Today’s Scrip-Bit   7 January 2022 John 10:10b.

John 10:10b.     I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Boy oh boy! Two days of decent sunshine in a row! That must be a record! But I think it’s going to be a tad on the cold side. That’s okay though, I can handle the cold when the sun’s shining. It’s just the dark, damp, dreary weather that gets to me. But all thanks to Jesus, I can handle both types of weather, if I just put my mind to it. 

And that’s the beauty of living for Jesus: He enables you to do anything that coincides with His will or plan for your life. That’s why we say, with full confidence: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’ Phil. 4:13) Now just saying it doesn’t make it true. You have to sincerely believe it, and make it a customary practice, a habit in your life, so that after a while, it just blends in automatically. (smile) 

Ah friends, knowing who we are in Christ, and knowing the benefits that spring forth from such a privileged position, is extremely important if we want to live the abundant life that Jesus promised, and died for us to have. And you ask, what does it mean to be in Christ? 

Well, the simple answer is that when we are born again, when we receive Christ as our Lord and Saviour, He comes to dwell in us through His Holy Spirit, and we become a part of Him. We are made clean, renewed and acceptable to the Holy Father. But I found this article on the subject on the gotquestions.org website which I believe explains it better than I can. (smile) 

So let’s see what it says. ‘In Christ, we are regenerated, renewed, and born again, and this new creation is spiritually minded, whereas the old nature is carnally minded. The new nature fellowships with God, obeys His will, and is devoted to His service. These are actions the old nature is incapable of doing or even desiring to do. The old nature is dead to the things of the Spirit and cannot revive itself. It is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1) and can only be made alive by a supernatural awakening, which happens when we come to Christ and are indwelt by Him. 

Christ gives us a completely new and holy nature and an incorruptible life. Our old life, previously dead to God because of sin, is buried, and we are raised “to walk in newness of life” with Him (Rom. 6:4). If we belong to Christ, we are united to Him and no longer slaves to sin (Rom. 6:5-6); we are made alive with Him (Eph. 2:5); we are conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29); we are free from condemnation and walking not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Rom. 8:1); and we are part of the body of Christ with other believers (Rom. 12:5). 

The believer now possesses a new heart (Ezek. 11:19) and has been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:3). We might wonder why we so often do not live in the manner described, even though we have given our lives to Christ and are sure of our salvation. This is because our new natures are residing in our old fleshly bodies, and these two are at war with one another. The old nature is dead, but the new nature still has to battle the old “tent” in which it dwells. Evil and sin are still present, but the believer now sees them in a new perspective and they no longer control him as they once did. 

In Christ, we can now choose to resist sin, whereas the old nature could not. Now we have the choice to either feed the new nature through the Word, prayer, and obedience, or to feed the flesh by neglecting those things. When we are in Christ, “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37) and can rejoice in our Savior, who makes all things possible (Phil. 4:13). In Christ we are LOVED, forgiven, and secure. In Christ we are adopted, justified, redeemed, reconciled, and chosen. In Christ we are victorious, filled with joy and peace, and granted true meaning in life. What a wonderful Savior is Christ!’ 

And isn’t all that the gospel truth my fellow saints! In Christ Jesus we have EVERYTHING we can ever need! In other words, the abundant life. Like he said. ‘The thief cometh not, but (except) for 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) 

Yes friends, that was Christ’s stated purpose; to save us from eternal death and damnation, to give us a better quality of life both here and in the hereafter. So please, let’s not make His sacrifice a waste of time by not enjoying the life He died for us to have. Therefore, let’s turn sincerely to Him, cling tenaciously to him, and live victoriously for Him, for that is the wisdom of the ages! 

And one of the things that come with such absolute devotion is prayer, both in good and bad times. So, in these rough times we are currently experiencing, let’s turn to our Saviour, our Creator for badly needed divine help, through our Friday Chant. As one strong, confident, but humble voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Let’s remember though, that we don’t just pray for help, but we also keep the promises we made in our prayer. Much LOVE!

…only in Christ…can one discover many of the answers…to the mysteries of life… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 July 2021 Philippians 4:12a.

Philippians 4:12a.     I know both how to be abased (suffer want), and I know how to abound:

Well at last we have awakened to the sun and not dark, cloudy skies! (smile) As they say, you never truly appreciate the sun until you’ve seen the rain…and literally too much of it. But as good believers we must learn to be contented in whatever situation we find ourselves. As Bruh Paul wrote to the Philippians from a Roman prison regarding the gift they sent him. ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (regarding need): for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased (suffer want), and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need.’ (Phil. 4:11-12) 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul is saying that he was grateful for the financial contribution of the Philippians, but he could also have done without it, because he had learned how to be contented in times of plenty, as well as in times of scarcity. And then he added that verse we all find so easy to quote, but don’t fully understand: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phil. 4:13) Please note though, as the scholars explain: ‘The Greek here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.’ 

And that’s the indisputable truth my people! Contentment in all circumstances, or merely contentment itself, is a hard-earned lesson offered and majored only in the school of hard knocks, the school of life. But then again, it’s only through the grace and power of Christ that we can learn such an important lesson. Let’s never forget that aspect of it. And on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Website, I found this interesting commentary on the subject by Joy Allmond. She says: ‘It’s part of the human condition – we often want what we don’t have or what we see other people getting. Discontentment is a disease of the heart running rampant, even among the most faithful believers in Christ.’ 

Then she goes on to give some examples of discontentment, which basically break down to greed, envy, jealousy and selfish pride. And follows it up with this question, one that we can, ought to all ask ourselves. ‘Why are we so easily discontented? We could assume people in the above scenarios are too busy focusing on their circumstances and not on God.’ Now isn’t that the living truth? It certainly is. Most of our discontent comes from focusing on our circumstances and not on God and His awesome ability to change or improve them. 

Ms. Allmond then tells us a couple of ways to put our focus on where it belongs – in humility and praise. Yes friends, when we concentrate on those two areas of our spiritual lives, we won’t have time to make comparisons and become disappointed or discontented. That’s because our focus is totally concentrated on God, not the circumstances currently surrounding us. And the two biblical examples Ms. Allmond gives are first on humility, Bruh Paul’s words above to the Philippians. 

She then explains: ‘Paul wrote this letter from a Roman prison, having been incarcerated for sharing his faith. By our standards here in the United States, this is a very unfair predicament. Yet, Paul did not feel he was short of anything. He was humble to accept the circumstances he had been given, because he was humbled by the grace he had been given by God when he became a follower of Christ. He knew, at that point, that he possessed that most important thing he could ever obtain – assurance of salvation and a right relationship with his Lord.’ Now do we know that my faithful brethren in Christ? I surely hope so, otherwise we are definitely missing an essential aspect of our Christian faith. 

Then on the subject of praise, she highlights the passage of scripture where Paul and Silas are imprisoned in Philippi. ‘And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God (were praying and singing songs): and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands (chains) were loosed.’ (Acts. 16:25-26) And we all know what happened afterward; no one escaped, but the jailer and his family were saved, and no doubt some of the other prisoners too, which was God’s real purpose behind the earthquake. 

Ms. Allmond’s commentary on that scripture is also interesting. ‘In this passage, Paul was imprisoned (at an earlier time), along with Silas, for spreading the Gospel. They had been stripped and beaten severely. Instead of complaining or lamenting, the two men began to sing praises to their God. It’s probably safe to say they didn’t feel like praising the Lord, but they chose to have a grateful heart. They literally “brought down the house” with their songs of praise! The floor of the prison was shaken by an earthquake, and everyone in their midst were set free (chains loosed). Not only were the other prisoners set free (chains loosed) by their praise, the heart of the jailer was changed (verses 31-40). 

It’s interesting to see that their attitude about their circumstances not only pleased God, it impacted other people – it freed them. We can become so caught up in our attitude of discontentment that it affects the people in our paths. It could even keep them from wanting to know Christ. Do you think the jailer would have been attracted to a relationship with Christ if he sensed a bitter heart in Paul and Silas? Let’s commit to freedom from the bondage of discontentment through attitudes of humility and praise. By doing this, we can do more than live the abundant life in Christ that was intended for us. We can impact the world by living this outwardly for those around us to witness.’ 

Oh my fellow saints of Christ, I could not put it any better than that. So please let’s take that wise and wonderful advice to heart nuh, for it will certainly benefit us all. And there’s no better time to begin doing that, than right now, (smile) by going to our great and wonderful God in humble prayer, acquainting Him with our problems, through our Friday Chant. 

As one strong, confident, but humble voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the various other areas of strife are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. 

And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’  

Now that all sounds wonderful, but please remember that unless we do change our evil ways, and become truly faithful believers, our prayer will not be positively answered. Much LOVE!

…the Lord searches our hearts…for right and sincere motives…before He answers our prayers…                                                                                           

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 March 2021 1 Corinthians 10:13a.

1 Corinthians 10:13a.     ​There hath no temptation taken (overtaken) you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful,

Come on friends, it’s time to stop singing the new work week Monday Blues and rise to the level that Jesus desires of us. That means, be the circumstances rough or smooth, our attitude will be bright and positive and Christ-like! Awright! So that’s not so easy to do, especially in these pandemic times, but what else yuh going to do eh? Will a bad, sour or resentful attitude help any? No, it will just make matters worse. And besides, if you’re a follower of Jesus, then you need to have the attitude that He had, and try to behave like He would behave…And that’s certainly not sad, miserable, sour or resentful! 

Oh precious people, it’s not that we don’t need Jesus in the good times, for then we can probably get by on our own steam, though not live the abundant life He promised. But it’s in the times that we’re caught between a rock and a hard place, damned if we do and damned if we don’t, like now, that we truly need Him most. For ofttimes, He is the only one who can extricate us from those painful and hurting situations. And even if He chooses, for whatever reason, not to extricate us from them, then He will enable us, give us the wherewithal to handle them with a good attitude, and thus grow and mature from the experience. 

Remember Bruh Paul’s warning of Israel being a good example of a disobedient attitude in the wilderness. ‘Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken (overtaken) you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.’ (1 Cor. 10:12-13) Now that’s a very important scripture friends, and a very misunderstood one. 

And I like this explanation from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, found on the Bible Hub website. ‘(13) There hath no temptation taken you.–What is meant by a “temptation common to man” (or rather, suited to man) is explained further on as a temptation which one is “able to bear.” From the warning and exhortation of the previous verse the Apostle passes on to words of encouragement, “You need not be hopeless or despairing.” God permits the temptation by allowing the circumstances which create temptation to arise, but He takes care that no Fate bars the path of retreat. 

With each temptation he makes a way to escape from it. And that is so, must be so, because God is faithful. The state of salvation to which God has called us would be a delusion if there were an insuperable difficulty to our continuing in it. We have in this verse, perhaps, the most practical and therefore the clearest exposition to be found of the doctrine of free-will in relation to God’s overruling power. God makes an open road, but then man himself must walk in it. God controls circumstances, but man uses them. That is where his responsibility lies.’ 

So God provides all the tools, there are always options for us, but it’s our responsibility to find them and walk in them. Oh friends, the basic idea of the epistle is that God is faithful, as Bruh Paul states in the beginning. ‘God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (1 Cor. 1:9) 

As the scholars explain. ‘1:9. Unto the fellowship of his son: The term fellowship includes both union and communion. The Corinthian believers had been brought into union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly, this great truth implies that they had been brought into communion with one another. Here in a nutshell is the theme of this epistle.’ 

Yes my people, it’s all about fellowship, about fellowship with God and with each other. But are we living in true fellowship with either God or each other eh? Sadly, the answer is no, not nearly enough as required. And that brings to mind these appropriate words of Bruh David from Psalm 133 – The joy of Brotherhood. ‘How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ‘ (Ps. 133:1) And that friends is the basic reason why our world is in such a mess; we’re not living in true fellowship with either God or man. 

So, no wonder all our efforts to clean it up are failing. It’s only when we get serious about our relationship with God and our fellow man are we ever going to have a harmonious world. So let’s take that first step right now nuh, by going to God in prayer, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn and letting Him know that at long last we are serious about changing our sinful ways. Altogether now: ‘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 standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. 

We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the many natural disasters that now seem more prevalent than ever. 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 to bring our problems under control. And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, 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!’ 

So the ball is in our court now people. We need to show the Lord that we are serious about what we just prayed, and we can only do so with changed behaviour. And until we do, nothing much will improve. Much LOVE!

…it’s time to throw aside unprofitable sin…and dwell together in unity…