Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 August 2020 Hebrews 12:11.

Hebrews 12:11.     ​Now no chastening (discipline) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby.

Well it’s Tuesday, and I’m alive and kicking, not totally true, (smile) but thankful for what I do have, and giving thanks for all the good things that are going to happen to, and through me today. I hope all of you my fine and faithful Scrip-Bit friends and family are doing, or have done the same as the new mercies from heaven on high have greeted you this marvellous summer day. But I do have another li’l something to share; that we won’t only be showered with tender mercies and compassions, but some tough times will also occasionally befall us. 

Those will be times we don’t like or appreciate, but which will all serve a useful purpose, since God allows nothing in our lives that isn’t useful for our godly growth and development. And we must learn to accept them with grace and strength, solemnly remembering the immortal words of Job in his time of immense tribulation. ‘What? shall we receive (accept) good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil (accept calamity)?’ (Job 2:10) Great words of wisdom and faith there my brethren! Not very easy to follow and/or accept though. (smile) 

And this Tuesday morning I’d like to share something that will help us bear those rough times; something from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, appropriately titled ‘Intrusions.’ Please pray with me. ‘A thousand intrusions Have crowded in on my life today. My reaction, Lord? I’ve resented every one. And now I read in Your Word That I’m to put out the welcome signal! In fact, I must welcome each intrusion As a personal friend. (Perhaps even serve tea, Lord?) 

You assure me that You have a purpose For their continual persistence: My faith needs depth My endurance needs development. I have no argument with that, Lord But I had hoped than an hour or two Of trial and testing would suffice. Or a day at most, dear God. But again you remind me That the process must continue Until maturity becomes my password And independence becomes my goal and the Crown of Life becomes my reward.’ 

And isn’t all of that the awesome truth friends! It certainly is. We complain when the trials and testing continue, ofttimes non-stop in our lives, but our great and wonderful God has a purpose for each one of them. And remember Bruh Paul says in the Word that God will work ALL things together for good. (Rom. 8:28) That means He will use both the good and the bad to work out a wonderful scenario in our lives, so we need to be faithful and don’t worry, for the eventual outcome will be good. 

And then it’s written in Hebrews, possibly by Bruh Paul again: ‘No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained this way.’ (Heb.12:11) Now that’s the NLT (New Living Translation) used for our poem, and that sounds nice and sugary, but I think it loses the essence of the KJV (King James Version) which says; ‘Now no chastening (discipline) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby.’ 

I don’t know why, but the last one just sounds more biblical, more threatening than the first translation. (smile) And I guess it’s all because of my bias towards the King James Version of the Bible. To me, though many of the new translations might explain the situations in more understandable language, they tend to lose the essence of the writings found in the KJV. But whatever the version, they all make it clear that the Lord’s discipline, or any discipline at all, is never liked at the time it’s applied, but in time, we all realize the benefits. 

And we can all testify to that, using our parents’ discipline as the sounding board. As we got older we all realized that our parents disciplined us for our own good, and if we’re truthful, we’ll admit that it often worked out just that way. That still doesn’t mean that we like or appreciate it. It’s the same with our heavenly Father. He uses trials to test and discipline us on the way to our winning the victor’s ‘Crown of Life.’ 

At the end, we ought to be able to truthfully say, like Bruh Paul wrote to Timothy. ‘For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (death) is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that LOVE his appearing.’ (2 Tim. 4:6-8) 

And if there’s one thing we know is that Bruh Paul endured a lot of trials and tribulation in doing the Lord’s will. As he recounts to the Corinthians. ‘Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes (lashes) save (less) one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils in the heathen (Gentiles), in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness (toil), in watchings (sleeplessness) often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.’ (2 Cor. 11:24-27) 

Ah friends, fortunately I don’t think any of us will be called on to go through the many trials that Bruh Paul went through, but we will be called on to go through some, for the price of discipleship is not cheap. As Jesus warned: ‘If any man will (desires to) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’ (Luke 9:23) So we can all expect to go through some difficult times in this life, but the good thing about it all is that the Lord never allows us to go through them without His divine presence and help, and in the long run, He works everything out for our good and crowns us with a crown of righteousness. Glory be my people! 

So let’s go home now with fire in our bellies (like Jeremiah) sincerely declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. In strong voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

So, having proclaimed it, being the faithful believers that we are, (smile) let’s do it then nuh! Much LOVE!

…the consequences of discipleship…are no laughing matters… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 February 2020 Romans 8:28.

Romans 8:28.    ​And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
 
Come Sunday morning, me and my friends are heading for the Lord’s sanctuary, to celebrate His day, to give Him thanks and praise, to call to Him for help, and receive said help through the hearing of His Word, the supernatural moving of His Holy Spirit and encouragement from our fellow believers! That’s what me and my friends are going to do this Sunday morning – or evening – come hell or high water! 

Oh my people, a li’l cold or inclement weather shouldn’t stop us from getting out to the celebrations at some time of the day. Just think what our lives would be like if Jesus didn’t feel like coming to earth and going to the cross nuh? Remember the Father didn’t force Him, but He agreed to do it after He pointed out that Jesus was the only choice the bunch of sinful ingrates He created had of bypassing the consuming fires of hell. So having to make a bit of a sacrifice to go out one day a week and praise and give Him the glory He so assuredly deserves, should not be a big thing. 

Anyway, as always, we’ll begin the proceedings with some worship. And today’s hymn is an old one we all know and LOVE. It’s titled, ‘It is Well with my Soul.’ It highlights the incredible story of faith of one Horatio Spafford (1828-1888), who at the height of success and prosperity, like Job, suffered much tragedy. A prominent and prosperous Christian Chicago lawyer, he first suffered the loss of his son, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed his real estate investments, then in 1873, he sent his wife and four daughters on a boat trip to Europe. 

However, a few days later, he received a telegram from his wife that said: ‘Saved alone…’ The boat had been shipwrecked and all four daughters lost. And ostensibly this oldie but goldie was created a short time later when Spafford on his way to meet his wife, was passing over the area where his daughters lost their lives. Now having heard that background, let’s open our hearts and voices to high heaven in a soulful and harmonious rendition of this testament to faith, and the resilience that can be found in Christ when it’s called for. 

As one now: ‘When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul (Chorus: It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.) Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Chorus) My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul (Chorus) 

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Chorus) But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul! (Chorus) And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul. It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.’ 

Oh my people, what strong, incredible faith, what inordinate trust what herculean courage was called for to pen those awesome, but oh so true words! I doubt many believers (steups!) would have been able to do it, because not many of us have those magnanimous parts. Many of us would have been cursing God, even turned away from Him. But Mr. Spafford, in his tragic circumstance probably remembered Job’s story, possibly even read it, and like Job, concluded that ranting and raving against God would not help the situation. 

He obviously rejected Job’s wife’s advice in favour of Job’s wisdom: ‘Then said his (Job’s) wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive (accept) good at the hand of God, and shall nor receive (accept) evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:9-10) Friends, that’s one of the most interesting and enlightening conversations in the Good Book. 

And the scholars explain it thus: ‘2:9-10. Job’s wife suggested that Job do what Satan had predicted: curse God. After all she had been through, it was no wonder she was ready to give up all hope. But Job recognized that both good and evil come from God’s hand, though one by His active will and the other by His permissive will. God can permit evil things to happen for good ends (cf. Gen. 50:19-20; Bruh Joseph’s story). In all this did not Job sin is proof enough that Satan was wrong and was sorely defeated. Satan does not appear again in the book.’ 

And I guess Horatio Spafford also proved Satan wrong, because instead of cursing God, he wrote a touching testimonial to His awesome comfort and consolation in times of heartbreak and severe tragedy. And the only thing we can really do in those cases, unless we want to drive ourselves crazy, is hang on to this awesome scripture verse of hope: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ No other scripture can give us a supposedly comforting reason for why bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. 

Friends, we just have to put our total trust in Almighty God and remember what He’s done for us in the past, and lean on His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. Remember His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, and He knows the end from the beginning, so we just have to surrender our all to Him, regardless of the circumstances. That’s what true faith is all about! Much LOVE!

…ours is not to question…just to trust and obey…