Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 April 2021 Habakkuk 2:3b.

Habakkuk 2:3b.     ​though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

And then it was Holy Saturday; that suspenseful day of waiting between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the day after the tragedy, but the day before the great awakening of joy and celebration! And yes, it’s always difficult for us human beings to wait for something, even though we know it will be better than what we currently have, especially in these times of immediate gratification. 

But please wait patiently on the promise my people. For as the Good Book says: ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ (Hab. 2:3) Yes friends, Easter Sunday will surely come, so let’s just mourn quietly, but expectantly today, show our tremendous faith, for we are assured of the triumphant rising of the Holy One of Israel tomorrow! 

Now let’s see what interesting quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week as he aspires to inspire us for a brighter tomorrow. Here’s the first one: ‘We can’t retract the decisions we’ve made. We can only affect the decisions we’re going to make from here.’ I don’t know if that is totally true nuh, because sometimes we can take back the decisions we’ve made, especially if they have not been yet implemented. But in the logical process of the situation, I guess you can look at the retracting as a new decision and not merely a taking back of the old one. So, in that sense, the quote is right. (smile) 

Then there’s this: ‘I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.’ Now that seems to be rather truthful. If the current situation is bad, then things will only get better if wise change occurs. Merely leaving it the same will not cause any improvement. However, I totally disagree with this next quote: ‘When in doubt, choose change.’ That means you’ll be choosing change just for the sake of change, since there might be no good or logical reason to change. 

But change, especially significant change, should not be made without some good grounds, some useful purpose or enhancement such change will provide. And just because you have doubts, doesn’t mean you should just jump into the unknown. Although that’s what a lot of us are doing in these times of great change. Oftentimes, we don’t know what we’re doing or where we’re going, but because others are changing, are doing something new or different, we think we ought to do the same, we can’t let them get ahead of us, because we absolutely need to be a part of the in-crowd. But that is pure foolishness my brethren. 

Not all change is good for us, and the follow the Jones’ lifestyle only gets us into more problems than we already have. Just take the example of the new cell phones that come out almost every year. Some of us just feel we need to have them because they are new, and have new toys in them. But they are usually more expensive too, and don’t always work as good as the older ones. And in fact, most of us won’t ever use the new toys in them. 

We don’t even use our current phone to its best level. But there’s a new one out, and we must have it, we must keep up with the throng and make the phone makers even richer! And in such situations, re our first quote, we definitely may not be able to retract our hasty and thoughtless decisions. (smile) But as they say, to each his own. 

That brings us to the next quote: ‘When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you.’ Now that’s gospel truth friends! When defining moments crop up, you only have two options; to let the moment define you, or you define it. And the sensible option is usually the latter. You define the moment, you come up over the problem, don’t allow it to take you where it wants to go. 

And I guess we should define what we mean by defining moments. (smile) Those are basically important times in your life, when what is in front of you has the ability to change the trajectory of your life, like a new job offer, or meeting a new lady friend, or the most important defining moment in all of our lives, finding Jesus and cheerfully latching on to Him! When those opportunities appear in our lives, we have to face them mano -a- mano, rise up above them, take the bull by the horns sort of thing, evaluate the situations, and hopefully make wise decisions, because it’s not always in our best interest to let nature take its course. 

And that segues real nicely into our last quote. ‘A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.’ Now that’s certainly an interesting statement. I guess it goes back to a couple of other sayings: ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.’ And also, ‘Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ The last one insinuates that if you are foolish, then most likely your friends are also foolish, so there’s not a whole lot you can learn from them. 

Meanwhile, the first saying is telling us to keep a close eye on our enemies because we can learn their secrets and tactics, which will help us in our fight against them. But the whole thing boils down to having wise friends and no enemies. But if you do have enemies, as Cousin Sol says in Proverbs: ‘If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink. For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.’ (Prov. 25:21-22) And the scholars tell us that ‘Coals of fire does not refer to revenge or punishment but to pangs of shame that will lead to reconciliation.’ 

But Jesus goes one better than that. He says: ‘LOVE your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully (spitefully) use you, and persecute you.’ (Matt. 5:44) Now that’s not an easy row to hoe in this strife filled world of ours, but that’s what Jesus expects of His followers, and what we should all endeavour to do, if we bear His name, consider Him our Lord and Saviour. 

And remember, He’s promised never to leave nor forsake us, as He told the disciples: ‘and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:20b) So there’s no need to fear, for Jesus is always with us, leading, guiding and helping us through His indwelling Holy Spirit and allowing us to do great things in His name, through His divine strength. Much LOVE!

…one more day…just one more day…before the triumphant resurrection…please wait faithfully for it… because it WILL come…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 February 2020 Luke 14:33.

Luke 14:33.    ​So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that the hath, he cannot be my disciple.
 
Yeah! It’s the first day… the first day of the week my brethren. It’s Sunday…all day! And you know what that means, the church doors are open ready to welcome whosoever wants to come, but hoping that everybody will come. Yeh friends, that’s the hope of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that all will come to salvation and thus become a member of His earthly organization called the church, and, on a regular basis, show their faces at the physical structures created for those blessed members to come and celebrate, give thanks and praise and receive heavenly succour, so that we can go about His business the upcoming week with vim and vigour, zest and godly energy! 

And for those of us who have accepted that glorious invitation, let’s begin the proceedings as we always do, with a song, a song of worship and thanksgiving, praise and gratitude. And today’s song is a popular hymn with lyrics by Judson Van De Venter and music by Winfield Weeden, published in 1896, and appropriately titled: ‘All to Jesus I Surrender.’ And do we ever need to do that…totally and completely, if we want to enjoy the good and abundant life He has planned for us. So let’s tell Him so now nuh, with sincere hearts and voices raised in praiseful sacrifice. 

As one soulful and harmonious choir: ‘All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever LOVE and trust Him, In His presence daily live. (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.) All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me, Jesus, take me now. (Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Savior, wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine. 

(Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy LOVE and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me. (Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame; Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His Name! (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all… I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all…’ 

Ah friends, I do hope we were all sincere in that sacrifice of praise because the Lord is going to look at our hearts and check our motives, and if we weren’t sincere then we’ll have to answer why and not be blessed as we desired. And the whole thing is simply about surrender my people, surrender to the one who gave His sinless life to atone for our sins and made us right with God, gave us the wonderful option of eternal salvation by His resurrection, and is still advocating for us with the Father. It’s a normal requirement my brethren, if we want to enjoy the fruits of His efforts. 

Look at how we give our allegiance to earthly organizations, many of whom don’t do a blooming thing for us! Why then should it be so difficult to give our all to Jesus, who gave His all for us eh? We’re just being selfish and greedy and carnal. But Jesus made it quite clear when He spoke about counting the cost of discipleship. The Good Book says: ‘And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned and said to them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren (brothers), and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14:25-27) 

Wow friends, it sure looks like being a disciple of Jesus is not for the sorrowful or fainthearted! (smile) And Jesus certainly doesn’t want us to hate out families, because He is all about LOVE. He’s just saying that Him and His business must come first. Hear the scholars with some explanations. ‘14:25. Jesus had gained a wide hearing. Here was the temptation to water down the demands that discipleship entail. Yet in the following verses Jesus clearly does just the opposite.’ 

‘14:26. In comparison to one’s devotion to Christ, one’s family ties must be secondary. This does not set aside Jesus’ other teachings to LOVE one’s enemies, to honour father and mother, and the like. It does highlight that absolute loyalty to Christ is paramount, even though in many societies, including the one in which Jesus taught, as well as many today, following Him involves precisely the either/or that this verse sets up.’ Then Jesus in His inimitable style goes on to talk about building a tower and contemplating war, where the costs of both have to be considered before any serious commitments are made. (Luke 14:28-32)  

And the scholars say those verses are only found in Luke. And Jesus pinpoints the major lesson of the two stories in verse 33, which states: ‘So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that the hath, he cannot be my disciple.’ Yeh friends, to truly follow Jesus, one ought to count the cost. It’s not an easy row to hoe, but with His awesome help we can all handle it if we seriously commit our lives to Him. We have to be ready to give up a lot of stuff on His behalf. 

Remember the rich young ruler that came and wanted to be His disciple? (Matt.19:16-22) Jesus told him to first go and sell all his possessions and give to the poor and thus store up treasure in heaven then come back and follow Him. The young man went away sorrowful, because he had a lot of possession. Jesus didn’t really mean for Him to literally sell everything, but was merely testing His resolve. 

According to the scholars, His outward righteousness seemed fine, but he hadn’t really kept the commandments because his wealth and self-righteousness had blinded him to his real weakness; he LOVED himself more than he LOVED his neighbour, the poor. And he LOVED his possessions more than he LOVED God. This passage teaches the seriousness of true discipleship, but it in no way teaches the average man that he must sell his possessions in order to be Christian. 

So don’t worry my rich and well off friends, you don’t have to go and sell your possessions to be a disciple of Christ. (smile) But you do have to pick up your cross daily and follow Him, as He says early on in Luke. ‘If any man will (desires to) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ (Luke 9:23) 

Now that’s the crux of the message my people: everyday we have to be willing to stand strong in His name and do whatever it takes to further His kingdom. Are we doing that in a satisfactory manner? I don’t think so, otherwise Christianity would be much stronger and much further ahead. So please, let’s spend some time today pondering our individual situations nuh, and ask the Lord to help us do better, because we all have room for improvement. Much LOVE!

…discipleship…means to be willing to forsake one’s self…every day… for Christ…