Today’s Scrip-Bit   18 March 2023 James 4:8a.

James 4:8a. Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you…

So, after all the problems of the work week, we’ve finally gotten back to our beloved lazy day Saturday! Praise the Lord! Isn’t it wonderful to know that there’s one day you don’t have to listen for the shrill ringing of the alarm clock, or whatever device you use to awaken you. And even if it does come on, you can turn it off with a grateful sigh? Of course! And even if sleep eludes you, you can lie in your warm, comfortable bed and just enjoy the laziness and pleasure of a lazy day. (smile) 

Some of us might even dare to roll out of bed and roll right on to the living room couch in front of the boob tube and watch the days happenings with bleary eyes. And when you see it’s just the same old, negative things that’s been reported as news, you shut down the annoying, intruding thing, then curl up on the couch under a warm blanket and drift off to some faraway place, where, in your dreams, you can see yourself frolicking on a golden brown, sandy beach, with calm blue seas stretching off into eternity, just inviting you to come and have a salacious dip. 

Wow! Now that’s the thing that dreams are made of! And I guess why the Lord, our marvellous and imaginative Creator, gave us the power to dream, the power to use the amazing imagination with which He’s gifted each one of His wonderful creations. But yuh know what, the Lord also desired that we use that power to imagine and dream to come closer to Him, to let our biggest dream be to have an intimate relationship with Him. And why is an intimate relationship with God important eh? 

Because, in the first place, that’s why He created us. He wanted to be in a covenant relationship with living beings who bore the same traits and attributes like Himself. That’s why God made us in His image and likeness, with thoughts, minds and ways, that are lower than His but nonetheless above all other living beings. Man is supposed to be His most masterful creation. And please don’t believe that our God was foolish when He created us and gave us free will to do as we choose. No, not all. 

That’s why there’s a space in every man’s soul that’s specially set aside for the Lord, and until He comes and sets up shop in that space, man is never happy, satisfied or contented. God’s intention from the very beginning was that all of His creation should come to know and LOVE Him the way He knows and LOVES them. However, when our forefathers, Adam and Eve, fell from grace, and sin became our heritage, we automatically withdrew from that closeness with our Maker and our eyes were turned to the lustful, evil and ungodly works of the enemy, Satan. 

But the Lord has never given up on us, He’s lays there ready to hear and help us if we come to Him. That’s why James tells us to ‘Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you… Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.’ (James 4:8,10) Yes friends, we need to draw near to God if we want to have the successful life He’s planned for us to have, but we can’t do that with all the sin and evil deeds and thoughts that saturate our souls, bodies and minds. 

Oh, we do need to be humble, penitent and sincere, but the beauty of our God is that He will accept us anyway and anytime we come to Him. As Hebrews tells us: ‘Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.’ (Heb. 10:22) And I know some of us have questions on the whole subject of why draw close to God, and even more importantly, how do we do that? I guess I put the cart before the horse, jumping into what we need to do, rather than first explaining the why’s and wherefores. (smile) 

So, let’s see if we can answer them to your satisfaction. As per why we need to draw close to God, why is it good to do so? One commentary gives us this answer. ‘Drawing near to God gives peace to our souls; peace from the burden of our sins and peace in the midst of the burdens that come to us through others’ sin as well. The nearness of God is our answer. His nearness is our need’ Remember I said that we each have an empty space set aside for God? Well, until He occupies that space, we will never have true peace or contentment. 

And that’s not the peace that the world gives us, but the peace that comes from God, the peace that passes all understanding. In other words, the divine peace of God, who’s thoughts, mind and ways are so much higher than ours. And peace is something the whole world is desperately searching for right now. But real peace can only be attained when one draws close to God. And how do we do that? Here’s a list of the basic things we need to do. 

The first and most important thing is to receive Jesus. Yes friends, receiving Jesus into your life is the first step to getting closer to the Lord. For as Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ (John 14:6) That sets the stage right there. If you don’t receive Jesus, then you’ll never get close to the Father. That’s all there is to it. Then we need to Study the Bible. Studying the Bible is essential if you want to grow closer to God, because that’s His word, His will for those who wish to follow Him. 

Next, we must pray, because prayer is how we communicate with God. That brings up the subject of praise and worship. We need to do those things since He expects them of us. Praise and worship show that we LOVE and glorify the Lord. Then there’s the dire need to trust Him. Yes friends, that’s a must. For without true trust in the Lord, you will be lost, like a rudderless ship floundering in the raging sea. Which brings us to this other very important factor, faith. 

Oh my people, without true faith in God, where will we be? Mired in the devil’s world of sin and darkness, sinking ever so slowly to hellfire and eternal damnation! But with trust and faith in Almighty God, our lives take on an entirely different colour, one of light, of salvation and eternal life. That’s why the Bible tells us: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ (Heb. 11:6) 

And once we’ve done all of that, we then need to get involved. That’s go to church, gather and worship with other believers, encourage each other, and help to spread the Word to all the world as Jesus desired in the 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) 

And that’s it in a nutshell friends! We draw near to God through Jesus Christ, for our good, not God’s. Please, let’s remember that everything God says or does, is essentially for our benefit, not His! Much LOVE!

…in this turbulent world…close to God is the place to be… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   8 November 2021 Ephesians 6:13.

Ephesians 6:13.     Wherefore take unto you (put on) the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Come on down Monday! We are waiting for you with bated breath. You might think you’re big and bad because so many people get intimidated by you…but not this bunch…not this group of Jesus followers. We have the Holy Spirit of Jesus, the most powerful assistant in the universe, dwelling within us, which means we can handily handle anything that you, or anybody else brings against us. 

So come on down today and give it your best shot. We going to eat you up and spit you out like a cherry seed, because that’s the power our Lord and Saviour gives us through His Holy Spirit. That’s why we can confidently declare: ‘We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.’ (Phil. 4:13) That means we are no longer afraid of you. We not tired and frustrated, because we gathered with other believers yesterday on the Lord’s Day and gave grateful thanks and praise and thus renewed our energy and commitment to Him. 

So today, this Monday morning, we bright and bold, just chafing at the bit, ready and eager to get out into the evil world and live for Jesus! We are going let out lives talk for us. Yes, we going to walk the walk! Let our lights shine brightly, like that city set on a hill with lights blazing for all to see, so that they can glorify our heavenly Father! That’s what Jesus expects of us, and that’s exactly what we going to do today! Glory Hallelujah! 

Oh mih people, what a mighty boast! But yuh know what? We can do it, because, as we said above, the Holy Spirit of Jesus dwells within us, and through Him we can do anything since He directs the mighty power of Jesus into our souls and spirits. And remember what Jesus said, if you have faith even as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains, and nothing shall be impossible to you. (Matt. 17:20) Well, I’m sure all of us have more faith that a mere grain of mustard seed, which means we can do anything that Jesus desires us to do! Bless His Holy name my fellow saints! 

And what a bam bam it’s going to be out there in that dark and ungodly world today when Jesus’ saints are unleased on it! It won’t know what’s hit it! The evildoers will be so shocked and petrified that they will just beg to embrace Jesus, to have Him come into their hearts and set them free from their evil lives. Wow! What a glorious time that will be. (smile) 

Now I know some of you are putting down my dream, like it’s a mere fable by Aesop or a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. But friends, that’s why God gave us an imagination and the power to dream. And remember we recently agreed that whatever we focused our minds and our imaginations on that it usually comes true. Well, that’s all I’m trying to do here now; get us to focus on living more seriously for Jesus, to stop being afraid and ashamed, and to start walking our talk. 

Please remember that our great and wonderful God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound and disciplined mind. (2 Tim. 1:7) Meaning we don’t have to be afraid of anybody or anything, and we have the endurance and the ability to stand and fight mano-a-mano against the evil principalities, the powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness when we are also dressed in His magnificent protective armour. That’s why Bruh Paul advised each believer in his letter to the church at Ephesus. ‘Wherefore take unto you (put on) the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph. 6:13) 

Yes friends, we face a formidable foe in the powers of darkness and evil, but as the scholars so wisely tell us, we ‘must avail ourselves of God’s provision lest the enemy destroy our Christian witness and ministry.’ Unfortunately though, that’s what he’s been doing so far, because we have not availed ourselves of God’s protective armour and power. That’s His belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the mighty sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, (Eph. 6:14-17) 

And what a mighty sword indeed is the Word of God! The author of Hebrews describes as ‘quick (that’s alive), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrows, and is a discerner of (able to judge) the thoughts and intents (intentions) of the heart.’ (Heb. 4:12) So you see the kind of marvellous protection and weapons we have to fight the evil foe. 

But there is one last thing that’s necessary in that fight to the death friends. Bruh Paul explains it thus to the Ephesians. ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph. 6:18) Yes mih brethren, prayer is ever important, both individually and corporately, for without it you can’t win the battle even if you have all the other protection. So, since prayer is that important, what better time to indulge in it than right now, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

As one voice: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems.  

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. Please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again, we say: Amen!’ 

But don’t forget my people, that the results of our prayer depends on the sincerity of our hearts and the keeping of our promises. Much LOVE!

…if eleven men can cause millions to come to Christ…why can’t we…those millions…with our marvellous technology…bring billions to Him eh…                                                                                                                     

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