Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 January 2012 Ephesians 4:23.

Ephesians 4:23.        And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;   

Now that’s more like it! There’s a hint of sunshine in the air, not the total murkiness we’ve suffered for the past couple of  days. Sunshine has been so lacking that lights which are recharged by sunlight have not been coming on because there hasn’t been sufficient sunlight to recharge them. I wonder what’s happening to those who use solar powered equipment in their homes, like on their rooves to provide heat, if they don’t have a large storage of that solar power.

It’s a good thing that we don’t have to worry about our spiritual power, because we have Jesus, the ‘awesomest’ power person there is, rooting for us in everything we do! But first we need to put our trust and faith in Him, believe in what He says, and live the way he directs, otherwise His power won’t work in us. It’s all conditioned upon our sincerely accepting Him as Lord and Saviour and doing His will.

And when we do that…Brother! Such new vistas will open before us, exciting things will begin happening, good changes will be made in our lives, in fact a complete turnaround will take place, and we’ll wonder why we hadn’t accepted Him into our hearts and lives before. As Bruh Paul wrote 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)

Yes friends, when you’ve found Christ, you become a brand new being. As the scholars put it: ‘When a man comes into vital union with the risen and glorified Lord, he is a “new creation,” and perceives Christ in a new way.’ And that’s borne out by the words of Jesus, first to Nicodemus, who came by night seeking information from Him. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ (John 3:3)

It’s a spiritual rebirth my brethren! And unless it happens to us, we won’t see the kingdom of God. It’s as simple as that. And Jesus drives home that point later on when He tells the disciples: ‘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) Now that’s laying it all on the line. And it is the indisputable fact; without Jesus, we are very limited in what we can do.

And when we accept Him as Lord and Saviour, we make a break with the old things of our lives. We have to, because all the old carnal, sinful, fleshly stuff doesn’t work in Christ’s domain. That means a lot of new things, interesting changes must happen in our new life with Jesus, if we are to abide in Him, and He in us. As Isaiah writes: ‘Remember ye not the former things, neither consider ye the things of old.’ (Is. 43:18) And the wonderful thing about it all my people, is that once we come to Christ, our union with Him abides forever!

But here are some interesting words from Bruh Paul to the Ephesians, on some of the practical changes that we make when we come to Christ. ‘That ye put off concerning the former conversation (conduct of) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place (an opportunity) to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph. 4:22-32)

Yes my fellow saints, just a few practical changes to make when we accept Christ as Lord and Saviour! (smile) But seriously though, we desperately need to consider how all of the above resonates in our personal lives, because it’s all a big part of our current angry, strife -filled world. And it’s not always easy to differ from the world, but we must, if we are to fulfill Christ’s mandate.

The major aspect though is a change in our mindset, because it’s in our mind that all the battles between the old and new take place. That’s why Bruh Paul wrote: ‘And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.’ (Eph. 4:23) Now, the only way we can do that is through purposeful meditation on God’s word, sincere prayer and the genuine encouragement of other believers. And, since we’ve already pondered the Lord’s word, and encouraged each other, let’s go to Him in prayer now, through our Friday Chant, asking for His divine help and guidance.

As one strong, confident, but humble voice. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now, please remember that we just portrayed ourselves as faithful believers, and unless we live up to that promise, the Lord won’t answer our prayers. Much LOVE!

…being a new creation in Christ is wonderful…but it’s not always easy…we have to keep at it…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 June 2021 Isaiah 43:19a.

Isaiah 43:19a.     Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?

So now it’s Wednesday, another beautiful day in the life! Thank the Lord for His goodness to the children of men! Especially when it comes to His wonderful Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour; the most beautiful, powerful and LOVING gift ever bestowed in this universe! And the saints of Christ, all lifted their heads, hearts and voices and sincerely declared: ‘Jesus! Jesus! The light of my life, my salvation and my glory! Thank You heavenly Father for giving Him to us. We LOVE You dearly, and we praise and bless Your Holy Name! Amen!’ 

Ah friends, what a momentous and joyful experience it is when Jesus comes into our lives! There’s nothing in the world to compare to or outclass it! You just simply feel a different vibe in your spirit, body and soul. Nothing like you’ve ever felt before. And you’re just astonished that such a remarkable transformation is possible, and wonder why you never experienced it before. But that’s just part of Jesus’ mystique; nothing happens before it’s time, before He is ready to come into your life. And it’s nothing to be afraid of; for He’s never late or early, always right on time with His well-drawn up and executed plans for each of his creations. 

As the Father said so long ago, through the prophet Jeremiah. ‘For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you an expected end (a future and a hope).’ (Jer. 29:11) That’s a very pertinent scripture in the lives of all believers my people. It means that whenever you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, that is the exact right time, the time that He had planned from eons ago to come into your life. There’s nothing vikey-vie or wishy-washy in God’s economy. It’s all well laid out and executed. Every possibility and consequence have already been considered and plans made to countervail them. 

The prophet Isaiah declared it thus: ‘Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.’ (Is. 43:18-19) Yes friends, when Jesus comes into our lives, it’s a whole new story, a rebirth! To all intents and purposes, we are born again, like He said to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily (truly) I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ (John 3:3) 

And when Nicodemus looked surprised and asked: ‘How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily (truly), I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirt is spirit.’ (John 3:4-6) Yes my people, the rebirth we are talking about here is one of the spirit, one of life-changing attitudes, opinions and behaviour. 

And here’s how Bruh Paul explains this rebirth. ‘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) And it’s of the utmost important that we understand the meaning of those words. Basically, it means that we give up the old lifestyle we lived and adopt a new one where Jesus, through His Holy Spirit that comes to indwell in when we receive Him, is our guide and leader. We now consider His ways and means as the guiding light of our lives. 

Sin, or the rejection of it, now becomes of much more importance. We no longer live after the flesh, or as the world dictates, because then we are merely IN the world, but not OF the world! We take our direction, our orders from Jesus and the things He desires, not from what the world says. We now live life in the Spirit, not in the carnal and sinful desires of the flesh. As Bruh Paul puts it to the church at Rome. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’ (Rom. 8:1-2) 

Yes friends, when we come to Christ, the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives guides us in a new direction, to obedience and good works in Christ, not back to the old, carnal lusts and desires we once had. Oh precious people, receiving Christ brings us into a whole new ball game. Here is how Bruh Paul describes it to the Ephesians. ‘That ye put off concerning the former conversation (conduct) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.’ (Eph. 4:22-24) 

And the scholars offer these explanations re those verses. ‘4:22-24. Christianity taught the addressees to (1) put off…the old man, to renounce their pre-conversion life and sins; (2) be renewed in…your mind, to be constantly changed, being brought more and more into line with God’s own viewpoint; and (3) put on the new man, that is, to assume a new nature (character) and conduct (life) at conversion.’ And yes, we all discover that changing our lifestyle in mid-stream is not an easy, or always a delightful task. But as true believers in Christ, it is absolutely necessary that we give it our all! And never fear, for Jesus is always there to help us! 

Now, here are a few practical pointers that Bruh Paul gave to the Ephesians, which are still helpful to us today in this topsy-turvy, deceitful, evil and godless world. They run from 4:25 -32, 5:1-2, you can read them at your own leisure, (smile) but to save time and space, I’ll just list them as the scholars’ explanations. ‘4:22-5:2. …practical guidelines as to how “the old man” (vs. 22) can be laid aside and how the “new man” (vs. 24) can be assumed in daily living. The passage specifies five sins to be discarded, the virtues that are to replace them, and the motive for such an exchange: 

(1) Lying is to be replaced by truth-telling, since Christians are fellow members (vs. 25). (2) Sinful anger is to be replaced by (briefly held) righteous indignation, that the Devil may not be given opportunity (vs. 26-27). (3) Theft is to be replaced by honest work, in order that one may have the means to meet the needs of others (vs. 28). (4) Foul language is to be replaced by gracious speech, that it may edify others and not grieve the Spirit (vs. 29). (5) Resentment and wrath are to give way to kindness and forgiveness, since God has forgiven us (vs. 31-32).’ 

That’s it in a nutshell friends! Nothing exotic, but very practical guidelines that we can all implement as we walk in LOVE, as Christ desires of us. Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Wednesday Wail letting the world know of our wonderful position on Christ Jesus. 

As one strong and sincere voice: ‘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!’ 

And believe me, if we walk that narrow path right to the very end, then that future will be even more glorious than we ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…to walk in step with Jesus…oh…what a joy divine…                                                                                

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