Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 September 2021 John 13:35.

John 13:35.      By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.

So mih bredrin, a warm and wonderful Tuesday to all you who treasure Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour! May His light and LOVE shine through us today, as we go about doing His awesome earthly work, encouraging others to come to Him and enjoy the amazing benefits of being in His blessed organization, His church, and also having a most splendiferous personal relationship with Him! 

What could be better than that eh mih people; belonging to Christ’s body of followers, but also having a personal friendship with him? Absolutely nothing! Yes friends, in Jesus we have the best of ALL worlds! Never forget that! So let’s stop selling both Jesus and us short by thinking and consequently acting like He is not enough, for He surely is…and much more too! 

Ah friends the ole fella’s just getting excited, as I usually do when I talk about the goodness and mercy of Jesus, because I’ve experienced so much of it during my long life, even when I didn’t know what it was. Yes, in hindsight, I can now see and realize that it was indeed the goodness and mercy of God that kept me going through some serious situations before I fully gave my life to Him. 

And since I’ve done that…Brother! I’ve seen so much of His undeserved grace and mercy, that I can’t even count or remember half of them! That’s why I can confidently tell you that Jesus is an awesome friend and Saviour. His work is demanding, but His yoke is light and easy to bear, while His rewards are outstanding! Glory be my faithful brethren! 

And all Jesus really desires of us is to show that most worthy and amazing attribute of LOVE in our everyday lives. When you break it down it looks like this: to LOVE the Father, LOVE Him, and LOVE ourselves and each other. Now that should not be as hard to do as we make it seem, since it’s basically showing kindness and goodness to those we meet. But unfortunately, it seems that the opposite and very negative emotion of hate, found in things like anger, bitterness, resentment, strife and unkindness, are much easier for us to propagate, since it’s that negative stuff that’s now holding our world hostage. 

How sad it is my people, that goodness and mercy can’t seem to outweigh hate and its evil companions. And it’s only when we receive Jesus and hold on tightly to Him and what He stands for that we can ever hope to defeat the enemy and His wicked ways. That’s why Jesus said to the disciples: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Yes, my fellow saints, that’s the big difference between the followers of Christ and the non-followers; the followers are supposed to have LOVE for each other in words and deeds, not just meaningless talk, nor as He blasted the Pharisees. ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres (whitewashed tombs), which indeed appear beautiful outside, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness).’ (Matt. 23:27-28) 

And sadly, that’s how too many of us supposed believers and followers of Jesus behave nowadays. That’s basically why the unbelievers don’t pay more attention to us, because we don’t truly walk our talk, that LOVE for each other is most definitely not shown in our daily dealings. Just think about all the divisions in the church of Christ nuh, with umpteen religions, sects, denominations etc., which only breed petty differences, resentment, anger and the whole host of negative emotions amongst supposed Christians. 

How can that sad state of affairs draw others to Jesus eh? The enemy is more together, more as one, than we believers are. No wonder they are in the ascendance right now, while we believers are running a far second place because of our many differences and lack of togetherness. 

And in his own way, John repeated Jesus’ invocation to the disciples in his first epistle. ‘And hereby we do know that we know him (Jesus), if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the LOVE of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.’ (1 John 2:3-6) 

Yes friends, as the scholars so rightly inform us: ‘The test of knowing God’s LOVE is keeping His Word… While no one can or need duplicate Jesus’ atoning (earthly) ministry, His disciples are called to imitate His devotion to God and compassion for others. See John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21.’ Those are indisputable facts, but unfortunately, our devotion to God and compassion for others is sadly lacking in these terrible times. And I believe it’s my bounden duty to highlight those two passages the scholars referred to above there. 

Listen to Jesus after He had washed the disciples’ feet. ‘If I then, your Lord and Master (Teacher), have washed your feet; ye ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.’ (John 13:14-15) It couldn’t get any clearer than that friends! Jesus is the example we ought to follow. Granted, we can’t do all that He did, but we surely can have much more reverence and devotion to the Father and show more simple compassion for each other. 

And Peter tells it to us thus: ‘For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.’ (1 Pet. 2:21) Don’t know what else to say nuh. So, for those of us who sincerely try to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, let’s go home declaring (yeah!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, telling the whole world who and whose we are; to whom we truly belong. 

Altogether now: ‘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!’ 

Now, it’s our duty to go out into the world and share that amazing LOVE and friendship of Jesus with the many who don’t know it! Much LOVE!

…it’s time for Christians…to play a strong and true game of…follow the Leader…                                                                                                           

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 August 2021 Philippians 4:13.

Philippians 4:13.     I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

So Wednesday has rolled around once more, in the quickly passing weeks of summer. And I wish someone could tell me why the weeks of winter don’t pass even half as quickly. (smile) They just seem to drag on and on and on. But that’s life in the northern climes, and with the help of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we handle them just the same, though we need to be a bit more careful in the nasty weather. That means with Jesus guiding our lives we can do anything that’s necessary. 

We have that ever-faithful promise from the Good Book, where Bruh Paul writes to the Philippians: ‘Not that I speak of in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ (Phil. 4:11-12) 

Yes friends, in these contrary times we believers must be good examples of contentment so that others can learn from us. And yes, contentment is something that’s learned, not in the classroom either, or overnight, but continuously through the hard knocks of life. We have become so accustomed to easy living that we complain about every single thing, and that’s the wrong attitude for believers to have. 

We need to be much more disciplined than we are; being able to tighten our belts in the hard times, or as the old people would say, band we belly when things rough, and then be able to live without airs and graces when the times get good. But it’s all a learning process, an acquired way of living. And what’s the basic underlying factor of our ability to do with or without? Bruh Paul tells us in no uncertain terms: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Phil. 4:13) 

Glory to God my brethren! Yes indeed! Christ is the one who gives us the strength to live that contented life, both in need or in prosperity! Christ is the one who enables us to adapt to the various situations we encounter in this crazy and undisciplined world. Whatever He tells us to do, or wherever He sends us, He gives us the wherewithal to handle whatever comes against us. But the problem is that we don’t pay sufficient attention to Christ’s commands, that’s why we so often find ourselves in hot water, or out of our league. 

Then we blame Him, but we are the ones who need to bear the blame for our lack of obedience to His instructions. Remember Jesus’ warning to the disciples: ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:4-5) 

And I like how after all the palaver, Jesus throws in that last statement that clarifies the whole situation: ‘for without me ye can do nothing.’ And that’s a fact friends! Without Christ in our lives, we can’t do much of anything that’s really worthwhile. But with Him running the show, oh brother, we can be supermen, do miracles, show wonders, prophecy, speak in tongues, etc. etc.! That’s why Christ is such a valuable part of our lives. 

And one thing I like about Jesus is that He does not mince words, but tells it straight and true. As He said above, ‘for without me ye can do nothing,’ later on He tells the disciples: ‘Ye are my friends, if ye do what I command you.’ (John 15:14) And earlier on He was just as blunt: ‘If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15) And again He tells them: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Yuh see friends, our entire discipleship is based on keeping the commands of Christ, which basically boil down to having LOVE for each other, that’s treating each other kindly and with compassion, like Christ treats us. And only as we show that LOVE for each other to the world, will they recognize that we are indeed His disciples. And I’m sad and sorry to say that we are not showing that LOVE for each other to the world as much as we need to. 

That’s why so many are turning away from God, or simply refusing to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. They see us supposed Christians as merely a bunch of ole hypocrites, who talk a good talk, but don’t walk it, like the Pharisees of old did! And they are quite right! There’s too much infighting, dissension and evil doing within Christ’s church; too many petty differences that breed unnecessary resentment and strife. And until we clean up our own backyard, we can’t fault the neighbours for not wanting to run with us. 

So please my brethren, this time of much strife, sickness and natural disaster, is the perfect time for us to do that, the time to come together and show the real beauty of living for Christ. Remember Christ is depending on us, His ambassadors, His earthly agents to do His work with diligence and excellence, something we are currently not doing. Yes, my fellow saints in Christ, let’s raise the level of our standards nuh, instead of following the world and lowering them. That’s Christ’s desire for us in these trying times! 

Consequently, with that on our minds, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ. 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!’ 

Oh my, my! And please remember friends, that if we endure to the end, the future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! So please let that wonderful thought drive us this Wednesday morning as we go out to do Christ’s work. Much LOVE!

…until you start living for Christ…you will not know how wonderful it is…                                                                                                                       

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 August 2019 John 13:34-35.

John 13:34-35.    ​A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.
 

Oh friends, please forgive me for the lateness of the Bit, but the last two days have been pretty hectic, and I’m no longer a spring chicken…not yet old though. (smile) I’ve been trying to burn the candle at both ends, going to bed late, getting up early to write the Bit, then getting out and about for the whole day. Well it’s finally caught up to me. 

Thursday was a cricket match in the neighbouring city of Brampton, and then yesterday, Friday, was a funeral in the eastern city of Ajax, on the other side of Toronto. The turnout was so overwhelming that the big chapel was packed to overflowing and we had to sit in a holding area downstairs and watch the proceedings on close circuit t.v. 

The overlong glowing tributes of our friend made him sound like the perfect man. (smile) But I guess that’s how it is when we bid our friends a final adieu. We don’t recall their faults, just their strong points, like the Lord does in His wonderful forgiveness, casting away our wrongs as far as the east is from the west. 

After the hour and half ceremony we spent another hour in the cemetery, this time in the hot sun. Then we went south to another part of the city for the repast. That was a wonderful time, with good Jamaican fare; curry goat, rice and peas and jerk chicken. But the best part was the renewal of several friendships, with people whom we haven’t seen in ages. 

We were all a part of the young, well-educated West Indian Diaspora who migrated to Canada in the early seventies and changed the face of Toronto, adding vibrancy and colour, both literally and figuratively to a staid, old white town. (smile) People with whom we worked and partied in those long ago, cold, long winter days, but with whom we’d lost touch as the area expanded and we all became immersed in our building our new lives. That’s just the way it is with the big city. 

Unfortunately though, the duchess and I had to eat and run, because there were people back in our town waiting for us to come and pick them up to go to the Pan Competition in the heart of Toronto. So we left there around four, got on the toll road and hustled back home, changed, then hit the road again. Luckily though, for some unknown reason, on a Caribana Friday evening, the traffic into T.O. wasn’t bad, and we made it in time for the seven o’clock start of the pan event. 

That was good too, and better organized than in earlier years, though I don’t understand why they allowed some bands to play two songs and others only one. But the music was excellent. However, it finished around midnight and the duchess and my friends were tired, so we didn’t stick around to hear the results, which I’m sure, caused much dissent, as it usually does. 

But that’s the nature of pan competitions, everybody rooting for their own side, though knowing deep down that they weren’t good enough to win. The long and short of the story though, is that by the time I dropped everybody home, I didn’t get home till after one. And it was close to two before I finally went to bed. So it’s obvious I was late getting up. So that’s my story…and I’m sticking to it. (smile) 

Now let’s see if we can get in some quotes from our friend Anselm, who sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read ’em but all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em.’ That’s certainly interesting and true, because the day you were born and the day you died, don’t really matter. What matters most is what you did in the time period between those two days. And I guess a good example of that are the glowing tributes my friend Linton had at his last celebration yesterday. 

Now listen to this one: ‘Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.’ That should be a no- brainer my people, because it’s exactly what Jesus came to help us do; right wrongs, stamp out inequality and injustice, help the weak and fight the strong. So as a believer those things are expected of us. 

Then this quote speaks for itself: ‘When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.’ Ah mih people, I won’t call not giving thanks for all that we have, the good life we’re living, a fault nuh, but utter stupidity! You didn’t give yourself the ability to rise and see a new day, or the breath that’s still flowing through you. 

Remember Bruh Paul’s words to the Ephesians: ‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Eph.5:20) And to the Thessalonians: ‘In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess.5:18) Yes friends, even though our circumstances may be difficult or unpleasant, it’s our bounden duty to give thanks at ALL times! 

And this last quote says it all: ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in LOVE.’ Oh mih people, LOVE is the transcendent power of the universe! John said it thus: ‘Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (atonement) for our sins. Beloved, if God so LOVED us, we also ought to LOVE one another.’ (1 John 4:10-11)  

And Jesus not only gave us a living example of our quote, but also clearly made it known that He expects the same of His followers. ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ 

Oh friends, it couldn’t get any clearer or plainer than that! And I’ll leave it there; just let those words speak to our hearts, and let the Holy Spirit convict us as it will, in regards to our LOVE Walk! That’s what it’s there for! Much LOVE!

…hatred stirreth up strifes…but LOVE covereth ALL sins… (Prov.10:12)