Today’s Scrip-Bit   18 November 2022   2 Timothy 1:12.

2 Timothy 1:12.       For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against (until) that day.

Then it was Friday, and we all gleefully shouted: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday, and the work week is finally finished! It’s time to begin the weekend party!’ But not so fast friends, the activities of some of us in the wintry climes will probably be curtailed by flurrying snow this weekend. So please check your weather reports and make sure you are well protected if you do go out. And if you don’t have to go out, then don’t! This is the time of year that that phrase comes in very handy. (smile) 

Now here is something else that will also make us smile cheerfully. It’s a poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, aptly titled ‘I Do Know.’ So, please read with me. ‘There is much I cannot begin to fathom concerning the vast, indescribable universe created by our majestic God. There is much I will never comprehend. I want to sing and shout, so utterly overwhelmed I am with the magnitude of God. But I do know with confident certainty that I belong to the God of the universe – the Creator of all that exists. 

I know that I, a mere mortal, am forever linked to divine destiny. I know that my life has purpose and dignity. I know that God has chosen me as the object of His lavish LOVE; that His thoughts toward me are thoughts of kindness and mercy; that He has inscribed me in the palms of His hands. I know that all the LOVE of the Father, and the life of the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit are freely, inseparably mine – now and throughout all eternity. This I do know!’ 

Oh my fellow believers, what beautiful and oh so true sentiments! And I like how so many important scriptures are intricately and dextrously weaved into it. However, the question now is do we believe all of that? Do we know it in spades, without any doubt whatsoever? We know that with our finite minds we can never truly comprehend the vastness of the universe, but are we overwhelmed by the magnitude of our mighty God? Do we believe that we are truly ‘linked to divine destiny’ and that our lives have ‘purpose and dignity’ built into them by our heavenly Father? 

And do we truly believe that we are the ‘objects of His lavish LOVE’, with wonderful thoughts of kindness and mercy focused in our direction? And what about the fact that He has inscribed us in the palms of His hands eh? Does that ring true in our spirits, bodies and souls? For our sakes I hope so, otherwise we are lost and sadly in great danger in this evil and terribly sinful world. And one last question, possibly the most important; do we know that ‘all the LOVE of the Father, and the life of the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit are freely and inseparably ours – now and throughout all eternity?’ 

Yes my brethren, that’s the billion dollar question this cold and snowy Friday morning in the middle of November 2022. Do we know the One True God, He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? The One who created the universe and all therein? The One who LOVED us so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross at Calvary, using His precious, sinless and holy blood to purchase our sin debt in full? Yes friends, that’s the same God who LOVED us so much while we were yet sinners, that He couldn’t wait for us to change, but had to give us a good reason to change, through the coming of His Son Jesus Christ to earth in human flesh to show us what a great and merciful God He truly is. 

But enough of my yakking, (smile) let’s see what scriptural promise that poem was based on. And it comes from Bruh Paul’s second letter to Timothy, where he is exhorting the young preacher to endurance. He encourages Timothy early in that section, by telling him: ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world (time) began.’ (2 Tim. 1:7-9) 

Oh my faithful brethren, the Lord God has purposed our lives through Jesus Christ from even before He created the universe and all therein. That means we’re not placed in these times by chance, but by God’s perfect design, and are expected to do His will for our lives. But finally, here’s the verse on which our poem is based. Bruh Paul goes on to tell Timothy: ‘Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher unto the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against (until) that day.’ (2 Tim. 1:11-12) 

Now, it’s that last verse on which all of our poem and our lives turn! Are we ashamed of the gospel of Christ, the One we claim to believe in? And are we fully persuaded that He can keep all that we have committed to Him until the day of judgement? I won’t get into it, but leave us all to contemplate our own situations. Here are some thoughts on the subject though from the scholars. ‘Persuaded: The perfect tense indicates that “I was persuaded in the past and remain so now.” That he is able to keep refers to the assurance of salvation which is committed…against that day, when we will stand before the judgement seat of Christ.’  

And today is a good a day as any other to ponder what that scripture means in our individual lives. But as a group of believers, let’s go to the throne room in prayer, offering up our Friday Chant with thanksgiving, pleading for divine guidance. Altogether now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the several viruses and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the viruses and the simmering unrest in our land. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic, the discontent and dissatisfaction in our land that’s threatening to boil over, as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, wake up and smell it sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now my fellow saints, we need to make the necessary changes in our lives and our hearts, that will convince the Lord that we are serious in what we’ve just prayed. Much LOVE!

…to live for Christ…means to suffer with…and if necessary…die for Him…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 January 2019 James 4:7.

James 4:7.   ​Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
 

Beautiful…white and beautiful…but oh so dangerous…slippery like and eel…and treacherous and deceptive like the serpent who personifies our enemy Satan! That’s the snow covering our neighbourhood this Friday morning! (smile) And sadly, we in the northern climes are bracing ourselves for even more of the white stuff because we’ve been promised a major snowstorm this weekend. 

Let’s hope the duchess and I just have to stay inside and look at it and admire its beauty, but don’t have to venture forth in it, cause remember we’re not as mobile and steady as we once were, we’re not spring chickens any longer…but contrary to popular opinion we’re NOT old, just advanced in years! (smile) So for all of you in the wintry climes, remember, as the man says, if you don’t HAVE to go out, then DON’T go out! 

Now let’s hear what the workingman has to say for himself this winter’s morn. And I like how he’s ever so enthusiastic, regardless of the circumstances: ‘TGIF! Thank God for Friday yes! The weekend, the weekend is here, which means is time to party! And though they calling for plenty snow, yuh think a li’l thing like snow going to stop me from enjoying mih li’l two days off from the slave master work? 

No way Jose! My time is my time, my time to enjoy whatever catches mih fancy! And if ah want to play in the snow, I’ll play in the snow. But if I just want to cuddle up in front of a roaring fire and sip something strong and warm, then that’s what I’ll do! It’s freedom time, come the weekend! Thank God for Fridays and the weekends yes in this ungodly capitalist society!’ 

Now there’s a wonderful idea for this snowy weekend; cuddle up in front of a roaring fire with a hot toddy and just commune with whoever you’re with and with God! Let the world go by however it wants to, since there’s nothing you can do about it. Just luxuriate in the warmth of your home and the comforting LOVE of your wonderful God! 

And all of God’s children declared (right ho) a loud and proud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord! Praise Him and give Him much thanks for His undeserving goodness and mercy to us!’ Yeh friends, we must NEVER forget the goodness of God in our lives, for it’s the ONLY thing that keeps us from an even more miserable existence. 

Now let’s respond to the workingman’s exuberance with our more controlled Friday Chant. Chanting in unison: ‘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 mih people, it’s not as exuberant and fun LOVING as the workingman’s song, but it suits our purposes very well, reminding us of our purpose down here on earth, to work for Jesus, and helping us to stay out of the clutches of the ever-hovering enemy. And as true believers, we like it! Glory be! Anything that keeps us out of Satan’s evil grasp is certainly welcome! 

That’s why friends, we have to pay particular attention to James’ warning: ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’  Yes my brethren, there are two things we need to do to stay out of the enemy’s clutches. The first is submit ourselves to God; then actively resist Satan’s advances! And we know that in this world he’s always lurking around offering lust and pride and other immoral and ungodly ways of life. 

But as James continues: ‘Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded. Be afflicted (lament), and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness (gloom). Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.’ (James 4:8-10) 

And the scholars offer this explanation re the above verses: ‘4:7-10. Therefore: The exhortations that follow logically result from the conditions in verses 1-6 (worldliness and pride). Resist the devil: Do not submit to, fear, or flee from Satan, but stand against him (1 Pet.5:8-10). Satan cannot lead into sin against one’s will. Draw nigh: God will not be unmoved; His welcoming response is always near (cf. Deut. 4:7; Lam.3: 57; Luke 15:20). Hands and hearts: The cleansing of one’s life must involve both outward deeds and inner thoughts (cf. Ps.24:3-4).’ 

Oh friends, please check out those scriptures, for they all show God’s welcoming hand to all who turn to Him. And we’ll close with these inspiring, reassuring and warning words from Peter on the subject. (smile) ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 

Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in (experienced by) your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!’ (1 Pet.5: 6-11) 

Oh my people, we could not ask for more fervent and reassuring scripture this cold, snowy Friday January morning! So please let’s take it to heart and follow it nuh! That’s wisdom of enormous proportions! Much LOVE!

…Christianity 101…submitting to God…resisting Satan…