Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 January 2020 1 Peter 3:11.

1 Peter 3:11.    ​Let him eschew (turn away from) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (pursue) it.
 
And as the day opens, a whole lot of people around the world emit sighs of relief because it’s that magical day called Friday, when their outside labour will end for a couple of days and they won’t have to face snarled, slow-moving traffic twice a day, and engage in mindless chit-chat with selfish, ignorant co-workers whom they thoroughly dislike! (smile) 

Ah friends, what an evil and deceitful world we live in! And the sad part is that it’s getting worse daily. All the negative stuff that’s currently happening in our world is just creating more tension, anxiety and strife between hitherto comfortable people. But all that us true believers in Christ can basically do is pray for world peace and then do our best to pursue it in our families, friends and neighbourhoods! 

And since it’s Friday, we ought to hear what the ordinary workingman has to say for himself. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! And am I ever grateful for the two days off! I forgot how hard work could really be. Yeh, now that the new year has truly gotten rolling, the work is pouring in and the slave driving task master we have is flashing the whip often because the more work we do means more money for him. And yes, we do get a little more too, but nothing like what he gets, and certainly not in proper proportion to the amount of work we do to create the extra money… 

But I guess them’s the breaks! It’s how the greedy massa and them build the society – the people who do all the back breaking work, get the smallest amount of the harvest. And to tell the truth, in all the different systems we have in the world, one thing stands out…the handful of people who run the show, always get the best part of the pie! Regardless of how much revolution yuh have, it always end up like that. And right now, I too old to fight it anymore, so I’ll just put mih gear in cruise, and just bide mih time till I retire, and until then keep saying, ‘Thank God for Fridays and weekends oui!’ 

Now that’s the unfortunate reaction of a great number of people in our down-pressed world today, and sometimes you can’t give them wrong because they do seem to be fighting a losing battle. However, as true believers in Christ Jesus we don’t have to accept that defeatist philosophy, because in Christ there’s NO giving up. In fact, He has already won the victory and all we now have to do is walk it through in diligent faith and preordained works. That’s why our Friday Chant is so different from the workingman’s song. 

So let’s chant it now nuh, in strong voice and sincere hearts, so that we can be encouraged this Friday morning. ‘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!’ 

You see my faithful brethren, whatever it looks like, and however life turns out, we believers need to keep on keeping on, fixated on the promises and sacrificial work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, always looking forward to His wonderful  coming in glory, sometime soon, any day now! In the meantime though, one thing we should all be seeking is that very real, but very elusive thing called peace, because it is a very important part of Christ’s kingdom. 

Now let’s look at some of the many scriptures in the Good Book that call for the making of peace. The first one is the prophecy of John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah re John’s work. ‘To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ (Luke 1:79) And if a big part of John’s work was to guide us in the way of peace, and John was the forerunner of Christ, then it means that peace was also a big part of Christ’s ministry. 

And He made that clear often enough. One of the Beatitudes, those 8 states of mind and heart  that Christ said was absolutely necessary for Christian discipleship in the Sermon on the Mount is: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.’ (Matt.5:9) Yes friends, blessed are those who seek peace and make peace and are at peace with God and man. And Peter makes it quite clear that if we want to have a good, long life: ‘Let him eschew (turn away from) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (pursue) it.’ Yuh see people, we have to make a definite decision and action; pursue peace. It doesn’t just come by desiring it, we have to make it happen! 

And I’m chuckling and a tad confused because I have so many scriptures on peace I don’t know which to share because of our time and space constraints. (smile) But since we can’t ever go wrong with Jesus, listen to Him again. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) Yuh see that, Jesus’ peace is an entirely different kind of peace to what we find in the world. His is the kind that surpasses man’s understanding! (Phil. 4:7) And if we’re smart, we’ll diligently seek for His kind and not the world’s. 

And Hebrews so wisely tells us: ‘Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ (Heb.12:14) Then James proudly proclaims: ‘And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.’ (James 3:18) Yeh friends, peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and you can’t get it unless you sow it. And what better way to end than with one of Jesus’ better known sayings on peace. ‘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) 

Oh friends with those encouraging words ringing in our hearts and minds, let’s go out today and in our own li’l way pursue peace nuh, because that’s the only way our world will ever improve! Much LOVE!

…as much as possible…follow peace with all men…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 January 2020 John 16:33.

John 16:33.    ​These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
 
Now this weather scene is getting to be a bit much yes! Can you believe that after a wet, rainy and icy Sunday morning that by ten a.m. the sun had come out and it became clear and dry, though somewhat chilly, and stayed so for the remainder of the day? Wonder what kind of weather we will experience today eh? But I’m not bothering mihself over it nuh, because with it’s contrariness, if you take it on, it will just drive yuh crazy! You just have to be prepared for whatever comes and say, the Lord be praised! (smile) 

And can you also believe that we’re already into half of January? Time sure isn’t wasting time… like some of us! (smile) Wonder how many sure-fire resolutions have been broken already? No doubt many. But it’s Monday, and that tired, sickly, lazy and unenergized feeling is afflicting some of us, like it will always do, so let’s take our problems to the Lord in prayer as we ought to. Let’s humbly, but confidently declare our Monday Morning Battle Hymn and receive His awesome help to cure our ailments. 

Altogether 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 as always, the positive heavenly reply is not long in coming. We soon feel our spirits lifting, our energy pumping up, and our desires for Jesus, His Word and His work burning like a righteous fire in our being! (smile) Like poor Jeremiah who was tired of declaring the Lord’s word because he was being mocked continually, and thus decided to give up speaking it. However he found that he could not. Why? ‘But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing (of holding back) and I could not stay (endure it). (Jer. 20:9) 

Ah friends, many of us sometimes feel like Jeremiah; getting a lot of negative reactions when we try to speak God’s word, but we cannot give up, we have to endure, whatever it takes. It’s that spirit of NEVER GIVING UP, regardless of our circumstances, or who comes against us, that divides Christians from the rest of the human race. Once you become a believer in Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit fills you with His awesome strength and courage so that you can keep keeping on with Christ as your Guide and Leader. 

He didn’t have it easy on this earth, and neither will we. But as He faithfully promised: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ And He certainly has friends, by dying on the cross to save our sinful souls, and then coming to life once again, thus defeating, hell, death and the grave for all time! And we’ll just quote a few scriptures to highlight the truth of what Jesus said in our Bit. 

As pertaining to His peace, hear Bruh Paul to the church at Ephesus regarding the unity of ALL believers. ‘For He (Christ himself) is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition (division) between us. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances: for to make (create) in himself of twain (the two) one new man, so making peace.’ (Eph. 2:14-15) 

Yes precious people, Christ broke down the barrier between Jews and Gentiles, namely the Mosaic Law which was made to protect the Jews from pagan influences, but which they improperly used to make themselves feel superior to the Gentiles. But Jesus got rid of all of that by making us, Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles, One new man, a unified Church. 

And as per having tribulation in this evil world, hear Bruh Paul to Timothy, re the coming days of apostasy (backsliding). ‘Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers (imposters) shall wax (grow) worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.’ (2 Tim. 3:12-13) And we certainly are seeing it all in these strife-filled end times. 

And per overcoming the world, listen to these encouraging words of Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Rom. 8:37-39) 

So friends, we have it all in Jesus, God Himself, all that we need to successfully navigate this fallen and sinful world. So there is absolutely no need to worry when things seem rough. Just call on Him and He will faithfully see you through. Much LOVE!

…in times of trouble…Jesus is only a prayer away…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 January 2020 Matthew 6:33.

Matthew 6:33.    ​But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 
And on this first Saturday in the new year, there is a veneer, a patina of snow on the ground. (smile) Oh, it’s not much, but we haven’t seen any for a few days now because the temperature has been around 4 or 5 since New Year’s Eve. But let’s not get too complacent, these are the northern climes in the winter season, and as such, are supposed to receive a fair amount of snow. So though climate change has somewhat disrupted the schedule, don’t worry, we will get our fair share eventually. (smile) 

And with that prognostication – what a way the ole fella using big words this morning! Just hope he’s using them right. (smile) So let’s stay prepared! Anyway, it’s Saturday, that means we need to look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he continues aspiring to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And he’s certainly waxed long and wise this past week. 

Hear this first one: ‘A fantasy noted down with a date turns into an objective. An objective partitioned into ascertained strides turns into an arrangement. An arrangement bolstered by activities makes your fantasies work out as expected. So this New Year, take your fantasies, travel the distance to their goal and make them a reality.’ Now how can I find any fault with that eh, since it calls for sincere belief, endurance and perseverance, three of the most important aspects of a believer’s life. 

My only comment is that I hope our biggest fantasy, well not really a fantasy, but rather a goal, is to walk closer with Jesus this new year of 2020! Now if we do that, then things will be awesome, the Lord will work out everything for good, as He’s so faithfully promised! Glory Be! And following on from that, is this gospel true quote. ‘There are greater things to be achieved in every new year, and each and everyone must prepare themselves to be great, not by words of the mouth, but by a lot of sacrifices.’ 

Now friends, that is an eternal truth we can never escape! All of us want to be great. But too many of us don’t realize that to be a notch or two above the ordinary also takes more sacrifices than it does to be just ordinary. Take a close look at the lives of any great person, and you’ll see the abnormal amount of sacrifices he or she made to reach the level we consider great. Rising up in this life was never, and will never be easy. Look at Jesus. Our Lord and Saviour, the Son of God; His achieved His greatness at considerable sacrifice, the ultimate in sacrifice, His sinless life. 

And as followers of His, we are also called to make sacrifices. Most likely not as much, or as painful as He did, but definitely some that will indeed hurt our flesh. So, if we want to truly follow Jesus this year my brethren, we have to be prepared to make some serious sacrifices, not merely talking a good talk, because walking in His footsteps calls for exactly that! And this next quote is long but wise and very doable, and one we should all try to implement, with Jesus’ help of course. 

Listen up: ‘We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential. Things to think about for 2020: 1. Talk less; listen more; 2. Remind yourself you are not the General Manager of the Universe; 3. Sit on your ego; 4. Take one day at a time; 5. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you to do and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it; 6. Pray. Happy New Year to all my friends and family.’ 

And it’s rather unfortunate, but quite true, that ALL of us can take those six steps to heart this new year and implement them in our lives! But please remember that the most important step is the last one: ‘PRAY!’ Yes friends, prayer is ever so important because it means serious communication with God; the source, the fountainhead of all that we are, of our very being; the holy, immortal and omnipotent One who fashioned us in His celestial image, and breathed His awesome breath of life into our dirt based bodies! 

So having said all of that, here’s the last quote: ‘Cheers to a new year and another chance for you to get it right.’ And what do we mean by that? Well two scriptures stand out in my mind right now. The first is Jesus’ assurance to his disciples, and consequently to us His modern-day followers. ‘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 so He has my fellow believers. He has defeated hell, death and the grave, and has the keys of both heaven and hell attached to his key ring, so we don’t have to worry about anything, just  receive His awesome peace that passes all the understanding our puny and finite minds can muster, and be cheerful because of all the wonderful things He’s done on our behalf. 

But nonetheless this next scripture is the one that will really cause us to enjoy all the blessings, and endure with strong faith, all the ‘sufferation’ that’s inherent in a believer’s life. Again, the wise advice of Jesus: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ 

Now my people, that’s our first step for this new year. Please, let’s take it, and take it very seriously, so that our greatly disturbed, badly directed, desperate world and all therein, can benefit from God’s goodness! Much LOVE!

…2020…must be the year…we sincerely talk the talk…and even more importantly…walk the walk…in Jesus’ name… Amen!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 December 2019 John 10:10b.

John 10:10b.    I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
 
And so we come to Saturday; the first one after Christmas Day! The Christmas season is waning, slowly morphing into the New Year season, where gifts and giving and Christ will soon be turned into thoughts of parties and resolutions and all things New Year! Ah Lord eh! The fickle nature of man! We give Christ just a few days in the forefront of our minds, then it’s right back to bacchanalia for the new year! (smile) And there’s nothing wrong with partying, Jesus partied in His day, but we just have to be careful how we party, not to let our hair down too much and thus allow the always lurking enemy a chance to obtain a toehold in our lives. 

Remember, he doesn’t need a big opening to sinfully infiltrate our godly souls. That’s why it’s good to hear Granny’s warning over and over again, in the midst of this party season. (smile) ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business.’ And I don’t care if you get tired of hearing it, it is my job to keep reminding you to keep your wits about you, even when you party and want to let go with gay abandon. (smile) But we said it was Saturday, that means we need to take a look at the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us to a better tomorrow. 

And the first one tells us: ‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress.’ And that’s basically true my people. If we don’t have some difficulty in whatever we do or aspire to achieve, we won’t ever grow into it, because it’s only in times of struggle do we ever grow and mature. And that holds true for whatever situation in which we find ourselves. And that’s why the Lord sometimes test us with difficulties, to prove our faith, and to grow it. That leads us to this next quote that’s similar and just as true. ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’ 

And for all you power seekers, you better believe that yes, because power is a very demanding master! Just look at all the politicians and leaders around the world; some of them might truly want to be decent and upstanding citizens, (smile) but the power structure in which they are caught up might demand a different set of actions. Not all of them want to be corrupt and disgusting, all the time, but ofttimes they find themselves in situations that are very ticklish, to say the least. (smile) 

For example when the big donor to your campaign begins to call in his marks for illegal and corrupt stuff, what do you do? In the back of your mind is the thought of the next election, and if you don’t do what they desire, you won’t get the same support next time. So you sell your soul to the devil for a li’l bit of power and prestige. But is it really worth it friends? I don’t think so. But unfortunately a whole lot of us do, that’s why there’s so much corruption and illegal actions in the halls of power and government these days, and there are not enough people with enough parts available to try and change it. 

Oh, there will always be corruption in man’s affairs, but it doesn’t have to be so blatant and overwhelming as it is currently. And so we come to this gem of a quote. ‘A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.’ Oh friends, if we don’t know where we’ve come from, we wont’ be able to chart a good voyage to where we’re going. If we don’t know our groundings, we’re just like chaff in the wind; blowing hither, thither and yon, wherever the wind might lead. 

And we see that sadly being proven in the lives of today’s generation. They have very little idea of their history, since they haven’t been taught it, or had it made a veritable presence in their lives, thus they are wandering aimlessly in the desert of life like the Israelites did back in the day. As the Rasta breddren who taught me History back in High School ofttimes declared: Chuh man! What is it with me and this word declared and it’s variations eh? Would you believe I spelled it wrong there too? Steups! 

Anyway, with his feet covered with big brogues up on the table, he’d lean back in the chair, stroke his scraggly beard, and haughtily ask: ‘What is History?’ Then He’d answer: ‘History is a record of the past.’ ‘And why do we learn History?’ would be the next question. ‘So we can understand the present.’ There you have it friends, if you don’t know your history you can’t understand what happened back then and thus won’t be able to understand what’s happening in the present and why. Neither will you be able to fashion a proper future for the generations to come. 

And the last quote, though very endearing, also comes with a price; we have to work at it. ‘Love yourself. Stay happy. Live life to the fullest, and focus on the best things in life!’ Yes my people, that situation doesn’t just happen, we have to put some elbow grease into it. Remember Jesus said: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ But the abundant life doesn’t just fall in our laps, we have to do our part to get it. 

First we have to LOVE God, ourselves and our neighbours, as Jesus pointed out in the two Great Commandments. (Matt.22:37-40) Then we have to stay happy, or even better yet, joyful. And how do we do that? Just like Jesus said: ‘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.’ 

Mama Mia! That says it all friends! This world is full of trials and tribulations, but when we have Jesus truly living in our hearts, we can focus on His sincere promises of a good life down here on earth and one in heaven later on. Remember, that’s what He came to give us: LIFE! Life Eternal! To save us from our sins and eternal death or separation from Almighty God. 

He’s already done His part; we now have to do ours if we want that abundant life. And how do we get it, by totally embracing Him and getting Him involved in ALL aspects of our lives! It’s not always easy to do, but with His ever-available help, we can all successfully do it. So let’s get to it right now nuh. Much LOVE!

…what does Jesus have to offer…peace, LOVE, joy…and eternal VICTORY…Glory Be…!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 December 2019 John 16:33.

John 16:33.    ​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.
 

Well it looks like it’s going to be a wet and woolly Saturday in my part of paradise, with the distinct possibility of ice pellets later on! (smile) But the sad fact of the matter is that all over the world, the weather is in a state of flux; fluctuating like we’ve never seen or experienced it before. We’re either not getting what we’re supposed to get at this time of the year, or too much or too little of it, and that’s creating a lot of havoc in our lives. Now the reason for this state of affairs, or who’s fault it is, that’s another story, (smile) which we won’t get into this morning. 

Instead, we’ll check out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And speaking of Anselm, miraculously, just this morning I received an e-mail from one of our Scrip-Bit friends saying that her curiosity had been piqued by Anselm and his quotes. Consequently, she wanted to know if he was a real person and where he gets his quotes from. My answer was yes, he is a real person, but I don’t know where he gets his quotes from. And for those of you whose curiosity has also been piqued by our friend Anselm’s identity and otherwise, please remember the ole people’s saying that curiosity killed the cat, so be careful it doesn’t kill you too. (smile) 

Ah friends, it’s good to have a li’l fun sometimes, life is too short to be serious all the time. And here is Anselm’s first quote: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ And isn’t that the living truth! So many things we need or try to do seem so hard that they teeter towards the impossible side of the ledger. But having completed the seemingly impossible task, it then seems as though it was a piece of cake, and we wonder why we thought it was impossible in the first place. But that’s just the way life is friends; tasks always seem more difficult than they really are, before we tackle them. And since we know that nothing is impossible with Jesus as the Master of our lives, let’s think in terms of possibilities rather than impossibilities nuh, our lives will improve ever so much. 

And the next quote tells us that, ‘An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.’ Now that’s surely an interesting way to put it. And the optimistic attitude is obviously the better way, since it makes us look forward to better times in the coming year than we’ve had in the one just past. Chuh! Can you imagine if I had not been optimistic in the past three years when I was so sick, even unto death, as some people thought, but definitely not me, (smile) I certainly would not be around today! 

That does say something for optimism, for looking on the bright side, even when there seems to be no reason whatsoever for doing so. That leads us to this next interesting quote: ‘Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.’ More optimism, more faith and hope and belief in the good and faithful promises of Jesus my people! That’s the only way to live this life with a modicum of success; optimistic, and strong and steadfast in our Christian faith; the only faith that has all the magnificent benefits like mercy and grace, salvation and forgiveness, and that’s only a few, where we don’t get what we deserve, but the good things we don’t deserve. 

Ah my people, I can’t begin to tell us how good and great and merciful and gracious is the God that we serve nuh! The Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Creator and omnipotent ruler of this magnificent universe! So here ‘s the last quote. (smile) And we keep the best for last. ‘I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.’ And do I ever, for as far as I’m concerned my best days are still ahead of me! Glory be my brethren! And so should ALL believers think and believe, because with Jesus running our lives we’re on the gravy train. (smile) 

Remember He said, ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) That means He doesn’t desire us to be living struggling lives all the time, but enjoying the kingdom of heaven down here on earth too. And the talk about the gravy train was a bit facetious, because life will not always be wine, song and laughter, but as Jesus also warned us: ‘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.’ 

What a marvellous and encouraging verse of scripture that is friends, from our Lord and Saviour Himself! But until we truly believe and live them, our lives will not improve. And in strong support of Christ’s words, here are a couple of scriptures from Bruh Paul. The first one, written to Timothy, after outlining his own suffering, he confirms our earthly ‘sufferation’ ‘Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra: what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly for Christ shall suffer persecution.’ (2 Tim. 3:11-12) 

So though trials and persecutions may – no, will come, if we hang in there, the Lord will eventually deliver us from them all. And as Bruh Paul defiantly proclaimed to the church at Rome: ‘Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us.’ (Rom. 8:35 & 37) Glory Hallelujah my brethren! What words of positive and encouraging faith! 

That means, as true believers, there is a lot of good stuff for us to look forward to, including heaven and eternity with Jesus eventually. There’s nothing better than that available friends, so please, let’s keep a good attitude and believe that even better times than these are in our future. Much LOVE!

…what’s the point of faith eh…if it doesn’t give one true hope…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 October 2019 Matthew 16:24.

Matthew 16:24.     If any man will come after (follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
 

It’s a somewhat damp and foggy Tuesday morning in my neck of the woods, so please be careful all you who have to get out on the road, because you know the kind of craziness that exists on our roadways these days. If you can wait until the fog lifts, please do so. And today we’re going to look at a very interesting quote from one of the leading Protestant Theologians of our age, Jurgen Moltman (1926) of the German Reformed Church. And the quote says: ‘The more passionately we LOVE life, the more intensely we experience the joy of life.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth friends! When we’re passionate about life, or anything really, we enjoy the experience that thing brings more than if we’re not passionate about it. And there’s nothing to be more passionate about than the LOVE of God and the LOVE of life! Unfortunately though, too many of us have lost the passion we once had for real life and for God, and instead have embraced the unrealistic, soul destroying, short-lasting and unproductive passion for worldly stuff. We have to remember that life is not, and will never be completely smooth sailing, but a combination of storms and calms, highs and lows, and ‘choosing to live life on its terms brings enthusiasm and passion into our experiences. Our decision to LOVE life – despite the highs and lows – allows us to delight in the highs and to accept the lows as unavoidable, but momentary setbacks.’ 

Yeh friends, as someone once said, ‘setbacks are only opportunities in disguise.’ Therefore, though we may not like them, and they may prove to be difficult and frustrating, we still need to embrace them as important aspects of our lives, because we know that it is only through setbacks and adversity that we truly grow. We can’t hide from the difficult things, or those we don’t like, else we’ll never know or experience the true fullness and joy of life. Those who are passionate and enthusiastic about life, despite its many shortcomings, are the ones who rise to the top of the enjoyment heap. (smile) 

And the BEST way to handle life’s ups and downs is through the acceptance of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives! If you didn’t know that before, then you know it now! (smile) Oh my people, with Jesus as the mainstay, the mainmast, the pilot of our lives, we can remain calm through every storm, and handle every high and low with equanimity. But only the LOVE and acceptance of Jesus enables us to have those wonderful qualities! And why is that eh? Because when Jesus enters into our hearts and lives He puts the power of His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and it’s that Holy Spirit that leads and guides, teaches and convicts, comforts and LOVES us, so that we can handle whatever comes against us with a good and sane attitude. 

Now, before we go any further, let’s make one thing real clear; following Jesus is wonderful, but it’s not always easy! And unless you’re ready to truly hunker down and do what He asks, then you’ll find yourself frustrated and unhappy from the very get go. So let’s look at some of the important but difficult stuff that Jesus laid out for His followers. The first and most important, but also most difficult requirement is laid down in these words of our Lord and Saviour to the disciples. ‘If any man will come after (follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’ That statement there usually stops many of us right in our tracks! The idea of denying ourselves and taking up a cross doesn’t sit well with any of us, but to follow Jesus they are necessary prerogatives. 

And here’s what the scholars have to say about it. ‘16:22-28. Deny himself, that is, refuse his own claims upon himself. Take up: The meaning is “lift up.” It is a stronger word than that used in 10:38, and implies a lifting up of the cross on high, so that all may see it. This is the strongest statement in the New Testament about the disciple’s need to crucify himself, by yielding to the claims of Christ’s lordship over him.’ Ah mih people, although it seems like we’re asked to give up so much for Christ, the reality is that we get back much much more than we give up when we’re steadfast and sincere. 

Now here’s what I LOVE about Jesus; He can give you comfort at the same time as promising adversity. Listen to Him to the disciples, and consequently to all His future followers. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) Oh glory be my faithful brethren! What a mighty promise! The world is full of trials and tribulation, but when we embrace Jesus, we can have His peace! And what kind of peace is that? Listen to Jesus again: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

And hear how Bruh Paul describes that peace to the Philippians nuh. ‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:7) And what kind of peace is all of that? The scholars explain: ‘4:7. The peace of God is that tranquility of mind freeing the believer from fear and worry. “Peace” which passeth all understanding means (1) peace divinely bestowed in times of anxiety, so wonderful that it exceeds one’s ability to understand it; and (2) God’s peace far surpassing one’s own understanding of the problem, and his ability to cope with and solve it.’ 

Yeh friends, when you walk sincerely with Jesus, ALL bases are covered! That’s not say you won’t have problems and face adversity, but you will be able to handle them with the awesome help of the Holy Spirit! Wow! Now, for those of us who truly believe and try to be faithful, let’s go home lifting up our crosses high, so the whole world can 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!’ 

So let’s go out and do exactly that nuh my faithful brethren, as it behooves us as true followers of Christ. Much LOVE!

…to walk with Christ…is to walk in true peace…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 October 2019 Job 19:25.

Job 19:25.    ​For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter (last) day upon the earth.

 

Well how shall we put it this morning eh? It’s not raining…the roads seem fairly dry…and the sun seems to be valiantly fighting to push out above the eastern horizon…but in my area it’s still somewhat cloudy and overcast, which means any number can play! But after two days of steady rain we do deserve a short break from all that heavenly blessing. (smile) 

Nonetheless with the omnipotent Lord God in our corner, we are well able to handle anything that comes against us. As the Good Book so wisely and truthfully says: ‘If God be for us, who can be against us eh? (Rom.8:31) Not a single, solitary soul my faithful brethren! So with that most important bit of information in mind, let’s move on this Friday morning to hear what the ordinary workingman has to say for himself. 

And as always, he puts it plainly. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday and the weekend is on the horizon. Hallelujah! But rain, rain, rain, please go away to Spain – or wherever you come from nuh…give us a break…and come back some other time when we badly need you! As they say, too much of anything is good for nothing! 

And…Chuh man! Though it’s been fairly warm, these past few days has just been too much rain, which meant I couldn’t go outside and do anything, and even worse, it kept the children in the house and underfoot all the bloody time! 

Let’s hope though that this stoppage is for real, and we’ll get a rain free weekend, because after being cooped up in work and the house whole week, I want to get outside for my free time and do things with my buddies, and the children also need to get out too, else they’ll soon drive their mother bonkers. Thank you Lord for Fridays and weekends, and please, keep it warm, but make this weekend rain free!’ 

I’m sure that many of us believers also share the sentiments of the ordinary workingman, but we know that we have to keep a good attitude, for Jesus’ sake, re anything that comes against us. So it could rain everlasting, or be dry, warm and sunny, we still need to handle it all with a certain aplomb; that’s self-confidence, coolness, poise, and unwavering stability. (smile) Yeh, it’s not easy to not react like the world does, but that’s why we have the Holy Spirit of Christ dwelling in us – to raise us up to His level of strength and obedience. Glory be mih people! 

Now let’s turn to our weekend song, our Friday Chant, which isn’t as worldly as the workingman’s, but it does suit our needs admirably. Let’s chant: ‘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, I know it’s somewhat frustrating to always be on the lookout for the enemy, but that’s what we signed up for when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. He didn’t have it easy, and neither shall we. He promised tribulation in the world, but that we should also be of good cheer, because He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) That’s not easy to do either, but if we sincerely believe, we will be able to do it, with His help. 

Then we can calmly, steadfastly and truthfully declare like Job did, in spite of his overwhelming calamity: ‘For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter (last) day upon the earth.’ And all God’s children gave a loud shout of thanks and praise: ‘Bless His Holy Name! Bless the name of Jesus Christ! That name that’s above every other name in the universe!’ 

Yeh friends, we need to do that, because that’s exactly what Jesus promised; to be with us to the very end, to include us in His latter day kingdom, to rule and reign with Him! What could be better eh? AbsolutelyNOTHING! And listen to how Job continues with absolute certainty in God’s deliverance and LOVING-kindness: ‘And though, after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me (how my heart yearns). (Job 19:26-27) 

And to boost that vision of Job, listen to John from his first epistle. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons (children) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.’ (1 John 3:2) So we can be assured that when Jesus returns, in whatever form, we shall see Him and be like Him. All praise and glory to God my people! Jesus also promised that the pure in heart shall see God. (Matt.5:8) So it’s not a matter of if, but when? 

Now here is a paraphrased version of the scholars’ explanation of Job’s speech and problems.‘19:23-27. Although God has humiliated Job, and his friends and relatives have abandoned him, so he’s reduced to pleading for pity, still, from the very depths of degradation he expresses the confidence that if his case could only be recorded for posterity, future generations would judge him favourably.’ And it has been recorded, and we have judged him favourably. 

‘Furthermore, he knows confidently that he has a Redeemer, (Heb. go’el) One who will champion his cause and vindicate him. The Redeemer is more than an arbiter (9:33) or a witness (16:19) but a Kinsman-Redeemer who will avenge him. Clearly Job viewed God Himself as the Redeemer, and the Hebrew word is in fact used often of God (Ps.19:14; Is.41:14) 

In my flesh (vs.26) speaks of a resurrected body . Though it may also be translated “apart from my flesh,” as a spirit being, the emphasis of the original means “from the standpoint of my flesh,” in my resurrected body. Here then is clear evidence of the Old Testament belief in the resurrection of the human body.’ 

Ah friends, everyday we learn something new – at least we’re supposed to.  (smile) And all who have been saved know one thing for certain sure: that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has redeemed us, paid for our sins through His sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary, thus gloriously reconciling us to the Lord God Almighty, and we are now His justified, sanctified and righteous children! Glory Hallelujah! Much LOVE!

…let the words of my mouth…and the meditation of my heart…be acceptable in thy sight…O Lord…my strength…and my redeemer… (Ps.19:14) 

P.S. Sorry it’s somewhat long and late, but I got up late, then I had several important e-mails to answer before I could get started. Hope it’s informative, and you like it. Much LOVE!

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