray and end up suffering severe consequences. 

And here are some final words on the subject from Cousin Sol once again. ‘The discretion of a man deferreth his anger (makes him slow to anger); and it is his glory to pass over (overlook) a transgression.’ (Prov.19:11) Awright mih people, there’s the ammunition to fight the battle against anger, let’s go out and put it to good use now nuh! It’s Jesus’ desire for all His followers. Much LOVE!

…be ye angry…and sin not…let not the sun…go down upon your wrath… (Eph.4:26)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 October 2019 Proverbs 31:26.

Proverbs 31:26.    ​She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and her tongue is the law of kindness.

 

So we’ve finally come to Saturday! Wow! Can’t believe that a week’s already passed since I’ve been in J.A; a busy week to boot! But as they say, time waits on no one, especially in these fast and furious times, when life is often just a blur, unless you take the time to really step back and consider what’s happening in your own life. Well yesterday evening we had what they called the gala event…but it wasn’t a real gala as the word usually implies, I think tonight’s formal dinner might more suit that bill. 

But anyhow, at around seven thirty, about fifty something of us got together in the Mona Visitors Lodge, a nice venue on the campus for holding special occasions. After mixing and mingling for a while, we watched a video compilation of graduates, showing then and now pictures. That obviously brought forth hoots of laughter and comments as we saw the serious contrasts between the baby-faced students we were then, and the harder, older looks of the current times. Then there was a roll call of all those who had graduated in 1969, including the dear departed, and those who were at the function got up and acknowledged themselves. 

After that we went up to the back of the building to what they call the ruins; the ruins of some old stone building, never knew it was there, and had finger food and refreshing beverages, (smile) and mingled some more, all the while being feted by the beautiful strains of a steelband. I guess a lot of reminiscing, as well as catching up went on. But it was certainly good to see people you hadn’t seen for at least fifty years and talk about things that happened way back then and persons you wouldn’t see for even longer. All in all, it was an interesting evening, but today is the real party…Bring it on! 

And not forgetting that today is Saturday, let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.’ Yeh friends, curiosity is an interesting thing and does lead to all kinds of further interesting stuff, so it is of some importance to ask questions, if you want to get answers, though they say that ‘curiosity killed the cat.’ (smile) Yes, we can’t belabour the questioning just for questioning sake! And furthermore, in this day and age, where deceit and fraudulence are rampant, it is of exceeding importance to ask questions if you don’t want to be taken advantage of. 

And this next quote says: ‘Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.’ There can be no doubt of the truth in that statement, for it’s only when we step out some from our comfort zone that we make what’s call progress. The problem however is how much deviation do we want, or how much is sufficient to not upturn the whole applecart? 

That means to have a fairly stable society, progress ought to be orderly and sort of linear, moving from one point to another in an orderly fashion, otherwise all hell can break loose. Look at what happens in revolutions, be they armed and physical, or like what’s happening right now in our communication and technological sectors. The supposed progress is happening so quickly and disorderly that it’s throwing everything out of sync, and there’s no real control taking place, it’s become more like a free for all. 

Then there’s this: ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’ Another truism, you might say! We can all find happiness in the most trying times if we turn on the real and true light…His name is Jesus Christ! John said that he was sent to bear witness of ‘the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ (John 1:8-9) So friends, with Jesus as the mainstay of our lives, happiness is indeed possibly in any kind of situation. Please never forget that! 

Now hear this: ‘Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.’ That makes me chuckle, for as far as I’m concerned our sense of morals should naturally make us do right. I guess it’s all in the interpretation, for when we talk about having morals we usually mean the good aspect, not the immoral part. So here it seems the whole morality landscape is being considered. But sadly morality seems to be a forgotten word today, just like God and godliness are being turfed out of our society. 

Anyway, this last quote should help to fix all of that. ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.’ And is that last part ever true my brethren. These are indeed some rough and difficult days and we can’t truly handle them without some kindness on the part of everybody. Unfortunately though, kindness seems to be a word that is fast disappearing from our society, as we just said, in the wake of our strenuous endeavours to push God and godliness out. But friends, the truth of the matter is that kindness is next to godliness.

Hear how Proverbs puts it, when talking about a virtuous woman. ‘She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and her tongue is the law of kindness.’ You can’t ever beat that my people…and it doesn’t apply to virtuous women alone, but to all God’s children! Yuh see how Ruth, born into idolatry, a Gentile, became a descendant of Jesus, Bruh David’s great grandmother, because of her steadfast support and kindness to her mother-in -law Naomi. Simply read all of Ruth. It’s a short book. (smile) 

And there’s no better passage of scripture to end today’s Bit than this one from Ephesians. Hear Bruh Paul: 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. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:29-32) 

Ah mih people, what wonderful words for us believers to live by! Please, let’s do our sincere best to put them into action nuh, for they will indeed be healing balm to all our sorrows! Much LOVE!

…and to godliness…(add) brotherly kindness…and to brotherly kindness…LOVE… (1Pet.1:7)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 June 2019 Ephesians 4:26-27.

Ephesians 4:26-27.    Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place (an opportunity) to the devil.
 

Brother does it ever look glorious outside! Thank the Lord! And a li’l rain fell yesterday afternoon and in the middle of the night, but that was just to wash away the dirt and grime and cool the temperature down. So we open with a bright clean new day, with Jesus as the one constant in our lives, the ONLY One we need, leading and guiding us in His work! 

And I know that many of us won’t see the bright new day until it gets old because we’re sleeping in on this wonderful Canada Day weekend Saturday morning. But that’s okay, you’re allowed! (smile) Anyway, since it’s Saturday, let’s turn to the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And like this week he was all caught up in the throes of happiness, (smile) because all the quotes deal with some aspect of happiness. 

And the first thing we need to realize is that ‘Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.’ Now there’s much truth to that because our life is basically built on our attitude towards it. Some of us can go through certain circumstances and be happy, while others go through the same things and be miserable as hell. That’s why as Christians, we’re taught that the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Neh.8:10) 

With that joy constantly running through us, it gives us a steady kind of happiness, regardless of our circumstances, because our mind is stayed on the Lord. As Isaiah says: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on (sustained by) thee: because he trusteth in thee.’ (Is.26:3) And that’s why the enemy always tries to steal our joy, get us away from concentrating on the Lord, because he knows that’s the source of our strength. 

Now hear these next two quotes, because they run together: ‘The thing everyone should realize is that the key to happiness is being happy by yourself and for yourself.’ And ‘Happiness depends upon us.’ They simply mean that we are responsible for our own happiness. We ought not to allow others to control our happiness by their selfish machinations. 

The sad truth is that no one can make us happy unless we want to be happy, and the opposite is also true; no one can make us unhappy unless we allow them to do so. Therefore, let’s remember that when we say so and so made us happy or unhappy, we’re allowing them to control our situations, and that is definitely not the best thing for our psyche, for our well-being. 

That brings us to this quote. ‘Every day is a new day, and you’ll never be able to find happiness if you don’t move on.’ Yes friends, we have to come to each day with the attitude that we will be happy, come what may; forget the problems of the past day and move on to the golden opportunities being provided by the new one. But unfortunately, too many of us drag the past with us to the present and thus spoil the future. 

And thus we come to the last quote that so wisely informs us: ‘For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.’ Now isn’t that the gospel truth! (smile) It sounds simplistic, and it might very well be, but it is a fact of life. For however long we’re angry, we lose that much time which could have been spent in happiness. And I don’t know about you, but I like to spend as li’l time as possible being angry, and as much as possible being happy. 

But we all are different, and some souls just seem to thrive on anger, not realizing that it’s killing them both literally and figuratively. That’s because anger, like stress, manifests itself in so many different ways; emotionally, mentally and physically, and are often all tied together, indistinguishable each from the other, but all doing evil and dirty work in our lives. 

In any case, being constantly angry, or for long periods of time is not a good Christian characteristic, that’s why Bruh Paul gave this warning to the Ephesians. ‘Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place (an opportunity) to the devil.’ 

Yeh friends, it’s okay to get angry every so often, but it should only be for a brief period, but definitely don’t take it to bed with you, because you’ll just sleep angrily, if you sleep at all, and wake up angry too, thus allowing the devil to steal your joy for much too long. Getting angry doesn’t mean you’re automatically being sinful, but the longer you hold that anger, the more liable you are to give the enemy the opportunity to creep into your soul. 

And it’s interesting some of the things Cousin Sol had to say about wrath and anger. For example: ‘A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.’ (Prov.19:19) And how true that is! You always have to deliver the angry man from some problem he’s caused by his anger. 

And: ‘A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both. Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous (a torrent); but who is able to stand before envy (jealousy)?’ (Prov.27:3-4) Wow! Does Cousin Sol ever lay it on thick, but true! 

And because of all that intrinsic evil in those negative emotions, we need to hear and accept Bruh Paul’s warning. ‘And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:30-32) 

Oh my people, that’s my solemn prayer for us this Saturday morning. So on this Canada day weekend, as we celebrate the birth of our nation, let’s do it with those sentiments front and centre in our minds and lives nuh. It is the definite desire of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Much LOVE!

…let’s replace anger with LOVE…and evil with good…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 February 2017 Colossians 3:13.

Colossians 3:13.   Forbearing (bearing with) one another and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Sorry that the Bit is a tad on the late side friends, but I had an Ironman’s Breakfast to go to early this morning at the church. And like every time I go out I seem to come back tired, so I had to rest a spell. Chuh! I’m tired of being tired yes! 

The great thing about this Ironman side though, is that none of us are under fifty…and possibly older. What a hoot! But we do get done the things we need to get done. And that’s the important thing. 

Now since today is Saturday, let’s contemplate a few of our Friend Anselm’s quotes of this past week. And this first one is very interesting and meaningful to many of us. ‘If I have something to say, I want it to be meaningful.’ 

Oh friends, so often, especially in this world of social media, we talk such foolishness; stuff that doesn’t deserve to be even thought about, much less spoken! Where has the wisdom gone of if you don’t have anything sensible to say, shut up? I guess that we all feel that what we’re saying is sensible. I beg to differ. 

This second quote is also interesting and pertains very nicely to our Christian faith. ‘Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.’ And isn’t that gospel truth! As Christians, we’re taught that ‘this too shall pass.’ 

And that better had be true, because that’s what I’m counting on in these days of medical malaise. (smile) But under no circumstance are we ever to quit, for quitting does not exist in Jesus’ vocabulary. Every time we fail or fall, we’re to get right back up, and with God’s help, continue pushing forward.  

And the last quote says: ‘A lot of times I find that people who are blessed with the most talent don’t ever develop that attitude, and the ones who aren’t blessed in that way are the most competitive and have the biggest heart.’ 

Now that is ever so true! I’ve seen it happen over a lifetime, where the most talented are the least motivated, and the ones that rise to the pinnacle of their profession, are usually the least talented but hardest working. 

Some might even dare to put me in that category, especially my High School Principal, who liked to write on my report card: ‘Lazy boy, could do better.’ But I don’t think I’m that talented in any particular area. I’m more a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy. (smile) 

Anyway, here is our Bit for today: ‘Forbearing (bearing with) one another and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.’ And this is definitely the last day for it. I just never got in all I had to say yesterday. 

Now we’re going to quote some of Bruh Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, per the new life in Christ, when we’re born again. ‘That ye put off concerning the former conversation (conduct) the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; 

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.’ (Eph.4:22-24) 

Yes friends, when we receive Christ, we’re to renounce our old way of living, and renew our minds with the things of God, constantly improving, getting stronger in our walk of faith. 

Then Bruh Paul offers some practical guidelines on how to throw off the old man and put on the new. Here are a few of them. ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good for edifying, that it may minister grace unto hearers. 

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice: 

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:29-32) 

Yeh mih breddren, those are just some of the things we need to work towards when we become Christians. And please notice how Bruh Paul ends the exhortation; with the tenet on forgiving. 

Ah mih people, forgiving in our Christian faith is so important, that I’ll end this series on it by reminding us of some of Jesus’ words on the subject. 

‘And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught (anything) against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’ (Mark 11:25-26) 

That says it all my fellow believers. So until we meet again tomorrow, the Lord in favour, please let’s get serious about practicing forgiveness nuh, because however we mete it out, that’s exactly how it will be meted back out to us. Much LOVE!

…and forgive us our debts…as we forgive our debtors… (Matt.6:12)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 December 2016 Ephesians 4:32.

Ephesians 4:32.    And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Aye friends, we all know that like oil and water, late nights and early mornings don’t mix. So please tell me why I insist on trying to make them mix eh? I guess you’ll realize by now that I had one of those extremely late nights, and the ole body refused to get up too early to write the Bit. (smile) 

But that’s life mih breddren. At least I’m alive and kicking, though somewhat late. And enough with the excuses, let’s get to a rather appropriate poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. It’s titled ‘Slow Growth.’ 

And it says: ‘In my fretful impatience I am so often inclined to ask “Why can’t she change?” “Why is she always so slow?” “Will they ever learn from past mistakes?” And then You begin to impress me With my own slow progress upward. 

I see Your stretched-out patience. I remember how long You’ve waited for me. And I grieve that my attitude Is so often intolerant. O God, keep fresh the imprint Of my own need to grow And make me more flexible More understanding And always more LOVING.’ 

Ah mih people, how many of us fall into that trap eh? We complain about the slowness and negative attitudes of others, only to later on find out that our progress is just as slow and negative, if not slower and more negative. 

We just seem to take immense pleasure in judging others, without paying any, or sufficient attention to our own shortcomings. Now that’s definitely not right my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead we should have the attitude as declared by the Bible Promise for that poem, which is also our Bit for today. 

However, let’s begin with the verse before it, so that we can have a better idea of the context. Bruh Paul was here explaining to the Ephesians the new life in Christ that Christians ought to live after they are saved. 

And having given them a long list of do’s and don’ts, he finally ends up thus: ‘Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:31-32) 

Yeh friends, if there are two things we always need to remember in our dealings with our fellow man are the forgiveness and LOVING-kindness that the Lord God Almighty has shown us in our own lives, and show the same to those we come into contact with. 

Remember what Jesus said to His disciples after the withering of the fig tree. ‘Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught (anything) against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’ (Mark 11:24-26) 

Oh precious people of Christ, I don’t see how Jesus could have made the utmost importance of forgiveness any clearer nuh! But yet we still refuse to forgive others, while seeking forgiveness from heaven. 

It’s NEVER going to work my brethren! Only as we forgive, will we be forgiven. Forgiveness begins with us! Let’s try and remember that nuh, especially in this Christmas season, one of LOVE, caring and compassion in honour of Christ’s birth. 

And in regards to tenderheartedness, let’s check out this sermon on the Christian virtues, as outlined by Bruh Paul in his letter to the Colossians. ‘Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies (tender mercies), kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; 

Forbearing (bearing with) one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity (LOVE), which is the bond of perfectness. 

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.’ (Col.3:12-17) 

Oh my people, my people, what a wise and powerful prescription for earthly living! Can you imagine if Christians even put half of that stuff into their everyday lives, what a wonderful world we’d have? 

But as usual, we like to merely talk the talk and not walk the walk. But let me remind us friends that Christianity is an action movement, not simply a talk show. Jesus came and died for us, putting His words into actions. Now it’s up to us to do the same. 

And to help us do that, let’s go home declaring our Tuesday Mantra with power and faith, and a strong sense of purpose. 

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 as we believe those foundational truths my brethren, let’s put them into action nuh, otherwise it’s all a big waste of time. Much LOVE!

…only as we are tenderhearted and forgiving…will we receive the same…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 October 2015 Ephesians 4:30‏

Ephesians 4:30.  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

And a fine good morning to you all, my Scrip-Bit Family! And it is indeed a fine day to be alive, since new, unexpected blessings and mercies are in the offing! May the God, our God of peace and LOVE bless us all this Tuesday morning as we go about doing His holy will. 

And since today is Tuesday, I guess that calls for us to recite our Tuesday Mantra. So in one strong and sincere voice let’s affirm this wonderful affirmation. (smile) 

‘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 hurry. I don’t have to worry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

Yes my brethren, the most important aspect of our lives is that we are children of the Most High God Jehovah! That’s the telling characteristic that defines us!  What we do and what we have are immaterial and unimportant when matched up with the fact that we are God’s children. Please remember that. 

And to corroborate what we just said about Jesus being our Friend, listen to this poem from Gramps Schuller’s  (Dr. Robert A Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional. I don’t know if I have ever shared it before, but it certainly is very apropos for today. So please pray this prayer with me titled ‘What a Friend!’ 

‘You have never failed, Lord, to be my one, essential, intimate friend. When I was: Lonely in striving – you encouraged me. Lonely in struggling – you lifted me. Lonely in serving – you supported me. Lonely in suffering – you comforted me. Lonely in sinning – you forgave me. Lonely in sinking – you renewed me. Lonely in succeeding – you rejoiced with me. What a friend I have in Jesus! Thank you, Lord. Amen.’ 

Oh my people, my people, that is gospel truth! I can testify to it, as many of you can, because in the darkest, roughest and loneliest hours of our lives, our ever-faithful Friend, Jesus, is ALWAYS there with us, and helps us to come through those unnerving times. Glory Hallelujah! 

NO ONE else is ever ALWAYS with us! And for that reason we ought to feel safe and comforted in each and every circumstance and be able to fulfill the words of our Bit. ‘And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.’ 

Yes Friends, that’s something we should always try to do, because it shows a lack of trust and character on our part. The Holy Spirit indwells us to lead and guide us aright, on the straight and narrow path that leads to God. So if we continually grieve Him, then we’re showing a terrible lack of integrity, of morality and goodness of character. 

And how do we grieve the Holy Spirit? Hear how Bruh Paul puts it to the Ephesians. ‘Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Neither give place (an opportunity) to the devil. 

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 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. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:25-32)  

Now that’s how we grieve not the Holy Spirit my brethren! Basically by letting go of all our past behaviour and putting on the new man that’s in Christ. As we keep saying, it’s not always easy to give up our former habits and friendships, but with God’s ever-present help, we certainly can move along that long and challenging continuum of maturity in Christ Jesus. 

Now here are some more detailed explanations from the scholars. ‘4:25-5:2. This section gives practical guidelines as to how “the old man” (v.22) can be laid aside and how “the new man” (v.24) can be assumed in daily living. The passage specifies five sins to be discarded, the virtues that are to replace them, and the motive for such an exchange: 

(1) Lying is to be replaced by truth-telling, since Christians are fellow members (v.25). (2) Sinful anger is to be replaced by (briefly held) righteous indignation, that the devil may not be given opportunity (vv.26-27). (3) Theft is to be replaced by honest work, in order that one may have the means to meet the needs of others, (v.28). 

(4) Foul language is to be replaced by gracious speech, that it may edify others (v.28) and not grieve the Spirit (vv.29-30). (5) Resentment and wrath are to give way to kindness and forgiveness, since God has forgiven us (vv.31-32).’ 

And there we have it in spades Friends; how not to grieve the Holy Spirit! So please, today let’s ponder all what we’ve read and, obviously with God’s help, try to improve our individual situations, re the grieving of the Holy Spirit, for that is indeed wisdom of the highest order! Much LOVE!

…what a Friend we have in Jesus…all our sins and griefs to bear…what a privilege to carry…everything to God in prayer… 

P.S. You’ll notice that the font is slightly bigger, that’s because one reader complained that it was too small for her deteriorating eyes. I wanted to tell her, well just go and get some glasses nuh. (smile) But that would have been rude and unmannerly, and we pride ourselves on not being that way. Hope it helps some others with the same problem.(smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 May 2015 Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Greetings and salutations this chilly Thursday morning in mid-May my Friends and neighbours!
 
It’s amusing and surprising how we have gone back to chilly days after such glorious weather last week. It’s only like 6 or 7 degrees Celsius right now, and we’ve had trouble getting up to the mid teens. And when we do, the wind unleashes its fury.
 
But that’s just life in the northern climes, especially in these times of climate change. And talking about climate change, I don’t see how anyone can doubt the fact that it does exist and is causing us a lot of problems. Anyone over thirty ought to be able to see the differences in weather patterns between their early years and now.
 
The weather patterns are definitely not as stable and uncompromising as they used to be. They no longer conform to the standard expectations. But thankfully our faith lies in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, so we don’t have to let the climate change worry us. We do have to be concerned about it, but not to the extent that it affects our thinking and our walk with Jesus.
 
And speaking of conformity and transformation, here is a quote from my March Almanac by Madam de Stael (1766-1817). Her full name was Anne Louise Germaine de Stael-Holstein. She was Swiss by birth, but French by persuasion; a woman of letters, who staunchly supported the French Revolution, while criticizing Napoleon.
 
Anyway, Madam de Stael reputedly said that ‘The greatest happiness is to transform one’s feelings into actions.’ Now there is some truth in the statement, but I would like to add the proviso; if it is a godly feeling.
 
Yeh Friends, just look at the sorry and sordid state of our world, made so by the transformation of so many evil and selfish feelings into actions. Now if those feelings had been godly ones in the first place, then they would have provided positive results, not the many negative ones that are now in effect.
 
That brings us to our Bit: ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ Oh my brethren, that is the major transformation that ought to take place in our lives!
 
And the scholars add this note. ’12: 2. Be not conformed (lit; “stop conforming yourselves”). They are to resist being poured into the mold of the present thinking, value systems, and conduct of this world. This term is used only here and in 1 Peter 1:14.’
 
Yes my people, it’s time we seriously and sincerely shun the things of this world, for the things of Christ. And the only way to do that successfully is by the renewing of our minds and therefore habits. For the mind is where it all begins and ends.
 
Listen to Peter as he calls for Christian dedication. ‘Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind (prepare your mind for action), be sober, and hope to the end for grace (rest your hope fully upon the grace) that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
 
As obedient children, not fashioning (conforming) yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct); Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.’ (1 Pet.1:13-16)
 
Yes Friends, if we want to be true followers of Christ, we have to give up the lusts of our flesh that reigned therein before we found Jesus and His salvation!
 
And the scholars explain verse 13 thus: ‘1:13. The exhortation to set one’s hope involves an inward resolution. Gird up the loins of your mind: The imagery is that of personal discipline and outward conduct.
 
Be sober (Gr. nephontes): Be free of every sort of mental and spiritual intoxication. The revelation of Jesus Christ is the Second Advent when Jesus returns to earth to set up His kingdom.’ 
 
Oh Friends, I know that transforming our minds is no easy task, especially in these days of worldwide insanity, but if we want to truly follow Jesus, we just have to develop that inner personal discipline it takes to do the job. And don’t worry, it doesn’t happen overnight, plus the Lord will help you accomplish that task if you seriously turn to Him for help.
 
Remember, He will NEVER turn us away if we come to Him in humble supplication – and most definitely not, if we are truly desirous to be like Jesus.
 
And as Peter says: ‘Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.’ (1 Pet.2:1-2)
 
Yes my brethren, transformation to the new man in Jesus is not an overnight sensation, but is a slow, often tedious and tiring project that needs a lot of work and perseverance on our part. Remember too that the world doesn’t want us to become like Jesus, and will put every difficulty possible in our way to stop us from doing so.
 
But just hang in there Friends, they can’t stop you if you don’t want to be stopped. And never forget that He who abides in you, the Holy Spirit, is stronger that the evil powers of the world.
 
So let’s just walk in the LOVE, the goodness, the strength and perseverance of Christ today, for that is the wisdom of the age. Much LOVE!
 
…to walk successfully with Christ…takes a lot of wisdom…plenty manly parts…and overwhelming belly and backbone…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 March 2015 Proverbs 10:12

Proverbs 10:12.    Hatred stirreth up strifes: but LOVE covereth all sins.

Aye Friends, today we’re going to open with some quotes from Grandma, taken from the Family Circus in the Weekend Funnies. And those of us who do read the funnies – incidentally the best part of the newspaper – will also realize that it often reflects truth and real life in a way that no other platform does.

Listen to some of Gran’s truths. ‘Whenever you find a stumbling block, use it for a stepping stone; Into each life some rain must fall; Each day is a gift from God, So it’s only polite to send Him a Thank-You prayer.’

Wow! What folk wisdom Friends; all bristling with truth. We call them clichés, to which we tend to have negative, derogatory feelings, but the fact is that they tend to be true, and I guess that’s what bugs us about them. However, in accordance with Gran’s wishes, since we’ve been gifted by God with today – a brand new day- let’s be polite and send Him a Thank-You prayer nuh. Let’s voice our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with lots of gusto.

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!’

Ah shucks mih people, that wasn’t so wonderful nuh! Too many hoarse and gravelly voices from the weekend partying. (smile) But our God is such a wonderful God, He will accept our efforts since they came straight from our hearts.

Now what we have to do, since we’re up and about and flowing over with adrenalin (smile) is to get out into the wicked world and show our true godly colours, so that others can see them and want what we have. That’s the best way to bring people to Christ; by personal example. And the Number One godly quality we need to display in our dealings with others my brethren, is that of LOVE!

As Cousin Sol so wisely reminds us in our Bit: ‘Hatred stirreth up strifes: but LOVE covereth all sins.’

And isn’t that a beautiful truth! It just shows the mighty power of LOVE! It’s an awesome quality that originates and emanates from the Creator of the universe Himself. And John, in describing God’s undying, everlasting LOVE, tells us in his first epistle.

‘In this was manifested the LOVE of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’ (1 John 4:9-10)

And all God’s redeemed children shouted a loud and grateful, ‘Thank You Lord! Thank You for sending Jesus to be the atonement for our sins! We LOVE You and praise and glorify Your Holy Name!’

And Cousin Sol further tells us in Proverbs 17: ‘He that covereth a transgression seeketh LOVE: but he that repeateth a matter separateth very (the best of) friends.’ (Prov.17:9) And that is ever so true my people. Gossipmongers are amongst the worse people in our society; untrustworthy and just like to run their mouths.

And this explosion of social media is making that aspect of our lives even worse. People are posting all sorts of inappropriate information on these social platforms, whether true or not, to the detriment of others, even their close friends and families and themselves. And that certainly doesn’t fall under the umbrella of the godly, helpful and protective quality of LOVE!

And we’ll close with these appropriate words from Bruh Paul to the Ephesians, which quite nicely address that untenable situation above. ‘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.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake (in Christ) hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:29-32)

And that my Friends, is how true followers of God ought to behave! So let’s go out today and behave thus nuh, so that we can be counted amongst the righteous, the true children of God. That’s what Jesus desires of us. Much LOVE!

…and now abideth… faith, hope, LOVE…these three…but the greatest of these is…LOVE… (1 Cor.13:13)

 

 

 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 February 2015 Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Ah Friends, it’s Tuesday, and we’re in the last days of our stay in Paradise! And as I gaze out at the wonders of nature, hear the birds and insects sing their songs of praise to their Creator, with the seas at high tide bashing against the rocky shore, I sadly realize that in another couple days I won’t be waking up to this beautiful panorama of God’s making, but to a scene of snow and ice, of cold and darkness.

Ah Lord eh! And the ole heart stutters and flutters as it comes to grip with the great seismic change. (smile) But you know the ole fella will take it in his stride, because that’s where the Lord has me based for the present time. This was only a vacation, a blessed change and reprieve from the uncomfortable aspects of winter in the North Country.

And if I claim to have faith and trust in our omnipotent God, and have surrendered my will to Him, then I have no choice but to grin and bear whatever He allows to come against me, trusting in His faithful promises that He won’t give me more than I can bear, neither will He leave nor forsake me, while working everything out eventually for my good.

Oh my people, what a good and mighty God we serve and worship! And I’ve been walking with Him long enough now to be fully aware and fully cognizant of His everlasting faithfulness. He’s brought me through enough rough situations before, so why should He stop now eh, especially when I’m more faithful to Him now than I’ve ever been?

So although there’s sadness and disappointment in my upcoming departure from God’s Little Acre, I am also bolstered by the fact that my God is able to do whatever He promises, and will provide for me in whatever situation I may be in.

Consequently, I’d like to share this prayer from a devotional titled ‘A Journey of LOVE – Walking with St. Therese of Liseux; the Saint of the Little Flower, who promised to spend her heaven doing good on earth, letting fall a shower of roses as her signature. However Friends, in these very rough and trying times, we shouldn’t wait till we get to heaven to do good on earth, we need to do that RIGHT NOW!

And what better time to begin than in this Lenten season of both intro and retrospection!

Please pray with me: ‘Lord, help me to live always in the light of your presence. Should any darkness challenge my belief and LOVE for you, dispel that darkness so that I might witness to your merciful and gracious LOVE. Grant me the wisdom to confront a secular and egocentric world with your message of care and compassion for all people. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.’

Yes my people, there’s so much darkness and evil in our current world that it’s only with the omnipotent help of Almighty God, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that we can ever hope to dispel and remove them from our lives. And it can ONLY be done through LOVE and compassion! So please let’s come together seriously nuh, and do what we know is meet and right for us to do.

The sad part of the situation is that we full well know what is right, but yet we allow the façade of the world’s false and short lasting beauty to lure us into wrongdoing and ungodly behavior. If we are truly children of God, then we desperately need to be walking according to the dictates of our Bit: ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’

That’s the gospel truth my brethren! And it reminds me of a quote of James Baldwin (1928-1987), the controversial African American novelist, playwright, poet and social critic, who continually reflected on his experience as a black man in white America, penning such insightful works as ‘The Fire Next Time and Another Country.’

Well James is reputed to have said: ‘The future is like heaven – everyone exalts it but no one wants to go there now.’ And that’s a very accurate reflection of Christians nowadays! We all want to live a godly life, but just not yet, first we want to enjoy the pleasures and lusts of the fleshly world.

But Friends we can’t afford to wait one minute longer to live for Jesus, because we don’t know when He’s coming back. It could be today or tomorrow. And if we’re found wanting when He returns, like the five foolish virgins who didn’t prepare for a long wait with extra oil for their lamps, (Matt.25:1-12) we’ll be simply excluded from His train of glory, and forced to spend eternity in Hades with Lucifer, the prince of darkness.

And as I keep reminding us, that my brethren is the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being! So let’s get to it nuh, let’s begin living serious godly lives, putting into effect these wise and true words of Bruh Paul to the Ephesians: ‘That ye put off concerning the former conversation (conduct) the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts;

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth to his neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; Neither give place to the devil…

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:22-27, 31-32)

Oh my Friends, that’s how we’re supposed to live! Those are just some simple, every day, practical guidelines as to how we can put aside the ‘old man’ and assume ‘the new man,’ in our everyday lives. They’re definitely not very difficult to do, so let’s begin doing them seriously, diligently and Right Now nuh, so that we won’t be caught napping whenever Jesus comes.

Let’s put into effect these memorable words of Jesus. ‘Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.’ (Matt.25:13)

That’s heavenly truth and wisdom my fellow man, words for us to ponder today, and see if we’re ready to receive Jesus, just in case He returns today. Much LOVE!

…to create a better world…it’s essential that we put into effect…LOVE for God…for ourselves…and for our neighbours… plus sincere care and compassion for each other…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 July 2014 1 Peter 2:2

1 Peter 2:2.    As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

 

Oh Friends, neighbours and fellow believers, it’s a beautiful morning, so let’s get up and get fellowshipping with others of like ilk! Time to give thanks and praise to our great and wonderful Creator and Saviour Jesus Christ for all they’ve done, are doing and have promised to do for us.
 
And all God’s people declared a loud, hearty and grateful; ‘Glory Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name!’
 
Yes my people that’s what we need to get out and do this Sunday morning, without any reservations, resentment or being forced to go, but just having a heart brimming with so much LOVE and thanks, that we’re automatically propelled to the sanctuary. (smile)  
 
Now here’s an interesting quote from an interesting and inspirational person; Helen Keller (1880-1968), the deaf/blind American author, activist, lecturer and humanitarian, reputed to be the first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Wow! Now isn’t that something else! Nowadays I’m sure it’s much easier than back then.
 
However, Miss Keller is reputed to have said that, ‘When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.’
 
And that’s gospel truth my people! For often we don’t know what ripple effects our actions may cause, somewhere down the line. Like throwing a stone in the water and seeing it form concentric circles; one circle after another. That’s how our actions, both good and bad can affect the lives of those we don’t, or may ever know. Therefore it behoves us to be generally kind and responsible in all our deeds and actions.
 
And the best part of that kind of responsible behaviour is that often we also see and feel the growth within our own selves. And that my Friends, is what we all desperately need in these vey treacherous and troubled times; personal growth! Not only physical and mental, but even more importantly spiritual growth and maturity, so that we can truly understand what’s happening and thus take the necessary precautions.
 
As Peter warns us: ‘Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.’ (1 Pet.2:1-3)
 
Yes my brethren, we all begin as new born babes in Christ, where like infants, we can’t handle the heavy stuff, the heavy food, the heavy doctrine and such. Therefore we need to ingest simpler, lighter stuff, like milk for new-borns. That means first getting a basic, rudimentary understanding of the Scriptures, of Jesus and all that He stands for.
 
But then Friends, we just can’t stop there, like the mental and physical aspects of our bodies, our spirits also have to grow in the understanding of Jesus, and then we need to put those things into practice in our everyday lives. That’s when we begin to attain maturity. We never really are completely mature, because spiritual growth is a never ending course of study.
 
That’s why Bruh Paul warned the Corinthians about carnal minds hindering, inhibiting the growth of the spirit. ‘And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat (solid food): for hitherto (until now) ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions (dissensions); are ye not carnal (fleshly), and walk as (according to) man?’ (1 Cor.3:1-3)
 
Oh my people, you know those statements sadly brand a lot of us in Christ’s church today as spiritual babes, because there is still so much infighting amongst believers, with strife, envy and general pettiness and selfishness causing unnecessary and unwholesome divisions in the body of Christ.
 
And the scholars explain those verses thus: ‘3:1-3) I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: In the case of newborn babes this would be natural and to be expected (1 Pet.2:2). But it is embarrassing at this stage in their development. ‘Milk’ figuratively stands for elementary Christian instruction, and ‘meat’ refers to advanced doctrine.
 
Carnal (lit.“fleshly”). The warfare between the flesh and the spirit receives continual emphasis in Paul’s writings (cf. Rom.7:14-8:13; Gal.5:17). The factions that have destroyed the unity in Corinth indicate that these believers were not walking by the Spirit, but were allowing the flesh to direct their behaviour.’
 
And doesn’t that ever still apply to the church today my people! A lot of us who are supposed to have Bible knowledge, but behave in a non-Christian manner, according to Bruh Paul’s logic, are still spiritual babes in arms. Because it’s not necessarily what we know that’s important, but often what we do with that knowledge, how it causes us to behave. And if we claim to know what the Bible teaches, but don’t practice it, then all that knowledge is wasted. They say knowledge is power – but only if it’s used wisely.
 
So Friends, as we go out to worship today, let’s seriously consider if we are behaving like newborn babes; that’s walking carnally, in the flesh, or rather like the mature people we’re supposed to be, walking in the Spirit. How we walk in Jesus’ name, my brethren, does cast a serious reflection on His church, therefore let’s do what we know to be right nuh, and walk maturely – in the Spirit, like we ought to. That’s heavenly wisdom! Much LOVE!
 
…to walk in the flesh…when we should be walking in the Spirit…is a serious dereliction of our duties as believers in Christ…