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…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 October 2017 John 10:10.

John 10:10.   The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

And then the rains fell – soft and gentle upon the thirsty land. Oh friends, what a joy it is to see and hear the rain falling gently, especially when you’re lying in bed with your special someone beside you! (smile) 

Oh yes, the rain fell in my neighbourhood most of yesterday afternoon and last night. And thankfully it wasn’t a great flood-like outpouring of water, but a constant, steady drizzle that resembled a gentle caress rather than a fierce bear hug. 

And I believe both the land and its inhabitants benefit more from that type of rainfall than big, gushing streams of water all at once. 

Now here is a quote attributed to Jürgen Moltmann (April 8, 1926 -) a Reformed German theologian and Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the University of Tübingen, Germany. 

He is most noted as a proponent of his “theology of hope” and for his incorporation of insights from liberation theology and ecology into mainstream Trinitarian theology. Whatever that means. (smile) 

But he is obviously a man of some learning and some importance in the church, and thus we should pay some attention to what he writes. ‘The more passionately we LOVE life, the more intensely we experience the joy of life.’ 

And that my people is gospel truth! The more we LOVE life, and throw ourselves into it, the greater joy we receive from it. It’s all about the passion we bring to whatever we do, especially the living of life itself! We can’t always hide from life, for that’s unhealthy. 

But as the devotion from our One More Day Daily Meditations for People with Chronic Illness tells us. It’s better to ‘live the drama, LOVE it, cry with it, and at times even hate it. Choosing to live life on its terms brings enthusiasm and passion into our experiences. 

Our decision to LOVE life – despite the highs and lows – allows us to delight in the highs and to accept the lows as unavoidable, but momentary setbacks. Although hiding from reality can sometimes insulate us from the pain, it also blinds us to the joys and wonderment of living fully.’ 

Now we all know that the basic philosophy of our Christian faith is to live life to the full, as Jesus our leader declares in our Bit. ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ 

And the only way to have a truly abundant life is by getting passionately involved with it, whether it be for good or for evil. 

Obviously it’s much better to live a passionate life entrenched in goodness, by being fully yoked to the aims and desires of Jesus Christ, so that we can enjoy all the good things, the wonderful rewards He has in store for those who sincerely believe in and work for Him. 

Unfortunately though my brethren, that passion for Christ that we’re talking about seems to be sadly lacking in His church these days. 

A handful of us might be showing such passion, but most of us are simply just plodding along, taking life as it comes, which we sometimes need to do, but generally speaking, not responding with the energy and enthusiasm we need to overcome it. 

Please note that Jesus didn’t just give us abundant life, He had to painfully earn if for us, by sacrificing His sinless self on the cross. So who are we now to just expect to go through life without any problems eh? 

Remember what Job said to his wife in the middle of his calamity? She said to 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 we not receive evil (accept calamity)? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:9-10) 

Yeh friends, it’s not easy to accept calamity with a smile, but when we look at the overall picture, sometimes we need to do it. We just cannot afford to let life dig us into a hole in both our circumstances and our emotions, because that’s a hole from which it is often very difficult to get out of. 

Now here’s an interesting explanation from the scholars on those two verses from Job. ‘2:9. Job’s wife suggested that Job do what Satan had predicted: curse God. After all she had been through, it is 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). In all this did not Job sin is proof enough that Satan was wrong and was sorely defeated. Satan does not appear in the book again.’ 

Good riddance! So friends, in general, what we bring to life, is what life gives to us. But at times, life can be quite contrary, so as believers, we need to stand strong and with the help of Jesus, fight life on our terms, not on his. And we can only do that when we bring a strong and passionate LOVE for Christ to the table. 

Now let’s go home declaring that passion we have for Jesus in our Tuesday Mantra. ‘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!’ 

Now let’s go out and action that LOVE…with passion. Much LOVE, my faithful brethren in Christ!

…from today…I will be enthusiastic about life…regardless of what it brings…