Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 April 2018 Philippians 4:11.

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

Well friends, it’s Saturday…and yuh know what? The ole fella slept in some. (smile) But who wouldn’t want to sleep in when the spring rain is falling gently on the land, moistening and nourishing it after a long, dry, hard, ugly winter, so that the beauty of nature can sprout and gaily flourish in the spring time? 

Yeh friends, spring is God’s most colourful and productive season where He advances His grand plans for the rest of the year, letting us know through the beauty of a resurgent nature that all things are possible with Him in the lead. Glory to our great God, my people! 

Now since it’s Saturday, let’s turn to some quotes from our friend Anselm this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And it seems like he was on a happiness trip this week, because all of them either deal with happiness or being happy. (smile) 

Here’s the first one. ‘Happiness depends upon ourselves.’ Now that’s invariably true; regardless of your circumstances, be they good or bad, you are the one who ultimately controls your happiness, although oftimes we unwisely allow others to do so. 

And the next one says: ‘Happiness …is governed by our mental attitude.’ I guess that’s basically true, although our circumstances play a large part in our happiness. Then there’s: ‘Happy people plan actions; they don’t plan results.’  Now you might not plan the results, but you definitely put forward the actions which you believe will bring about certain results that you desire. 

Next up is: ‘The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.’ Who would have ‘thunked’ it eh? (smile) Happiness depending on thoughts? But yes, they do to a large extent. And the last quote tells us: ‘Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy, and make the most of where you are.’ 

A lot of truth in that too, especially in this ‘I and me,’ selfish generation. We certainly don’t care about each other as much as we should, so it’s best if we try to enjoy where we’re at, at any particular time, without depending too much on others or our circumstances. 

That leads us to today’s Bit. ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (regard of need): for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.’ Now friends, that is the Christian way! All this talk about striving to be happy just confuses and muddles us up. We have to learn to be content in whatever state we currently are encapsulated. 

As Bruh Paul continues: ‘I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ (Phil.4:12) 

Yeh mih people, that’s how Christians ought to live. But remember it’s a learned behaviour, through practical experiences and the hard knocks of life, consequently, it doesn’t happen overnight. And we need to have the joy of the Lord as our strength to accomplish it. Or as Bruh Paul tells his Philippian readers: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Phil.4:13) 

Now that is a magnificent verse of scripture; possibly the most endearing and reassuring for true believers. But as always, in God’s economy, we have to believe it first, before we see it. And if by faith, we don’t believe it, then we’ll never see it. That’s the foundation of our Christian way of life: all things are possible through Christ, if we believe that they are. 

So please my fellow believers, let’s stop killing ourselves to acquire the things of the world which we believe will make us happy, because happiness is but a fleeting illusion, if we depend on our circumstances, or other people, or our possessions to make us happy. Those things and people can change from one day to the next, thus will what we call our happiness. 

But if we find joy, which is a constant state and does not change with circumstances, then we’re in a much better position to live a contented life. But on the other hand, real joy can only be found in the Lord God Jehovah; in His strength, His promises and His eternal and unconditional LOVE, because they never change, but always stand steadfast and strong, and therefore can be relied upon to keep us anchored and well grounded. 

Oh friends, since we’re running later than I expected, I’ll close with this one piece of advice from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that covers it all: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt.6:33) 

Yes my faithful brethren, if we put God first in EVERYTHING that we do, we’ll want for nothing, we’ll be contented, joyful, happy and have all we need in this earthly life. That’s the promise of Jesus…and He doesn’t lie! Much LOVE!

…he who places wants above needs…will always be left wanting…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 March 2018 Philippians 4:11.

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

And then it was Saturday, that long awaited day of sleeping in! ‘Yeah!’ come the joyful shouts. But others claim a big ‘Nay!’ Why?  Because they are the ones who have a lot of household chores and other stuff to do around the house that they don’t have time to do during the week. No couch surfing for them today. 

But that’s the way of life in our progressive and forward-looking society! (smile) If you want to live in what’s a supposedly first world society, then you just have to do those things that are required in it to prosper and be successful. Oh, I hope you realize that the ole fella is being a li’l sarcastic and facetious. (smile) 

Anyhow, it’s Saturday, so let’s look at some of the quotes our wonderful friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Listen to this first one: ‘Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy.’ 

Now that’s some thing we all strive for, but can’t always achieve, because in this fallen, mish-mash world, often are the times we have to do stuff that doesn’t make us happy. We hope that on average though, that we will have to do more happy stuff than unhappy ones. Although I recently heard that something like seventy percent of people don’t like or are unhappy in their jobs. Now that doesn’t seem to have much happiness potential. 

That brings us to the second quote: ‘The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.’ Likewise, it’s usually best to do what makes one happy, but we can’t always have it our way, sometimes it just has to be the highway. (smile)  

Then there is this: ‘Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.’ And generally speaking that’s no lie, for positive people just have this aura, like a ray of sunshine around them, that draws others to them, like bees to honey. 

However, it’s not always the good and positive kind who gather round, notice the amount of hangers ons around most celebrities today. That’s because some negative people will be smart enough to jump on the bandwagon of the positive, knowing that good things will eventually come from a positive source. Now it’s certainly better to be positive, but one has to be on the look out for the smart negative ones. 

And then we have this quote: ‘What consumes your mind controls your life.’ Another fact of life friends. Yes, the battle all takes place in our minds, and thus the things we constantly think about are what control us. So if we want to be positive, then we need to think about positive things, and if we want to be happy, then we have to think happy thoughts. 

That brings us to our last quote: ‘Happiness depends upon ourselves.’ And that’s gospel truth! We can’t depend on others or things to make us happy, because it’s an internal feeling, controlled by us. So regardless of the circumstances, if we want to be happy, we can make ourselves so. 

Notice how a lot of people have all the toys, wealth and excellent circumstances that the world has to offer, but they are still not happy. Meanwhile, many other folks have next to nothing but they are satisfied within themselves. That’s the secret of being happy friends; being satisfied, being comfortable with yourself in any circumstance. 

Hence the words of Bruh Paul to the Philippians in our Bit: ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.’ Wow! What a statement! The exact opposite of what the world teaches. 

Ah mih people, if we could only learn that principle and apply it to our lives…oh how much better our lives would be. We wouldn’t always be happy, but we’d be contented, satisfied, not whining and complaining about petty things like so many of us, Christians included, do nowadays. 

Listen to Bruh Paul as he explains. ‘I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ (Phil.4:12) 

And how has he come by that remarkable ability? Because, as he proudly declares in the next verse: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Phil.4:13) 

Oh my fellow believers, we all know that verse and spout it often, but it obviously does not ring true in our hearts, otherwise we would not be still tripping all over ourselves to get hold of the world’s wealth and other insignificant things it has to offer. 

If we truly follow Christ, who has promised to meet all our needs, we won’t be so consumed with the things of the world. And an important part of all that, is like the scholars say: ‘The Greek here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.’ 

Yeh friends, contentment will not come overnight, but like life, it’s a process we have to go through, but if we sincerely stick with Jesus, He will eventually show us the way. Remember, He IS the WAY! Much LOVE!

…to be contented in this evil, greedy world…one must know Jesus…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 August 2016 Philippians 4:11.

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

Ah friends, it’s Saturday, which spells sleeping in and rest for some, while for the unlucky others, household chores will take up most of their day. But not to worry it’s all good. (smile) 

Yeh, tell that to the mothers who are up and busy while the fathers lay about in bed or slouch on the living room couch in front of the t.v watching some sporting event like the Olympics.  Hn! To each his own; the important thing is that you’re well-rested, bright and fresh to go back out on Monday morning and do the work thing all over again. 

In the meantime let’s check out some quotes from our friend Anselm, who always aspires to inspire us. Now this week it was kind of hard to pick just two, so I chose the easy way out and picked three. (smile) They are short anyway, so they won’t take up much space. 

The first one says: ‘Life is raw material. We are artisans. We can sculpt our existence into something beautiful, or debase it into ugliness. It’s in our hands.’ 

And that’s very true, for we basically hold the canvas of our lives in our own hands and to a great extent can make of it whatever we desire. We have the ability to paint a beautiful picture with our lives or just make it dark and ugly. Oh there will be problems and roadblocks, whatever path we choose, but technically speaking, our lives are ours to build as we see fit. 

And the second of Anselm’s quotes tells us: ‘One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.’ 

Now that’s definitely gospel truth my people! Life is not easy and there are many pitfalls, etc. that can get us down and discouraged, but that’s never the wise or smart way to go, especially if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. Now optimism doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will work out the way you want, but at least you’ll be able to handle the negative situations in a positive manner; staying encouraged, not giving up, leaning on and looking to Jesus for His faithful promise of help in rough times.  

And last but not least, Anselm declares: ‘If you keep on saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet.’ That also rings out with truth my brethren because our words have power, awesome power, and whatever we keep saying, be it positive or negative, usually comes to pass. And somehow or other, the negatives in our speech seem to come to pass more than the positives. So it’s extremely important that we stick to positive speech. 

That brings us to our Bit, some positive speech from Bruh Paul the Philippians. ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.’ Yes friends, that is a very necessary lesson for every Christian to learn. 

Then Bruh Paul goes on to make one of the immortal statements in the Bible. ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Phil.4:13) And that’s the basis on which he is able to be contented in whatever situation he finds himself. 

Hear the scholars: ‘4:13. The apostle’s ability of knowing how to live skillfully on little or in prosperity does not mean that he is a spiritual superman. The reason that he can live in such extremes is not owing to his own ability. Rather he can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth him, thus enabling him to adapt to his various, ever-changing circumstances. God orders Paul’s various situations, and God gives him the strength to be content in them all, trying and perplexing though they may be.’ 

And nobody went through as many harrowing and dangerous experiences as Bruh Paul. Oh my fellow believers, the same thing applies to all of us! God sets us where He wants us and then gives us the wherewithal to stand; to stand strong and steadfast regardless of the circumstances. That’s why we Christians are able to bear up under pressure that non-believers can’t handle: our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ enables us to handle it through the help of His Helper, the Holy Spirit. 

So though times might look dark and disturbing, you are exactly where the heavenly Father desires you to be, and if you stick to Him like glue, (smile) He will enable you to bear whatever adversity you are currently encountering. 

Now let’s check out some scriptures that jive with our Bit. Listen to Bruh Paul again, this time to Timothy in his warning against false teachers. ‘But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment (clothing) let us therewith be content.’ (1 Tim.6:6-8) 

Hear the scholars. 8:8. This verse prevents the wrong understanding of verse 7, that material possessions have no place in the Christian’s life. By figure of speech food and raiment stand for all of life’s basic necessities. These are all the believer needs, and having these he can be content.’ 

Let’s turn to the words of Agur now in Proverbs as he talks to God ‘Two things have I required (requested of thee); deny me them not (deprive me not) before I die. Remove far from me vanity (falsehood) and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient (you prescribe) for me. Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take (profane) the name of the Lord in vain.’ (Prov.30:7-9)  

And we’ll end with these interesting words from the scholars. ’30:7-9. Agur’s prayer is for a convenient and lifelong integrity, accompanied by a rejection of lies and riches. His resting in God’s provision for him (v.8) anticipates the words of our Lord. (Matt.6:11).’ 

What more can I say eh friends, except that that is a worthwhile and godly way to live. So let’s emanate him if we can nuh. Much LOVE!

…give us this day our daily bread… (Matt.6:11)

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 August 2016 Philippians 4:11.

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

Aye mih people, another bright, sunshiny day is in the offing… And it’s Friday to boot! So you can imagine the raucous shouts worldwide of ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday! Hurrah for the weekend! Get yourselves together to party! No more slaving for two, whole big days! Mama yo! We going to mash up the place! Thank God for Fridays and the weekends yes!’ 

Ah friends, you can’t help but voice those sentiments after facing the endless traffic jams, both morning and evening, that result from everybody commuting to work these days and working in the li’l fishbowls that so many of us toil in, five days a week. 

But we have a better perspective on the usage of the weekend. It’s called our Friday Chant. So let’s chant it and raise the stakes to a higher level nuh. As one now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. 

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Yes my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, that is a much better way to spend the weekend. It provides some semblance of balance and circumspection, along with some godly intentions, not merely a free for all of worldly lusts and pleasures. 

Now here is an interesting quote from my ‘P.S. I LOVE YOU’ Poster. It says, quite straightforwardly; ‘Almost all of our unhappiness is the result of comparing ourselves to others.’ 

And there is indeed a lot of truth in that statement friends! Comparing ourselves to others is one of the big problems in our current society. Keeping up with the Joneses causes more confusion, debt and jealousy than we can ever imagine. 

The world’s wrong definition of who and what we are, which depends on our material possessions, social standing and level of power, drives too many of us to levels of debt, work, lies and pretensions that we cannot safely manage. 

I thank the Lord everyday, that though I may desire some of the things and standards of living that others have, I’m not envious, neither do I try my level best to become like them. And the sad part is that oftimes we don’t know what others have sacrificed to get what they have and where they are. 

And if we knew, we wouldn’t be so quick to want to be like them, because many have sold their souls to Beelzebub for their power, social standing and material possessions. So friends, let me strongly dissuade us this Friday morning from comparing ourselves to others, because it’s just a fool’s game. 

The Lord in His absolute wisdom made us each different for a purpose. If He wanted us to be all the same, He would have done so. And trying desperately to be like others only drives a negative wedge in our lives. So please stop it! End of sermon. (smile) 

That brings us to our rather appropriate Bit. ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.’ 

Oh my brethren, learning that, takes so much stress and strain off of our frail human shoulders, especially in this show-off society of ours. 

Hear the scholars take on our Bit nuh. ‘4:11. Not that I speak in respect (because) of want: Paul’s ability to be content despite the circumstances assures the readers that his joy of verse 10 is not solely over his “need” being met at their expense. He implies that he could have done without their financial aid. For justifies this implication. 

I have learned …to be content: The Greek here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.’ 

And indeed so it is my people! Contentment is a learned way of life, through many trials and tribulations. Bruh Paul was here acknowledging the financial aid he’d received from the members of the Philippian church. 

‘But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of (concern for) me hath flourished (revived) again; wherein ye were also careful (though you surely did care), ye lacked opportunity.’ (Phil.4:10) They were concerned about him, but lacked the opportunity to minister to him. 

That leads Bruh Paul to continue after our Bit. ‘I both know how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ (Phil.4:12) 

And we’ll end with some interesting explanations from the scholars. ‘4:12. By listing some specific examples, this verse elaborates upon the very general and broad “in whatsoever state I am” of verse 11. Be abased means literally to discipline oneself, that is, to tighten the belt in lean times. 

To abound means to live in prosperity. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed (or, “in all circumstances I have learned the secret of how”) to be full, that is, “well fed.” To abound means to have plenty. To suffer need means to go without. 

Paul has acquired the skill required for successful living with little and with much, the latter being harder. “For one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.” (Thomas Carlyle).’ 

Yeh friends, for many of us, living in prosperity is indeed harder than living in adversity. When we have plenty, we often don’t know what to do with it. However, when we only have a little, we just have to make do. 

Now please don’t get the idea that we’re supposed to live miserly or stringently, because Christ said He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly, but by the same token, we also need to know how to live when we don’t have abundance, and not be greedy or envious of those who have. 

So let’s go out there today and begin learning the life lessons we need to live as we ought nuh. (smile) Much LOVE!

…contentment can only be had through the peace of Jesus…

 

  

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 April 2015 Philippians 4:13

 Philippians 4:13.     I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
  

Oh Friends, I really don’t know what to say this cold, wet and windy Wednesday morning nuh. I was most surprised when I opened my bleary eyes and saw that it was after eight o’clock. But I guess the Lord saw that the body needed more rest than I was prepared to give it and He allowed me to sleep in. Hn!

But then when I did get up, the ole body was aching all over, from head to foot, which also shows that too much rest is not good for it. (smile)
 
But the long and short of the story Friends is that I’m up and about, though not kicking as strongly as I would like – yet. However, I do know that our wonderful God is on His heavenly throne in full control of all activities in His beautiful universe.
 
The brilliant light from His awesome Son Jesus surrounds us. His never ending and unconditional LOVE enfolds us. His unimaginable power protects us, while His faithful and comforting presence continually watches over us. And that means that ALL is well my people!
 
So there is no need to worry, because the gracious and merciful and forgiving I AM, has everything under control, the universe is proceeding and unfolding as it should. What a marvellous God we serve and worship my brethren! Never let anybody tell you differently nuh!
 
On the other side of the coin though, this morning I read where a farmer, a middle aged woman in Oregon, U.S.A was found guilty of murdering two men over a period of a year and feeding their remains to her pigs. How gruesome a crime – especially to be perpetrated by a woman!
 
We certainly don’t expect that sort of crime to be committed by women. And the sad part is that her picture shows her like a caring, motherly type. It just goes to show that we truly can’t judge others by their outward appearances, and unfortunately only the Lord has the power to see into our hearts and discern our real motives and agenda.
 
That means we have to be very careful of whom we allow in to our lives and associate with. What a sad time we’re living in my brethren. How ironic that at the most enlightened and advanced time in man’s history, that we’re possibly the most corrupt, cruel and sadistic, though in more refined ways.
 
We’re certainly not using the advances and enlightenment for good purposes like we should, but rather for evil and wicked stuff. Things like moral character, integrity and high standards are disappearing from our world, only to be replaced by stuff like greed, selfishness, heinous cruelty and ungodliness.
 
However my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, the good news is that we’re here to try and rectify the terrible situation that now exists in our world. And though it looks like a long, uphill battle, with our kindness, caring, empathy and the good news of Jesus’ gospel, we can prevail over the evil powers of darkness and win the battle of good over evil.
 
Glory Hallelujah! And we are assured of this in the wonderful words of encouragement that flow from Bruh Paul through our Bit. ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’
 
And all God’s people shouted a loud and delirious; ‘Glory to God who empowers us to do whatever He wills!’
 
Yes my fellow believers that’s gospel truth and a basic tenet of our faith, which we must clearly and dearly believe and then act upon it with faith. But before we go any further, let’s hear the scholars’ important explanation on that verse.
 
‘4:13. The apostle’s ability of knowing how to live skillfully on little or in prosperity does not mean that he is a spiritual superman. The reason he can live in such extremes is not owing to his own ability.
 
Rather he can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth him, thus enabling him to adapt to his various, ever-changing circumstances. God orders Paul’s various situations, and God gives him the strength to be content in them all, trying and perplexing though they may be.’
 
Oh my people, my people, those words also resonate with heavenly truth in our modern day situations. God allows us to be in different kinds of situations, then gives us the wherewithal to endure them and come out more Christ-like on the other side.
 
Thus we can, or ought to be able to say like Bruh Paul does before our Bit. ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
 
I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ (Phil.4:11-12)
 
Oh Friends, all of that also pertains to us today! But please note one thing, that process of being content in any situation does not come easily, neither from book learning or overnight, but from hard practical experience. It has to be learned, as Bruh Paul says: ‘I have learned.’
 
So too we must learn from all the experiences that God allows us to go through, remembering that with His empowering strength, we can do whatever He calls us to do, and also that He has a good plan and a future for our lives, as well as He works everything out for the good of those who LOVE Him and are called to do His bidding.
 
Oh Friends, I had to chuckle at that last Spirit-induced sentence, as it contains three basic but ever-faithful tenets of our faith and the everlasting LOVING-kindness of our God. I’m not going to elaborate on them, because they are three faith-feeding scriptures that we all should know.
 
So let’s ponder them this fateful day, as we give thanks for the breath of life that God has allowed in us, and all the other mercies, blessings and forgiveness that He daily bestows on us, many of which we are totally undeserving of.
 
And all God’s people gave a loud and grateful shout of ‘Praise the Lord! For his goodness to the children of men endures for ever!’
 
And that’s gospel truth Friends! So with all that stuff in mind, let’s go out and show the world the real joy of being a follower of Jesus, so that they too can want, can greatly desire to follow in His footsteps. Much LOVE!
 
…where He leads me…I will follow, follow…for He will never lead me astray…that’s His faithful promise…