Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 June 2019 John 15:5.

John 15:5.   ​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.
 

Well it seems like another ‘riney’ day is in the offing! Brother, when is it going to stop eh? Doesn’t look like anytime soon. But who cares eh? Oh, how I dislike that term that’s so popular in our current parlance! Because we all ought to care, since too much rain means flooding and a whole set of other problems. Some places up around the nation’s capital of Ottawa are still flooded, and some parts up there recently received a telling blow from a powerful tornado! 

So why don’t we care eh? Because we’re selfish and greedy and not truly Christian-like! Let’s try and change that nuh by praying for those who are suffering from the recent ravages of the unpredictable and contrary weather, while helping in any other capacity that we can. That’s the Christian thing to do. And to help us do that, here is a prayer from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional titled, ‘I Will Move…’ 

Please pray with me: ‘Lord, I want your heart to be in my heart. For in you I come alive, moving ahead from boring death to exciting life! In your promises, I will move from discouragement to hope. In your pardon, I will move from shame to glory. In your power, I will move from weakness to strength. In your providence, I will move from failure to success! Thank you Lord! Amen!’ 

Oh friends, therein lies the true way of life…in sincere partnership and cooperation with Almighty God, our Creator and Provider! Without Him in our lives we’re absolutely nothing! He made us, with a plan for every life, and He still controls them even though we have free will. Nothing happens in our lives without His knowledge and acceptance. 

Granted, some of the things He allows to happen are tough and burdensome, but those things are just tests and ways and means of building our faith, since we only grow during times of adversity. So if He didn’t allow adversarial things in our lives, we would just stay as Christian babies, forever drinking milk and not being able to eat solid food. (smile) 

And that’s not His plan. His plan is to have us all become strong and mature and adult in the faith – as Christ-like as His Son. But in keeping with that desire, our God is so wonderful that He never gives us more than we can bear, or if it seems so, He is always there to help us bear it. That’s why it’s ever so important to have meaningful and constant communication with Him through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Listen to Jesus tell it nuh: ‘I am the true (genuine) vine, and my Father is the husbandman (vinedresser). Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through (because of) the word which I have spoken unto you. 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.’ (John 15:1-4) 

Oh friends, don’t you like how Jesus just puts it out there, without any fuss or fancy! And then He rubs it in further: ‘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.’ 

And that’s oh so true my brethren! Without Jesus first and foremost in our lives we are incapable of producing much, if any positive fruit. But with Him taking a meaningful part in our lives, we abiding in Him, and He in us, oh, we’re capable of producing enormous amounts of good and wonderful fruit! 

And Jesus does not leave us wondering about what happens if we don’t abide in him, and He in us: ‘If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.’ (John 15:6) And the scholars tell us that that verse ‘refers to the judgement of believers at the judgement seat of Christ (2 Cor.5:10).’ 

So basically speaking, ‘Jesus explains the divine-human relationship by the analogy of a grapevine. Jesus is like the main vine. The disciples are compared with branches. The Father tends the branches like a gardener. At that time of year, branches of grapevines would be budding in Jerusalem.’ 

So the disciples would have understood exactly what He meant. That’s another wonderful things about Jesus; His analogies are always about things that we can understand, things that are prevalent in our lives, so we don’t have to go wondering what He’s talking about. 

The long and short of the story friends, is that walking with Jesus involves constant movement and growth, no sitting on one’s laurels admiring one’s earlier successes. If you’re not bearing good fruit, then the Father will cut you off and throw you away. But even if you’re bearing good fruit, He will prune you occasionally so that you can bear even more fruit! So you’re in a no win situation! Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t! (smile) 

The Father requires constant growth and the bearing of much fruit, and He pursues His plan with great conviction and sense of purpose, therefore we need to pull up our britches and get with the programme, if we say we are, or want to be true believers! Now let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. 

All together 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 people, let’s be wise and keep our eyes fixed steadfastly on Jesus nuh, and know that the future with Him will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…oh Jesus…oh Jesus…what would we do without you eh…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 December 2017 John 15:4.

John 15:4.   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.

Ah mih people, it’s the Eve of New Year’s Eve, and I guess everybody is getting their dan-dan (finery) ready to go out and tear the house down tomorrow night. (smile) Good for them yes, but the ole fella is going to stay right here in his yard and celebrate whatever celebrations he celebrates! 

The days for going out in the cold and then having to drive back home under the watchful eyes of Babylon are done. And this year I’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve at home, and not in the hospital. Glory to God! 

But what a bam-bam eh! To end up in the hospital on New Year’s Eve. But I guess the Lord was trying to tell me something. Let’s hope I learned whatever it was. (smile) Enough about my woes though, let’s see what our friend Anselm had to say this week. 

I only got three quotes, so I guess he must be a public servant, doesn’t work on holidays. (smile) And the first one says: ‘Never let someone else decide for you whether you are going to be happy or sad.’ And if we haven’t learned that lesson yet, then it’s high time we do. Other people should not control our happiness and sadness, but invariably many of us allow it to happen. Please stop it! 

And while you are at it, please remember to ‘LOVE yourself. Stay happy. Live life to the fullest, and focus on the best things in life!’ Remember what Jesus told us to do? LOVE our neighbours as ourselves, which means if we don’t LOVE ourselves in a healthy, non-narcissistic manner, then we can’t LOVE anybody else. 

And He also died that we could have an abundant life. So please don’t shortchange yourself of all the good things Jesus died so that we could have. Jesus was a calm, good-natured, generous, positively thinking fellow who enjoyed life, and so should we be also, if we claim to be His followers. 

And the last quote tells us: ‘There are greater things to be achieved in every new year, and each and everyone must prepare themselves to be great, not by words of the mouth, but by a lot of sacrifices.’ 

Ah friends, it is a proven fact of history, if you want to be great, you must be prepared to face sacrifices. No one has ever become great without sacrificing something to achieve that greatness. So if we desire to be great in 2018, then we’d better prepare ourselves from now to sacrifice something for that chance at greatness. 

And the best sacrifice one can ever make is sacrificing one’s own interest to follow Christ. As Jesus said to His disciples: ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.’ (Matt.16:24-25) 

Yeh friends, following Christ is the best route we can take in this life, but it also means giving up, sacrificing our selfish desires, and bringing them into sync with those of Jesus. And on top of that He declares in our Bit: ‘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.’ 

Ah mih breddren, only as we stay close to Christ can we bear good fruit. As the scholars explain: ‘15:1-9. Jesus explains the divine-human relationship by the analogy of a grapevine. Jesus is like the main vine. The disciples are compared with branches. The Father tends the branches like a gardener. At that time of year, branches of grapevines would be budding in Jerusalem.’ 

Yuh see mih people; it’s a family affair! It has to be, if it is going to work properly. That’s why Jesus refers to His followers as ONE BODY! Only when we all have the same interest at heart – that of Jesus – and are going in the same direction can we ever be successful. 

And that’s exactly why today’s church is not as successful as it ought to be; too many divisions, petty squabbles, selfishness, power struggles, strife, and all the other negative stuff that’s disrupting the world. Those things should not be as rampant as they are in Christ’s church. 

It’s obvious then, that as a body, we are not abiding in Christ, nor is He in us sufficiently, else the body would not be as maimed and sick as it is. We all talk a good talk, but only a small proportion of us actually walk that talk. So please, if we consider ourselves followers, disciples of Jesus, let’s plan to put on a better show this upcoming year nuh. Let’s make Him proud of us nuh. 

So when the Father complains about our complacency, compromise and lack of progress in becoming truly Christ-like, Jesus can excitedly and truthfully say: ‘Look Father! They are improving, they are getting better! There’s less compromise and complacency, and they are indeed walking their talk more than last year! Bless their souls!’ 

Yeh friends, that’s the good news we want to be giving Jesus this upcoming year of 2018. He deserves it. Much LOVE!

…as His church…we’ve let Jesus down enough…it’s time to give Him something He can be proud of…sincerely walking our talk…


Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 December 2017 John 15:4.

John 15:4.   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.

Well friends, Friday is here, and another long weekend is in the offing! Glory Be! I think we should have Christmas and New Year’s falling on a Monday every year yes, that would give us two long weekends back to back. (smile) But we all know it’s not going to happen, so let’s just enjoy it while we have it. 

And meanwhile some of us are still tired after the Christmas celebrations, and the three days of work, but now we have to get ready for the big New Year’s Eve bash, where the bubbly flows like water and people don’t know their A from their E and are hugging and kissing everyone in sight, crying out ‘Happy New Year’ as though everything will change in that one day. 

But no such luck, because as soon as we sober up, we’ll go right back to our old, nasty, sinful ways, forgetting whatever resolutions we might have made. And there’s no better time to introduce Granny’s warning, because New Years is the time of the biggest drinking bash. 

So friends, please remember ‘Drunk or sober, please mind yuh business,’ because when we overdo it, that’s when we get into serious trouble with Lucifer and subsequently our God, and sometimes the consequences of such error can be suffered for a lifetime. So please be careful, don’t give the devil any chance to break into our spiritual armour. 

And as always, the ordinary workingman is wearing his passion on his sleeve, as he declares: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! We only work three days this week, and if yuh see the massa face when he have to pay us for the whole week…that was such a joy to behold… and next week going to be the same thing because New Year’s falling on the Monday. And is the party ever going to be rocking this New Year’s Eve? It surely is! 

Plenty nice women, good food in abundance, good music and enough waters to drown a heard of elephants. Mama Yo! And is not the cheap bubbly we drinking nuh, but the expensive one. Yuh have to go first class at New Year’s! So let’s get ball rolling from now nuh…Party! Party! Party! We going to mash up the place this New Year’s Eve! Thank God for Fridays and them long weekends yes!’ 

And believe me friends, a lot of what the workingman is saying there will unfortunately come to pass this New Year’s weekend and Beelzebub will be in his glee, since when we drink up the waters, too many of us turn stupid and do nonsense. But please, this weekend I implore us to stay sober and run our race properly, don’t give the enemy a chance to inveigle himself into our affairs. 

Anyway, let’s chant our Friday Chant, which gives us a better perspective on how to spend the weekend. All together 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 mih breddren, whatever the celebration, we followers of Christ still have to keep our wits about us, keeping God first place in our hearts and souls. For if we don’t, we can seriously jeopardize our relationship with the Holy Trinity, and that’s not a very wise move. 

No wonder Jesus warned the disciples in our Bit: ‘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.’ 

And those are words of everlasting truth friends. Without Jesus we can do nothing! He is the one from whom we draw all our sustenance. Therefore, if we are not in Him and He in us, then we’re nowhere. Like the branches of a vine draw their power to produce fruit from the main vine, so do we draw our power to produce good fruit from our close and wonderful relationship with Jesus. 

And Jesus continues His analogy of the vine. ‘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. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto (for) you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.’ (John 15:5-8) 

There we have it friends, plain, simple and straightforward as Jesus is wont to put it. The only way to bear good fruit and glorify God is by being a disciple of Jesus. And that means letting Him live and work in you, so you can draw His life-giving power and carry out His wishes and duties. There’s no other way my brethren. 

So at the end of this tumultuous year of 2017, let’s sit down and ponder our relationship with Jesus nuh, see if He is truly in us, and we in Him, and if we’re bearing any good fruit. And whatever the answer might be, let’s turn to our heavenly Father and ask for His help to improve our witness, because we all have room for improvement. Much LOVE!

…walking hand in hand with Jesus…is the only wise way to do this earthly life…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 October 2015 Isaiah 40:29‏

Isaiah 40:29.    He giveth power to the faint (weak); and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

Aye Friends, it’s Tuesday and unfortunately the ole fella is late and somewhat under the weather. But I guess that happens in the best of families eh? (smile) 

My ole right knee’s been acting up and doing some serious aching for the last couple days… Steups! It might even force me to cancel an appointment with a medic in the fair city of Toronto later on today to talk about my shoulder. Chuh! 

But yuh know what? It isn’t going to stop me from going down the street later to see a big American Gospel concert featuring the likes of Hezekiah Walker and Donny McClurkin and a host of others. (smile) 

Isn’t life great? It surely is my people. The aches and pains of old age and otherwise might slow us down, but we must not allow them to stop us from doing God’s work to the best of our limited ability. 

And here is a most appropriate quote from my ‘P.S. I LOVE YOU’ Poster. It says: ‘No one is guaranteed happiness. Life just gives us time and space. It’s up to us to fill it with joy and meaning.’ 

Indisputable truth that my brethren! Regardless of how blessed or ‘unblessed’ we are, it is still and always will be our responsibility to put joy and meaning into our lives. So let’s stop looking to other things and people to make us happy and meaningful. It is our God-given responsibility to do that for ourselves. 

And having made that point clear, let’s turn to our Tuesday Mantra and declare it with absolute faith, joy and meaning. (smile) 

Altogether now: ‘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.’ 

More indisputable truth my people! And as the old hymn so rightly corroborates and reminds us: ‘What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!’ 

Yes Friends, whatever it is, good, bad or ugly, we need to take it all to Jesus and let Him help us sort it out, for without Him we cannot do much, but with Him…oh my people, ALL things are possible! 

That’s why we can believe our Bit. ‘He giveth power to the faint (weak); and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.’ What an awesome promise! 

Then when we add the seminal, the seed bearing scripture of Bruh Paul to the Philippians: ‘I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me,’ (Phil.4:13) ohhh, we get a most powerful and faithful promise that just lifts us up and takes us to a whole new level! 

Now I’d be rather amiss if I didn’t include the scholars’ explanation on that quote of Bruh Paul. ‘4:13. The apostle’s ability of knowing how to live skillfully on little or in prosperity does not mean that he is a spiritual superman. The reason he can live in such extremes is not owing to his own ability. 

Rather, he can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth him, thus enabling him to adapt to his various, ever-changing circumstances. God orders Paul’s various situations, and God gives him the strength to be content in them all, trying and perplexing though they may be.’ 

Yes Friends, the same thing applies to us all; the Lord orders or allows whatever circumstances we experience, then He, in His wondrous grace and mercy gives us the wherewithal to handle them. Now isn’t our God a wonderful Deity? He surely is! No other supposed deity does that for His followers. 

And then to cap it all, we have Jesus’ take on the subject. ‘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 15:5) 

Oh Friends, that’s what I LOVE about Jesus; He doesn’t hold anything back, He says it as it is: without Him, we can do nothing. And that’s the living truth! 

Now here is a short explanation on that verse from the scholars’. ‘15:1-9. Jesus explains the divine human relationship by the analogy of a grapevine. Jesus is like the main vine. The disciples are compared with branches. The Father tends the branches like a gardener. At that time of year (when Jesus spoke those words), branches of grapevines would be budding in Jerusalem.’ 

So my people, with all that evidence of Jesus’ power and LOVE and care and compassion, why do we find it so difficult to surrender our lives to Him eh? Why are we so reluctant to put our entire trust and faith in Him? 

I personally can’t see any good reason for that reluctance. But as we said earlier on, ‘life just gives us time and space. It’s up to us to fill it with joy and meaning.’ And believe me, the most joy and meaning to be found in this earthly pilgrimage is in concert with Jesus! 

That’s wisdom in spades my brethren! So please accept it, and put it into action. You will never regret it. Much LOVE!

…to know Jesus…ohhh…is just to LOVE Him…to LOVE and worship Him…with all our hearts mind, bodies and souls…what a beautiful way to live…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 March 2015 Psalm 27:11‏‏

Psalm 27:11.  Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain (smooth) path, because of mine enemies. 

Aye Friends, it’s Thursday, and we’re moving onward and upward with our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Wow! What a great privilege that is my people! To be in league with the Creator of the universe and all therein is truly something else!

So let’s give Him some thanks and praise this Lenten Thursday morning nuh, for first imbuing us with His awesome breath of life, then for the new mercies and blessings He has specially prepared for us today, and finally ask for strength and guidance to go out into the ungodly world that surrounds us and do His will; that of attracting souls to Him and thus furthering His glorious kingdom. Now that is indeed a mouthful, but not an impossible one. (smile)

Please pray with me: ‘Oh heavenly Father, we sincerely thank You for the breath of life You’ve breathed into each of us at our birth, and has allowed it to continue to this day. We thank You for all the wonderful work You’ve done in us, and are still doing. Being on Your potter’s wheel can sometimes be rough, but we understand the need for it. It’s the only way you can remake us into the image of Jesus.

Lots of thanks are also forthcoming for the many gifts of grace, mercy and forgiveness that You’ve bestowed on us. Your unconditional LOVE also calls for expressions of gratitude. Please help us this day to LOVE You as we ought to, and grant us your undying peace and wisdom, so that we can go out and diligently do Your Will, spread Your Word and Your LOVE! This we pray in the name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!’

Yeh mih breddren, it’s ALL about Jehovah God! And I found this quote on a piece of scrap paper yesterday. Don’t know if I’ve shared it before, but even if I have, it’s certainly worth sharing again. It’s attributed to Jack Layton (1950-2011) the late leader of the Federal Opposition party, the N.D.P. Jack has been reputed to advise: ‘Cherish every moment with those you LOVE, at every stage of your journey.’

And that is certainly wisdom for the ages my people! LOVING those around us not only bolsters our spirits and brings us joy each day, but it also lessens the regrets when a LOVED one passes away, whether suddenly or after a long illness. We don’t have the guilt and those negative feelings of not having told or shown them how much we LOVED them. And that takes a lot of pressure off of us when circumstances don’t go the way we want them to.

So Friends, starting NOW, let’s truly cherish those around us, as much as we can. Let’s both show and tell them that we LOVE and appreciate them. I’m sure we’ll see a big improvement in all the lives involved. And your luck’s in today Friends. (smile) Here’s another quote, this from Cark Gable (1901-1960), the famous American movie star of yore. Clark says: ‘The things a man has to have are hope and confidence in himself against all odds.’

And I quote this because though there’s some truth in it, those words ‘in himself’ can be quite misleading, for basically our hope and confidence is supposed to come from our union with our omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present God.

As Jesus warned His disciples, and consequently us: ‘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 15:5-6)

Now that’s truly telling it like it is! It’s gospel truth my people! Without the Spirit of Jesus working in and walking with us, we can do nothing really worthwhile. That’s why I took issue with Clark’s comment. Only when we’re walking sincerely with Jesus, and only then, does that hope and confidence truly blossom in our souls!

That’s why our Bit is so necessary and so powerful. Bruh David truly lays it on the line. ‘Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain (smooth) path, because of mine enemies.’

Yes my brethren, it’s only by doing it God’s way that we can truly live a righteous and godly life, despite the enmity that surrounds us. And Bruh David knew this from hard experience and used it to his advantage. Listen to him from Psalm 5 – A prayer for protection.

‘Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. For there is no faithfulness (uprightness) in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness (destruction); their throat is an open sepulcher (an open tomb); they flatter with their tongue.’ (Ps.5:8-9)

Ah mih people, our world is so full of wickedness and flattery, that if we’re not careful, we can fall for some ungodly stuff every minute of every day. And the writer of Psalm 119, in the Daleth section – Make me to understand thy way- prayerfully beseeches God:

‘My soul cleaveth unto (clings to) the dust: quicken (revive) thou me according to thy word. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest (answered) me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of (meditate on) thy wondrous works.’ (Ps.119:25-27)

Oh Friends, that’s only logical! We can’t talk about God and His wondrous works if we don’t know anything about Him! That’s why it’s ever so important, necessary and essential that followers of Jesus, read, study, meditate on and learn His Word. And having done that, we can then explain, expound and talk about the wonderful God we serve!

And we’ll end this series of messages on calling out to God for direction and help to learn His statutes, with these fateful, faithful and fruitful words of Bruh David from Psalm 143 – Teach me to do thy will.

‘Cause me to hear thy LOVING-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me (unto thee I take cover). Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.’ (Ps.143:8-10)

Oh my fellow believers, please let those words lift us up today, and keep us centred and focused on Almighty God as we go out to do His will, for it’s only from Him, can true hope and confidence come. Much LOVE!

…I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills…from whence cometh my help…my help cometh from the Lord…which made heaven and earth… (Ps.121:1-2)