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 30 June 2018 John 14:6.

John 14:6.   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.

And the Canada Day celebrations continue apace! And the weather seems to be in full cooperating mood too; it’s supposed to be a scorcher, possibly worse than yesterday. So get on your sunscreen and turn on the A/C, and celebrate the birth of this wonderful country called Canada, within the limits of Granny’s warnings though! (smile) 

Oh we have our problems too, but of all the big countries in the world, I still believe that Canada is the BEST! Go Canada! 

And so having ‘big-upped’ Canada; I hate the word, ‘big-up’ but I couldn’t think of anything more suitable at the time, let’s move on to our Saturday treat of this weeks quotes from our friend Anselm, who sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And this week there’s a whole slate of them, starting with: ‘Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.’ And there’s absolutely no doubt about the truth and wisdom in that statement, for optimism is a foundation stone of our Christian faith. 

That leads to the next quote: ‘Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.’ That also has many grains of truth in it, for if we begin our day with positive thoughts, we will indeed be starting out on the right foot.  

Then there is: ‘Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.’ It’s basically true, but we believers just don’t dabble in bad luck and good luck, but more the blessed favour, grace and mercy of our awesome God. 

But we must do our part in the partnership and be prepared for them. If we aren’t prepared, when those opportunities appear or arise, then we’ll simply lose out on a chance, no, an opportunity to be blessed by Almighty God. 

Listen to this one: ‘Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.’ 

Now I don’t know if I agree with that totally, because there are times when people do things because of us, and we ought to take them personally. The problem is to know when and what things to take issue with. A lot of the time what others do and say is indeed because of their own problems or inadequacy and we have to be wise and somewhat tough skinned to recognize those times and not allow them to bother us. 

It’s all a balancing act my people, and we do need God’s help to set the balance right. And the last quote says: ‘The more you are positive and say, ‘I want to have a good life,’ the more you build that reality for yourself by creating the life that you want.’ 

Ah friends, that statement is only true in the context of Christianity! If you say you want to build a good life under Christ, then fine. But if you want to build what the world and the prince of darkness call a good life, then you’re definitely on the wrong track. Remember the immortal words of Jesus: ‘Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ 

Yes friends, Jesus was very emphatic in that pronouncement, so if your life is not modelled on His, then you’re indeed going the wrong way, building your life, earthly as well as eternal, on the wrong foundation. 

And Jesus makes His point earlier when He declares that He is the Good shepherd: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep… 

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:1-2, 9-11) 

And that is exactly what Jesus did friends: give His life for us, the sheep of His pasture. So why would we look for some other foundation on which to build our lives eh? Building our lives upon Jesus is like building them on a rock; a rock which stands the test of time and the elements of nature. Building our lives on anything else is like building them on sand, which cannot repel or withstand anything. Check out Jesus’ analogy re the two foundations, in Matthew .7:24-27. 

And we’ll close with some more immortal words of Jesus on the subject, as He spoke to Martha when He arrived late on purpose for Lazarus’ burial. ‘Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead (may die) yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ (Matt.11:25-26) 

And as the scholars say: ‘11:25: I am the resurrection is one of Jesus’ greatest “I am” statements, signifying His power to give eternal life.’ 

And oh my people, if Jesus has that awesome power, why wouldn’t I believe in Him eh, and shout out a bold and confident ‘YES’ to the question He asked Martha at the end of the last passage above: ‘Believest thou this?’ 

Oh friends, believing in Jesus is not only the epitome of wisdom, it is wisdom itself! Much LOVE!

…the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…but fools despise wisdom and instruction… (Prov.1:7)

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 May 2018 Psalm 18:2.

Psalm 18:2.   The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength; in whom I will trust; my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold).

Ah mih people, it’s that day again, the Sabbath! That means it’s time for celebration as well as holiness. And we can begin by joyfully declaring, as the psalmist did so long ago: ‘This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps.118:24) 

And while we do that, we can also be wending our way to the Lord’s house to fellowship with other believers, to offer up sincere prayers, worship and give thanks for all the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, as well as to hear His word and regenerate our confidence. Wow! What an awesome God we serve my brethren! 

And as always, we’ll begin the proceedings with song, to loosen up our stony hearts and make them more receptive to the Word. Today’s song is an old but wonderful hymn titled ‘My hope is built on nothing less,’ written by Edward Mote back in the 19th century. And on a point of interest, have you ever noticed that many of our beloved hymns were written way back when. 

Maybe it says something about the level and intensity of Christian praise and worship back then. Anyway, let’s sing, with raised voices and truthful hearts. ‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. 

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; in ev’ry high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the ‘whelming flood; when all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay. 

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.’ 

And isn’t that the indisputable truth my fellow believers! The only real safe and secure foundation on which to build is on Christ, our Rock and our Saviour. Anything else is merely sinking sand, and it’s only a matter of time before the whole edifice erected thereupon crumbles. 

That’s why Bruh David could stand up and declare our Bit with utmost confidence, and so too can we many thousands of years later. ‘The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength; in whom I will trust; my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold).’ 

Ah mih breddren, mih breddren what immortal words of comfort and assurance! And if we have Jesus as our guiding light, then we too ought to be able to declare them with audacity and boldness, for Jesus is indeed all those things to those who sincerely and truly believe in Him. 

And if Jesus is so mighty then, Bruh David is indeed right to declare after our Bit. ‘I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ (Ps.18:3) And he did call upon the Lord, and the Lord saved him. (Ps.18:.4-16) Friends, yuh see how much time and trouble our Lord took to save Bruh David from his enemies? It’s the same way that He will save us if we call on Him with right hearts and sincere spirits. 

Hear Bruh David again: ‘He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented (confronted) me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay (support). 

He brought me forth also into a large (broad) place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.’ (Ps.18:16:21) 

Oh my people, none of us have as many enemies or problems as Bruh David had back in his day, and if the Lord saved him out of them all, why would He refuse to do the same for us if we bow down and faithfully worship Him and keep His will eh? No reason whatsoever! 

That means it’s all up to us. If we want to see the goodness of God, then we have to do the things that will produce it. We can’t just sit back and expect it to fall in our laps. So let’s get serious and do our part of the partnership nuh, if we want so see fruitful results. 

Remember, we only reap what we sow. And if we don’t sow righteousness and LOVE, we won’t receive the Lord’s blessings. Much LOVE!

…For who is God…save (except) the Lord…or who is a rock…save (except) our God… (Ps.18:31)

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 October 2016 Romans 8:37.

Romans 8:37.    Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us.

One more day; one more day to be alive and kicking and enjoy God’s expansive favour! Oh what a joy that ought to be my people! Just to know that our names will not be read in today’s obituaries should bring forth a glorious song of thanks and praise to our heavenly Father. 

Consequently, our mouths should be uttering joyful and thankful words like the psalmist did: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps.118:24)

Yes friends, the Lord has kept us alive for a purpose; to continue the good work He has planned for our lives, and also to enjoy the fruits of our labour. 

Now here’s a wise li’l secret from my ‘P.S. I LOVE YOU’ Poster: ‘Dreams come true for those who work while they dream.’ 

Yes my brethren, in this life we ought not to just sit and wait for things to happen, for God to just bring them to pass, but we must also do our part in the wonderful partnership we share with Almighty God. 

Remember it’s a two way street; we do what we can, and wait patiently, enthusiastically and expectantly for God to do His part. We don’t just rest on our fannies and expect it to fall into our laps. 

Now let’s declare our Tuesday Mantra with sincere enthusiasm and thankfulness because the reality of the situation is exactly what it deserves. 

As one now: ‘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!’ 

Oh my people, my people, what a glorious truth! We aren’t what the world says or thinks about us, but we are God’s beloved, and Jesus’ friend! Wow! That means the world cannot beat or defeat or do us any real harm, because we are God’s people! 

Oh what a triumphant blessing! But please remember the last part of that declaration; we need to share the LOVE of Jesus with the rest of the world. That’s our bounden duty. 

And it all rolls right into sync with our wonderful Bit: ‘Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us.’ 

Ah friends, how much more favoured can we be eh? Not much more really. We are God’s flock, and He LOVED us so much that He sent His only son Jesus to die on the cross at Calvary so that we could be reconciled unto Him. How wonderful is that eh! 

And today we’re going to continue looking at the portion of our Bit that deals with LOVE. And John the apostle deals with it wonderfully in His first epistle. Let’s listen some to him. 

‘No man hath seen God at any time. If we LOVE one another, God dwelleth in us, and his LOVE is perfected in us. Hereby we know that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.’ (1 John 4:12-15) 

Now here are some thoughts from the scholars. ‘4:11-13. God’s character, through His Spirit, is to shape and progressively dominate the character of the believer. The Spirit of God imparts the will to LOVE.’ 

Yuh see that friends? If we don’t have the Spirit of God within us, then we won’t have the capacity to truly embrace the emotion of LOVE. 

‘4:15. This helps provide the context for rightly understanding verse 7. Trust in Christ as the incarnate Son of God makes genuine, God-wrought LOVE possible.’ 

And if we don’t remember what verse 7 says, let’s refresh our memories. ‘Beloved, let us LOVE one another: for LOVE is of God; and every one that LOVETH is born of God, and knoweth God.’ (1 John 4:7) 

That means friends, that only those who truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, can possess the LOVE of God. Now let’s continue with John’s theorizing. 

‘And we have known and believed the LOVE that God hath to us. God IS LOVE; and he that dwelleth (abides) in LOVE dwelleth (abides) in God, and God in him.’ (1 John 4:16) 

And hear the scholars explain that. ‘4:16. John, like Paul (1 Cor.13:13), stresses the supremacy of LOVE as a characteristic of God and therefore as a dominant characteristic of the true believer.’ 

Is LOVE a dominant characteristic of our lives my people? I surely do hope so, otherwise we’re just being hypocrites like the pseudo-religious Pharisees of old. 

And we’ll end with this very important verse. ‘Herein is our LOVE made perfect (LOVE made perfect among us), that we may have boldness in the day of judgement: because as he is, so are we in this world.’ (1 John 4:17) 

Yes friends, when true LOVE exists among us, then our confidence rises to its zenith! 

The scholars explain that verse thus. ‘4:17. Herein points back to verse 16. By dwelling in LOVE, and thus having God dwelling in him, the believer gains the priceless assurance that he need not fear the coming judgement. This is our assurance, if we LOVE in this world as He does.’  

Oh friends, the importance of LOVE, within each individual believer, and consequently between all believers can never be overstated, for it’s the supreme characteristic by which the true believers in Almighty God and true followers of Christ are known. 

Please, let’s critically examine ourselves today, and see how our own characteristic of LOVE shapes up, and then, ask God to help us do better, for we can all do better. Much LOVE!

…and now abideth…faith, hope, LOVE…these three…but the greatest of these is LOVE… (1 Cor.13:13)

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 September 2013 Joshua 1:8

Joshua 1:8.    This book of the law shall not depart out of (shall be constantly in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Oh mih people, on this bright and beautiful, though somewhat chilly Sunday morning, let’s give our wonderful God a shout of thanks and praise nuh!

Please pray with me. ‘Dear Father in heaven, as we get ourselves together this first day of the week to go and fellowship with other believers, we give You plenty thanks and praise for bringing us safely through the lurking dangers and dangerous darkness of the night just past, into the illuminating sunshine of another blessed day. 
 
Thanks for having Your far-reaching presence constantly watching over us, and Your awesome power always protecting us. For without You as our champion, we’re helpless and destitute. Please enable us to continue worshipping and serving You in sincere faith and trust, so that we can count on Your everlasting faithfulness to lead and guide us on our earthly pilgrimage. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!’
 
Yes Friends, in these desperate, frantic and troubled times, we need God’s goodness and protection more than ever before. But as in most things, we also have to do our part in making the partnership work, which is to faithfully serve and worship Him. Not just talk it, as we’re so good at doing, but more importantly put it into practice. And I guess it’s time to remind us that CHRISTIANITY IS AN ACTION WORD!  
 
And one of the ways we can accomplish that action is by consciously and seriously following the wise advice contained in our Bit. ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of (shall be constantly in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’
 
Again, it’s simple logic and commonsense mih breddren! If our boss tells us to do something legitimate, don’t we do it? Of course! Often without even asking why, for fear of getting fired. So why when our God, who is the boss of all bosses, tells us to do something that will obviously benefit us, we hem and haw, complain and too often ignore Him eh?
 
Oh Friends, no matter what our endeavour, we can’t do it properly unless we learn about it, study it well, know all the nuances, the little ins and outs that causes it to be the unique and exceptional thing it is. None of us acquire education and knowledge without going to school, or putting in a fair amount of time learning stuff, so why should God’s Word be any different eh?
 
Some of us have several degrees and diplomas, go to school for umpteen years, even make a career out of going to school, spend a lot of time in man-made study, but find it difficult to spend a few minutes each day reading and meditating on God’s Word, the MOST IMPORTANT BOOK IN THE WORLD! And yet, we still expect to reap worldly benefits from Him. What ‘boldfaceness’ mih breddren!
 
Now that certainly doesn’t make sense, especially when the Lord’s been telling us for ages, that the ONLY WAY to have TRUE prosperity and success here on planet earth is by reading and studying His Word, His wise guidelines!
 
And it’s not like we haven’t seen the Word in operation over the last how many centuries; that’s bringing success and prosperity to those who make it their duty to study it thoroughly and then practice what it preaches. We’ve also seen what happens to those who don’t obey God’s Word; death and destruction plague them, just like it’s plaguing us now.
 
Anyway, nuff said. Go to church if you want to hear a sermon. (smile) Now we going to get into some relevant scripture on the necessity of meditating on God’s Word, and the undeniable, indisputable wisdom inherent in doing it. 
 
And what better place to start than with Joshua doing as Moses, the Law and God commanded. After entering the Promised Land and capturing the city of Ai, (Josh.8:1-29) Joshua built an altar of stones at Mt. Ebal and sacrificed peace and burnt offerings unto the Lord there.
 
‘And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. And all Israel, and their elders, and their officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side (either side) before the priests and the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well as the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, (Ex.20:24-25; Deut.27:2-6) that they should bless the people of Israel.
 
And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant (living) among them.’ (Josh.8:32-35)
 
Oh Friends, that is what you call obedience! Joshua did all that Moses and the law called for in the sight of Jehovah God, and therefore the people of Israel were blessed.
 
Now the same thing could happen today if the majority of us bowed in worship and sincere obedience to God’s will. And as believers in Jesus Christ, we are all anointed to bring unbelievers to Him, by truly LOVING our God, sincerely LIVING our Faith and diligently SPREADING His Word! So let’s get out there and do our job nuh Friends.
 
It would make such a wonderful difference to our bewildered, battered and bruised world if we could only bring more people to Christ. Much LOVE!
 
…if one simply teaches another…then the church of Christ would soon grow…both in physical numbers and spiritual strength…and our world would become a much better place to live…  
 
P.S. Just some interesting info from the scholars which I thought I should share. ‘When Joshua read the blessings of the law, the people on Mount Gerizim responded with an “Amen”; when he read the curses of the law, the people on Mount Ebal responded with an “Amen.” Thus, Mount Ebal became known as the Mount of Cursing. The tops of the two mountains are about two miles distant from each other. Jebel Eslamiyeh is the modern name for Mount Ebal.’  
 
For your information. Much LOVE!