Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 October 2020 James 1:2.

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

Ah Lord eh people! Steups! The ole people was right yes: in this life, when is not one thing, is a blooming other yes! Chuh man! The devil get mih early this morning. I was coming downstairs a while ago, early to boot, (smile) to start writing the Bit when I had an unfortunate accident. Steups! So I had to waste valuable time, spend over half an hour cleaning up the spill and myself. Obviously I was annoyed, especially when I had argued in a lost cause for staying longer in bed. I guess the Lord really wanted to wake me up in a big way. (smile) 

And I had such a grand opening planned for today: And then it was Saturday; a day unlike the other days! One that does not follow the rules and regulations like the others. It’s a law unto itself; of the lazy, laidback, do it if and when you want it breed. No stuffy rules and regulations for Saturday. And I should have taken advantage of that lazy, laidback nature and stayed in bed! (smile) 

But we know that the Lord has a purpose for everything He allows to come our way, I just don’t know, or can’t see His purpose for allowing that accident this morning. But like the good believer I am, I’m just going to grin and bear it, and keep on keeping on. Someday I might know the reason…or I might just never. But that’s okay too, for the Lord is a good God and whatever He allows is always for my benefit, in my best interest. Sermon done! 

Now let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspired to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Listen to this first one, which is ever so appropriate for our world today. ‘Complacency is the forerunner of mediocrity. You can never work too hard on attitudes, effort and technique.’ And that’s the awesome truth. You can never work too hard on your life skills. But the most significant sign of a declining person and a society is its level of complacency, the level of its overall standards. When we stop building and just decide to relax on our fat fannies, dwell on our laurels or past achievements, that’s when our standards and everything else begin to fall. 

Life is a constant cycle; it’s always moving, and if you’re not moving along with it, to a reasonable extent, you’ll get left in its dust. And that’s why our society is now in freefall mode; our complacency is dragging us down; our standards are falling lower and lower every day. And that’s not me speaking, that’s history. Just look at all the old, great societies. Once they got fat and prosperous, they laid down and became complacent, and it was only a matter of time before they died. 

That’s why the next quote is important. ‘I don’t worry about maintaining the quality of my life, because every day I work on improving it.’ Yes friends, we need to constantly work on improving the quality of our lives, our standards. Now that doesn’t mean just running after material things and wealth of this world, but more about enjoying everyday life, having it more abundantly like what Jesus promised. (John 10:10) Please note one universal truth: if you run behind the material things of life, without judicial and godly wisdom, without common sense, then you’ll certainly pile them up, but you won’t be able to enjoy them, since you will always be too busy trying to attain more. 

So what’s the point of piling them up if you can’t enjoy them eh? None whatsoever! No wonder Bruh Paul advised us to use moderation in all things. (Phil. 4:5) The scholars’ term it ‘graciousness’ or ‘sweet reasonableness.’ I term it simple common sense! (smile) 

That brings us to this quote: ‘I’m never satisfied with what I do. I always think I can do a lot better.’ Now that can either be a bane or a blessing in our lives. We can either overdo it, by never being satisfied with what we’ve done, or we can be satisfied when we know we’ve done our best. 

Oh, we must always try to be excellent in whatever we do, for that’s what Christ expects of His followers, but at the same time He doesn’t want us to go overboard and be overly fussy. None of us is perfect, and some are just better at certain things because of the divine gifts they’ve been given. So please don’t compare yourself with others, that’s the surest way to bring unnecessary sorrow to your life. Just do your best and be satisfied. The Lord knows and sees your heart. 

Now there’s also the other side to that story, as this quote explains. ‘Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.’ And that’s the living truth. Fear, or the devil’s work is too big a part in too many of our lives. So much so that we can’t get around to working on our dreams. Remember some of Jesus’ favourite words were:‘FEAR NOT!’ 

And that pertains to both the physical fear of danger and the spiritual and emotional fear of not being able to work on the dreams and desires of our hearts that the Lord bestowed on us. Again, that invokes godly wisdom and common sense, which can only be truly found when we put out trust in Jesus, read His Word and believe His promises. Remember, faith is the opposite of fear. And as they say, when fear knocks on your door, the best response is to send faith to answer that knock. 

So finally, we come to this last quote, which sort of encapsulates them all. ‘Pause and remember – Every single event in your life, especially the difficult lessons, have made you smarter, stronger, and wiser than you were yesterday. Be thankful!’ And all of God’s people said a loud and proud: ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Yes, I’m being a li’l facetious there, because most of us don’t want to experience difficult times. But the truth is they do make us wiser and stronger than before we experienced them. 

For as James so wisely says, when talking about Christian living, faith and humility.‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye 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 this interesting explanation. ‘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…’ 

Yes, I know it sounds somewhat harsh and unreasonable, but the truth of the matter is that we don’t grow unless we go through adversity. It’s only in the rough times that we grow and mature, both spiritually and emotionally, so if we want to grow, we have to learn to face adversity mano a- mano. And the scholars wisely add: ‘1:4.The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’ 

And that’s the honest truth! So if you really want to grow in godliness, you just have to bite the bullet and find joy in your trials. Remember though, that the Lord has promised never to leave nor forsake us, and that He’ll work everything out for our good. That means He will ALWAYS be beside us in whatever trial we’re going through, holding our hands to bring us out safely and stronger on the other side. But in those trying times, like now, we have to remember the immortal words of Jesus; ‘FEAR NOT!’ Just relax in His awesome presence and allow Him to lead the way! That’s true wisdom! Much LOVE!

…fear can only be overcome…through trust and faith in Jesus… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 September 2020 Matthew 8:10.

Matthew 8:10.     ​Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

And on this bright Tuesday morning in late September of 2020, this turbulent and overwhelming year, I do hope friends that we are all bright and thankful and ever so grateful that we’ve made this morning’s wake up list! Glory Be! That means the Lord has more stuff for us to accomplish down here on this confusing and disaster filled earth, else He would have taken us home last night. 

Mama Mia! One of the best things we can do every day is to peruse the obituaries and give much thanks that our name doesn’t appear there. (smile) Oh, one day it will, but until then, we have a sacred responsibility to pursue, with diligence and excellence, whatever plan our Creator, Almighty God has purposed for our earthly lives! And one thing is for sure; our great and wonderful God NEVER gives us a task to do without the underlying anointing and grace to do it, and to do it properly too. 

That’s why we have to take the bull by the horns each and every day and work our work in His holy name. And though things will get difficult and heartbreaking at times, we cannot afford to sit down and let life pass us by, and then in our later years be filled with regrets and ‘I should haves.’ That’s why I believe these words of Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) from His Hour of Power Devotional are so important and encouraging for us today. 

This devotion is titled ‘A Life of Regrets.’ And in it, Gramps Schuller says: ‘Suppose you have a great idea, but having surrendered to fear of failure, you let the golden opportunity pass you by. You remain safe from embarrassment but now you are bored. Boredom doesn’t build self-esteem. What does boredom do? It gives you loads of time to think, “It might have worked.” To quote John Greenleaf Whittier: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: “It might have been.” 

Yes friends, how often have we already said those sad words in our lives eh? Much too often, I believe. That’s why we can’t allow the fear of failure, or the embarrassment it often brings to keep us back from doing God’s great work! Here’s how Gramps Schuller characterizes it: ‘You grow old, collecting and nursing a multitude of regrets. Why didn’t I do this? Why didn’t I do that? Why didn’t I buy it when I had a chance? 

To further depress yourself, you may see someone else seizing the same opportunity. They are successful and you become jealous. The pangs of further jealousy will make you more bitter and inspire further negative thoughts and actions. Thus fear of failure does not protect your self respect – it prevents and aborts it. If you heed your fears you’ll die never knowing what a great person you might have been.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth my brethren? It surely is! When we let fear rule the roost, we abort whatever worthwhile job the Lord has tasked us with! And that certainly doesn’t do His kingdom, or us, any good! And that’s why the Good Book, the Lord’s Word constantly reminds to ‘FEAR NOT!’ No my people, if we want to be successful ambassadors of Christ, we cannot let fear be the uppermost factor in our lives. It has to be faith! One of Jesus’ favourite admonishments was, ‘O Ye of little faith!’ 

Remember his fateful words regarding the Roman Centurion who asked for healing for his servant, and when Christ wanted to go to his house, he said that it wasn’t necessary. ‘I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.’ (Matt. 8:8) Now back then that was indeed a big step for a Roman army leader. So much so, that ’When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.’ (Matt. 8:10) 

Now wasn’t that somewhat shameful, that a Roman soldier could show more faith than the Jews, the Chosen People of God, to whom Jesus was specifically sent to heal and to save? It surely was. But that’s how it was back then, and how it still is today. The ones we show special care and affection for are ofttimes the ones who show the least appreciation for it. But it never stopped Jesus from doing His God-given job, and neither should it stop us. We need to persevere and endure in the faith come what may. 

At the end of our time, our words ought to ring out as staunchly and faithfully as Bruh Paul’s last testament to Timothy. ‘For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (death) is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that LOVE his appearing.’ (2 Tim. 4:6-8) 

Yes my people, those are words we ought to be able to say at the end of our lives because we have sincerely kept the faith and diligently ran the race that God had set out for us. And the only way we can do that is by hunkering down in the word, in prayer and actioning all that’s set before us with LOVE, grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, etc. etc. In other words, living our lives truly led by the Holy Spirit and bearing its good fruit.

As Bruh Paul said to the Colossians: ‘Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness. Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (qualified us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in (the) light .’ (Col. 1:11-12) 

Yes precious people of God, persevering through problems and difficulties, and forbearing and forgiving the faults and offences of others is the cross we’re called to bear, just like Jesus did it for us. That’s spiritual understanding which produces the necessary morality and happiness, and how we live in the light of His LOVE!

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know who and whose we are. In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, 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!’ 

And now it’s time to put those words into godly action! Much LOVE!

…when fear comes a-calling…send faith to answer it… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 May 2020 Revelation 21:4.

Revelation 21:4.    ​And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
 

Thank you Queen Vic (Victoria) for this holiday Monday, although we can’t celebrate it as we usually do in outstanding form, (smile) mainly because of the lockdown, the physical distancing and severe cleansing measures made necessary by the Coronavirus pandemic. But not to worry, we will get in some celebrations, just not as much as we usually do. We certainly won’t let your day go by without honouring your strength, positive attitude and good governance. That’s why they say B.S. baffles brains! (smile) 

Ah friends, in some of the old British Crown Colonies we’re celebrating a public holiday in remembrance of Queen Victoria (1817-1901). She ruled Great Britain from 1837 until her death in 1901. Her 63 years on the throne was the longest of any of her predecessors. And though a little more than five feet tall, she was reputed to be saucy and outspoken and not easily cowed, thus the prosperity of Great Britain during her reign. And who knows how she would have reacted to our current circumstances, but we know that our first reaction today ought to, and will be prayer, because it’s the most powerful too in our tool box. 

So without further ado, let’s get to our Monday Morning Battle Hymn nuh… And I can’t help but chuckle as I remember how we touted it as the antidote for all that ailed us. Now it’s still very useful, but this Covid-19 stuff has brought it up somewhat short. But nonetheless, the One to whom we pray is more powerful than whatever is in the world, and He can change everything by simply lifting a finger, so there’s no shame if our prayer takes a while to be answered. So altogether now, in confident humility, let’s call on our great God for grace and mercy in these disastrous times. 

‘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. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. Our anxieties have even deepened in the last few days because some restrictions have been lifted, and more of us have to go to work now. 

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 this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. 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!’ 

Ah precious people of God, right now we’re in some treacherous times, times like we’ve never experienced before. Times of pain and sorrow, sickness and death are manhandling us, the Grim Reaper seems to be in every corner of the universe at the same time, with no sure end in sight, well man’s end. But I want to remind us of two things; the first being that while there is life, while God’s breath is flowing through our bodies, there’s always hope that things will get better, especially if we walk in sincere obedience to His will. So let’s not fret and fuss and fear too much. Let’s have faith in our God to answer our prayer for healing in His own time. He’s always been faithful, so why should He change now eh? 

And the second is for us to remember this magnificent promise, though it be for another time: ‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.’ Oh my fellow saints in Christ, we are indeed shaking it rough today, and most likely will do so for the near future, but we have God’s faithful promise that one day, when the New Jerusalem comes down to earth, that all the sorrow and pain and death and crying will be no more! Now isn’t that something great to look forward to? It certainly is! 

Remember too that earth is not our real home, we’re only pilgrims down here, but heaven, or wherever Jesus is, that’s our real place of abode, where we’ll spend eternity with Him. Remember the basis of our faith and eternal life is Christ’s resurrection from the dead. As He said to Martha after Lazarus had died: ‘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?’ (John 11:25-26) 

Now friends, that’s the trillion dollar question we all have to ask ourselves today? Do we truly believe in Christ’s resurrection, and that we will live triumphantly with Him in the glorious end? If so, then we cannot allow today’s problems to frighten us so much that we give up. Remember the words ‘give up,’ are not found in Jesus’ vocabulary, and consequently not in that of His followers either. 

So please, I implore us this Monday morning in the middle of May 2020, during this time of pandemic, let’s stand strong and steadfast for Christ nuh! He sacrificed His life for us, the least we can do is stand a li’l pressure and hardship for Him, especially when we know for a fact that He who is in us is greater than he that’s in the world, and that our great God will eventually work all our problems out for good, because we sincerely LOVE Him and are called to do His work! Much LOVE!

…when fear knocks at our hearts…send faith to answer it…