Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 September 2020 Matthew 6:19.

Matthew 6:19.     ​Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt (ruin), and where thieves break through and steal:

So it’s Saturday! What’s new with the world eh? Nothing nuh! Just more of the same old, same old; overwhelming evil, violence, hate and strife, with not enough peace, LOVE, forgiveness and godly attitudes to quell those negative enemy traits. But if there’s one thing we believers know, is that there’s a righteous, graceful and merciful God sitting on His throne in the high heavens watching down on us, and contrary to popular opinion He IS in control of ALL things, and in His time, in His own inimitable style, will right ALL that’s wrong with this world, working ALL things out for good to those who LOVE Him! 

And that’s the gospel truth friends, so let’s just hang in there in strong faith and blessed assurance, knowing that ALL promises will be fulfilled in due course of time. Now let’s see what goodies our friend Anselm sent us this week nuh, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us to a better tomorrow. Hear this first one, which is simple logic. ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’ Now that’s obvious isn’t it. As Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say, ‘You can’t do the same thing all the time and expect to get a different result.’ 

But that’s exactly what a lot of us do. We keep going round the same mountain with the same attitudes, but expect things to change. That’s impossible friends! And it leads us nicely into this next quote: ‘Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.’ And isn’t that the unfortunate truth! That’s why we keep going around the same old mountain, with the same old results. Things will only change when we fess up to our problems, face them squarely in the face and get to work on them! 

Good example is the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for forty years because they were afraid to go into the Promised Land when the Lord told them to. And when they said they were ready, He said no, it’s not your timing but mine. So He let them continue wandering, allowing the old ones to die, while He built up the courage and strength of the younger ones. So that only Joshua and Caleb of those who came out of Egypt ever set foot in the Promised Land. But please note that during all that time, their clothes nor shoes never wore out, and He fed them continually with manna! Such is the magnanimity of our God, even when He’s trying to teach us a lesson. 

Then there’s this: ‘If you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the right answers. A question asked the right way often points to its own answer. Asking questions is the ABC of diagnosis.’ Again, that’s simple logic. But sadly, logic is something that’s being constantly levered out of our society. We’re now been barraged by things and people called ‘influencers’ paid to influence us with their lifestyle, regardless of how foolish or distasteful and useless it is. And too many of us don’t ask questions as to why these things are being done. We just follow them blindly! 

Ah the pull, the power of social media to dictate our lives! Steups! What a foolish, gutless, monkey see, monkey do society we’ve become. Yes friends, we can’t see or understand what’s happening unless we ask questions, and the right ones at that! Let’s wake up and start doing that nuh, instead of merely accepting whatever social media and the supposed experts say nuh! Let’s start charting our own God-led paths, instead of those the world is setting out for us. And here’s one way to do that: ‘A relentless barrage of “why’s” is the best way to prepare your mind to pierce the clouded veil of thinking caused by the status quo. Use it often.’ 

Not foolishly though. Don’t just ask questions for the sake of asking questions, but develop a strategy of asking sensible and to the point questions on matters that interest you. Nobody likes a body who just keeps pestering them, asking questions willy nilly, without any good or apparent reason. Questions though, wisely asked and with proper timing can lead to a well-spring of growth and phenomenal understanding of the ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’ of this world and our earthly existence. 

That brings us to the last quote: ‘Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.’ Well how could they eh, when they inherently pertain to growth and progress? The problem though is what we consider growth and progress. Is it the world’s version, or God’s version? I suggest that God’s version is the much better one! Here’s why in a nutshell. This from Jesus, the Son of God, and if He doesn’t know the truth, then who knows it eh? (smile) 

‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt (ruin), and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.’ (Matt. 6:19-20) 

Wow! What wonderful advice my brethren! So if that’s a fact – and if Jesus says so, then it is so – why would I want to have the worldly version of growth and progress eh? Then all my treasures would be liable to theft and ruin by rust and moth. But when I desire the godly version of growth and progress, then all that I achieve is safely stored in heaven. As Peter says so awesomely: ‘To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that faded not away, reserved in heaven for you.’ (1 Pet. 1:4) 

Oh my people, nothing bad or evil can touch anything we store away in heaven, there is never any loss or lessening of our treasures stored there. However, to be able to store away stuff in heaven we need to follow this golden rule – from Jesus again, which means it must be true. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) That means we need to have Almighty God as our Number ONE priority!And just like He looked after the Israelites for forty years in the wilderness, He will look after us, granting us ALL the necessities we need for earthly living and also storing up some for us in heaven! 

Now how does the world’s version of growth and progress compare to that eh? Not very well, because all the wealth and power you may amass under the world’s evil prince, can be lost in the bat of an eye, like the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21, where the rich, greedy man decided to break down and build bigger storehouses for his wealth, but that same night the Grim Reaper came calling as he generally does rather unexpectedly. And what did the rich fool leave with eh? Nothing! 

And neither did he have anything stored in heaven, because in his earthly life, he was not rich towards God. So all his earthly work, progress, growth and possessions turned out to be of absolutely no use to him. My people, please let’s learn from his story nuh, and be wise and be rich towards God in our earthly lives. That’s wisdom to the nth degree!Much LOVE!

…earthly things are nice…but heavenly ones look better and last longer… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 July 2020 James 1:2.

James 1:2.     ​My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations (various trials),
 

‘Everything’s coming up roses…’ Well friends, it’s not really coming up nuh, it has already come up! We talking about the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and all that does and says for us poor sinners! Wow! And yes, we might be going through some rough and trying times now, but those are only here to test our faith, endurance and perseverance, because we already know the end of the story; Jesus has won the victory over the enemy! Glory be! 

James, the half-brother of Jesus puts it quite succinctly when he speaks of faith and humility. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations (various trials), Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing.’ (James 1:2-4) 

And the scholars offer these explanations. ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall, (Gr. peripipto). These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing.’ Then the scholars note, as per ‘1:4: The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’ 

Yes friends, as a true believer in Christ, we WILL experience testing, and it is NEVER easy to accept trials and tribulations with joy, but if we hold on tightly to Jesus, be the branch that’s seamlessly welded to His vine, we can successfully withstand the rigours of those tests. And remember, He promises not to give us more than we can handle. 

Bruh Paul explains it thus: ‘There hath no temptation taken (overtaken) you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear (endure) it.’ (1 Cor. 10:13) That doesn’t mean we will necessarily escape the temptation, but He will always assist us to land safely on the other side. So as the old people would say: ‘Yuh could run, but yuh can’t hide from temptation and testing!’ (smile) 

And Peter in his first letter to the scattered diaspora of early believers stated it more fully. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that faded not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be relieved in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness (distressed) through manifold temptations.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-6) 

Yes my people, it’s through God’s abundant mercy, whereby Christ was resurrected, and the faith in Him that we manifest that allows us to look forward to the wonderful indestructible inheritance at the time of ultimate salvation. And though life might be hard for a season, that inheritance down the road helps us to bear these tests. 

As Peter continues: ‘That the trial of your faith (the genuineness), being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried (tested) with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing (revelation) of Jesus Christ. Whom having not seen, ye LOVE; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.’ (1 Pet. 1:7-9) 

Yeh, I know it seems deep and heavy, but remember Christ’s yoke is easy, and His burden light. We not here for child’s play and constant good times, we here to do a job for Jesus which means we have to buckle down and be diligent about it, letting the eventual rewards keep us strong and faithful. Hear what the scholars offer. ‘1:6-9. The problem of salvation looks to the present. Earthly trials constitute a problem of our salvation, but they are only for a season, or temporary. Manifold temptations means diversified trials. True faith cannot be destroyed though God is in the process of refining faith through our trials.’ 

So what can we do? As always, the number one step is prayer. So let’s pray nuh, raise up our Monday Morning Battle Hymn to heaven, in strong voice, with sincere hearts, in true and humble but confident faith. ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. And our anxieties have been recently deepened because some restrictions have been lifted in the lockdown, so more of us are going out to work now without any guarantees of safety. 

Then to complicate matters Father, suddenly, and unexpectedly, just like the virus, worldwide strife and protests have also struck us in this sad time of pandemic, and we don’t have a clue how to handle either situation properly. Mass confusion is currently prevailing in our world, and we desperately need your help to solve both problems, as You are the ONLY One with the power and insight to successfully handle them. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle these scourges that are currently plaguing Your beautiful earth. Please help our leaders to wisely quell the strife and protests, thus bringing unity, peaceful consensus and real improvement in the areas that are now sadly lacking. Please help the scientists to also find a positive solution, a sure antidote to the virus as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, or been injured in the strife, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. 

Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Now we sit and wait quietly for a while, for God’s wise direction, then we go out and obediently follow it. Much LOVE!

…to endure to the end…we need a combination of…hope, faith, belief and trust…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 April 2017 1 Corinthians 15:20.

1 Corinthians 15:20.    But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept (have fallen asleep, have died).

HAPPY  EASTER!

Oh my beautiful fellow believers, at last it’s Easter Sunday! Glory to God! And we all know what happened on this faithful, blessed, unforgettable day some two thousand years ago: our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ rose triumphantly from the dead, having been crucified on Good Friday to pay our sin debt in full! 

Wow! What a magnificent triumph that was over hell, death and the grave! The negative elements of sin and darkness were put to flight by the brilliant, blazing light of new life embodied by Christ’s Resurrection! 

Consequently what better song of praise can we sing this Sunday morning than that penned for the occasion by Charles Wesley way back in 1739: ‘Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!?’ None my brethren! 

So in full voice, with overwhelming enthusiasm and gratitude, let’s sincerely offer up the sacrifice of praise this Easter morn, so that in heaven on high, there can be no doubt of our thankfulness for Jesus’ great victory over the enemy. 

All together now:  Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia! LOVE’S redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! 

Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia! Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia! 

Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia! King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia! Everlasting life is this, Alleluia! Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia! Thus to sing, and thus to LOVE, Alleluia!’ 

Yes friends, that was wonderful, although there are really no words to truly convey the gratitude we owe to Jesus and our heavenly Father for making it possible to flee sin and return to the warm cockles of their everlasting LOVE! 

And today I don’t want to get into all the stuff that happened in the garden at the tomb because we know all of that well enough. Instead I want to show and describe what Jesus’ resurrection really means for us as believers; namely the assurance of life after death for ALL who sincerely believe and put their heart-felt trust in Him. 

Listen to our Bit: ‘But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept (have fallen asleep, have died). Oh my people, the first fruits are an important symbol in our faith; the first of anything, the part we offer to God. 

And according to the scholars: ‘15:20. First fruits (cf. Lev.23:9-14): The “first fruits” in Israel always anticipated a harvest.’  Glory be my people! For that means if Jesus was the first fruit of the resurrection, then there is an abundant harvest, namely His believers and followers that will be coming after Him. What a wonderful assurance of salvation and eternal life for us! 

And Bruh Paul elucidates on that after our Bit. ‘For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.’ (1 Cor.15:21-23)  

And the scholars offer this explanation of those verses. ‘15:23-26. Order (lit. “group”): Afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming: When Christ comes for the church at the Rapture, believers will also experience resurrection (cf. 1 Thess.3:13; 4:14-18).’  

Now why would be so foolish as to accept eternal separation from God, instead of Christ’s offer, His personal assurance of eternal life with God eh? I surely don’t know, but unfortunately many of us are foolishly doing it. And to further corroborate our Bit, hear Bruh Paul in his monologue to King Agrippa, as he testified of his conversion to Christianity. 

‘Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show (would proclaim) light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.’ (Acts 26:22-23) 

And we are the Gentiles my people! And for God’s good grace to bring us into His fold, we ought to shout a grateful ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ He didn’t have to, but His LOVE was so great for ALL His creation that He couldn’t leave us out. 

Now let’s close with some words from Peter as he talks about salvation wrought by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ (1 Pet.1:3-5)  

Yes friends, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour we become new creatures, and receive hope and faith through God’s power to handle anything that comes against us, knowing that we are assured of salvation, it’s guaranteed, because of Jesus’ resurrection. So today, let us rejoice that the Lord is risen and consequently we will arise at the end times too. Much LOVE!

…He is Risen…He is Risen…Christ is Risen indeed…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 July 2015 1 Peter 1:3

1 Peter 1:3.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Ah Friends, it was just one of those days where the ole fella went to bed at a  Shakespearean early hour. (smile) Three o’clock found me sitting on my porch, but I didn’t stay long because the wind was in a rather frenzied state and had the poor trees dancing to an incredibly fast riddim, and it was also a tad chilly in my shorts and T-shirt.

It’s surprising that nothing seems to have been blown down, for since early evening the wind had been having serious histrionic fits. I had to close a couple of my windows because it was making such a fuss. And it’s still not completely over it’s bad behaviour, but just not as challenging as during the night.

Thankfully though, both the sun and Son are shining quite brightly this Wednesday morning. And since it’s Wednesday, then I guess it’s time for our Wednesday Wail. Please wail with me.

‘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, what a Friend, Lord and Saviour we have in Jesus Christ! Glory to God! I don’t know what we’d do without Him nuh, for He is so LOVING, gentle, kind, compassionate, merciful and forgiving… And that’s just the tip of His attributes. It would take me half the day to name them all.

Yes Friends, having Jesus as the guide, the rudder and compass of our lives is the wisest action we can ever take down here on God’s great earth! I don’t know how I lived, how I existed before I truly let Him into my heart. Oh, He was always there, but lurking in the background, waiting for me to smarten up and surrender my life to Him.

As they say, hindsight is certainly 20-20 vision yes! For in hindsight, I can now see the many occasions on which He lent me a helping hand. Many times when others couldn’t or refused to help, He was the One who stepped into the breach and shored it up.

That’s why, now that I’ve truly bought into His plan, I can say with all sincerity and truth; what a wonderful God we serve and worship! And am I ever so grateful for His LOVE, mercy, comfort and grace which certainly makes this life worth living.

And I know that I’m not alone in that regard because the Lord works His magnanimous works in the lives of ALL who sincerely believe in and honour Him.

That’s why we can agree with Peter when he so wisely declares in our Bit: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’

Yes my brethren, this new life of ours all stems from the resurrection of Christ. Without His resurrection, there would be no new creation of man!

And as Peter continues:’(We have been raised) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ (1 Pet.1:4-5)

Oh Friends, what powerful and encouraging words and promises! But all of it indisputable, gospel truth!

Now let’s delve into what it all means with the help of the scholars. ‘1:3 –2:10. The Christian’s destiny: salvation. Salvation means “deliverance.”  Peter’s view of salvation is ultimate salvation, that is, when the believer will be rescued from this world into the presence of God.’

‘1:3-12. The plan of salvation: Peter does not look at time from a Western perspective. The Hebrews regarded the present as so fleeting that in their language they have essentially only two tenses: past and future.’

‘1:3-5. The portrayal of salvation looks to the future. The author of salvation is portrayed as the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The work of salvation (vv.3-5) is described as to its effect. Hath begotten us again refers to a new stage of life that begins at salvation.

This lively hope has no element of uncertainty, for it is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The believer’s inheritance is described as incorruptible (Gr. aphtharton), imperishable or indestructible, and undefiled (i.e. morally untainted). That fadeth not away (Gr. amaranton) means it is not subject to the ravages of time.

Further it is reserved (Gr. teteremenen, perfect tense), that is, it has been preserved in the past and still is in heaven. Kept is a present passive participle – we are secure because we are continually guarded by God, who never relaxes His vigil. Salvation here refers to final salvation, that is, deliverance from the presence of sin and into the presence of God.’

Ah Friends, I do hope that the general descriptions, as well as the more specific ones help us to better understand what salvation is, and all that’s laid up for us in heaven, and also helps to increase our faith by knowing, by being assured that Almighty God, our Creator and Provider is constantly watching over us, and we can have no better security than that.

Now let’s ponder it all, then put it into action as our lives unfold, obviously with God’s help, for it is indeed the wisdom of the ages! Much LOVE!

…oh what an auspicious, blessed and reassuring day…was that Easter Sunday morn…when Christ triumphantly rose from the grave…and gave us all the hope of future life eternal…with Him in heaven…