Today’s Scrip-Bit   13 September 2021 Ecclesiastes 4:9.

Ecclesiastes 4:9.     Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 

Come down Monday, come on down! Let us walk in unity along life’s convoluted and ofttimes difficult pathway. For only together can we be victorious. Alone we will most surely be defeated. That’s why the wise author of Ecclesiastes, who simply refers to himself as the Preacher, but whom most scholars believe is Cousin Sol, tells us about two being better than one, and three, an even stronger cord. 

Listen to these words of everlasting wisdom. ‘Then I returned, and I saw vanity (futility) under the sun. There is one alone, and there is not a second (a companion); yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he. For whom do I labour, and bereave (deprive) my soul of good? This is also vanity (futility), yea, it is a sore travail (grievous toil).’ (Eccl. 4:7-8) And is that ever the gospel truth! It is a useless, futile task when you are labouring by yourself for only yourself! 

However, the Preacher wisely continues: ‘Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow (companion): but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.’ (Eccl. 4:9-10) Now that’s not rocket science friends, but mere common sense; two people working and walking in harmony and unity are always better than one, because each can help the other when they fall, either literally or figuratively. 

But when you’re on your lonesome, it’s often impossible to get up if you fall. Just goes to show that we all need help to live this simple, yet complicated life. As the wisdom of the world says; no man is an island, he can’t do it all himself. But the preacher is not done yet. (smile) He maintains his claim of togetherness being oh so important: ‘Again if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?’ (Eccl. 4:11) Now that’s a very good question. And if anyone can answer it, please let me know. (smile) 

Meanwhile, the Preacher is just warming up to his argument: ‘And if one prevail against him (though one may be overpowered by another), two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ (Eccl. 4:12). Mama Mia! What incredible words of wisdom! So life is not completely useless, futile or meaningless after all! That is, if you are in worthwhile company. 

As the scholars explain: ‘4:7-12. The toil of the miser is futile, especially when he toils only for himself. On the other hand, two are better than one because they have a good return (vs. 9); they can help each other (vs. 10); they can provide mutual warmth (vs. 11); and they double their strength (or triple it, as in the case of three friends (vs. 12).’ 

Now, here are some interesting insights on the subject from commentator Tamara Chamberlain, found on the crosswalk.com website. She says: ‘One of the unique things about Ecclesiastes is that its wisdom is beneficial regardless of your belief in God. The wisdom shown in these four verses can be agreed with, even if you don’t consider yourself a follower of Jesus. There are many other non-Christian proverbs that support the wisdom stated in these verses. Proverbs like, “two heads are better than one” or “no man is an island.” 

The writer of Ecclesiastes penned these truths thousands of years before the similar proverbs we commonly know today. It truly is amazing to see the way the truths revealed in Scripture are not only true because we find them in the Bible, but because the truth is the truth… The principle of two being better than one can be applied to any partnership or aspect of life. To be alone isn’t necessarily seen as negative, but when you add another person to your life the situation is usually better. One of the keywords in these verses is “better.” The writer is stating that a better way, a more fruitful way to live life is alongside other people… 

The statement of two being better than one is true in many different life circumstances all across time… From the very beginning, God created us to be in relationship with others. Not only are we to live in relationship with other people but with God as well. The image is explained in Ecclesiastes 4:12) “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” The three-strand cord is understood to be unity between yourself, God, and another person.’ 

Yes friends, it’s all about unity…with God and with each other! And that’s what our world, our church and our lives are sadly lacking in these turbulent and ever so dangerous times. And the only way to fix it is by sincerely attempting to grow that unity between you, me, and God again. And we can begin to close that needless and foolish rift, right now, by coming together and raising up our Monday Morning Battle Hymn to Almighty God, and acknowledging His sovereignty over the universe. 

So as one sincere voice: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has 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 wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems. 

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. Please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again, we say: Amen!’ 

And as always, the answers to our prayers will be determined by the way we keep the promises we make to Almighty God! Much LOVE!

…it’s only in good relationship with God and man…can our earthly purpose be truly fulfilled…                                                                                                            

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8              

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 October 2020 James 1:17.

James 1:17.     Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness (variation), neither shadow of turning.

Well at last we have a somewhat sunshiny opening to a day, not the cloudy, overcast stuff we’ve been having recently! And it’s a big Saturday in the northern climes; Halloween Day! It’s the day the society dresses up in ugly, evil looking costumes – the uglier and more evil looking, the better- and have the children go out ‘trick or treating,’ begging at other people’s houses for candy, and the adults have costumed balls and riotous parties. Well let’s see what’s going to happen this year of Covid nuh. 

Halloween hasn’t been officially banned, and there have been all sorts of comments, for and against, but the Covid-19 numbers have not been coming down, although the more populous areas are still in Stage 2 Lockdown. So, in my humble opinion, it is pure folly to have children running around the streets in the dark in this pandemic time to beg for candy from people most of them don’t know, and for adults to be having parties with unprotected crowds without any physical distancing. 

Even in the good times there have been petitions to ban the process because of the evil stuff people were putting in the candy and fruit to harm the children. And worse of all, if it glorifies the evil spirits like witches and goblins and the like, why have such a day in a supposedly godly society eh? But what does the ole fella know eh friends? Obviously not a whole lot. (smile) So we’ll just leave that subject alone and see what transpires later on. 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s turn to more appropriate things, like the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And it seems like he’s adopted a new style, prefacing each quote with the words: ‘Positive affirmation you should tell yourself to remind yourself just how awesome you are….’ 

Now I think that statement contains elements of both good and bad. The bad part is that if we focus on it too much, it could lead us to believe that we’re so wonderful and awesome in our own strength and thus we develop proud and narcissistic thoughts and behaviour. However, on the good side, we are awesome and wonderful IN Christ! No doubt about that! So let’s put some wise and sensible reins on our thoughts about our awesomeness nuh. (smile) Anyway, I’m not going to reiterate the opening sentence in each quote, since we already know what it is. I’ll just give us the important last part. 

And the first quote tells us: ‘My life is a gift and I appreciate everything I have.’ The first part is indeed true: our lives are gifts from God Himself. For God Himself, with His own hands, moulded man from the dirt of the earth, in His own image, then breathed His precious breath into his body. (Gen. 1:27; 2:7) And furthermore, James tells us thus: ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness (variation), neither shadow of turning.’ (James 1:17) 

It stands to reason then, that if our lives and all the good stuff we have are gifts from God, then we ought to appreciate everything we have. But do we truly appreciate them? Not really nuh, not in our current greedy and ‘gravelicious’ society. For we complain more about the few things we don’t have, than we are thankful for the plenty we do have. Consequently, many of us can’t truthfully declare the next quote. ‘I’m calm, happy, and content.’ And we will never be able to do so until we realize that ALL we have comes from Almighty God…and begin appreciating it. 

Yeh friends, calm and content only come with an attitude of appreciation. And also, until you show appreciation for all that God has done for you, and is still doing, you won’t be able to make this next statement either. ‘I’m more at ease every day.’ For ease, likewise, comes only with true appreciation of all our blessings. One can’t be cantankerous, miserable and unappreciative and enjoy the abundant life that Jesus died for us to have. (John 10:10) 

Remember too that Jesus is the biggest and best gift that God gave us, through whom we achieve eternal life, despite our sinful, ungodly beginnings. Bruh Paul put it this way to the church at Rome. ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom. 5:23) And if we have become wise and accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, then most likely we’ll be able to proclaim this next quote. ‘I’ll surround myself with positive people who will help bring out the best in me.’ 

Oh friends, that is indeed wisdom from above! Why? Because too many of us surround ourselves with those who bring out the worse and not the best in us. That’s why the Good Book tells us so specifically: ‘Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort (encourage, lift up) one another daily, while it is called TODAY; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ (Heb. 3:12-13) 

Oh mih bredrin, it is ever so important to surround ourselves with wise, godly people, who will encourage us to do good, to do our best, for that’s what Jesus desires of His followers. Remember too that no man is an island, and we can’t live this life alone, or in too much seclusion, for the Lord made us to have fellowship one with another. As the old people would say; ‘Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ And that’s the living truth, since our friends’ behaviour and attitude rub off on us. 

That brings us to this last quote: ‘I approve of myself and LOVE myself deeply.’ Now if all the other quotes are true of us, then we can make that kind of statement, but not too strenuously, (smile) because like believing we’re so awesome, it can lead us away from God, to the heights of narcissism, and we know there’s nothing the Lord dislikes like a proud, supposedly independent, self-LOVING person. Oh yes, we do need to LOVE and approve ourselves, but with a very careful attitude, so that we don’t go overboard and fall victim to the evil inherent in such thinking. As Jeeves would probably say: ‘circumspection my dear man – much circumspection.’ (smile) 

And I can’t think of a better way to end today, than with these immortal words of Jesus as per our earthly duty. ‘Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:37-40) 

And that’s the gospel truth my people, straight from the Giver of the gospel! So let’s go out and action them nuh. It’s our bounden duty as believers in Christ Jesus! Much LOVE!

…from Genesis to Revelation…it’s all about LOVE…God’s LOVE for us…our LOVE for Him…and for each other…  

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 January 2020 Matthew 18:20.

Matthew 18:20.    ​For where two or three are gathered together in my name; there am I in the midst of them.
 
Can you believe it friends, we’re already into the third day of this new year of 2020! The days surely are running fast. As the duchess tells me when I complain about how the day ends so quickly: ‘Sit down there and think the day waiting on you nuh!’ It certainly isn’t my people, that’s why we got to get up and make hay while the sun shines, and not put off for tomorrow what we can do today. Another of the duchess’ sayings to me when I tend to procrastinate. (smile) But thankfully it’s Friday, and a lot of us are giving thanks for that fact because we’re still tired and bombed out from the hectic Christmas and New Year’s Eve activities. 

And I guess the workingman is too, so let’s hear what he has to say. ‘Oh mercy me! TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! I haven’t looked forward to a Friday like this one in a long time. Brother am I ever tired! Having not worked for the Christmas week, and then partied so much for the New Year’s, I was definitely out of sync and not up to snuff these last couple days in doing the slave master’s work. Steups! I should really have taken the two weeks off. Next year I’ll know better. 

But it was a good Christmas and New Year’s. The family got closer together as we did stuff that we hadn’t done in ages, and I promised mihself to keep on doing that, not kill mihself out in the slave driver work, like I did last year. Ah getting older, ah not a spring chicken any more, so the work getting harder, because it entail plenty physical labour. And the wife needs some help with the children too, she not getting any younger either. So hopefully this will be a year when everything comes together, falls into place for us. Thank God for Fridays and weekends oui!’ 

Yes friends, I guess all of us are hoping that for 2020 we’ll turn over a new leaf in our lives, round a serious corner and discover the good life. (smile) And it’s always possible once you have Jesus as the Guiding Light of our lives. But please remember, it’s not going to be easy. It wasn’t easy for Jesus, and won’t be for His followers. But it surely will be interesting, adventurous and worthwhile, because that’s the kind of Leader we have. Now the workingman had some good sentiments in his song, but our weekend song is somewhat different, with checks and balances, as required by our Lord and Saviour to prevent the enemy from getting a foothold in our lives. 

So let’s give out with our Friday Chant nuh, in strong voice with a sincere sense of purpose. All together 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!’ 

Oh my people, is it ever important for us to get our souls, bodies, minds and spirits renewed and refreshed every week, so that we can do Jesus’ work at a high standard, with the diligence and excellence He expects of us. That’s why gathering to fellowship with other believers, on a Sunday, or whenever, is a must! We were made for fellowship, not to be independents or loners. Remember the saying, no man is an island. We can’t do it all on our lonesome. In fellowship there is great joy and togetherness, such that cannot be found on our own. 

Why yuh think Jesus said: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name; there am I in the midst of them.’ Because He knew the great benefits that accrued from fellowship. Not that He isn’t with us when we’re alone, but the Father made us specifically to dwell together in harmony, and when we forget our foolish pride and do just that, then all heaven cries out with delight and joy. Yuh think heaven’s happy now with the way we supposed believers living – divided by petty squabbles, full of resentment, bitterness, hatred and anger towards each other? 

Not on your life! Jesus came to break down the barriers that existed between Jews and Gentiles, and form ONE unified church! But we, in our worldly wisdom, have made a mockery of Jesus’ plan, for there’s no other organization or institution that’s as divided as the church in these turbulent end times! It’s ever so sad that when we need to come together the most, we’re drifting even further apart by the enemy’s successful drive to divide and conquer us. Oh my fellow believers, can’t we see that we’re only harming ourselves by all the foolishness that’s happening in Christ’s church? 

We’re only giving Satan a bigger and stronger foothold in our lives and demeaning the sacrifice and work of Christ! Do we need the many denominations and sects, numbered in the thousands, that are supposedly a part of the unified church? Definitely not! Especially when all are preaching something different. And Bruh Paul saw it coming when he warned Timothy about the apostasy (renunciation and doubt of formerly held beliefs) that would eventually appear. 

‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous (money lovers), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers (irreconcilable), false accusers (slanderers), incontinent (without self-control), fierce (brutal), despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady (reckless), high-minded (haughty), lovers of pleasures more than (rather than) lovers of God: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.’ (2 Tim. 3:1-5) 

Oh my people, we’ve always had some of this in our world, but right now it’s the worse it’s ever been! The false teachers and preachers, the antichrist, as John calls them, are holding too much sway. Too many are preaching that form of godliness; ‘mere religion without power or spiritual life.’ From those we must stay away. But we can only do that successfully when we know the Word. 

That means, this year, more than ever, we need to delve into God’s Word with a vengeance, so that we can know the false teachers and preachers, the antichrist, and stay away from them. Our world is depending on us friends, so let’s put some serious effort into raising our spiritual level, our faith, so that we can be strong, vibrant witnesses for Christ, and thus turn back the enemy. Much LOVE!

…the Word will set you free…but you can’t be free…until you know the Word…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 February 2019 John 8:32.

John 8:32.   ​And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
 

And then it was Saturday…And are we ever breathing a sigh of relief that we might finally get a li’l relief from the deep freeze that’s held us prisoner for the last week! But plenty places are still under heavy manners from the cold spell, and it’s been forecasted that the west coast, especially down in California is going to get rain and snow and all the other negative consequences associated with those things this weekend. 

Brother! And some of us still foolishly don’t believe in climate change? Steups! It’s just simple logic: If you put a whole lot of negative stuff in the atmosphere over a number of years, it will eventually change the way atmosphere functions! Anyway, it’s Saturday, so let’s turn to some quotes from our friend Anselm, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow.  

Hear this first one: ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.’ Now the basic part of that is certainly true; you have to follow your dreams. But then as a follower of and believer in Jesus Christ, you need to sync up your dreams with the plan He has for your life, otherwise you won’t be overly successful as a believer. 

 I can tell you that from personal experience, because once I decided to accept Jesus’ offer to write the Bit, my life changed substantially, both inwardly and outwardly. It was never my intention to be a Christian writer, a writer yes, but certainly not on Christian matters, but that seems to have been His plan for me. And I’m glad now that I accepted it. Now it hasn’t been all wine, roses and song, (smile) but it has certainly been very interesting and enlightening. 

So please remember to include Jesus in your dreams! That leads us to this quote: ‘The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.’ I do have some argument with that on the Christian basis, because we claim that the Lord has a plan destined for each and everyone of us, and the only way we’ll ever unfurl that plan successfully is with His help. However, technically speaking, the choice is ours, to be whom we decide to be, either within God’s plan or outside of it. 

And then we have: ‘Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.’ And that’s oh so true! We either build our own dreams, or help somebody else build theirs. The only problem there is if everybody builds their own dreams, who’s going to help them build it eh, since no man is an island and we all need help to grow. 

In the long run we have to realize that not all of us were meant to be dream makers, but some were assigned to help build those dreams, and it’s no shame or disgrace to help someone else build their dream. And we can often get more satisfaction from helping someone else build something great, than from building our own small, insignificant dream. 

Now hear this quote: ‘It is only after the deepest darkness that the greatest joy can come.’ And isn’t that gospel truth! It’s usually after the most negative circumstances occur that we get the most positive situations. And as they say, you can’t enjoy the sunshine without having experienced the rain. And as Bruh David so elegantly puts it. ‘For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ (Ps.30:5) Yeh friends, light certainly comes after darkness! 

Then this last quote says: ‘Any time you beg another man to set you free, you will never be free. Freedom is something that you have to do for yourselves.’ There we go again with that elusive word ‘freedom!’ Are we ever, or can we ever be truly free? No! It’s just not possible. For as the man says we all have to bow to somebody in this life! 

And freedom is NEVER free; you always have to pay a great price for whatever kind of freedom you’re seeking, and then there’s an awesome responsibility that comes with it, not even mentioning the struggle that it takes to stay free. Just look at all the struggles for freedom down through the ages! 

How many of them were considered successful eh? And how many of them lasted for any real time eh? Most of them just bred more dissension, and then, some other group decided to fight for their freedom! So there is always an ongoing fight for some kind of freedom in our messed up world! 

But all is not lost friends, hear me now, the closest we can come to real freedom in this life is that freedom offered by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And all God’s people shouted a loud and grateful: ‘Glory Hallelujah! Praise the holy name of Jesus!’ Yes friends, it’s only when we know the Truth, the Truth that’s associated with Jesus, that we can ever come close to being truly free. 

 Listen to Him tell it: ‘Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue (abide) in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ (John 8:31-32) And like Pilate asked of Jesus, so do many of us: ‘What is truth?’ (John 19:38) 

My people, the ultimate truth is the Word of God, found in His Word; the Bible! As John says: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John 1:1) And hear Moses tell it in his song: ‘Because I will publish (proclaim) the name of the Lord; ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.’ (Deut.32:3-4) 

And if you don’t believe Moses, then listen to Bruh David: ‘For his merciful kindness (LOVING-kindness) is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord.’ (Ps.117:2) And if you still don’t believe, then listen to the real authority on the subject, Jesus: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6) 

Yes friends, there it is in black and white! If you desire what amounts to true freedom, then Jesus is the ONLY Way to get it! He fought to give it to us, by being crucified and thus paying for our sins. So glory to God, all those who follow Him are now free! For whom the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36) Please remember that and act accordingly! Much LOVE!

…the law was given by Moses…but grace and truth came by…Jesus Christ…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 December 2018 Matthew 7:20.

Matthew 7:20.   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
 
Aye friends, the ole fella is somewhat listless and lethargic this Saturday morning yes! And the aches and pains not helping the situation either nuh. But yuh know what, we not giving in to the feelings today. The aches and pains might slow us down some, but we not stopping. Remember the race is not for the swift but for the sure of foot, and yuh better believe when I plant my big feet down they stay down! (smile) 

Yeh, it’s just one of those days; the weather doesn’t look good, the body doesn’t feel good, but GOD IS GREAT! That’s something we can always count on, for He has said so in the promises of His Word, and His Word does not lie! Give Him some thanks and praise my people! 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week in his noble attempt to aspire us to a better tomorrow. And this one jumps right out at me today: ‘You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.’ Wow! That’s gospel truth! For none of us can do it all ourselves. As they say, no man is an island. The Lord made us to fellowship with each other and to help each other, not to be single and all sufficient in our selves. 

And on that point, hear what the Good Book says: ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is of God.’ (2 Cor.3:5) Now that says it all! 

And this next quote also points directly to God: ‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.’ You do have all of that, but only if God is sincerely in your efforts! 

Now listen to this one: ‘It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.’ 

Yes friends, it is an awesome opportunity we’ve been given to live for Jesus on this earth. And to use that opportunity properly, we need to remember these two scriptures. In the immortal words of Bruh David: ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.’ (Ps.34:8) And also: ‘The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.’ (Ps.145:9) 

It’s all about our heavenly Father my people! And this quote exemplifies that: ‘We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.’ That goes right back to the first quote, we can’t be successful on our own, for success means taking others on that journey with us, both individually and communally! That’s how the Lord designed it! 

And this last quote covers them all: ‘When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines the kind of people we are.’ And today I want to focus on that last line; how we live our lives determines the kind of people we are. 

Yeh friends, we can live our lives like the Pharisees did, outwardly showy and hypocritical, or like Jesus recommended, honest and truly considerate of others. For as He says: ‘Wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them.’ Yes friends, by our deeds we shall be known. And hear some deep insights of Jesus on the subject of how men live their lives. 

First off, He states very clearly: ‘A good tree cannot bring forth evil (bad) fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.’ (Matt.7:18) And that’s not rocket science, just plain, basic logic. Then Jesus lays it out in plain terms: ‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ (Matt.15:11) 

Oh friends, I hope we understand that. We can’t bear good fruit unless what is in us and what comes out of us is good! What’s in our hearts determines the kind of people we’ll be! 

Hear Jesus again: ‘Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out (eliminated) into the draught (body waste)? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.’ (Matt.15:17-20) 

Yeh friends, that whole argument began when the Pharisees complained that the disciples were eating with unwashed hands, which they considered a big thing. But Jesus, as usual set them right. And in Matthew 23, (please read it) He really lambastes the Pharisees, who looked real good on the outside but were dirty as hell on the inside! 

And we’ll end with this description: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres (white washed tombs), which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness).’ (Matt.23:27-28) 

And the scholars offer this explanation: ’23:27-33. Whited sepulchres: Since contact with a dead body rendered a person unclean according to the Mosaic Law, graves were customarily painted white to make them conspicuous and give the opportunity of avoiding contact with them.’ 

Oh friends, please let us live lives that will not cause those unpleasant comparisons to be said of us nuh. Instead let us be good and uncorrupted trees, so that we can bear good fruit in Jesus’ name and make a productive difference in the lives of those around us. Much LOVE!

…whatsoever is in our heart…will undoubtedly manifest itself in our outward behaviour…that’s why we need a clean heart to live for Jesus…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 February 2018 1 Corinthians 12:14.

1 Corinthians 12:14.   For the body is not one member, but many.

Ah friends, how nice it is to get a spring-like break amidst the bone-chilling cold of winter that’s been dogging us for some time now! And this past week has certainly been like that in my area. The temps have mainly been above freezing and it might even continue like that for the next couple of days. 

But I guess you can’t get the good without the bad, for though it’s been warm, it’s been rainy and cloudy, with flooding in several areas. More rain and flooding are expected this weekend across the U.S. South and Midwest. But I’ll take the rain and whatever, over the snow any day. (smile) That’s possibly because I’m not personally experiencing any flooding. Let’s pray for those who are undergoing that kind of disaster right now my brethren. 

And since today is Saturday, it’s time to look at some of the quotes our friend, Anselm, sent us this week, in his heartfelt attempt to inspire us for a better tomorrow. The first one says: ‘You can’t knock on opportunity’s door and not be ready.’ That should be obvious. Why would you be seeking an opportunity if you were not ready and able to undertake it eh? But unfortunately, a lot of us misguidedly do it. 

And the second tells us: ‘Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.’ What glorious truth that is my people! You’re never really defeated until YOU decide to give up! How can you be defeated if you keep on fighting, keep coming back again and again eh? 

And that philosophy applies ever so much to Christians, because in our Lord and Saviour’s vocabulary there is NO GIVING UP! Why should there be, when ALL THINGS are possible through Christ? That’s a very significant aspect of the believer’s walk with God, and his ability to grow in Christ’s image. If you don’t believe that, then you’re lost from the very start. 

Now listen to this quote. ‘Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then.’ Now I don’t know if you need to look so far ahead – possibly take it in smaller increments – but you do need to decide what you’re going to be all about later on in life, so that you can do the stuff that’s necessary to get you there. 

However, with the believer, it’s a li’l different. We need to discover God’s calling for our lives, so that we can walk successfully in His will. Yuh see, what we might like to do in the world, is not always what the Lord wants us to do. And as a faithful believer and follower, it behooves us to find God’s purpose and follow it as closely as possible. 

And the last quote says: ‘Success is empty if you arrive at the finish line alone. The best reward is to get there surrounded by winners.’ And that’s oh so true! You can’t really enjoy success if you’ve achieved it all by yourself. Success is meant to be enjoyed with others. 

In the first place, you will very seldom achieve success if you don’t surround yourself with positive, successful thinking people. That’s why there are clichés like ‘no man is an island’ and  ‘you can’t go it alone.’ 

And Bruh Paul took pains to point out that the church of Christ is one body, though it’s made up of individuals, hence his writing to the church at Corinth that includes our Bit. ‘For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond (slave) or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.’ (1 Cor.12:12-14) 

Yeh friends, believers are all a part of ONE BODY; that of Christ; of His Church! Regardless of colour, creed or race, once you receive Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are baptized with His Spirit that immediately comes to dwell in you, and you become a part of that big body called Christ’s Church. 

As Bruh Paul philosophizes to the church at Rome. ‘For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office (function): So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one (individually) members one of another.’ (Rom.12:4-5) 

Ah mih people, in every organization the members have different functions and duties, which holds that organization together. If those members don’t perform their functions in a serious and positive manner, then the organization won’t last long. It’s the same way with Christ’s church. If we, as members, don’t play our individual parts, then the body won’t function as it should. 

And that’s exactly what’s happening in Christ’s church right now. There is too much anger and resentment, too many power struggles and cliques, too much dissension and disunity, too much diversion from the original gospel, with people preaching all sorts of different things and filtering in new interpretations as dictated by the world. How can Christ’s church be successful under those conditions eh? NEVER! 

That’s why Lucifer and his evil cohorts currently have the world in a stranglehold; they are united, but Christ’s people are not. Yes my fellow believers, until we stop talking and fighting against each other and come together as one, evil will rule the world. Now let’s sit down and ponder that. Is that what we truly want? Much LOVE!

…unity and solidarity should not be mere words in Christ’s church… 

P.S. Sorry for the lateness of the Bit. It’s Saturday, so I slept in. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 January 2016 James 2:14

James 2:14.   What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

 

Well my people, it’s the first Sunday in the New Year, and still the Christmas season, so I expect all the churches to be filled to capacity today with believers to give thanks and praise to our most wonderful God for causing us to see not only a new day, but also a brand new year charged with unlimited possibilities. 

And I included that reminder about the Christmas season for those who only go to church at Christmas and Easter.  (smile) Now, for the life of me, I just can’t figure out why supposed Christians do that. Church was meant to be a fairly regular occurrence, not once in a while, mostly at the high times of our faith. 

To my mind, if you can’t go more often than that, then why go at all eh? What does that do for you and the other people in the church eh? Nothing at all, as far as I can see! 

So you claim to your friends and family, you went to church at Christmas and Easter. Big deal! That doesn’t cut it my fellow believers. And I’m sure that’s not what Jesus expects. 

You’ll notice that wherever He was on the Sabbath, He always found Himself in the synagogue participating in the services. That’s what He also expects of us; not a wishy-washy, once in a blue moon, stick your face inside the doors of the church. Remember the church is supposed to be the body of Christ, and how can it be a properly functioning body when so many members only show up occasionally? 

Friends, no man is an island, especially a Christian in this evil and godless world. You cannot make it successfully on your lonesome; you need the help, encouragement, sentiments of praise and worship, of exhortation and teaching, and the steadfast faith from which a gathering of like believers emanates! 

That reminds me of an old adage, re those who seldom go to church.  Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact saying, but they are words to the effect that the church and its doors would crumble, would fall down when the occasional goers show up. 

Anyway my people, since we have designated and dedicated 2016 as the year of HOPE and the astronomical rise of Jesus’ LOVE Revolution, it’s therefore necessary that we sincerely come together under the umbrella of the church and decrease all the divisions and dissensions that are rife and rampant within that supposedly august body. 

Now here are some quotes from our friend Anselm, who is always trying to inspire us for a better tomorrow. The first one is very appropriate for this season. It says: ‘Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.’ And do we ever need those attributes in these stressful and dangerous times! 

The next quote from Anselm declares: ‘If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings.’  

Now I don’t know if that is the greatest of all blessings, but it sure is an important, indispensable teaching which builds confidence and chutzpah in our offspring. 

And the last quote segues nicely into this final one. ‘He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.’ And that is the gospel truth friends! If we don’t have the courage to take risks, sensible ones now, (smile) we will never accomplish anything worthwhile. 

And that’s exactly what is happening to Christ’s church in these modern times. Too many of us are afraid, or just too sedentary to step up and do what needs to be done to further God’s kingdom down here on earth. And yes, many of us talk a good talk, but we need to remember that Christianity is an ACTION movement, and without deeds to back up the talk, it’s all useless. 

That brings us to our Bit, where James talks about faith that works. ‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?’ 

Now that is certainly an interesting question my people.  And James continues his theory with this explanation. ‘If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.’ (James 2:15-18)  

Ah friends, the scholars have some interesting but long explanations here, though time and space might not allow me to copy it verbatim, but I believe it’s important enough to try. 

‘2:14-17. Can faith save him? This statement and others in verses 14-26 persuade some critics that James is teaching salvation through faith and works. Luther called this epistle “strawy,” believing it emphasized works too much. Today, some regard it as a late writing in which the author is reacting to Paul’s doctrine of salvation by faith alone. This is not the case. 

James’ teachings reflect neither a negative nor a positive response to Paul’s teachings. For Paul, faith practically equals salvation. James, however, sees two kinds of faith: saving faith and professing faith (much like the usage today). For Paul, justification is by faith (Rom.4:5) For James, justification is by a faith that works – by a genuine faith that manifests itself in post-conversion works. 

Before salvation, these Jews had believed in the efficacy of works. Now some were reacting at the opposite extreme, imagining that works play no part in the salvation experience. James retorts that the kind of faith that does not produce works is not saving faith. As Calvin said: ‘Faith alone saves, but a faith that saves is never alone.”  

Thus James’ question is not simply “Can faith save?” but as the Greek text may suggest, “Can that faith save him?” Can merely professed but undemonstrated faith save?  (See vv.21-24 for further discussion.) The Greek grammar expects a negative answer to the question that ends verse 14. Hence it can be rendered, “That faith (i.e. the one mentioned in verse 14a which is without works) cannot save.’ 

Ah mih people some interesting stuff for us to ponder on this first Sunday in the New Year. And the Lord in favour, we’ll continue this discussion tomorrow. Till then, please let’s darken the doors of our churches and get our New Year’s resolution to follow Jesus more closely into full swing nuh. For that’s wisdom of everlasting and eternal proportions! Much LOVE!

…faith and works…one saves…the other complements it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 August 2015 Psalm 97:7

Psalm 97:7.    Confounded be all they that (let all be put to shame who) serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

Welcome my fellow believers to the first and best day of the week; Sunday! Two decades ago it was primarily a day of rest with mostly church going and family gatherings. But unfortunately the busyness and supposed advancement of life intervened and now almost everything is open 24/7. 

Obviously that has detracted from those things we once held sacred on a Sunday. However, that doesn’t mean that church attendance, rest and family gatherings are any less important now, perhaps they are even more important because there is less time and opportunity for us to engage in them with a lot of people on different work schedules. 

And worshipping Almighty God as a body of believers, Christ’s Church, is still of the utmost importance in our Christian faith. For it is where we get together to sing and praise the Lord, read the Good Book, hear it explained, and thus boost our spiritual selves, and consequently leave the house of worship renewed and reinvigorated in bodies, souls and minds to face another week of backbreaking and mind boggling labour. (smile) 

Again we might consider fellowshipping even more important now, because of the many more activities that vie for our time, and it’s so easy to put off that renewal of spiritual self in favour of some other worldlier pastime.  But Friends, as I keep reminding us, that is not a very wise decision, for basically how you spend your Sundays, that’s how your work week will bottom out. 

Why do you think the psalmist encourages us thus: ‘O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand (under his care).’ (Ps.95:6-7) 

Oh Friends, when we sincerely get together and worship the Lord our God, worthwhile emotions like peace, joy, togetherness and LOVE fill our souls. Then that enables us to put on the mind of Christ, to LOVE the Lord and reach out to others in need. 

And our Bit seriously warns us: ‘Confounded be all they that (let all be put to shame who) serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.’ 

And shame is putting it rather mildly my brethren, for listen to what the Lord said long ago, when He gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments. ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before (but) me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image; or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them (worship them), nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting (punishing) the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands that LOVE me, and keep my commandments.’ (Ex.20:3-6) 

And having heard all of that Friends, I don’t see how we can now blithely hold the things of the world more important than our great God. And furthermore, the Lord thought it important enough to remind the Israelites, and us to ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, not thy maidservant, nor thy cattle; nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 

For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.’ (Ex.20:8-11) 

Now we won’t get into any divisive arguments about which day is truly the Sabbath day because that in no way furthers God’s kingdom, but suffice it to say that we must give one day each week to God. So whatever day our denomination chooses to worship Jehovah God, then we should be present to participate in the praise and thanksgiving and fellowshipping. 

You’ll notice too that Jesus considered it very important to attend the synagogue, and wherever He was on the Sabbath day, He made it a practice to faithfully attend. So if Jesus believed it necessary to go and worship the Father, who are we not to think it important eh? Ah mih people, I don’t know why it’s so difficult to get supposed Christians to go to church nuh, when it is required of their faith. 

One recently told me that they don’t need to go to church to have a personal relationship with Christ, and that is perfectly true. But Christ also said that He wants his followers to gather together as one body, His church, where fellowship would be paramount. 

No man is an island, and can’t live by himself, but needs other humans around him. Likewise, no Christian can live unto himself, but needs others of like faith and belief to help him walk the long and oftimes lonely and difficult road that is this earthly pilgrimage.  

Oh Friends, I’m pleading with us this Sunday morning to return to worshipping Almighty God in His sanctuary in numbers like we used to do. It is a requirement of God and our faith, and we each need it, the benefits are very worthwhile. 

So please let’s put God first in our thoughts this morning, and let it take us to His house, along with our children, so that we can sing and dance and praise and worship our wonderful Lord and Creator. That is what He desires of us, He says it in His word.  And it also signifies wisdom on our part, wisdom of the highest degree. Much LOVE!

…one can’t truly live for Jesus…if one is not a sincere member of His body…His church…and gather regularly with other believers in praise and worship…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 April 2015 Psalm 40:9

Psalm 40:9.     I have preached righteousness (proclaimed the good news of righteousness) in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained (restrained) my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.

Well hello there you beautiful believers in Jesus Christ! How goes it this Sunday morning in mid-April eh? I hope that it meets you all safe and sound, and also up and about, preparing to go to church and praise and worship our wonderful God with other believers. For you know that’s the number one priority of a Christian on a Sunday morning.

Our God both desires and expects it of us, because He is always there ready to shower down blessings, mercy and forgiveness on us, whenever we gather to worship Him in sincerity and truth. That means that though you may have a personal relationship with Christ, that is not sufficient, you still need to meet with other believers in fellowship, to strengthen your bonds in Christ and to encourage, comfort and edify each other.

That’s why Jesus and Bruh Paul talk about His body, the church. It resembles the human body because it is made up of different parts, but all come together to form one body. No one part can’t do it all by itself. Just like no man is an island, likewise, no Christian is capable of doing it all himself.

And if by chance you’re physically unable to get to a sanctuary, then turn on your radio or your TV, find a church program and let the powerful and ever-faithful Word of God filter into your heart through your ears. That’s why He gave us two ears and only one mouth; so that we can listen more than we talk. (smile)

Remember too the fateful words of Bruh Paul to the Romans:  ‘So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ (Rom.10:17) 

And the scholars offer this important explanation. ’10:17. The word of God: Better, “the word of Christ.”  The reference here is to the oral communication of the gospel. Note that it is not faith in what is heard, but faith that comes about by what is heard. This is what Paul meant in 1:16 when he said the gospel “is the power of God unto salvation.”  

Saving faith is not man doing his part in response to God’s having done His part (synergism). Saving faith can come about only through the gospel. Salvation is God’s work alone (monergism). This also shows that there is no other way to be saved but by the explicit gospel of Christ.’

Yes Friends, faith is born, and then grows in us when we hear the word communicated orally. And I guess I’ll have to spoon feed you all here because very few, if any of you will condescend to check out Romans 1:16, so you can better understand the scripture. So here it is. ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ (Rom.1:16)

Please remember my people that the Word of God is the most powerful force in the universe! For as the scholars tell us: ‘1:16. The power of God: The English words dynamite and dynamo are derived from the word “power.” If Paul were writing today he would probably speak of atomic power. The gospel is so powerful that it takes people all the way into heaven.

Every one that believeth: The basis of salvation is God’s gracious provision. (Rom.3:23-26) But the only means by which the sinner can appropriate this gift is faith (10:9-17) The gospel is the essential content of that faith. This is why Paul is so burdened to preach Christ to the world.’

Ah mih people, the power of the gospel of Christ is truly marvellous and miraculous! Without it, our faith would not exist; neither would we enjoy salvation, reconciliation and eternal life! Please keep that front and centre in our lives, as we make our pilgrim’s journey here on earth.

That bring us to our Bit, where Bruh David declares: ‘I have preached righteousness (proclaimed the good news of righteousness) in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained (restrained) my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.’

Yes my brethren, the same way Bruh Paul was enthused to preach the gospel of Christ, that’s exactly how Bruh David felt about God’s Word, and proclaimed it loudly to all and sundry! That job has now fallen to us Friends, but are we expressing it with the great awe, zeal and enthusiasm like we ought to? I doubt it very much. A lot of us are ashamed of Christ, are afraid to talk about Him openly, even to our friends and neighbours, but yet consider ourselves Christians, His followers.  

But that’s not good enough my people. Hear how Bruh David continues after our Bit. ‘I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy LOVING-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation.’ (Ps.40:10)

Now that is what all believers ought to be able to say, and until we each can say that truthfully, then we’re not doing God’s will as we ought! Many of us instead of broadcasting the gospel and salvation boldly and diligently, we selfishly hide it in our hearts.  But Friends, that good news was not meant to be kept a secret; it was meant to be broadcast to all the world.

Remember Jesus Great Commission to the disciples:  ‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always(s), even to the end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20).

Yes my brethren, that is what all faithful believers in Christ ought to be doing; telling others about His sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary; which paid for our sins from now until eternity, plus the free gift of salvation offered to us through God’s grace, and the wonderful promise of eternal life!

Wow!  Oh my people, if you believe that you have all of that, how can you keep it to yourselves eh? It’s a travesty of justice! So please, starting today, right now, let’s up the ante nuh, let’s get more interested and zealous about the cause of Christ, and go out and gladly broadcast it to all the world, for that’s our bounden duty, as well as the zenith of wisdom! Much LOVE!

…the good news of Jesus’ gospel …should not be hidden under a bushel…but brightly exposed for all to see and hear…

 

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