Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 March 2020 Matthew 23:28.

Matthew 23:28.    ​Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness).
 
Well Saturday has dawned dry and sunshiny… Thank the Lord yes! Unlike yesterday, which had a constant drizzling of snow in all it’s various shapes and sizes; wet, dry, light, heavy. Thankfully though, none of it stayed on the ground and we’re now looking forward to a warm weekend. Glory be! I’m not accustomed to this cold and snow business nuh! (smile) Somebody was against me yesterday, or trying to send me some kind of message, because on my first day back from ‘paradisiacal’ Jamaica, every time I looked out the window all I saw was this white stuff floating down from the heavens. Chuh man! It’s enough to depress a body! (smile) 

But now it’s Saturday, a new and different day; one filled with the many new mercies and compassions of our magnificent and magnanimous God! Bless His holy name! So 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. And this first one says: ‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.’ And it’s strange how all of us can look at the same thing and see something different. A good example of that is a ghetto or a sorrowful person. 

Some of us will be disgusted by either sight and simply walk away as quickly as possible. On the other hand, some will see the sad plight of the place and person and be filled with compassion, and feel a burning desire to help.’ It’s all in our attitudes friends, the state of our hearts. And as believers in Christ, we ought to display the latter attitude. Our hearts ought to be filled with compassion for the lost, the sick and lonely, like Jesus’ heart was, and still is filled with compassion for us. 

And then there’s this: ‘A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.’ I guess the basic premise there is greed. How many things do we need to feel materially wealthy, as opposed to how many things we don’t need, because we’re spiritually rich? Now that’s a good question. And the best answer I can give is Jesus’ warning: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) The things of the world ought not to have us in such a deadly grip that we don’t put the Lord first place in our lives. 

And the next quote says: ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’ Now that should be obvious, since it’s basic common sense. But it also implies that we will be growing in the meanwhile. However, unfortunately, a lot of us are not growing, or in the way we should, and that includes believers. So how can we do better eh? That means we have to try our best to grow in the right way, in godliness, because we can only do better when we grow, and grow in the right way. 

We certainly waxing philosophical this morning oui! (smile) And we’ll also get scriptural too. (smile) For as James warns us: ‘Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.’ (James 4:17) So if we know that we should improve in a godly way, so we can do good, and don’t do it, then it just might be imputed to us as sin. Now that ought to stir us up to some godly movement. (smile) 

That leads us to this last quote, a relative to the previous one. ‘Persistence, perseverance, and continuous improvement are the ingredients for forming a successful person.’ And that’s the God awesome truth! Regardless of how rich and educated you are, even if you are filled with Bible knowledge, you will not be successful unless you put some blood, sweat and tears into your endeavour, whatever it may be. Yes friends, even when you know and practice the Word of God, persistence and perseverance are still necessary to be successful. 

And these well known words of Calvin Coolidge, (1872-1933) the 30th President of the U.S. puts it all in the proper perspective. ‘Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.’ And that’s no lie, since you can’t solve a problem unless you keep pressing on to solve it. Philosophy 101! 

Unfortunately though, we as true believers in Christ Jesus need those words more than any other set of people in our current world, because we drastically need to step up our fight against the evil and darkness that’s shrouding our world like a blanket. We’re definitely not as persistent and determined as we need to be. There is too much disunity and dissension in Christ’s body, the church, and then it’s members are also  too laid back, lazy and compromising. That’s why evil is currently ruling the roost. 

And if you didn’t know it before, let me enlighten you now. We, the supposed true believers in Christ, are the ones who are expected to fight the good fight of faith, to run a glorious and powerful race in Jesus name! Remember, Christ expects us to be the salt and light of the earth. But we’ve apparently lost our saltiness, and talk about lacking in light – we don’t seem to be shining at all. You have to look hard to find a decent Christian these days. Remember we are to be known by our works… 

Well, not enough of us are doing enough sincere works with the right motives, so that we can be noticeable and have others come to want Jesus. Instead, the main word you’ll hear re Christians is ‘hypocrite!’ And sadly that’s the truth, because we’ve become so much like the Pharisees that Jesus condemned in Matt. 23, like whitewashed  tombs, who appear beautiful on the outside but on the inside it’s another story. ‘Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness.)’ 

And unfortunately that can be said of too many supposed believers today, and it’s a convenient excuse for many who refuse to go to church because there are too many hypocrites within its walls. But the truth of the matter friends, is that we are ALL hypocritical in some respect and to some degree, thus going to church will only add one more to the group. (smile) Seriously though my brethren, it’s time we stop being so clean and righteous on the outside and so sinful and nasty on the inside because it doesn’t draw others to Christ, just turns them away. 

So please, let’s ask the Lord, starting right now, to clean us up inside nuh, so that both sides of us will truly be the same and we can then be good and sincere ambassadors of Christ. Much LOVE!

…it’s what comes out of the mouth…that defiles a man…not what goes in… (Matt.15:11)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 February 2020 Luke 14:33.

Luke 14:33.    ​So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that the hath, he cannot be my disciple.
 
Yeah! It’s the first day… the first day of the week my brethren. It’s Sunday…all day! And you know what that means, the church doors are open ready to welcome whosoever wants to come, but hoping that everybody will come. Yeh friends, that’s the hope of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that all will come to salvation and thus become a member of His earthly organization called the church, and, on a regular basis, show their faces at the physical structures created for those blessed members to come and celebrate, give thanks and praise and receive heavenly succour, so that we can go about His business the upcoming week with vim and vigour, zest and godly energy! 

And for those of us who have accepted that glorious invitation, let’s begin the proceedings as we always do, with a song, a song of worship and thanksgiving, praise and gratitude. And today’s song is a popular hymn with lyrics by Judson Van De Venter and music by Winfield Weeden, published in 1896, and appropriately titled: ‘All to Jesus I Surrender.’ And do we ever need to do that…totally and completely, if we want to enjoy the good and abundant life He has planned for us. So let’s tell Him so now nuh, with sincere hearts and voices raised in praiseful sacrifice. 

As one soulful and harmonious choir: ‘All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever LOVE and trust Him, In His presence daily live. (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.) All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me, Jesus, take me now. (Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Savior, wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine. 

(Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy LOVE and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me. (Refrain: I surrender all…) All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame; Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His Name! (Refrain: I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all… I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all…’ 

Ah friends, I do hope we were all sincere in that sacrifice of praise because the Lord is going to look at our hearts and check our motives, and if we weren’t sincere then we’ll have to answer why and not be blessed as we desired. And the whole thing is simply about surrender my people, surrender to the one who gave His sinless life to atone for our sins and made us right with God, gave us the wonderful option of eternal salvation by His resurrection, and is still advocating for us with the Father. It’s a normal requirement my brethren, if we want to enjoy the fruits of His efforts. 

Look at how we give our allegiance to earthly organizations, many of whom don’t do a blooming thing for us! Why then should it be so difficult to give our all to Jesus, who gave His all for us eh? We’re just being selfish and greedy and carnal. But Jesus made it quite clear when He spoke about counting the cost of discipleship. The Good Book says: ‘And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned and said to them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren (brothers), and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14:25-27) 

Wow friends, it sure looks like being a disciple of Jesus is not for the sorrowful or fainthearted! (smile) And Jesus certainly doesn’t want us to hate out families, because He is all about LOVE. He’s just saying that Him and His business must come first. Hear the scholars with some explanations. ‘14:25. Jesus had gained a wide hearing. Here was the temptation to water down the demands that discipleship entail. Yet in the following verses Jesus clearly does just the opposite.’ 

‘14:26. In comparison to one’s devotion to Christ, one’s family ties must be secondary. This does not set aside Jesus’ other teachings to LOVE one’s enemies, to honour father and mother, and the like. It does highlight that absolute loyalty to Christ is paramount, even though in many societies, including the one in which Jesus taught, as well as many today, following Him involves precisely the either/or that this verse sets up.’ Then Jesus in His inimitable style goes on to talk about building a tower and contemplating war, where the costs of both have to be considered before any serious commitments are made. (Luke 14:28-32)  

And the scholars say those verses are only found in Luke. And Jesus pinpoints the major lesson of the two stories in verse 33, which states: ‘So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that the hath, he cannot be my disciple.’ Yeh friends, to truly follow Jesus, one ought to count the cost. It’s not an easy row to hoe, but with His awesome help we can all handle it if we seriously commit our lives to Him. We have to be ready to give up a lot of stuff on His behalf. 

Remember the rich young ruler that came and wanted to be His disciple? (Matt.19:16-22) Jesus told him to first go and sell all his possessions and give to the poor and thus store up treasure in heaven then come back and follow Him. The young man went away sorrowful, because he had a lot of possession. Jesus didn’t really mean for Him to literally sell everything, but was merely testing His resolve. 

According to the scholars, His outward righteousness seemed fine, but he hadn’t really kept the commandments because his wealth and self-righteousness had blinded him to his real weakness; he LOVED himself more than he LOVED his neighbour, the poor. And he LOVED his possessions more than he LOVED God. 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 Christian. 

So don’t worry my rich and well off friends, you don’t have to go and sell your possessions to be a disciple of Christ. (smile) But you do have to pick up your cross daily and follow Him, as He says early on in Luke. ‘If any man will (desires to) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ (Luke 9:23) 

Now that’s the crux of the message my people: everyday we have to be willing to stand strong in His name and do whatever it takes to further His kingdom. Are we doing that in a satisfactory manner? I don’t think so, otherwise Christianity would be much stronger and much further ahead. So please, let’s spend some time today pondering our individual situations nuh, and ask the Lord to help us do better, because we all have room for improvement. Much LOVE!

…discipleship…means to be willing to forsake one’s self…every day… for Christ…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 September 2019 John 17:16.

John 17:16.    They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
 

And no, yesterday wasn’t a drizzly day like the day before, but it sure was cloudy for a lot of it. That means the Labour Day Monday celebrations weren’t marred by rain and the proceedings could be held outside like it ought to be. However, unfortunately, that also spells the end of the summer vacation period, it’s now back to school and back to work time for the thousands who were merry and carefree all summer long! 

And along with that comes a lot of complaining and anxiety as the cold weather and strenuous times of school and work become a reality. (smile) Yeh friends, good things don’t last forever…except the LOVE and salvation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And all God’s people said a loud and grateful ‘Thank You Lord!’ 

Yes my faithful Christian brethren, there’s nothing we should be more thankful and grateful for than the unconditional and amazing LOVE of our Triune God and their even more amazing and awesome promise of salvation to all those who sincerely believe, worship and obey them! 

It’s the second greatest thing that has ever happened to mankind! First, there was the original creation, then came the re-creation; the coming of Jesus Christ to earth in human form to save mankind from their abominable sins! Wow! How wonderful, generous and selfless was that eh? Words cannot fully describe it nuh! 

And though, on a mental level we sort of understand it, deep down in our hearts we still have some resistance, else we wouldn’t be behaving in the reckless, sinful and ungodly manner that so many of us supposed believers still do. Yeh friends, as the body of Christ, His church, and as individual believers, we simply don’t come up to scratch! 

We’re certainly not investing enough of our time, talent and resources in fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20) 

What’s in that not to understand eh friends? Absolutely nothing! We’re supposed to get up off of our fat, lazy, comfortable fannies and spread the good news of Christ’s gospel to all and sundry, save the lost, help the poor, spread LOVE, mercy, kindness and forgiveness! But are we doing that to the best of our ability? Certainly not! In our comfortable and supposedly prosperous society so many are poor, sick, suffering, and still oh so lost! 

And does the church, as it’s supposed to, helping as much as it can? Certainly not! The church and its hierarchical system and too many of us supposed believers are too interested in building wealth, power and success as the world sees it. Like we’ve forgotten, or simply choose to ignore, those memorable words of Jesus chocked full of heavenly advice! ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt.6:33) 

Oh my people, that is possibly the most important and significant advice that Jesus ever gave us! Our future, our eternal home lies in heaven, not here on earth, consequently we ought to be seeking the things of God, not the things of the world. Remember too that Jesus prayed the Father that He should keep us out of the world, that though we had to be in it to do His bidding, we should not be a part of it. 

‘They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them (set them apart) through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.’ (John 17:16-21) 

Ah mih people, two thousand years ago, Jesus even prayed for those who would eventually believe in Him, that’s you and me, to be set aside for God’s work, and be one in unity of spirit, so that we could be salt and light in this dark, evil and ungodly world. But we’re not fulfilling His mighty purpose; for whatever reason, too many of us have lost our salty flavour and our batteries need serious recharging! 

And the scholars offer these explanations on those verses. ‘17:18. Sent me…sent them means the mission of the church corresponds to that of Christ. Their tasks are alike – in fact, in purpose, and in results, as this prayer shows.’ And so it should be, if we are serious and sincere followers of Jesus Christ! ‘17:21. They…may be one conveys spiritual unity, not organizational unity. (cf. 1 Cor.12:13; 2 Cor.1:11; Eph.2:19; 4:3-16; Heb.10:25).’ 

Yeh friends, all those scriptures preach unity of spirit and purpose, however organizational unity makes it so much easier to have spiritual unity. And I’m sure that Jesus and Bruh Paul didn’t expect or want us to have so much organizational disunity, with so many religions, denominations, sects and what have you, that obviously causes a serious problem with achieving and attaining spiritual unity! End of sermon! 

But seriously though friends, we all know deep down in our hearts and souls that we can ALL come up higher in God’s work, that includes many of the leaders of the church, whose indescribable atrocities are turning more people away from Christ than to Him. 

I therefore implore us, if we’re serious about leading people to Christ, let’s clean up our acts nuh, come to the Father in humble and sincere prayer, offer repentance, ask for forgiveness and mercy and help to do better. He will NEVER turn away or not positively answer such heartfelt requests. 

Now let’s go home declaring (yehhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are! In strong and sincere voice 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!’ 

So please, please mih people, let’s go out today and do just that nuh! It’s all that Jesus desires of us! Much LOVE!

…the believers duty…to let our saltiness flavour the whole earth…and our lights shine brightly in its darkness…to lead the way to Christ…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 August 2019 Revelation 4:11.

Revelation 4:11.    ​Thou art worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (by your will they exist.
 

Oh my fellow believers, I bring you warm and plentiful greetings of peace and LOVE this Sunday morning from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Remember it’s the Lord’s Day; the day He rested after creating our universe, and He expects us to get in some rest today too, but also to join together with other believers in sincere fellowship in His sanctuary. And believe me, He doesn’t care whether our meeting place is a splendiferous cathedral, or merely a poor, broken down hovel. 

Remember what Jesus said: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20) Yes friends, our great and merciful God simply wants us to gather together to worship and praise Him and hear His Word so that we can be encouraged, our faith strengthened to go out and face the enemy with zest and confidence during this upcoming week. So today, please let’s make it a point to gather with believers of like faith and raise our hearts and voices to heaven in praise and exaltation.

And as always, we begin our proceedings with song, today’s being one supposedly chosen in a poll by the Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada, as being the greatest Christian hymn ever. We call it’ Holy, Holy, Holy.’ Some might not call it the greatest, but it surely is amongst the greatest! It was written by the Anglican pastor Reginald Heber (1783-1826), apparently for use on Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost, a feast day in honour of the Holy Trinity. 

As you can see it speaks specifically of the Holy Trinity with several references to passages of scripture in the Good Book. The claim has also been made that John Bacchus Dykes composed a tune for this hymn in 1861 and titled it ‘Nicaea’ as a tribute to the First Council of Nicaea, which formalized the doctrine of the Trinity in 325. 

And now that we have all that knowledge of the tune’s origins, let’s sing it in loud, harmonious voice nuh, making heaven sit up and take notice. All together now: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee; Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty! God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity! Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee, Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy. sea; Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee, Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be. 

Holy, Holy, Holy! though the darkness hide Thee, Though the eye of sinful man, Thy glory may not see: Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee, Perfect in power in LOVE, and purity. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! All thy works shall praise Thy name in earth, and sky, and sea; Holy, Holy, Holy! merciful and mighty, God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity! Holy, Holy, Holy! merciful and mighty, God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!’ 

Oh my people, I’m sure that all three personages of our Trinity were touched by that soulful and harmonious rendition! You know our God likes His praise. (smile) As the sons of Korah sang: ‘Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.’  (Ps.47:6-7) 

But the words themselves are ever so relevant to the believer’s life.  Just listen to these sentiments nuh. ‘Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.’ And so should it my faithful brethren. Bruh David enshrined it in Psalm 5 when he declared: ‘My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.’ (Ps.5:3) And our God sure is ’Merciful and Mighty! No doubt about that whatsoever. 

As Isiah said when the Lord commissioned him, and he saw the wonder of the Lord on His throne with the seraphim all around Him. ‘And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.’ (Is.6:3) And so it is indeed my people! 

Then in the second verse of the hymn, we have the vision of John per the activities in heaven: ‘And round about the throne were four and twenty seats (thrones): and upon the seats (thrones) I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment (robes), and they had on their heads crowns of gold…. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts (living creatures) full of eyes (symbolizing wisdom) before and behind. 

And the first beast was like a lion (representing strength), and the second beast like a calf (representing service), and the third beast had a face as a man (representing intelligence), and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle (representing swiftness). And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him (depicting movement); and they were full of eyes within: and they rest (cease) not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 

And when those beasts (living creatures) give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (by your will they exist.’ (Rev.4:4, 6-11)) 

And that says it all friends! The scholars though expand on it some: ‘4:9-11. All of heaven worship the Father. The angels extol His character, and the elders (church) extol His creative powers. God has the right to rule and the sovereign authority to judge the earth, because He is both holy and the Creator of all.’ Please let’s remember that and live accordingly my fellow believers in Christ, for it will stand us in good stead down the road. Much LOVE!

…our Godhead…perfect in power…in LOVE…and in purity…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 July 2019 Matthew 7:24.

Matthew 7:24.    ​Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a (the) rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a (the) rock.
 

Well it looks like it’s going to be a cloudy, ‘riney’ kind of day in my neck of the woods…at least that’s how it’s begun. But we all know that could change by mid morning and the sun could explode out of the sky in a terrible tantrum of heat and light that has us begging for mercy! (smile) Hopefully the sun will come shining through later, but not in such a striking and unpleasant manner. 

In the meanwhile, hear this fabulous promise from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. This one’s called ‘A Family Pledge.’ Please pray and promise with me: ‘We will permit God to use our conflicts and mixed emotions as lessons in quiet growth. With LOVING patience, without ridicule or judgement, we will support each other in the gradual untangling of built-in defenses. We will focus on each other as persons made in the image of God. 

We will seek to please rather than to pressure, to delight rather than to demand, to give rather than to get. We will share the humdrums as well as the highlights, the tears as well as the laughter, the defeats as well as the victories. We will not insist on perfection – rather we will anticipate growth. 

We will not compete for the mountaintop, rather we will climb the mountain together. We will wait for each other if one of us gets behind. We will lift our hearts in a celebration of gratitude for God’s amazing LOVE, which makes our family LOVE possible. We will LOVE each other as we do these things.’ 

Oh my fellow believers, what wonderful sentiments and promises! Wow! Can you imagine if only the Christian families truly decided to instill those values and plans and promises, how wonderful our world would be! The family would return to its rightful place in society as being the most important unit. Then the unbeliever would really know what a true Christian is like, because all that we’ve promised above is merely Christianity 101! 

Yes, it’s all about LOVING each other, putting each other first, letting go of resentments, of competition, and instead seeking togetherness, of sharing, both the highs and lows, the joy and tears, growing together. As it so strongly states: it’s all about ‘lifting our hearts in celebration of gratitude for God’s amazing LOVE, which makes our family LOVE possible!’ 

And is that ever so true! It’s only God’s amazing LOVE flooding through our hearts, souls, bodies and minds that makes a true family LOVE possible. But yuh know the most important word in that last sentence friends? It’s GRATITUDE! Yeh people, we’re not truly thankful for God’s LOVE, otherwise we’d gladly share it with each other. 

And gratitude, more than anything else is what’s sadly missing in our world! We’re not a very thankful or grateful society anymore. We’ve become so selfish and greedy, envious and jealous, that there’s no room left for thanks, or rather sincere thanks in our society. And the sad part is that that undesirable attitude is also present in Christ’s body, the church, much much more than is called for. 

And the Bible Promise for that reading is also our Bit for today; the wise words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on the two foundations of life. ‘Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a (the) rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a (the) rock. 

And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.’ (Matt.7:24-25) Oh my people, Jesus couldn’t have put it any clearer than that! 

And I just have to share the scholars’ explanation of those verses. ‘7:24-27. In drawing His concluding illustration of the two foundations, Jesus begins with the word therefore. On the basis of all that He has taught and illustrated, He concluded that all who both hear and do His sayings shall be saved. As a great master Counsellor, Jesus reminded His listener that hearing this message alone will not change his life. He must both hear and do what Jesus has said. 

The elements of the closing illustration are drawn from the simplicity of nature itself, the rock, the rain, and the winds. The man whose house collapsed was at fault, not because he failed to labour, but because he did not lay the proper foundation. The shifting sand represents human opinion and the doctrines of men as opposed to “these sayings” vs.28.’ 

Oh precious people of God, what more can I say eh, except to warn us about building our lives on the right foundation, for that’s what holds our spiritual houses up in time of adversity and storm. And the ONLY foundation available in this degenerate world, that’s strong enough to withstand calamity and storm is Jesus Christ! As Bruh Paul so wisely put it to the Corinthians: ‘For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor.3:11) And that’s gospel truth friends! 

So please, as we go about our business to day, I implore us to seriously consider what foundation we’re building our lives on, and if it isn’t on Jesus, then please change quickly, for we know not when the storms of adversity will suddenly come and knock down our houses built on shifting and sinking sand. 

And with those words of wisdom frothing in our hearts, souls, bodies and minds, let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know of 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!’ 

And I have to remind us friends, that if we hold that righteous and positive course in Jesus, then the future will indeed be even more glorious than our puny minds can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…nothing built on a foundation of sand can withstand the elements for long…but anything built on the rock…Jesus…can withstand the elements…forever…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 June 2019 Philippians 2:15.

Philippians 2:15.    ​That ye may be blameless and harmless (innocent), the sons (children) of God, without rebuke (fault), in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (generation), among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
 

Summer days are here again…Glory Hallelujah! Yes my people, it surely seems as though the summer time is fully upon us now, what with all these beautiful days all in a row with warm temps and what not! (smile) And it’s a long weekend to boot; Canada Day weekend where we celebrate our Independence from our Colonial masters. 

Yes friends, we’re a hundred and fifty two years old now; young compared to many other nations, but we’re growing in strength, faith, godliness and LOVE daily! Give God the thanks my Canadian brethren! 

And before we go any further, let me remind us of those wise, immortal words of Granny that are so applicable to this weekend of mucho celebration. ‘Sonny boy; drunk or sober please mind yuh business!’ Please take serious note my people and be very careful this long weekend. And is the workingman ever bursting to sing his weekend song, so let’s hear him nuh. 

‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui…and the weekend here at last! And was this ever a rough week because the slave master had plenty work to get out before the long weekend. And wow! Is Canada Day long weekend, which means party, party, party! And the weather supposed to be nice everlasting too, right up there in the high 20’s! Mama Yo! Are we ever going to mash up this weekend. 

Yuh can’t rightly celebrate Canada independence without a big bash! Lots ah eating and drinking, imbibing some good brew…and even some of the hard stuff too! I can imagine what cottage country going to look like this weekend. All the big shots and them going to be having a blast and the lakes and them going to be full ah boats riding up and down with parties galore on them. 

But is okay. I don’t jealous them their high life. I’m going to enjoy my low life right down here in the city. Me and my pardies, we going to have just as good a time…and possibly even better. So leh we just thank God for weekends and this wonderful country of Canada nuh!’ 

Ah friends, yuh see why Granny’s words are so important when coming to these big celebrations. In all the excitement and joy, we just liable to go overboard like the workingman’s planning to do. But as believers in Christ Jesus we can’t afford to go that far into the bacchanalian situation because the enemy will jump right into that opening and mess up our souls and spoil our witness for Christ. 

That’s why our Friday Chant is somewhat more reserved, thoughtful and even-tempered than the workingman’s weekend song. So let’s chant it now nuh, in loud voice, with a strong sense of purpose. ‘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!’ 

Yes mih breddren, ours is a more sedate and responsible life. Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t party and have fun too, but we just have to be a li’l more careful when we let our hair down and don’t give the enemy a chance to invade our souls and cause us to do wrong, because that is his sole purpose in life…get a Christian to fall flat on his face, both literally and figuratively, then laugh in Jesus face and gleefully declare: 

‘Look, look at yuh boy down there in the gutter nuh…drunk like a skunk! And he is the one yuh was praising up so much, about how he so good and godly. But yuh see how he really soft. Can’t even stand li’l bit a temptation! Hn, Hn, Hn! And it have plenty more like him out there too yes. Going to show yuh them every time ah conquer them!’ 

Oh my fellow believers, we definitely can’t have Satan taunting and laughing up in Jesus face like that nuh! That means we have to seriously mind our p’s and q’s, else we liable to fall in the gutter too. And the church, Jesus’ body, already has enough black eyes on it, it doesn’t need anymore. That’s why friends, this Canada Day weekend, we need to consider seriously these words of Bruh Paul to the Philippians. 

‘Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of (according to) his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings (grumbling) and disputings: 

That ye may be blameless and harmless (innocent), the sons (children) of God, without rebuke (fault), in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (generation), among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth (fast to) the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.’ (Phil.2:12-16) 

And all that basically means friends, is now that we’ve been saved by the free gift of grace from God, not by anything we did, we have to stay attached to Christ and work at keeping our lives going in a godly direction. Being godly and righteous doesn’t just happen automatically once we’re saved, we have to work at it, run our race like Bruh Paul did. 

And if we are sincere about running that godly race, then the Lord will help us do so through the leading, guiding and comforting of His Holy Spirit. But that means we can’t grumble and complain when things don’t go our way, neither can we live in anger and resentment with our fellow man. We need to be bright and shining lights for and of Jesus in this most perverse generation ever of mankind. 

Remember, God has a plan for each and every one of our lives, and though He’ll gladly show us what it is, and help us accomplish it, He won’t do it all for us, we need to do our part of the covenant and put in some elbow grease too. So this Canada day weekend, let’s keep all of that in mind as we party hearty, and enjoy ourselves, for that is one of the reasons Christ died in our place; that we can rejoice and be happy in living and working for Him. Much LOVE!

…I am come…that they might have life…and have it more abundantly… (John 10:10b)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 June 2019 Matthew 5: 13a;14a.

Matthew 5:13a;14a.    ​Ye are the salt of the earth…Ye are the light of the world.
 

Well like another beautiful summer’s day is in the offing friends! Glory to our great God! How many is that eh…like four straight without any serious rain during the day! Mama Mia! 

And with Jesus riding a sure shotgun with us, how can we not make assured and confident declarations (steups!) as these: ‘I am an overcomer through Christ!’ I am above and not beneath. The head and not the tail.’ (Deut.28:13) ‘I am more than a conqueror, through Christ who LOVES me!’ (Rom.8:37) ‘And the God of all grace, who has called me to His eternal glory in Christ, after I have suffered a little while, will Himself restore me and make me strong, firm and steadfast.’ (1 Pet.5:10) 

Glory to God my brethren! And I can speak personally to that last acclamation because that’s exactly what our God is doing in my life right now, making me strong and steadfast after all the medical problems I’ve experienced over the last few years. Yes friends, our God won’t allow us to go through what He’s not prepared to bring us through. 

But please remember, oftimes we need to go through the fire, not escape it, if, like silver and gold we need to be purified, and thus increase our worth and value with greater faith. And to help us believe that, here is this encouraging quote from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the pastor, positive thinker, and author of several books, amongst which is the memorable one, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking.’ 

Dr. Peale reputedly said: ‘Hope is the great power that can move you to success. Why? Because when a man expects to win, he does not hold anything back, but gives his project all that he’s got. Most people fail not because they lack ability, intelligence, or opportunity, but they fail because they don’t give it all they’ve got.’ 

Words of absolute truth my people, especially in this lazy, sitting on one’s laurels, expecting someone else to do it society in which we’re currently living! We’ve become so addicted to easy and cheap and right away, that putting out any extra effort is anathema, repellant, repugnant, to us, even when the extra effort will assure us of success. 

But friends, if we’re living and working for Jesus, then we’re required to make that extra effort, to go that extra mile, because that’s what His economy is based on. In fact no economy whatsoever can succeed unless that extra effort becomes a basic part of it. Only when one is diligent and hardworking and pursues excellence, will one be successful! 

No wonder our society is on its way down and out, because those elements are conspicuously lacking from it. But if we supposed believers actually behaved like real believers, and not like worldly people, you’d be surprised to see the difference in our world. But we only talk a good talk, and not walk the good walk we’re supposed to. That’s why the evil element of the world is now holding the upper hand. 

Remember what Jesus declared and expected of us: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth…Ye are the light of the world.’ But somewhere along the way we have lost our salty flavour and have hidden our lights under a bushel? Why? Perhaps through fear of the enemy, or more likely the extra effort it takes to be bright and salty. 

But look at what Jesus said about those situations nuh: ‘but if the salt have lost his savour (flavour), wherewith (by what) shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.’  (Matt.5:13) And also: ‘A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lamp stand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt.5:14-15) 

Oh my fellow believers, as a group, the church, the body of Christ, we have lost our salty flavour and our light is no longer shining forth into this evil world as brightly as it ought to, and thus we are being trodden underfoot by the rulers of darkness. Now that is a most untenable situation in the sight of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who admonished us to: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt.5:16) And unless we obey that command, then the church, Christianity will be of very li’l or no use to mankind. 

Hear this most interesting explanation from the scholars on all that nuh. ‘5:14-16. Ye are the light of the world describes the essential mission of the Christian to the world. He is the condition (salt) to meet the world’s needs and he has a mission (light) to the world. His light is to clearly shine forth into the darkness of human depravity. He is to set his light upon a candlestick, not hide it under a bushel, that is a basket. Darkness is the absence of light, and darkness alone cannot dispel the light, but the smallest light can dispel the greatest darkness.’ 

Oh friends, the Christian body, the church today is certainly not helping to reduce the world’s depravity, in fact it is contributing greatly to it, because we have become like the world, seeking the things of the world more than the things of God! Just look at the immorality, the scandals, the evil doings that are daily being uncovered in our churches eh! No wonder the unbelievers look at us and laugh and rightly shout out ‘Hypocrites!’ 

But to those of us who sincerely try to be salt and light, let’s go home today declaring (right ho!) our Thursday Blessings that the Lord has generously granted us to help us in our earthly work. As one, with sincere belief now: ‘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!’ 

And unfortunately, I have to remind us every week, that those blessings were not granted to us to selfishly hoard, but to share with the less fortunate, as we spread our salty flavour and shine the light of Jesus throughout this dark world! Much LOVE!

…how can we say we LOVE Jesus…and are a part of His body…his church…when we ‘re not doing as He commands eh…

 

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