Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 May 2008 John 14:27‏

John 14:27    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.
 
Wow! What exquisite sentiments my Friends, from the only entity deserving the moniker, Super Star; Jesus Christ! The past two days we’ve been talking about words and their monumental power, especially on the human psyche. We saw God command the world into existence through words, then their destructive effect when used negatively, so it’s only fitting that we also consider how words can encourage and enhance a person’s life or self image, when used positively. And whom better to exemplify that beautiful quality than the Master of Positive Thinking, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He’s talking to His disciples, acquainting them with the stuff that was about to happen; His betrayal, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Note, the disciples were a rag tag bunch of men, without much education, assembled by Jesus, more for their brawn and down to earth attitude than their brains. And when their leader suddenly drops the bombshell about the forthcoming disastrous events, and the fact that He was going away, to some place they couldn’t go just then, it’s obvious they got rather perturbed. But Jesus, always the consummate master of the situation, reassures them. ‘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.’ In other words, stand strong, stay calm. I know what I’m doing. Everything’s under control. I have your back. Whatever I give you is well given; not like the world; give with one hand, and take back with the other. He’d already opened the dialogue in Vs.1 with, ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ Then in Vs.18, He assures them, ‘I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.’ During the conversation, Jesus throws out tidbits of encouragement and assurance, because He’s very aware of their apprehension, as any sensitive leader would be under those circumstances. And Friends, the Good Book lists numerous instances of people being encouraged, or told to encourage others. Like Bruh David to his son Solomon: ‘I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore; and show thyself a man.’ (1 Kings 2:2) And how can we forget that great encourager, Bruh Paul, with all his letters to the different churches. But possibly, the most famous words of encouragement are those of Our Lord to Joshua, on his becoming  Israel’s leader. ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage.’ (Josh.1:5-6) And to make sure Joshua understands, He says it twice more in Vs.7,9. ‘Only be thou strong and very courageous to do according to all the law…Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.’ What faith enhancing words my Friends, from the Most High God, Jehovah. Let’s take them to heart, for they are also meant for us, and go out and do likewise; speak encouraging words to each other, for they provide fuel for the fire of our faith. Much LOVE!..they helped everyone his neighbour, and everyone said to his brother, Be of good courage…(Isa.41:6)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 May 2008 Job 19:1-4‏

Job 19:1-4    Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me? And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.
 
Poor Job. He was going along nicely, a faithful, righteous man, then unbeknownst to him, the enemy challenged God to test his righteousness. God had confidence in Job and allowed the test; anything but death. So at the enemy’s instigation, his world began falling apart for no apparent reason. Boils suddenly covered his body and he sat in ashes scraping them. His family and his livelihood disintegrated. Then his wife chastened him about his integrity, telling him to curse God and die. But Job resisted that bad advice, asking her if she only expected good and no bad from God. ‘In all this did Job not sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:10) Ah Friends, yesterday we talked about the power of words, today we have a great example of their negative aspect. First, the enemy used negative, challenging words to God. Then Job’s wife gave him negative advice. But the worst part was when three of his friends heard about his dilemma, came to mourn with and comfort him, but ended up haranguing him instead. They lectured him and insisted that he had done some awful wrong, that’s why so much calamity had suddenly befallen him. We noted earlier, that through all the misfortune Job did not sin with his lips. Who knows what was in his heart, but he uttered no disrespectful words about God, even though he was certainly driven in that direction. But he was only human and finally got fed up with his so called friends, and asked them, ‘How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?’ Ah people, the power of words again. His friends were tormenting him, driving him even further down the path of sorrow and grief by their self righteous and unfair accusations, by their hurtful words. Because their vision was short-sighted, they figured that such tribulation could only befall Job if he’d done something terribly wrong, And though he insisted that he hadn’t, they still berated and belittled him. As he said; ‘These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me?’ Poor fella. They kept on shaming and disgracing him with hurtful, uncalled for words, till he had to ask them why they were dealing so harshly with him. Ah Friends, they say words are wind, but blows are unkind, sadly though, in many cases the words hurt more than the physical blows. At least the wounds of the body heal eventually, but sometimes those inflicted on the soul by negative words never heal, or leave badly scarred souls when they do. I like Job’s spirit. He got tired of their posturing and simply declared that even if he had made a mistake, it was his, and had nothing to do with them. Yes people, sometimes we just have to tell people to shut up or buzz off when their words are negatively affecting our souls. By the same token, we’ve got to be careful we don’t do the same thing to others. So again, I implore us to try and utter only good, peaceful, positive, pleasant, uplifting, encouraging words to our fellow man. Much LOVE!…like a pile driver…hurtful words can decimate the human spirit…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 May 2008 Proverbs 18:21‏

Proverbs 18:21    Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
 
‘And God said, Let there be light: and there was light…And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters…And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place…And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass…And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly…and God blessed them, saying, Be Fruitful and multiply…’ Gen.1. Yes Friends, God spoke the world into existence. So what does that tell us? Words are very powerful. And today we’re talking ’bout the power of words; your words and mine, the tremendous power they have to encourage or discourage, to do good or evil. Solomon said that ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue,’ and it’s the living truth. In the sense that it’s a judge, or some person in high authority, whose words sentence us to die, or live; doctors also pass judgement on whether we’ll recover from an illness or not, and our families decide if to pull the life line. So the power of life and death does really exist in the tongue. But it goes even deeper than that: ‘and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.’ That’s also gospel people. Whatever you sow with your words, be it good fruit or bad, that’s what you’ll reap. You can’t plant corn and expect to reap peas. Likewise, you can’t sow discouragement and expect to reap excellence. Jesus said, ‘For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.’ Mat.12:37. Yes Friends, whatever we say will come back to haunt us in one form or fashion, for words are our most important and frequent form of communication, so they are used abundantly. This means we’ve got to be very careful about the words we use, especially in these politically correct times. Chuh! People nowadays have become so sensitive, that the least li’l thing rubs them wrong, provoking outrage. But besides that, generally speaking, if we want good things to happen, we’ve got to use good words. Reverse psychology, saying discouraging words in the hope that it angers the hearer enough to motivate them to prove us wrong, only works in a few cases. Most of the time, discouraging words will bring discouragement. And as everything else Friends, good words have to start at home. So parents, especially mothers who bear the responsibility for most of the nurturing, please start speaking pleasant, encouraging words to your children, from the moment they’re born. I read about this mother who was always saying hurry, hurry to her children. And what do you think the baby’s first words were, after ‘mama and dada?’ Yes, ‘hurry, hurry.’ So although we think they don’t understand what we say, in their own simple way, they do pick up our meanings and nuances. Friends, in these troubled times we all need to hear good, positive words. So let’s take control of our mouths and speak positively and encouragingly to our children, our parents, our spouses, our co-workers, our business partners, anyone we come into contact with. Everybody’s going through tough times, and a smile or a kind, encouraging word might just be the catalyst, the trigger someone who’s hit rock bottom, needs to motivate them to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on to do great things. Like the kind hearted man I heard about, who didn’t have any money to give this beggar, but he called him his brother and blessed him. Sometime later, he passed by again and the beggar smiled at him. The man asked why he was smiling since he still had no money to give him. The beggar replied that he had called him brother. No one had ever done that before. So Friends, never underestimate the power of our words. If God made the world through words, then they must be very potent. Let’s use them wisely; for good and not evil. Much LOVE!…talk is cheap…but it’s boomerang effect is rather expensive…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 May 2008 1 John 1:8-10‏

1 John 1:8-10    If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
 
Ah Friends, it’s inconceivable that any of us will ever say that we have no sin, but apparently some people in John’s time made that claim. And, Lord forbid, if we do happen to be foolish enough to make such a claim, then we’re not only fooling ourselves, but also lacking in truth. Cause once we’re related to Adam and Eve, then by our very nature we’re sinful, since they were expelled from the beautiful Garden of Eden for their disobedience. And that’s exactly what sin is; disobedience to God’s directives. Or as the dictionary defines it; ‘a transgression against divine law, or principles of morality.’ So there’s no way we can ever truthfully make that claim. Bruh Paul says in Romans 3:10: ‘As it is written: there’s none righteous, no not one.’ He’s referring to Psalm 14:3. And in 3:23, he declares; ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ That’s the gospel truth Friends, and it’s sad that from the moment of conception, we’re saddled with a sinful nature. It’s the one sure inheritance our forefathers bequeathed us. That’s the awful reality. But fear not people, there’s also good news, in fact most wonderful news! There’s a remedy, a powerful antidote for that awful smear on our character; Jesus’ tragic death on the cross, redeemed all our sins, and ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive…and cleanse us…’ Wow! Isn’t that marvellous? No other faith can make such a claim. God loved us so much, and felt so much pain because of our sinful behaviour, that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus to die for us, like a sacrificial lamb, to wipe the slate clean of our transgressions. And since then, all we have to do, is believe that fact, and call upon His Holy Name through Christ, our Saviour, with a repentant heart, and He’ll forgive our disobedience. What can beat that eh Friends? Nothing! But that doesn’t mean we can just go out and sin willy nilly, without thought for the consequences, because, come the judgement day, we all have to answer for our wrongs, for His justice and righteousness must be upheld. And though, when we believe and sincerely repent, we’re forgiven, Friends we’ve still got to make a serious and concerted effort to be obedient to His will, else we’re not truly in fellowship with Him, and that’s what the Lord really desires of us, though it’s difficult, since, as descendants of Adam and Eve, disobedience is built into our souls. And anyone who disputes that, is calling God a liar, by denying His Word, which states that we’re all sinners. And for sure, our God doesn’t lie. So even though we’ve unfortunately been yoked with a disobedient nature, our merciful and caring God has provided ample relief through Jesus’ redemptive death. I implore us, please, don’t let it go a begging, let’s take full advantage of it. Much LOVE!…only believe…that’s all it takes…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 May 2008 Philippians 3:7‏

Philippians 3:7    But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
 
Ah Friends, more of Bruh Paul. Seems like I just can’t get enough of him these days. (smile) But I don’t mind, hope you don’t either, for he was the most zealous and colourful apostle; traits that we might do well to follow. Today, he’s writing to the church at Philippi, which had always treated him well, and whom he seems to have greatly appreciated. He’s warning them to beware of pseudo Christians filling them with false doctrine, like they must be circumcised to be a true Christian or receive salvation. (Vs.2) But Paul’s telling them, and us, to reject matters of the flesh, which circumcision is, because God is now worshipped in the spirit through Jesus. (Vs.3) Then in Vs.4 he proclaims that if the worldly things were important, nobody would have occasion to boast more than him, referring to his earlier life, and he goes on to list seven religious credentials, which although the world valued them highly, he could not rely on them for salvation. ‘Circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.’ (Vs.6-7) In worldly terms, he was perfect. Born to true, blue blooded, orthodox Jews of the prestigious tribe of Benjamin, a member of the well educated Pharisee sect. So zealous for the Jewish religion, as we all know, that he persecuted believers, trying to stamp out Christianity. And he kept the ancient Judaic laws perfectly. But he had reckoned without the power of the Most High, who struck him blind on the road to Damascus, converting him and rearranging his whole life, leading him to say, ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.’ He finally realized that all the things, the religious credentials and human accomplishments that made him important in the ancient Jewish culture, did not bring him closer to God. In fact they were a detriment, moving him further away from the one, true God. The Old Testament ritual, tradition and fleshly works had been replaced by a new covenant with Jesus, which concentrated on spirituality. And salvation could not be acquired by deeds of the flesh, but only through faith and spiritual belief in Jesus Christ. What a transformation Friends! Just goes to show what God can do with the Holy Spirit working in us, and it took some time for the brethren to really trust and accept him. But how could they not, when he showed the same zeal and spoke these moving words. ‘Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.’ Ah Friends, may we be so brave, bold and committed, to echo those sentiments with Bruh Paul. Much LOVE!…nothing at all compares to winning Christ…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 May 2008 Jonah 3:9-10‏

Jonah 3: 9-10    Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not. And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he had said he would do unto them; and he did it not.
 
What a merciful and magnanimous God we worship Friends! The story of Jonah and the city of Nineveh is important in Jewish history. Some scholars even claim God used it to protect His chosen people from attack by their powerful neighbours, for it was over a century later that the Ninevites attacked Jerusalem. Anything’s possible with our God. Jesus mentioned it in Luke 11:30. ‘For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of Man be to this generation.’ And in Vs.32, He claims that the Ninevites would condemn His generation for not listening to somebody greater than Jonah. Sadly, Jesus’ generation didn’t consider Him greater than Jonah. The story also shows God’s power at work in the lives of individuals, and His concern for groups of people, even heathens. The first time He told Jonah to go and warn the Ninevites about their evil ways, Jonah got scared, ran away, and ended up in the belly of a whale. Hn! Proving the dictum that you can run but you can’t hide, especially from God. When Jonah realized this, he prayed fervently to God from the whale’s stomach. And our God, being fair and just, with a great sense of humour, gave him a second chance. Oh Friends, I just had a hearty chuckle, cause it suddenly hit me, that I’d have been in hot water too, like Jonah, if I had not heeded His promptings to do this Scrip-Bit thing. Lord have mercy! Don’t know how He would have brought me to heel, but thankfully, I didn’t have to find out. Jonah had to learn the hard way though. The second time the Lord sent him to Nineveh, he obeyed without hesitation. By then his fear of God was greater than that of the Ninevites. He went bravely into the city, ‘and he cried, and said, yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them to the least of them.’ (Vs.4-5) Even the king participated, making the fast official by royal decree, instructing the people to curtail their wickedness. His reasoning? ‘Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not.’ And it worked. God saw their change of heart and relented. Note Friends, God didn’t change His intentions, it’s just that since they changed their attitude towards Him, He was able to show mercy. Yes people, our God is a God of second chances, and only threatens us with His wrath, uses extreme measures to get our attention, because we’re stubborn and hard headed. If we change, then He’s big enough to forgive and relent. Amos 7:3,6; Joel 2:14; Jeremiah 18:8; Exodus 32:14, are all examples of Him relenting or promising to relent if we change. What more does He have to do to get our attention eh Friends? Look at all the unexplainable tragedies occurring in our world. Shouldn’t we at least consider them possible warnings for the evil that dominates us and contemplate some improvement? Not by the world’s wisdom, so we continue our relentless spiral downwards, to Hades. But Friends it’s not too late. If, like Jonah and the Ninevites, we repent and amend our ways, the Lord will also gladly relent. Much LOVE!…only after death…is it ever too late to seek the Lord…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 May 2008 Ecclesiastes 4:9-12‏

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12    Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
 
Exceedingly practical advice from Solomon, wearing his preacher’s robes, dispensing the basic wisdom that there’s safety in numbers, and our strong need for help and support. ‘Two are better than one…’ except when it causes strife, ‘because they have a good reward for their labour.’ In most cases two people can accomplish much more than one in the same time frame. But an even better reason for two people working together, is the capability of one person to lift the other up, if one falls. As Sol laments: ‘but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.’ Yes Friends, many times when we fall, we’re either too tired, broken or defeated to get up on our own, and we need a helping hand. Unfortunately though, on this troubled planet, there are innumerable people with no one to help them up when they fall, neither, physically, emotionally or spiritually. That’s just so sad Friends, since no man is an island, none of us can do it all on our own, although lots of us try. And even when we accomplish much, without someone to share it, there’s always an empty space, something missing in our lives, because God made us to need others. Hn, hn! The next line has always been a favourite of mine; the way Sol uses a simple, practical aspect we all understand, to point out our deep seated need for each other, and I just love the way he phrases it. ‘Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?’ Indeed Friends; How can one be warm alone eh? With man made heat I guess. But there’s some thing about the heat of a human body, that heat, from no other source, can ever truly replicate. It’s a heat that…that warms, I guess, not burns, that radiates a sort of wellbeing in our souls. And even with plenty man made heat available, the addition of human body heat always enhances the situation. It’s just different. I call it the warmth of God’s LOVE built into us. Notice the comfort and warmth received and given in hugging and snuggling; the sudden peace and calm that comes over a crying baby when it’s rocked or cuddled. That’s just another way, God, in His infinite wisdom, moulded us; to need help, comfort and support from each other. ‘And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ Words of wisdom Sol! Two people will usually prevail against one attacker, while the more strands in a rope, the stronger it is. And the moral of the story? Simply to work together; encourage, help, support, lift up, energize each other. That’s why God made us incomplete, so that we’d need other humans and Him. We’re supposed to share, give comfort and succour to our fellow humans; recognize the need in others and try to fill it. Friends, our basic purpose is to provide help to the helpless; however we can. Much LOVE!…let’s make our Father proud…let’s help each other…

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