Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 October 2019 Luke 17:17.

Luke 17:17.    ​And Jesus answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
Well it’s Sunday once again, but this time we coming to you from the hot and hazy capital of Jamaica, Kingston. Now the ole fella is a li’l bit in doubt here, for it’s shortly after five in the evening, and I can’t make up my mind whether we should have church or not, because there’s a lot of stuff to share with you re my recent activities in this wonderful land. In any case, whatever I decide, I will have to leave you shortly, until whenever I come back from dinner with one of my sisters. 
Oh yes, I have plenty sisters here in J.A; not the biological kind, but the even more important, actual caring and LOVING kind, who enriched my stay in J.A fifty something years ago! And those kinds of people are ever so important in our lives, whether you see them constantly, or once in a blue moon; just knowing that they are there, and they care, adds a whole lot of satisfaction and glow to our souls. Sorry, got to go now, sis is here. (smile) See you soon. 
Back now mih people, shortly after nine my time, but ten, for many of you. Tried mih best to get back sooner, but just couldn’t make it happen, couldn’t do mih sister a Spanish; eat and run. (smile) Then when I walked into the hotel lobby a group of medical people from the same graduating year were sitting there and they coerced me into joining them for about half an hour. And ah sorry, but the way it looks like we not having no church today. But don’t worry, the ole fella went to church this morning, up in the chapel on the university campus. 
To tell the truth, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been in there. I knew about it, but in those days I suspect that I was not as God conscious as I am now. However the service was good, though somewhat long, with plenty praise and worship. The young lady who led us in that was truly excited about leading worship and I believe her enthusiasm flowed over into many of us. The University Chorale sang for us; a truly fine group of singers. 
The service was a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the U.W.I Graduating Class of 1969 and the U.W.I Mona Library Open Week 2019, and the theme of the whole thing was ‘A HEART OF GRATITUDE!’ And as our preacher, Rev. Dr. Henroy Samuels so rightly said in his sermon, the graduates of that class who walked the campus some fifty years ago, looked good and were still healthy because of their heart of gratitude, exemplified by our return to celebrate and give thanks. Those were certainly true words. 
And the scripture was taken from Luke 17, where Jesus healed the ten lepers. The Good Book reports it thus: ‘And it came to pass, as he (Jesus) went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he (Jesus) entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ (Luke 17:11-13) They had to stay afar off because their illness was contagious. 
And as always, Jesus did show them mercy. ‘And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.’ (Luke 17:14) Back in those days, lepers were total outcasts and could only be integrated back into society, if they happened to get cleansed, by showing themselves to the priests and getting their permission. Thus Jesus’ directive for them to go to the priests. Now that’s the good part of the story, but what happens next is the kind of thing we’ve been talking about – a heart of gratitude. 
Hear the Good Book: ‘And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.’ (Luke 17:15-16) Right there we see a major problem. Ten men were healed, apparently nine were Jews and one a Samaritan, the bitter enemies of the Jews. But as life would have it, only the Samaritan returned to give thanks to Jesus and the Father. 
As the minister said this morning, who knows, the Jews who didn’t return and give thanks might have believed that because they were the Chosen People, they were entitled to it. and that’s a major problem in our society today! Too many of us believe we’re entitled to too much, and are not grateful and thankful for what we have. We complain so much about what we don’t have, instead of giving thanks for what we do have. But hear the end of the story: ‘And Jesus answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.’ (Luke 17:17-18) That was a stinging rebuke to His Jewish people. 
According to the scholars: ‘17:18. Stranger literally means “of another race of people”; it therefore refers to a Gentile. The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. This non-Jew, Jesus points out is more spiritually minded than the nine leprous Jews. Yet “strangers” (to cite a use of the word from outside of the Scripture) were forbidden to enter the temple’s inner confines by prominent signs in the temple precincts.’ I guess that might have made it somewhat difficult for the Samaritan to show himself to the priests. (smile) But anyway, good manners and a grateful heart dictated that the other nine should have returned to Jesus and gave Him thanks. 
They were brave and bold enough to beg Him for mercy, but when He showed them that mercy, they couldn’t even come and say a simple ‘Thank You Jesus!’ Unfortunately, that’s the way too many of us also behave today, even supposed believers. Too many of us are not grateful for all the Lord has done, is doing, and has promised to do on our behalf! And that is totally wrong my brethren. Now hear how Jesus ends it. ‘And he said unto to him, (the Samaritan), Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.’ (Luke 17:19) 
And as the scholars say: ‘17:19. All were healed, but only one gives Jesus thanks. His salvation is complete.’ Ah friends, yuh see the great difference some thanks and gratitude made: The Samaritan was granted salvation, while the Jews were still adrift in their ungratefulness. Please, don’t allow that to happen to us nuh. It doesn’t take a whole lot to say, thank you and be grateful. It could certainly make a big difference in our lives, both here on earth, and in heaven too. Much LOVE!
 
…it is our bounden duty…to give thanks and be grateful…for all the Lord’s blessings…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 August 2019 Luke 9:23.

Luke 9:23.     ​If any man will come after (desire to follow) me; let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
 

Well hello, hello, you beautiful fellow saints in Christ! Blessings and mercy and peace and forgiveness and all the other good things that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has made available and possible to us! And they are plentiful and wonderful! That’s why Bruh Paul reassured the church at Philippi after they sacrificed their own wants to send him a gift. ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:19) 

And He has, and will continue to do so my faithful believers, even for those of you who are still tired and bedraggled from the Caribana partying. (smile) And note it’s Wednesday; the hump day, so only a couple more to go till Friday. You can handle it perfectly if you just keep hanging with Jesus, our Leader extraordinaire. 

And talking about Leaders, here is a quote on the subject, reputedly from one Sam Chand, a supposed leadership guru. It says: ‘Your ability to lead is equal to your tolerance for pain. Leading is bleeding – You need to be resilient.’ No lie about any of that my brethren! That’s why Jesus was and still is such a wonderful leader. 

His tolerance for pain, both figuratively and physically are off the charts. I doubt that any of us could have withstood the pain and suffering He did with little or no complaining. And He certainly bled – literally- on our behalf to boot! And He was certainly resilient too as His awesome resurrection on Easter morning showed! Satan could not keep Him down in Hades for long! So even by man’s standards Christ was an awesome leader! Glory to God! 

And something else that a good leader also has is what we term ‘charisma.’ And there are several definitions of it. Here are a few: ‘a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others; a divinely conferred power or talent; a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (such as a political leader); personal magnetism or charm; a type of leadership seen as extraordinary. The term “charisma” is used to describe a particular type of leader who uses “values-based, symbolic, and emotion-laden leader signaling” Whatever that means! (smile) 

But we know that Jesus had charisma in spades, everybody wanted to follow Him, until they discovered that following Him was not exactly an easy row to hoe. And Jesus set out His terms of discipleship quite clearly and up front, as He always did. ‘If any man will come after (desire to follow) me; let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ No mincing of words there friends. 

And I like how Luke puts it; we must take up our crosses ‘DAILY’ not just when we feel like it! And that’s a major problem with many a supposed believer because they think that taking up their crosses daily is a bit too much and too hard. It’s like the young rich ruler who came to Jesus asking what He must do to be saved. Oh, he gallantly answered that he did all the easy parts found in the Ten Commandments. 

‘Then Jesus beholding him LOVED him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast; and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.’ (Mark 10:21) And we all know that he walked away sadly because he could not fathom the thought of selling all of his possessions. 

But you’ll note too that the Good Book says that ‘Jesus LOVED him;’ that is felt compassion because He knew that following Him would never be an easy task, especially for one who had much worldly wealth. But as the scholars say: ‘10:21. Jesus identifies the one area that revealed the man’s true lack of devotion to God. A clear-cut issue must be decided.’ 

Oh friends, the same thing applies to us today. We have to truly decide whether the material things and ways of the world are more important to us than doing the will of God through the leadership of Christ! Now, just ponder on this nugget for a moment nuh: Supposing Jesus had thought the same way like the rich, young ruler and so many of us today, and reacted in like fashion, refusing to give up His wealth and health and good life in heaven, what would be our state right now eh? 

Crapaud smoke we pipe for sure! We’d be hell-bound with Lucifer forever! And remember too that the Father didn’t force Jesus to take up His cross nuh. He asked Him nicely, and because Jesus LOVED the Father everlasting and didn’t want to disobey Him, He took up His cross and daily carried it while here on earth. 

And what we have to realize friends and supposed believers is that taking up one’s cross doesn’t mean giving up everything we have, and/or not desiring the good things of life, but just denying ourselves when our desires cut across or conflict with the will of God. Remember Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.’ (Matt.6:33) So if we put God’s business first place in our lives, then He will provide the necessities of life for us. Just like Bruh Paul said at the beginning of our Bit to the Philippians. 

And remember too Jesus’ words: ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) Now that surely doesn’t mean that His followers should live broken down, poor and bedraggled. In fact He expects us to be the exact opposite, the most joyful and fun-filled people on the earth, the salt and light of the world, because of all the good things His sacrificed life and blood has provided for us! 

So let’s smarten up nuh mih people, let’s pick up that cross daily and step out strong with it, because Jesus will also give us the strength and wherewithal to bear it gallantly and joyfully. Bless His Holy Name! Now let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know our wonderful position in Christ. In strong voice with a sincere sense of purpose: 

‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And if we keep shouldering our crosses daily, oh boy, oh boy, will that future with Christ ever be glorious! Much LOVE!

…there’s no leader like Jesus…He’s already done ALL that He now asks us to do…and He helps us to do it too…Glory be…!