Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 October 2020 James 1:2.

James 1:2.     ​My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials);

Ah Lord eh people! Steups! The ole people was right yes: in this life, when is not one thing, is a blooming other yes! Chuh man! The devil get mih early this morning. I was coming downstairs a while ago, early to boot, (smile) to start writing the Bit when I had an unfortunate accident. Steups! So I had to waste valuable time, spend over half an hour cleaning up the spill and myself. Obviously I was annoyed, especially when I had argued in a lost cause for staying longer in bed. I guess the Lord really wanted to wake me up in a big way. (smile) 

And I had such a grand opening planned for today: And then it was Saturday; a day unlike the other days! One that does not follow the rules and regulations like the others. It’s a law unto itself; of the lazy, laidback, do it if and when you want it breed. No stuffy rules and regulations for Saturday. And I should have taken advantage of that lazy, laidback nature and stayed in bed! (smile) 

But we know that the Lord has a purpose for everything He allows to come our way, I just don’t know, or can’t see His purpose for allowing that accident this morning. But like the good believer I am, I’m just going to grin and bear it, and keep on keeping on. Someday I might know the reason…or I might just never. But that’s okay too, for the Lord is a good God and whatever He allows is always for my benefit, in my best interest. Sermon done! 

Now let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspired to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Listen to this first one, which is ever so appropriate for our world today. ‘Complacency is the forerunner of mediocrity. You can never work too hard on attitudes, effort and technique.’ And that’s the awesome truth. You can never work too hard on your life skills. But the most significant sign of a declining person and a society is its level of complacency, the level of its overall standards. When we stop building and just decide to relax on our fat fannies, dwell on our laurels or past achievements, that’s when our standards and everything else begin to fall. 

Life is a constant cycle; it’s always moving, and if you’re not moving along with it, to a reasonable extent, you’ll get left in its dust. And that’s why our society is now in freefall mode; our complacency is dragging us down; our standards are falling lower and lower every day. And that’s not me speaking, that’s history. Just look at all the old, great societies. Once they got fat and prosperous, they laid down and became complacent, and it was only a matter of time before they died. 

That’s why the next quote is important. ‘I don’t worry about maintaining the quality of my life, because every day I work on improving it.’ Yes friends, we need to constantly work on improving the quality of our lives, our standards. Now that doesn’t mean just running after material things and wealth of this world, but more about enjoying everyday life, having it more abundantly like what Jesus promised. (John 10:10) Please note one universal truth: if you run behind the material things of life, without judicial and godly wisdom, without common sense, then you’ll certainly pile them up, but you won’t be able to enjoy them, since you will always be too busy trying to attain more. 

So what’s the point of piling them up if you can’t enjoy them eh? None whatsoever! No wonder Bruh Paul advised us to use moderation in all things. (Phil. 4:5) The scholars’ term it ‘graciousness’ or ‘sweet reasonableness.’ I term it simple common sense! (smile) 

That brings us to this quote: ‘I’m never satisfied with what I do. I always think I can do a lot better.’ Now that can either be a bane or a blessing in our lives. We can either overdo it, by never being satisfied with what we’ve done, or we can be satisfied when we know we’ve done our best. 

Oh, we must always try to be excellent in whatever we do, for that’s what Christ expects of His followers, but at the same time He doesn’t want us to go overboard and be overly fussy. None of us is perfect, and some are just better at certain things because of the divine gifts they’ve been given. So please don’t compare yourself with others, that’s the surest way to bring unnecessary sorrow to your life. Just do your best and be satisfied. The Lord knows and sees your heart. 

Now there’s also the other side to that story, as this quote explains. ‘Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.’ And that’s the living truth. Fear, or the devil’s work is too big a part in too many of our lives. So much so that we can’t get around to working on our dreams. Remember some of Jesus’ favourite words were:‘FEAR NOT!’ 

And that pertains to both the physical fear of danger and the spiritual and emotional fear of not being able to work on the dreams and desires of our hearts that the Lord bestowed on us. Again, that invokes godly wisdom and common sense, which can only be truly found when we put out trust in Jesus, read His Word and believe His promises. Remember, faith is the opposite of fear. And as they say, when fear knocks on your door, the best response is to send faith to answer that knock. 

So finally, we come to this last quote, which sort of encapsulates them all. ‘Pause and remember – Every single event in your life, especially the difficult lessons, have made you smarter, stronger, and wiser than you were yesterday. Be thankful!’ And all of God’s people said a loud and proud: ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Yes, I’m being a li’l facetious there, because most of us don’t want to experience difficult times. But the truth is they do make us wiser and stronger than before we experienced them. 

For as James so wisely says, when talking about Christian living, faith and humility.‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials);Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith, worketh (produces) patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing,’ (James 1:2-4) 

And the scholars offer this interesting explanation. ‘1:2-3.In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall (Gr. peripipto). These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing…’ 

Yes, I know it sounds somewhat harsh and unreasonable, but the truth of the matter is that we don’t grow unless we go through adversity. It’s only in the rough times that we grow and mature, both spiritually and emotionally, so if we want to grow, we have to learn to face adversity mano a- mano. And the scholars wisely add: ‘1:4.The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’ 

And that’s the honest truth! So if you really want to grow in godliness, you just have to bite the bullet and find joy in your trials. Remember though, that the Lord has promised never to leave nor forsake us, and that He’ll work everything out for our good. That means He will ALWAYS be beside us in whatever trial we’re going through, holding our hands to bring us out safely and stronger on the other side. But in those trying times, like now, we have to remember the immortal words of Jesus; ‘FEAR NOT!’ Just relax in His awesome presence and allow Him to lead the way! That’s true wisdom! Much LOVE!

…fear can only be overcome…through trust and faith in Jesus… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 November 2019 Psalm 55:22.

Psalm 55:22.    ​Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit) the righteous to be moved (shaken).
 

Come Sunday morning, we’re going to the house of the Lord, to have sweet fellowship with other believers. And there we will encourage each other, as we sing and dance and praise His holy name, while giving thanks for His faithful mercies and compassions that are new each and every day. And by the hearing of His life-giving Word, our minds will be renewed, our faith will grow stronger, and we shall be uplifted in soul, body and spirit! Glory be my people! There’s no one place beside the Lord’s sanctuary that we can go and leave so strong and refreshed. That’s because the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Neh. 8:10) And in His house, His joy resonates like nowhere else. (smile) 

And this morning, to get us going, we’re going to sing a rather poignant and soul-searching hymn written by John Willard Peterson (1921-2006). It’s titled ‘No One Understands Like Jesus.’ And if you’re a true believer, you know that’s the gospel truth! But before we get into the song, here is a li’l background on its composition. Apparently, in his early days of ministry, Mr. Peterson held a fairly high post  at a well-known gospel ministry. One day a supervisory position became available, and he was led to believe that it would be given to him. But as so often happens, someone from outside was eventually brought in to fill it. 

Obviously he was broken-hearted and struggled to keep a good attitude. To make matters even worse, he happened to spend an evening with that new man, and though he seemed to be a decent sort, for some reason that night he made some caustic, unfeeling remarks that obviously hurt Mr. Peterson. And as he sat at home, later that evening, contemplating all the recent hurting and negative experiences, a terrible feeling of being alone and forsaken overcame him. 

But then suddenly, in his own words: “I sensed the presence of the Lord in an unusual way and my mind was diverted from my difficulties to His faithfulness and sufficiency. Soon the thought occurred to me that He fully understood and sympathized with my situation – in fact, no one could ever completely understand or care as He did. Before long, the idea for the song came and I began to write.” 

Only with Jesus, yes friends, only with Jesus, can that kind of experience be experienced! Now let’s sing what he wrote, in a sincere, soulful and heartfelt manner. Altogether now, let’s raise our earthly voices to heaven and acknowledge Jesus’ Kingship and Lordship over the earth and all therein! 

‘No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare; Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him!) No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels; Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals. (Chorus) 

No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail; You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail! (Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way; Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him! Cast your every care on Him, Cause no one understands like Jesus.’ 

Oh my people, what words of indisputable truth! No one cares like Jesus! When the hard, dark times come, as they do for all of us, the best source of comfort, care and healing is certainly the arms of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For He is the Great Healer, the Great Comforter, the Great Carer…in fact He is the Great I AM, the Great EVERYTHING! Glory to God! Just like the Lord’s sanctuary is a one stop-shop, likewise Jesus is a one stop healing and caring and comforting station. In your deepest sorrow, He is the best one to run to, for He will NEVER turn you away, but will instead welcome you with wide opened arms. 

And there are no better words to describe His compassion and care than His Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) Ah people, if you don’t take advantage of that glorious invitation, then, as the old people would say, yuh not righted, yuh mental! Yeh! Is only crazy people who wouldn’t accept such a wonderful, life-giving, life-saving invitation! 

And yuh know what, long before Jesus ever came to earth, Bruh David’s been saying the same thing. Listen to him in Psalm 55; his plaintive cry against deceitful friends. ‘The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit) the righteous to be moved (shaken). But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody (bloodthirsty) and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.’ (Ps. 55:21-23) And friends, we all know how Bruh David overcame his many enemies through that sincere trust in Almighty God. 

And after Jesus, Peter, with his own problems of denying Jesus, received healing, comfort and forgiveness, thus he could later on declare: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet. 5:6-7) And if you can’t believe the words of Bruh David, Peter and Jesus, then all that’s left for me to say is… Much LOVE!

…like mothers care greatly for their children…so does our heavenly Father care greatly for His children…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 April 2018 James 1:2.

James 1:2.    My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials).

At last friends, at long last, some of the ice that’s covered the ground from the ice storm a week ago has finally melted…Yay! And we can now see some of Mother Earth’s dirtyish brown grass with specks of green thrown in for good measure. Glory be! 

But not all of the ice has melted, there are still several patches of it all around. And from my kitchen window I can see about three or four solid boulders of ice lying at the side of the road, and the big lump of ice that clogged the entrance to my lane when they cleaned the main road last week is still there, blocking traffic and making it difficult to enter the lane. 

But God is good! Let’s remember that, and a few weeks from now when spring has finally sprung and the leaves and beautiful blossoms are out in all their glory, we’ll look back and laugh at this inconvenience. Hn, hn! Yeh mih people, it’s a good thing the Lord blessed us with short memories. 

However, it’s Saturday, so let’s turn our attention to some of this week’s quotes from our friend Anselm, as he aspires to inspire us to a better tomorrow. Here is the first one: ‘Learn to value yourself, which means fight for your happiness.’ 

Oh my people, too many of us don’t value ourselves highly enough, we have a poor self-image, thus others take advantage of us. Therefore we need to raise our self- image through Bible study and assertive action if we want to control our lives and thus our happiness. And the next quote is basically about the same thing; taking control of our lives. 

‘Don’t let other people decide whether you are going to have a fantabulous or bad day, make that decision yourself.’ Again, too many of us allow others to run our lives and decide what kind of day we’re going to have. That is counter productive friends. We have to learn to stand on our own two feet and make those kinds of decision for ourselves, otherwise we’ll always be at the mercy of others. 

And the final quote says: ‘If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.’ In other words, take a chance! And that is gospel truth! If you never take chances and just stay with the tried and true, the same old, same old, then the same old, same old is all you’ll ever get. 

Our society and our Christian faith was built on our forefathers and the early Christians taking chances, even when it meant running afoul of the authorities and thus possible loss of life. And as we Christians know, whenever we step out to do something for Christ, the enemy will most likely come against us and try to prevent us from doing it. 

But because of Christ’s promises and His power to enable us to do anything, we don’t have to shy away, but press on regardless. And we do that through faith. But faith doesn’t just come like by wishing it. On the contrary it’s something we have to build, through constant hard work and adversity. 

And Cousin Bobby (Bobby Schuller- Hour of Power) says that ‘Faith is not a leap, but an enduring daily trust that God can do the impossible in your life.’ And that’s no lie! Each and every day we awaken we have to learn to keep the trust in God we earned the day before, and to build on it, so that tomorrow it will be even stronger. That’s how we build faith my brethren – from day to day, through whatever trial comes our way. 

That brings us to our Bit, some rather interesting words from James, Jesus’ brother, in his epistle to the Christians dispersed around the world. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials).’ Now who wants to find trials joyful eh? Nobody! But friends, that’s the only way we’ll grow in faith. 

As James continues: ‘Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing.’ James 1:3-4) Yeh friends, as long as we are believers, our faith will always be tested, and we need to stand fast so that we can grow. 

And the scholars got it right: ‘1:4. The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’ Oh, we certainly know it’s rough, and do try to escape, but much to our dismay, that’s just part of the life of faith we’re trying live. 

The scholars further tell us: ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall (Gr. peripipto). 

These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing….It is not merely one’s presence in such trials but one’s victory over them that brings spiritual growth and maturity. Those Christians whom God can use the most are those whom God has bruised the most.’ 

Unfortunately mih people growing in spiritual faith is not easy, as can be seen from the lives of all great men of faith, especially Jesus. But they all kept constantly looking to the heavenly Father for the strength to carry on, and He gave it to them. Likewise, if we look to our heavenly Father for strength and wisdom to carry on in tough times, He WILL give it to us. 

So friends, whatever is coming against us right now, let’s try and think of it in joyful terms nuh, (smile) believing that God is allowing it for a greater purpose than we can imagine, and lean on Him for the help to come through it successfully. He will not disappoint us. That’s His faithful promise! Much LOVE!

…spiritual growth…is based on fleshly suffering…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 June 2016 John 6:48‏‏

John 6:48.    I am that bread of life.

Well a hearty welcome to you this Thursday morning mih lovelies! The sun is shining in my neck of the woods, and I do hope it’s shining in yours too. But just in case it isn’t, please remember that the Son is ALWAYS shining even in the worst of physical weather and circumstances! 

That’s the wonderful advantage we have over the unbelievers; we know that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is there for us ALL the time! He is just a prayer away… 

And all God’s children heartily and sincerely exclaimed: ‘Glory be to the Lamb that was slain, that was sacrificed on Calvary’s cross for our sins! Long may He reign in our hearts and souls! Amen!’ 

Yeh friends, there’s none other like our wonderful Redeemer Jesus Christ! Couldn’t be, for the world only has room for ONE Prince of Peace, ONE Lord of Lords and ONE King of Kings… and that’s our Jesus, our friend and guiding light! Glory Hallelujah! 

Now I want to share an interesting and very relevant quote from my One More Day Daily Meditations for People with Chronic Illness. I believe I’ve shared it before, but as we say, when it’s nice, you can play it twice, or even thrice! (smile) 

The quote is attributed to one Robert Nathan, but there are so many people out there with that name that I wasn’t able to identify the exact one. 

However, the quote says: ‘Give thanks for sorrow that teaches you pity; for pain that teaches you courage – and give exceeding thanks for the mystery which remains a mystery still – the veil that hides you from the infinite, which makes it possible for you to believe in what you cannot see.’ 

Yes friends, that’s what we call FAITH! And although we don’t like or want to have those negative experiences that cause us hurt and pain, we ought to embrace them because it’s only through experiencing them that we grow in courage and strength, and yes FAITH! 

If everyday was strictly wine, roses and song, we’d have no belly and backbone – we already have precious little of that. 

As the text says: ‘We cannot run away from problems. Tremendous problems must be confronted and resolved. Fears can be overwhelming. Tasks seem endless, and the challenge seems too great. It is comforting to realize we face nothing alone.’ 

And is that ever so true my Christian brethren! We’re never alone! The Holy Spirit of Christ, which indwells EVERY believer, is ALWAYS there to lead and guide us, to strengthen and comfort us in our every need! 

So Christians ought always to be positive people since we have the greatest power in the universe dwelling within us. Unfortunately that’s not the case with a lot of us. Too many believers are scared and fearful to face the days, the troubles and problems that seem to be always confronting them. 

But listen to the energizer at the end of the devotion. ‘I will not allow fear and panic to overtake me today. Courage will open the door to wisdom and peace.’ 

Yes my precious people, we need to believe that as we step out into the crazy, dangerous and ungodly world that currently surrounds us. And to help boost our spirits, and keep us on the straight and narrow path that leads to Almighty God, let’s declare our Thursday Blessings with premium confidence and glorious enthusiasm. 

All together now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! 

I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Well said my people, well said! Now let’s act it out in real life nuh. And that shouldn’t be a problem, because as our Bit so confidently states, we follow the person, Jesus Christ, who so truthfully declared two thousand years ago: ‘I am that bread of life.’ 

And indeed He is friends! He gave His physical life for us, so that we could have eternal life, rejuvenating reconciliation with the Father. That’s what He came down from heaven to do. 

Without His selfless sacrifice, we’d have no opportunity for life, because the scripture plainly states that the penalty for sin is death, and we were certainly embroiled in sin until His death cleansed us and set us free. 

Furthermore, NOBODY can get to the Father but through Him! And a lot of people refuse to belief that. But my faithful brethren, Jesus is truly the LIGHT, the LIFE, the TRUTH, and the WAY! 

Let’s never forget that, and keep embracing Him with all our hearts, minds, bodies and souls, for that is indeed wisdom at its zenith! Much LOVE!

…there is power…absolute power…in the holy name of Jesus…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 June 2015 Nehemiah 8:10b‏

Nehemiah 8:10b. …for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

‘Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain…pita pata, pita pata. Oh listen to the rhythm of the falling rain…’ Hn!  And next thing I knew I was hypnotized, lulled back to sleep for a couple hours. Wow! That’s the hypnotizing, beguiling power of the falling rain!

Yeh Friends, I was up at six o’clock, but lay there listening to the beguiling sounds of the falling rain, and then it was suddenly after eight. And going to bed fairly late this morning didn’t help matters any. Well at least I got a couple more hours rest. Glory be!

Anyway, today is Friday…as if you all didn’t know, and consequently sang back to me, the Friday mantra. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! The weekend is finally here, and it’s going to be wonderful; lots of rest, relaxation, fun and fellowship. Thank God it’s Friday!’

Hn? What are you doing to me my people? Am I hearing right, or are you all just saying that to lull me into a false sense of believing that you are turning around your lives, giving up the things of the world for the things of Jesus? (smile) I really don’t know, but like Jesus, I’m going to have hope and faith and believe for the best; that you’re really changing.

Nonetheless, let’s chant our Friday Chant like we mean it nuh. 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.’

Yes my brethren, without that revitalization of our spirits we won’t be able to do the job that Jesus desires of us. But even more importantly, we also need the groundings of our Bit to successfully do Jesus’ work. ‘…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’

That’s for certain sure my people! Without the joy of God flowing through our souls, we won’t be able to do much of anything at all! That’s why, as I said yesterday, the ole crook Lucifer tries to steal our joy in God, since without it we are weak and powerless. We therefore need to maintain that joy of Jesus in our spirits ALL THE TIME, so that the enemy can’t get a successful shot at us!

And we’ll continue today looking at some scriptures which declare the importance of God’s joy in our lives. And there’s no better place to see the importance of God’s joy in our souls than in Psalm 51 – Bruh David’s prayer for cleansing, after Nathan had confronted him with his abominable sins re Bathsheba.

Bruh David cries out to God: ‘Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right (steadfast) spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free (generous) spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.’ (Ps.51:9-13)

Yes Friends, Bruh David had gotten the evil desires of his heart, but he had lost the joy of his God. We need to be very careful about what we ask for or desire, because oftimes it can move us away from the redeeming and joyful presence of God and make us sorrowful.

Now listen to Jeremiah in his personal lament. ‘Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.’ (Jer.15:16) Oh my people, does the Word of God bring joy and rejoicing to our hearts? It certainly ought to.

Meanwhile Peter tells us this about being distressed when caught up in much temptations. ‘That the trial (genuineness) of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried (tested) with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing (revelation) of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye LOVE; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.’ (1 Pet.1:7-8)

What powerful tools are faith and belief in Jesus Christ, my brethren! For though we’ve never seen Him face to face, yet we so strongly believe and trust in Him that even when we’re tried and tested, we still retain the unspeakable joy found in His Spirit.

And James puts it in simple straightforward terms. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials).’ (James 1:2)

And the scholars explain that ‘These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing.’

Yes Friends, when we look at everything from the standpoint that it comes from God, who has promised to work everything out for our good, then we can accept whatever comes against with joy, knowing that we will come out better, more Christ-like in the end.

Then Jude tells us: ‘Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling (stumbling), and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.’ (Jude 24-25)

Ah mih people, with those words of absolute truth and wisdom we’ll end today’s message. Now let’s ponder all that we’ve read and make the conscious decision to keep the joy of God always in our hearts, minds and souls, so that we can reject the advances of the enemy and stand strong in the name and faith of Jesus! For that is indeed the zenith of wisdom. Much LOVE!

…and my soul shall be joyful in the Lord…it shall rejoice in his salvation… (Ps. 35:9)

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 November 2013 Matthew 5:12

Matthew 5:12.   Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Oh Friends, the church bells are tolling this beautiful Sunday morning! They’re tolling to invite us to fellowship and worship as the body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ down here on earth! Wow! What a special benefit and honour to be numbered in that most august society!

Many of you may remember growing up with the church bells pealing every Sunday morning and evening, calling all the faithful to the house that Christ built. I remember them quite vividly, because I lived only a couple minutes walk away from St. Andrews Anglican in Scarborough, Tobago, and I’d use them as a time piece, listening for when the last bell begin to toll, then I’d hustle off to get there just in time.

There were either two or three tollings, I don’t remember, but back then, when the bells pealed, you knew that almost the whole community was getting ready to go to church, regardless of their denomination. Unfortunately though, church bells tolling as a means of inviting the faithful to worship is now a thing of the past, like prehistoric dinosaurs.

The youth of today don’t even know that church bells existed, for there are very few around now, and even fewer toll, and likewise, even fewer attend church regularly. But my brethren, going to church and fellowshipping with others of like faith, is exactly one of the things Jesus had in mind when He commanded us to ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’

That’s because it’s much easier for believers to rejoice and be exceedingly happy, in spite of persecution, when they are gathered together worshipping and praising Almighty God, whether it be in a church, a house, a thatched hut, a cave or in the open air. Togetherness is the bedrock, the foundation of Christ’s body! No wonder we’re not making the progress we should, since that body is so fragmented, divisive, quarrelsome and resentful of each other.

But Friends, it’s virtually impossible for us to stand strong in the face of persecution when we’re not in sync with each other. That only gives the forces of evil an excellent opportunity to further divide and conquer us. For as logic declares, a group can usually stand stronger together against a common enemy, than a single individual.

And my people, coming together is one of the things we desperately need to concentrate on, if we’re to ever survive the challenges and persecution that the evil world powers are plotting against us. And even as a group, we can’t do it without the omnipotence of Jesus working in and amongst us. So please, let’s seriously concentrate on coming together, rather than drifting further apart nuh. That’s the only hope we have of strengthening and growing Jesus’ LOVE Revolution.

And I have the perfect quote for that from an article I read earlier on in the Anglican Newspaper, November 2013 edition. I copied it for use at some future time, but in God’s mysterious workings, (smile) that time seems to be now. It’s written by Bishop Patrick Yu, on the subject of inviting people to church.

He writes that ‘Growth is actually the sign of all living things, including a living faith and a living church!’ Now that’s gospel truth my people! If we’re not growing in faith and fellowship, then to all intents and purposes, we’re spiritually dead.

Anyway, enough sermonizing from me for today. (smile) Let’s get to the scriptures I faithfully promised you yesterday. And the first one deals with the first part of our Bit: ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:’

Peter puts it this way: ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as (to the extent that) ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.’ (1 Pet.4:12-13)

Yeh Friends, it’s definitely not an easy concept to grasp and then hold on tightly to, but we do need to believe that when we suffer for Jesus’ sake, we’re part of His suffering. Therefore, when He comes back in all His majestic glory, then we too shall participate in the overwhelming joy during those momentous times!

And James say it thus: ‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials). Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith, worketh (produces) patience.’  (James 1:2-3)

Short and sweet eh Friends! (smile) What a way we doing a lotta smiling today mih breddren! But that’s just the way it ought to be, if we’re exceedingly glad.

Now here’s what the scholars have to say: ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall (Gr. peripipto). These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing.

The words in verses 2 and 3 (temptations and trying) are often regarded as virtually synonymous. If this were true, then the trials themselves would produce spiritual maturity. But they do not. Often, testings make Christians bitter instead of better, with no spiritual growth occurring. The Greek word for “trying” (dokimion) might be better translated as “approving.”

It is not merely one’s presence in such trials but one’s victory over them that brings spiritual growth and maturity. Those Christians whom God can use the most are those whom God has bruised the most.’

And all God’s people said a low, unenthusiastic ‘Amen,’ because they know that’s the living truth, and it’s hard for the flesh to handle!

But enough for today Friends, I don’t want to stretch your intelligence and busy lives by running on too long. (smile) So let’s ponder all that we’ve said and heard, then make some good and godly decisions, in as many areas as we can, obviously with the help of Jesus. Much LOVE!

…for whom the bells toll…for all mankind…why…so that they can come to Christ…to acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour…and receive the free…but oh so wonderful gifts of salvation and everlasting life…