Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 September 2018 2 Corinthian 5:7.

2 Corinthians 5:7.   For we walk by faith, not by sight.

And then it was Saturday; the day so many of us use to sleep in. I tried to do it, but it didn’t work, the aches and pains were too powerful. Hn! I went out yesterday evening, came home tired and went to bed early, so the body responded by being up early too. But them’s the breaks! What’s the saying? Early to bed, early to rise! 

So here we are, another week of work is over and we need to recuperate in just two short days. And it’s only if and when we’re walking wholeheartedly with Jesus that we can accomplish such a miraculous task. So please check Him out. He’s anxiously awaiting your call for help. 

And you can see that by the wonderful offer of His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28-30) 

Ah people, what an invitation! There’s never been any like it, and will never be another like it, because Jesus is the only Being who can promise such stuff and actually provide it. Glory to His Holy Name! 

Now since it’s Saturday, we ought to look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us, but unfortunately I only received one this week. But it certainly is interesting and good enough for us to build around. So here it is: ‘The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.’ 

And that’s the gospel truth friends! But you know why? Because as true believers in Christ: ‘We walk by faith and not by sight.’ Glory be mih people! It’s our faith in Christ Jesus that allows us to see the things that are not as the things that are. We don’t first have to see something to believe it. We believe it and then we see it! Glory to God! 

That’s why we have those magnificent verses of scripture from Hebrews that tell us: ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds (ages) were framed (prepared) by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (are visible).’ (Heb.11:1-3) 

Yeh friends, it’s faith that moves mountains; faith that allows us to believe what we don’t see, it’s through faith we believe that God spoke the world into existence from nothingness! And when we have great faith it can be counted to us for righteousness, like it was for Abraham. 

And then later on in Hebrews 11, we have that other famous verse on faith: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): 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) 

Oh my brethren, only through faith can one believe that God, the ephemeral, spiritual, almighty Being exists, because you can’t see nor touch Him. And I’d be amiss if I didn’t share the scholars’ thoughts on the subject. 

‘11:1. Verse 1 is not so much a definition of what faith is, as it is a description of what faith does. (cf.11:6). Two truths concerning its activity are stated here. First, faith provides substance (Gr. hypostasis). Though broad in its usages, this Greek word normally has the meaning of “assurance” in the New Testament  (cf.3:14; 2 Cor.9:4; 11:17) and this seems to be the best sense here. 

Second, faith provides evidence (Gr. elegchos). It is evidence in the sense of proof that results in conviction. The difference between assurance and evidence would be minimal were it not for the phrase qualifying each: of things hoped for and of things not seen. The first involves future hope; the second involves present realities that are unseen. 

The first includes the hope of the resurrection, the return of Christ, and the glorification of the saints. The second involves unseen realities, such as the forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice and the present intercession of Christ in heaven. Hope is faith relating to the future; conviction is faith relating to the present.’ 

Ah friends, I hope (smile) that that li’l treatise on faith helps you to understand it better. And to end, we’ll get some more immortal words from Bruh Paul, this time to the church at Rome, on the subject of hope. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) wait (wait eagerly) for it.’ (Rom.8:24-25) 

Exactly my fellow believers! If you can see something, there’s no reason to hope for it. But if you can’t see it physically, then there’s all the reason to hope for it! So let’s wisely hope for all the good things we can’t see nuh, and through faith, believe that we have them and with perseverance wait eagerly for them! That’s wisdom for the ages! Much LOVE!

…you can’t have faith…unless you first have hope…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 June 2018 John 14:6.

John 14:6.   Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.

And the Canada Day celebrations continue apace! And the weather seems to be in full cooperating mood too; it’s supposed to be a scorcher, possibly worse than yesterday. So get on your sunscreen and turn on the A/C, and celebrate the birth of this wonderful country called Canada, within the limits of Granny’s warnings though! (smile) 

Oh we have our problems too, but of all the big countries in the world, I still believe that Canada is the BEST! Go Canada! 

And so having ‘big-upped’ Canada; I hate the word, ‘big-up’ but I couldn’t think of anything more suitable at the time, let’s move on to our Saturday treat of this weeks quotes from our friend Anselm, who sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And this week there’s a whole slate of them, starting with: ‘Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.’ And there’s absolutely no doubt about the truth and wisdom in that statement, for optimism is a foundation stone of our Christian faith. 

That leads to the next quote: ‘Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.’ That also has many grains of truth in it, for if we begin our day with positive thoughts, we will indeed be starting out on the right foot.  

Then there is: ‘Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.’ It’s basically true, but we believers just don’t dabble in bad luck and good luck, but more the blessed favour, grace and mercy of our awesome God. 

But we must do our part in the partnership and be prepared for them. If we aren’t prepared, when those opportunities appear or arise, then we’ll simply lose out on a chance, no, an opportunity to be blessed by Almighty God. 

Listen to this one: ‘Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.’ 

Now I don’t know if I agree with that totally, because there are times when people do things because of us, and we ought to take them personally. The problem is to know when and what things to take issue with. A lot of the time what others do and say is indeed because of their own problems or inadequacy and we have to be wise and somewhat tough skinned to recognize those times and not allow them to bother us. 

It’s all a balancing act my people, and we do need God’s help to set the balance right. And the last quote says: ‘The more you are positive and say, ‘I want to have a good life,’ the more you build that reality for yourself by creating the life that you want.’ 

Ah friends, that statement is only true in the context of Christianity! If you say you want to build a good life under Christ, then fine. But if you want to build what the world and the prince of darkness call a good life, then you’re definitely on the wrong track. Remember the immortal words of Jesus: ‘Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ 

Yes friends, Jesus was very emphatic in that pronouncement, so if your life is not modelled on His, then you’re indeed going the wrong way, building your life, earthly as well as eternal, on the wrong foundation. 

And Jesus makes His point earlier when He declares that He is the Good shepherd: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep… 

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:1-2, 9-11) 

And that is exactly what Jesus did friends: give His life for us, the sheep of His pasture. So why would we look for some other foundation on which to build our lives eh? Building our lives upon Jesus is like building them on a rock; a rock which stands the test of time and the elements of nature. Building our lives on anything else is like building them on sand, which cannot repel or withstand anything. Check out Jesus’ analogy re the two foundations, in Matthew .7:24-27. 

And we’ll close with some more immortal words of Jesus on the subject, as He spoke to Martha when He arrived late on purpose for Lazarus’ burial. ‘Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead (may die) yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ (Matt.11:25-26) 

And as the scholars say: ‘11:25: I am the resurrection is one of Jesus’ greatest “I am” statements, signifying His power to give eternal life.’ 

And oh my people, if Jesus has that awesome power, why wouldn’t I believe in Him eh, and shout out a bold and confident ‘YES’ to the question He asked Martha at the end of the last passage above: ‘Believest thou this?’ 

Oh friends, believing in Jesus is not only the epitome of wisdom, it is wisdom itself! Much LOVE!

…the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…but fools despise wisdom and instruction… (Prov.1:7)

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 September 2016 Hebrews 11:1.

 Hebrews 11:1.    Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.

Welcome my Scrip-Bit friends and family to this glorious Thursday morn; the first day of September 2016! Our God is alive and well in His heaven, faithfully looking over His people here on earth. And all God’s people said a loud and grateful, ‘Thank You Lord!’ 

Now the 1st of September in the northern climes usually means that the summer is technically over; the free paper burn, holidays are over, no more weekends at the cottage, it’s back to school and work, and begin thinking about the winter weather that will be upon us in another couple of months. 

But before we get to that (smile), I want to share ‘A Prayer for Solutions,’ from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional. 

Please pray with me. ‘Lord, thanks for assuring me that you’ll solve the problems if I’ll exercise the faith and make the right decision! Forgive me for waiting for all the difficulties, real or fanciful, to be resolved before deciding to make my commitment. 

I confess I have too often allowed problems instead of possibilities to take over leadership of my life – to make my decisions – and take command over my destiny. I know, now, what faith is, Lord! It’s making the right decisions before I see solutions to all the problems! Increase my faith! Amen.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth my people? It surely is! We allow the problems, rather than the possibilities to run our lives.  Remember, we live; we walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor.5:7) So as our faith goes, so go our lives. 

If our faith is strong, then we walk comfortably with the Lord. If our faith is weak and we have many doubts, then our walk of faith is not as strong and we are liable to take more missteps and make more mistakes than we ought to. 

And I sincerely believe that lack of true faith is one of the Christian’s biggest problems nowadays. With the world and all its evil and lustful pleasures and demand for material possessions coming against us so strongly, it’s very easy to falter, to lose faith and sight in God and succumb to the temptation. 

That’s why faith is so crucial in our everyday lives, something we need to keep at the forefront all the time, since it’s so easy to lose faith when the trials and tribulations beset us. And what is faith you ask? 

Well the Good Book gives us this definition, which is also our Bit for today. ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ Yeh friends, technically, it’s about hoping for and believing what we cannot see. 

But here is an excellent explanation on our Bit from the scholars. ’11:1. Verse 1 is not so much a definition of what faith is, as it is a description of what faith does (cf.11:6). Two truths concerning its activity are stated here. First, faith provides substance (Gr. hypostasis). Though broad in its usages, this Greek word normally has the meaning of “assurance” in the New Testament (cf. 3:14, 2 Cor.9:4; 11:17) and this seems to be the best sense here. 

Second, faith provides evidence (Gr. elegchos). It is evidence in the sense of proof that results in conviction. The difference between assurance and evidence would be minimal were it not for the phrase qualifying each: of things hoped for and of things not seen. 

The first involves future hope; the second involves present realities that are unseen. The first includes the hope of the resurrection, the return of Christ, and the glorification of the saints. The second involves unseen realities, such as forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice and the present intercession of Christ in heaven. Hope is faith relating to the future; conviction is faith relating to the present.’ 

Oh friends, I know that is somewhat convoluted and might prove confusing, but please take your time and reason it out, and it will eventually become clear. Faith is the biggest thing in our Christian walk. It’s what keeps us attached to our awesome God; to the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Only by faith can we believe it all! 

As the Good Book 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) 

So my brethren, it’s all about hope and belief. Remember, you can’t have faith if you don’t first have hope, for hope is what stirs the pot of faith and keeps it bubbling up strong and positive. 

Now let’s truly acknowledge our hope and faith by enthusiastically declaring our Thursday Blessings, for a blessing is not a blessing until it’s been spoken. 

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 everyday! Amen!’ 

Wonderful my people! Now let’s go out and put our faith into action nuh, because it’s useless unless and until it is acted upon! Much LOVE!

…faith calls for works…and works demand faith to do them…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 July 2016 Luke 8:50

Luke 8:50.   But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

Ah friends, once more we have been blessed with another wonderful day on God’s marvellous creation called planet earth! And believe me, there’s method to God’s madness for allowing us to see another day. It means we still have things to do in the great plan that He’s mapped out for us since the beginning of time. 

So let’s be joyful and declare as the psalmist did: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps.118:24)  Yes my fellow believers, under the circumstances, it’s the only attitude that makes sense. 

And furthermore, since the psalmist wrote those words, we have even more reason to celebrate because our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ died to cleanse our sinful souls, reconcile us to the Father and offer us the magnificent gifts of salvation and eternal life by simply believing in Him and being obedient to His Word! Wow! What a Saviour!  

And this summer Sunday morning I’d like us to sing an old hymn, a favourite of mine in my youth, which tells of Jesus’ great sacrifice on our behalf. It’s called, ‘There is a green hill far away.’ 

Please sing loudly and lustily with me. ‘There is a green hill far away, Without a city wall, Where the dear Lord was crucified, Who died to save us all. We may not know, we cannot tell, What pains he had to bear, But we believe it was for us He hung and suffered there. 

There was no other good enough To pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate Of heav’n and let us in. Oh, dearly, dearly has he LOVED! And we must LOVE him too, And trust in his redeeming blood, And try his works to do.’ 

Oh precious people, it is so good to offer up praise and thanks to our God after what He’s done for us. Just look at it nuh; Jesus was the ONLY one who could unlock heaven’s’ gate so that we might enter because He was sinless! And he did it so selflessly, enduring the horrendous pain without any complaints! 

Meanwhile, we soft, pampered people today, cry and complain so much if we have even a li’l hang nail. (smile) I don’t think many, if any of us, could have borne even one tenth of Jesus’ suffering without going crazy from the abuse and the pain. 

However, thankfully, we’re not called on to do that, but we are called on to bear some trials and tribulations in this earthly life, which we should try to do without too much caterwauling and complaining.  And the formula for doing that is given at the end of the hymn above. ‘LOVE Jesus, trust in His redeeming blood and diligently try to do His work.’ 

It’s all right there in a nutshell friends, just waiting for us to put it into action. And that’s exactly where we as supposed followers of Christ fall down. We talk a good talk, but can’t match it with our walk. And that’s not right, because the only way others will want to come to Jesus is by seeing His grace and truth, mercy, forgiveness and LOVE in action in our lives. 

And it’s high time we start doing better, if we want to carry the day for Jesus. But we need to first believe that it’s possible and then that we have the necessary parts to do it.  

Listen to Jesus’ admonition to Jairus the synagogue ruler when he heard that his daughter had died. ‘But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.’ 

Yes friends, the starting point for everything is BELIEF! If you don’t believe, generally speaking, it won’t happen. Now let’s look at a couple of other instances where Jesus invoked belief. 

Let’s begin with His early morning journey from Bethany to Jerusalem. He was hungry and approached a fig tree expecting to find figs because it was fig season. However the tree was barren of all fruit. Jesus then declared to the fig tree: ‘Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.’ (Matt.21:19) 

Obviously the disciples were amazed at the fig tree’s sudden demise. ‘Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt.21:21-22) 

And friends, please note that the important word in that last sentence is ‘BELIEVING!’ If you don’t believe, all your prayers are useless. 

Now let’s turn to our final example, that time when Jesus heard that His friend Lazarus was deathly ill, but He stayed where He was for another two days before returning to Bethany. By then Lazarus had died and his sister Martha met Jesus on the way and criticized Him. 

‘Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead (may die), yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.’ (John 11:21-27) 

Ah friends, Martha surely believed, but she did not understand Jesus’ intention to raise her brother in the current time. Thus when they took Him to Lazarus’ tomb and He ordered them to roll away the stone from the mouth, ‘Martha saith unto him, Lord by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? (John 11:39-40) 

And we all know that after Jesus spoke to His Father, for the people’s sake, He ordered Lazarus to come out and he came out, alive and well and many of those who saw Jesus’ work, believed. 

I ask us now friends, do we believe that strongly so that we can see the glory of God? For all of our sakes, I sincerely hope so. Much LOVE!

…without belief…not much is possible…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 October 2015 Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11:1.  Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.

Aye Friends, can you believe it’s Wednesday already? Wow! Our workweek is almost done… Glory to God! 

And I do hope that you were all bright eyed and bushy tailed when you arose this morning. Sorry to say that ole fella was not. I had a rather rude awakening with cramps in both calves that forced me to get up. But thankfully they never lasted long. 

I guess it was just the Lord’s way of getting my attention, since it was the agreed time for me to get up, and I really didn’t want to. He can certainly move in mysterious and devious ways when He is ready. (smile) 

And then when I heard the garbage truck in the area, knowing that I had not even collected the stuff in the house, much less put it out on the curb, I dragged myself to get it done, all the time obstructed by the bag and tubing of my I.V. 

Praise the Lord though that it is supposed to come out today! I couldn’t handle the inconvenience and scratching around the needle in my hand for even one more day. And that’s my story of woe for today! (smile) 

Oh…and since it is Wednesday, that means it’s wailing time. So let’s wail nuh, with sincerity and passion. ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. 

My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Oh yes my people, the road lies straight ahead to a glorious future with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Glory to God! What a wonderful opportunity it is to be linked up with Jesus! I don’t understand how so many people refuse it, and some even give it up nuh. 

To me that’s the height of stupidity, because there’s nothing in this ungodly, and evil world that even comes close to the salvation and satisfaction promised by Christ. I guess they don’t have the parts, the patience, the wisdom or the faith to trust their lives to their Creator. 

And on that point, here is a li’l poem from Gramps Schuller (Robert H. Schuller) from the Hour of Power Devotional on that powerful and ever so important topic of ‘FAITH.’ 

Please pray with me: ‘Lord, I believe in the sun, even when it is behind the clouds; in the seed, even when it lies unsprouted under the ground; in faith, even when I have been betrayed; in LOVE, even when I have been rejected; in hope, even when I have been hurt; in God, even when you do not answer my prayers. Amen.’ 

Ah mih breddren , that’s what it means to have faith! That even when we can’t see any movement in the natural, we still know and believe spiritually, that our amazing, gracious and most merciful God is still working behind the scenes on our behalf! That definitely deserves another ‘Glory to God!’ (smile) 

And since we’re talking about faith, I guess the most appropriate Bit for today would be this explanation from Hebrews. ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ 

And the scholars offer this extensive explanation on the subject. ’11:1. Verse 1 is not so much a definition of what faith is, as it is a description of what faith does (cf.11:6). Two truths concerning its activity are stated here. 

First, faith provides substance (Gr. hypostasis). Though broad in its usage, this Greek word normally has the meaning of “assurance” in the New Testament (cf. 3:14; 2 Cor.9:4; 11:17) and this seems to be the best sense here. 

Second, faith provides evidence (Gr. elegchos). It is evidence in the sense of proof that results in conviction. The difference between assurance and evidence would be minimal were it not for the phrase qualifying each: of things hoped for and of things not seen. 

The first involves future hope; the second involves present realities that are unseen. The first includes the hope of the resurrection, the return of Christ, and the glorification of the saints. The second involves unseen realities, such as forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice and the present intercession of Christ in heaven. Hope is faith relating to the future; conviction is faith relating to the present.’ 

Ah Friends, it’s a long and somewhat involved explanation, but if you take your time and read it, I’m sure you’ll understand what the scholars are trying to say. 

In a nutshell, faith is a spiritual reality that causes us to have hope in Jesus Christ, both in the here and now and in the future! It’s what keeps us going when in the natural things don’t seem to be going or turning out the way we desire. 

However, because of that faith and trust in the promises of Jesus, we KNOW that He is on the case, working things out for our good, to fall into line with the good plan He has for each and every one of our lives. And we certainly can’t ask for more than that! 

So today, please, I implore us to get with the programme; to ramp up our faith and trust in our Saviour. Would He have sacrificed His holy and sinless life, if He didn’t truly LOVE and care for us? I very much doubt it. So now it’s our turn to show our gratitude and faith in the good news of His message. That is heavenly wisdom! Much LOVE!

…faith is simply…trust and LOVE…in action…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 July 2014 Mark 5:36b

Mark 5:36b.  Be not afraid, only believe.

And then it was Saturday; a bright, vibrant, radiant day, made by Almighty God so that His people could rejoice and be glad in it! And all God’s children declared a loud and grateful, ‘Thank you Father!’
 
Oh my people, can you believe that we’re more than halfway through July already, and also this year of 2014? I swear that the days are running faster than they usually do. And most of you will no doubt agree, because your lives also seem to be moving at breakneck speed, where one day just morphs into the other, without any apparent break.
 
And though I don’t remind us as often as I should about our New Year’s resolution of following Jesus more closely, I do hope that you are faithfully adhering to it. And you can tell me what you will, but the Father will read the truth in your hearts.
 
Anyway mih lovelies, this morning I want to share with you the opening couple of lines of the poem Endymion by the English Romantic Poet, John Keats (1795-1821) It reads: ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass to nothingness.’
 
Now we all know that the value of art usually increases with age, but so too do people. As the days go by on our earthly journey, we get more mature and grace-filled, so that increased knowledge, experience and wisdom make us more valuable. The only problem is that unlike the physical works of art, we pass away to nothingness.
 
But that’s just our physical bodies. Our spiritual beings are still alive and kicking, especially in the LOVED ones that we have left behind. They continue to hold dear the traditions, the respect, the care and the LOVE that we lavished on them when we were alive. So all that and any other physical heirlooms we might have bequeathed to those around us will continue to live on, to survive, as they pass those things to others down through the ages.
 
So in essence, like the physical art, we too never pass into nothingness either. And here’s the end quote on the subject from the One More Day Devotional, Daily Meditations for People with Chronic Illness. It bravely declares: ‘I am comforted by the traditions of family and faith and by the meaningfulness they add to my life.’
 
And that’s how it ought to be my brethren, for when we approach death’s door, it’s usually family we want to see, and faith we hold on to, so we can easily transition from this life to the next.
 
And it all boils down to one word: ‘BELIEF!’ We live a life guided by our beliefs. Hopefully the major belief is that in Jesus Christ, for it is the best belief to build your life around.
 
And I just LOVE how Jesus puts things so simple and straightforward, as He says to Jairus in our Bit: ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’
 
Nothing to it Friends, just believe. And it is truly that simple, we just like to make a fuss over it. We believe the nonsense, the lies that the advertisers tell us in their forked tongued messages without batting an eyelash. Hn! But when it comes to believing in Jesus, the most important belief in our lives, the one that will either separate us from God forever, or keep us on the inside looking out, we get all hot and bothered, ask a whole lot of questions and put up a whole lot of roadblocks. Why eh, my people?
 
I think that it’s generally because we’re afraid. It seems to be such a big decision to make, for it deals with our lives in the hereafter, something we don’t want to think about just yet, plus the worldly artifacts are so beautiful to look at and possess, and we erroneously believe that believing in Jesus means we can’t enjoy the good things of earthly life. But that’s a fool’s wisdom Friends, for Jesus said He came so that we could have life, and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
 
The problem is that we don’t want any borders, any boundaries placed on our activities and behaviour, but yuh see what that desire is causing all over our world; strife and destruction. But my people, this life can only be lived in prosperity and safety if we adhere to certain strict guidelines. Anything else will only bring anarchy, as we’re seeing in so many places nowadays.
 
However Friends, I’m running out of space and time, so let’s get to some scriptures where Jesus highlighted belief in God. And there’s none better than the story of Him raising His friend Lazarus from the dead.
 
Jesus was out of town when he got the message from the sisters, Martha and Mary, saying ‘Lord behold he whom thou LOVEST is sick.’ (John 11:3) But despite His great LOVE for Lazarus and his sisters Jesus remained a further two days before He went to Bethany where they lived. By the time He got there Lazarus was already dead for four days.
 
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she ran to meet Him and rebuked Him, saying, ‘Lord if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.’ (John 11:21-22)
 
Now is that strong belief, great faith or what my people! She just knows that whatever Jesus asks of God, God will grant. How many of us are even willing to say that today, much less believe it eh, even though we have much more info and insight than Martha did?
 
The Good Book continues: the conversation: ‘Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
 
Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead (may die), yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this?
 
She saith unto him, Yea Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.’ (John 11:23-27)
 
What a powerful passage of scripture my brethren! Note the interplay between Jesus and Martha: He claiming to be the giver of eternal life, and she believing without missing a beat! That’s how it ought to be in all believers’ lives my Friends!
 
So today, please let’s sit and consider our personal response to Jesus’ question; ‘Believest thou this?’ And hopefully, we shall all blurt out without hesitation: ‘Yes Lord: I BELIEVE!’ Much LOVE!

…it all begins with…believing…and it all ends with…believing…only believe…