Today’s Scrip-Bit   28 January 2023 Philippians 4:11.

Philippians 4:11.        Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

So, it’s our lazy day Saturday, but unfortunately I couldn’t stay in bed and be lazy like I desired, because I was just fresh like a daisy, rearing to go. (smile) Imagine that nuh! And what was I so excited to get up and see? Another cold and cloudy day with snow in the forecast. 

Well, if we are expecting more of the white stuff, and we still have plenty left over from the last bout, then apparently winter has finally reached my area. But that’s what we are all about at this time of year anyway, so we just have to grin and bear whatever comes our way. Therefore, let’s get our act together, and, as we do on Saturdays, check out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And this first one is rather interesting. It says: ‘I am letting go of things that don’t bring me happiness or peace.’ Wow! What a novel idea! (smile) And it would be ever so good if many of us in today’s busy and pressure-filled society would do that; just let go of the things that don’t bring us peace or happiness. And some of us might have to let go of a lot of things because we have so many things in our lives that are not bringing peace or happiness to our blighted souls. 

But the truth be known, there is ONLY ONE WAY to get true peace on this sinful and fallen earth, that’s by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. And why is that? Well because He is the Prince of Peace and His peace is far different than what the world offers. Listen to Him tell it: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

Glory Hallelujah my faithful brethren! What an awesome promise! And if you still don’t believe that Christ can bring you peace amidst the world’s troubles, then listen to this other affirmation of His. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) And that ought to sober us up and stop our flagrant, wasteful worrying because it’s the undeniable truth! 

Then there’s this quote: ‘My life isn’t perfect, but I am thankful for what I have.’ Now that’s the declaration (yesss!!!) of a mature believer! One who has peace in Christ and knows that life isn’t perfect, in fact it will never be perfect, but they are nonetheless thankful for whatever they have. 

Like Bruh Paul wrote to the Philippians: ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengetheneth me.’ (Phil. 4:11-13) There again friends, it’s our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who strengthens us and allows and helps us to endure whatever circumstance we encounter, and to do so with a thankful spirit. Isn’t He just great! He surely is! 

That brings us to this next quote: ‘No matter how good you are, people will judge you according to their mood and needs.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! Especially in today’s selfish and fraudulent society! It’s sad, but people are so needy and unstable, more so since almost three years of the Covid pandemic, that they are liable to turn on you for no good reason, on a whim and fancy, although you are doing your best to help them. 

So that’s the unfortunate state to which our society has fallen. It’s every man for himself, regardless of what that selfishness and greed causes. And in getting there, through the revered auspices of the social media, we’ve become a rather judgemental society. Yes, it’s now the custom for us to expound on matters that we know absolutely nothing about. And the sad part is that through the social media we can do that anonymously, without being taken to task for our atrocious behaviour and comments. 

But that’s the new world we live in. Jesus’ admonition on the subject has now been completely thrown out the window. Do we even remember that He said: ‘Judge (condemn) not, that ye be not judged (condemned). For with what judgement (condemnation) ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete (use), it shall be measured to you again.’ (Matt. 7:1-2) But too many people are getting away with unfair judgement because of the anonymity provided by social media. 

However, as the old people would say, we all get our comeuppance at some time in some way. The Lord is a just God and He will judge rightly and justly. And because of all the above, we come to this last unwise quote. ‘LOVE yourself first and everything else falls into line.’ Now that’s not what Jesus teaches, but with the sorry state of our world, you really can’t blame people if they behave thus. It takes a strong, confident and mature believer to put others before themselves. 

And how does Jesus desire us to live? He says: ‘Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:37-40) That means we ought to LOVE God, ourselves and our neighbours with all of our being. It’s of supreme importance in our faith walk. 

One of the many problems we face though is that too many of us don’t LOVE ourselves, and that’s not meaning in a narcissistic, vain or self-absorbed manner, but just genuinely caring for and liking ourself. When we look in the mirror, we must see someone whom we like, someone whose company we don’t mind being in, someone we’re willing to treat kindly. But until we can do that for ourselves, we’ll never be able to like our neighbours, because you can’t give away what you don’t have. So today, I’m pleading with us to get serious about LOVING God and ourselves, so that we can LOVE our neighbors and bring about the kind of world that Jesus desires. Much LOVE!

…in a world filled with hate and evil…only true LOVE and goodness…can make an appreciable difference… 

 Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ     

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   5 January 2023 Hebrews 10:23.

Hebrews 10:23.        Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith (hope) without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Well, although my computer tells me it’s going to be above freezing again, and partly sunny, I have my doubts, because the day’s opened wet and cloudy and ugly. It’s been constant rain for the last couple of days. Makes you want to sing that old ditty; ‘Rain, rain, go away, and come back some other day.’ But you know what, although the last few days have been dark and ugly, once we have Jesus dwelling in us, everything seems beautiful! That’s the awesome reaction His presence gives us. We can just go about singing and dancing and giving thanks and praise despite our prevailing circumstances. 

Awright, so that might be laying it on a bit too thick, (smile) we do have concerns, and every day is not a walk in the park, but when we hold on tightly to Jesus, we do have peace, our hearts are lightened and our souls gush with joy, simply because He’s with us. The One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, The Lord of Lords and King of Kings, Mighty Warrior, Wonderful Counsellor, The Prince of Peace, who’s kingdom shall never end. The One who’s name is above every other, that all knees must bow to and acknowledge God’s glory in and through Him! 

Wow! Can One body really be all those wonderful things? Oh Yes! Our Jesus can…and He is, because He is the Son of God, our Lord and Saviour: the One who sacrificed His sinless life for us on the cross of Calvary, so that our sins could be forgiven, and we be reconciled to God the Father. The One who’s blood flowed from His side, His hands, His feet and washed our sins clean, washed them white as snow. How could He not be our ALL in ALL eh? Especially now that He’s also our High Priest and heavenly Intercessor, sitting at the right hand of the Father pleading our cases, being able to empathize with our earthly problems because He too experienced them while here on earth. 

That’s possibly one of the greatest reasons why we can place our trust in Jesus; He understands from personal experience! As the author of Hebrews puts it so elegantly: ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into (through) the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (our weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:14-16) 

Oh my fellow believers, that says it all! Or, you might say it puts the icing on the cake! (smile) For there’s no better place to seek help than in one who’s already experienced our kind of problems. When we are sick, we go a doctor; to build a house, to a carpenter; to fix our teeth, to a dentist, to help us with prayer, to a pastor, because they are more informed and experienced in those fields. We won’t go to a pastor to help us build our house, or a carpenter to help us when we’re sick. 

However, the beauty of Jesus is that He’s experienced in EVERYTHING! That’s why He should always be the FIRST ONE we go to when we encounter problems, and not the last, like so many of us supposed believers do. He might send us to other mortals for help, but His ear, through sincere prayer, should be the first one to hear of our predicament, or our praise and thanksgiving. And yuh know what amuses, surprises but mostly saddens me, is that we talk so much about Jesus and all the marvellous things He is, has done and can do, but we don’t truly believe them, otherwise we’d revere and worship Him so much more, place every trust in Him, surrender our lives to Him without a doubt in our souls. 

It’s all a lot of blarney, deceptive and misleading talk, because we don’t live out our faith, we don’t hold fast to our profession (confession) of faith like the author of Hebrews advised in that passage above. But that holding fast to our faith is the most important thing we possess, for without our faith we are lost, lost in the darkness and doubt of this evil and ungodly world 

And the author of Hebrews revisits the problem in greater detail later on in his writings, where he admonishes: ‘Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith (hope) without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke (stir up) unto LOVE and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.’ (Heb. 10:23-25) 

And believe me my brethren, that day is fast approaching, the signs are there, and can, or rather, will come upon us like a thief in the night, unexpectedly, so we had better be ready. And that can only happen if we get serious about our faith in Christ Jesus and do the things we know we ought to do; like prayer, praise, thanksgiving, assembling with each other in holy fellowship, encouraging each other, and above all, LOVING each other like Jesus LOVED us. 

And that’s not merely my admonishment, but His. His own words were: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) The question now my fellow saints is whether or not the world, the unbeliever recognizes us as disciples of Christ? And the general consensus is NO! Because we do not LOVE each other as Jesus LOVED us! 

Can we call what’s happening in Christ’s church LOVE? All the petty bickering, backbiting, resentment, cliques, false teaching, divisions and scandalous behaviour that’s corrupted it, is not LOVE by any stretch of the imagination. His satanic majesty is overjoyed when he looks at the church and sees it so weak and ineffective. He knows then that he has divided and conquered it. But not forever, if we faithful are willing to get serious, to rise up, put on God’s armour and fight tooth and nail to save it. 

And please don’t say we can’t, for remember with Jesus in and with us, everything is possible; we just have to believe and live out that belief. And our God is so wonderful and generous that He’s bestowed many powerful blessings on us, blessings we don’t deserve but are needed to fight the good fight. We call them our Thursday Blessings. So let’s activate them now by sincerely declaring (yesss!!!) them. 

Altogether 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 every day! Amen!’ 

Now, having activated those blessings, let’s go out and use them nuh, put them to work, as the Lord desires, as we fight the good fight in Jesus’ name! Much LOVE!

…2023 must be the year Christ’s church…like the phoenix…triumphantly rises from its ashes…and once again…makes a worthwhile difference… 

 Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ            

Today’s Scrip-Bit   22 December 2022 Luke 2:14.

Luke 2:14.        Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

Well, Thursday, the fourth day of this Christmas work week has opened bright and sunshiny, but if the weather forecasters are right, we will be engulfed by a major snowstorm sometime today. Let’s hope that they are somewhat over-zealous in their forecast and it will not be a storm of major proportions, although many parts of North America have already seen some heavy snowfall and the snow season has just begun. 

But, turning to a more immediate and much better season, that of Christmas, hopefully you’ve already done all your shopping and whatever else is on your to do list, because if the forecast comes true, it will tie up everything in awful knots, with lots of places inaccessible, or dangerously so. And since the reason for this joyful Christmas season, this happy holiday time, is Jesus, it’s only right that we should talk some about Him. And what shall we say eh? 

Let’s see…that He was the biggest and best present ever given to man! Unfortunately, because of lack of hotel space, He was born in a manger, animal stable, in the city of Bethlehem to parents called Mary and Joseph, who had left their little village of Nazareth to answer the census summons of Herod the king. Everyone had to go to their hometown and register, and since Joseph was of the line of David from Bethlehem, he journeyed there with his pregnant wife to do the king’s bidding. 

The big difference in this couple though was that the child Mary carried was not Joseph’s but that of Almighty God, implanted in her womb by the Holy Spirit, so that the Saviour of the world could be born sinless, not of man, but of God. And that was the most important aspect of the whole scenario, because a child born of sinful man could not pay for the sins of men. It needed a sinless soul to accomplish that task. And, unfortunately, Jesus was the only one available who fit the bill. 

But nonetheless, He was born on Christmas day to much pomp and glory from heavenly angels, who told of His birth to the shepherds in the fields watching over their flocks. The shepherds were quite afraid at the sudden coming of a multitude of angels, singing praises to God, saying ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’ (Luke 2:14) 

Oh yes friends, to bring peace to earth and the goodwill of men to each other, was indeed one of Jesus’ jobs! The prophet Isaiah spoke of Him long before, when he said: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ (Is. 9:6) 

Wow! That big prophecy come true at Christmas, my people! And isn’t it interesting that the Son of God was born in a stinky animal barn, to poor parents, and the first persons to hear the good news of His birth were poor, ordinary, looked-down-upon shepherds? That’s because God wanted to show that His Son wasn’t coming to be a big-shot, be rich and famous, but to be humble and ordinary, to show that nothing was wrong with being humble and ordinary. 

In fact, the Lord prefers humility to pride and arrogance. Or, as Cousin Sol says in Proverbs, one of the seven abominations to God is a ‘proud look.’ (Prov. 6:17) No friends, our God cannot stand haughty, prideful people because they have no use for Him. That’s why He demotes and debases them with all haste. Unfortunately though, today, in our sinful and ungodly society, pride and arrogance rule the roost! 

Everybody’s avidly searching for individual power, so that they can walk about with pride, then use that power to browbeat others. Today seems to be set once more for the rise of the dictator. And in my early years studying history, I always wondered how people got to be dictators. Well, now I’m seeing it unfurl before my very eyes. Foolish people bow down to arrogant men with a little power, fall for their lies and deceits, which allows them to increase their power, until they are all-powerful and cruelly lord it over the same ones who gave them that power! 

Hn! Echoes of his satanic majesty! But let’s not forget Bruh David’s wise words from Psalm 37: ‘Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the herb.’ (Ps. 37:1) That’s the promise of our ever-faithful God, and it will certainly come to pass in His way and time. 

But we have strayed from the Christmas story. (smile) And, per the humble origins of Christ, that was exactly as planned by the Father. Listen to Jesus as He explains His philosophy to the disciples re greatness in His kingdom, after the mother of Zebedee’s children had asked for them to sit on His right and left hand in His kingdom. 

He said: ‘Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion (lord it) over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (servant); And whosoever will be chief (first) among you, let him be your servant (slave). Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto (served), but to minister (serve), and to give his life a ransom for many.’ (Matt. 20:25-28) 

Oh my brethren, Jesus came to serve, not to be served! He wasn’t looking for applause and plaudits from the crowd, but sought to serve and save them from the darkness and evil of Satan’s world. And that’s how we ought also to be as His sincere followers. We can’t allow pride and strife like the world desires, to be numbered amongst our assets, or rather our dysfunctions, if we want to be true disciples of Christ. Peace and humility must be at the top of our list. 

And we’ll stop there for today. Tomorrow, the Lord willing, we’ll continue with the Christmas story, and some of the wonderful things that were born out of it. Now, in strong and sincere voice, let’s declare (yesss!!!) and thus activate, our Thursday Blessings; underserved ones that the Lord has bestowed on us to do His earthly work. 

Altogether: ‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

And having made that declaration, (awright!!!) it’s now our bounden duty to go out and share those blessings with others, so that they can come to know and LOVE Jesus like we do! Much LOVE!

…the Christmas story…everything else is wrapped up in it… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ       

Today’s Scrip-Bit   11 December 2022 Luke 2:30.

Luke 2:30.        For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.

The Christmas season is ramping up friends. Only another two weeks and we’ll be celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ which actually occurred in a manger, an animal barn some two thousand years ago. But that occasion was so marvellous and so important to mankind that we’ve been celebrating it every year since then. And so it should be, because the birth of Jesus Christ was the promise of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Redeemer of man fulfilled. 

And though the ungodly world has made the Advent season more a time of gift giving and purchasing, of eating and drinking, of simply making merry, we faithful believers must continue to remember and advocate the real reason for this spectacular celebration; the incarnate birth of Jesus Christ. So, as we gather in the Lord’s sanctuary on this His day, let us remember that wonderful occasion through our song of worship, one titled ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’  

Yes friends, ‘This popular Christmas Hymn harkens to the biblical story of the birth of Christ. It is considered a reference to the shepherds, after hearing the angels singing, coming to Bethlehem to adore their new-born Saviour. Today this hymn signifies and celebrates our coming together in worship to adore the LOVING blessing of Jesus, as He sacrificed Himself for our salvation.’ So, let’s offer up our voices in sacrificial praise, in sweet harmony, in a mid-tempo, sincere and passionate version of the song. 

Singing: ‘O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, Born the King of Angels! (Chorus: O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.) God of God, light of light, Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb; True God, begotten, not created: (Chorus) O Sing, choirs of angels; sing in exultation O sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above. Give to our Father, Glory in the highest! (Chorus) Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning; Jesus, to Thee be the glory giv’n; Word of the Father, Now in the flesh appearing, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.’

Oh my faithful brethren, adoring our beautiful and ever-LOVING Lord and Saviour is exactly what we need to do! His name ought to be exalted from the highest hills for the all the wonderful things His humble birth made possible. And the words of the song do convey Christ’s majesty despite His being born in a stable. ‘God of God, light of light, Lo he abhors not the virgin’s womb. True God, begotten not created.’ 

Yes, that’s all true. Christ was begotten like a man, not created, with the sperm of God planted in the virgin’s womb by the Holy Spirit, growing and manifesting just like men. And he would live a life like ordinary men. The only difference is that He was the Son of God, without sin, that’s why He could pay our sin debt on the cross of Calvary later on in life. 

But He was indeed the true Light as John says in his gospel. ‘That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ (John 1:9) John the Baptist was not the true light, but was sent to proclaim the coming of the ‘true Light,’ Jesus Christ. 

And the scholars tell us that verse means that God’s revelation is universally available, but it does not signify universal salvation, because to receive salvation one has to believe in Him, as verse 12 tells us. ‘But as many as received him, to them gave he the power (the right) to become sons (children) of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12) 

Then the song talks about ‘Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing…’ More awesome truth my people. And John again informs of these most salient facts. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God…And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:1-2, 14) 

Yuh see friends, Jesus was in fact a part of the Holy Trinity, a part of the Word that created the world, then He became incarnate, a man, born of a woman, but sinless. And later on, we did behold His glory through His death and resurrection. And you’ll notice how the old priest Simeon and the old prophetess Anna gave praise and thanks when Jesus was brought to the temple on the eight day as was the custom. 

The Bible tells us: ‘Then took he him up (Simeon took up Jesus) in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation. Which thou hast prepared before the face of all the people; A light to lighten (bring revelation to) the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.’ (Luke 2:28-32) Simeon had been promised that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, (vs. 26) that’s why he was willing to go home after seeing Christ. 

Oh friends, the song is indeed a call for all Christ’s people to come and rejoice at this time of His birth. And though it’s an adaptation of a Latin hymn ‘Adeste Fidelis,’ its English translation has been sung down through the years and made popular by many well-known artists. And we’ll end with this commentary. Don’t remember where I got it from, but I like it. (smile) 

It says: ‘The encouragement to “come, all ye faithful, . . . to Bethlehem” situates the singer both among the shepherds who rushed to see Christ and in the great continuation of the “faithful” that have traveled to Bethlehem in a spiritual nature for over 2,000 years. Although today, we cannot actually witness Jesus in the manger, we can come to Bethlehem in a symbolic sense. We can be there in our imaginations as we allow the Christmas story to hearten our spirits.’ 

Truly, there’s no better way to get us into the Christmas spirit, than rejoicing in the Word and singing songs of gladness for Christ’s birth! Please, let’s do just that today! Much LOVE!

…Christ…the greatest mover and shaker…this world has ever known…and will ever know… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ        

Today’s Scrip-Bit   22 October 2022 Psalm 146:5.

Psalm 146:5.       Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

Awright friends, it’s another colourful, sunshiny autumn morn in my area! All thanks and praise be to our great and merciful God! Yes, I’m surely thankful for being able to see this lazy Saturday morning unfurl. And wherever you are, whatever the weather or your personal situation, if you opened your eyes this lazy Saturday morning, then I’d strongly advise you to also give much thanks for that heavenly blessing, because there are many others who did not get that awesome opportunity of seeing a new day. 

Please remember these immortal and very wise words of the psalmist from way back when. ‘Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.’ (Ps. 100:4-5) And with that wise and wonderful scripture under our belt, (smile) let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Now this first quote tells an awesome truth. It says: ‘We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action.’ And I know that many of us can identify with that, because it’s when we are not productively engaged that we get into the most trouble and feel the most fearful. As the old saying goes, the devil finds work for idle hands to do. And it’s quite true, for when you are inactive your mind wanders to all sorts of unlikely places and scenarios, many induced by the enemy’s suggestions and deceptions, and thus you are more susceptible to fear and anxiety. But when we are busy doing stuff, especially God’s will for our lives, there’s little or no time for fear to intrude into our hearts, bodies and souls. Glory be! 

Then there’s this interesting quote: ‘What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.’ And I believe there’s much truth in that, for in achieving one’s goals, provided they are worthwhile in God’s eyes, then your personal growth is also enhanced in ways you cannot see or even imagine. But that’s exactly what the Lord desires of us, has planned from day one for each of His creations; growth and maturity in His fold, steadily moving forward to a likeness or uncanny resemblance to His Son Jesus Christ. 

As Bruh Paul writes in Romans: ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.’ (Rom. 8:29) Yes friends, from the very beginning God planned to make every Christian increasingly more like Christ, moving them along life’s path from glory to glory. (Eph. 3:18) So technically speaking, whenever we achieve goals, be they bad or good, we grow either in godliness or evil, but God’s avowed purposed is for all to grow in likeness to His Son, and I guess Satan also wants those under his control to grow in evil-doing like him. 

And it all segues quite nicely into this next quote. Yes, the second quote is like unto the first. (smile) ‘Dreams don’t have to just be dreams. You can make it a reality; if you just keep pushing and keep trying, then eventually you’ll reach your goal. And if that takes a few years, then that’s great, but if it takes 10 or 20, then that’s part of the process.’ Now that’s what we’re talking about! Dreams become goals, and goals become reality, but not necessarily in a short time, for early on there are usually mistakes and failures, but through persistence, and strong belief in God and one’s goal, you can eventually succeed. 

If you look around our world at the many stunning inventions and amenities we enjoy, they all began with a dream, that was then turned into a goal, and then worked hard and long at to achieve. From the dream to the reality, it’s all a process, more often long than short, and it’s the same with our becoming like Christ; it doesn’t happen overnight, or easily, but it’s a lifelong process with plenty of ups and downs, however, there’s a marvellous reward of salvation and eternal life at the end. 

And this next quote amplifies it all. ‘The moral of my story is the sun always comes out after the storm. Being optimistic and surrounding yourself with positive LOVING people is for me, living life on the sunny side of the street.’ Now isn’t that what we are all seeking and searching for? To be surrounded by positive LOVING people, that will help us live on the sunny side of the street. Unfortunately though, that’s one of the most difficult things to do in this current evil, ungodly world, because Satan’s appeal is so widespread that people can no longer be trusted to have your back. 

We’re becoming increasingly greedy and selfish, behaving like ungodly crabs in a barrel, all struggling to reach the top without regard to the welfare of those around us. So, we must be optimistic, for that’s what Christ, our Leader teaches, but we must also be very careful in these treacherous times of whom we let into our private sanctuaries. And yes, after a storm, there’s usually the sun shining brightly, but please note that there are more storms in the forecast, because storms are simply a natural part of life. 

We just have to be as prepared as we can be, and trust our Lord and Saviour to lead and guide us through them successfully, since we don’t have the power to do so on our own. That’s why the Good Book warns us in Psalm 146: ‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man (a human being), in whom there is no help (salvation)…Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.’ (Ps. 146:3, 5) Now that says it all friends: Mankind can’t help us with salvation, and his trustworthiness in earthly matters also leaves a lot to be desired. Only Jehovah God can be trusted to help us fix our lives in a worthwhile manner. 

And that brings us to this last and very interesting quote. ‘When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.’ And my fellow believers, the only time and place you can truly see beyond yourself is when you see yourself through the eyes of our gracious and merciful God. When you are convinced that salvation is yours, that you have been reconciled to the Father, have become a child of God, made righteous through belief and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, with total surrender to His awesome will for our lives. 

That is the pinnacle God wants us all to desire, to reach for with perseverance and trust, and eventually achieve. So please, let’s keep reaching forward for said pinnacle nuh, because it’s where the Prince of Peace dwells, and only when we get there, will we ever find true peace. Much LOVE!

…peace I leave with you…my peace I give unto you…not as the world giveth…give I unto you…let not your heart be troubled…neither let it be afraid… (John 14:27) 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   25 December 2021 Luke 2:11.

Luke 2:11.     For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS ! 

Well, the Big Day, Christmas Day is here at last and there’s lots of joy in the air. Unfortunately, those who were wishing for the traditional white Christmas have been disappointed because the snow has all melted away and it’s a wet, grey morning, with temps expected to reach about 6 or 8 degrees Celsius. And look at me nuh, the great weather forecaster, who thought that those springlike temps were forever behind us, at least until next spring. (smile) But my people, we need to realize one thing, that in God’s great universe, anything is possible, at any time. 

And in accordance with that maxim, two thousand years ago, when the time was ripe, the Lord sent His only Son Jesus Christ in to the world, born of a virgin, the immaculate conception, as the angel bringing Mary, Christ’s mother, the good news of her finding favour with God explained to her, when she declared: ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man (I am a virgin)? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (one) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 

And, behold, thy cousin (relative) Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:34 -38) 

Oh yes friends, right in that moment the Lord showed that He could do anything; make a barren woman pregnant in her old age, as He did for Sara, Abraham’s wife many centuries back, and make a woman pregnant without knowing a man, so that the child could truly be called the ‘Son of God!’ Glory Hallelujah! The Lord was setting the stage for Christ’s birth on that Christmas day long ago, in addition to the birth of John the Baptist (Elisabeth’s son) who was to be the forerunner of Christ, as his father Zechariah prophesied of God’s goodness and mercy when John was born. 

‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath raised up a horn of salvation (a mighty deliverer, Jesus) for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began (from the ages). That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 

In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring (the Dawn, the Messiah) from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed (became) strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing (manifestation) unto Israel.’ (Luke 2:67-80) 

Oh my brethren, what a mighty dramatist is our God! Who else could set the stage like that for the coming of John the Baptist to preach the coming of Christ. As Luke later states: ‘And he (John the Baptist) came into all the country about Jordan (the surrounding region), preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,’ (Luke 3:3) Meanwhile Matthew, in his gospel, describes John’s entrance in simpler words: ‘And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matt. 3:2) 

Now those were not just idle statements of the gospel writers, for John’s coming had been prophesied long before by the prophet Isaiah, when he declared: ‘The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert the highway for our God.’ (Is. 40:3) And we all know that on this first Christmas day that this other prophecy of Isaiah was also fulfilled. ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ (Is. 9:6) 

And it all climaxed on that cold winter’s night around the town of Bethlehem, another prophecy fulfilled, (Mic. 5:2) where shepherds were watching their flock, when an angel appeared to them and joyfully declared: ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes (bands), lying in a manger (feed trough). And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:11-14) 

Oh friends that’s how the first Christmas day was initiated; with joyful shouts of praise from the hosts of heaven! And yuh notice who the angels came to first with the good news of Christ’s birth? Not the rich and powerful, but the poor and powerless, just like the Lord chose to have His Son born into lowly and humble surroundings, because the tenor of His earthly life was going to be lowly and humble, for that’s whom He came predominantly to save. 

And I know that we usually look at the quotes of our friend Anselm on a Saturday, but since today is Christmas Day, I thought it would be better to get into a li’l of the Christmas story itself and how it came to be. But there is one quote of Anselm’s that I would like to share. It’s long, but very interesting and encouraging. It says: ‘The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of life is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.’  

Yes my faithful brethren, all those things are true, and when we cap them with the action of LOVE, like Christ did, and still does, then all heaven and earth will sing praises to the glory of God the Father! Like the lowly shepherds did on that first cold Christmas night after they returned from seeing the Christ child. The Good Book describes it thus: they were ‘glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.’ (Luke 2:20) 

So, let’s do like those shepherds this Christmas Day nuh, praise and glorify Almighty God for all the wonderful things He’s done for us through the amazing gift of His most wonderful Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! That’s the only fitting conclusion to this day! Much LOVE!

...joy to the world…the Lord is come…let earth receive her King…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   19 December 2021 Luke 2:14.

Luke 2:14.     Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Ah friends, it’s a chilly Sunday morning with the remains of yesterday’s snowfall still with us. But the sun’s out in full force, not with any heat mind you, (smile) so it’s a good day to worship either in a physical sanctuary or by technological means. And with Christmas day just around the corner, a mere six days, it’s most appropriate for us to begin worship with a traditional Christmas hymn, one from way back in the eighteenth century, titled ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing,’ written by that celebrated hymn writer Charles Wesley. So let’s belt it out with much gusto, in perfect harmony and sincerity, letting heaven know that our hearts are truly focused right now on the birth of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. 

‘Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King: peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies; with the angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” (Refrain: Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King”) Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord, late in time behold him come, offspring of the Virgin’s womb: veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the ‘incarnate Deity, pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel. [Refrain] 

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings. Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die, born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth. [Refrain: Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King” Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King” 

That was most excellent my fellow believers! Heaven could surely tell that we are sincere in our worship of Christ Jesus, for we sang from the depths of our overflowing hearts of LOVE, praise and adoration for Him! But what does the song mean eh? The website Hymnary.org gives us this insight. ‘This hymn by Charles Wesley was written within a year of Wesley’s conversion. Thus, as Albert Bailey writes, “the inspiration of his newly-made contact with God was still fresh” (The Gospel in Hymns, 100). 

Rather than simply tell the nativity story, Wesley pours theological truths into this text. The first verse tells the story of the angels proclaiming Christ’s birth, and the second and third verse go on to make it very clear why the angels sang. Simply by describing Christ, Wesley tells us the entire Gospel story. We are told of Christ’s nature, his birth and incarnation, his ministry, and his salvific purpose (purpose of salvation, or redemption). 

The Psalter Hymnal Handbook describes the hymn like this: “A curious mixture of exclamation, exhortation, and theological reflection. The focus shifts rapidly from angels, to us, to nations. The text’s strength may not lie so much in any orderly sequence of thought but in its use of Scripture to teach its theology. That teaching surely produces in us a childlike response of faith; we too can sing ‘Glory to the newborn King!’” 

And do we ever have much cause to sing those marvellous words, since Jesus came to earth to bail us out of the terrible sinful mess we were in. So, let’s look at a few of the scriptures that Wesley apparently based this hymn on. The first verse is obviously based on Luke’s telling of the night, or morning of Christ’s birth with all the fanfare by the angelic host around the frightened shepherds out in the fields watching over their flocks. The Good Book says: ‘And suddenly there was with the angel (who brought the good news) a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:13-14) 

Yes friends, the Prince of Peace was born on that fateful day, and it was indeed a day for all of us to celebrate, because as the hymn adds: ‘God and sinners reconciled!’ Mama O Mama! What a beautiful sensation and happening to know that Christ’s birth would finally lead us back into the good graces of our wonderful and ever-LOVING God! 

Bruh Paul wrote it thus to the church at Corinth in his second letter. ‘And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.’ (2 Cor. 5:18-19) 

And the scholars offer this explanation on the topic. ‘5:19. Reconciliation is the act whereby God on the basis of Christ’s death, has eliminated the cause of hostility between Himself and humanity, making possible a complete and maturing fellowship. (The hostility was caused by sin, and was eliminated by the cross). And those who have become reconciled to God have also been given the ministry of reconciliation, which is fulfilled when they engage in soul-winning (vs.19).’ Wow friends! What a joy it is to be reconciled to God, and to be able to also reconcile others to Him! 

Now moving on to the second verse, when the author talks about Christ as ‘late in time behold him come, offspring of the Virgin’s womb: veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the ‘incarnate Deity, pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel, he apparently has these verses in mind. First off, Bruh Paul’s words to the Galatians. ‘But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made (born) of a woman, made (born) under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.’ (Gal. 4:4-5) And isn’t it oh so wonderful to be called the child of God! It surely is! 

And that second stanza also reminds us of these immortal words of John in the opening chapter of his gospel. ‘And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14) Yes mih bredrin, the Word, that’s Jesus, did become flesh, mortal man like us, and dwelt among us, bringing us some much-needed heavenly grace and truth, which unfortunately, many of us still don’t appreciate and hunger for. 

And the last verse seems to pertain to these other magnificent scriptures. Firstly, Isaiah’s awesome verse: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’ (Is. 9:6) Then we turn to Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, where he says of God: ‘But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall (grow fat like stall fed calves.’ (Mal. 4:2) What another awesome promise from our awesome God! 

Next comes these words from Bruh Paul to the church at Philippi, speaking of Jesus’ humility. ‘Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made of himself no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Phil. 2:6-8) 

Oh, what a man was our Jesus! Though God, He became flesh and behaved like a servant, humble, sacrificial and obedient, even unto the horrible death on a cross. And those who claim to believe in Him, ought to be much more appreciative of the great sacrifice He made on our behalf. He didn’t have to do it, but the Father who LOVED us so much, asked Him to, and He LOVED the Father so much, that He obediently did the Father’s will. Wish we could only be half as obedient. 

And the last scripture pertaining to that third verse comes from 1 Peter, where he writes to the Christian brethren on the topic of salvation. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-4) 

Ah mih people, how wonderful is that second birth eh, that being born again by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, then receiving salvation, a certain resurrection through Christ, to dwell with Him in peace and LOVE until eternity! It’s all without comparison. 

Now one thing is for sure, Charles Wesley had a good knowledge of the scriptures, otherwise he could not have written such a complicated and intriguing hymn. How I wish to God that many more of us knew them that well, and would also put them into practical use, for our lives and our world would be in much better shape. Please, let’s make that our immediate resolution nuh…for Christ’s sake, and for future generations.  Much LOVE!

…for our lives to improve…we have to improve…not later…but right now… 

P.S. Yes, it’s long, but also good. (smile) Hope it lifts our spirits, this Advent Sunday. Much LOVE! 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   16 November 2021 Isaiah 45:5a.

Isaiah 45:5a.     I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:

Ah friends, it’s a pleasure to be with you all this bright and shiny but chilly Tuesday morning. Sorry that I’m only now getting to you, although I’ve been up for over an hour, but I had household chores to do that required doing asap. That’s putting out the garbage, the easy part, but before that picking up the humongous pile of leaves sitting in the driveway outside my side door and bagging them, for at least the third time this week, so that the garbage truck could take it away later on. 

It’s a thorn in my side (smile) that the Lord’s given me for the last thirty odd years that I’ve lived here. Unfortunately, for me, the way the houses are built, it creates a whirlwind in my driveway, right outside my side door, so every fall the leaves blow from all over and congregate in my driveway, and so does the snow. You look outside, and all the neighbours’ driveways are spotless, but mine is either filled with leaves or snow. 

In my more youthful years, it wasn’t a major problem, but now with the onset of age and all its aches and pains, it’s become a pain in the butt and back, both literally and figuratively. (smile) But I guess them’s the breaks. You win some, you lose some, and you just have to grin and bear it. So now that’ I’ve emptied my spleen, (smile) let’s see what the Lord wants us to talk about today. 

And it seems that it’s a very timely reminder, as the Good Book just opened on this most important scripture, where the Lord is giving a charge to the Persian king Cyrus. And yes, He often used the heathen or pagan kings for His purposes. This is a portion of what He said to Cyrus, through the prophet Isaiah. 

‘For Jacob, my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me. That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west (to its setting in the west), that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (calamity): I the Lord do all these things.’ (Is. 45:4-7) 

Yes friends, the Lord was going to use Cyrus to liberate His people Israel from exile in Babylon, and that message through Isaiah was a means of reassuring them that their God, He of their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was still on the throne and still had their best interest at heart. And that’s the same message He’s sending to us today my faithful brethren: Our God is still on the throne, still controlling things, with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ sitting at His right hand advocating on our behalf! 

And since He doesn’t change, it means, He still has our best interest at heart, He still has plans to give us a future and a hope, but we need to come to Him and make things right. The sinfulness, the depravity, the ungodliness, the move to drive him out of our society is not sitting right with Him. And how can we expect anything else eh, when we defame, blaspheme and turn away from a most holy, righteous and just God? 

How do you think He feels when we refuse to acknowledge His Son as the Saviour of the world, as the King of kings, the Lord of Lords and the Prince of Peace, amongst His many other titles? He must feel UNLOVED, hard done by, not wanted or needed, like all of us would feel, and do feel, when we are rejected by our fellow human beings. 

But please remember this most salient fact; there is no God beside Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim, or whatever you choose to call Him. And remember too His words to Cyrus: ‘I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (calamity): I the Lord do all these things.’ That means He has control over everything and every situation in our frail and finite lives, because He is our Creator and Controller. 

Oh yes, he’s given us free will, but that’s only to a certain extent. In the long run, He’s still the BOSS, and can do exactly as He pleases without any input from us. And until we understand that, we will always live fearful and anxious, with a shadow of calamity hanging over our heads. 

But let’s clear up one situation here. The scholars explain that ‘The phrase I…create evil. (in verse 7 above) refers to physical evil or calamity, rather than moral evil. God is in no way pictured in Scripture as the author of sin.’ So, let’s get that straight once and for all: God doesn’t deal in sin, but He does cause calamity to overtake us because of or sin! 

And yuh know what friends, all I’m trying to point out here is the power and sovereignty of Almighty God. If he is Creator and controller of ALL things, then why are we so foolishly trying to fight Him, to have our own way, when we can’t even handle our everyday lives properly. That’s why Moses in his psalm prayed to the Lord. ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (gain a heart of wisdom).’ (Ps. 90:12) 

And do we ever need hearts of majestic and godly wisdom in these turbulent and oh so dangerous times my people! It’s the lack of wisdom that’s catapulted us into the terrible times we are now experiencing. But friends, we know that once there’s life, there’s hope. And you ask, what’s hope, or what does it have to do with anything? Well hope is believing that good things are possible, then sincerely working towards those good things. 

And I just LOVE how Joshua Ryan Butler described hope in an article titled ‘Prisoners of Hope.’ He writes: ‘Hope is a revolution, a powerful presence that breaks in from the future and transforms today. Jesus’ arrival has brought God’s destiny for humanity crashing into now – an explosion of life into a world marked by death. It changes everything!’ 

That’s the gospel truth my fellow saints. Jesus’ arrival marked the beginning of hope, the beginning of life in this world marked by death. And that’s what we ALL need to work towards – the choosing of life over death. Thus crushing the enemy, who desires a world continually marked by death. So though our world is in tumult, please, please, let’s not give up hope. Remember Jesus is still with us in ALL we do, and He will help us overcome each and every situation we face. So, we need to keep on fighting the good fight in His name, more than ever right now! 

And for those of us who are sincerely doing that, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are, to whom we gladly and joyfully belong. As one strong and grateful voice: ‘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!’ 

And having said that, we must now go out and share that amazing LOVE and wonderful friendship of Jesus with others, so that they too can come to trust and LOVE Him like we do. Much LOVE!

…God is calling out to us through our calamities…but unfortunately…we are not listening to Him…and until we do… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   11 November 2021 John 10:14.

John 10:14.     I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and are known of mine. 

Then Thursday opened somewhat cloudy in my area – but still with great promise, meaning it can go one way or the other; that’s rain or shine…or even just stay cloudy. (smile) However, the beauty of Jesus and His Holy Spirit that dwells within us, is that they only, and always bring sunshine, no cloud cover whatsoever! Therefore, we can always have some sunshine in our lives when we have Jesus as our reigning Lord and Saviour! Give Him some thanks and praise my people for His wonderful goodness to the children of men! 

Without His life-saving sacrifice on the cross at Calvary, we Gentiles would have been headed straight for Hades. But His sacrificial death and resurrection were life-giving instruments to us; that means we were also given the option of eternal life in heaven, and not that of hell alone. As He said so compassionately in His famous soliloquy on His role as a shepherd. ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and are known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ (John 10:14-16) 

That other sheep, the other fold, means us, my brethren, who would be given the option of salvation later on, through the zealous work of Bruh Paul’s preaching of the gospel to the Gentile world. Ah friends, Bruh Paul, formerly known as Saul, was very instrumental in persecuting the early Christians, until his journey to Damascus to continue that persecution. On the road, Jesus accosted him and miraculously changed his outlook on life. Listen to the story of his conversion as he told it to King Agrippa. 

‘At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue (language), Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard to kick against the pricks (goads – a sharp stick used to prod cattle to move, so Jesus was telling him it was foolish to resist). And I said, Who art thou Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear (reveal) unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified (set apart) by faith that is in me.’ (Acts 26:13-18) 

Wow! What a faithful Saviour we have my brethren! Remember He promised to bring us, His other flock unto Him and make one fold. But who ever thought He would set it in motion so miraculously and through Saul, the most feared persecutor of the early brethren? But that’s the way our great God moves – in mysterious ways His wondrous works to perform, to open man’s eyes and bring light to their darkness. 

And the wonderful thing about Bruh Paul is that after his conversion, he was just as zealous in saving Christians, as he was in persecuting them before he saw the light. Oh, how I wish that some of his zeal would rob off on some of us modern day believers, for with it, we could turn this evil and ungodly world upside down. 

Now hear these marvellous words Bruh Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus concerning the unity of all believers, which we spoke of earlier on, that’s the joining together of both the Jewish and Gentile believers under Christ’s august leadership. He writes: ‘Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands.’ (Eph. 2:11) And the scholars explain: ‘Uncircumcision was a derogatory term used by the Jews regarding Gentiles because the latter were uncircumcised. Jews called themselves the Circumcision since they were circumcised.’  

And Bruh Paul continues: ‘That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.’ (Eph. 2:12) That basically means that before they became Christians, the Gentiles were aliens from the Jewish nation, who were God’s people, so they had no part in the promises of God, like salvation and all the other godly goodies the Jews had been promised. 

‘But now,’ Bruh Paul writes, ‘in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes (once) far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ ( able to have a proper relationship with Him). For he (Jesus Himself) is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition (separation) between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances for to make (create) in himself of twain (the two) one new man, so making peace. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain (put to death) the enmity thereby. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.’ (Eph. 2:13-17) 

Wow! What powerful scriptures my fellow saints. And what does it all mean? Listen to the scholars: ‘2:14-15.Who hath made both one: Jesus has formed the two antagonistic groups of Jew and Gentile into a single new party, the Christian church. He did this by removing the middle wall of partition, that is the Mosaic Law. The law was meant to protect Jews from pagan corruptions; but by misconstruing the purpose of the law, the Jews felt superior to Gentiles, who were incensed at this arrogance. So Jesus abolished this enmity (hatred), caused by an abuse of the law, by making the law invalid for His church. Of twain one new man: As above, Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles now compass this “one new man” or Christian church.’  

Yes friends, that’s basically how the Christian church, became one body, from two flocks. And we need to give much thanks and praise for Jesus being compassionate enough to include us Gentiles in His church. And that compassion isn’t only talk, but also action, as we discover through our Thursday Blessings, that He’s so generously bestowed on us to do His earthly work. And since a blessing isn’t a blessing until it’s spoken out loud, let’s declare them now nuh, in loud, proud and grateful voice. 

‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

Our job now is to go out and share those blessings with others just as generously as Jesus shared them with us, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him, like we do! Much LOVE!

…the only ONE who can bring unity and LOVE to all…Jesus…the Prince of Peace…Lord of Lords…and King of Kings…                                                                                                                       

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   13 October 2021 Proverbs 3:1-2.

Proverbs 3:1-2.     My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace shall they add to thee.

Oh friends, today doesn’t seem like it’s going to be as bright and sun shiny as the last two.  Wednesday has opened somewhat dark and cloudy, but let’s hope that’s just the opening salvo of the battle and the sun will win out in the end, as light always does against darkness. (smile) The temps will be up in the low twenties again though. 

I guess we are experiencing what’s known as ‘Indian Summer,’ a warmer than normal period which can crop up during the fall season. However, I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to use that name, since everybody is up in arms about using Indian names. 

But that’s a conversation for another day. Right now we’re concerned about these marvellous words of advice from Cousin Sol as he exhorts us to obedience. ‘My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace shall they add to thee.’ (Prov. 3:1-2) 

Yes my people, Cousin Sol says a lot in those few words. Keeping the Lord’s commandments is key to several important things in our lives; length of days, long life and peace. Now all of us crave those things, but we can only come by them when we honour the Lord with obedience to His commandments. 

And you ask what’s the difference between ‘length of days and long life?” One commentator puts it thus: “Length of days” puts more emphasis on how long someone lives, not just breathing, but in a productive fashion. Each day is put to full use and their number will be many, for God keeps a man busy.’ 

And it’s the same thing Moses said to the Israelites so long ago: ‘All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do (be careful to observe), that ye may live, and multiply (increase in number), and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto (promised) your fathers.’ (Deut. 8:1) 

Yuh see friends, Israel’s conquering of the Promised Land depended on their keeping of the Lord’s commandments which they didn’t do, and thus wandered forty long and difficult years in the wilderness for that disobedience. Likewise, our disobedience, lack of keeping God’s commands today is causing us oodles of hardship and worry, because without Him in a most privileged position in our lives, we can’t find peace in times of trouble like we’re currently experiencing. 

But let’s leave length of days and long life alone for the moment and concentrate on peace, which so many of us are dying to have. Let’s look at some scriptures that trumpet the getting and having of peace through obedience to the Lord’s commands. This first once comes from Psalm 119, and it says: ‘Great peace have they which LOVE thy law; and nothing shall offend them (make them to stumble).’ (Ps. 119:165) That’s as plain and simple as it can get my brethren. 

And if that doesn’t touch the cockles of your heart, then listen to this scripture from Isaiah’s hymn of praise, where he confidently declares: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on (sustained by) thee: because he trusteth in thee.’ (Is. 26:3) 

Now, if you think because those verses come from the Old Testament they are no longer viable, then hear these from Bruh Paul in the New Testament. ‘Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phill. 4:6-7) 

So you see, if you want the peace of God, you have to stay in the good graces of God, through prayer, supplication and thanksgiving, which simply means obeying His commandments as best you can. God’s peace will not be bestowed on us unless we sincerely honour Him in our walk of life. 

And when yuh talking about scripture verses on peace, here is the quintessential one, the one that trumps them all, straight from the mouth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In His promise to send the Holy Spirit to comfort the disciples, He tells them: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

Now that says it all my fellow saints! The peace that Jesus gives us is nothing like what the world gives. The peace from Jesus quiets our hearts, stills our fears and anxieties even in the midst of the biggest storm, storms like what we are now going through. 

So, if you can’t find any peace in your spirit right now, I would take a look at your relationship to Jesus; see how close you are to Him, if you are studying His word, if you are keeping His commandments and what are you doing to further His kingdom. I can guarantee that if you have a close enough relationship with Him, or at least are sincerely trying, He will provide peace of mind. 

But again, as Isaiah says trust is an essential factor. If you don’t trust God to keep His promises and live your life as though you truly do, then whatever else you do is a complete waste of time. And I do hope that today’s message raises up our desire for peace so badly, that we sincerely turn to Jesus to seek it. 

Now for those of us who are already out there seeking it, let’s go home declaring (awright!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus! Altogether now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And as always, let us remember that if we endure until the end, that the future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine. So please hang in there my brethren! Much LOVE!

…if you’re seeking peace…then wisdom dictates…you seek it from…The Prince of Peace…Jesus Christ… 

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

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