Today’s Scrip-Bit   10 January 2022 Deuteronomy 30:19b.

Deuteronomy 30:19b.      I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.

Monday has come down again friends, that means the weekend is over! And let me tell you a li’l ‘secrat’ as my young daughter would say in her early years. Monday is going to keep coming down every week or eight days, however you choose to count it. (smile) It is going to keep coming after every Sunday, for all the days of our lives, so we might as well get used to it and properly prepare for it by worshipping with other believers on Sundays, and thus renewing our faith in Christ, the One who strengthens us to do His will.

And though it’s the beginning of the work week, many of us won’t be going to work because of the tighter lockdown caused by the quick spreading of the latest Covid-19 variant, Omicron. Ah mih people, when is this pandemic going to end eh? Only the Lord alone knows yes! For every time we seem to be making some headway, a new variant suddenly pops up its ugly head and triggers more problems again.

It’s not only causing sickness and death but religious, economic and political discomfort with loss of jobs, bankruptcy and violent protests in the streets and churches. That’s due to the large pockets of doubt that exist in the society, as to whether the virus is real, and if the vaccine and other supposed protections are truly useful in reducing the virus’ power and rapid spread.

Unfortunately though, that substantial disagreement has led to a lot of unnecessary rancour, resentment and retaliation which only enables the virus to spread more quickly. And unless we soon come to some general agreement on the entire situation, this predicament will be with us for a while yet, leaving our society in a state of perpetual uncertainty and distrust, as sickness, death, religious, political and economic unrest covers our land.

That recalls the immortal words that Moses said to the children of Israel before he died. ‘I call heaven and earth to record (as witnesses to) this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.’ (Deut. 30:19)

Yes friends, it’s a simple choice, for there are only two options, blessing and life, or cursing and death, but we have to make the decision. And it seems like we have chosen cursing and death with all the disaster and calamity that’s been recently shaking our world. Now, we all like to quote that verse above, but we neglect to ruminate on what comes before and after it.

Before it, come these prophetic words. ‘See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to LOVE the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgements, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.’ (Deut. 30:15-18)

Yuh see my people, the blessings of Israel were dependent on them acknowledging the sovereignty of the Lord and obeying His will. And whenever they strayed from it, as they did several times, much disaster and calamity befell them. And there’s no doubt that in our current society we have strayed far from the Lord God Almighty, disobeying His commandments, turning to idols, even saying that there is no God, while trying to remove Him from our midst.

As I heard one preacher say recently, that atheists spend all their lives trying to remove or dispel a God they don’t believe in. And that’s the gospel truth! Why do atheists work so hard to convince us that there’s no God eh? If there’s none, then they should just leave the whole matter alone and we’ll find out for ourselves. Anyway, let’s see what comes after that seminal verse of Moses’ teaching.

The Good Book follows it with: ‘That thou mayest LOVE the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.’ (Deut. 30:20)

Oh my fellow saints in Christ, right there is our reason for living: to LOVE the Lord our God, to obey His voice and cleave unto Him, because He is our life and our length of days! We all know that without Him we have no life, for it’s His breath of life that makes us alive, not anything that we ourselves do. And He also causes us to live however long we do. He controls our lifespan.

So why are we so foolishly anti-God eh, when He controls all that we ever were, all that we are, and will ever be? It’s not wisdom my brethren? And what’s wisdom, you ask? Wisdom is to turn to Him sincerely, seek His face and His righteousness, His mercy and forgiveness so that we and our descendants shall live eternally. That’s true wisdom!

And in accordance with that, we have but one choice in these trying times, that’s to turn to God in prayer for help. Let’s do that through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn nuh. Altogether now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has 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 wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems. 

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. 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 please remember what Moses said: to receive God’s blessings we need to keep His commandments, to keep our promises to do His will. Much LOVE!

…for blessings to triumph…there must first be unity in God…disunited, ungodly people cannot prosper…

                                                                                                                                                                         Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8              

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 February 2018 Matthew 5:20.

Matthew 5:20.   For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Oh friends, out there is like a true winter wonderland! Everything is as white as ever, for as far as you can see. And the white stuff has begun coming down again, at least in my area. Chuh! 

But that’s the Lord’s will. There isn’t anything we can really do about it. It’s winter, and that’s what happens in winter. We’ve just been lucky over the last few years not to see so much snow, so early in the season. 

But remember, anything God brings us to, He will bring us through. So if you have to go out today, please be careful, because that white stuff, though it may look beautiful on the ground, like the enemy it can be very deceiving and dangerous. 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Listen to this first one. ‘When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.’ And why would you want to do that eh? It’s your life. You have to control it. 

Now check this out. ‘All the days that you wake up, you got one job, and that’s to get better every single day.’ And that’s oh so true, especially for a Christian. We need to aspire to grow in maturity and Christ-likeness every day that we draw breath. 

That leads us to: ‘Clear your mind of can’t!’ Wonderful advice! For as a believer in Jesus Christ, ‘can’t’ is not supposed to be in our vocabulary, since ALL things are possible with God, and we are God’s chosen people! 

And here’s an interesting one. ‘If you wanna fly, you got to give up the useless stuff that weighs you down.’ Is that ever so true friends! You can’t fly, or prosper, or take off, or rise up if you are being weighed down by useless and unnecessary stuff. 

Note how they carefully pack airplanes and ships for balance, and consider how much stuff is placed in them, otherwise they won’t be able to lift off the ground or sail. The same goes for people, improperly placed and unnecessary baggage will hold us back. 

And this last quote says: ‘If you do not go after what you want, you will never have it. If you do not ask, the answer will always be NO. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.’ 

And that is certainly true, but for believers a serious proviso has to be added to it: All we do, must be done under the will of God, His leading, and in His awesome timing! If not, our seeking will be to no avail; we’ll never truly fly, or write a good life story. And I do hope those quotes give us something to ponder this snowy Saturday morning, as we laze around the house. (smile) 

And we have a very interesting Bit today; memorable words of Jesus, as He talks about the law. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ 

Wow mih people! Imagine that nuh! And those people were supposed to be the most religious in their day, but Jesus lambasted them right, left and centre for their hypocritical behaviour. 

Hear how the scholars explain it. ‘5:20. Because of the necessity of righteousness as a requirement to enter heaven, Jesus then declares that except their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees they could not enter heaven. 

The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered those people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness. 

In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behaviour demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. Here we discover the practical application of genuine Christian character to true spiritual living. Here we see the gospel in action.                                  

              Law                                           Spirit                         

             No Murder                               No anger

              No adultery                            No lust

              No divorce                               Commitment

              No oath-taking                      Speak the truth

              No retaliation                        Forgiveness

              Hatred for your enemy       LOVE for your enemy                  

             (tradition allowed it)                  (commanded)

Ah mih people, yuh see the basic difference between the laws of man and those of God. Our God expects us to come up to a higher standard than that of the basic law. Just living by the law is not good enough. And the scribes and Pharisees didn’t even truly live by the law that they propagated. 

Unfortunately, so do a lot of us supposed Christians in these end times. Some of us put on a great outward show, talk a good talk, but behind closed doors it’s an entirely different story.

But please remember Jesus’ words; unless we are more righteous than the religious leaders of His day, we won’t enter heaven. Now, that’s something of immeasurable value and importance for us to ponder this Saturday morning. Much LOVE!

…unless you walk the walk…in God’s eyes…where it really matters…talking the talk is useless…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 November 2014 Luke 9:56

Luke 9:56.    For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
 

Aye Friends, it’s Wednesday morning! That means we’re halfway home to two big days of freedom! And this is the most important part of the week, the time when we need to show strong discipline and self-control, or as the old folks would say, ‘stick-to-itive-ness.’ (smile) That’s hanging in there, not giving up, even though it’s so easy to let go and quit.

 
This is the time when it often seems so dark and dreary and impossible. But as we all know, it’s darkest just before the dawn, just before daylight, before the sun appears over the horizon. It’s only a couple more days to freedom my brethren, so please hold on and don’t let go, don’t dare to look back and sigh and wonder what if.
 
Remember what happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back as they were fleeing the fire and brimstone that was engulfing Sodom? Despite warnings, she looked back and immediately turned into a pillar of salt. (Gen.19:26)
 
Remember too, Jesus’ words to the man who wanted to go and bid his family farewell before following Him. ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:62)
 
Yes Friends, no one who gives things of little importance higher priority than God’s work is of much use to Him. So just hang on in there this Wednesday morning, put your best foot forward, your nose to the grindstone and move forward with Jesus ever by your side, as Guide and Leader, Lord and Saviour.
 
This brings us to some fateful words of Jesus, including our Bit. ‘But he turned and rebuked them and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.’ (Luke 9:55-56)
 
This happened when Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to fulfill His purpose in coming to earth. He sent some messengers into a Samaritan village to make ready, to make preparations for the large group that was travelling with Him.
 
As befitted His status, Jesus had a fairly large entourage by the standards of those days. However, they weren’t well received in that village because it looked like they were only being used as a stop-gap measure, as Jerusalem seemed to be their final destination. (Luke 9:52-53)
 
And since the Jews and Samaritans were always at loggerheads, it’s only logical to expect the latter not to welcome or favourably receive those bound for Jerusalem.
 
And it’s certainly amazing to hear the disciples’ response to their lack of welcome. ‘And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?’ (Luke 9:54) James and John were certainly hot to trot!
 
And as the scholars tell us: ‘9:54. See 2 Kings 1:10-12 (for Elijah’s story). Peter is not the only disciple to make rash judgements. Retaliation in the face of rejection goes far beyond Jesus’ order in 9:5.’
 
And Luke 9:5 says: ‘And whosoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.’ And it’s useful to note here that Jesus meant rejection by whole cities, not merely isolated individuals.
 
Anyway, that’s when Jesus spoke the words of our Bit to the disciples. And several times during His earthly ministry He made that point; that He had come to save, not to destroy. Let’s look at a few of them.
 
The first one is when He had lunch with Zaccheus, the chief tax collector. And when Zaccheus pledged to refund his ill-gotten gains, (Luke 19:8) Jesus said to him. ‘This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ (Luke 19:9-10)
 
There again my people, Jesus emphasizes His purpose as to seek and save the lost, not to destroy.
 
Then in John 3, Jesus delivers these beautiful, encouraging and uplifting words. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’ (John 3:16-17)
 
And again Friends, Jesus places more emphasis on saving rather than condemnation.
 
And our final words from Jesus on the subject, takes place when some of the Jewish rulers believed in Him, but were afraid of making their feelings public because they feared the wrath of the Pharisees, of being kicked out of the synagogue. As the Good Book says: ‘For they LOVED the praise of men more than the praise of God.’ (John 12:43)
 
And that’s still ever so true of too many of us today my people! We prefer to offend God, rather than man.
 
Anyway, as part of Jesus reaction to those people, He said, ‘And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.’ (John 12:47-48)
 
Yes my brethren, our Lord and Saviour is not a destroyer like Lucifer, but a saviour as His title aptly proclaims.
 
So please let’s stop being afraid, stop being anxious and guilt stricken when we make mistakes, or come up less than we should, because that’s the kind of people Jesus came to save, not the perfect ones, but the sick and suffering, the lost and abandoned, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. Much LOVE!
 
…in need of help…then turn to the one who specializes in helping…Jesus Christ…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 August 2014 Matthew 5:20

Matthew 5:20.    For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 
Ah Friends, the ole fella’s paying the price for disobedience this morning, an aching back. Too much rest it would seem. (smile) Apparently I ignored the wake up bell this morning and slept in. But my body was tired, I pleaded! No excuse, I was summarily informed. When the bell goes, you arise. End of story! 
 

Ah what a hard taskmaster. But I guess dem’s the breaks! (smile) I know the rules, so if I don’t abide by them, I’ll just have to pay the price. And that’s the way it is with most things in life my people. If we don’t do right, especially if we know what’s right, then we pay.
 
Anyway, today I want to share with you a couple of passages from an article in the July issue of In Touch Magazine, titled ‘Know Your Place,’ by Jim Daly. Some of you might have read it already, but didn’t even pay it any real serious attention, but Friends these words and actions are of vital importance in the life of each and every Christian believer.
 
Mr. Daly quotes Timothy Keller, from his book, ‘The Prodigal God.’ “You can’t live the Christian life without a band of Christian friends, without a family of believers in which you find a place.”
 
And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! We can’t live a truly Christian life alone, it’s too difficult to do, especially with all the inviting and exciting wrongs the world has to offer nowadays. We need the empathy, encouragement and bolstering that a tightly knit group offers.
 
And in any case, Jesus didn’t desire and plan for His people to be separate and apart, but be together as one, as one body in His name. It’s all well and good to go to church and participate in the ceremonies and rituals on an individual basis. 
 
But as Mr. Daly later adds: ‘But if we’re not making an effort to connect and engage with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re missing out on a key element of the church as described in the New Testament.’ And that’s the fostering of true community amongst the Christian brethren.
 
Oh Friends, that’s why there is so much resentment, jealousy and antagonism in the church today. We don’t individually nor collectively foster a sense of true community in the body of Christ. We talk it, but don’t actually walk it. Consequently, we’re not able to be as productive in spreading the good news of the gospel, as we ought to be.
 
We need to put away the selfishness and petty things that keep us apart, die to our own selves, and encourage the things that truly bring us together. And though the leaders in the church might be to blame for some of that, every single believer also has to shoulder some blame too, because it all begins with us as individuals.
 
And that brings us to this passage from Bruh Paul’s epistle to the Romans, where he talks of the people having zeal but no righteousness. ‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel, is that they might be saved. For I bear them record (witness), that they have a zeal of (for) God, but not according to knowledge.
 
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law, for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ (Rom.10:1-4)
 
And the scholars have a good explanation of that scripture. ‘10:4. Christ is the end of the law.  Israel mistook the purpose of the law. The law pointed to the righteousness that is attainable only by belief in Christ. Israel also mistook the scope of the law.
 
The righteousness to which it pointed was universally available to all who responded to God’s revelation of Himself through the law. But by Paul’s time many had substituted works for faith. Rather than seeking redemption in God’s mercy, they pinned their hopes on their own religious achievement.’
 
And sadly my people, today too many of us are still doing the same thing; depending on our own religiosity rather than God’s available mercy and grace.
 
But please note what our Bit says about that behaviour. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.’
 
Those are the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, so obviously there’s no doubting them!
 
And the scholars provide a wonderful explanation of all that. ‘5:20. Because of the necessity of righteousness as a requirement to enter heaven, Jesus then declares that except their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees they could not enter heaven.
 
The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered these people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness.
 
In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behaviour demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. Here we discover the practical application of genuine Christian character to true spiritual living. Here we see the gospel in action:’
 
Sadly Friends, it’s the same thing a lot of us are still doing today, depending on self, rather than God. And the scholars add a very useful list of what the Law required and what the Spirit of God desired.

 LAW                                                                        SPIRIT

 

No murder                                                                No anger

 

No adultery                                                               No lust

 

No divorce                                                                Commitment

 

No oath-taking                                                          Speak the truth

 

No retaliation                                                            Forgiveness

 

Hatred for your enemy                                              LOVE for your enemy

 

  (tradition allowed it)                                                   (commanded)

 

And there we have it my people, a simple breakdown of the things the religious Law called for and/or allowed, as well as the things that Jesus desired, and still desires, of His true and faithful followers.

 

So let’s sit down today and consider our own reaction and behaviour to all those things nuh, and then, as always, sincerely ask God to help us improve in whatever way we need to. That’s heavenly wisdom my brethren, for we know He will NEVER refuse any requests to draw closer to Him! Much LOVE!

 

…to be a true believer…one must lose the self in self-righteousness…

 

P.S. That makes up for the short Bit yesterday. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 July 2012 Ecclesiastes 2:13

Ecclesiastes 2:13.    Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
 
Oh Friends, yesterday was certainly one of, if not the hottest day of the year in my area. You could feel the heat just bore through you, as you stepped outside. Even the strong breeze, which is usually cool, was as hot as Hades. (smile) However, later in the evening, around 8 p.m, the Duchess and I went for a walk down the boulevard, and it was still steamy. I did my usual 1/4 mile, but she made the whole tour of the area. I guess she’s younger and stronger than me. Hn, Hn! But I don’t really care nuh people. I’m just glad that I can walk even that distance, cause last year this time, what with my prostate cancer and knee problems, I could barely make it across the street to the mail box without falling over. So I’m giving some big, hearty and grateful thanks and praise to the Lord for that small mercy. Shortly after we came back though, the thunder and lighting began, and around 9.30, a few drops of rain fell. I heard it on my window upstairs and rushed down to see what it looked like. By the time I got outside though it had already petered out. The part of the road covered by and overhanging tree in my front yard wasn’t even wet. Just goes to show how little rain really fell. I couldn’t even stay outside long because the lightning was in action again, and I remembered the folks who got struck by it a couple days before in the East End. Now that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. But seriously though Friends, what’s happening with our young people today eh, what’s going on in their minds? Two nights ago in Scarborough, the eastern hub of Greater Toronto, at an area barbecue, with roughly two hundred people in attendance, apparently two young fools took out their ‘make me feel like a big man toys’ and began shooting wildly at each other in the midst of the gathering, eventually killing two innocent people and injuring at least a dozen or more. A couple weeks earlier, one bright (read darm foolish) young man, in broad daylight, opened fire on another two in the Eaton’s Centre, the big downtown mall in the heart of Toronto. Two young people died from that attack, which was apparently in retaliation for the attacked having knifed up the attacker some time before, leaving him half dead in the streets of T.O. Now I can certainly understand the retaliation factor involved there, but what floors me is the foolish brazenness of these young punks, doing the nonsense in broad daylight amongst a group of innocent bystanders. They apparently don’t give two deleted expletives about the rest of the society, and if that’s true, then it’s a very sad thing. There’s already been a fair amount of gunplay in the area already this year, supposedly activated by turf wars between gangs. So when and how is it going to play out and end eh? Oh Friends, if that’s the sort of young people we’re raising, with no respect for society and/or human life, can you imagine the kind of Wild West scenes that are eventually going to take place? The police are already thinking that there will be some sort of retaliation over this incident. I guess none of the young people ever saw the Jack Lord western movie of long ago, I forgot the name, where one participant made an incredibly wise remark that went something like this: ‘If you live by the gun, you’ll die by the gun. Ecclesiastes 1:2.’ The scripture reference might be wrong Friends, but the statement is surely correct! And sadly this sort of scene is taking place all over the world. Granted it took Cousin Sol a fair amount of time to do all his experimentation and research into the way of and reason for man’s life, before he came to the realization that our Bit describes: ‘Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.’ Yes my people, wisdom will excel over folly any and every time! Unfortunately though, wisdom seems to be a very scarce commodity, and daily becoming scarcer in our modern society. Why is that eh? Are we too busy being selfish, greedy, ungodly, lustful and too taken up with the things of the world, that we hold human life so cheaply? I don’t know the answers nuh mih breddren, but I do know that our Bit is right, and so is the continuation of Cousin Sol’s results in his research. ‘The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event (death) happeneth to them all.’ (Eccl.2:14) Now that realization shook up Cousin Sol and made him a bit mental, wondering what was the purpose of life if both the fool and the wise man both died the same way and were eventually forgotten. Oh Friends, time and space are against us, and since I don’t want any complaints about the Bit being too long, I guess you’ll simply have to tune in tomorrow, God in favour, for the continuation of this saga. (smile) Till then, please walk in peace, LOVE and wisdom with God. Much LOVE!…a foolish son is a grief to his father…and bitterness to her that bare him… (Prov.17:25) P.S. Sorry it’s a tad late, but it seems I was too exhausted from my physical activities yesterday to get up any sooner. (smile) Much LOVE!