Today’s Scrip-Bit   12 May 2022 John 13:34.

John 13:34.      A new commandment I give unto you, that ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. 

Come on friends, let’s see some Christ-like smiles on those faces on this beautiful spring Thursday nuh! Christ is LOVE, the Good Book says so (1 John 4:8) and the first appearance of LOVE from us should be a smile! Yes, my brethren our Christian faith walk all begins with a smile, for when we realize all the marvellous and miraculous benefits we have in and from Jesus, and they all start to flow out of us, there must be a smile of joy accompanying them, otherwise, how are people going to know that we are happy in Jesus eh? 

So, if there is true joy in our souls, then it will show on our faces through a smile. And it’s sad, pathetic really, the number of sour faced, miserable, unhappy looking supposed Christians walking about the planet! Some of them falsely believing that they are pilgrims and pilgrims suffer, so they need to look like what the cat dragged in. 

But that’s not true friends. For even if you are a supposed pilgrim and life’s rough, with all the wonderful stuff that Jesus has given us and placed in our hearts and souls, the joy, which is the strength of the Lord and the fruit of His Holy Spirit that’s been planted in us and growing beautifully like the new spring grass, must manifest itself in our behaviour, starting with a big smile and a heavenly look on our faces. 

Remember what Jesus said about the stuff that comes out of a man? ‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ (Matt. 15:11) And that’s how it ought to be with believers, the good stuff of Jesus coming out of our mouths and lighting up our faces with His joy. ‘As the song says: ‘Oh happy day, oh happy day, when Jesus, when Jesus washed, when my Jesus washed all my sins away!’ 

Now, that day and that action ought to be always percolating in our souls and spirits, and cause us to live rejoicing every day. And rejoicing means letting the joy in our soul and spirit being made manifest on the outside, beginning with a glow on our faces and Christ-like actions reaching out to those with whom we come into contact. That brings us to these fateful and very crucial words of Jesus to His disciples, when he said unto them. ‘A new commandment I give unto you, that ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one for another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Yes, my fellow believers, the world will only recognize us as true disciples of Jesus if we show the LOVE He showed to us, toward each other. And sadly, that’s not happening as much as it should because many of us supposed Christians don’t even talk to one another because we are of a different religion or denomination, we have a different doctrine or some such nonsense. But the only doctrine in Jesus’ book is LOVE, and LOVE is an action-based reality, you can’t just talk it, but must show it, like Jesus said back there, if we want to be His true disciples. 

And He said it to them again later on. ‘This is my commandment, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you.’ (John 15:12) And I like how John sets it all out in his first epistle, when he talks about tests of true knowledge. ‘And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandment is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the LOVE of God perfected: hereby know we that are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought also to walk, even as he walked.’ (1 John 2:3-6) 

Oh my fellow saints, those words are ever so important in our walk of faith because they testify of our genuine knowledge of God, of true discipleship, which can only be accomplished by obedience to Christ’s commandments. It must be a conscious and enduring effort, for the true ‘test of knowing God’s LOVE is keeping His Word.’ And the scholars explain verse 6 thus. They say: ‘Even as he walked refers to Jesus’ earthly days. While no one can or need duplicate Jesus’ atoning ministry, His disciples are called on to imitate His devotion to God and compassion for others. See John 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:21.’ 

And just to refresh our memories, (smile) let’s look at those two scriptures. In John 13:15, Jesus says to the disciples after washing their feet. ‘For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.’ Then Peter corroborates that statement when he writes. ‘For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile (deceit) found in his mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again (in return); when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.’ (1 Pet. 2:21-23) 

Oh my people, are we doing those kinds of things like Jesus did, or at least attempting to live that way? Hopefully, our answer to that will be a decisive YES! And if it’s not, then we are not living for Christ and are not His true disciples and need to change our lifestyles if we truly want to be made over in His image. And the great thing about Jesus is that when we truly desire and try to live for Him, He showers us with numerous blessings to help us do just that. We call them our Thursday Blessings, and when we declare them out loud, they serve to refuel and renew our hearts and souls, so that we can go out and do His work with new enthusiasm and LOVE. 

So, let’s declare them right now nuh, in loud and confident voice. ‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

Now it’s up to us to go out and generously use those blessings to serve others, just as generously as Christ shares them with us. Much LOVE!

…talk is cheap…but LOVE…that’s action…calls for sacrifice…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 October 2020 Romans 5:8.

Romans 5:8.     ​But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Here we go again friends, time to sing and praise our wonderful God in Sunday fellowship! There’s nothing better than that! Only problem is we still can’t gather all together in one place and do it. But that’s just a minor setback since those few of us who want to go to church now can, and the rest of us will just continue what we’ve been doing for the last five or six months, worshipping together virtually. How can they stop us when the Lord God is our mainstay eh? No way! 

But enough talk, let’s get to some praise and worship nuh. And today’s hymn is a very old but still popular one, titled ‘At the Cross.’ It was written by one of the great hymn writers, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), and some 100 years later the American choir leader Ralph E. Hudson (1843-1901) added the chorus and the inspiring tune that we now sing it to. According to one commentator, the chorus might have caused Watts hair to stand on end. (smile) And though not much seems to be known about the background story to this song, it does seem as though it inspired another great hymn writer, Fanny Crosby. 

According to her:”It was on November 2, 1850, that I was gloriously converted while the congregation sang the grand old consecration hymn of Isaac Watts. When they reached the 3rd line of the last verse: ‘Here, Lord, I give myself away,’ I surrendered myself to my Savior, and my soul was flooded with celestial light. I sprang to my feet shouting, ‘Hallelujah!’ I gave my heart to Him, and what a Joy I received!” – from the website hymnal-net. Just one more mysterious way in which our Lord moves in the lives of His people; inspiring Fanny Crosby with the words of Isaac Watts. 

So let’s sing it now in an easy rocking, soulful style, and let it inspire us to keep the joy of our Saviour in our hearts and lives. And to help us do that, we’ll begin with the chorus which rocks more than the verse. (smile) (Chorus: ‘At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!) Alas, and did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head For sinners such as I? 

(Chorus…) Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine – And bathed in its own blood – While the firm mark of wrath divine, His Soul in anguish stood. (Chorus…) Was it for sins that I had done He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree! (Chorus…) Well might the sun in darkness hide, And shut His glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker, died For man, His creature’s sin. 

(Chorus…) Thus might I hide my blushing face While His dear cross appears. Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, And melt mine eyes to tears. (Chorus…) But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of love I owe; Here, Lord, I give myself away, ’Tis all that I can do. At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day! Now I’m happy all the day…happy all the day…happy all the day…’ 

Oh friends, I do hope that we are indeed happy after singing those wonderful lyrics of absolute truth! If you’re not, then you had better check your faith, because with all that Christ did for us, when He sacrificed Himself on that old wooden cross at Calvary, believers ought to be not merely happy but exceedingly ecstatic! Remember what the Good Book says? ‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 5:8) 

Can you imagine that mih people, while we were the enemy of God, He sent His only Son to die in our place! That means we should be eternally grateful! And hear this nuh, while researching the song, I came upon the video of another song also titled ‘At the Cross,’ this one done by the Hillsong group, and brother if yuh see the bruised and battered state Jesus was in while dragging his cross up to Calvary, how he kept falling down under its weight and unwieldiness, then when they pounded the nails in his hands and lifted the cross up and dropped it in the hole…Steups! 

I couldn’t handle it nuh. I had to turn away. And no doubt by what we read in the Good Book, Jesus was in a real beat up state, all for our benefit. So if we can’t appreciate His supreme sacrifice on our part, then something really wrong with us yes. 

And Peter tells us in no uncertain terms, when he talks about the example of Christ’s suffering. ‘For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted (beaten) for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with (commendable before) God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile (deceit) found in his mouth: 

Who when he was reviled, reviled not again (in return); but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: By whose stripes (wounds) ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop (Overseer) of your souls.’ (1 Pet. 3:20-25) 

Yes mih people, if anybody should know about Christ is Peter, who walked with Him for three years on this earth and was an eye-witness to all he’s written. And if it doesn’t move you, or you just don’t believe, then there’s no more that I can say, because following Jesus is a personal decision. And I’m going to follow Him, to the best of my ability, hoping that the members of my household will do likewise. Much LOVE!

…Christians should be the happiest people on the planet…because heaven is eternal their home…