Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 October 2020 Isaiah 59:2.

Isaiah 59:2.     ​But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Greetings and salutations, with much peace and LOVE, on this wet and dreary looking Thursday autumn morn my faithful brethren in Christ! Yes, that’s somewhat of a mouthful, (smile) but it comes sincerely from the heart, as we continue this most unpredictable and unexpected year of 2020. And re one of my usual musings, we’ve already reached the midpoint of October which just began the other day. (smile) 

Oh boy, although this year has been somewhat topsy-turvy, confusing and rather challenging, it has also passed rather quickly – at least in my humble opinion. That’s possibly because I’m not suffering as much as many people, who can’t find work, food nor money and are having a rather rough time of it all. Ah friends, for those of us who are having it fairly safe and comfortable, it behooves us to try and help the many who are not, who are facing unimaginable tragedy in their lives because of this seemingly unsolvable pandemic. 

This is the time when the church of Christ must step up, step forward and show the true colours of our Lord and Saviour. We possibly won’t have a better opportunity than this time to show the world what Christ is really about – in action, not just in words; LOVE and caring for both friend and stranger, grace and mercy, helping each other, praying for each other, sacrificing for each other, welcoming each other, where possible, with open arms, and encouraging each other to stand strong in faith in these turbulent times that seem to have no foreseeable end in sight. 

But that’s why we’re believers, our faith in Christ Jesus assures us that there will be an eventual end, and that we will come out good, even stronger on the other side; strong and more faithful than ever! And that’s what we have to try and encourage in all those with whom we come into contact – whether it’s by snail mail, e-mail, text-messaging, telephone or in person – that this Covid -19 business and the societal upheaval in general will not last forever, but if we get back to our roots, get back to the Father and Creator of all; the One who sent His Son to die for us while we were yet strangers and sinners, then our current sorry plight will definitely improve. 

But until we do that, we’ll keep on having disastrous times. Hear this scripture from Isaiah on the topic of national corruption and consequent suffering nuh. ‘Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened. That it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood (cause much bloodshed), and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity (empty words), and speak lies; they conceive mischief (trouble, evil), and bring forth iniquity.’ (Is. 59:1-4) 

Yeh friends, Isaiah was telling his people that the Lord’s hand was not yet beyond the reach of salvation for their abominable sins, which He laid out in more detail in the ongoing verses of the chapter. However, at the very end of that chapter He made this promise. ‘And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever.’ (Is.20-21) 

But yuh know what, even though the Almighty kept His promise, and made it so much easier for us to receive salvation through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ, we have fallen into the same well of evil in which the Israelites found themselves so long ago. Yeh, without a doubt, our current society is a reflection of that bygone one, and even worse than that, since we are purposely trying to turf God out of our society, and blatantly lording our sins and sinful behaviour over Him. 

But the Lord God Jehovah is still merciful and graceful and long-suffering, and the same thing He told the Israelites way back then, is what He’s also trying to tell us now: it is not too late to turn from our evil ways, though our sins separate us from His presence. But in our proud, stubborn and know-it-all state, we refuse to listen and persist in our sinful, iniquitous ways. Remember all those times Israel departed from God and the tough circumstances they then found themselves in? Now why would it be any different with us eh? 

But the wise thing about Israel is that they eventually remembered where their bread was buttered, woke up and returned to worshipping the Lord…and He took them back with opened arms and healed their land. It’s the same offer He’s making to us today my people; return to my fold and I will forgive and heal you. But no, we seem too proud and haughty, too big for our britches to admit our failure, our wrongdoing and give up our worldly passions and desires. Therefore ‘sufferation’ will continue. 

And it’s not so much the Lord’s doing nuh, but mostly our own ignorance and pride. Take a look at the pandemic; the only things we have right now to lessen the slaughter are physical distancing, wearing masks and washing hands, but we refuse to adhere to those simple protocols, while we watch unnecessary deaths consequently proliferate. Is that the action of a wise society? I very much doubt it. 

Anyway, enough preaching for today. (smile) People of God, let’s go home now declaring (yeahh!) our Thursday Blessings which the Lord has so magnanimously bestowed on us so that we can perform His blessed work down here on earth. All together now, in strong voice, with sincere hearts: 

‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’  

Now let us go out, or stay in, whichever is safer and more practical, and share those blessings with others, just as generously as the Lord shared them with us. That’s our bounden duty! Much LOVE!

…true wisdom…following the guidance of the Holy Spirit…not the lustful, fleshly desires of the evil one… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 August 2018 Matthew 7:7.

Matthew 7:7.   Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

And so we come to Saturday – Caribana Saturday in Toronto…and again I’m up before I planned to because of the many aches and pains coursing through the ole bod. But I don’t think they are as bad as yesterday morning. And in any case, though they might slow us down some, we’re not going to let them stop us. Glory to Christ Jesus who strengthens us and allows us to do all things in His name! 

So some people are getting ready to go out and party, some are sleeping in, and some are working, like me here, asking the Lord to show me what He wants me to write about today. But before we get to that, let’s look at some quotes from our friend Anselm, who aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And we have a full slate of them this week. 

The first one tells us: ‘Learn to let go.’ Now that is indeed some wise advice, because we often hold on to things and people we ought to let go, because their season in our lives is over. And holding on to stuff and people who’s best by date has expired, does us no good whatsoever, just causes more problems than we need. 

And that segues very nicely into this next quote: ‘One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.’ Yeh friends, letting go brings a kind of exhilaration and relief to our spirits, as we say ‘Yes!’ and raise our clenched fists in victory. 

And then there is this: ‘Fall in LOVE with yourself before anything else.’ Now there is some truth to that statement, but we have to be very careful with it, especially in these selfish and narcissistic times. LOVE for ourselves should be one about self-worth and self esteem, in conjunction with Jesus command to LOVE others as ourselves. 

Now there’s no way we can LOVE anybody else if we don’t first LOVE ourselves. So please pay close attention to how you think about yourself. Do appreciate and value yourself, but don’t put yourself up on any high pedestal, and think you’re so much better than others, for you’ll eventually come tumbling down. 

And the next quote poses a very interesting question. ‘Ask yourself if what you’re doing today will get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?’ Now that’s a question a lot of us need to ask ourselves! So many of us are doing stuff we don’t like, and are spread very thinly amongst so many things that we can’t focus on the thing or things we truly want to focus on. 

And in these days of multitasking and people having to work at several jobs just to make ends meet, steadily focusing on, and getting ahead in the area you particularly desire is difficult. But you can do it, if you know what you want, and are ready to make the sacrifices involved, and above all, with God’s awesome help. Remember NOTHING is impossible to Him! 

And last quote gives us: ‘Three life rules: 1. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. 2. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. 3. If you don’t step forward, you will always be in the same place.’ And they are all quite true. We just have to put them in the context of living for Christ and what He said concerning those things. ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ 

Yeh friends, it’s only when we venture forth, we step out in faith that things truly begin to happen for us. As Jesus continues: ‘For every one that asketh receiveth; and that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matt.7:8) And here Jesus was referring in particular to prayer, but in reality before we do anything, we ought to come to the Father in prayer about it. 

The scholars offer this explanation. ‘7:7-10. The three imperatives ask, seek, and knock are in the present tense of the original language, suggesting both perseverance and frequent prayer. Fervent and continual prayer is to be made on behalf of those for whom we are concerned. God promises to answer all genuine prayer (v.8). Everything we need for spiritual success has been promised to us. God leaves us no excuse for failure.’ 

Now that’s certainly a very interesting statement…and it’s also true. Our wonderful God has given us ALL that we need to be successful down here on Planet Earth. We just need to exercise our authority over it all! And what better way to close than with the words of our Leader, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as he concluded His talk on the above subject. 

‘Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matt.7:9-11) 

You can’t beat Jesus’ logic there my people. If we, in our sinful nature, know how to give good things to our LOVED ones, then can you imagine the generosity of the God of LOVE and Giver of ALL good things? No! Our puny minds won’t allow us to. But if we have faith, and persevere in fervent prayer, we will get some idea of how generous He is. Much LOVE!

…asking…seeking…and knocking…are the only ways…to truly find out what’s happening…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…