Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 February 2020 Romans 8:28.

Romans 8:28.    ​And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
 
Come Sunday morning, me and my friends are heading for the Lord’s sanctuary, to celebrate His day, to give Him thanks and praise, to call to Him for help, and receive said help through the hearing of His Word, the supernatural moving of His Holy Spirit and encouragement from our fellow believers! That’s what me and my friends are going to do this Sunday morning – or evening – come hell or high water! 

Oh my people, a li’l cold or inclement weather shouldn’t stop us from getting out to the celebrations at some time of the day. Just think what our lives would be like if Jesus didn’t feel like coming to earth and going to the cross nuh? Remember the Father didn’t force Him, but He agreed to do it after He pointed out that Jesus was the only choice the bunch of sinful ingrates He created had of bypassing the consuming fires of hell. So having to make a bit of a sacrifice to go out one day a week and praise and give Him the glory He so assuredly deserves, should not be a big thing. 

Anyway, as always, we’ll begin the proceedings with some worship. And today’s hymn is an old one we all know and LOVE. It’s titled, ‘It is Well with my Soul.’ It highlights the incredible story of faith of one Horatio Spafford (1828-1888), who at the height of success and prosperity, like Job, suffered much tragedy. A prominent and prosperous Christian Chicago lawyer, he first suffered the loss of his son, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed his real estate investments, then in 1873, he sent his wife and four daughters on a boat trip to Europe. 

However, a few days later, he received a telegram from his wife that said: ‘Saved alone…’ The boat had been shipwrecked and all four daughters lost. And ostensibly this oldie but goldie was created a short time later when Spafford on his way to meet his wife, was passing over the area where his daughters lost their lives. Now having heard that background, let’s open our hearts and voices to high heaven in a soulful and harmonious rendition of this testament to faith, and the resilience that can be found in Christ when it’s called for. 

As one now: ‘When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul (Chorus: It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.) Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Chorus) My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul (Chorus) 

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Chorus) But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul! (Chorus) And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul. It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.’ 

Oh my people, what strong, incredible faith, what inordinate trust what herculean courage was called for to pen those awesome, but oh so true words! I doubt many believers (steups!) would have been able to do it, because not many of us have those magnanimous parts. Many of us would have been cursing God, even turned away from Him. But Mr. Spafford, in his tragic circumstance probably remembered Job’s story, possibly even read it, and like Job, concluded that ranting and raving against God would not help the situation. 

He obviously rejected Job’s wife’s advice in favour of Job’s wisdom: ‘Then said his (Job’s) wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive (accept) good at the hand of God, and shall nor receive (accept) evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:9-10) Friends, that’s one of the most interesting and enlightening conversations in the Good Book. 

And the scholars explain it thus: ‘2:9-10. Job’s wife suggested that Job do what Satan had predicted: curse God. After all she had been through, it was no wonder she was ready to give up all hope. But Job recognized that both good and evil come from God’s hand, though one by His active will and the other by His permissive will. God can permit evil things to happen for good ends (cf. Gen. 50:19-20; Bruh Joseph’s story). In all this did not Job sin is proof enough that Satan was wrong and was sorely defeated. Satan does not appear again in the book.’ 

And I guess Horatio Spafford also proved Satan wrong, because instead of cursing God, he wrote a touching testimonial to His awesome comfort and consolation in times of heartbreak and severe tragedy. And the only thing we can really do in those cases, unless we want to drive ourselves crazy, is hang on to this awesome scripture verse of hope: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ No other scripture can give us a supposedly comforting reason for why bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. 

Friends, we just have to put our total trust in Almighty God and remember what He’s done for us in the past, and lean on His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. Remember His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, and He knows the end from the beginning, so we just have to surrender our all to Him, regardless of the circumstances. That’s what true faith is all about! Much LOVE!

…ours is not to question…just to trust and obey…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 September 2015 Matthew 7:20

Matthew 7:20.    Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Welcome all you saints of Jesus to this blessed day called Sunday! It’s the day when most believers gather together to sing, praise, worship, give thanks, adore and glorify our most wonderful heavenly Father, His remarkable Son Jesus Christ and our earthly comforter, Holy Spirit. 

What a triumvirate they are my brethren! There’s nothing else in this universe like them! And how could there be eh, when they created the universe and still control it? Oh glory to God my people! 

And we all ought to be eternally thankful and grateful that they LOVED us so much, that the Father sent the Son to sacrifice His holy and sinless life so that we worthless and sinful wretches could be reconciled to Him, obtain salvation and the promise of eternal life. 

Then to complete the cycle, when Jesus ascended back to heaven, they sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, to lead and guide and comfort us on our earthly pilgrimage. Oh all thanks and glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, now and forever more! 

Unfortunately though, many supposed believers don’t seem to understand and appreciate the seriousness and gravity of the Christian situation and just muddle along nonchalantly. But Friends, that is the most important aspect of our earthly sojourn; where we will spend eternity. Now you can be frivolous about it and just continue your merry way rejoicing, hoping that it will all fall into place on its own. 

But take my word, it won’t. We all have to make definite decisions about whether we’re going to follow Christ or not. And if we do decide to follow Him, then we have to get down to brass tacks and sincerely do what He desires of us. A wishy-washy, haphazard attitude won’t do, because Jesus desires diligence, faithfulness, and excellence from His followers. 

As His earthly ambassadors we need to reflect a good and proper image of Him and all that He stands for, both in our words and deeds. Remember Jesus’ words of warning in the Sermon on the Mount? ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening (ravenous) wolves.’ (Matt.7:15) 

And believe me Friends, there are a lot of false prophets in existence nowadays leading God’s people astray. But Jesus gave us a way to figure them out. ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil (bad) fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil (bad) fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.’ (Matt.7:16-18) 

Simple logics that my brethren. If you’re corrupt inside, you cannot bring forth anything that’s good. And if you’re good, you cannot bring forth bad or corrupt fruit. No wonder Jesus later on declared: ‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ (Matt.15:11) 

Yes my people, it’s what comes from the depths of our souls and our hearts that defile us. So we had better make sure that what’s in our hearts is good, so that we can produce good fruit. For as Jesus continues before our Bit. ‘Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’ (Matt.7:19-20) Gospel truth that Friends! 

Now here are some interesting explanations on those verses from the scholars. ‘7:16-20. A true test of a prophet was the conformity of his doctrine to the Scriptures (cf. 1 Cor.14:37; Deut.13:1-5). Their fruits refers not only to actions of their lives, but also to the doctrines they proclaim. The two trees are contrasted in relation to the fruit they produce. 

Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit consistently, while a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit continually. Therefore, the normal and consistent production of fruit, whether good or evil, in a person’s life will bear evidence whether or not that life is of God. Verse 19 illustrates the unfruitful life of the unregenerate who is cast into the fire, a picture of eternal punishment in hell.’ 

Now there it is in black and white Friends, exactly as I said at the beginning.  To be a true and worthy follower of Jesus we have to know and proclaim His doctrines, then bear good fruit which comes from an internally good soul, spirit and heart. 

On the other hand, if our internal self is rotten and wicked, then we won’t spread true and proper doctrines, neither will we able to bear good fruit, with the unfortunate result that we’ll eventually be cast into the consuming fires of hell. 

Oh my fellow believers, I don’t think any of us wants to suffer that calamitous situation. Therefore, I will encourage us to pay close attention to the words of Jesus that we’ve discussed, as well as these ultra-important ones. 

‘Enter ye in at the strait (narrow) gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait (how narrow) is the gate, and narrow (difficult or confined) is the way, which leadeth to life, that few there be that find it.’ (Matt.7:13-14) 

Yes mih breddren, as the scholars further explain. ‘One must come through the narrow gate in order to reach the path that leads to eternal life. Though many are on the broad…way, that leadeth to destruction (eternal separation from God), the gate that leads to life is so narrow that few there be that find it. Christ Himself is both the gate and the way (cf. John 14:6), and God enables men to find that gate (cf. John 6:44).’ 

So Friends, let’s get us off to church today and continually seek that strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life, for that is the wisdom of the ages! Much LOVE!

…Jesus saith unto him…I am the Way…the Truth…and the Life…NO man cometh unto the Father…but by ME…  (John 14:6)