Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 April 2020 Psalm 63:3.

Psalm 63:3.    Because thy LOVING-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
 

And then it was Monday… a new day and a new week, but the world was still in panic and pandemic mode. However, true believers in Almighty God were calm and peaceful, as they faithfully declared like Bruh David did when he was running in the wilderness of Judah from his many enemies: ‘O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.’ (Ps. 63:1) Ah friends, many of us figuratively feel like we’re in a wilderness without water today because of our many unsolvable problems, some of us might even be literally in a dry desert. 

But please take heart, the Lord knows our situations, and He’s in the process of fixing them, we just have to remain faithful and stick close to Him, as Jesus so powerfully and truthfully declared: ‘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) He couldn’t have put it any plainer than that. So there are two basic things we need to do this early Monday morning, in fact every morning. The first thing is to stick close to our great God, then the next is to seek His face early with prayer; hopefully as soon as we are consciously awake. 

Yes, we don’t even have to get out of bed, before we offer some thanks and praise, and asking for health and wisdom to have a good day while being obedient to His will. And that will usually set the tone for our day; allowing the Lord to get into our soul and spirit first, rather than give Beelzebub the first chance to corrupt our fragile and tender souls. For as Bruh David continued, two verses down: ‘Because thy LOVING-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.’ 

Wow mih people! What a powerful, and oh so truthful statement! The Lord’s mercy is indeed better than life…in fact it is life giving, in the sense that without His abundant mercy, we wouldn’t have any life at all, since we have all sinned and come short of His glory, and the penalty for sin is death. But because mercy is not receiving what we deserve, He’s been merciful to a fault and allowed us to have salvation and eternal life! And yes, I did digress a tad there, (smile) but I thought it was important to point out that small matter. Hn, hn! 

So where were we? Oh yeh! We were talking about sticking to Jesus like white on rice, and seeking His face in prayer early everyday. Now assuming that we’ve already stuck to Him, let’s seek His face in prayer through our Monday Morning Covid-19 Battle Hymn nuh. As one body now, with sincere hearts: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. 

Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

And yuh know what friends, because the Lord judges us by the state of our hearts and not our mouths, and our hearts just now were truly sincere, we know that the Lord will answer our prayer, just in His own time! And that’s the part that gives us trouble; the waiting for His timing. But as He says, His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, so if we’re smart, we’ll just wait with a good attitude, until He achieves whatever He desired to achieve when He allowed the deadly virus to proliferate in such a worldwide manner. 

Consequently, wisdom decrees that we declare and behave like Bruh David continues after our Bit. ‘Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow (the best; lit. fat) and fatness (abundance); and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after (close behind) thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.’ (Ps. 63:4-8) 

And that last clause is the gospel truth my fellow saints in Christ – the Lord’s strong right hand is what upholds us in this earthly pilgrimage. And when we remember all that the Lord’s already done for us, is now doing, and has promised to do in the future, then ought our mouths to loudly sing His praises through joyful lips, and our attachment to Him, never falter, as we constantly seek His face, early in the morning, during the day, and late at night. That’s how true saints, true believers ought to live my brethren! Much LOVE!

…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 April 2020 Proverbs 4:7.

Proverbs 4:7.    ​Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 
 

Yes, it’s Tuesday, the penultimate one in this contrary and unpredictable month of April, in this disastrous year of 2020! And weather-wise, today looks like it’s going to be rather unpredictable too. The sun’s shining but there are some dark clouds hanging around, and the ground’s still wet from rain that obviously fell earlier on. However, the crazy wind that’s been causing an unholy ruckus during most of the night appears to have now settled down. So like everything else, who knows what will happen to day eh? 

Only the Lord God Jehovah! Thus it is imperative that we stay close to Him; in fact cling to Him for dear life! Jesus said it so well: ‘Abide in me, and I in you. as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 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 15:4-5) 

That’s telling it like it is friends! Jesus laid it all on the table right there; without Him we can do nothing, we’re helpless to bear any good fruit! So why are we so reluctant to get close and stick to Him like stick-to-itis, like white on rice eh? Because we’re either foolish, high-minded and stubborn, or severely led astray, or even all of those things! And that’s why our world is in the mess that it’s currently in. 

But what we ought to be doing is listening to, and putting into action these wise words of Cousin Sol. ‘Hear ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline (turn away) from the words of my mouth. 

Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: LOVE her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to (place on) thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver thee.’ (Prov. 4:1-9) 

Oh my people that’s more exceedingly wise advice from the Good Book – the Book of Life! What don’t we understand about ‘keep my commandments and live’ eh? Likewise, what don’t we understand about wisdom being the principal thing eh? If we don’t have wisdom we can’t live this ofttimes cruel and deceitful life wisely. But we have to seek it, and get it, and then hold on to it tightly for goodness sake! 

And the scholars offer this explanation on those verses. ‘4:3-4. Three generations are linked together in the transmission of wisdom: (the one that’s going out, the one that’s currently in ascendance, and the one that’s coming up). Note too that it is (wisdom) transmitted by personal influence, especially in the home.’ 

And that’s where we’re falling down badly my people. The Word of the Lord is no longer taught in our schools or written in public places, and neither are we teaching or practising it sufficiently in our homes, so how can the young people learn wisdom eh? And yuh see the good things wisdom and understanding will do in our lives when we adhere to their wise ways and commands? They’ll promote us, bring us honour, give us a bundle of grace, and a crown of glory! Now who wouldn’t want those things in this crazy and confusing life eh? All of us obviously. But it doesn’t just happen by osmosis my brethren, we have to make it happen. 

And how do we make it happen? Cousin Sol also gives us that info: ‘The fear (reverential awe) of the Lord is the (principal) beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.’ (Prov. 1:7) And isn’t that the awesome truth! Wisdom comes from the Lord, and it’s oh so important in our world and life, because it’s the same wisdom the Lord used to create our universe. Hear Cousin Sol again: ‘The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths (deeps) are broken up, and the clouds drop down dew.’ (Prov. 3:19-20) 

So friends, if the Lord God Almighty used wisdom to create our world, why wouldn’t we, in heaven’s name, need it to live in that self-same universe eh? No reason whatsoever! Except that we’re stubborn and hard-headed and like to do what we want to do, figuring that with our puny minds and free will, we know best. And perhaps to disavow that false thinking, is why Cousin Sol wrote the Book of Proverbs Here is it’s stated purpose: ‘To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding (understand or discern); To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgement, and equity; to give subtilty (prudence) to the simple. To the young man knowledge and discretion.’ (Prov. 1:2-4) 

But unfortunately too many of us shy away or simply refuse to accept those provisions for earthly living, and therefore we fail badly at it. Now let’s look at some explanations the scholars provide on the words used. ‘1:2. Wisdom is the key word of the book (of Proverbs), and basically means “skill in living.” It refers to the skill to live life successfully. Instruction refers to the moral discipline of one’s life, not to classroom instruction. Understanding means the capability to distinguish between true and false, good and bad, what matters most and what does not matter at all.’ 

‘1:3. Wisdom, a different Hebrew word from that used in verse 2, means “wise behaviour,” “wise dealing,” “good sense.” Justice is the same word as righteousness and refers to conformity to God’s law. Judgement is a legal term used of a judge’s verdict and refers to right behaviour. Equity is fairness in one’s dealing with others.’ ‘1:4. The simple are naïve young people open to any influence, among the chief addressees in the book. Knowledge mean the apprehension of reality, including an experiential knowledge of God. Discretion refers to the power of formulating and carrying out the right measures.’ 

‘1:7. The fear of the Lord means submission to the Lord and His revelation. When one is afraid of something, he either runs from it or submits to it. The latter idea is in view here. It is a healthy fear, like the fear of electricity or the fear of one’s parents, which causes one to act in an appropriate manner. The beginning does not mean that “the fear of the Lord” is left behind in the course of acquiring wisdom, but that it is the controlling principle of wisdom.’ So there we have it friends, some basic descriptions on the basics of living this earthly life in a Christian manner! (smile) 

Let’s hope that these disastrous times will help draw us closer to those precepts and principles from which we have too long and too far gone astray. Now let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, proudly letting the whole world know who and whose we are. 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!’ 

Now we need to go out, or stay in social distance (smile) and action those sentiments! Much LOVE!

…simple common sense dictates…the created must reverence the Creator…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 January 2020 John 15:5.

John 15:5.    ​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.
 

And yes, I know some of you are patting your chests, feeling self-satisfied and proud as a peacock, because you have now darkened the church doors on your usual two occasions for the year; at Easter and Christmas. And I still don’t understand why you go at all because twice a year is certainly insufficient if you consider yourself a true believer in Jesus Christ! Church ought not to be a sometime thing. The Lord planned it to be a regular occurrence, and if you think twice a year is sufficient, then you are totally fooling yourself and seriously suffering from the sin of pride, which the Lord abhors more than most others. 

Church was made for fellowship, so believers could gather together and enjoy each other’s company, encourage each other, sing and praise the Lord and hear His enlightened Word, thus refreshing and renewing our tired minds, bodies and spirits from a stressful week of work, so that we can begin the cycle all over again on Monday. Anyway, mine is not to judge, just to point out the inadequacies. (smile) So let’s get the show on the road with today’s song of praise. And since we’ve all resolved to have a closer walk with Jesus this new year of 2020, I figured the most appropriate song would be the old faithful: ‘Just a closer walk with thee.’ 

But before we get into it, here is something from the website Hymnary.org, which gives us food for thought as we sing. ‘In this song, we acknowledge our human inability to live righteously, but we also express awareness of the grace and strength that God gives us in our daily walk. Even such an esteemed saint as the apostle Paul acknowledged his need for this grace: “But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” … For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, 10b ESV).’ 

So as we sing, as we raise our voices to high heaven in perfect harmony and true sincerity, let’s contemplate the sentiments we utter in that light nuh. All together now: ‘I am weak but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee. (Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.) Thro’ this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee. [Refrain] 

(And Anne Murray inserts this chorus here: ‘Take my hand Lord Jesus, take my hand. Take my hand Lord Jesus, take my hand. There’s a race to be run, there’s a victory to be won, every hour, give me power to go through.) When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore. [Refrain] (Take my hand Lord Jesus, take my hand. Take my hand Lord Jesus, take my hand. There’s a race to be run, there’s a victory to be won, every hour, give me power to go through.) Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be. Just a closer walk with thee, Dear Lord let be…let it be…’ 

Ah mih people, the only way to walk this earth successfully is to be continually in close proximity to Jesus; the One who bore all our sins on Calvary’s cross, then rose triumphantly from the dead and ascended into heaven where He sits at the Father’s right hand advocating on our behalf. Glory Hallelujah! And if you don’t believe me, then hear it from Jesus Himself: ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 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 15:4-5) 

Now if that isn’t telling it in plain and straightforward language, I don’t know what is nuh! Yes friends, if we don’t stay tightly attached to Jesus then we’ll be lost like sheep without a shepherd, headed straight for naïve and innocent slaughter by falling for the enemy’s lies and deceit. That’s the gospel truth! Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can provide us with the strength and the wherewithal we need to make it through these dark, dismal and turbulent times! 

And Bruh Paul puts it thus to the Corinthians in the last chapter of his second letter, when he speaks of his coming to them and warns of prevalent sin in their church: ‘For though he (Jesus) was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates (unless you don’t stand the test, are counterfeit Christians)?’ (2 Cor.13:4-5) 

Ah mih people, in this new year, these trying times of history, it’s ever so necessary for each and every one of us to examine ourselves and make sure we’re not fakes, counterfeit believers! If we’re true believers, then Christ ought to be in us. And if Christ is in us, then we have the awesome responsibility to act and behave in a manner that is worthy of Him. That means bearing the fruit of the Spirit: LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), meekness, temperance (self-control). 

Today, let’s take a few moments and examine ourselves to see if we are bearers of such fruit nuh. And whether we are or not, let’s sincerely ask the Lord to help us bear such fruit so that we can exalt and glorify His most worthy name through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Much LOVE!

…not that we are sufficient of our selves…to think any thing as of ourselves…but our sufficiency…is of God… (2 Cor.3:5)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 November 2019 John 3:16.

John 3:16.    ​For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 

Ah friends, yesterday was beautiful; bright and sunshiny…and as always, also filled with the illuminating and reassuring presence of Jesus! Wow! That surely made it an extraordinary autumn day. (smile) The good thing though is that we’ve been promised another one like that today… Glory be my people! Let’s hope the weather forecasters are not wrong nuh, because Sunday is the worst day for any kind of precipitation, because we then conveniently use it as an excuse not to join other believers in the Lord’s sanctuary to praise, worship, give thanks and exalt His holy name.

And it is indeed a very handy and common excuse, so please don’t deny it. But yuh know what; rain, sleet or snow doesn’t stop us from going out to party. That just shows how high the Lord is on our list of priorities. He should be at the head of the list; as Jesus wisely advised: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…’ (Matt. 6:33) And if He’s not, then we will eventually have to answer, why not? Let’s stay in the moment though, we’ve come to praise and worship Almighty God and hear His Word, so lets commence in our usual fashion with a song.

But first, listen to how it became today’s song nuh. A couple of days ago, as I laid me down to have an evening nap, the thought of what song to use this Sunday suddenly flitted through my mind, and just as suddenly the answer came: ‘Because He Lives!’ That wasn’t even on my radar of possibilities, but it seems like the Lord wanted to hear that one today, and who am I to say Him nay eh? (smile) So let’s get it all together nuh and sing those wonderful words, penned by Bill and Gloria Gaither, outlining and praising Jesus amazing work on our behalf.

Now, in soulful, heartfelt and grateful harmony, let’s raise our voices to heaven on high, where Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand, advocating for us, and let Him know without a doubt, how much we truly LOVE and appreciate Him! ‘(Chorus: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives.) (Repeat) God sent His Son they called Him, Jesus. He came to LOVE, heal and forgive. He lived and died to buy my pardon An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. (Chorus)

How sweet to hold a newborn baby And feel the pride and joy he gives But greater still that calm assurance This child can face uncertain days because He lives And then one day I’ll cross the river I’ll fight life’s final war with pain And then, as death gives way to vict’ry I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!  Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living…Just because He lives. And life is worth the living…Just because He lives, And life is worth the living…Just because He lives.’

Oh friends, oh friends, that was such a moving rendition that it caused tears to well up both in the Father’s and Jesus’ eyes! And it just boggles my imagination to think that people don’t take Jesus seriously, but still abuse and blaspheme His holy name like they did way back  when He came to earth and gave His sinless life as a sacrifice for us, so that we could be reconciled to, made right with the Father!

That’s the major reason that He came, as He so eloquently declared in the scripture that we all know and cherish, but still don’t take seriously enough, otherwise there wouldn’t be as much sin and unrighteousness still existing in our world. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ That’s it right there in a nutshell friends! God’s LOVE and compassion for us sinful children was so great that He sacrificed the sinless life of His only Son to pay for our sins, for always and ever.

Jesus became the official sacrificial Lamb for ALL mankind, and that’s why the words of our song are so true! We can live now, without fear of the future, because His death and resurrection opened up a bright new, righteous world for us! He defeated hell, death and the grave so that we could be pardoned, and an empty grave and a downtrodden Satan are there to prove it! And it’s gospel truth that He came to LOVE, to heal and forgive, because we see it all in living colour in His ministry, both here on earth, and continuing in heaven above.

As He further declared: ‘For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’ (John 3:17) And so said…so done! And is it ever mightily reassuring to know that because Christ lives, our children don’t have to fear the uncertain circumstances of this life either? But the greatest part though friends, is on that fateful day, when we cross over to the other side, when we’ve left pain and war and all negative things behind, He’ll be there waiting for us with opened arms, sincerely declaring (steups!): ‘Oh welcome thou good and faithful servant…welcome home!’

That’s certainly worth all the negativity, all the ‘sufferation’ down here on earth my brethren! So please let’s be wise nuh; let’s do as He says and abide in Him, for His reasoning is flawless: ‘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) Matter done! Much LOVE!

…to experience true victory…and real glory in eternity…one must hook one’s cart to Jesus’ horse…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 August 2019 John 15:5.

John 15:5.    ​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.
 

It’s Happy Day! Yes friends, it’s the happiest day of the week; Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the day when He rested after creating His universe and all therein. When He looked at it, He smiled contentedly, like a workman knowing that he’s done a good job and said: ‘It is good!’ The Lord also wants us to rest on this day, or at least one day of the week, to renew our strength and energy, because He did not make us to be machines, constantly working. 

And the best way to regroup for next week is by joining fellow believers in worship and praise at the Lord’s sanctuary, His house of prayer, where we can commune together as one body, Christ’s church, His vehicle for saving the world. So let’s all do our very best to get to the Lord’s house some time today nuh, so that we can sing and praise and worship and exalt His name and find succour and confidence and grace and mercy and forgiveness and LOVE for our weary and burdened souls! 

Now let’s commence our proceedings with the usual, a song of praise and thanksgiving. And today it’s something from the Gaither Homecoming Festival of some time back, sung by my latest favourite gospel singer, Jessy Dixon. The song’s aptly titled, ‘I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.’ Yes friends we talking about Jesus here, so let’s get soulful and sincere as we declare these awesome words of truth in sweet harmony nuh. 

All together now: ‘I thought, that number one, would surely be me. I thought I could be, what I wanted to be. I thought I, could build on life’s sinking sand. But I can’t even walk, without you holding my hand. I thought that I, could do a lot on my own, I thought, I could make it, all alone. I thought, thought of myself as a mighty big man, But I can’t even walk, without you holding my hand. I can’t even walk, without you holding my hand, For the mountain, is too high, and the valley, is too wide, Down on my knees, I learned how to stand, Because I can’t even walk, without you holding my hand. I can’t even walk, without you holding my hand. 

Ohh my Jesus, I can’t even walk, without you holding my hand, For the mountain, is too high, and the valley, is too wide, Down on my knees, I learned how to stand, Because I can’t even walk, without you holding my hand. I can’t even walk, without you holding my hand. Yes my Saviour, I can’t walk, without you holding my hand. Thank You, for teaching me that valuable lesson, through your Word!’ 

Ah mih people, that was wonderfully soulful! (smile) And Jesus gratefully acknowledged our praise with a nod of His head and a shy smile, because He still doesn’t consider Himself number One! That’s the Father’s position, and He’s not foolish like Lucifer and try to overthrow Him. Anyway, those words are gospel truth, because without Jesus, we’re nothing and can do nothing, as He so plainly tells us in John’s gospel, re the vine and the branches. 

‘I am the true (genuine) vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit.’ (John 15:1-2) Now that’s a tough row to how because if you don’t bear fruit, you’re taken away, and if you do bear fruit, you’re still pruned, so you can bear even more and better fruit. As I heard Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) say the other day: ‘You’re pruned if you, and pruned if you don’t.’ But that’s the Father’s way, and also the general way of husbandmen in the physical world. 

And Jesus continues: ‘Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 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 15:3-5) Don’t you like how Jesus doesn’t mince words, just puts it plainly and clearly? ‘I am the vine and you are the branches…without me you can do nothing!’ 

And that’s the living truth friends. Remember in our song today, everything was about I thought I could do this, and I thought I could do that, but then we had a surprising and sudden awakening; only when we got on our knees were we able to stand, and even then we couldn’t walk without holding Jesus’ hand. And that’s how it is if we want to be a fruitful part of His LOVE Revolution! And it’s interesting how Jesus used the grape vine as a powerful example, but in the agricultural society that was Israel back then, everybody would certainly understand what He meant. 

And the scholars offer this explanation: ‘15:5. The uniqueness of the Christian experience results from the union of Christ and the believer. This is expressed in the scripture as Christ being in the believer and the believer in Christ. Ten times Paul uses the Greek preposition ‘sun’ (together) to describe this relationship. Believers were crucified (Gal.2:20), dead (Col.2:20) buried (Rom.6:4), quickened or made alive (Eph.2:1-5; Col.2:13), raised (Col.3:1; Eph.2:6), seated (Eph.2:6), and glorified (Rom.8:17) together with Christ. 

Illustration: Jesus used the image of the vine and its branches to describe His union with the believer. Application: On the basis of this union, the apostle Paul showed how the successful Christian life can be opened with four key words in Romans 6: ‘know’ (vs.6), ‘reckon’ (vs.11), ‘yield’ (vs.13), and ‘obey’ (vs.17). The Christian can conquer sin because Christ lives in him (Gal.2:20). First Ref. John 7:37-38; Primary Ref. John 15:1-5; cf. 1 John 5:13).’

Lots of interesting scriptures there for us to check our friends. (smile) But if you really want to make a difference on Jesus’ vine you will have to know His Word, especially as it pertains to you being in Him and He being in you, for remember you can’t do anything without Him. And we’ll close with these words from Bruh Paul to the Corinthians that also highlight that very salient fact. ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God;’ (2. Cor.3:5) Wise words to live and die by my precious saints of God! Much LOVE!

…only as Christ lives and moves in us…and we live and move in Him…can we do great things for the kingdom…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 July 2019 Mark 16:15.

Mark 16:15.    ​And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
 

And so we come once more to Friday, the day that we all long and wish for, especially in the summer time, when we get to go out and do all those fun things outside. (smile) And believe me the hot days are upon us right now, with temps of 30 and 30 something degrees predominating. And if we don’t get some rain soon, we’ll be complaining about how it too hot! That’s just the nature of the human animal, we just LOVE our comfort and are never satisfied even when we get what we ask for. 

And the 4th of July party is still in full swing down in the U.S. of A. And the workingman feels as though he’s died and gone to heaven. Hear him nuh: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday…and the weekend is finally here! What would we do without the weekend eh? The slave master and them would gladly work out we soul case if we give them the chance, and for next to nothing too, because they so blooming greedy! They preach a good preach about sharing, but is only talk oui. 

But enough about them evil people yes. Is the summer time now and the weekend, we time to get out there and party, party like there was no tomorrow! And who knows whether there will be any tomorrow eh? What they say? You live today and tomorrow you die? Well then lemme live it up today eh? For who knows if I’ll wake up tomorrow? And the weather is fine, the beer’s cold, the grill’s waiting …and the winter soon come back! So lemme enjoy the fruits of mih labour eh, as Solomon says, that’s mih God-given right! So thank God for Fridays and weekends yes!’ 

Oh friends, we do have to thank the Lord, but not only for Fridays and weekends, but for all that we have, because it all comes from Him! Remember how Bruh David put it: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with LOVING-kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ (Ps.103:2-5) 

Oh my people, what words of marvellous truth! Our wonderful God does it all for us! Without Him, we’d be absolutely nothing! Jesus said it plainly: ‘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) So please let’s remember that as we chant our Friday Chant this beautiful summer’s day with a strong sense of purpose and reverence. 

As one now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

And that’s what it’s all about yes my faithful brethren, furthering Christ’s kingdom here on earth, bringing forth fruit in His name! That was His last command to the disciples; what we call the Great Commission. ‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:19-20) 

So that’s our bounden duty: to teach and preach and baptize and spread the good news of Christ’s gospel, bringing unbelievers to the realization that they badly need His free healing and saving grace, so that they can enjoy salvation and eternal life in the beautiful halls of heaven! 

Now here is something that I’ve never noticed before, Mark’s version of the Great Commission, because everyone seems to be fixated on Matthew’s take on the subject. But though Mark’s is somewhat different, it’s just as interesting. ‘And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (condemned). 

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils (demons); they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not (never) hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’ (Mark 16:15-18) 

What magnificent promises my people! But we have to believe and get out there and do the work Jesus commanded us to do before we see them coming to pass. And the last verse of Mark’s gospel tells us what happened after Jesus left them and ascended into heaven. ‘And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following (accompanying signs). Amen.’ (Mark 16:20) 

Yuh see that mih people, when they did as Jesus asked, He did as He promised; being with them as they did His work! And it’s the very same way He will be with us in these evil and ungodly times when we step out in faith to spread His word, whether it be as preachers, evangelists, teachers, etc. or just by being good, ordinary Christian folks, letting our Christ-like lives speak for us. It’s all about staying securely attached to the vine! Much LOVE!

…if you truly believe in Jesus…then you need to work His work…and show good fruit…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 June 2019 John 15:5.

John 15:5.   ​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.
 

Well it seems like another ‘riney’ day is in the offing! Brother, when is it going to stop eh? Doesn’t look like anytime soon. But who cares eh? Oh, how I dislike that term that’s so popular in our current parlance! Because we all ought to care, since too much rain means flooding and a whole set of other problems. Some places up around the nation’s capital of Ottawa are still flooded, and some parts up there recently received a telling blow from a powerful tornado! 

So why don’t we care eh? Because we’re selfish and greedy and not truly Christian-like! Let’s try and change that nuh by praying for those who are suffering from the recent ravages of the unpredictable and contrary weather, while helping in any other capacity that we can. That’s the Christian thing to do. And to help us do that, here is a prayer from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional titled, ‘I Will Move…’ 

Please pray with me: ‘Lord, I want your heart to be in my heart. For in you I come alive, moving ahead from boring death to exciting life! In your promises, I will move from discouragement to hope. In your pardon, I will move from shame to glory. In your power, I will move from weakness to strength. In your providence, I will move from failure to success! Thank you Lord! Amen!’ 

Oh friends, therein lies the true way of life…in sincere partnership and cooperation with Almighty God, our Creator and Provider! Without Him in our lives we’re absolutely nothing! He made us, with a plan for every life, and He still controls them even though we have free will. Nothing happens in our lives without His knowledge and acceptance. 

Granted, some of the things He allows to happen are tough and burdensome, but those things are just tests and ways and means of building our faith, since we only grow during times of adversity. So if He didn’t allow adversarial things in our lives, we would just stay as Christian babies, forever drinking milk and not being able to eat solid food. (smile) 

And that’s not His plan. His plan is to have us all become strong and mature and adult in the faith – as Christ-like as His Son. But in keeping with that desire, our God is so wonderful that He never gives us more than we can bear, or if it seems so, He is always there to help us bear it. That’s why it’s ever so important to have meaningful and constant communication with Him through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Listen to Jesus tell it nuh: ‘I am the true (genuine) vine, and my Father is the husbandman (vinedresser). Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through (because of) the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’ (John 15:1-4) 

Oh friends, don’t you like how Jesus just puts it out there, without any fuss or fancy! And then He rubs it in further: ‘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.’ 

And that’s oh so true my brethren! Without Jesus first and foremost in our lives we are incapable of producing much, if any positive fruit. But with Him taking a meaningful part in our lives, we abiding in Him, and He in us, oh, we’re capable of producing enormous amounts of good and wonderful fruit! 

And Jesus does not leave us wondering about what happens if we don’t abide in him, and He in us: ‘If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.’ (John 15:6) And the scholars tell us that that verse ‘refers to the judgement of believers at the judgement seat of Christ (2 Cor.5:10).’ 

So basically speaking, ‘Jesus explains the divine-human relationship by the analogy of a grapevine. Jesus is like the main vine. The disciples are compared with branches. The Father tends the branches like a gardener. At that time of year, branches of grapevines would be budding in Jerusalem.’ 

So the disciples would have understood exactly what He meant. That’s another wonderful things about Jesus; His analogies are always about things that we can understand, things that are prevalent in our lives, so we don’t have to go wondering what He’s talking about. 

The long and short of the story friends, is that walking with Jesus involves constant movement and growth, no sitting on one’s laurels admiring one’s earlier successes. If you’re not bearing good fruit, then the Father will cut you off and throw you away. But even if you’re bearing good fruit, He will prune you occasionally so that you can bear even more fruit! So you’re in a no win situation! Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t! (smile) 

The Father requires constant growth and the bearing of much fruit, and He pursues His plan with great conviction and sense of purpose, therefore we need to pull up our britches and get with the programme, if we say we are, or want to be true believers! Now let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. 

All together now: ‘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!’ 

Oh my people, let’s be wise and keep our eyes fixed steadfastly on Jesus nuh, and know that the future with Him will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…oh Jesus…oh Jesus…what would we do without you eh…

 

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