Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 January 2021 John 3:3.

John 3:3.     ​Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Well here comes Saturday; that lazy, hazy day! And with the worldwide lockdown, there’s even more reason to have a lazy and hazy Saturday since you can’t go anywhere and do much of anything! (smile) But God is good, and He operates on both the good and bad days, so there’s nothing to fear if we have Him uppermost in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. Yeh friends, if we want to make it through all in one piece in these treacherous and perilous times, then the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob definitely has to be our rock, our anchor, our place of safe refuge, our Good Shepherd. 

And as we always do on Saturdays, let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And thank God it seems like he’s stopped putting that unwieldy preface before each quote! (smile) 

And the first quote says: ‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.’ Now there is truth to that statement, although I don’t believe that intelligence is only the ability to adapt to change. It’s also a whole lot of other things. But you do need intelligence if you’re going to successfully adapt to change. You need to first be intelligent to know that you must adapt in some things and places, and then be intelligent enough to know which things and places to adapt to. If you don’t, the world will quickly leave you behind. 

But for heaven’s sake, don’t just adapt for adapting sake, or because everyone else is doing it. You just have to look at the state of social media nowadays and see how it’s sucking so many people into bad habits with its ever expanding tentacles and reach! You have to be intelligent enough to know how far to let it take you. 

And the next quote tells us that ‘Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.’ Now I think that’s somewhat contradictory. Granted, foolish people might never want to change, but a wise man, because he is wise, ought to know that change is sometimes very necessary, even though we may not want to make it. So personally, I think that part is wrong. And I can say that from personal experience. (smile) I’m not a great believer in change, especially just for change sake, but I do think I’m wise enough to know that at times I do need to change, although I may not want to. 

And that’s where I think wisdom becomes very necessary. Yeah, they used to tell me that I was living in the 18thcentury, but now I’ve moved up to halfway in the 20th. So you see, I was wise enough to recognize the need for some change, though they had to drag me screaming into it! (smile) And change is especially important if you want to be a true believer in Christ. A couple of scriptures will show us that. 

The first comes from Jesus Himself, when Nicodemus came to Him by night, afraid of the wrath of the Pharisees, and asked how to gain salvation.‘Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’(John 3:3) Yeh friends, that’s the first and wisest change we need to make if we want to follow Jesus! 

And it doesn’t mean entering into our mother’s wombs again, but ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ (John 3:5-6) And once you’re born again of water and the Spirit, then you need to hear Bruh Paul’s words to the church at Corinth. ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ (2 Cor. 5:17) 

Now that’s another time when change is oh so necessary! We have to put away the old, worldly things of our lives and pick up new spiritual practices that fall under Jesus’ guidelines. And I believe that this next quote addresses our problem with all that change very adequately. ‘If you have a purpose which is bigger than you, all your problems will become tiny.’ 

Oh,  all your problems definitely won’t become tiny, but with Jesus as your main man, with His divine help, they will become manageable. But we must have Jesus as our special purpose, a purpose bigger than us, if our problems are to become manageable. That’s just the way life is friends. And if you don’t believe me, then listen to Jesus as He talks about the vine and the branches. ‘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.’ (John 15:5) And if that isn’t telling it like it is, then I don’t know what is nuh? 

Bruh Paul also corroborated Christ’s statement in his second letter to the Corinthians. ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.’ (2 Cor. 3:5) And if you don’t make that change and start depending on God, then you’re not wise! (smile) 

And the last quote says: ‘The ones who can see the vision when no one else can, and work on it like there is no tomorrow, will succeed. The rest will follow.’ Oh friends, there is much truth in that statement, but the crux of it is the second part. Many of us see visions, know what we ought to do, what the Lord wants us to do, but for whatever reason we refuse or hem and haw until it’s too late to work on it. 

That’s the whole thing about being a Christian my brethren; we not only have a new and different way to live, but we also have to diligently work at it, since we are servants, workers, ambassadors of Christ on this evil earth! He is depending on us to bring about the necessary changes He desires. And truly working at being a Christian is no easy matter since the devil and his evil cronies delight in putting obstacles in our way. That’s why we need to read and know the word of God so that we can put it into use when the enemy comes against us, as he undoubtedly will. 

As Bruh Paul said to Timothy: ‘Fight the good fight of faith…’ (1 Tim. 6:12) As believers, we all have to daily fight the hardships and adversity that comes with the Christian life, show the true nature of our faith, as we daily grow and mature in it, until we can accomplish that balance between faith and works that James talks about. ‘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 2:17-18) 

Oh precious people, it’s great to have faith, but faith is useless if it isn’t put to work. Jesus didn’t come to earth to just have faith, He came to do works, and we are called to do likewise, in His name. So let’s get to it seriously nuh, the world is anxiously waiting for us to show it our true and lasting faith by our sincere works! Much LOVE!

…a believer must be responsive to change…but wisely… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 November 2020 Philippians 3:14.

Philippians 3:14.     ​I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Okay, so the bubble hasn’t burst yet, there is no clear winner of the U.S. Presidential Election, but His Imperial Dictatorship in Waiting, has already declared it as being rigged and planning to fight it in the courts. I wonder if he will do that if he wins eh? However, knowing the eccentricities of His Dictatorship, anything is possible where he is concerned. (smile) 

Ah mih people, rougher days seem to be ahead. Can you imagine it eh, after all the fire ringed hoops we’ve been forced to jump through in the last six months, we might still have more serious ones to navigate? No, it’s not a pleasing thought, but please let’s not get any more worried and/or frustrated than we already are. Let’s remember that we are children of the Most High God Jehovah, living in a world that He created and still controls, and nothing happens without Him allowing it. No, He doesn’t always create or begin something, but unless it falls into line with His imperial and divine plan it does not last! 

Furthermore, He has faithfully promised to never leave nor forsake us, and that no weapon formed against us will ever prosper, not in this lifetime or the next. So if we sincerely believe that He is our rock and our fortress, our high tower and divine protector, then we should not be overly worried about what’s happening around us in these troubling times. Concerned, yes, but not worried, otherwise our faith is worthless. For, as the Good Book states: ‘Faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for. The evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb. 11:1) 

Yes my fellow saints, in God’s realm, we need to hope for and believe we have received things we haven’t yet seen! That’s the basic difference between the believer and the unbeliever; the former being able to wait expectantly and see through their eyes of faith, stuff that hasn’t happened as yet, once it’s in accord with God’s will. And in these troubled times, that is exactly where many of us are failing, are falling down. Our hope and faith levels are too low. But remember, it’s only in tough times that our faith and hope do grow. When life is good and easy, faith and hope merely exist in a kind of vacuum, waiting for the tough times to come along. 

And above all, the Lord wants us to grow in hope and faith, to become spiritually mature in the manner and character of His son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! That’s why, sometimes, in times like these, He tests our faith to see what we’re truly made of. He tests our mettle, to see if we can really walk the plenty talk we usually have in the good times. Our God desires to see if our salt is still full of flavour, and thus useful, and also if our lights can still burn bright and thus give light to the dark world that surrounds us. 

Oh fellow believers in Christ, our Lord is expecting us to stand strong in these crucial times. He’s expecting us to be examples of fortitude and perseverance, of help and encouragement to those who are shaking it rough. To be good ambassadors of his holy kingdom and take His word and His dedication to those around us. We can’t save or proselytize the whole world, but we can certainly be fully flavoured salt and bright lights to those in our neighbourhood. And I just came across and interesting scripture from Bruh Paul that I believe will be of much benefit to us this Wednesday morning. 

Hear him to the church at Philippi: ‘Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (reached spiritual maturity, fully knowing Christ): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) 

Oh friends, that is the kind of attitude we need to adopt in these trying times. Let’s forget what has gone before, our successes and failures, and press on, move forward, towards the high calling that God has in mind for each of His children. Yes, He has a unique plan for each and every one of us, as Jeremiah says, a good plan, one to give us a hope and a future. And that high calling pertains to us knowing Christ better and better, and becoming more like Him in character and purpose as the Lord raises us from glory to glory! 

And here are some interesting explanations from the scholars. ‘3:13. Those things which are behind refers both to his (Bruh Paul’s) religious credentials (vs.5-6), now counted as “loss” (vs.7), and to his past Christian achievements and successes. In ever pursuing his goal to know Christ (vs. 10), he refuses to let past guilt pull him down, or to rest on his past laurels. Either could spell spiritual disaster. Those things which are before refers to his goal of knowing Christ, with all that implies: experiencing His power and participating in His suffering, becoming more like Him in death (vs. 10), and experiencing the resurrected life (vs. 11).’ 

Wow mih bredrin! Are those ever high and noble goals for us to live up to eh? But it’s what our heavenly Father desires of us, and simple fact is that we can’t approach Jesus’ stature if we just live the good life and don’t suffer some of His problems. (smile) 

And per our Bit, the scholars explain: ‘3:14. The mark is the objective of vs.10-11 (i.e., knowing Christ). The prize is the personal satisfaction of having attained it, as well as the divine commendation and reward to be granted in heaven for having reached this goal on earth. The high calling of God is the divine summons extended to the believer for salvation.’ 

Oh my people, today, let’s reinvest in ourselves nuh; let’s set our objective, that goal to know Christ as best we can, so that we can win first prize; the satisfaction, the divine commendation and reward as we heed the divine call to salvation. That’s the true purpose of the believer! And for those of us who have already set those goals and objectives, let’s go home now declaring (yeahhh!) our Wednesday Wail nuh, letting all and sundry know our serious, sincere and joyful 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. NO! 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!’  

And there’s no need to remind us, but I will anyhow, (smile) that if we endure steadfastly to the end, that the future will be indeed more glorious than we can ever ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…in these troubled times…let’s all be prisoners of hope nuh…so that our faith can grow…and be spread abroad to the glory of Jesus…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 December 2017 Psalm 146:2.

Psalm 146:2.   While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

Welcome friends and neighbours to this last Sunday of fellowship in 2017! It has been indeed a tumultuous year, and let’s just hope and pray that 2018 will be quieter and more God-like, because our world doesn’t need another disastrous year like this one. We need something in which we can quietly lick our wounds, recuperate from all the disasters, natural and manmade, and get back to serving Almighty God the way we ought to. 

Anyway, on this last Sunday of fellowship, let’s open with this old but beautiful hymn by Frances Crosby, ‘Praise Him, Praise Him.’ Yes friends, regardless of what our year has been like, our great God is worthy of much thanks and praise, so please lets offer up the sacrifice of praise from our thankful hearts through our grateful lips as one harmonious choir. 

In full voice now: ‘Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim! Hail Him! Hail Him! Highest archangels in glory; Strength and honor give to His holy Name! Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children, In His arms He carries them all day long. (Refrain: Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness; Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song!) 

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died. He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the Crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong. (Refrain) 

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring! Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever; Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King! Christ is coming! over the world victorious, Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong. (Refrain: Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness; Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song!)’ 

Oh my people, what an excellent song of praise! Jesus deserves every word of it because He did put His sinless life filled with Godly LOVE on the line for us while we were yet sinners! Wow! No other supposed deity has, or will ever come close to that. All the other deities want to take what little we have from us, while Jesus comes to give of the plenty, of the abundance that He has. 

Glory to God my precious people! How can we not LOVE, praise, honour and worship Him eh? No wonder the psalmist proudly declares in our Bit: ‘While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.’ 

Yes my faithful brethren, that is exactly what we need to do while there is any breath of life left in our mortal bodies! For we were made to sing praises to and glorify our heavenly Father, the One who blessed us with His awesome breath of life. 

Hear the psalmist as he continues his song of praise. ‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help (salvation). His breath goeth forth (spirit departs), he returneth to his earth: in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.’ (Ps.146:3-5) 

Words of gospel truth my friends! If we don’t have the help of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob then we’re in plenty trouble. And that is why this year of 2017 has been such a disastrous year; we haven’t had God’s help, because as a society, we have turned away from Him. How can He help us if we don’t cry out to Him for help eh? 

Instead, we foolishly cry down, blemish, and blaspheme His holy name, while trying our best to get rid of him completely from our society. How stupid, arrogant and high minded can we get eh people? How can you remove the One who created the society from the society eh? 

We’ve become so blinded by the supposed brilliance of our small, finite minds that we refuse to see ourselves as we truly are; in comparison to God, mere insects scurrying around aimlessly, like the boll weevil in the old Brook Benton song, looking for a home. 

And the truth of the matter friends, the ONLY home there really is, is that provided by Jesus Christ, for all else will eventually be destroyed. But let’s place these truthful words of the psalmist deep in our hearts and souls nuh. ‘The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.’ (Ps.104:31-32)  

Well then people, if that’s the awesome truth, then the only sensible recourse we have is to do like the psalmist says: ‘I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more: Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord, (sing Hallelujah).’ (Ps.104:33-35) 

Yeh my fellow believers, there is no better road down which we can travel than one of praise and glory to our great God. So let’s seriously resolve to do that this upcoming year nuh, because that’s the ONLY way our fortunes will be changed. Much LOVE!

…if Jesus isn’t a big part of our life and our world…then we’re surely doomed…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 July 2016 Psalm 34:1

Psalm 34:1.    I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Aye mih breddren, loverly days are here again… as if they ever went anywhere eh. (smile) 

That’s because every day is a loverly day when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is in our life. Especially on a Sunday, when we get to fellowship together in great numbers, to praise and worship Him in sincerity and truth, to hear His word and be revitalized and reinvigorated in soul, body, mind and spirit, so we can face the new work week with great expectations, strengthened faith, and reassurance that we will be victorious walking with Him. 

And all God’s people loudly and proudly declared: ‘Blessed is the name of Jesus, who sacrificed His sinless life for us! Praise His holy name!’ 

Now let’s continue in praise mode by singing this beautiful hymn written in His honour by Fanny Crosby.  In one, strong and harmonious voice now: ‘Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Sing, O earth, His wonderful LOVE proclaim! Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory, strength and honor give to His holy name! Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children; in His arms He carries them all day long: 

{Refrain :} (Praise Him! praise Him! tell of His excellent greatness! Praise Him! praise Him! ever in joyful song!) 

Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! For our sins, He suffered and bled and died; He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, LOVE unbounded, wonderful, deep, and strong: [Refrain] 

Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Heavenly portals loud with hosannas ring! Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever; Crown Him! crown Him! prophet and priest and King! Christ is coming, over the world victorious, power and glory unto the Lord belong: 

[Refrain] Praise Him! praise Him! tell of His excellent greatness! Praise Him! praise Him! ever in joyful song!’ 

Yes friends, what a joyous hymn of praise to Christ Jesus! That ought to have lifted our spirits considerably and opened up our hearts, made us totally receptive to the reading of His word. But before we get into that, let me share something I heard on the radio yesterday. It was an old song by the Chi-lites titled ‘There will be no peace until God sits at the conference table.’ 

Oh precious people, I never knew the song in its heyday, but when I heard it yesterday I was consumed by both joy and sadness. Joy, because someone long ago realized the seriousness of the situation and turned it into a song. And sadness, because it is just the God awesome truth! 

We WILL NEVER have peace on this fallen earth until we bring Almighty God, our Creator and Provider back into the equation, for He is the ONLY ONE powerful enough to bring all the dissenting, strife-filled, greedy, selfish, foolish, war-mongering, power-hungry leaders and nations to a sensible and peaceful agreement! And until that time comes, there’ll be no peace…just constant war. 

Anyhow, enough of the negative vibes. It’s Sunday and we’re supposed to be praising and thanking and worshipping and glorifying our heavenly Father, so let’s get back to a more positive  and joyous state nuh. (smile) Let’s introduce our Bit; wise, powerful and faithful words of Bruh David. ‘I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ 

Oh friends, that’s wisdom to the nth power! For who else is there for us to look up to, to praise and worship eh? NOBODY but Jehovah God! 

And what we have to realize here is that Bruh David has just escaped death at the hands of his nemesis King Saul, and is running from Saul for his very life without food or weapons. He arrives at Nob, to the priest Ahimelech, who is suspicious of Bruh David’s sorry state and enquires of it. 

Bruh David spins him a nansi story about being on secret business for the king and didn’t have time to get bread nor weapons. Whether Ahimelech believed him, we’ll never know, but he’s obviously scared that Saul finds out about his liaison with Bruh David, and  finally gives him the showbread (hallowed bread) because that was all he had, as well as Goliath’s sword. 

I like Bruh David’s remark when Ahimelech told him that Goliath’s sword was in the temple. ‘And David said, There is none like that; give it me.’ (1 Sam.21:9) Yeh friends, that sword must have brought back long ago memories to Bruh David, as he took it and hightailed it away from the hounds of Saul, baying hungrily at his back. (smile) 

Ah mih people, Bruh David didn’t have an easy life, but he NEVER gave up on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, because over the years, despite his trials and tribulations, the Lord had proven faithful to him. 

The scholars tell us thus about Psalm 34 – The Lord hears the righteous. ‘Psalm 34. The historical background of this acrostic psalm is related in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. It bears all the marks of the testimony of one who narrowly escaped death, just as the passage in Samuel describes. As such, it contains the praise and testimony of the one who was redeemed (vv.1-10) and the seasoned instruction that can stem from such deliverance (vv.11-22).’ 

Yes my brethren, it was only because of the Lord’s faithfulness to him over the years that Bruh David could declare the words of our Bit, and the ones following. ‘My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.’ (Ps.34:2-3) 

Oh friends, those are also my sentiments this Sunday morning. So please, magnify the Lord with me, and let’s exalt His holy and righteous name together, for that is indeed wisdom at its zenith! Much LOVE!

…despite the troubles that come with life…believers ought never to lose faith in Jehovah God…