Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 April 2020 Mark 6:50b.

Mark 6:50b.    Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I; be not afraid.
 
And the world keeps turning, like the Lord planned it to: it’s pages quietly and unconcernedly rolling along from one day to the next, regardless of what happens from one day to the next! (smile) And it’s finally rolled around to this Saturday in what’s supposed to be spring time, but we haven’t seen any rain in such a long time that the old adage ‘April showers bring May flowers’ is in danger of not being true this year of the Coronavirus. But what else is new eh? Cousin Sol said long ago that there’s nothing new under the sun. Yes: ‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.’ (Eccl. 1:9) 

And yuh know, if the wisest man ever said that, then it ought to be so. (smile) But it also shows up in our age old cliché that ‘History repeats itself.’ And that is oh so true. If we look back we can see every powerful society that ever walked the earth making the same mistake of getting too full of themselves, too big for their britches, replacing God with man made idols as they obtained some basic knowledge of life, and then getting fat and lazy off of their prosperity, which meant they stopped growing and began falling behind into eventual oblivion. 

And the same thing is happening in our current society, and our current worldwide trouble is simply a reflection of our stubbornness, hard heartedness and highly egotistical nature. It’s a wake up call from the Creator to the created, warning that we’re on the edge of a terrible precipice, and if we don’t heed the warning and repent and turn back to Him, a whole lot more damage will be done to our world. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! End of sermon! And friends I’m chuckling here, because I never came out to preach this morning, but that’s where I was led, so please take it easy on the ole fella nuh. 

But moving right along, since it’s Saturday, that lazy, late wake up day – most days are like that now though – let’s see what interesting quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a brighter tomorrow…and do we ever need one! And he seems to have been on progress kick this past week. Hear this first quote: ‘Delay is the enemy of progress.’ And so it is! Laziness and procrastination, and anything else that keeps us from doing what we have to do, is in fact delaying our progress. We can’t progress unless we get up off our fat fannies and do what we need to do! 

And the next quote also declares a great truth: ‘Comfort is the enemy of progress.’ Yes my people, as we said above, that’s why most societies eventually die. We start out by working hard and making progress, then when we reach a certain point of prosperity, we believe we can now rest on our laurels and enjoy what we have. But the sad fact of the matter is that continued prosperity depends on continued hard work, and resting comfortable on one’s laurels only eats away at said prosperity. 

It’s like your savings in the bank. The more you put in the more you will have, but when you stop putting in and only withdraw, then it will wither away li’l by li’l until it runs out. Well it’s the same way with progress and prosperity. Unless you keep building, working and saving, you will stop making progress and eventually fall. 

Now hear this one: ‘Some quit due to slow progress. Never grasping the fact that slow progress is progress.’ That’s more gospel truth my brethren! Good progress is usually a creeping thing that includes some failure in between. We don’t just begin something today, if it’s a worthwhile project, put in a li’l elbow grease and declare victory or significant progress tomorrow. No friends, progress is a time consuming thing, and ofttimes needs a lot of blood, sweat and tears before it can be significantly achieved. 

And that’s a major problem for this generation. We the parents have not taught the children sufficiently about waiting and working and being satisfied or contented with a little, that’s why they’re all going crazy, feeling entitled to everything while not wanting to work for or make a sacrifice for anything! That thing called true progress is ever so slow my people that sometimes you can’t even see it, although you know you’re making it. So let’s not quit when it looks like positive things are not happening for us nuh. It just means that the Lord is working in the background, doing the hard and dirty work that’s necessary to move us forward. 

In light of all that, it is therefore necessary for us to quickly befriend this next quote and hold on to it tightly, as our very lives may depend on it. ‘Courage means to keep making forward progress while you still feel afraid.’ And isn’t that the living truth! All of us feel afraid at some time or other in our lives, so it’s not a matter of never being afraid, or never having fear, for fear is a natural aspect of human life. But the important thing there is like Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) puts it: ‘doing it afraid.’ That’s what courage is really all about; doing what we need to despite the fear or anxiety we might feel. 

And the only thing that really conquers fear is faith! That’s why the most used command or warning in the Good Book is ‘Fear not! Do not be afraid!’ Moses said it thus to the Israelites when they were leaving Egypt and the massive Egyptian army was hot on their heels: ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation (deliverance) of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.’ (Ex. 14:13) And that promise did come true in spades as the entire Egyptian army was drowned in the Red Sea when the Lord closed it back up. 

And the psalmist gives us this small but everlasting treasure: ‘The Lord is on my side, I will not fear: what can man do unto me?’ (Ps.118:6) Yes friends, if the Lord is on our side, man cannot prevail over us. And Isaiah drives it home on the Lord’s behalf. ‘Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense: he will come and save you.’ (Is. 35:4) And he did exactly that through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

And when Jesus walked on water towards His disciples and they were afraid, His comforting words were simply: ‘Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I; be not afraid.’  Yes my people, simple, but oh so reassuring words from our Master. That’s the beauty of His philosophy and words! 

And we’ll end with this most important warning from Bruh Paul to Timothy in his tough times, which we all ought to know by now, even if we didn’t know it before Covid-19. (smile) ‘For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power (His Holy Spirit), and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind.’ (2 Tim. 1:7) Now let’s go out and use those marvellous gifts in His work nuh! Much LOVE!

…fear and courage…two sides of the same coin…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 February 2020 Matthew 10:36.

Matthew 10:36.    ​And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
 
So here we go again for the umpteenth time… and we still have umpteen more times to go! (smile) Yes friends, it’s that stalwart day we call Monday, the one that gets us moving, but which we all like to hate and unrealistically blame for so many of our woes. Unfortunately though, we can’t get away from it, especially the way our Western society is set up. 

And I believe that if Tuesday was the first day of the work week, we’d intensely dislike Tuesday just like we do Monday. The dissatisfaction merely stems from the fact that the first day means we have to get up off of our fat fannies after a lazy and self-indulgent weekend and go out to make a living, accompanied by all the other unpleasantness and headache that action brings with it. (smile) 

And since we’re prisoners of hope, we believe that every Monday morning there is one less person suffering from the Monday Blues of those who wisely associate with us. In other words, at least one person matures and grows spiritually each week, so that Mondays no longer affect them as negatively as before. Wow! That is what you’d call great hope! (smile) But since with our great God ALL THINGS are possible, that’s not too great a leap of faith. 

Luckily for some of us though in Ontario and five of the other Provinces, today we’re celebrating the provincial statutory holiday called  Family Day. That means many of us in those provinces won’t be going out to work today… And no it’s not a day to party hearty, but to spend in communion with one’s family, to get to know each other better and bring it closer together, (smile) because in these modern times, the main pillar, the  foundation of our society, the family, is sadly falling apart and becoming of less and less importance. 

So let’s see if we can’t get one more person over the hump nuh, by humbly and confidently going to the throne of grace and asking for leading and guidance. 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!’ 

And though we said that the holiday was not for partying but for renewing the family, you could hear quite a bit of slurring and hoarseness in some of those voices, signifying that they were already into the mind numbing and tongue tying sauce. (smile) But for those who have to get out into the chilling cold, or burning heat, or anything in between, it was a most worthwhile exercise since they have felt their energy and enthusiasm suddenly grow, their thoughts become positive, and they now walk with a strong sense of purpose; that purpose being to go out and do good work for Jesus! And who says our great God isn’t able eh? Foolishness! 

But on a more serious note friends, since today is Family Day, I thought we’d look at the condition of that most marvellous and worthwhile institution in our current society. As we said earlier, for a number of reasons, over the last couple of decades, the family has become rather fragmented and not as strong, or as important as it was once. But you know it has been the backbone, the one stabilizing influence that we could count on during man’s rather scarred, torn and tattered history. 

It was the one thing we could always come back to. It was the rock, the foundation on which every society was built. Even the extended family was pretty strong and useful in its time. But sadly, right now, the pure, direct family is falling apart, and the extended isn’t even recognized again. Oh friends, our society is falling apart through moral turpitude, depravity and wickedness, just like back in Micah’s day when he bewailed Israel’s moral failure. 

‘The good (faithful, loyal) man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly (successfully), the prince asketh (asks for gifts), and the judge asketh for a reward (a bribe); and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous (evil) desire: so they wrap it up (scheme together).’ (Mic. 7:2-3) And isn’t that way it is today my brethren; greed, power struggles and corruption running blatantly and rampantly! 

And two verses later, Micah continues: ‘Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide (companion): keep (guard) the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.’ (Mic. 7:5-6) Now how can a family like that ever stay together and make a positive impact on our society eh? No way! 

But Jesus also warned of the failure of this foundational institution in times of persecution: ‘And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.’ (Matt. 10:21) Now families have always fought, but these days it seems to be way out of line. And we seem to be making Jesus’ words a real reality: ‘And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.’ 

Oh friends, there’s simply too much infighting amongst families in these turbulent times, and it’s obvious that if the basic foundation of our society fails, our society won’t be far behind. So I implore us today, this Family Day, to spend some positive and productive time making our families strong nuh, so that our society will rebound with glowing promise. Much LOVE!

…families must be built on the solid rock that’s Jesus…not the shifting sand that’s Satan…