Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 May 2020 John 14:2.

John 14:2.    ​In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so; I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
 
At last friends, at long last, yesterday I was able to sit on my front porch and enjoy the welcome the heat of the noonday sun in just an ordinary spring jacket, no big, bulky coat! Glory be! And I mean actually feel the heat gloriously exuding from the sun’s rays, as I turned my bare face up to it and said a most grateful ‘Thank You Lord!’ Yes mih people, those of you living in the tropical climes can laugh as much you want, but I know a good thing when I experience it, and am extremely grateful for whatever it is. Is how many months now we haven’t really felt the sun’s heat up here eh? Too many! So let’s be grateful for whatever little we might receive. 

But sadly, as Job so wisely said, you can’t expect to get the good without the bad, and thus there was also the bad with the good yesterday; the annoying sounds of lawnmowers, and the grass isn’t even green and growing properly yet, plus the whining sounds of electric drills and saws, with motorcycles and cars loudly revving their engines in anticipation of summer, although this one might not have the ‘ownwayness’ usually associated with the season because of Covid-19 restrictions. So let’s hope that yesterday was the first of many such days, and that I will soon be able to go out on my porch at two in the morning in just shorts and a T-shirt! A body can certainly dream eh! (smile) 

But since it’s Saturday, let’s come back down to earth and check out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week nuh, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And this first one is not only interesting but totally true: ‘Improvement begins with I.’ Oh friends, if only more of us would recognize that truth! Improvement does begin with the letter ‘I’ as well as at the person, ‘I, me, myself!’ Any improvement in our lives must begin and end with us personally. Nobody else can really do it for us. Yes, they can encourage or even help us, but the basic desire and overall effort must come from us. 

We will never improve unless we want to do so, and then put that desire into blood, sweat and tears action, for it’s only those characteristics that bring about any real and true improvement in our lives. That takes us to this next quote: ‘My life is constantly under construction. There’s always something to improve.’ And isn’t that the indisputable truth? It surely is, since once we’re still alive, even in our old age, there are always areas in which we both need improvement and can also carry out the improvement. Now they might just be small things, but you’ll be surprised at the huge differences small changes or improvements in our lives can bring. 

That’s why we’re told to never stop learning, it not only makes us wiser, but also keeps us alive longer. (smile) And then there’s this: ‘All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.’ That’s another indisputable truth! You cannot improve or make any real progress when you’re comfortable. It’s just a fact of life. As we said above, it’s only in actions that bring out blood, sweat and tears can true improvement or progress be made. And if you don’t believe me, just try it and see nuh. Try to improve without any real effort, and see how far you get. 

Now this next quote is also the gospel truth, as no doubt many of us have eventually found out. ‘If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter, but if you continuously compete with yourself you become better.’ Ah friends, some competition is healthy and useful to drive us along, but when that competition becomes all there is, all that you’re living for, then you lose the whole beauty and essence of whatever you’re doing, and eventually your soul just becomes more negative, especially if you’re not winning those things for which you compete. You begin to resent and even hate those against whom you’re competing, get irrational and angry and begin doing illegal or unlawful things just to win. 

And this doesn’t hold true only in the outside world, but also in the church, where there is a lot of unnecessary competition for whatever reason, which leads to many cliques and much jealousy amongst the saints of Christ. Please remember Bruh Paul’s warning to the church at Corinth when those believers were arguing about whom they belonged to, Paul or Apollos. Christ’s church is one body, and like the human body it has many different parts with each part playing a different role, performing a different function, just like our hands, feet and eyes perform different functions, but are all important to the proper functioning of our bodies. 

Likewise, Christians are co-labourers, and it doesn’t matter who’s planted and whose watered, Paul or Apollos, because in the long run it is God that gives the increase. The most important thing is for us to do what we’ve each been called to do, but to all build our work on the strong and stable foundation that’s Christ our Lord and Saviour! (1 Cor. 3:1-15) And this last quote exemplifies all that we’ve said, but it also helps and encourages us to improve and accomplish. ‘When everything seems like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.’ 

Oh my my my! That view from heaven is certainly breathtaking! Yes friends, when life seems to be giving us a rough time, we need to stop for a moment and think on, truly consider the goal we’re working towards, how we will feel when we’ve accomplished it, and let that view from the top energize, encourage and reassure us. For remember life is nothing but a bully-boy, and if it discovers it can beat you down continually, it will do so. But please remember these awesome and encouraging words of Christ: 

‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so; I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ (John 14:1-3) And if you believe in Jesus, then you know that He is faithful to keep His promises. And the scholars offer us this marvellous explanation of what we have to look forward to.

’14:2. Heaven is a place and the eternal hope of the saved. Scripture describes it as a beautiful city where the redeemed will live for eternity. The activities include singing (Rev. 15:3), worship (Rev. 5:9), serving Rev. 22:3), ruling (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 22:5), fellowship with others (Matt. 17:3), and eating (Rev. 2:17). 

Illustration: The quality of existence in heaven is a life of fellowship with God (Rev. 22:4), a life of rest (Rev. 14:13), a life of service (Rev. 22:3), a life of growth (Rev. 22:2), and a life of worship (Rev. 19:1). Application: The glories of heaven belong only to those who have personally trusted Christ for their salvation. Christians who work to win souls are gathering friends who will spend eternity with them in heaven (First Ref. Gen. 1:1; Primary Ref. Rev. 21:1-5; cf. Matt. 24:33).’ 

Now friends, please, let’s take a moment today out of our busy, lockdown schedules (smile) and sincerely peruse those scriptures nuh, and if they don’t raise up the joy, the anticipation that heaven offers, then I really don’t know what else to say. Much LOVE!

…when life becomes a struggle…look up…and remember…the awesome and faithful promise of heaven…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 January 2020 John 14:1.

John 14:1.    ​Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
 
Well it’s Wednesday; the middle of the work week, the hump day, where we feel like we’ve finally gotten hold of, gotten over that invisible hump, where work takes up most of our time. But work certainly takes up most of our time in this life yes! Most of us work five days a week for an average of forty years, then we retire, thankful that there’s no work on the horizon, the early mornings and late nights are finally done! 

But yuh know what? After doing something for forty years it’s hard to get accustomed to not doing anything, to not have to get up and go to work every day, although we complained most days about having to get up and go to work! Hn! And if we just loll about in retirement and don’t keep busy, then our bodies give up and we head back to the dust from which we’ve come, sooner than expected. We’re creatures of habit. That’s the contrariness of the human animal! (smile) 

And I finally finished watching the second half of the movie ‘Gone with the Wind.’ And it is indeed an epic story. But if the truth be told, nothing has really changed in our world since then nuh; that civil  war didn’t solve a whole lot, possibly besides the end of slavery, because there have been several bigger and more brutal wars since then, there’s still too much racism, overt and covert, still too much avarice and greed and jealously and strife, too much poverty and sickness and advantage, too much injustice and discrimination, be it by race, colour, class or creed, despite all the supposed advances we’ve made! 

Yes friends, our world is still a hotbed of dissension and disagreement! And yuh know what? It’s getting worse! Just look around at all the discontent between friends and families, between neighbours and nations…we’ve come closer together in terms of distance and communication, but we’ve gotten further apart in terms of true fellowship. There are more lonely people around now even with the advent of cell phones and social media, because that communication is basically impersonal; half the time you don’t even know who you’re really dealing with. 

Oh my people, the ONLY true solution to what ails our world is JESUS! He is the ONLY ONE who can truly bring us all together and give us the peace, LOVE and joy that we all seem to clamour for, but are far from experiencing! But strangely enough, Jesus is also one of the biggest factors of contention in our world; you either LOVE Him or hate Him with a passion! 

But let me ask you a few questions? Who is the ONLY ONE that came down from heaven, was made man, made in our image and lived amongst us like us eh? JESUS CHRIST! Who is the ONLY ONE who died on a cross to take away our sins, to give us another option besides hellfire and damnation with Satan eh? JESUS CHRIST! Who is the ONLY ONE who died and rose from the grave and ascended back into heaven with the promise to come back for us when we have made disciples of all the nations so that nobody will be lost to Beelzebub eh? JESUS CHRIST! 

Oh precious people, who said these momentous words with this awesome promise? ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ (John 14:1-3) 

Oh friends, Jesus had no cause to lie. They saw Him do numerous miracles. They saw Him crucified on the cross at Calvary, then rise up again. Yuh think if the early believers didn’t see Christ after He rose from the dead, they would have believed him and done what He asked and waited for Him? No way Jose! 

Hear the scholars: ‘14:1. Let not your heart be troubled refers to Peter, Jesus having just told him of his imminent denial of his Lord (13:38). But the larger reference is to all the apostles, through whom Jesus is going to lay the foundation of the church. His comfort also includes instruction about His departure, the sending of the Holy Spirit, the promise of spiritual power, of answered prayer, and of peace, but especially the promise of His return.’ And a great shout of ‘Praise the Lord!’ echoes far and wide across the land in anticipation of that most wonderful promise! 

Yes friends, Jesus is the ONLY ONE who desires to build a group of people, His church, on the basis of LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), meekness and temperance (self-control). And if you didn’t recognize them, they are the fruit of the Spirit, seeds of which are planted in our own spirit when we do the wise thing and receive Christ as our Lord and Saviour. It’s then left up to us to water and nurture them and let them grow in and through us, by reading His Word and sincerely living it. 

That’s why Jesus said: ‘Wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them,’ speaking of false prophets and evil deceivers. (Matt.7:20) A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. And we need to also remember these famous words of Bruh Paul to the Corinthians: ‘And now abideth faith, hope, charity (LOVE), these three; but the greatest of these is charity (LOVE).’ (1 Cor. 13:13). 

Yes brothers and sisters, LOVE is indeed the greatest, because God is LOVE, and LOVE does no harm, but covers a multitude of sins, neither is there any fear in LOVE! And if  God first LOVED us, then we should also LOVE Him, and LOVE one another too: those are His two greatest desires! And now that all of that is indelibly written in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls, let’s go home celebrating our position in Christ by declaring (chuh!) our Wednesday Wail. 

Altogether now, in strong voice and sincere hearts: ‘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!’ And in light of all Jesus has promised, friends, it will certainly be a glorious future indeed! Much LOVE!

…JESUS…the answer to EVERYTHING…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 August 2019 John 14:1.

John 14:1.    ​Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
 

Ah friends, the sun is out, but even more importantly, the Son is out in the ole fella’s soul, body and spirit! Wow! And do I ever need Him this morning as the aches and pains are running somewhat rampant from all the physical activity involved in going down to the Ex last night to check out the David Rudder show. 

And it was a grand show; beautiful lighting and wonderful music from an excellent band composed of mostly local musicians! David is also an excellent performer. He went on at 8.30, and with the obvious encore didn’t finish until 10:15. And the fans LOVED him, because he is a personable and engaging raconteur, does a lot of talking and encouraging in his songs. And though the rain began drizzling around 9:15, it never stopped the Madness of the party! 

And you can imagine the crowd response when he sang some of his many hits like, Hammer, Bahia Girl, Calypso Music, This is Madness, Islands in the Sun, and ended with his anthem, Give Thanks! I never got home until around midnight, and after doing the usual bedtime routing didn’t get to bed until after one. Thus the tardy awakening and consequently the lateness of the Bit. (smile) 

But here is an interesting quote that we can all use, from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945) a Protestant Lutheran Pastor, and theologian, who was active in the German resistance to the policies of Hitler and Nazism. ‘The essence of optimism is that it…enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not abandon it to his enemy.’ 

What an eternal truth that is my people! And more so for Christians than anybody else because we have the best earthly life and eternal heavenly future planned out by our wonderful God for us! Jesus died partly so that we could have life here on earth, and have it abundantly (John 10:10), then He promised that he was going back to heaven to prepare a home for us and would eventually come back and take us with him there. 

And if you don’t believe me, then listen to Jesus Himself. ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ (John 14:1-3) 

Oh my faithful brethren, what an awesome promise! And we all know that our Godhead ALWAYS keep their promises! So why are so many of us so negative and unoptimistic eh? Being a follower of Jesus is the best cause for optimism in this evil and ungodly world. Too many of us are fearful, anxious and unsure about our lives and earthly situations, but Jesus has on several occasions told us to be otherwise. 

Remember two of His favourite words were ‘FEAR NOT!’  And in our Bit He tells us quite plainly: ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ How much more can He say eh? But He does say more. (smile) Hear Him when He promises the disciples the Holy Spirit. ‘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) 

That’s why Christians should always be the eternal optimists! And this definition of an optimist is both excellent and true. ‘An optimist, regardless of personal problems, is eager to arise in the morning – to get to work, to be with friends or family, to live the happiness of the day. People are drawn toward optimists, for their joy shines on everyone around them.’ 

And that’s exactly how we believers ought to be! But in actual fact, would that be a good description of our current lives? That’s for each of us to know and work out with God. But please remember Jesus said that we should let our light shine before men, so that they could see our good works, and thus glorify our heavenly Father. (Matt.5:16) Well friends, we can’t do that unless we truly believe in Him and are joyfully optimistic about our future. 

And I’ll quote us one more encouraging scripture from Jesus: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) Oh mih breddren, mih breddren, how else and how often must Jesus say it for us to believe it eh? 

He has already given us the victory by conquering hell, death, the grave and Satan through His sacrificial death and awesome resurrection, we just have to keep the victory going now, and we can only do so by resisting the wiles and taunts of the evil one and being strong and optimistic in Jesus! 

And I certainly hope that what we’ve said today has raised all our optimism levels, and set us on a path where our lights can shine brightly and we can make a true and useful difference in the world as Jesus so greatly desires. And He has shown us His own optimism by not only dying for us, but also by giving us His wonderful Thursday Blessings so that we can do His earthly work. 

And since they don’t work unless we invoke them, let’s declare them all now, in loud, clear, sincere and optimistic voices. As one now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! 

I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Yeh mih people, that’s the way Jesus wants us to declare His word and blessings. Now let’s go out and do the most important part; share them with the less fortunate…Remember now, don’t hoard them, share them as generously as He has shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…‘life is an adventure of choices to be lived…not an ordeal to be survived…I choose…optimism…and joy…’

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 July 2016 John 14:1

John 14:1.   Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

And then it was Friday! And obviously there is joy in the work place at the upcoming weekend; the couple of days off from work. 

And all around the workers are joyfully declaring: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday and slave work done! It done like dinner! The weekend party starting from this evening and going straight through! The weekend is the greatest time! Thank You Lord for Fridays and weekends!’ 

Ah mih people, it’s understandable how the workers long for the weekend after a stressful week of work, but that doesn’t mean we have to go to the other extreme, where we party the whole weekend away. There needs to be some moderation, some middle ground in our weekend activities. So let’s chant our Friday Chant which gives us a much better perspective on the situation. 

Chanting: ‘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 friends, that’s a much better, much more reliable and sensible way to use those two precious days off. But I guess I will have to be preaching that until I die, (smile) because the pull of the partying is getting stronger and stronger as the days get more stressful. 

And believe me, they are getting more difficult as the economy continues to falter and people lose their jobs, all to the glory of the bottom line, and the remaining ones are expected to take up the slack for no monetary incentive. That type of situation will obviously cause resentment and stress! 

But friends, as faithful believers in Jesus Christ, we must not allow those two negative emotions to permeate our souls and drag us down to unchristian behaviour.  Now that’s not easy to do when unemployment and other hard times are staring you in the face. 

You’ve got a family to feed and clothe, a mortgage to pay, car payments to make, and all the other numerous things we need to do to just get by in this society. Note, we not even talking about prospering, but merely getting by. So you can imagine the effort and faith it takes for one to prosper as a Christian in these evil and ungodly days. 

That’s why our Bit today is so important in a believer’s life. ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ 

Oh my people, these days we badly need to raise the level of our faith, our trust in Jesus, so that we can stand strong against the enemy and his wicked ways. But we also need to see that faith in action. 

As Oral Roberts is reputed to have said: ‘I don’t care how much faith you have, I care about how much faith you release.’ 

And friends, that’s the basic purpose of faith: having it doesn’t mean much unless you release it. Faith in action is the Christian motto. So if the world is stressing you out today, please take hope and raise the level of your faith by seriously trusting in the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Hear how He continues after our Bit. ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ (John 14:2-3)  

Oh what a wonderful promise my brethren! Our Leader has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven, then come back and take us to live with Him! Hn! It’s promises like these my faithful believers that we need to sow deep down in our souls and think on them when times and things come against us. 

Now listen to what Jesus says later on in that same chapter, as He promises the blessing of the Holy Spirit. ‘But the Comforter (Helper), which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 

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. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye LOVED me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.’ (John 14:26-28) 

Oh my brethren, I know all of that is easier said than done, how difficult it is to raise up the necessary faith when the evil world is banging on your door. But that’s what we need to do, and besides, we also have the wherewithal to do it. 

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would remind the apostles of all that He spoke to them about, and it’s also the same way He operates in our lives, leading and guiding us in wisdom and truth. It is therefore very essential that we pay special attention to what the Holy Spirit says to us. 

Nothing’s easy in this life friends, but we already have all that we need to conquer it planted deep down in our souls, we just need to ask the Lord to raise up whatever we need to overcome our negative circumstances. And you know our merciful and ever-LOVING God will answer our prayers if we come to Him in humility and sincerity.  

Now let’s close with another faithful and awe-inspiring promise of our Lord and Saviour. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) 

Please believe Jesus’ promises my people, because that’s what gives us the belly and backbone to stand strong and steadfast against the enemy in this wicked and sinful world! Much LOVE!

…living for, and following Jesus is not easy…but it sure is satisfying and adventurous…