Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 June 2019 John 15:5.

John 15:5.   ​I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
 

Well it seems like another ‘riney’ day is in the offing! Brother, when is it going to stop eh? Doesn’t look like anytime soon. But who cares eh? Oh, how I dislike that term that’s so popular in our current parlance! Because we all ought to care, since too much rain means flooding and a whole set of other problems. Some places up around the nation’s capital of Ottawa are still flooded, and some parts up there recently received a telling blow from a powerful tornado! 

So why don’t we care eh? Because we’re selfish and greedy and not truly Christian-like! Let’s try and change that nuh by praying for those who are suffering from the recent ravages of the unpredictable and contrary weather, while helping in any other capacity that we can. That’s the Christian thing to do. And to help us do that, here is a prayer from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional titled, ‘I Will Move…’ 

Please pray with me: ‘Lord, I want your heart to be in my heart. For in you I come alive, moving ahead from boring death to exciting life! In your promises, I will move from discouragement to hope. In your pardon, I will move from shame to glory. In your power, I will move from weakness to strength. In your providence, I will move from failure to success! Thank you Lord! Amen!’ 

Oh friends, therein lies the true way of life…in sincere partnership and cooperation with Almighty God, our Creator and Provider! Without Him in our lives we’re absolutely nothing! He made us, with a plan for every life, and He still controls them even though we have free will. Nothing happens in our lives without His knowledge and acceptance. 

Granted, some of the things He allows to happen are tough and burdensome, but those things are just tests and ways and means of building our faith, since we only grow during times of adversity. So if He didn’t allow adversarial things in our lives, we would just stay as Christian babies, forever drinking milk and not being able to eat solid food. (smile) 

And that’s not His plan. His plan is to have us all become strong and mature and adult in the faith – as Christ-like as His Son. But in keeping with that desire, our God is so wonderful that He never gives us more than we can bear, or if it seems so, He is always there to help us bear it. That’s why it’s ever so important to have meaningful and constant communication with Him through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Listen to Jesus tell it nuh: ‘I am the true (genuine) vine, and my Father is the husbandman (vinedresser). Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through (because of) the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’ (John 15:1-4) 

Oh friends, don’t you like how Jesus just puts it out there, without any fuss or fancy! And then He rubs it in further: ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ 

And that’s oh so true my brethren! Without Jesus first and foremost in our lives we are incapable of producing much, if any positive fruit. But with Him taking a meaningful part in our lives, we abiding in Him, and He in us, oh, we’re capable of producing enormous amounts of good and wonderful fruit! 

And Jesus does not leave us wondering about what happens if we don’t abide in him, and He in us: ‘If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.’ (John 15:6) And the scholars tell us that that verse ‘refers to the judgement of believers at the judgement seat of Christ (2 Cor.5:10).’ 

So basically speaking, ‘Jesus explains the divine-human relationship by the analogy of a grapevine. Jesus is like the main vine. The disciples are compared with branches. The Father tends the branches like a gardener. At that time of year, branches of grapevines would be budding in Jerusalem.’ 

So the disciples would have understood exactly what He meant. That’s another wonderful things about Jesus; His analogies are always about things that we can understand, things that are prevalent in our lives, so we don’t have to go wondering what He’s talking about. 

The long and short of the story friends, is that walking with Jesus involves constant movement and growth, no sitting on one’s laurels admiring one’s earlier successes. If you’re not bearing good fruit, then the Father will cut you off and throw you away. But even if you’re bearing good fruit, He will prune you occasionally so that you can bear even more fruit! So you’re in a no win situation! Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t! (smile) 

The Father requires constant growth and the bearing of much fruit, and He pursues His plan with great conviction and sense of purpose, therefore we need to pull up our britches and get with the programme, if we say we are, or want to be true believers! Now let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. 

All together now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Oh my people, let’s be wise and keep our eyes fixed steadfastly on Jesus nuh, and know that the future with Him will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…oh Jesus…oh Jesus…what would we do without you eh…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 September 2018 Hebrews 12:2.

Hebrews 12:2.​     …who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…

I don’t understand it nuh people. I went to bed around one this morning feeling fairly decent, but got up at seven with pains raging through the ole bod. Steups! I thought sleep and rest were the panacea for such ills, not the ‘bringer on’ of them. (smile) But what can you do eh, but grin and bear it? I guess it’s all a part of our earthly faith walk. The Lord doesn’t want us to get too relaxed and contented, so He tests us as soon as we get up. 

And yuh know what mih breddren? We going to pass that test; pass it with flying colours to boot! And with the Lord’s help too! Because that’s the wonderful kind of God He is: He not only gives us the tests, but also gives us the wherewithal to pass them! Glory to our Most High God! There’s none other like Him! And it looks like the wicked windstorm that rampaged through Southern Ontario yesterday has now quietened down. 

Oh friends, all day yesterday, into the late hours of the night, the wind just raced through the place, causing damage and power outages in several areas. Up around the capital city of Ottawa, they even had a tornado. Hn! I sat down on my bed and watched the wind just tear through the poor trees all day long. Had them dancing a merry, tiresome jig. But the trees were strong. Many times I thought they would fall, but they stood up strong, and this morning they seem none the worse for wear. 

Now that’s the way we Christians ought to be my brethren; stand up strong and steadfast to all the adversity that comes against us, especially when we have the Creator’s faithful promise to stand with us through thick and thin! 

And since it’s Saturday, it means we have to look at the quotes sent to us this week by our friend Anselm, who sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. I don’t know what’s happening with him, but this week, we only got one quote from him again. However, it is an interesting quote, which says: ‘Shame hates to have words wrapped around it. If we talk about it, it loses its grip on us.’ And that’s generally true. 

But friends, shame is possibly the second biggest problem we believers face, except for fear. The enemy uses fear and shame to quench our brightly burning lights that are supposed to shine in God’s favour. And way too many Christians fall prey to the falsehood of shame. 

And here is a perfect example of it. I know a Christian family that is going through some relational problems. One member of the family is acting up, his addiction causing him to behave very wild and irrational. I went to visit them earlier this week, but unfortunately what I took away from the talk and the visit is that shame over the family member’s behaviour is overwhelming. 

And though they talk about praying and all the other believer’s tools, they are still in too much of a feeling sorry for themselves mood, thinking too much about what will happen to them. Their faith hasn’t risen to the top like it should. Oh I know you must consider those things, but your faith is supposed to help you come up over them. And yes, your family member is making a fool of himself, and you deeply regret it, and are concerned, but you didn’t do anything to be ashamed of. 

What others think seems to be of paramount importance. But who really cares what others think eh? They have the same problems and sometimes worse! I have always been somewhat irked at that behaviour. If I didn’t do something, why should I clothe myself in shame eh? It’s just the devil’s work! But hear the worst part of the story, in my opinion. 

Now I know they are short on money, and they know that I know that, but yet when I offered some to help tide them over, the mother refused it. And when I asked why, she claimed that it made her ashamed. And that with a disabled child to look after and only one family member working. Chuh! It hurt my heart. And though I argued some about it, with words like you can’t eat shame or pay your bills with it, I quickly realized that it was a matter best left alone. 

Oh my people, how can you turn down a few dollars from a close friend when you are in dire straits because of that foolish and senseless word called shame eh? I know what it is to be hungry and in need, and sometimes it’s an affront to refuse a friend’s help in those situations. But you can’t legislate the behaviour of other folks. 

And to end we’ll just highlight two instances where shame played a great role in the Good Book. The first is the first instance of it in the world, with Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit. ‘And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (girding coverings).’ (Gen.3:7) Then when the Lord came looking for them later on, they were afraid and hid. Why? ‘…because I was naked…’ (Gen.3:10) 

Yuh see friends, before their eyes were opened, there was no shame, no reason to hide from God, but once the enemy intervened, they became ashamed of their nakedness. And then there is this magnificent verse from Hebrews containing our Bit: ‘Looking unto Jesus the author (originator) and finisher (perfector) of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Heb.12:2) 

Yes friends, there couldn’t be anything more shameful to a Jewish man than being crucified butt naked in front of the whole world! If he had seriously considered the shame involved in His crucifixion, He wouldn’t have done it. But for our sake, and the wonderful rewards that awaited Him, Jesus threw out the thing called shame and went to the cross like it was nothing. 

Likewise friends, we ought to get rid of, overcome the twin deaths of fear and shame and take up our crosses as positively as Jesus did, and march on to victory in His awesome and holy name! That’s what being a true believer in, and follower of Christ means! Much LOVE!

…shame is just fear in disguise…

 

    

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 October 2014 1 Thessalonians 5:2.

1 Thessalonians 5:2.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of our Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 

Oh Friends, it’s a beautiful, though rainy Tuesday morning! Wow! We’re alive! And even more importantly we’re filled with the Holy Spirit; filled with the passion of Jesus Christ! Glory Hallelujah! All praise and thanks be to our merciful and magnanimous God!
 
Consequently, there ought to be a joy, an unspeakable, indescribable joy in our souls! The LOVE of Jesus, and LOVE in general ought to be pouring out of our hearts, souls, minds and bodies!
 
And if sadly it isn’t, then something’s seriously wrong my people! We need to rectify that most undesirable situation RIGHT AWAY, through prayer, communication and obedience to Almighty God!
 
Now here is an interesting quote attributed to Ethel Barrymore ((1879-1959) the renowned America actress, member of the renowned Barrymore family of actors. She says: ‘The more things you LOVE, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you have left when anything happens.’
 
And that’s logic and truth personified my people! The wider the variety of our interests, the greater the enjoyment, and ability to handle loss or difficult times.
 
As the One More Day Devotional tells us: ‘Now is a good time for us to pursue our interests and to nurture both new and old relationships. We understand so well how easily and quickly our circumstances can change.’
 
And that sudden loss, the unexpected tragic ending was brought home to us so forcefully and graphically last week by the senseless violence that took place in this our fair country of Canada.
 
In the Province of Quebec, one disturbed young man ran over two military officers with his car, killing one and seriously wounding the other.
 
A couple days later, an even more ridiculous, scary and unfortunate incident occurred in Ottawa, the country’s capital. There, another disturbed young man shot two soldiers guarding the War Memorial Statue on Parliament Hill. One of those soldiers also died.
 
The young man then drove the short distance to the Parliament buildings, with all our elected representatives ensconced therein, and indiscriminately opened fire in the Hall of Honour of the main Parliament building.
 
Ah Lord eh! What is our world coming to eh Friends? It was somewhat poignant and hilarious to see pictures of our worthy representatives barricaded behind locked doors, cowering with fear under desks etc. I do hope that will serve as a wake up call for them to get serious about running the country properly and stop the nonsense they’re now doing.
 
Unfortunately though, the two perpetrators of the violence died in a hail of gunfire. So we don’t have the opportunity to find out exactly what went was happening with them, what brought on this outrageous and violent behaviour.
 
It’s alleged that the ever-growing Islamist extremist movement had radicalized them. But no one knows anything for sure. And Friends, unfortunately there are so many disturbed young people in our world today, that it makes me wonder about its future.
 
And sadly, the inefficient, crooked and corrupt governments, at all levels, are doing zilch to try and remedy the problem! They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. As I said before, I do hope that those incidents provide a wake up call for our leaders and legislators.
 
Ah mih breddren, it all just goes to show how tenuous, how fragile and uncertain our lives and circumstances are, especially in these violent and troubled times. However, it doesn’t mean that we have to cower in fear and anxiety, because we have Jesus, our great Protector, ALWAYS walking hand in hand with us.
 
And thus we can confidently say: ‘Tragedies and hard times will affect me, but I know I have the ability to move on.’ 
 
That brings us to our most appropriate Bit, Bruh Paul’s fateful words to the Thessalonians, which he prefaces with: ‘But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.’ (1 Thess. 5:1-2)
 
Yes my people, our wonderful Lord and Saviour can return at any time! Are we ready? What if He should come TODAY, RIGHT NOW? Are we ready to embrace that fateful moment? For all our sakes, I certainly hope so! For if not, then crapaud smoke we pipe! We’ll be eternally separated from our heavenly Father. And that’s a fate even worse than death!
 
Hear this explanation from the scholars. ‘5:2. The day of the Lord is an all-encompassing term to describe the period that begins with the Great Tribulation, and includes the second coming of Christ and the millennial kingdom. This Old Testament expression is here identified with the ‘parousia,’ (time of reckoning) already introduced. It will begin unexpectedly (cf.Matt.24:37).’
 
Yes Friends, the operative word there is ‘unexpectedly,’ which means we have to be prepared at ALL TIMES!
 
Now listen to Jesus expound on the subject. ‘But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were. So shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
 
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of man be.
 
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.’ (Matt.24:36-42)
 
That’s indeed wisdom for the ages my fellow believers!
 
And the scholars have this to say about that passage. ’24:39-42. The observation that the people of Noah’s day knew not the severity and suddenness of the coming destruction indicates that this last generation will be totally unprepared for the coming of the Son of man, the return of Christ to judge the world. (See 2 Thess.1:7-8)
 
The reference to two being in the field or at work at the time of Christ’s return implies the suddenness of His coming to separate the lost and the saved.’
 
Ah Friends, the situation couldn’t be stated any plainer than that! So please let’s do the wise thing today nuh, RIGHT NOW; let’s get ourselves together, so that whenever the Lord chooses to return, WE WILL BE READY! Much LOVE!
 
…for those who are found wanting when Jesus comes again…it will indeed be a sorrowful day…so in all wisdom…let’s not be found wanting… 
 
P.S. These late nights and early mornings will be the death of me yes! (smile) But better late than never! Much LOVE!