Today​’s Scrip-Bit 13 March 2019 Matthew 19:21.

Matthew 19:21.   ​Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be (want to be) perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
 
What did the man say? ‘Fight one more round…just one more round…before giving up!’ Ah friends, that’s exactly what the ole fella’s doing; fighting one more round, as in going into the big city of T.O. for another medical appointment, and that’s also why he’s up so early writing the Bit! Aren’t you proud of him? I know you are! (smile) 

Yeh, it’s a pain in the rear end to be always going into the city for these medical appointments, but the long and short of the story is that they are for my benefit, not the doctors. So if I don’t go, who’s going to suffer eh? They might not even make less money since there are oodles of people lining up to see them. 

And today, in this season of Lent, where we all aspire to get more spiritual, (smile) we’ll look at an interesting situation in Jesus’ time that still holds good even today, and possibly more so than ever. It all begins with this quote from Uncle John (John Hagee), which says: ‘Your spiritual strength is measured not by what you can believe, but in what you can obey.’ Living truth that my people! Believing is easy, but obeying cuts right to the quick of our sinful hearts and desires! 

And we have a great example of that in the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking about eternal life. The Good Book reports it thus: ‘And behold, one came and said unto him (Jesus), Good Master (Teacher), what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 

And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt (want to) enter into life, keep the commandments. He (the man) saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: And thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.’ (Matt.19:16-19) 

Now that’s standard fare for us all, the basic dictates of the Ten Commandments that the Lord gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai, for the Israelites and all those who believed in Him to follow. And the Good Book continues: ‘The young man saith unto him (Jesus), All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be (want to be) perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.’ (Matt.19:20-22) 

Ah friends, yuh see what we talking about? Spiritual strength is so much more than just believing! That young rich ruler believed, but he just couldn’t obey. Selling his many possessions and then giving away the resultant funds to the poor was just too much for him to handle. And so it is for many of us in today’s very materialistic society. We believers who are supposed to be in the world but not of the world, are too often caught up in those same very materialistic situations like that young man of old. 

And the scholars offer this insightful explanation. ‘19:18-22. This list of commands in verse 18 centres on outward duties, rather than inward nature, which was the young man’s real problem. He protests that he had kept these outward demands. His luxurious wealth and self-righteousness had blinded him to his real weakness. To expose this, Jesus orders, go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor…and come…follow me (v.21). 

This he would not do and went away sorrowful. Jesus thus shows him that he had not kept the commandments at all. He LOVED himself more than he LOVED his neighbour (the poor), and he LOVED his possessions more than he LOVED God (“me”). This passage teaches the seriousness of true discipleship, but it in no way teaches the average man that he must sell his possessions in order to be a Christian.’  

No friends, the average Joe does not have to give away all his stuff, but I’m sure that we’d all agree that there is certainly too much poverty in our society, when overall there is immense prosperity. This therefore means that too few have too much, and too many have too little. Consequently there needs to be a touch of equalization, where some of us who have a lot, give to those who don’t have much. 

And that was the original purpose of the church; to help those in need, as we see from Acts 2:44-45. ‘And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted (distributed) them to all men, as every man had need.’ 

Yes friends, I know the church was much smaller then and they could do that kind of communal living, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the church today, meaning all of us believers, is definitely not as sympathetic and giving to the needy as Jesus would like us to be, because we are too attached to our earthly possessions. 

 Remember we are the hands and feet, the body of Jesus down here on earth, and whatever we do will reflect on Him. So for Jesus’ sake, my fellow believers, please, I implore us, let’s try and do better nuh. In this way, the world will have a much more accepting disposition to our Lord and Saviour and thus less souls will be lost to the enemy. 

Now let’s go home wailing our Wednesday Wail, telling all and sundry our sure-fire position in Christ. As one strong voice now: ‘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!’ 

Now that’s a future that none of us should  want to miss! Much LOVE!

…getting is very dependent on giving…you’ll get…as you give…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 February 2019 1 Samuel 16:7.

1 Samuel 16:7.   ​But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
 

And after the long weekend, I do hope that those of you who have to go to work today will make it without too many problems – read, hangovers, tiredness etc. (smile) Well my trusty desktop seems to be working decently again…Praise the Lord! 

Yes, I know it’s old and out of fashion and all that, but it’s like the old saying, new broom sweep clean, but old broom know the corners! And I’m just more familiar with my desktop than my laptop. The former just knows what I want to do and where I want go, especially when it comes to writing the Bit. (smile) 

Now here’s an interesting question for us from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) from his Hour of Power Devotional. I don’t know if I’ve ever posed it before, but I was led to do so today. And the question is ‘Are You Happy?’ I guess though we should pose it as being joyful, since happiness is based more on our circumstances than our beliefs. 

You can read it any which way you want, but this is how Gramps Schuller put it, and it does ask a very good question which most of us should be asking ourselves. Listen up: ‘Happiness – that deep inner strength that is made up of courage, faith, hope, and peace. Mix them together, and you have happiness. Happiness – the courage to hang on in the face of severe adversity! 

Happiness – the faith that God will have the last word, and it will be good! Happiness – the hope that even though you can only see the shadow, someday the clouds will clear away and the sun will shine again! Happiness – the quiet sense of self-esteem that comes when you know you have done your best. 

Happiness – the assurance that you have been merciful and kind to enemy and friend alike. Happiness – the quiet assurance that God will be merciful and kind to you, too. Happiness – the beautiful belief that this life, no matter how difficult it may be, is not your final destination.’ 

Yes friends, if we can answer yes to all of them, then we are giants of our faith! But I doubt that most of us can answer all those questions in the affirmative. The important thing though is that we can definitely answer ‘yes’ to some, and that we are working courageously and sincerely on the others. 

Our God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, because He knows that He created us as imperfect beings, but He does insist that we try to come up as high as possible. That’s why He looks at the secret motives of our hearts rather than our outward actions to judge our sincerity. And the Lord made that quite clear long time ago, when He sent Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the new king of Israel. 

 When Samuel saw Eliab looking big and strapping and king-like, He said this must be the one. ‘But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’ 

There we have it friends, right from the Lord’s mouth. So I don’t know why so many of us still try to fool the Lord with wonderful outward actions when our hearts are dark and black with unresolved, unrepented sin! We can fool our fellow man a lot of the time, but we can’t fool God at any time because He looks at the true story that’s hidden deep inside our sinful hearts! 

That’s why the Lord chose Bruh David to be the king over his brothers; He knew that his heart was right, as right as a human heart could be, and why, in spite of all Bruh David’s mistakes He never set him adrift, though he certainly paid for his failures.

And sadly, that’s what happening to too many of us believers today; our hearts aren’t really right with God. We put on a great Christian show on the outside, but on the inside the devil rules our spirit. 

As Jeremiah so famously said on the Lord’s behalf: ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (incurably sick): who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try (test) the reins (mind), even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.’ (Jer.17:9-10) I think that’s as clear as it can get. 

But the scholars offer this explanation: ‘17:9-10. The heart (cf. Prov.4:23) means man’s innermost being. The bent of man’s natural disposition, apart from God’s redeeming grace, is described as deceitful (lit. crooked) and desperately wicked (incurably sick).

Therefore, man cannot trust his own heart but must leave all to God who alone knows the heart and judges all men fairly. Only a person with a redeemed heart can live in proper fellowship with God (Job 11:13; 1 John 3:18-24).’ 

Please take a moment and check out those two scriptures my fellow believers, for they get right to the heart of the matter! (smile) And I’ll throw in this langniappe (li’l extra) for good measure. (smile)

Listen to Cousin Sol: ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.’ (Prov.4:23) Yes friends, the heart is the figurative seat of our intellect and that in turn controls our minds. We therefore need to keep tight control of our minds, because that’s where all of the battles are fought. 

And having said all that, let’s go home declaring (right ho) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the entire world know who and whose we are. In full voice with sincere hearts and a strong sense of purpose:

‘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 if our hearts are right, then let’s go out and action those statements, as Jesus desires of us. Much LOVE!

…whatever captures the mind…captures the man…