Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 June 2014 Acts 14:22

Acts 14:22.     Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

So what’s happening this fine Thursday morning eh Friends? I do hope that we’re all prepared to receive the new blessings and mercies that our wonderful Lord has earmarked for distribution today to His faithful and obedient followers.
 
And all God’s people mouthed a most grateful, ‘Thank You Lord! We Love You and praise Your Holy Name!’
 
Now here is the second half of the I CAN DO statements, acclamations of faith to get us started on our journey of faith today.
 
Please affirm with me: ‘I CAN have victory in my life by dealing with the things that are keeping me from God’s best. I AM confronting my struggles head on so I CAN overcome them. God has given me the power to rise above.
 
He has given me the strength to focus on Him and push through. NOTHING will hold me back! This is my declaration of what I CAN do through Christ!’
 
Now my people, let’s take that seriously and get ourselves together and DO what we just affirmed that we CAN and WILL DO! It’s the only way to move forward successfully in this life! 
 
That brings us to our Bit: ‘Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.’
 
Oh Friends, that’s exactly what we are endeavouring to do through the Bit; strengthen our souls so that we can continue strong in the faith, while keeping in mind the fact that we will suffer trials simply by being a follower of Jesus. So it’s all good stuff. (smile)
 
And though it can indeed be a struggle to live a good life, walking in Jesus’ footsteps, glorifying our heavenly Father, as faithful believers, we must do it, never giving up, persevering despite what ever comes against us, for in due time we will be well rewarded.
 
Now let’s continue where we left off yesterday, by looking at a couple of scripture passages that corroborate the second half of our Bit: ‘and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.’
 
I know it doesn’t cause much interest and excitement to think that we need to see troubles to enter God’s kingdom, but that’s what the Word says, and the Word doesn’t lie. However, it does promise great rewards if we stand strong in the testing of our faith.
 
Listen to Bruh Paul as he tells the church at Rome about living life in the Spirit. ‘So then they that be in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
 
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (give life to) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
 
Therefore brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
 
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bchildren of god, heirs of god, beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
 
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.’(Rom.8:8-18)
 
Yes my brethren, the only way to live this earthly life successfully is being led and guided by the Holy Spirit of God, and not by the fleshly lusts of our carnal bodies!
 
And as Bruh Paul says in the last verse there, the trials and tribulations we endure now, will be significantly outweighed by the rewards in glory later on.
 
And if you don’t believe Bruh Paul, then listen to Jesus, as He makes the same claim when talking to His disciples about who is great.
 
‘And there was also a strife (rivalry) among them, which of them should be accounted (considered) the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
 
(Scholars’ note: Benefactors: The underlying Greek word appears nowhere else in the New Testament. Middle-Eastern kings liked to rule with an iron hand, and then take on a title that extolled their benevolence. Christians should crave neither such power nor such acclaim).
 
But ye shall not be so: but he that is the greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief (leader), as he that doth serve. For whether (who) is greater, he that sitteth at meat (at the table), or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at meat (at the table)?
 
But I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto (bestow upon) you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto (bestowed upon) me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’ (Luke 22:24-30)
 
Ah mih people, the world judges greatness by the material things and power we possess. But it is not so in the kingdom of God. Jesus came to earth to serve, to be a servant for His heavenly Father, to help and save those in need, and likewise, that’s what He expects of His followers.
 
Now that doesn’t mean we cannot amass great wealth and power, but we must use them wisely in doing God’s will and work here on earth, not just lay them up for our sole benefit and sit and consider how well off and wonderful we are, otherwise we’ll end up like the fool in Luke 12:16-21, who was called home the same night he decided to eat, drink and be merry over his great earthly possessions. And thus ends today’s message.
 
Oh Friends, we all know that faithfully serving Jesus in this evil, ungodly world isn’t easy, especially when He requires excellence of ALL His followers, and excellence only comes with paying a price.
 
But please remember that Jesus promises to reward all those who faithfully serve Him with rewards of excellence too, rewards like salvation and eternal life with Him and the Father. And believe me people, there is nothing on this planet Earth that’s worth more than those two things!
 
So please hang in there my brethren, and let’s faithfully spread the LOVE Revolution of Jesus all over the world, as he requires, and do it with joy and excellence! Much LOVE!
 
…all that’s required of us on this earthly pilgrimage…is to LOVE OUR GOD…LIVE OUR FAITH…AND SPREAD GOD’S WORD…

 

 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 June 2014 Acts 14:22

Acts 14:22.    Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

‘Morning Neighbuh, morning! May the great and wonderful God of our fathers be with you this new day, showering you with His ever-flowing mercy and abundant blessings, while keeping you and yours safe from harm.’
 
And all God’s people declared a loud and grateful ‘Praise the Lord! Amen.’
 
Oh Friends, I guess I’ll never be a good weather forecaster, because I said that yesterday was going to be a rainy day Tuesday. Hn! But which rain fell eh? None! For by the time the sun rose the rain abated, and it turned out to be a hot, windy day Tuesday instead. I even had to turn on the A/C. Note, just to see if it was working after the long, harsh winter it endured. (smile)
 
What a life eh! A couple weeks ago we badly wanted heat, but now that we’re getting some of the natural stuff, we’re already crying out for cooler weather. Chuh! I guess though that that’s the nature of the human animal – when we have one thing we want something else, and vice versa.
 
But my people, I’m here to tell us that this earthly life is not a bed of roses… or rather, it is a bed of roses! That’s because one of the most beautiful of all God’s creation, the rose, grows at the end of a long, thorn riddled stalk, and to get to one, you have to carefully navigate the thorns on its stem.
 
Life is just like that my brethren. To get to the top of the ladder, or to the most beautiful parts of life, you have to carefully navigate through thorny paths, covered with brambles and all sorts of other obstruction. There is no clear, unobstructed path to our glorious destination of heaven and eternal life with Jesus Christ.
 
As our Bit tells it, in the immortal words of Bruh Paul to his protégé Timothy: ‘Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.’
 
And that’s no lie Friends, for all sorts of obstacles and stumbling blocks will crop up in a believer’s life, and it’s only with God’s help are we able to successfully navigate them. And we’re going to end this series of messages with a couple of scriptures pertaining to both the first and last parts of our Bit.
 
As to the first part; ‘Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith,’ let’s look at Acts 11, regarding the church in Antioch, where believers were first referred to as Christians.
 
After Stephen was stoned to death in Jerusalem, the disciples were scattered all over, teaching the gospel, but to Jews only. However, some of them, when they came to Antioch, began preaching the Lord Jesus also to the Gentiles.
 
The Good Book tells us: ‘And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings (news) of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
 
Who, when he came and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted (encouraged) them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto (continue with) the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.’ (Acts 11:21-24)
 
Yeh Friends, we all need help and encouragement to keep on keeping on in our walk of faith, because it is not an easy row to hoe. And that fact is borne out later on when Barnabas brings Bruh Paul back to Antioch, where envious Jews did not want the gospel taught to the Gentiles.
 
‘And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought (begged) that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism) followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.’ (Acts 13:42-42)
 
But the opposition never ceased. ‘And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against (opposed) those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
 
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed (grew) bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you (reject it), and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
 
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
 
But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable (prominent) women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts (region). But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.’(Acts 13:44-52)
 
Glory be! Ah mih people, what a beautiful example of when opposition comes against us, that we nonetheless stand strong in preaching the Word, and we will be strengthened and filled with the joy of the Lord and His Holy Spirit! That’s because the Word contains power, the greatest power on earth!
 
But jealousy and envy can move us to do evil, if we’re not very careful. The Jews at first didn’t want to hear about Jesus, and then they didn’t want the Gentiles to hear about Him either, so they stirred up false info to the powers that be, and had them run Barnabas and Bruh Paul out of town.
 
And unfortunately many Christians are behaving the same way, though not through jealousy, but through apathy, fear and simply not caring enough to share the good news of the gospel with others. Remember though my people, that that’s our Great Commission; to spread the good news of Jesus all over the globe. (Matt.28:19-20)
 
But it wasn’t easy back in those first days, and it certainly isn’t easy either in these last days. But with perseverance, strong faith, trust and surrender to our helpful and ever-LOVING God, we CAN, and we WILL proselytize the ENTIRE WORLD, just as Jesus commanded.
 
Oh Friends, I got so caught up in the first part of our Bit, (smile) that I went on longer than I expected. So like we’ll just have to leave the other stuff till tomorrow, God in favour.
 
Till then, please stand strong in the faith, and fearlessly and unashamedly spread the good news of Jesus to all and sundry, because that is indeed wisdom of the highest order! Much LOVE!
 
…in the world ye shall have tribulation…but be of good cheer…I have overcome the world…  (John 16:33)

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 June 2014 Acts 14:22

Acts 14:22.  Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Oh Tuesday, oh glorious Tuesday! What tales of joy or sorrow, success or defeat will you bring? Let’s hope that there are many more tales of joy and success than sorrow and defeat.
 
I know for one thing, Tuesday’s brought rain, some of the early rains that we’ve so far been lacking. The rain began late yesterday evening and fell on and off during the night. So it looks like it will be a rainy day Tuesday.
 
 But the rain didn’t seem to be the refreshing type that brings respite from the day’s heat, and yesterday was hot in my neck of the woods. The rain just caused the night to be muggy and uncomfortable, which made sleeping, even with all my windows open, a somewhat rough experience.
 
So much so that when the Lord called this morning, I had a hard time answering the bell. The old body just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, feverish though it was. However Friends, I’m glad and proud to say that on this occasion the will prevailed, the will triumphed… Glory Hallelujah!
 
And here I am about the Lord’s business, though still somewhat bleary eyed. (smile) But as I always say, I have no doubt that our great, wonderful, forgiving, merciful and kind, magnanimous and understanding God and Creator will eventually bring me unto myself and unto Him, so that I can write something sensible in His Holy Name.
 
And that’s my testimony for this Tuesday morning, my people! (smile)
 
Yes Friends, the ole fella’s shaking it a bit rough this morning. But as we like to say, nothing but unconsciousness or death must stop the Bit from going out. Oh, it’s indeed a wonderful ideal, and so far, obviously with the Lord’s superior help, I’ve been able to live up to it.
 
Now that leads us nicely into our Bit. ‘Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.’
 
Unfortunately my brethren, followers of Jesus, just like our Leader, have been destined to undergo some trials and tribulation, some testing in the fires of this earthly life. Obviously most of us won’t be tested as hard and as horrifically as Jesus was, but some testing is indeed our lot.
 
And just like it brought Jesus closer to the Father, because He had to depend on Him for the wherewithal to do His bidding, even so our trials and tribulation ought to draw us closer to our Maker. For it is only through His redeeming grace and power that we can ever hope to successfully overcome our trials.
 
Now listen to these words of awesome wisdom and undeniable truth, re the coming apostasy (abandonment of religious faith), written by Bruh Paul to Timothy so long ago, but which are currently being fulfilled in these troubled times in which we live.
 
‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous (money lovers), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
 
Without natural affection, trucebreakers (irreconcilable), false accusers (slanderers), incontinent (without self-control), fierce (brutal), despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady (reckless), high-minded (haughty), lovers of pleasure, more than (rather than) LOVERS of God;
 
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
 
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate (disapproved) concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs was also.’ (2 Tim.3:1-9)
 
Ah mih people, like Bruh Paul’s living today and writing about us! It’s definitely not a pretty picture of our world, but it is indeed a very truthful one.
 
And to help us understand those verses, here is some info from the scholars. ‘3:1-4. The last days began with the birth of Christ and will culminate in Christ’s return to the earth to set up His kingdom. The prediction of perilous times indicates that apostasy will characterize the final days of the church age. 
 
3:5-9. A form of godliness is mere religion without power or spiritual life. Paul commands Timothy to turn away from these false teachers who prey upon silly women laden with sins, who are especially susceptible to false teachers.
 
Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth condemns not intense study but some esoteric quest for truth apart from God’s Word. Jannes and Jambres, according to Jewish tradition, were the two magicians in Pharaoh’s court who attempted to duplicate Moses’ miracles (cf. Ex.7:11; 9:11).’
 
Oh Friends, I know that all we’ve been hearing about so far are trials and tribulations, but listen now to the rewards of living for Christ, as explained by our Saviour Himself.
 
He had just finished telling the disciples about it being ‘easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
 
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
 
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
 
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
 
And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or fathers, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. (Matt.19:24-30)
 
Now Friends, neighbours and fellow believers, I ask you, are those rewards worth the testing and trials of this earthly life? I humbly submit that they certainly are!
 
But the Lord’s left it up to each individual to make that life changing decision to follow His Son or not. Please, I implore us to make the right one today, and invite Jesus into our hearts and souls right now, so that we can enjoy a much brighter tomorrow with Him in everlasting glory!
 
Why? Because that’s the undisputed wisdom of this earthly life! Much LOVE!
 
…in the world ye shall have tribulation…but be of good cheer…I have overcome the world…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 June 2014 Acts 14:22

Acts 14:22.    Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Well hello there you wonderful Friends and faithful believers and followers of Jesus Christ! It’s a new day; a beautiful one, filled with new blessings and mercies, and it’s called Monday…
 
And I immediately hear the moans and groans and deleted expletives and comments like: ‘Chuh! Yuh really mean is Monday already! Steups! I really have to get up and go to this stupid job!’
 
Yes Friends, provided you want to earn a living, keep a roof over your family’s head, and bread on the table for your LOVED ones. And I am somewhat disappointed in us my brethren, because it was just last week we woke up with a better perspective, LOVING Mondays and all that it entailed.
 
Oh, so that’s what it was eh; just a dream, as someone in the penny section cried out. (smile) However Friends, the reality is that it’s Monday, and if you’re a true follower of Jesus, you have to get up and go and labour, whether you want to or not. End of story!
 
And remember, as Jesus promised, He will always help us to do whatever He desires of us. And His first helping tool today is that we sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn in full, sweet voice. So let’s raise our heads, hearts, eyes and hands heavenward and sing as though there’s no tomorrow.
 
‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together.
 
We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies.
 
But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle.
 
Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 
 
Not bad mih people, not bad, though I did hear some hoarse, cackling voices. (smile) Now let’s get ourselves together and hit the ground running for Christ; living up to the words of our Bit! ‘Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.’
 
Yes Friends, that’s what all believers are called to do; strengthen the faith of others, encouraging them through faithful words and good examples, because walking in the big footsteps of Jesus is not an easy job, definitely not for the faint of heart or timid of mind.
 
The unfortunate fate of the believer is to pass through many trials and tribulations, like Jesus did, before we enter God’s heavenly kingdom. But as I keep saying, the rewards for enduring are fantastic, and totally worth it.
 
Look at what happened to Jesus eh, after He endured His heart-rending tribulation, the Father anointed and exalted Him; ‘and given Him a name to which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil.2:9-11)
 
So if the Father did it for Jesus, why wouldn’t He do it for us eh? No reason whatsoever!
 
Our Bit comes from the section of Acts where Bruh Paul and Barnabas were on a missionary journey, including Lystra, where Bruh Paul was stoned, dragged out of the city and left for dead. (Acts 14:19)
 
But as the Good Book so famously declares: ‘Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city and had taught many (made many disciples), they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and to Antioch.’ (Acts 14:20-21)
 
Fortunately though my people, most of us won’t have to endure such tribulation. But just being a believer WILL bring us trials. As Jesus said, simply ‘For my name’s sake.’ (Luk2 21:12) But please remember Friends, that true faith, trust in and surrender to Jesus brings us an inner strength that nothing or no one can match or take away.
 
Just look at our still severely persecuted brethren all over the world. Despite disastrous persecution, they are still standing strong, not giving up. So why can’t we in this fairly free Western society do the same eh? I guess life’s just too easy for us, we take freedom of worship for granted and thus abuse it.
 
Enough batting of my gums though (smile), time to share this most appropriate scripture from Bruh Paul to Timothy, re being a good soldier in Christ.
 
‘Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:  Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds (chains); but the word of God is not bound (chained).
 
Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s (chosen ones) sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer (endure), we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not (are faithless), yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.’ (2 Tim.2:7-13)  
 
Oh Friends, please let those words encourage us, let them sink deeply into our consciousness, so that we can develop into good and faithful soldiers of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Why? Because that’s the ultimate wisdom of life! Much LOVE!
 
…in the world ye shall have tribulation…but be of good cheer…I have overcome the world….’
 
P.S. Yes Friends, it’s long, but it’s good. (smile) Much LOVE!