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…                                                                                             

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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…