Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 January 2021 John 3:3.

John 3:3.     ​Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Well here comes Saturday; that lazy, hazy day! And with the worldwide lockdown, there’s even more reason to have a lazy and hazy Saturday since you can’t go anywhere and do much of anything! (smile) But God is good, and He operates on both the good and bad days, so there’s nothing to fear if we have Him uppermost in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. Yeh friends, if we want to make it through all in one piece in these treacherous and perilous times, then the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob definitely has to be our rock, our anchor, our place of safe refuge, our Good Shepherd. 

And as we always do on Saturdays, let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And thank God it seems like he’s stopped putting that unwieldy preface before each quote! (smile) 

And the first quote says: ‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.’ Now there is truth to that statement, although I don’t believe that intelligence is only the ability to adapt to change. It’s also a whole lot of other things. But you do need intelligence if you’re going to successfully adapt to change. You need to first be intelligent to know that you must adapt in some things and places, and then be intelligent enough to know which things and places to adapt to. If you don’t, the world will quickly leave you behind. 

But for heaven’s sake, don’t just adapt for adapting sake, or because everyone else is doing it. You just have to look at the state of social media nowadays and see how it’s sucking so many people into bad habits with its ever expanding tentacles and reach! You have to be intelligent enough to know how far to let it take you. 

And the next quote tells us that ‘Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.’ Now I think that’s somewhat contradictory. Granted, foolish people might never want to change, but a wise man, because he is wise, ought to know that change is sometimes very necessary, even though we may not want to make it. So personally, I think that part is wrong. And I can say that from personal experience. (smile) I’m not a great believer in change, especially just for change sake, but I do think I’m wise enough to know that at times I do need to change, although I may not want to. 

And that’s where I think wisdom becomes very necessary. Yeah, they used to tell me that I was living in the 18thcentury, but now I’ve moved up to halfway in the 20th. So you see, I was wise enough to recognize the need for some change, though they had to drag me screaming into it! (smile) And change is especially important if you want to be a true believer in Christ. A couple of scriptures will show us that. 

The first comes from Jesus Himself, when Nicodemus came to Him by night, afraid of the wrath of the Pharisees, and asked how to gain salvation.‘Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’(John 3:3) Yeh friends, that’s the first and wisest change we need to make if we want to follow Jesus! 

And it doesn’t mean entering into our mother’s wombs again, but ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ (John 3:5-6) And once you’re born again of water and the Spirit, then you need to hear Bruh Paul’s words to the church at Corinth. ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ (2 Cor. 5:17) 

Now that’s another time when change is oh so necessary! We have to put away the old, worldly things of our lives and pick up new spiritual practices that fall under Jesus’ guidelines. And I believe that this next quote addresses our problem with all that change very adequately. ‘If you have a purpose which is bigger than you, all your problems will become tiny.’ 

Oh,  all your problems definitely won’t become tiny, but with Jesus as your main man, with His divine help, they will become manageable. But we must have Jesus as our special purpose, a purpose bigger than us, if our problems are to become manageable. That’s just the way life is friends. And if you don’t believe me, then listen to Jesus as He talks about the vine and the branches. ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) And if that isn’t telling it like it is, then I don’t know what is nuh? 

Bruh Paul also corroborated Christ’s statement in his second letter to the Corinthians. ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.’ (2 Cor. 3:5) And if you don’t make that change and start depending on God, then you’re not wise! (smile) 

And the last quote says: ‘The ones who can see the vision when no one else can, and work on it like there is no tomorrow, will succeed. The rest will follow.’ Oh friends, there is much truth in that statement, but the crux of it is the second part. Many of us see visions, know what we ought to do, what the Lord wants us to do, but for whatever reason we refuse or hem and haw until it’s too late to work on it. 

That’s the whole thing about being a Christian my brethren; we not only have a new and different way to live, but we also have to diligently work at it, since we are servants, workers, ambassadors of Christ on this evil earth! He is depending on us to bring about the necessary changes He desires. And truly working at being a Christian is no easy matter since the devil and his evil cronies delight in putting obstacles in our way. That’s why we need to read and know the word of God so that we can put it into use when the enemy comes against us, as he undoubtedly will. 

As Bruh Paul said to Timothy: ‘Fight the good fight of faith…’ (1 Tim. 6:12) As believers, we all have to daily fight the hardships and adversity that comes with the Christian life, show the true nature of our faith, as we daily grow and mature in it, until we can accomplish that balance between faith and works that James talks about. ‘Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.’ (James 2:17-18) 

Oh precious people, it’s great to have faith, but faith is useless if it isn’t put to work. Jesus didn’t come to earth to just have faith, He came to do works, and we are called to do likewise, in His name. So let’s get to it seriously nuh, the world is anxiously waiting for us to show it our true and lasting faith by our sincere works! Much LOVE!

…a believer must be responsive to change…but wisely… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 February 2020 Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28.    ​And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
 
Jamaica! Jamaica! Sweet, sweet Jamaica! Everything’s good in Jamaica! Yeahhhh! Well hello there mih lovelies! The ole fella is hailing out to you all on this bright, hot, sunny, tropical afternoon from the paradise island of sweet Jamaica! Yes! We’ve left the cold and the snow and the bleak dreary days behind! 

The Good Lord has seen it fit, in all His wisdom, goodness, LOVE, kindness, mercy, grace and forgiveness to give the duchess and the ole fella a trip to my third homeland of Jamaica, where I turned man some half century ago! Glory be! 

The foundation of the story though is that we’re here to celebrate the wedding of a cousin and close friend on the upcoming weekend…what better excuse to get away from the cold eh? (smile) So please note, that as usual, when the ole fella is vacationing with the duchess the Bit can arrive at any time – early morning or late night depending on how the duchess and the Lord apportion my time. (smile) But you will get it as long as there is breath in the ole bod! 

Well right now I’m here admiring the palm trees swaying in the cool sea breeze blowing outside my balcony door, with a beautiful view of the ocean reflecting three colours of blue as it gets deeper; from a light blue in the shallows to a deep blue in the depths. Oh, and another plane just flew by to land at Montego Bay Airport. They jut keep coming and going. 

But yesterday was a rather eventful day; getting up at minutes to three so I could write the bit before leaving. Then hustling to the airport in the early morning traffic and going through all the nonsense that travelling entails these days, and getting on the big bird, the Boeing 737 Dreamliner, they changed it from a stodgy Rouge plane, don’t know why. But who knows why airlines do what they do eh? The flight was good; left around 10 am, and got here around 1.30 pm. 

That was when the real fun began; having to negotiate Immigration and Customs with it seemed thousands of people arriving at same time. But eventually we got out front and proceeded to wait on a cousin to pick us up. Yuh should see the ole fella, taking off his long-sleeved shirt, leaving on just a T-shirt and outside in the sun catching some much needed rays! Wow! Was that ever cathartic! (smile) 

The cousin finally came and took us to a hotel not far from the airport. We should have known that there would be problems from the less than warm welcome at the reception desk. And knowing who I was dealing with, I insisted on seeing the room allocated to us before we moved anything. And just as well, because they took us to a building far away from the main section, with two sets of stairs to climb, no elevator, and then down to the very end of the corridor. And to make matters worse, the room view opened up on to a patch of overgrown bush and a construction site. 

Naturally that raised the duchess’ ire up, and she refused it. When we got back to the reception desk, they seemed less than energetic to try and find something more suitable. But in the meanwhile they advised us to go over the street to the food hut and eat some jerk pork and chicken, which we did. And don’t get me wrong, the property is nice, but as always, it’s the people who spoil stuff. 

When we got back to the desk they arrogantly informed us that they had nowhere else to put us, so the duchess kindly informed them that under those conditions we would not be staying. I guess those were the magic words, because they then told us to wait and they would see what they could do. A short time later they took us to this room in the main section, on the sixth floor, with an elevator, and a beautiful view of the ocean. 

Well that obviously appeased the duchess. And was I ever glad, because all I wanted to do was to go and get a soak in the salt before the beach closed at six. And ohhhh…was it ever wonderful to walk on warm sand and immerse the ole bod in some salt water; the most therapeutic remedy on God’s great earth! When I got back to the room, the duchess informed me that there was a surprise party with a 70’s theme, to go to for the bride at 7.30. 

So I got dressed and went downstairs to the outside dining area, sat there and listened to a trio of Mento singers regale us with some Jamaican folk songs and other more popular stuff in that idiom. Some forty minutes later, the duchess finally came down and went to the front desk to check on what was happening. A few minutes later she came back and told me that the party was actually a bridal shower for females only. 

Hn! Now I wasn’t too annoyed, because I was tired and there was lots of food and drink available and my bed close by. So I did just that: found me a seat with a couple of other guests, ate some island food, while listening to some good music from the live band and was sipping an exotic blue cocktail when the duchess showed up and dragged me off to the party, which turned out be an all genders party after all. 

That party was good too, up on a Mo Bay hill side in a palatial mansion, with a million dollar view of the other side of the harbour, light’s strung out like a necklace of shining diamonds. It reminded us of Cape Town Harbour in South Africa. And then there were people really dressed like 70’s folks and danced routines to songs from that era too. So all in all a good time was had by all. I never got back to the hotel until after eleven. 

And I guess you’re wondering what all of that has to do with the Bit and Scripture. Well let me give you a few verses. First off, Jesus’ memorable words: ‘I am come that they might have life abundantly.’ (John 10:10) We’re just having life abundantly as He promised. And then, though the Lord inflicts us with adversity, listen to these most reassuring words of Jesus. ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) Just doing what out Leader says, being of good cheer despite all the problems in the world. 

And here is this one: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ Now how can we ever discount that eh, when despite all the harassment we went through yesterday, everything turned out well and all the people LOVE us now! Well that might be taking it a bit far, (smile) but more importantly is that they have been treating us well. 

And hear these immortal words of Bruh David: ‘I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.’ (Ps. 27:13) Yeh friends, what’s the purpose of all those other scriptures if we don’t expect to see God’s goodness down here eh? And the final scripture, and my favourite these days – more immortal words of Bruh David: ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.’ (Ps.34:8) 

Wow mih breddren! Yuh know since I recently discovered the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir on YouTube singing Psalm 34 – Taste and See- it’s resonated with me very powerfully and I find myself singing it often. Going to check it out when I’m finished here. Now let’s go home, declaring (yeah!) our Thursday Blessings in strong voice and sincere hearts. 

‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

We must now go out and share those blessings, for as James says, faith without works is dead. (James 2:17) So let’s show them our faith by our works nuh. Much LOVE!

…a slice of heaven is possible…right down here on earth…only trust and believe… 

P.S. Yes, it’s long, because the ole fella’s excited and just wants to share His blessedness with you, so that you can go through whatever you’re going through without losing your hope and faith, knowing that whatever the Lord’s done for me, He will do for you too, if you’re obedient to His will. Hope it’s not boring. (smile) Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 October 2019 Matthew 5:20.

Matthew 5:20.    ​For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by any means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 

Oh, how I wish it wouldn’t rain…how I wish it wouldn’t rain…! An unfulfilled wish most likely, since they’ve forecasted lots of rain for this Halloween day. I believe they even considered postponing it until tomorrow due to the deluge expected. But in my opinion, they should just abolish the whole stupid, ungodly ritual because it’s just a celebration of evil and greed! When you have the ugliest, scariest and most inappropriate costumes for children; things like witches, ghouls, hobgoblins and the like being a big deal in the society, what does it teach them eh? And now there are also a whole lot of restrictions on what you can wear, what is culturally or religiously acceptable, that it makes a mockery of the whole thing. 

But what amazes me is we teach them that candy is bad for their health and well being, then we have a big celebration where they go out in the dangerous dark night to see who can collect the most candy! Who do you think eats it eh? The very same children who are taught that it’s bad for them. But I doubt it will be abolished anytime soon, even with it’s inherent dangers, since it strengthens the bottom line of the costume people, the candy makers and the dentists, politically powerful and monied groups in our society. 

That brings us to our Bit for this Halloween Thursday, very poignant and important words of Jesus to His listeners on the law, from the Sermon on the Mount. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by any means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ Now that was a heavy blow to those religious leaders for they were considered the creme de la creme of righteousness in their day. And the scholars obligingly explain. 

‘5:20. Because of the necessity of righteousness as a requirement to enter heaven, Jesus then declares that except their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees they could not enter heaven. The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered these people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness. In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behaviour demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. Here we discover the practical application of the Christian character to true spiritual living. Here we see the gospel in action.’ 

And sadly, nothing much has changed to this day; there are still a lot of religious leaders; modern-day scribes and Pharisees who only offer lip service and outward show to the true tenets of Christianity. Meanwhile, their inner man is more attuned to the things of the law, of the world, than those of God. Here’s a list of the contrasts between living under the Law and living by the Spirit as provided by the scholars. ‘The Law says No murder, the Spirit, No anger. No Adultery…. No Lust. No Divorce… Commitment. No oath-taking… Speak the truth. No retaliation… Forgiveness. Hatred for your enemy (tradition allowed it) … LOVE for your enemy (commanded).’ 

Yes my faithful brethren, the Law isn’t basically wrong, but the demands of the Spirit carry us to a higher level of spirituality and righteousness. And it’s that high level we need to enter the kingdom of heaven. I didn’t say so, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ said it long ago, and nothing has happened since to change it. And after expounding our Bit to His listeners, Jesus then went on to individualize the stuff that we just wrote. He then taught on Anger, Adultery, Divorce, Oaths and LOVE for enemies. (Matt.5:21-48) 

Ah friends, it’s sad and rather unfortunate that we’re living in such a sinful and unrighteous society these days. No wonder we’re at such a low ebb, in ALL aspects of life. There’s absolutely no situation in which we can say we’re winning! Even the fools who are trying to throw God out of our society will eventually lose, though they seem to have the upper hand now. Please pay attention though to these momentous words of Cousin Sol: ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach (shame or disgrace) to any people.’ (Prov.14:34) And the scholars explain: ‘14:34. National righteousness and national sin have opposite effects: exaltation versus reproach.’ No wonder we have national reproach, because our society is as sinful as eternity is long. 

And Bruh Paul made it clear to the church at Rome when he talked about zeal but no righteousness. ‘For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law of righteousness to every one that believeth.’ (Rom.10:3-4) And the scholars explain: ‘10:4. Christ is the end of the law: Israel mistook the purpose of the law. The law pointed to the righteousness that is attainable only by belief in Christ. Israel also mistook the scope of the law. The righteousness to which it pointed was universally available to all who responded to God’s revelation of Himself through the law. But by Paul’s time many had substituted works for faith. Rather than seeking redemption in God’s mercy, they pinned their hopes on their own religious achievement.’ 

And that’s still happening on too large a scale today my people. It’s true that faith without works is dead, (James 2:17) but works alone will get us nowhere either! Let’s remember that nuh and proceed to build up both our faith and works through righteousness in Christ Jesus. Now let’s go home declaring (yeh!) our enabling Thursday Blessings. As one, in strong voice and sincere sense of purpose. ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ And let’s also remember that they are for generous sharing, not selfish hoarding. (smile) Much LOVE!

…without true righteousness…we shall never see God…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 January 2016 James 2:14‏

James 2:14.  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

Aye mih breddren, it’s Tuesday! Glory Hallelujah! That means we got through Monday safely and have another wonderful, rollicking day to look forward to under the beautiful guidance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Oh glory to God my people! 

We couldn’t have a better author and finisher of our faith. So please let’s stand strong and true and look to Him for all our needs as He wants and expects of us, and also enjoy all the new blessings and mercies that He’s prepared specially for us today. 

Now let’s declare our Tuesday Mantra with conviction and a true 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!’ 

Oh friends, every time we declare that mantra, I just get an all-choked up feeling because it’s so… so touching and heart-warming. I am beloved of God, a friend of Jesus…with no need to hurry or worry. Wow! What glorious truth my fellow believers! Now let’s hold on to it faithfully as we go out and mix and mingle with the unbelievers and show them what true Christianity is all about. 

And we’ll get right to our Bit as we have lots of stuff to talk about today. ‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?’ 

That’s a good question, and we’ll keep pursuing the answer by continuing with James theory on the subject. ‘Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought (was working) with his works, and by works was faith made perfect (complete)? 

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed (accounted) unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 

Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had receive the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’ (James 2:21-26) 

Yes precious people, James does put up a good argument for his belief, but we’re going to get some serious explanations, some meat and potatoes (smile) now from the scholars. 

‘2:21-24. These verses present the crux of the issue: Is a man justified by works? Do Paul and James contradict each other? Several factors demonstrate that they do not. First, as already noted in verses 14-17, the apostles use the word for faith with different meanings.

Second, they use “justified” in different senses. It is customary to identify all nuances of this word with the theological idea Paul popularized – that is, God’s act of declaring all believers righteous on the basis of Christ’s redemptive work. 

But a common Old Testament and gospel usage involves demonstrating or showing something to be righteous (cf. Ps.51:4; Luke 7:35; Rom.3:4); it is this usage that James follows. Third, though both men use Abraham as an illustration, they focus on different aspects of his life. 

Paul shows that Abraham was declared righteous by faith when he trusted God (Gen.15:6). James declares that he was shown to be righteous by his offering up of Isaac (Gen.22:9) 

Fourth, even the terminology of these two apostles differs. Paul constantly speaks against the works of the law, as being a false use of those works to merit salvation. James, however, is speaking of works of LOVE that follow belief. 

Fifth, the two apostles are discussing totally different subjects, since they are confronted by different problems. Paul, opposing the Judaizers, seeks to prove that the Gentiles can be saved and sanctified apart from circumcision or any other work of the law. James, opposing merely nominal, professing Christians, seeks to show that true faith confirms itself by deeds of LOVE. 

If James were fighting Paul over law and grace – or faith and works – surely the subject of circumcision would have arisen, since it lies at the core of that issue. James and Paul are not face-to-face fighting each other – they are back-to-back fighting opposite foes!’ 

Wow friends, what a lot to digest! But I would be doing us a disservice if I did not give us the opportunity to feast upon all that scholarship. (smile) And I still have some more for you to digest. Hn! 

The scholars’ also declare: ‘2:25. Just as James presents two examples of spurious faith (vs.16, 19), (not providing for a believer’s needs, and demons believing that God exists), he concludes with two examples of genuine faith: Abraham and Rahab. 

One was a Jewish patriarch of great sanctity, whose faith was perfected by his works. The other was the lowest citizen of a condemned Gentile city, whose newfound faith was dramatized by her works. No matter whether one has the mature faith of an Abraham or the baby-like faith of a Rahab, there must be evidence of that faith.’ 

And the last scholar’s explanation: ‘2:26. The point of this analogy between the body and one’s faith is that both require an energizing element. The absence of that element renders the other component dead.’ 

And therein concludes the messages on faith and works as theorized by James. I do hope that we have all understood what he was talking about, and the difference between his theory and that of Bruh Paul. 

The long and short of the story is that faith ALONE can save us. However, when we embrace that faith, we need to show it by good deeds, otherwise our faith is meaningless. 

So my people, knowing that we all are saved, then let’s go out today and show that faith by our good works nuh. For that is indeed the wisdom of heaven. Much LOVE!

…faith and works are two essential and necessary parts of a believer’s life…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 January 2016 James 2:14

James 2:14.   What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

Oh friends, oh friends, the Christmas party done now! It’s time to get back to the daily grind and common task; that thing called work, which most of us don’t like, but which is ever so important. So let’s get a move on nuh, let’s be up and at ‘em this first Monday in this highly expectant year of 2016.  

Please don’t touch the snooze button! Hn! And I hear the moaning and groaning, the chuhing and steupsing, as the weight that we’ve put on over the Christmas season has us moving somewhat sluggishly. But don’t worry my precious people, with the Lord’s help we’ll handle it all with great aplomb! Nice word that- aplomb; simply meaning self-confidence and assurance. (smile) 

And please remember that though it’s a new year we still have some old tools that will serve us in very good stead. So without further ado, let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with the new found joy and enthusiasm gained from our resolution to walk ever closer with Christ this new year. 

As one mighty and harmonious choir 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!’ 

Now that wasn’t bad at all my brethren, considering our unhealthy lifestyles in the past week or so. And Jesus, our choirmaster understood, and didn’t balk too much when He heard the occasional croak in the voices. (smile) That brings us to our Bit: ‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?’

Oh friends, that can certainly be a bone of contention as we saw in the scholars’ explanation yesterday. But I don’t think it is, or should be, because Bruh Paul and James are speaking about different things under different circumstances, and each is right when you consider those circumstances. 

Now let’s continue with James’ treatise from where we left off yesterday. ‘Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know (do you want to know), O vain (foolish) man, that faith without works is dead?’ (James 2:19-20) 

And the scholars have some interesting explanations re those verses. ‘2:19-20. The reference to faith in one God probably alludes to Israel’s great creedal statement of Deuteronomy 6:4. ‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” Adherence to a creed is not true faith. Even the demons know and accept the truth of the creed, but they do not possess saving faith. If one does nothing to enact his knowledge of God, he is worse than the demons, for they at least tremble.’ 

Yes Friends, Lucifer and his evil minions know that there is a God, but that doesn’t make them believers. And we see the truth in that by Jesus’ statements: ‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils (demons)? and in thy name done many wonderful works (miracles)? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’ (Matt.7:21-23) 

And the scholars explain: ‘7:21-23. Not everyone professing Christ is genuinely saved. Even the outward verbal acknowledgement of His lordship is in itself not enough to save the unbeliever apart from true repentance and faith. A genuinely saved person is one that doeth the will of my Father, the Greek present tense suggesting that he is continually living in obedience to the will of God as the normal course of his life.’ 

So my Scrip-Bit family, it is therefore essential that we all thoroughly examine ourselves, under that very critical light. Are we truly doing the will of the Father? Or are we just fooling, pretending that we have faith, professing Jesus, but in reality doing stuff contrary to His will? If that is so, then we definitely need to clean up our act, for we certainly don’t want Jesus to disown us and drive us away when the fateful day arrives.  

I can’t drive home enough, the seriousness of abiding by God’s will, if we profess faith in Him. And on that note, we’ll end for today. I have more stuff to discuss on the subject, but it will be way too long, and you already have enough information to ponder on. Plus I don’t want to hear any crying and whining about the Bit being too long. 

That brings me to this point which relates to what we were just talking about. I can send all sorts of foolish jokes and otherwise and nobody will complain that they are too long or insipid. But let it be about Jesus or God, if it’s not short, there will be much complaining.  (smile) How can we expect God to take us seriously and bless us, if we don’t take him seriously eh? Much LOVE!

…as Calvin said…faith alone saves…but a faith that saves…is never alone…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 January 2016 James 2:14

James 2:14.   What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

 

Well my people, it’s the first Sunday in the New Year, and still the Christmas season, so I expect all the churches to be filled to capacity today with believers to give thanks and praise to our most wonderful God for causing us to see not only a new day, but also a brand new year charged with unlimited possibilities. 

And I included that reminder about the Christmas season for those who only go to church at Christmas and Easter.  (smile) Now, for the life of me, I just can’t figure out why supposed Christians do that. Church was meant to be a fairly regular occurrence, not once in a while, mostly at the high times of our faith. 

To my mind, if you can’t go more often than that, then why go at all eh? What does that do for you and the other people in the church eh? Nothing at all, as far as I can see! 

So you claim to your friends and family, you went to church at Christmas and Easter. Big deal! That doesn’t cut it my fellow believers. And I’m sure that’s not what Jesus expects. 

You’ll notice that wherever He was on the Sabbath, He always found Himself in the synagogue participating in the services. That’s what He also expects of us; not a wishy-washy, once in a blue moon, stick your face inside the doors of the church. Remember the church is supposed to be the body of Christ, and how can it be a properly functioning body when so many members only show up occasionally? 

Friends, no man is an island, especially a Christian in this evil and godless world. You cannot make it successfully on your lonesome; you need the help, encouragement, sentiments of praise and worship, of exhortation and teaching, and the steadfast faith from which a gathering of like believers emanates! 

That reminds me of an old adage, re those who seldom go to church.  Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact saying, but they are words to the effect that the church and its doors would crumble, would fall down when the occasional goers show up. 

Anyway my people, since we have designated and dedicated 2016 as the year of HOPE and the astronomical rise of Jesus’ LOVE Revolution, it’s therefore necessary that we sincerely come together under the umbrella of the church and decrease all the divisions and dissensions that are rife and rampant within that supposedly august body. 

Now here are some quotes from our friend Anselm, who is always trying to inspire us for a better tomorrow. The first one is very appropriate for this season. It says: ‘Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.’ And do we ever need those attributes in these stressful and dangerous times! 

The next quote from Anselm declares: ‘If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings.’  

Now I don’t know if that is the greatest of all blessings, but it sure is an important, indispensable teaching which builds confidence and chutzpah in our offspring. 

And the last quote segues nicely into this final one. ‘He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.’ And that is the gospel truth friends! If we don’t have the courage to take risks, sensible ones now, (smile) we will never accomplish anything worthwhile. 

And that’s exactly what is happening to Christ’s church in these modern times. Too many of us are afraid, or just too sedentary to step up and do what needs to be done to further God’s kingdom down here on earth. And yes, many of us talk a good talk, but we need to remember that Christianity is an ACTION movement, and without deeds to back up the talk, it’s all useless. 

That brings us to our Bit, where James talks about faith that works. ‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?’ 

Now that is certainly an interesting question my people.  And James continues his theory with this explanation. ‘If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.’ (James 2:15-18)  

Ah friends, the scholars have some interesting but long explanations here, though time and space might not allow me to copy it verbatim, but I believe it’s important enough to try. 

‘2:14-17. Can faith save him? This statement and others in verses 14-26 persuade some critics that James is teaching salvation through faith and works. Luther called this epistle “strawy,” believing it emphasized works too much. Today, some regard it as a late writing in which the author is reacting to Paul’s doctrine of salvation by faith alone. This is not the case. 

James’ teachings reflect neither a negative nor a positive response to Paul’s teachings. For Paul, faith practically equals salvation. James, however, sees two kinds of faith: saving faith and professing faith (much like the usage today). For Paul, justification is by faith (Rom.4:5) For James, justification is by a faith that works – by a genuine faith that manifests itself in post-conversion works. 

Before salvation, these Jews had believed in the efficacy of works. Now some were reacting at the opposite extreme, imagining that works play no part in the salvation experience. James retorts that the kind of faith that does not produce works is not saving faith. As Calvin said: ‘Faith alone saves, but a faith that saves is never alone.”  

Thus James’ question is not simply “Can faith save?” but as the Greek text may suggest, “Can that faith save him?” Can merely professed but undemonstrated faith save?  (See vv.21-24 for further discussion.) The Greek grammar expects a negative answer to the question that ends verse 14. Hence it can be rendered, “That faith (i.e. the one mentioned in verse 14a which is without works) cannot save.’ 

Ah mih people some interesting stuff for us to ponder on this first Sunday in the New Year. And the Lord in favour, we’ll continue this discussion tomorrow. Till then, please let’s darken the doors of our churches and get our New Year’s resolution to follow Jesus more closely into full swing nuh. For that’s wisdom of everlasting and eternal proportions! Much LOVE!

…faith and works…one saves…the other complements it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 September 2015 Psalm 119:81

Psalm 119:81.My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.

Oh Friends, another sun fest is expected in my area this Saturday morning! Glory to God! And on top of that I did not read my name in the obits this morning either. Wow! That means I am still alive on God’s great earth with work to do for Him. What a marvelous privilege to work for Jesus! 

And you know what? When we work for Jesus we enjoy the time, even though some of the tasks might be difficult, painful and inconvenient. Mama Mia! What a great Master He is to work for because His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matt.11:30) Yes my people, Jesus is the only employer that calls the toiling and heavy laden unto Him, so that He can teach them and give them rest for their weary souls. (Matt.11:28-29) 

Now why wouldn’t you want to work for such a caring and compassionate employer eh? I really don’t know and can’t find a good explanation for the reticence, especially since the majority of our earthly employers are greedy, selfish, power hungry, slave masters. That puts me in mind of the quote I got today from our friend Anselm, who is always aspiring to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And the quote says: ‘Some people are just plain old negative so stop trying to convert them. When they are ready to graduate to the next level you’ll see the change in them the way they saw your light shining. Until then, live in your bubble of happiness and stop sharing your dreams with dream killers.’ 

Now there is a lot of truth there, because some of us are so ignorant, stubborn and negative that it doesn’t make sense to try and show them a better way, to tell them about the good news of Jesus, and continuing to spend time with them only frustrates us. Once we have shared the Word with them and see their negative response, it’s truly better to leave them to God and just enjoy our own journey with Christ, let them see from our lifestyle how joyful we are in Jesus; being the salt of the earth and shining like the light of the world.  

As James says, faith without works is useless, is dead. (James 2:17-18)  And unfortunately today our Christian walk truly lacks Christian works. That’s why so many people laugh and jeer at us and don’t have time for Jesus. And why should they if we’re not performing as we should? This world could be such a beautiful place if believers in Jesus behaved just a tad more Christ-like. 

And that doesn’t mean holier than thou, but simply by doing good as Jesus did; sharing and caring for the poor, downtrodden and destitute, of which there are far too many in our world. Enough preaching though, (smile) let’s turn to our Bit from Psalm 119, under the section CAPH – All thy commandments are faithful. 

And they definitely are my brethren, that’s why the psalmist confidently declares: ‘My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.’ What trust and confidence the psalmist has in the word of the God of his forefathers! 

Oh Friends, do we possess that high level of trust and confidence to day in Jehovah God? I sincerely doubt it. Otherwise we would not be behaving as wishy-washy, resentful and contentious as we are, while trying to run Him out of our society. 

Listen as the psalmist continues his plea. ‘Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? For I am become like a bottle (wineskin) in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes. How many are the days of thy servant? When wilt thou execute judgement on them that persecute me? The proud have digged pits (dug pits, laid traps) for me, which are not after (according to) thy law. 

All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. They had almost consumed me (made and end of me) upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. Quicken me after (revive me according to) thy LOVING-kindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.’ (Ps.119:82-88) 

Yes my brethren, though life seemed to be pretty rough with the psalmist, nonetheless throughout all his pleading, he never once doubted or gave up on the Lord and His Word…’yet do not I forget thy statutes…but I forsook not thy precepts…’ 

Oh my people, if only our faith in the Most High God today was so strong and incorruptible! But sadly it isn’t, for our generation doesn’t  seem to have the parts, the belly and backbone to stand up to the enemy the way we ought to. No wonder every day they are taking away more of our godly and Christian rights, rites and ways. Meanwhile we just mutter and complain and do nothing about it. 

I’m sure Jesus must be sorely disappointed to see how we are simply lying down before the pagan onslaught and not putting up a more serious fight. Please remember Friends, the battle has already been won, victory is ours, for Christ has conquered hell, death, Lucifer and the grave! 

We just have to stand strong now and see the war through until Jesus returns in all His glory, power and splendour. But for whatever reason, we seem incapable of doing that. We don’t seem to have the longing for God that the older folks did. 

And we’ll close with some most appropriate words from Psalm 42 – An intense longing for God. ‘As the hart (deer) panteth after (longs for) the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?’ (Ps.42:1-2) 

Oh my people, that’s how we ought to be longing for the Lord our God; so much that we can’t wait to come before Him. Now let’s see if we can’t sit down today and begin that process nuh, that soulful longing for our Creator, by seriously and sincerely inspecting our souls, see where we may be found wanting and ask the Father to help us change our somewhat negative, less than stellar approach. You know He will always help us, so please don’t be afraid to ask for it, since it is the wisdom of the ages. Much LOVE!

…ask, and it shall be given you…seek, and ye shall find…knock, and it shall be opened unto you…  (Matt.7:7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 October 2014 John 15:13

John 15:13.    Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
 
And then Friends, it was Sunday, the first day of the week!
 
That means it is supposed to be a restful kind of day, including a trip to the Lord’s sanctuary to worship and fellowship with other believers, give God His praise and thanks that’s so well deserved, and get encouragement and strengthened faith from the gathering to keep on keeping on in Jesus’ name.
 
It also should encompass some quality family and/or friend time; all the while keeping our souls open to Jesus. As I keep reminding us, the way we spend the first day of the week, is usually a harbinger of how the rest of the week will unfold.
 
So if we have a busy, stressful /Sunday, then Monday will no doubt open with stress and fatigue, complaining and whining, as we have to get up and go out to labour, and the week will probably go all downhill from there.
 
However, if we spend Sunday in prayerful peace, we at least wake up rested and renewed on Monday. Then, at least we’re starting from the top and going downhill, which is always easier than starting from the bottom and having to trudge up hill.
 
And with those words of wisdom (smile) – hope you adopt them – let’s get to our Bit, the same as yesterday. ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’
 
And again, I will remind us, that not as servants, but as valued Friends, Jesus then went out and died for us on Calvary’s cross!
 
I therefore can’t emphasize enough, how important it is that we recognize and truly appreciate His selfless sacrifice at Calvary, for it was indeed the beginning of all our good fortune, which stemmed exclusively from the great LOVE of our heavenly Father, who desperately wanted us to be brought back in to right standing with Him.
 
It’s just like we bend over backwards sometimes with our wayward children whom we LOVE dearly and want to see get back to the right path and right standing with us.
 
Now today we’ll deal with some scriptures that highlight friendship; what it is supposed to be, and as time permits, also look at some friendships, both good and bad, from the Good Book.
 
And first off is the wisdom of Cousin Sol, telling us from Proverbs, what a friend, and friendship ought to be. Listen up closely my brethren. (smile) ‘A friend LOVETH at all times, and a brother is born of adversity.’ (Prov.17:17)
 
And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be my people! As the scholars declare: ’17:17. A true friend has unquenchable LOVE that is not diminished by adversity.’
 
But today, unfortunately, as we all know, that kind of true friendship doesn’t exist as much as it used to. Now friends are only friends when times are good. When they are rough and you need support, you’ll usually find yourself alone, because all you really had were good times friends.
 
However my people, let’s look at what a true friendship ought to be like. It begins with Jehovah God’s covenant with Abraham in chapter 17 of Genesis, where He establishes Abraham as the father of His Chosen People.
 
And we all know the story of Abraham’s tumultuous but interesting pilgrimage throughout the land, and how throughout it all, he stayed faithful and true to God, and God also remained faithful and true to him.
 
It was such a great friendship that centuries later, king Jehoshaphat of Judah, when besieged by foreign armies, could cry out to God: ‘Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend forever?’ (2 Chr.20:7)
 
Then Isaiah, in talking of the final restoration of Israel, declares: ‘But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, my friend.’ (Is.41:8)
 
And later on, James, the half-brother of Jesus, who only believed at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, in talking about faith without works, boldly proclaims: ‘But wilt thou know (but do you want to know), O vain (foolish) man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
 
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works (was working), and by works was faith made perfect (complete)? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed (accounted) unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.’ (James 2:20-23)
 
Yes my brethren, that is what a true friendship ought to be like. Abraham is so revered, that even when we speak of God, and we qualify it by saying, the God of Abraham, everyone knows whom we’re talking about.
 
So today my people, as we fellowship and worship, peacefully rest in prayerful meditation, let’s consider the words ‘friend and friendship.’ Let’s ponder what they mean to us, then on that basis, ponder who our true friends might be in this earthly life, as well as who we might be true friends to.
 
And lastly, let’s ask the Lord for his help, so that at the end of our earthly pilgrimage, our faith and works will be of such excellence and integrity, that we too will be called the Friend of God! That’s the zenith of wisdom! Much LOVE!
 
…oh…to be considered…a Friend of the Lord…and a Man after His own heart…that is my greatest desire…