Today​’s Scrip-Bit 13 March 2019 Matthew 19:21.

Matthew 19:21.   ​Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be (want to be) perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
 
What did the man say? ‘Fight one more round…just one more round…before giving up!’ Ah friends, that’s exactly what the ole fella’s doing; fighting one more round, as in going into the big city of T.O. for another medical appointment, and that’s also why he’s up so early writing the Bit! Aren’t you proud of him? I know you are! (smile) 

Yeh, it’s a pain in the rear end to be always going into the city for these medical appointments, but the long and short of the story is that they are for my benefit, not the doctors. So if I don’t go, who’s going to suffer eh? They might not even make less money since there are oodles of people lining up to see them. 

And today, in this season of Lent, where we all aspire to get more spiritual, (smile) we’ll look at an interesting situation in Jesus’ time that still holds good even today, and possibly more so than ever. It all begins with this quote from Uncle John (John Hagee), which says: ‘Your spiritual strength is measured not by what you can believe, but in what you can obey.’ Living truth that my people! Believing is easy, but obeying cuts right to the quick of our sinful hearts and desires! 

And we have a great example of that in the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking about eternal life. The Good Book reports it thus: ‘And behold, one came and said unto him (Jesus), Good Master (Teacher), what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 

And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt (want to) enter into life, keep the commandments. He (the man) saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: And thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself.’ (Matt.19:16-19) 

Now that’s standard fare for us all, the basic dictates of the Ten Commandments that the Lord gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai, for the Israelites and all those who believed in Him to follow. And the Good Book continues: ‘The young man saith unto him (Jesus), All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be (want to be) perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.’ (Matt.19:20-22) 

Ah friends, yuh see what we talking about? Spiritual strength is so much more than just believing! That young rich ruler believed, but he just couldn’t obey. Selling his many possessions and then giving away the resultant funds to the poor was just too much for him to handle. And so it is for many of us in today’s very materialistic society. We believers who are supposed to be in the world but not of the world, are too often caught up in those same very materialistic situations like that young man of old. 

And the scholars offer this insightful explanation. ‘19:18-22. This list of commands in verse 18 centres on outward duties, rather than inward nature, which was the young man’s real problem. He protests that he had kept these outward demands. His luxurious wealth and self-righteousness had blinded him to his real weakness. To expose this, Jesus orders, go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor…and come…follow me (v.21). 

This he would not do and went away sorrowful. Jesus thus shows him that he had not kept the commandments at all. He LOVED himself more than he LOVED his neighbour (the poor), and he LOVED his possessions more than he LOVED God (“me”). This passage teaches the seriousness of true discipleship, but it in no way teaches the average man that he must sell his possessions in order to be a Christian.’  

No friends, the average Joe does not have to give away all his stuff, but I’m sure that we’d all agree that there is certainly too much poverty in our society, when overall there is immense prosperity. This therefore means that too few have too much, and too many have too little. Consequently there needs to be a touch of equalization, where some of us who have a lot, give to those who don’t have much. 

And that was the original purpose of the church; to help those in need, as we see from Acts 2:44-45. ‘And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted (distributed) them to all men, as every man had need.’ 

Yes friends, I know the church was much smaller then and they could do that kind of communal living, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the church today, meaning all of us believers, is definitely not as sympathetic and giving to the needy as Jesus would like us to be, because we are too attached to our earthly possessions. 

 Remember we are the hands and feet, the body of Jesus down here on earth, and whatever we do will reflect on Him. So for Jesus’ sake, my fellow believers, please, I implore us, let’s try and do better nuh. In this way, the world will have a much more accepting disposition to our Lord and Saviour and thus less souls will be lost to the enemy. 

Now let’s go home wailing our Wednesday Wail, telling all and sundry our sure-fire position in Christ. As one strong voice 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!’ 

Now that’s a future that none of us should  want to miss! Much LOVE!

…getting is very dependent on giving…you’ll get…as you give…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 September 2013 Psalm 81:9

Psalm 81:9.   There shall no strange (foreign) god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.
 
Oh Friends, another new morn is here with new blessings, mercies and forgiveness! Wow! Are we ready to receive this new day and all the positive things it brings with joy, gladness and humble appreciation? I certainly hope so, because if we’re not, then we’ll lose out on the best stuff that Almighty God has to offer.
 
And all God’s children joyfully declared: This is the day the Lord has made, WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT!’ 
 
Yes mih people, that’s the way I like to hear us shout out loud and proud in the name of Jehovah God! It’s the only way to go, otherwise we’re showing ourselves unappreciative of His wonderful blessings, mercies and forgiveness.
 
Now, while going through some papers here just now, I came upon this little note I’d taken from an article of the June issue of In Touch Magazine. It’s simple, but it says a whole lot. ‘The way you live your life everyday is a picture of your soul.’
 
Now that sounds like gospel truth to me! Why? Because we generally live our lives the same way everyday, and thus they are true reflections of how we feel, think and behave.
 
And to expand on that, I’m saying that we should therefore live everyday of our lives as though everything matters. We should try to make a difference, a positive one that is, and stop focusing on ourselves, and our little, insular worlds.
 
As believers we ought to live lives of excellence, lives of significance that impact positively in, and on the lives of others. Then and only then, will we be showing the LOVE and true discipleship that Jesus desires of His followers. 
 
Now here’s our Bit: ‘There shall no strange (foreign) god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.’
 
Oh Friends, that verse comes from Psalm 81, where the psalmist Asaph is writing of God’s goodness and the Israelites waywardness. But in fact it’s the very first commandment the Lord gave His people when He brought them out of bondage in Egypt way back in time.
 
‘And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’ (Ex.20:1-3)
 
Oh my brethren, those words are self-explanatory, simple and to the point, as are most of the words of our great God! That meant the Israelites were entering into an exclusive covenant with Yahweh, the One, True God.
 
But as we all know, they were a rebellious and stubborn people and did not keep the covenant for very long. In fact they reneged on it several times during their long, stormy and catastrophic history.
 
This led the psalmist to write of God. ‘But my people would not hearken (heed, listen) to my voice; and Israel would (have) none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts lust (stubbornness): and they walked in their own counsels.’ (Ps.81:11-12)
 
Ah Friends, there’s a direct connection and relationship between the Israelites turning away from God, and our present behaviour, for we are doing the very same thing. We’re refusing to walk in covenant with God, and instead are taking Him out of lives; schools, public places and even homes, as quickly as we can. 
 
And like the Israelites, the Lord has allowed us to walk in our own counsel. Hence the negative results, just like it befell the Israelites, EVERY TIME they turned away from the God of their forefathers.
 
I don’t have to paint a picture for you of the wars and rumours of war, of the strife, greed, anger foolish pride and idolatry that’s engulfing, no sorry, that’s already engulfed our ungodly world. And it’s getting worse everyday my friends. Everyday we’re sinking ever deeper into the bottomless morass of sin and ungodliness.
 
That brings to mind the psalmist’s writing, re God’s response. ‘Oh that my people had hearkened unto (listened to) me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their enemies…. He should (would) have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should (would) I have satisfied them.’ (Ps.81:13-14,16)
 
Oh my people, our wonderful God is mouthing the same mournful lament today, as He sadly sees us wallowing in the mire of wickedness as put forward by Lucifer. But He’s also willing and able to help us. However, we need to first turn back to him in sincere repentance and start living obedient to His dictates.
 
The Israelites belatedly realized this, but they were smart enough to turn back to Yahweh when it finally dawned on them. And in accordance with His covenant their society prospered. But again, that holding on to the covenant only lasted as long as it took for them to become prosperous, and they then forgot who made them so.
 
We’re guilty of the same stupid crime today my people. Some years ago, when times were really tough, a majority of society worshipped the Lord God Jehovah, and eventually the land prospered. But then, as is our sinful nature, we got fat, lazy and complacent and forgot who brought us to the dance.
 
We began believing that it was our own hands that had brought us the prosperity. So the Lord left us to our own foolish ways. Now every thing is falling down, coming apart at the seams, because there’s no single, uniform authority, namely Almighty God, to hold it together.
 
Oh Friends, when are we going to learn that our omnipotent God controls the entire universe and all that happens in it eh?
 
Listen to what He said long ago through the prophet Isaiah. ‘I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed (proclaimed), when there was no strange (foreign) god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Yes, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let (reverse) it?’ (Is.43:11-13)
 
Yes mih breddren, the Lord’s omnipotence rules over His universe, and just like the Israelites, we are witnesses to it, especially with the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
 
We’ve seen what Jehovah can do, so why are we so foolishly turning away from Him only to suffer the pangs of want and deprivation, when we could be comfortably enjoying peace and prosperity under the protective umbrella of His LOVING-kindness?
 
It makes no sense Friends, especially when history has a whole lot of societies buried in His dust, when they got too big for their ‘britches.’
 
So let’s be wise nuh mih breddren, and start turning back to Almighty God. That’s provided we want to see our topsy-turvy, troubled world stable and prosperous again. Now that’s certainly wisdom of the highest order! Much LOVE!
 
… what is history eh….history provides a record of the past…to light the way of the future…but this foolish generation refuses to see the light of the future…Jesus…