Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 April 2021 Matthew 22:39.

Matthew 22:39.     ​And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.


Moving on…Moving on! Thank God we’re moving on! Yes friends, we’re moving on with Jesus through another marvellous day in the annals of our lives! Wow! And what a joy and pleasure it is to be moving through life with Jesus! A body couldn’t ask for a better companion, a better Lord and Saviour, a better friend, a better neighbour than Jesus! And it’s that last accolade, the topic of neighbours that I want to discuss with us today, because it’s a very important part of our faith, and I don’t think we are being as neighbourly as we ought to. 

So, I guess our first question should be, who is our neighbour? Now what did Jesus have to say about that eh? Remember when the foppish, arrogant lawyer tried to test Jesus by asking: ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt LOVE thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:36-40) 

That’s Matthew’s version. However, Luke tells it thus. (smile) The lawyer asked Jesus, ‘Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He, (Jesus) said unto him, what is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said’ – exactly what Jesus said above. ‘And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he (the lawyer), willing (wanting) to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 

And Jesus answering’, told them the parable of the Good Samaritan, which we all know. At the end of the parable, Jesus asks the lawyer, ‘Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves (robbers)? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do likewise.’ (Luke 10:25-37) 

Yuh see that friends, being neighbourly is basically showing mercy, kindness, LOVE and all the other fruit of the spirit to those around us. But no, it’s not easy with all the negative, angry and cantankerous people that we encounter. But it does get a tad easier if we have the first commandment truly embedded in our hearts, since all LOVE flows from revering our heavenly Father. 

And I like how the scholars explain it. ‘10:37. The lawyer cannot even bring himself to say “the Samaritan.” That’s because of the deep racial hatred between the two groups, although they were related by blood; the Samaritans being Jews who intermarried with Gentiles. ‘However, Jesus shows that racial considerations are utterly transcended by God’s commands to LOVE Him, and thus to LOVE others as He does, without prejudice or partiality.’ Hn! I truly wish that somebody or bodies could get that message across to our world right now yes; a world that’s so inundated with prejudice and partiality, that it’s behind almost every action we take! 

Now, before we get to the meat of our topic, I want to point out one other important aspect of being neighbourly, and that’s Jesus’ warning on the way His Father’s kingdom works. ‘Judge (condemn) not, that ye be not judged (condemned). For with what judgement (condemnation) ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete (use), it shall be measured to you again.’ (Matt. 7:1-2) That’s just to remind us that what we sow we will reap, or as Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘You reap what you sow, more than you sow and later than you sow.’ That means we can’t sow negative seed and expect to reap a positive harvest. 

And all of that finally brings us to the wise and wonderful words of Cousin Sol on the treatment of neighbours from Proverbs. Just a bit more practical advice to help us handle all the cerebral stuff we’ve been talking about. (smile) Cousin Sol begins thus: ‘Withhold not good from them to whom it is due (the owners), when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.’ (Prov. 3:27-28) Oh my people, how often do we do that eh! Holding on to what rightfully belongs to others, until we are good and ready to give it to them is ever so rampant in our current society; which means selfishness and greed are too prevalent. 

And Cousin Sol continues: ‘Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by (in safety with) thee. Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.’ (Prov. 3:30-31) And I don’t know if our world has ever seen such unnecessary animosity and strife between people who live close to each other, even between families and so-called friends, as we are seeing today. The petty squabbles that occur over unimportant things is mind blowing, And the courts are full of foolish litigation over petty peeves. The divorce rate is sky high, possibly higher than it’s ever been! We’ve become so adversarial and antagonistic to each other that it’s causing our world to fall apart. 

But listen further to Cousin Sol. ‘Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward (the perverse person) is abomination to the Lord: but his secret (secret council) is with the righteous. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation (dwelling) of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly (humble).’ (Prov. 3:31-34) 

Yes friends, I know we all envy the prosperous wicked some, but it’s unwise to follow in their footsteps, for it’s said in so many places of the Good Book that the wicked and their evil deeds will eventually be destroyed and what they have given to the righteous. So please, please, let’s not live merely for today’s pleasures and aggrandizement nuh, but seriously contemplate what will most profit us in the long run, what will put us in good stead with Jesus. 

And this last word of warning from Cousin Sol is indeed precious. ‘The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion (the legacy) of fools.’ (Prov. 3:35) And the scholars break it all down this way. ‘3:27-35. The needy neighbour is to be helped (vs. 27-28); the innocent neighbour is to be respected and left alone (vs. 29-30); and the wicked neighbour is not to be envied (vs. 31-35).’ That makes it oh so simple my brethren! So please let’s be wise nuh, so that we can inherit the glory that’s Jesus! 

And for those of us who have made that momentous and wise decision, let’s go home now proclaiming our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘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!’ 

And in these tough and trying times, we need to be reminded that if we endure to the end, our future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Wow! What an awesome promise mih people! So let’s hang in there till the end nuh! Much LOVE!

…it is much better to give…than to receive…wise men seek to give…but fools crave to receive… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 February 2021 Proverbs 4:12.

Proverbs 4:12.     ​For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of (able to judge) the thoughts and intents (intentions) of the heart.

So how shall we begin this bleak and cloudy Wednesday morning eh? (smile) And since the Good Book opened this morning on the words of Cousin Sol from Proverbs, I think it’s a good idea to start with some of his wise advice on the treatment of neighbours, advice we can certainly use in these selfish and greedy times. So hear ye, hear ye: ‘Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do so. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by (in safety with) thee. 

Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm. Envy thou not the oppressor, and chose none of his ways. For the froward (perverse person) is abomination to the Lord: but his secret (secret council) is with the righteous. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation (dwelling) of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly (humble). The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion (legacy) of fools.’ (Prov. 3:27-35) 

Oh my people, what wisdom! Wisdom for the ages! But wisdom we have not taken, thus the sorry state of our neighbourly behaviour. And here’s how the scholars summarize those verses. ‘3:27-35. The needy neighbour is to be helped (vs. 27-28); the innocent neighbour is to be respected and left alone (vs. 29-30); and the wicked neighbour is not to be envied (vs. 31-35).’ 

But sadly, so often we do the opposite of that advice, especially in times like these when selfishness, greed and personal advancement are all the rage. We do not help the needy neighbour, neither respect the innocent one, but are quick to engender strife and ill-will towards them. And oh, how we do envy and covet the things of our prosperous but wicked neighbour…what do we call it? ‘Keeping up with the Jones’…ofttimes to our own detriment and financial ruin. 

And I saw an interesting poem in our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that I think might be rather appropriate for us today. It’s titled the ‘Last Word.’ I wonder who shall have that eh? (smile) Please pray with me. ‘I read, “In everything give thanks.” I said, “Lord, I’m in deep trouble…You know I can’t thank you for this.” You said, “My word is a command And not a suggestion, dear child.” I read, “Your sins are forgiven you.” I said, Thank you for forgiving me…I repeat the same sin so often.” You said, I can deliver, as well as forgive.” I read, “Trust in the Lord at all times.” I said, “You know how earnestly I try.” You said, “My Word says Trust.” Lord, it seems to me You always have The last word.’ 

Of course! He’s the Boss, so whom do you expect to have it eh? You, or I! No way Jose! Both the first and last words belong to Almighty God, our Creator and Controller! And until we understand that deep down in our souls, we will always have problems with His Word. But we are certainly foolish to dispute or denigrate or disobey it? Why, you ask? I don’t think you really want to know nuh. (smile) 

Here’s how the Good Book describes the Lord’s Word. It’s our Bit as well as the Bible Promise for our poem above. ‘For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of (able to judge) the thoughts and intents (intentions) of the heart.’ (Heb. 4:12) 

Yes friends, that’s the mighty power that God’s Word has! It’s alive and sharp and discerns the thoughts and intents of mortal man! ‘Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in (hidden from) his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (must give account).’ (Heb. 4:13) 

Now hear the scholars.‘4:12-13. For the word of God:The reason given for one’s careful scrutiny of his life involves the reality that God is intently scrutinizing it. His word isquick(living). This word is first in the Greek and is the emphasis. God’s Word is not old or archaic; it is alive. It is not inept or inactive; it ispowerful(active). It reaches into the inner secrets of man’s mind to discern even histhoughts and intents.Likewise, God’s eyes sees man as though he were naked, unable to hide behind excuse or pretense.’ 

And I sincerely hope that last sentence opens our foolish minds and hearts and lets us know that we can’t hide from God, as so many of us try to do. Oh friends, we claim that our great God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. That means He sees all and knows all, and NOTHING can be hidden from Him. So let’s stop trying to do that nuh, for it’s a complete waste of time. Let me tell us another li’l secret here; (smile) the Lord knows our thoughts and intentions before we are even aware of them! Hn! Put that in yuh pipe and smoke it! 

Now here is some more interesting info from the scholars as to how the author skillfully uses the human terminology to describe how God’s Word operates .‘Immaterial Part of Man. 4:12.The writer here draws an interesting parallel between the joints and the marrow, which have different functions, yet both are part of a human’s bone structure. Thoughts and intents are also two distinct activities, yet both are activities of the mind. And while the soul and spirit are distinct in function, both have an immaterial character. 

When considering the nature of humanity, we must realize a person is a two-part being, that is, with body and soul. But in activity or function the body, soul, and spirit of a person each has a different function. Paul desired that his converts “whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:2). (First Ref. Gen 2:7; Primary Ref. 1 Thess. 5:23; cf. Prov. 4:23).’ 

And since we have a whole lot of food for thought there, (smile) let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Wednesday Wail, telling all and sundry of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. Altogether 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!’ 

And what a truly glorious future it will be, if we endure unto the end! Much LOVE!

…keep thy heart with all diligence…for out of it are the issues of life… (Prov. 4:23) 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 July 2015 Proverbs 3:30

 Proverbs 3:30.   Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm

Well my people, the summer is moving along briskly, but we aren’t seeing real summer weather as yet. It’s only a few days since summer officially began that we have seen truly warm temps.

We’ve been mostly getting temps in the low twenties with cloudy skies, but I’m not really complaining nuh, because on the hot days the heat can be a bit much. (smile)

If we’re past the middle of July and the heat and the hot sun aren’t blazing down on us, then something has obviously gone awry. By now the air-conditioning guys would be making a mint, with all the calls for broken air-conditioners, but I don’t think they’ve been having such a field day because we have not had any real need for them.  

I haven’t even attempted to turn on mine as yet. If this mild weather keeps up then we will certainly not be able to write off climate change as the product of someone’s wild imagination, but need to take it seriously.

Some days it feels more like spring than summer, and the strong, cool winds just exacerbate the situation. After a long and cold winter, everyone’s been looking forward to a hot summer, but sadly that has not really materialized as yet. And you can bet your bottom dollar that if and when it does, we’ll be complaining that it’s too hot. That’s just the nature of the beast. (smile)

Anyway, here’s a little something that deals with being a true Christian. I believe it was my brain-child (smile) because there’s nothing on the sheet of paper on which it’s written that acknowledges it as a quote from someone else.

It says: ‘A true Christian must be … a bright ray of light in this darkened world, this world of unbelievable darkness … a beacon of hope for the poor and downtrodden … a willing hand to help those in need … while speaking words of truth and encouragement…filled with a spirit of LOVE and understanding…’

Yes Friends, if we can claim all those conditions as part of our daily lives, then we can indeed call ourselves true Christians.

And then we have our Bit, which wisely tells us: ‘Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no wrong.’

Now why would we want to strive with someone that hasn’t done us any wrong eh? I certainly won’t. I don’t want to strive with anybody period, because that produces no Christian positives, only evil negatives.

However, some of us are so aggressive and quick to take offense and get uptight over petty and imaginary stuff that we spend a large part of our lives in involved in meaningless strife. That’s definitely not heavenly wisdom; in fact it’s not any kind of wisdom at all.

But some of us do get our jollies from that kind of behavior. So to each his own…but just remember that there are consequences to each and every decision we make, good or bad.

Now let’s delve into some scripture that agrees with our Bit. Hear Cousin Sol from Proverbs 26. ‘He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.’ (Proverbs 26:17)

Ah mih people, Cousin Sol’s analogy is something else yes! But it is the truth. We all know how a dog reacts if we try to hold it by its ear; it snarls ferociously and tries to bite the one who’s holding its ear. Strife, whether it belongs to us or not, does the same thing; it puts us in dangerous territory.

Meanwhile Bruh Paul told the Roman church, in the discussion on what is clean to eat or not. ‘For the kingdom of God is not meat (food) and drink; but righteousness; and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify (build up) another.’ (Rom.14:17-19)

Yes my brethren, if we are to be true followers of Christ, we need to seek peace and build up our neighbours, not tear them down in strife. And the author of Hebrews, in his warning against disobedience tells us in no uncertain terms.

‘Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God. Looking diligently lest any man fail (fall short) of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.’ (Heb.12:14-15)

Oh Friends, unfortunately in today’s society many are falling short of God’s grace and the root of bitterness is widespread, leading to many being defiled, which is not good for the body of Christ, the church, nor the individuals who make it up.

And we’ll close with some more wise words from Bruh Paul on personal conduct and relationships, this time to Timothy. ‘But foolish and unlearned questions (ignorant disputes) avoid, knowing that they do gender (generate) strifes.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive (quarrel); but be gentle unto all men, apt (able) to teach, patient. In meekness instructing (correcting) those that oppose themselves (are in opposition); if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of (so they may know) the truth.’ (2 Tim.2:23-25)

Ah Friends, one more lesson as to how the genuine Christian ought to behave. Please, let’s take it all seriously and consider how all that we’ve said relates to us as individuals and try our best, with God’s help to live up to the high standards that Jesus desires of His followers. Much LOVE!

…blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God… (Matt.5:8)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 July 2015 Proverbs 3:30

Proverbs 3:30. Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.

Oh Friends, it looks like this Friday is going to be a cloudy, rainy kind of day….

‘We don’t care what kind of day it is nuh; whether it be rain, sleet or snow!’ is the response I quickly receive. ‘We just thanking God that it’s Friday and the weekend’s here at last!

You don’t know the amount of backbreaking slave labour we put in this past week for an unappreciative boss nuh. That’s why we joyfully shouting TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes!’

Ah mih people, I know the trials and tribulations we all go through trying to make a half-decent life in this evil and ungodly world. It’s not easy, but with Jesus Christ as our guide, our Lord and Saviour, our Provider, we are enabled to handle it better than most.

And to help us stay with it, to get the right perspective for handling the upcoming weekend, let’s chant our Friday Chant with positive energy and enthusiasm. As one chanter now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through.

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’

Yeh Friends, that’s the kind of attitude we need to have for the weekend, not one of blowing off steam by simply partying it up and ignoring the wants and needs of body and soul.

Now here is an interesting list of things we can do to live a life of lasting significance. I got this on a card I recently received from In Touch Ministries, that’s the organization behind Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley).

It says: ‘Ensure that your interaction with others are truly meaningful and eternally impactful by: Modeling a steadfast desire to follow Jesus and a sincere faith in His will and ways. Demonstrating reverence for God’s Word. Teaching others how to listen to and obey the Lord. Expressing a sincere LOVE, a servant spirit, a forgiving heart, and a generous hand in every situation.’

Oh my people, isn’t that just so beautiful! It captures the essence of the true Christian life in a nutshell. And it segues in quite nicely to our Bit, which instead of being a do for the believer like the other statements above, is an important don’t. (smile)

‘Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.’

And that my people is also a significant statement for those of us who want to live an impactful life for Christ. We cannot afford to be constantly in strife with others, even when there is reason for it, much less when there is none.

Unfortunately though, there are too many of us in this modern world, Christians included, who just like to be involved in strife, be there reason for it or not. That my brethren is a rather unhealthy and unchristian attitude to life, which can only lead to serious problems and much unhappiness.

And if you don’t believe me, please remember what James tells us: ‘For where envying and strife is (self-seeking exists), there is confusion and every evil work.’ (James 3:16)

And that’s the gospel truth my people! Envy and strife and their negative family of emotions and behaviour only cause negative responses like resentment, anger, bitterness and hatred. And those are things we definitely don’t need in our already tough and confused lives at all, at all, at all. (smile)

Now let’s look at some scripture that bears out the contention in our Bit. Hear Bruh Paul to the church at Rome, talking about the service of LOVE to all. ‘Recompense (repay) to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest (have regard for good things) in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in (depends on) you, live peaceably with all men.’ (Rom.12:17-18)

Ah mih breddren, that is indisputable heavenly wisdom! Evil, dishonesty and strife are not supposed to be a part of the Christian heritage.

Now listen to Bruh David from Psalm 34 – The Lord hears the righteous. ‘Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and LOVETH many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile (deceit). Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it.’ (Ps.34:11-14)

And how many thousands of years later my friends, those words are still standing the test of time! The first thing we need to learn about God is that the negative stuff like strife, anger and evil have no place whatsoever in His dominion! He deals in the positives like peace and LOVE and goodness.

Ah Friends, if only a li’l bit more of those things existed in the body of Christ eh, the church, how wonderful life would be!

And on that solemn note we will end today. Please, let’s sincerely ponder how what we’ve said today, impacts our current lives. And then, with the help of Almighty God, set out to make the necessary changes nuh. Because it’s so sad to see God’s people involved in so much negative stuff, when the good stuff is so easy to come by.

It just takes the effort of a few serious and mature Christians to get together and decide to do away with all the petty, unnecessary nonsense that’s happening in the body of Christ. Much LOVE!

…Christ’s heart must certainly bleed…when He looks down and sees…the large amount of ungodly behaviour…being exhibited by His people…