Today’s Scrip-Bit   23 November 2022   1 Thessalonians 5:2.

1 Thessalonians 5:2.       For ourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

And then it was Wednesday…already, I complain. (smile) Yes, but it’s a beautiful day in my neighbourhood; with bright sunshine, you can even feel a dash of heat from the glowing orb, no snow and temps around 7 Celsius. For this time of year, around here that’s gorgeous weather. So, let’s do like the psalmist did and declare out loud: ‘This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps. 118:23-24) 

Yes friends, we had better enjoy this day the Lord has given us, for who knows if we’ll ever see another one. Remember, God’s mercies and compassions are new every day, like fresh bread, He gives them to us for our enjoyment. So let’s show some gratitude and appreciation by enjoying them nuh. 

And yesterday we were talking about a very important topic in the believer’s life; that of being ready for whenever Jesus returns, which to all intents and purposes will be sudden and unexpected. Please don’t laugh, it’s no joking matter, like some people think it is, because if you’re not ready when He returns, you will be left behind to suffer all the evils and persecutions of the Great Tribulation. And who wants to really suffer those indignities eh, when we can go home with Jesus in the Rapture of the church. 

But that means we have to be ready and waiting in faith whenever He returns for His bride, the church. And there are a few other scriptures we ought to look at, besides those we studied yesterday. First of all, there is the parable of the unfaithful servant (Matt. 24:45-51) who was abusing his authority in his master’s absence, when the master suddenly returned home unexpectedly and caught him red-handed. And Jesus ends that parable by declaring (steups!!!): ‘there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ And so there shall be when He returns and many are not ready. 

Then there is the parable of the ten virgins: (Matt. 25:1-13) five who were smart and took oil for their lamps to wait for the bridegroom’s coming to meet his bride, and five foolish who took no oil, and eventually got locked out of the ceremony when the bridegroom came late, and they had gone looking for oil for their lamps. And friends, Jesus ends that parable with this warning again. ‘Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.’ (Matt. 25:13) 

Now just in case you didn’t get Christ’s warning, then please check out chapter 5 of Bruh Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, where he writes: ‘For ourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.’ (1 Thess. 5:2) Jesus also issued that warning, though in a slightly different way when talking about the thief coming at an unexpected time to rob the master’s house. ‘Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.’ (Matt. 24:44) 

Then Bruh Paul goes on to warn the Thessalonians: ‘For when they shall say, Peace and safety (slogans of the Roman Empire); then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail (labour pains) upon a woman with child (a pregnant woman); and they shall not escape. But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and LOVE; and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together (encourage each other), and edify (build up) one another, even as ye also do (are already doing.’ (1 Thess. 5:3-11) 

Wow! What a momentous passage of scripture my fellow believers! It’s educational, encouraging, comforting and a serious warning, all at the same time. And that warning still holds good for us today, possibly more so than back then since Jesus hasn’t returned yet and can do so at ANY TIME; day or night, today, tomorrow…or even a hundred or a thousand years from now! But return He will! And it is certainly time for us, the supposed children of light to awaken from our lethargy and get ourselves ready for Jesus’ return. 

Meanwhile, the scholars explain that ‘The day of the Lord is an all-encompassing term to describe the period that begins with the Great Tribulation, and includes the second coming of Christ, and the millennial kingdom.’ So, there’s plenty stuff that’s coming, but exactly when, no one but the Father knows, that’s why we have to be in a state of constant preparedness! 

Then there’s this last scripture which Jesus relates to John in the Book of Revelation. ‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.’ (Rev. 16:15) That’s ‘an exhortation to the surviving believers after the last great war, Armageddon, to be watchful and alert, and to remain faithful and loyal to Christ during a time of intense persecution. To have garments rather than be naked, relates to spiritual preparedness.’ 

Yes my fellow saints, from today, right down to when Jesus actually sets up His millennial kingdom, we must remain spiritually prepared. And for those of us attempting to do that, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Wednesday Wail. 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 believe me, if we endure right down to the end with Christ, then that future will be even more glorious than we can either ask or imagine. Now that’s good encouragement to keep us living for Jesus! Much LOVE!

…a lot of the believer’s time…should be taken up with…watching and praying…

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ      

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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 8 November 2014 Psalm 118:21

Psalm 118:21.   I will praise thee: for thou hast heard (and answered) me, and art become my salvation.

Well it’s Saturday Friends… the day for sleeping in late and/or getting up early to do the household chores and run the errands that we couldn’t do during the workweek. Oh, in this go, go, go society of ours, there is always something else to do, something else that’s demanding, that’s screaming out for our time and attention. 
 
But you know what my people? In this rat-race society we have to make definite time for two things; rest, and quiet time with Almighty God!
 
Without those two things running at optimum levels, regardless of how good, how accomplished we are in the ways and busyness of the world, our brilliant construction will collapse and fall as soon as anything strong comes against it, because our physical and spiritual foundations are insufficient to support the worldly structure we’re trying to build. 
 

That reminds me of Jesus talking about the two men, one who built his house on a poor foundation of sand (the world and its values) and the other who constructed his on the strong foundation of rock (Jesus Christ).
 
And when the storms came, as they invariably do, the wind and rain washed away the foundation of the house built on the sand and the house itself collapsed. But the one built on the foundation of rock staunchly withstood the elements. (Luke 6:46-48)
 
That my Friends, is what happens when we rush about madly, trying to achieve and acquire the things the world considers important, of top priority, and we’re not kind and considerate to our physical and spiritual needs.
 
And the sad part is that we now see such foundations crumbling much more often than we did a generation or two ago, when the pace of life was much slower and more in tune with God. Unfortunately it is also happening to younger and younger persons all the time.
 
The unrelenting thrust of today’s pace of life, and the resultant stress and strain are taking a serious toll on the society’s young, because that’s all a lot of them know – always in a rush, multitasking, constantly on the social media networks – and neither the body nor the mind were built to withstand such abnormal pressures.
 
Anyway my brethren, for those of us who have learned the lesson of life – many the hard way – to build our structures on the strong foundation of Jesus, our Bit today helps us to acknowledge where our wisdom and contentment come from. ‘I will praise thee: for thou hast heard (and answered) me, and art become my salvation.’
 
And that’s no lie, my fellow believers, for our God is ever so worthy of praise, because he has heard and answered our heartfelt prayers, even to the sending of His only son Jesus to be the sacrifice, the propitiation for our sins, and thus ultimately our Saviour, the reason for our reconciliation to the Father, and therefore our salvation.
 
And the sound of God’s people suddenly and solemnly ring out to high heaven: ‘Thank You Father! Thank You for sending Jesus to bring us back to You. We LOVE and adore You, and praise Your Holy Name!’
 
And that’s why the psalmist began Psalm 118 – Thanksgiving for the Lord’s salvation- this way. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord: for he is good: because his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever.’ (Ps.118:1) And throughout the psalm he continually repeats that verse, so by the end, that thought, those serious and sacred words have been indelibly written in your soul.
 
And talking about answered prayer, listen to these verses from Psalm 116 – Praise for deliverance from death. ‘I LOVE the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me (listened to me), therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.’ (Ps.116:1-2)
 
Oh my people, that’s simple logic and common sense! If you’ve called upon the Lord, and He heard and answered you, then you’d be a fool not to keep on calling on Him. And as I researched our Bit, I was amazed to find some very poignant and prominent verses of scripture in rather close proximity to it. I had some idea of where they were to be found, but never really made the connection until now.
 
Hear these memorable verses of scripture that follow our Bit. ‘The stone which the builders refused (rejected) is become the head stone of the corner (the chief cornerstone). This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps.118:22-24)
 
Yes Friends, most of us know those scriptures, but I suspect that only a few know that they come one right after the other in the same psalm.
 
And we’ll close, most appropriately with the last two verses of Psalm 118, ‘Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.’ (Ps.118:28-29)
 
Gospel truth Friends, gospel truth! Let’s remember that, and wisely build our lives around them. Much LOVE!
 
…any structure, edifice, family or organization…is only as strong as its foundation…and the best, the strongest  foundation is Jesus Christ…