Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 September 2021 John 13:35.

John 13:35.      By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.

So mih bredrin, a warm and wonderful Tuesday to all you who treasure Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour! May His light and LOVE shine through us today, as we go about doing His awesome earthly work, encouraging others to come to Him and enjoy the amazing benefits of being in His blessed organization, His church, and also having a most splendiferous personal relationship with Him! 

What could be better than that eh mih people; belonging to Christ’s body of followers, but also having a personal friendship with him? Absolutely nothing! Yes friends, in Jesus we have the best of ALL worlds! Never forget that! So let’s stop selling both Jesus and us short by thinking and consequently acting like He is not enough, for He surely is…and much more too! 

Ah friends the ole fella’s just getting excited, as I usually do when I talk about the goodness and mercy of Jesus, because I’ve experienced so much of it during my long life, even when I didn’t know what it was. Yes, in hindsight, I can now see and realize that it was indeed the goodness and mercy of God that kept me going through some serious situations before I fully gave my life to Him. 

And since I’ve done that…Brother! I’ve seen so much of His undeserved grace and mercy, that I can’t even count or remember half of them! That’s why I can confidently tell you that Jesus is an awesome friend and Saviour. His work is demanding, but His yoke is light and easy to bear, while His rewards are outstanding! Glory be my faithful brethren! 

And all Jesus really desires of us is to show that most worthy and amazing attribute of LOVE in our everyday lives. When you break it down it looks like this: to LOVE the Father, LOVE Him, and LOVE ourselves and each other. Now that should not be as hard to do as we make it seem, since it’s basically showing kindness and goodness to those we meet. But unfortunately, it seems that the opposite and very negative emotion of hate, found in things like anger, bitterness, resentment, strife and unkindness, are much easier for us to propagate, since it’s that negative stuff that’s now holding our world hostage. 

How sad it is my people, that goodness and mercy can’t seem to outweigh hate and its evil companions. And it’s only when we receive Jesus and hold on tightly to Him and what He stands for that we can ever hope to defeat the enemy and His wicked ways. That’s why Jesus said to the disciples: ‘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 to another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Yes, my fellow saints, that’s the big difference between the followers of Christ and the non-followers; the followers are supposed to have LOVE for each other in words and deeds, not just meaningless talk, nor as He blasted the Pharisees. ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres (whitewashed tombs), which indeed appear beautiful outside, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness).’ (Matt. 23:27-28) 

And sadly, that’s how too many of us supposed believers and followers of Jesus behave nowadays. That’s basically why the unbelievers don’t pay more attention to us, because we don’t truly walk our talk, that LOVE for each other is most definitely not shown in our daily dealings. Just think about all the divisions in the church of Christ nuh, with umpteen religions, sects, denominations etc., which only breed petty differences, resentment, anger and the whole host of negative emotions amongst supposed Christians. 

How can that sad state of affairs draw others to Jesus eh? The enemy is more together, more as one, than we believers are. No wonder they are in the ascendance right now, while we believers are running a far second place because of our many differences and lack of togetherness. 

And in his own way, John repeated Jesus’ invocation to the disciples in his first epistle. ‘And hereby we do know that we know him (Jesus), if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, 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 we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.’ (1 John 2:3-6) 

Yes friends, as the scholars so rightly inform us: ‘The test of knowing God’s LOVE is keeping His Word… While no one can or need duplicate Jesus’ atoning (earthly) ministry, His disciples are called to imitate His devotion to God and compassion for others. See John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21.’ Those are indisputable facts, but unfortunately, our devotion to God and compassion for others is sadly lacking in these terrible times. And I believe it’s my bounden duty to highlight those two passages the scholars referred to above there. 

Listen to Jesus after He had washed the disciples’ feet. ‘If I then, your Lord and Master (Teacher), have washed your feet; ye ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.’ (John 13:14-15) It couldn’t get any clearer than that friends! Jesus is the example we ought to follow. Granted, we can’t do all that He did, but we surely can have much more reverence and devotion to the Father and show more simple compassion for each other. 

And Peter tells it to us thus: ‘For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.’ (1 Pet. 2:21) Don’t know what else to say nuh. So, for those of us who sincerely try to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, let’s go home declaring (yeah!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, telling the whole world who and whose we are; to whom we truly belong. 

Altogether now: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

Now, it’s our duty to go out into the world and share that amazing LOVE and friendship of Jesus with the many who don’t know it! Much LOVE!

…it’s time for Christians…to play a strong and true game of…follow the Leader…                                                                                                           

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 February 2021 John 15:20a.

John 15:20a.     If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you:

And a good, lazy Saturday morning to you my Scrip-Bit friends and family, wherever you are in God’s great universe! Hope that you are having better weather than my snow-bound, bleak neighbourhood, but it’s all a part of life in this great country of Canada, so we’ll handle it with the aplomb of Jesus. (smile) 

Anyway, there’s some good news to share today; our friend Anselm has been resurrected. Yes, he’s risen from whatever ailed him, and he’s sent us a full slate of quotes this week. A couple of them though are so highly politicized that I have no answer for them, so I’ll just throw them out there and let you draw your own conclusions. And we’ll get those out of the way early. 

The first one says: ‘I LOVE Trinidad and Tobago more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.’ Yes, Anselm was born in T&T and apparently he still has a great affection for it, but what am I supposed to say about his claim that he has the right to criticize her in perpetuity eh? 

I don’t know if you LOVE a country a lot that it gives you the right to criticize it. What I do know though is that we need to be very careful in our criticism, especially in these times of much negative opinions and criticism on all sorts of fronts,  because most of us never know the full story behind whatever we are criticizing. 

So although our criticism might look good and sound true, ofttimes it’s not the whole truth or even much of the truth and consequently can lead a lot of people astray, just like what’s happening on social media today with all the lies, half-truths and disinformation being bandied about there. It’s so bad in the U.S, that it’s causing rebellious tendencies there. So please be very careful with your criticism. 

Then there’s this: ‘To announce that there must be no criticism of the Prime Minister, or that we are to stand by the Prime Minister, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the Trinidad and Tobago public.’ There we go again with the criticism regarding T&T. Brother Anselm must be in a real T&T frame of mind! (smile) 

And again, all I can say is that our criticism must be fair, honest and truthful, though standing by the leader of a country, even when they are wrong, is not doing the country any positive service, just making matters worse. That’s been recently proven right down in the U.S of A, with ex-President Donald Trump making so many incorrect, lying and prejudicial statements that it has caused a large division and much disunity in the country. 

Now listen to this one: ‘I do this real moron thing, and it’s called thinking. And apparently I’m not a very good Trinbagonian because I like to form my own opinions.’ My buddy Anselm seems intent on getting me into trouble with my fellow Trinbagonians. (smile) But thinking is a good thing, more of us should try it. (smile) 

However, it’s also possible to overthink a situation, which could lead to personal opinions that are not welcomed by others. And again, let me remind us that before we form opinions, or better yet mouth them, we must be in full possession of all the facts. Sadly though, especially in governmental circles, the real truth, the true facts, are very difficult for the ordinary citizen to gather. All we usually get is a lot of hearsay and the unsound opinions of others. 

Now don’t think that the other two quotes aren’t politically inclined nuh, but they can be handled biblically. And this is the first of the last two. ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.’ 

That last part is obvious; the oppressed are never impressed with neutrality. The first part is a tad trickier, although as a believer, once we see injustice our sense of justice should rise up and cause us to consider ways to right the obvious wrongs. How does the saying go? If you are not a part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem. 

Likewise, if you see injustice been perpetrated and you say or do nothing, for whatever reason, it will certainly appear that you are on the side of the oppressor. But friends and followers of Jesus, we have been instructed by Jesus Himself to follow justice and to right wrongs wherever possible. 

As He said to the Pharisees. ‘But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over (neglect) judgement (justice) and the LOVE of God: These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone (without neglecting the others).’ (Luke 11:42) 

Yes friends, our God is a God of justice. Why do you think He sacrificed Jesus to pay for our sin debt eh? Because His just character would not allow sin to be forgiven without full payment, for the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins. (Heb. 9:22) 

And these two scriptures tell the story in spades. ‘Learn to do well (good); seek judgement (justice), relieve the oppressed (correct oppression), judge (bring justice to) the fatherless, plead for the widow.’ (Is. 1:17) And Micah, puts it very plainly. ‘He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but  to do justly (justice), and to LOVE mercy (kindness), and to walk humbly with thy God.’ (Mic. 6:8) 

And that brings us to our last quote: ‘It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.’ And that’s oh so true! Jesus is also a very good example of that. He came to earth to bring justice and salvation, to heal the sick, care for the poor and release the captive slaves of darkness. All these things went against the very grain of the both the ruling Romans and their Jewish lackeys. 

So what happened? Jesus found Himself on the wrong side of the authorities because His philosophy did not match theirs. Consequently, although He had done no wrong, but simply because He was disturbing the rulers’ easy life, He was labelled a traitor, an insurrectionist and quickly removed from their sight by crucifixion. 

Please note too friends, that as believers in, and followers of Christ, we are often on the wrong side of the authorities, so we too can also expect persecution and problems just because of that. Jesus warned His disciples, and consequently us, of the world’s hatred. 

‘Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they kept my saying, they will keep yours too. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.’ (John 15:20-21) 

That brings it all to the forefront my brethren. Remember, we are supposed to be in the world, but not of the world, and that very fact alone will cause us problems. So be prepared, but also remember that Christ has already overcome the world, so please be of good cheer. Much LOVE!

…eventually…right is always stronger than might…so in wisdom…please look to Jesus…