Today’s Scrip-Bit   11 September 2021 Mark 11:22.

Mark 11:22.     Have faith in God.

Then it was Saturday…and life keeps moving on regardless! Yes friends, despite what we say, do or think, life is moving on, and it will move on, because that’s what it was programmed to do by its omnipotent Creator. And until He decides that it’s time to curtail life, there’s nothing the creation can do to thwart it. So, having made that indisputable fact clear, (smile) let’s go out then and enjoy life nuh, live life to the full, live it abundantly, as Christ Jesus died to have us do. For there’s no sense in trying to change or disrupt stuff over which we have no power. 

That means letting go of all our worries, anxieties and negative circumstances. We claim to have faith in the One and Only God Jehovah, and in His Son Jesus Christ, who can enable us to do anything, so please, let’s show more of that faith in our everyday lives nuh. Otherwise, we are making ourselves liars, for in these greatly troubled times, great faith in Almighty God is an absolute necessity. So, as life moves on, let’s move on too, and see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week. Help me to wrap my head around them and make some sense of them. (smile) 

And the first one says: ‘Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.’ I guess that’s basically true. You can’t make progress unless you change up stuff in your life, and it sounds logical that if you can’t change your mind you will never change anything, since change begins and ends in the mind. It’s the control centre of our life. But friends, a serious word of caution here, do all the changing you want, but please don’t ever change your mind about believing in Christ Jesus! For without Him, we are nothing! 

And I guess our friend Anselm was on a faith kick this week, because all the other quotes deal with some aspect of faith. So hear this one: ‘Make a space in your life for the glorious things you deserve. Have faith.’ Now I don’t know how much we deserve, if anything, but the Good Lord does shower us with glorious stuff, and we do need faith to believe that He will continue doing so. Remember that several times Jesus chided those around Him for having little or no faith, and after cursing the fig tree that had leaves but no fruit, He told the disciples: ‘Have faith in God.’ (Mark 11:22) 

But what exactly is faith eh? I found this simple but interesting definition on the pushpay.com/blog website by commentator Allison Sakounthong. She says that ‘Put simply, faith is believing in God and trusting in His plan, even when you don’t understand it and can’t see it. As it applies to our life, however, faith is about more than just a feeling, it’s about living it. We live our faith through obedience to God and acts of service.’ And I think that’s as simple as you can put it. It’s all about believing in God and living for Him, with great expectations of good things in our future. 

That’s segues very nicely into this next quote. ‘Patience is not the ability to wait. Patience is to be calm no matter what happens, constantly take action to turn it to positive growth opportunities, and have faith to believe that it will all work out in the end while you are waiting.’ Now that’s all true, but again we have to transfer it to faith and belief in God, since there are a lot of things we cannot make happen on our own, but remember what Jesus said about the camel going through the eye of a needle, as opposed to a rich man entering the kingdom of God? ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’ (Matt. 19:26) 

That’s what we need to believe, with absolutely no doubt whatsoever in our souls, and spirit! Otherwise we will always be lacking something, or even shortchanging ourselves, for it takes great faith to live sincerely for Jesus. Just check out the lives of the great saints before us, like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Job, and our three Bruhs, Joseph, David and Pablo. (smile) And I guess most of you didn’t know that Joseph was a Bruh eh, because I don’t talk about him much. But to be truthful, I believe he was an even bigger example of patience and perseverance than Job. Just look at all he went through as a teenager; from slavery, to prison, in complete innocence. 

But you’ll notice that he never whined or complained about his unfair treatment, and that wherever he was, be it in Potiphar’s house, or in prison, the Good Book tells us that ‘the Lord was with Joseph…’ (Gen. 39:2, 22) Yes my people, Bruh Joseph had a dream of great things from God, but the way it actually played out in his life seemed very contrary to the promise. But he never gave up, he stuck it out without complaints, possibly sensing deep down that there was a good and godly reason for all his unwarranted hardship. 

And that’s what faith in God means: to stand strong and steadfast in your belief, and keep being godly, although the reality of the situation doesn’t match up with your dream. For God doesn’t move us to high positions unless we go through the low ones faithfully. That brings us to this next quote. ‘Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere. We can’t always understand them, but we must trust in them. I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.’ 

Ah mih people, that’s the contrariness of our great God! Sorry, ‘contrariness’ is not the best word nuh, but I just couldn’t think of it at the time of writing. (smile) I basically mean that sometimes God allows us to go through hardship without any explicit reason, but then He also blesses us with beautiful things, also without any explicit reason. But if we truly know who He is, and how He operates, then those unexpected storms or beautiful sunsets won’t bother us, we’ll take them in stride, knowing that He has a good reason and purpose behind all He does, and as He has faithfully promised, eventually He will work it all out for our good. 

Then there’s this last quote. ‘Believe in a LOVE that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this LOVE there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.’ Oh my fellow saints, we know about that LOVE! We’re talking there about the greatest LOVE EVER! That of our wonderful God for us: The Good Book tells it plainly: ‘But God commendeth (showed) his (own) LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 5:8) 

Now how can ever be a LOVE greater than a Father sending a Son to die for ungrateful, disloyal and disobedient people eh? No way! And though that LOVE is visible right now in our earthly lives, it’s also stored up in heaven for us, as Peter tells us. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-5) 

Oh friends, there’s nothing else I can say nuh, except to rally us to the cross of Jesus, for that is where it all begins and ends! And if you don’t come to foot of that wooden cross at some stage of your earthly life, to lay your burdens down and receive Christ, as Lord and Saviour, then your life would have been a total waste! Much LOVE!

…if God could display so much LOVE…mankind ought to display much more faith…                                                                                                      

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 April 2020​ 1 Peter 1:3.

1 Peter 1:3.    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
 
And the Easter Celebrations continue, though somewhat muted because of the Coronavirus pandemic. But do you think anything at all can stop we believers from celebrating Christ’s revolutionary resurrection that assures us of life after earthly death? No way Jose! Yes, we couldn’t get together physically like we are accustomed doing at such a joyful time, but it in no way lessens the importance and awesome promise of the amazing event and consequently celebrations and church services were held in all forms and fashions, with the help of our modern technology. 

But unfortunately, so far, that modern technology has not been able to come up with an answer for the virus that’s causing us so much devastation, grief and heartache. But also, as true believers and followers of Christ, whom we believe can do anything, we keep hoping and praying and believing that a cure, an antidote, will soon be found. Yes friends, we are indeed ‘prisoners of hope.’ (Zech. 9:12) And speaking about ‘prisoners of hope,’ I recently read an article by one Joshua Ryan Butler with that exact title, and he had a rather interesting characterization of ‘hope.’ 

He says: ‘Hope is a revolution, a powerful presence that breaks in from the future and transforms today. Jesus’ arrival has brought God’s destiny for humanity crashing into the now – an explosion of life into a world marked by the death. It changes everything.’ And is that ever so true! Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection certainly catapulted us into the future, showing us God’s great, preordained plan for our lives. And there is no better verse of scripture that describes that situation than these words of Peter: 

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’ And has Jesus’ resurrection ever given us hope for the future, for salvation! The scholars explain: ‘1:3-2:10. The Christian’s destiny: salvation. Salvation means “deliverance.” Peter’s view of salvation is ultimate salvation, that is, when the believer will be rescued from this world into the presence of God.’ 

But remember what Joshua said in his definition of ‘hope’ above? It ‘breaks in from the future and transforms today.’ That means we don’t have to wait till we die to enjoy the benefits that Jesus died for us to have, but can begin enjoying heaven down here on earth right now! As Jesus said: ‘The thief cometh not but (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) And that’s the beauty of the Christian faith and life! We also have a now, as well as a then. 

The only problem is all of that doesn’t just happen automatically; there are some requirements, the first one being Jesus’ directive to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God…. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ (John 3:3, 5) So if we don’t meet that requirement, then we can forget about salvation through Jesus. Then we have to believe in Jesus as the Way, the Truth, the Light and the Life. All of which gives us hope that leads and morphs into faith, which makes us strong and keeps us going. Glory to God, my fellow believers! 

And now that we’ve said all that, let’s turn to the operating system of the situation; the real work horse of the Christian life, the ultimate means of communication with our Saviour and Father; prayer! Yes friends, prayer is our very life blood! Without it we’re just lost and alone; but with it, in God’s company, we’re powerful and NEVER alone! So let’s talk to our Father right now about our greatest need at this current time nuh; relief from the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, in strong voice, with confident humility (smile) let’s cry out to Him for help through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

All together now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Easter Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

And now that we’ve fulfilled one aspect of our role in our covenant, our partnership with God, let’s go out and do the rest, basically living for Jesus, with supreme hope and faith in our hearts. And as He has faithfully promised, the Father will do the parts we can’t do. Much LOVE!

…without living hope…and strong faith…one can’t live for Jesus…