Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 July 2021 John 10:10b.

John 10:10b.     I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

And as we move on through life with another new day, I do hope that we are appreciating and enjoying the abundant life that Christ died for us to have. What? You don’t know anything about the abundant life Christ died for us to inherit. Oh, poor souls! Please listen to Jesus, as He talks about His role as the Good Shepherd. ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) 

Yes friends, Jesus didn’t die only so that we could go to heaven, but that we could also enjoy life down here on earth. Our heavenly life doesn’t begin when we physically get to heaven, but when we receive Jesus. That’s when all the good things kick in, like the entrance of the Holy Spirit and all its wonderful fruit and God’s goodness and mercy that He lavishes on all believers in His Son Jesus Christ. 

So, although life on earth can be rough, with Jesus in our hearts and souls, we can still enjoy what we have down here, boosted by the promises of what awaits us in heaven. Why do you think the psalmist wrote these marvellous words way back when eh? ‘This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps. 118:24) Because God gives us a new day every 24 hours so that we can awaken fresh and bright and enjoy it. He wants us to leave the old day behind and enjoy the new one. 

Why yuh think Jesus told His listeners: ‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow (do not worry about tomorrow); for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil (trouble) thereof. (Matt. 6:34) That’s because we ought to concentrate on the day in front of us, today, for everyday has its own problems, most of which you can’t control, or even know about until you come to it. So, we should not place as much emphasis on tomorrow as we do on today. 

And just a gentle reminder; (smile) you know tomorrow never comes, because we call every new day ‘today.’ That means we are always living in today, the present, not yesterday, or tomorrow. That’s why the Lord only allows us to live one day at a time. We can barely handle today, much less to worry about tomorrow, or be overly concerned about yesterday, which we can do absolutely nothing about, since it’s already long gone. 

But that doesn’t stop so many of us living in the past, allowing the things that have already gone and been forgiven and forgotten by the Lord to haunt us, make us miserable so that we cannot enjoy today. Remember the words of Isaiah on the Lord’s behalf: ‘I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.’ (Is. 43:25) And Psalm 103 graciously informs us: ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he (God) removed our transgressions from us.’ (Ps. 103:12) 

So why can’t we remove our own sins too eh, instead of allowing them to cloud and clog our hearts and souls and stop us from enjoying the abundant life Christ died for us to have? And remember too, God’s promise through Jeremiah of a new covenant, to put His law in the hearts of the people, so everyone will know Him and turn to Him: ‘For I will forgive their iniquity, and will remember their sin no more.’ (Jer. 31:33-34) 

And that’s what God did when He gave His Son’s life for us, made Him pay for our sins, then placed the Holy Spirit in the lives of all those who choose to believe in Him, that they could have close and intimate communion with Him. What’s the purpose then of Christ dying on our behalf, if we refuse to enjoy the things He died for us to have eh? None whatsoever! 

Now here is an interesting question, one commentator asked. ‘Does God really forget our sins?’ The answer is not so much He forgets, but more like He chooses not to remember. God is omniscient, so He knows everything, and truly forgets nothing. He just chooses to forget our sins because Christ has already paid for them. Just like when we forgive, we choose not to remember the wrongs committed against us. But until we learn to let the past that currently burdens us, dwell in the past and live in the present with great hope for the future, we will never be able to enjoy what Christ has died to provide us. 

Oh my people, our great and wonderful God desires great and wonderful things for us in this earthly life, but we have to let go of the old things before we can get those new ones. We need to take these words of Bruh Paul to the church at Corinth very seriously. ‘Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ (2 Cor. 5:17) 

Yes friends, when we come to Christ, we need to become a totally new person, throwing away old bad habits and taking up new godly ones. And that’s the job of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, but He cannot do anything on His own, He needs our participation to bring about those new godly changes. And they don’t happen overnight either, that means patience is necessary. But it’s most definitely time to be wise and begin throwing away all the baggage that’s weighing us down. And we can do that if accept Christ’s invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that are labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matt. 11:28) 

That’s right precious people, Christ is the answer to whatever ails us this Tuesday morning, and if we sincerely turn to Him, He will indeed give us rest from our problems. And the great thing about Christ is, that although our problems might not disappear, we can still have His peace in the midst of the mightiest storm! Hear His awesome promise: ‘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) 

Oh mercy, mercy me! And that’s the gospel truth! With the peace of Christ circulating in your body and soul, you can be peaceful even amid serious calamity. But to get it, you have to go to Him and ask for it. It won’t come to you by osmosis or simply wishing for it. (smile) Now, for those of us who have accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour and are revelling in His constant communion, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. 

Altogether now: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ Glory be mih bredrin! 

And it now behooves us to go out and share that awesome friendship and amazing LOVE of Christ, so that others will want to know Him by the good example we set. Much LOVE!

…when you become a new creation in Christ…life becomes…oh so exciting and adventuresome…                                                                                             

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 March 2021 John 10:10b.

John 10:10b.     ​I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

So it’s finally Saturday, and we’re either sleeping in, getting ready to do piled up household chores, or getting ready to go out and do the grocery shopping that we also couldn’t do during the work week. But whatever it is we’re doing, even if it’s just nothing, please remember that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is always right there with us, leading, guiding, encouraging and LOVING us, through the indwelling power of His amazing Holy Spirit! 

And for that, we ought to be eternally grateful, because no other faith is guaranteed what we Christians have: the LOVE, mercy and grace of Jesus, that brings forgiveness of sins, and eventually leads to eternal life in heaven with Him. We indeed have the best of all worlds! So let’s give sincere thanks and do our best to walk holy as we go about His business today nuh, so that others can see Christ in us and be encouraged to come to Him, because that’s what He desires of us, His ambassadors, His agents, His foot soldiers! And all God’s children said ‘Amen!’ 

Now let’s look at the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one says: ‘If you do not change direction, you might end up where you are heading.’ Yes friends, you can be pretty sure that if you don’t veer away from your current direction, you will end up where it’s leading. For you certainly can’t be going in one particular direction and expect to end up other than where it’s headed. 

Consequently, this next quote puts it all into the proper perspective. ‘We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea.’ And that’s the gospel truth! Too many of us prefer to stay in our comfort zone rather than step out of it and risk disappointment or trouble. But trouble and disappointment can, and will find you wherever you are. That’s for sure. 

The problem with staying securely in your comfort zone is that you will never really see the beauty and treasures that life really holds. That’s because life only opens up to those who truly seek it, who step out and look for it. Remember what Jesus said: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.’ (Matt. 7:7) Yes my people, that’s also what life expects of us; to come seeking it. All its beauty and treasures won’t just drop in your lap if you stay safe and comfortable. The same thing goes for our Christian beliefs; we have to step out and show others Christ in us. 

And that brings us to this next quote: ‘The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.’ Now that’s no lie my brethren! Ofttimes, the change(s) we are most afraid of are the ones which hold the best end result for us. But that’s just life; the best things are usually the hardest to do and achieve. For whatever reason, life just doesn’t do easy as much as we would like it to. So we can’t run from it, if we want to enjoy it. We have to join the fray; get involved, handle whatever comes against us with a good attitude, with God’s help obviously. 

It’s the only way to live the abundant life that Christ says He came and died for us to have. And if you don’t believe me, listen to Him tell it. ‘The thief (that’s Satan) cometh not but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) And that abundant life is one filled with a heavenly perspective, trusting and surrendering to Jesus, walking in the Spirit, and letting its fruit blossom forth in our lives as we journey on to heaven and eternal life. And we can only do that if we are not afraid of change. 

So we move on to the next quote that says: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’ And that’s true to a great extent since life changes whether we want it to or not. For example, we grow older and more infirm every day, although we don’t want to. (smile) But the ones who handle aging the best are those who realize the predicament and make the necessary changes so that they can still be productive. You eat as healthily as possible, get as much exercise as possible, pray and show LOVE as much as possible. 

Now that doesn’t mean we must change just for change’s sake. And that’s why I have an issue with our last quote. ‘We must be impatient for change. Let us remember that our voice is a precious gift and we must use it.’ I thoroughly disagree with the first statement. We should not be impatient for change, because all change is not necessarily good or timely change. And that’s one of the major problems in our world right now: everybody’s hollering for change! But look at all the problems that change has caused us in the last little while nuh, especially with the worldwide explosion of social media, where so much negative stuff is now being disseminated. 

Change is good to the extent that it improves our lives, and that does not mean making us fat or fatter and lazier, as has been the case in the last few years. We have so many helpmates nowadays, that we end up doing very little for ourselves, and that’s no good for the species, for as the saying goes, ‘if you don’t use, it you’re going to lose it.’ And that’s exactly what’s been happening to the human race. We haven’t been using all of our faculties and bodies, thus we are steadily losing the ability to function without all of our helpmates. 

And with the hasty pursuit of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) we’ll soon lose even more, as we are required to do even less. You can see it already in platforms like what’s app, where after a few messages, they can almost write one for you. So, soon, we won’t even have to think any more, the machines will be doing it for us. And what do you think will happen to our minds and brains eh? They’ll simply atrophy. We’ll lose the ability to use them. Now is that what we desire for our species? Certainly not! 

Too much easy life is no good. That’s why societies fall into disarray and ruin, after having reached a pinnacle of work and productivity. Then they just sit on their fannies and enjoy the good life. But if everyone does that, the society crumbles. Life is strange that way. We work hard to rise to the heights, and when we get there, thinking there’s nothing left to achieve, we just allow it to fall apart. 

But that’s not what Jesus expects of his people, of His church my brethren! Our voices are precious, and He expects us to use them to be productive on His behalf right to the very end, even to our last breath, encouraging others to come to Him. So please my fellow believers, let’s stand up strong for Jesus nuh! Let’s allow our voices to be heard loud and clear for what we believe in, and don’t pursue change just for the sake of change. It’s not good for our species, or what God desires for us. Much LOVE!

…change is necessary…but not all change is good… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 November 2020 Ephesians 2:8.

Ephesians 2:8.     ​For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (the expression of His goodness toward the undeserving).

Come Tuesday – another nice summery day, just like Monday! Oh yes, that would indeed be wonderful my people! That’s why we need to give much thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings He’s continually bestowing on us. As the psalmist so rightly says: ‘This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.‘ (Ps. 118:23-24) 

Wow! What awesome words of wisdom and truth! And don’t forget what our Lord and Saviour Jesus said on the subject. ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal and destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) 

Mama Mia! If that isn’t a direct directive (smile) of our Lord’s to enjoy and be thankful for this earthly life, then I don’t know what is nuh! In addition to salvation and eternal life when our frail and fragile bodies wear out and return to the dust from which they came, He also desires us to enjoy and prosper and succeed in this earthly life. Oh, He certainly knows that it will not always be wine and song, because like us, He experienced trials and tribulations too. As the Good Book proclaims: ‘For we have not a 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.’ (Heb. 4:15) 

Yes my brethren, Jesus experienced all the problems that we experience down here on this evil and ungodly earth, but never did you see Him miserable and downcast, regardless of the circumstances He faced. Just look at how brutally they treated Him in His own home town of Nazareth nuh. I like how the website waynestiles.com puts it. ‘When Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth, He found a warm welcome at the synagogue—that is, until He preached. The young carpenter claimed to have fulfilled the messianic prophecy He had just read from Isaiah 61:1–2 (Luke 4:16-30). 

The hearers took offense that the local-yokel Jesus would dare to be remarkable. After all, wasn’t He the guy who built their dining tables? The townspeople were so enraged that they took Jesus to the edge of the Nazareth Ridge and wanted to fling Him off into the Jezreel Valley. But He passed through their midst and departed. You think that made for awkward subsequent holiday gatherings?’ 

Yes friends, Jesus always exuded a good attitude, which He also expects His followers to exemplify. No, it’s not easy, and He promised us that it wouldn’t be, but with His help we could make it. ‘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 if we’re finding it difficult of be of good cheer, then we can always go to our understanding and sympathetic High Priest, who will empathize with us and enable us to have good cheer. 

Hear the author of Hebrews on the topic nuh. ‘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. 4:16) Brother! Mercy and grace are the two great attributes the Lord uses in our everyday lives. Mercy is not receiving what we ought to, for example punishment for some disobedient act. Many of us know about that from our youth when our parents mercifully did not punish us for some verboten behaviour. 

While grace…ohhh…grace is so marvellous, that there are no words to truly explain it. It’s basically God’s favour; the wonderful things He does for us that we do not deserve. Even salvation is through grace. The Good Book puts it thus: ‘For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (the expression of His goodness toward the undeserving). Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ (Eph. 2:8-9) So grace is the basis of our salvation, the unmerited favour of God. 

The scholars offer this acrostic of grace. ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth, for it’s only through the expense of Christ’s life on the cross at Calvary did we receive salvation and the marvellous promise of eternal life! 

And hear this li’l tidbit from the great English Baptist Preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) affectionately known as ‘The Prince of Preachers.’ On the subject of ‘By Grace Ye Are Saved,’ he apparently wrote: ‘It is by the grace of God that ungodly men are preserved from instant death. The sharp axe of justice would soon fell the barren tree if the interceding voice of Jesus did not cry, “Spare him yet a little.” And isn’t that the indisputable truth! Were it not for Jesus, the sharp axe of justice would certainly have fallen on sinful, disobedient, ungodly man long ago. 

And yuh know friends, there’s only ONE real reason for all of that mercy and grace yes; God’s unconditional, irrational, indisputable, undying LOVE for us, His sinful and disobedient creation. Hear the Good Book: ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.’ (Eph. 2:4) And Jesus verified it, like only He could. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) And that says it all my precious saints of Christ! 

So for those of us who sincerely believe, and also try to be diligent and excellent followers of Christ, wisely accepting God’s LOVE, grace and mercy, let’s go home now declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, boldly and confidently proclaiming to the whole world, who and whose we are! 

All together now, in strong voice with sincere hearts! ‘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 the natural consequence of that pledge is for us to keep on trusting Jesus and generously share His awesome LOVE with others! Much LOVE!

…without God’s grace and mercy…His LOVE would have been just an ordinary word… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 October 2020 John 10:17.

John 10:17.     ​Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

Break open Saturday…wide and free…sunny and bright, but somewhat chilly, as most of the days henceforth will be! (smile) But that’s just how life is, how it was made to unfurl in the northern climes, and we just have to make the best of it with the tools we’ve been given. And believe me, we can do so successfully, if we just settle down and concentrate on the Lord for He’s already given us all the tools we need to be successful. He wouldn’t create us and then leave us in the lurch. That’s definitely not His style. 

Remember these immortal words of Jesus: ‘The thief cometh not but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have live, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) Wow mih bredrin! What an amazing promise! But as always, we have to go out and receive it, make it come true, through our sincere, godly efforts. Sermon done! (smile) 

Now let’s see what words of wisdom our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘Success is a process that continues, not a status that you reach. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.’ And that is ever so true! Success doesn’t just stop when you reach the top of the hill; it’s a continuous learning curve. What happens if you stop when you’re on top eh? You lose all motivation, you get lazy and apathetic, then you slowly start sliding back down to the bottom. To stay on top, you have to be continuously learning and improving in some area(s). 

As the quote says, once we’re alive, there are always things for us to learn…if we want to stay truly alive. (smile) And that’s why this next one is such good advice. ‘Don’t settle for mediocrity; never let good enough be good enough.’ Oh friends, is that ever gospel truth, especially if you’re a believer in Christ, because Christ does not do mediocrity! In his realm it’s either excellence or nothing at all! But so many of us, beset by the troubles and trials of this world settle for just good enough. That’s wrong my people. The Lord made us to excel, not to come in second, to make it just by the skin of our teeth. That’s the world’s way, not the Christian’s! 

As believers we should always be fighting to reach higher ground as we do Jesus’ work. And that nicely segues us into the next quote. ‘No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.’ That’s for certain sure precious people of God! There is always room for improvement. And when we believe that, then learning and growing gets exciting, especially if we’re living for Christ. 

Now, living for Christ is always somewhat difficult, but we know that living for Him is also always interesting and adventurous. So let’s hold on tightly to Him and all that He has and provides nuh, so that we can live the more abundant and excellent life that He expects from us and died for us to have. And the good thing about Jesus is that He does not expect whopping big miracles and deeds from us, but just that we do our daily, mundane tasks with a good attitude, a sense of pride and fulfillment, even though the everyday tasks are often boring and same old, same old. 

And that’s where this next quote comes in: ‘Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.’ That’s the magic formula my people! A little every day, eventually adds up to a great amount. As mih Jamaican bredrin would say: ‘One one cocoa full basket.’ And that’s the living truth! The problem with our society these days is that we all want to reach to the top, but too quickly. We don’t realize that if we don’t grow to the top, when we get there we won’t stay there. 

Just look at all the one hit wonders, all those who flew to the top on a jet plane. Hn! And what happened eh? They descended with just the same speed…or even quicker. But those who do their time in the trenches and learn what life is really all about, knowing that it takes a while to reach the top, when they get there, they will know what it takes to stay there. 

Yuh see friends, real life is all about learning and growing. It’s just like planting a seed. You have to wait for it to grow; it doesn’t just grow up overnight. But all the while you have to LOVE and nurture it; water and weed around it. That’s how we ought to treat our lives, LOVING and nurturing them as we patiently grow them. 

And this last quote gives us some invaluable advice on the whole subject. ‘A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.’ Yeh friends, real leaders help others to grow! Leadership is not about us, but about those who are following us. That’s why Jesus is such a wonderful leader. He cares about those who follow Him more than he cared about Himself. That’s why He sacrificed Himself on the cross at Calvary for a bunch of no good sinners like us. 

Yuh think He really wanted to die such a horrible death? No way! But the Father asked, and there was no other way, so He went obediently like a lamb to the slaughter. That’s what true leaders do; sacrifice themselves for their people, not ask their people to sacrifice themselves while they sit quietly by and enjoy the fruits of that sacrifice. And I believe that’s the best way to judge a leader; by what he or she is willing to sacrifice for the movement. 

And another thing about leaders, they must be able to follow. Yes friends, you can’t truly lead, unless you first know how to follow. Then you know how following feels, and that then enables you to lead properly. Sadly, that means that many leaders today are not real leaders because most of them don’t know how to follow, and are calling on others to sacrifice for them, but they themselves are not willing to sacrifice for the cause. But our Leader, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ did just that! He knew how to follow too. And that’s why He’s the greatest Leader the world has ever, and will ever see! 

These words of His will prove my contention. ‘Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18) 

That’s true leadership my people! Jesus had the power, but He did not abuse it, as so many of today’s so-called leaders do. And He was willing to sacrifice for the cause. But He also knew how to follow because He was always obedient to the Father. As the Good Book says: ‘He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Eph. 2:8b) Now that’s the example we need to go out and do our best to follow. We won’t ever perfect it, but we’re certainly expected to try. Much LOVE!

…God’s people… learn and grow…bit by bit…as He moves them…from glory to glory…