Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 November 2020 Ephesians 2:8.

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

Come Tuesday – another nice summery day, just like Monday! Oh yes, that would indeed be wonderful my people! That’s why we need to give much thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings He’s continually bestowing on us. As the psalmist so rightly says: ‘This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.‘ (Ps. 118:23-24) 

Wow! What awesome words of wisdom and truth! And don’t forget what our Lord and Saviour Jesus said on the subject. ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal and destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) 

Mama Mia! If that isn’t a direct directive (smile) of our Lord’s to enjoy and be thankful for this earthly life, then I don’t know what is nuh! In addition to salvation and eternal life when our frail and fragile bodies wear out and return to the dust from which they came, He also desires us to enjoy and prosper and succeed in this earthly life. Oh, He certainly knows that it will not always be wine and song, because like us, He experienced trials and tribulations too. As the Good Book proclaims: ‘For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (our weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ (Heb. 4:15) 

Yes my brethren, Jesus experienced all the problems that we experience down here on this evil and ungodly earth, but never did you see Him miserable and downcast, regardless of the circumstances He faced. Just look at how brutally they treated Him in His own home town of Nazareth nuh. I like how the website waynestiles.com puts it. ‘When Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth, He found a warm welcome at the synagogue—that is, until He preached. The young carpenter claimed to have fulfilled the messianic prophecy He had just read from Isaiah 61:1–2 (Luke 4:16-30). 

The hearers took offense that the local-yokel Jesus would dare to be remarkable. After all, wasn’t He the guy who built their dining tables? The townspeople were so enraged that they took Jesus to the edge of the Nazareth Ridge and wanted to fling Him off into the Jezreel Valley. But He passed through their midst and departed. You think that made for awkward subsequent holiday gatherings?’ 

Yes friends, Jesus always exuded a good attitude, which He also expects His followers to exemplify. No, it’s not easy, and He promised us that it wouldn’t be, but with His help we could make it. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) And if we’re finding it difficult of be of good cheer, then we can always go to our understanding and sympathetic High Priest, who will empathize with us and enable us to have good cheer. 

Hear the author of Hebrews on the topic nuh. ‘Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:16) Brother! Mercy and grace are the two great attributes the Lord uses in our everyday lives. Mercy is not receiving what we ought to, for example punishment for some disobedient act. Many of us know about that from our youth when our parents mercifully did not punish us for some verboten behaviour. 

While grace…ohhh…grace is so marvellous, that there are no words to truly explain it. It’s basically God’s favour; the wonderful things He does for us that we do not deserve. Even salvation is through grace. The Good Book puts it thus: ‘For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (the expression of His goodness toward the undeserving). Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ (Eph. 2:8-9) So grace is the basis of our salvation, the unmerited favour of God. 

The scholars offer this acrostic of grace. ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth, for it’s only through the expense of Christ’s life on the cross at Calvary did we receive salvation and the marvellous promise of eternal life! 

And hear this li’l tidbit from the great English Baptist Preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) affectionately known as ‘The Prince of Preachers.’ On the subject of ‘By Grace Ye Are Saved,’ he apparently wrote: ‘It is by the grace of God that ungodly men are preserved from instant death. The sharp axe of justice would soon fell the barren tree if the interceding voice of Jesus did not cry, “Spare him yet a little.” And isn’t that the indisputable truth! Were it not for Jesus, the sharp axe of justice would certainly have fallen on sinful, disobedient, ungodly man long ago. 

And yuh know friends, there’s only ONE real reason for all of that mercy and grace yes; God’s unconditional, irrational, indisputable, undying LOVE for us, His sinful and disobedient creation. Hear the Good Book: ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.’ (Eph. 2:4) And Jesus verified it, like only He could. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) And that says it all my precious saints of Christ! 

So for those of us who sincerely believe, and also try to be diligent and excellent followers of Christ, wisely accepting God’s LOVE, grace and mercy, let’s go home now declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, boldly and confidently proclaiming to the whole world, who and whose we are! 

All together now, in strong voice with sincere hearts! ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

And the natural consequence of that pledge is for us to keep on trusting Jesus and generously share His awesome LOVE with others! Much LOVE!

…without God’s grace and mercy…His LOVE would have been just an ordinary word… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 September 2015 Ephesians 2:4

Ephesians 2:4.    But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.

Aye mih Christian breddren, it’s that most wonderful day we call Sunday, when most of us celebrate the Lord’s Sabbath!  It’s supposed to be a day of peace and rest and preparation for the upcoming week. But it also means that we ought to be heading out to the Lord’s sanctuary to meet and greet fellow believers and sing and dance and shout joyfully, and give thanks and praise to our heavenly Father, our Creator and generous Provider!  

It’s called regeneration of our spirit!  So let’s not dilly dally and come up with all sorts of feeble excuses not to go eh. Let’s get ourselves off to church! 

And to buoy that directive, we have a rather pertinent quote from (Henry) Havelock Ellis, (1859-1939), an English physician, writer, progressive intellectual, social reformer and student of human sexuality. Hn! Havelock was really into life sir! (smile) Anyhow, he is reputed to have said that ‘No faith is our own that we have not arduously won.’ 

And that my people has a whole lot of truth in it, because as my One More Day Daily Meditations for People with Chronic Illness points out: ‘Everything that touches our lives influences our level of trust and spirituality.’ 

We are all fragile and emotional humans, so there will obviously be times when our faith rises and falls due to the circumstances that surround us. We all have rough times when doubts tend to creep in, especially when we lose things or people that we always expected to be around. 

But, as my One More Day Daily Meditations further reminds us: ‘We can begin to regain that faith by remembering that our Higher Power is constant, even when our faith is not. We humans fluctuate between doubt and trust, but that doesn’t diminish the care that is always available to us. We need only surrender to that truth, and we find comfort.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth Friends! Our God is totally constant; the same yesterday, today and forever! Like the rock of ages, He’s always there ready to help and comfort us! But we have to come to Him to get that peace and comfort and renewal of faith. And that’s where so many of us fall down, because of foolish pride, self-pity or whatever, we refuse to come to God for succour. 

But here again, the Daily Meditations reminds us that: ‘My faith – in myself and in my Higher Power – is built upon my awareness that I don’t have to struggle alone. I am strengthened when I admit to my spiritual needs.’ 

More indisputable truth Friends! There is absolutely no need for us to struggle alone when we have our heavenly Father always there to comfort and care for us.  

Oh Friends, by refusing to go to God in faith and trust, we are only making our lives much more difficult than is really necessary. When we have a Bit like ours, we’re supposed to be running to God, not away from Him. ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.’  

Yuh hear that mih people, our God is rich in mercy and has such a great LOVE for us! We should be embracing that fact with all our hearts, minds, bodies and souls; just wallowing in His mercy and LOVE, instead of ignoring it, or just being lukewarm towards it. Remember how Jesus promised to spew out the Laodicean church because they were only lukewarm?  (Rev.3:14-16) Well it’s the same thing He’s liable to do with us, if we’re not enthused about Him and all that He stands for. 

Now today I want to look at some scriptures that corroborate our Bit. And we’ll begin with these immortal words of Jesus that every believer ought to know. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that world through him might be saved.’ (John 3:16-17) 

Tell me people, after hearing those words from Jesus, and then seeing Him fulfill the act of saving us by sacrificing Himself on the cross of Calvary, how could we not believe the Father’s great LOVE eh? I just can’t understand it. 

Now listen to Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘For when we were yet without strength, in due (at the right) time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure (perhaps) for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth (demonstrates) his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom.5:6-8) 

Oh Friends, how can we even think about doubting God’s great LOVE for us after all of that eh? Chuh! 

And the scholars’ words on that last verse might bring home the situation to us more forcefully. ‘5:8. Christ died for us: His death was vicarious. That is, He did not die merely for our benefit but in our place. His was a substitutionary sacrifice.’ 

Yeh mih people, we should have been the ones dying, but Christ died in our place. Doesn’t that make you feel grateful and appreciative? It should, because the Good Book says that the wages of sin is death. (Rom.6:23a) That means, we, the abominable sinners, are the ones who should be dying, not Jesus. But in God’s great LOVE for us, He placed all our sins on Jesus and had Him pay our sin debt in full. Oh glory to God! 

So my brethren, if we doubt anything at all, which we shouldn’t, please DON’T EVER DOUBT Jehovah God’s amazing LOVE for us, His most wonderful, but also most ungrateful creation! 

And we’ll end with these powerful and true words of Jesus. ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13). Then He went out and laid down His holy and sinless life for His friends. 

What more can I say eh? Not a whole lot. I can only ask, are you Jesus’ Friend?  Much LOVE!

…and Jesus’ definition of friends…ye are my friends…if ye do whatsoever I command you… (John 15:14)

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 September 2015 Ephesians 2:4

Ephesians 2:4.    But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.

Well Friends, it’s Saturday, what’s new with you eh?  What have you got planned for today? Hope it’s something that’s joyous and brings you delight…  And I hear some women quickly complaining in the background; ‘How the dickens could house work, cleaning and cooking be joyous and delightful eh?’ 

Sorry ladies, but that’s all part of life. Somebody has to do it and you were just unlucky enough to draw the short straw. (smile) Don’t feel too badly though, because I’m not planning on doing anything fun-like myself, just planning to spend most of the day in rest. 

Although I don’t know if that is such a wise idea, because I’ve been resting a fair amount lately, more than usual, but I’m still tired, more tired than when I wasn’t resting as much. 

Oh, who knows or understands the contradictions of this earthly life besides Almighty God? Nobody really nuh. We just have to trust Him implicitly and follow His lead and guidance for our lives, because as He promises in Jeremiah: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you an expected end (a future and a hope).’ (Jer.29:11)  

Yes my people, our wonderful God has good plans for us, so let’s be wise and place our lives in His faithful and mighty hands nuh. And if you don’t believe me about His good intentions towards us, then just listen to our Bit. ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.’ 

Oh Friends, God’s LOVE is exceedingly great towards us, so great that our simple and finite human minds can’t understand it. That’s why some of us simply can’t wrap our minds around a Deity who LOVES fallen sinners so much. But listen to what Bruh Paul says after our Bit. 

‘Even when we were dead in sins, hath he quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ, (by grace ye are (have been) saved 😉 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through (in) Christ Jesus.’ (Eph.2:5-7) 

Wow mih breddren! Glory to God! What more can we say to such unmerited and undeserved favour but ‘Thank You Lord! We praise and glorify Your great name and also for giving us Your Son Jesus as our Lord and Saviour! Thank You, thank You, thank You! 

And we promise to try and show our sincere appreciation and gratitude for your wondrous works towards us, by walking obediently in Your Holy Will. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.’ 

Ah Friends, that wasn’t planned nuh. It just automatically rolled out after I read the wonderful scripture displaying God’s marvelous grace and mercy to us, while we were yet sinners. He must really and truly LOVE us yes, to do such extraordinary things on our behalf when we deserved none of it! 

Now here are some explanations from the scholars. ‘2:4-6. But begins to disclose God’s responses to man’s sin of verses 1-3. This divine response is expressed in three main verbs: (1) God…hath quickened us. Because they were morally dead in sins, the Lord gave them spiritual life; (2) and hath raised us together, that is, God has not allowed these Christians to remain in the grave of their old life with its sinful ways and habits, but He brought them into a new life and demonstration of it; and (3) God made us sit together in heavenly places, that is, He has brought us into His presence and into intimate relationship with Himself.’ 

Oh Friends what can be more wonderful than sitting in heavenly places with Jesus in the presence of God the Father eh? Nothing my people, nothing whatsoever! That’s why I don’t understand how we can become so ungodly and evil and so bent on turfing God out of our society, after all that wonderful stuff He has done for us. 

And Bruh Paul continues to enlighten the Ephesians and us. ‘For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship (creation), created in Christ Jesus unto (for) good works, which God hath before ordained (prepared) that we should walk in them.’ (Eph.2:8-10) 

Yes Friends, though we were made to perform good works, those good works don’t have any part in our obtaining salvation. It’s strictly by the grace of God. He was wise enough to know that if good works meant anything that proud and egotistical man would boast about it and make a mockery of it. 

Anyway, here is the scholars take on the Grace of God. ‘2:8. The grace of God is the expression of His goodness toward the underserving. Grace means unmerited favour, and can be expressed by the acrostic “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”  This grace is the basis of our salvation (1:7; 2:8). 

Illustration: In salvation, men who deserve hell obtain heaven. This cannot be explained apart from God’s grace. Every conversion in Scripture is an example of God’s grace. When Paul (Saul) met the Lord on the Damascus Road, Paul was a persecutor of the church. Yet God made him one of the church’s chief preachers. 

Application: We need to remember that we are saved, given the Holy Spirit, and allowed to serve God – by His grace. (First Ref; Gen.6:8; Primary Ref; Eph.2:8; cf. Ps.139:1).’ 

Nuff said my people. Hope it brings home to us the great and true LOVE that the Father has for His children, and the riches He’s bequeathed to us at Jesus’ expense. Much LOVE!

…But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord… (Gen.6:8)

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 September 2015 Ephesians 2:4

Ephesians 2:4.   But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.

Oh Friends, this going to bed early business is truly for the birds yes! Steups! I tried it last night – not that early, but earlier than my usual time – and was it ever a miserable experience. 

Ah Lord eh! I got up several times during the night, turned and tossed, trying to find a comfortable position, but all to no avail. And being stubborn, I refused to get up, claiming I needed the rest as an excuse. Hn, hn! Well I got the rest, but I woke up feeling lousy, more tired than when I went to bed. 

Ah mih breddren, what yuh going to do eh? Just grin and bear it and move on with the help of Jesus. And that’s my gripe for today. (smile) But wait nuh, today is Friday, isn’t it? 

And the response to that question assured me that it was indeed Friday. ‘But what’s wrong with you boy? How come yuh don’t know today is Friday eh? Can’t you hear everybody shouting ‘TGIF. Thank God is Friday, and the weekend’s here at last? You’re possibly the only one not shouting that and preparing for a fantastic time! But later for you yes, we have preparations to make!’ 

And the throng moved away loudly mouthing ‘TGIF! Thank You Father God for Friday’s yes!’ 

Well I have been told, haven’t I? (smile) And I lay it all at the feet of going to bed early and getting up late with a befuddled mind. Anyway, to bring everything back into right perspective, let’s chant our Friday Chant with much enthusiasm and true sincerity. 

‘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.’ 

Ah mih people, that ought to give us pause, time for a little thought on how we’re going to spend our weekend, the valuable couple days off from labouring for massa. 

That brings us to our Bit, a simple sentence, but one chocked full of meaning and glorious importance. ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.’ Yes Friends, it all comes right down to God’s unstinting and unconditional LOVE for us sinful children. 

The earlier verses of this chapter, which deal with grace and faith, have us looking real terrible. ‘And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world (age), according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. 

Among whom also we all had our conversation (conducted ourselves) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath. (Eph.2:1-3) 

And what does all of that mean eh my people? Listen to the scholars. ‘2:1. Quickened means “made alive.” In 1:19 Paul prays for his readers to recognize what God’s power has done in them. As part of the answer to this prayer, verses 1-10 inform them of some of the effects divine might has accomplished in them.’ 

‘2:2. Ye walked means “you lived.” The course of this world: The word course signifies the tendencies, thoughts, pursuits, deeds, and so on, that characterize the present period of history. “This world” (kosmos) means “world system,” that is, those philosophies, values, and lifestyles that are opposed to God and hostile to Him. 

Before conversion the Ephesians used to conduct themselves in accordance with such ungodly values. The prince of the power of the air may be read “the ruler of the kingdom in the air.” They also used to live by the dictates and wishes of Satan.’ 

‘2.3. We all had our conversation means “we all conducted ourselves.” In contrast to “ye” in 2:2 which refers to Gentiles, note the “we” of this verse, which refers to Jews. In essence Paul admits, “We Jews were no better than you Gentiles – both ethnic groups were sinful.” Children of wrath refers to people subject to divine punishment.’ 

Oh Friends, I know that some of those explanations can be a bit taxing, but the long and short of the story is that before God shone His wonderful LOVE on us, we were all a bunch of unworthy and terrible sinners, regardless of our ethnic situation. 

However, and very sadly and disappointing too, two thousand years after God showered His LOVE on us through Jesus, we are reverting to that same position, worshipping the ‘prince of the power of the air,’ Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, whatever you choose to call him. 

And right now our world can again be termed as ‘children of wrath,’ because we are so wicked and evil and ungodly and deserving of divine punishment. It’s definitely not a nice picture we paint today my brethren, and we have to pull up our bootstraps very soon, if we don’t want to be victims of that divine punishment. 

For believe it or not, divine punishment ALWAYS comes to those who insist on thwarting the rules of God and walking in total disobedience to His Holy will, as we are currently doing. History proves it. 

So as we end today, please, let’s make it our first priority to check our individual lives and see where we may be going down the wrong path, the wide and unfortunate one, instead of the straight and narrow one that leads to Jesus, and make any corrections that are necessary, with God’s help of course. For that my brethren, is the true meaning of wisdom. Much LOVE!

…for the wages of sin is death…but the gift of God is eternal life…through Jesus Christ our Lord…  (Rom.6:23)