Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 February 2010 Ecclesiastes 9:18‏

Ecclesiastes 9:18     Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
 
Oh Friends, it’s an 8.8 level earthquake in Chile; tsunami warnings in the Pacific Rim countries, from Hawaii to Australia; labour and economic woes in Europe; floods in the South East, wars and rumours of wars in the Middle East and Mother Africa; famine, terrorism, fear and various stages of unrest in the other parts of our world, featuring rampant poverty, unemployment, sickness and child abuse. Those are the things that are making headlines around our beautiful planet today. I can’t remember a time when so much confusion and negativity reigned in our world in a period of ostensible peace. No one really knows what’s happening, though some say it’s the days before the end, while others say that’s hogwash. But my people, I know two things: the first is that our dreadful situation calls for much praying and soul searching on our part. And the second is that the Most High God Jehovah, the Great God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Infinitely Everything, Yahweh, the Almighty God, He still sits on His heavenly throne, watching and guiding the proceedings. This is one of those times when His superior level of comprehension and understanding certainly dwarfs ours. And for His constancy, faithfulness and LOVING kindness, we believers ought to give everlasting thanks and gratitude, because we’re assured that whatever happens here on earth, a special place in heaven has been reserved for each one of us when our worldly days are done. And all God’s people deliriously shouted: ‘Glory Hallelujah! Blessed is the Lamb who was slain for us! He is indeed worthy to be praised, for He gave His innocent life on that rugged cross so that we, unworthy, undeserving sinners could be saved! Greater LOVE hath no man!’ And that’s the gospel truth my people! Now it’s possible that all the calamity befalling our world is simply happenstance, because as the Preacher says, ‘time and chance happeneth to them all.’ (Eccl.11:9) Hallelujah Friends! I might just have been guided to Today’s Bit, since I’m writing all this ‘Bitless’ for the Spirit just had me begin writing before I even had a chance to look for one. And I’m not worried because I know the Lord will surely provide one when it’s needed. Anyway, all the disaster and negative activity might be pure happenstance or it could also be a serious warning from the Lord. I’m no prophet, so I can’t say which it really is. I can certainly say though that if we’re smart, we can look back at history and see how ungodly realms were devastated and consider it a warning. It won’t do us any harm, but will definitely do us a lot of good. That means we’ll change our attitude towards God, Lucifer and each other; kicking Lucifer to the curb, embracing the Lord in sincere repentance, pleading for forgiveness and mercy, and treating each other the way we want to be treated. And I’m either naive or brain deficient, or even both (smile), but to me those things seem so easy. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no sweetheart, but I don’t go out of my way to abuse or ill treat others, and if I happen to do so, then it’s certainly unintentional. But I see siblings, spouses, friends, abusing and demeaning each other for no good reason, and it just boggles my imagination. Then we wonder why the mainstay, the backbone of our society, the family unit is falling apart. It’s simple Friends; the godly ethic that was once found in the family has withered away, through the serious and often violent encroachment by the enemy’s lust and worldly values. And the only way to change that is by refocusing on the smallest unit, but the foundation, the building block of any stable society, the family. We’ve got to restore God and faith and trust to the family, and start practicing the LOVE we talk so much about. Not the worldly love of things, but the Godly LOVE of people. If Christ can die for us, why can’t we be pleasant to our family members eh? Friends, it’s not rocket science, it doesn’t take a great education, just simple common sense, that if I want you to treat me good, then I ought to treat you that way. Oh sorry, I forgot that that thing termed common sense no longer exists in our society, that selfishness, greed and stupidity now rule the human mind. I guess we’ve lived so long with the situational proverb that man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn, it’s all we’ve come to expect. But Friends, I’m here to tell us of a completely different situation, though not easily implemented, with the grace of God is certainly possible. And that new situation is ‘man’s humanity to man, makes countless thousands weep for joy.’ Doesn’t that sound so much better and more godly? However it’s up to us believers to get the ball rolling since we’re the only ones currently feeding and thriving as the branches of the main Vine of LOVE, Jesus. Friends, it won’t be easy, as most worthwhile things aren’t, but if we seriously want our world to be around for more generations in a fairly decent state, then we’d better wake up and smell the burning and destructive fires, for regardless of our individual situations, we’re currently on a downward, slippery slope of human relations in this world. And my people, if it ever comes to a big conflagration, it will most likely be the last, for our weapons of war are powerful enough to annihilate the entire earth. So fellow believers, let’s grab the bull by the horns, let’s begin cementing relationships wherever we can; in our families, our workplaces, our neighbourhoods, and for those with the power, the entire world. Remember, Jesus is depending on us to preach the gospel to the four ends of the earth, and we don’t want to disappoint Him now, do we? Surely not! Much LOVE!…hate and anger are not the answer…peace and LOVE are…
P.S.  Friends, Faith is such a wonderful thing. You’ll notice that the Lord provided a Bit after I’d finished writing it all. (smile)
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Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 February 2010 Ecclesiastes 7:16‏

Ecclesiastes 7:16     Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
 
Oh Friends, the ole fella’s stumped. I can’t come up with a brilliant opening that will just grab you and make you go ‘Wow!’ Then have you straining at your leash to devour the Bit. (smile) But it sure is wonderful to be alive, to be granted another day on earth to enjoy God’s goodness. For that I am eternally grateful and give Him much thanks and praise. And so should all who have the ability, the privilege to read these words. I did read an interesting comic strip where two women are talking about busy signals on phones. One says that was before all the technological junk we have now; blackberries, google, i-phones, twitter, facebook etc. The other retorts with a very telling comment, that people are too busy now to have a busy signal. Steups! But it’s no lie, for everybody is so busy doing what I don’t know. There’s only one friend I can call now whose phone will generate a busy signal if it’s occupied. All the others have call waiting, answering systems or something else, but no busy tones. But are we doing any better? No. Maybe quicker. And I’m not even sure of that for the inefficiency in the workplace these days is staggering, despite all these new fangled gadgets that are supposed to improve efficiency and productivity. We’ve become lazier and more sedentary from constantly sitting in front of a t.v or computer screen with a devastating rise in obesity that lack of physical activity promotes. And sadly, all these things are just leading to a ‘dumbing down’ of the younger generation. They might be technically astute, but very wanting in life skills, and in an age of endless information, not well informed. Anyway, that’s just the ole fella’s opinion, and it’s doubtful if the young uns will agree with me, while they’re running around texting, talking and multi-tasking, but really going nowhere fast. And yuh know what Friends, I will wisely accept the Preacher’s advice: ‘Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?’ Now that’s a very interesting question, but sadly, many of us still destroy ourselves for no apparent reason. Remember yesterday I said that some of us believers consider ourselves so holy and righteous when we’re the exact opposite? Well it’s that kind of excess the writer of Ecclesiastes is warning us about. We shouldn’t be overly righteous, but shun the sin of self-righteousness, where we behave like we’ve actually achieved righteousness or at least reached its apex. Oh my people, this can lead us to be very short-sighted, narrow minded, opinionated and all those pompous attitudes that are definitely not Christian-like. It’s like everything else in life; we should not over do it. The motto should be circumspection and moderation, because if you go around with this holier than thou attitude, turning up your nose at lowly sinners, of which you are really foremost, then all you’re doing is turning others off the gospel and Christ. The most offensive person you can ever meet is a know it all, self-righteous believer of any persuasion. Those who know all the doctrine and religious law and are active in many areas of the church, but quickly avert their eyes or pass by on the other side when they come upon someone truly needing help. As Sol warns: ‘Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.’ (Prov.25:16) Those are priceless words of wisdom Friends. We should not have or display a greedy attitude in anything. That’s like when we go to an all you can eat buffet and gorge ourselves just because we can eat as much as we want, then are terribly sick afterwards. The Preacher also brings up the other extreme, of being too evil. ‘Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?’ (Eccl.7:17) Now this in no way means that a moderate state of wickedness is acceptable. According to the scholars, it’s an accommodation to human weakness. The Preacher is saying to avoid the extreme of self-righteousness, but also restrain your inherently wicked nature so it doesn’t run its natural course and lead you down the broad highway of spiritual and moral ruin. Oh Friends, the whole exercise is just a basic law of not over doing, for there’s seldom any benefit in it, but it often breeds calamity. Bruh Paul puts it nicely when he advises the Romans. ‘For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.’ (Rom.12:3) Yes Friends, arrogance and pomposity in a believer is unworthy of our Saviour. Sol put’s it sweet and short. ‘It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search (seek) their own glory is not glory.’ (Prov.25:27) That leads to another wise scripture: ‘Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.’ (Prov.27:2) That means we shouldn’t blow our own trumpet, though in today’s world that doesn’t seem to cut it, for everybody seems to think they’re the greatest thing around. My people, if we truly want to follow Jesus, then we have to become like Him; humble and not making overly much of ourselves, for nobody likes a braggart or an arrogant person, least of all our Leader. Remember His distaste for the Jewish elite with their holier than thou arrogance? And though He was God incarnate, He never made much of Himself here on earth, but gave all the praise and glory to His Father. Friends, that’s the way we ought to be, if we want to call ourselves true followers of Christ. Much LOVE!…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 February 2010 James 4:8‏

James 4:8     Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.
 
Ah my Friends, the weekend is nigh, and many of us can’t wait for it to get here, the uppermost thought in our minds being, TGIF; thank God it’s Friday. No doubt we deserve a break from the strenuous and stressful week of work, but please remember that down time isn’t just for partying and hanging out, but also to draw close to our God, to worship Him in fellowship with other believers, and to renew our spiritual strength without which we’ll be like putty in the enemy’s hands. Yesterday we spoke of the drawing near to God part of our Bit, but before we move on to the next section, I have one more piece of scripture to share on it. It’s a part of Moses’ exhortation to obedience to Israel. He wisely declares in question form: ‘For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them (a God so near to them), as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?’ (Deut.4:7) Friends, nobody else does! Believers are the only ones who have a true and living God always close by to hear our prayers, problems and praise. But remember it’s up to us to keep that close relationship going. And after we’ve made that LOVE connection with Almighty God, then James says: ‘Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.’ That’s oh so true my people! How can we ever consider coming before our most holy and pure Father with dirty, unwashed hands and hearts, in the sense that we’ve done or are doing evil, and also harbouring it in our hearts. To be clean in this spiritual sense, both our outer and inner man must show it through godly thoughts and deeds. Isaiah boldly proclaims it in his call for repentance. ‘Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil. Learn to do well, seek judgement (justice), relieve the oppressed, judge (vindicate, defend) the fatherless, plead for the widow.’ (Isa.1:16-17) Yes Friends, that’s basically what it means to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. We have to get godly and righteous, not solely in our own minds, but in conjunction with the Word. And I specify that because every Christian feels that they are so godly and righteous, when in actual fact many of us are far from it. On the outside we present a bold, bright facade of Christianity, but where it matters most, on the inside, Lucifer really reigns. We all have to take serious stock of ourselves this year of 2010 and make sure we don’t fall into that category, for though we may fool fellow believers and ourselves, we certainly won’t fool God. And that’s another serious error some of us make; thinking we can fool the Father who created us and constantly listens to our hearts, where our deepest and darkest secrets abide. Anyway mih breddren, listen to Bruh David as he holds forth on the topic. ‘Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity (an idol), nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek thy face O Jacob. Selah.’ (Ps.24:4-6) Ah mih people, Bruh David also lays it out clearly for us. Only those with clean hands and a pure heart, who have not bowed down to idols of the world, or been deceitful in their walk, will receive the Lord’s blessing. We should all be working diligently towards that goal, so that we can proclaim of our generation, like Bruh David did of his, that we are avidly and sincerely seeking the face of the Most High God Jehovah. Friends, we desperately need to do that, to seriously up the ante in that respect, otherwise our generation will forever be known as the one that lost all the hard fought gains other generations accumulated. We’re just too passive and reactive when it comes to furthering the kingdom. We talk plenty, but don’t walk it nearly enough. Just look at all the setbacks that have happened in our time, the many public places from which our God has been banished, while the church concentrates on petty infighting and denominational supremacy, rather than spreading the Word and safeguarding the victories won through inordinate suffering. Oh Friends, enough preaching for today (smile). I’ll let two more faithful and righteous than me take us home. First up is Bruh David, who from his vast personal experience unequivocally declares that our God satisfies the thirsting soul. ‘O God, thou art my God; early (diligently) will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.’ (Ps.63:1) He was adrift in the wilderness of Judah, but the Lord took care of Him and brought him out stronger than before. And now, hear Peter, the rock on which Christ built His Church. ‘Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned (sincere) LOVE of the brethren, see that ye LOVE one another with a pure heart fervently. Being born again, not of corruptible (perishable) seed, but of incorruptible (imperishable), by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.’ (1 Pet.1-22-23) My people, if we want to be true believers with a spot on God’s holy hill, then I implore us to do what those men of great faith advise. Much LOVE!…a word to the wise…is sufficient…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 February 2010 James 4:8‏

James 4:8     Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.
 
Oh Friends, it’s today again! We constantly talk about yesterday and tomorrow, but we always seem to end up in today. Why is that eh? Many great minds have pondered that question, but can’t find an answer. But I can. And it’s very simple. The Creator, the Most High God Jehovah designed it that way. Wow! Aren’t you proud of me? (smile) The Lord didn’t want us living in yesterday bemoaning our sinful past, or looking too much into tomorrow, trying to figure out what it held in store for us, but wanted us to concentrate on today, because that’s all we have and all we can truly handle. Now listen to this quote about tomorrow by James Baldwin, the famous black American author of the mid 20th century. ‘The future is like heaven – everyone exalts it but no one wants to go there now.’ And isn’t that the living truth my people? When I read that today, I couldn’t help but laugh, for we all talk about heaven; how it’s so great and whatever, but ask us if we want to go there? ‘Oh yes, but not right now though.’ Hn hn! There’s always that proviso; yes, but. Heaven is always pencilled in for somewhere down the line, never now, never today, but in some distant tomorrow. Now that’s all well and good Friends, for the earth’s not such a bad place if you know how to handle it. And though heaven sounds great, nobody’s ever gone there and returned to tell us about it, so with man’s inherent fear of the unknown, we’d rather put it off for as long as possible. However, be that as it may, I have a little secret to share, and it’s that none of us will ever see heaven unless we do as James advises: And the first requirement is to ‘Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.’  And that’s one of God’s earliest promises my people. If you seek Him, try to draw near to Him, you will find Him, and He will draw close to you too. But Friends, let’s get one thing straight, we’ve got to seek Him, not Him seek us. Oftimes we get the relationship with God confused and mixed up, believing that He’s there to serve us. But sadly Friends, the opposite is true. He made us to serve and glorify Him, provided we choose to do so. Yes, we have the option to not serve Him, but if we decide to serve and glorify Him, then He’s also provided all the tools we need, including Jesus, mercy, grace, salvation, forgiveness and eternal life. Now the ball’s in our court. He did His part, providing all we need, it’s up to us choose to serve Him or Beelzebub. And if you don’t believe me, hear the warning of the prophet Azariah to Asa, king of Judah. ‘The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.’ (2 Chron. 15:2) Nothing can be plainer than that my people. So if we want to live the good life in that lush land of milk and honey called Heaven at some future date, then we must actively, consciously and seriously seek our Creator, the Lord God of heaven and earth, else heaven will be closed to us. And though Jeremiah was in a saddened, perilous state, listen to his acknowledgement of our topic. When the waters covered him in the dungeon and he figured it was the end, he cried out to the Lord, and ‘Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.’ (Lam.3:57) And Bruh David joyfully proclaimed: ‘When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.’ (Ps.27:8) And we all know the hard times those two men went through but yet lived full and glorious lives because they kept the Lord their God before them at all times. That’s the good part my people, but hear what happens when we don’t continually seek the Lord and calamity befalls us; ‘Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early (diligently), but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose to fear the Lord: They would (have) none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.’ (Prov.1:28:30) Yes my brethren, if we don’t look to the Lord our God at all times, then when disaster strikes, He will not help us. Remember, the onus is on us to find Him and stay close to Him. But Friends, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is such a wonderful, magnanimous, forgiving and merciful Deity, that though we run from Him to Beelzebub’s corner, we’re always welcome to return, if we come in repentance and obedience. And His rules only seem onerous when compared to Lucifer’s style of anything and everything goes in the negative direction. Jesus said it; ‘that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.’ (Luke 15:7) And the perfect example of returning to the Lord’s welcoming arms is the story of the prodigal son, told by Jesus. ‘And he arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him… For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.’ (Luke 15:22,24) Oh Friends, that’s how our great and merciful God responds when He sees us coming home. He’s so happy to see us coming back that He doesn’t wait for us to come close, but runs to greet us, wraps us in a great, big bear hug and showers us with kisses while tears of joy run down His face. My people, some of us have had prodigal children return and have treated them that way, while some we have turned away, for whatever reason, but Almighty God will NEVER turn away any of His children who come repentant and seeking forgiveness, because His motto is one simple word: LOVE. That my people is what He’s about, and what we should also be concentrating on. Remember Jesus said that there were only two basic commandments: ‘LOVE your God, and LOVE your neighbour as yourself.’  Well let’s practice them nuh, since we claim to His followers. Time and space have run out, so more tomorrow, God willing. Till then Much LOVE!…the only way to get to heaven… is to seek God…and when you find Him…LOVE Him faithfully…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 February 2010 Proverbs 16:9‏

Proverbs 16:9     A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
 
Oh Friends, that snow is still here! Chuh! And though it’s still not much, snow and cold just don’t add up to enthusiastic going out. Anyway, enough of my whimpering (smile), let’s give the Most High God Jehovah some thanks and praise for getting us through another dark, mournful night and bringing us out refreshed into the bright, sparkling sunshine of His Son’s LOVE. Without that LOVE my people, we’d certainly be lost in the infernal darkness of this evil world. That’s why Cousin Sol declared with such striking truth: ‘A man’s heart deviseth (plans) his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.’ Oh Friends, I am living testimony to that! Writing this Scrip-Bit would never have occurred to me in a million years because I would not have felt qualified enough to write it. I had other plans, which I believe God put in my heart, and was trying to pursue them when He suggested this Scrip-Bit idea. I told Him my concerns, but Friends, He never batted an eyelash (smile) just stoked my fire. Now three years later I’m doing what He asked, but only through His grace and LOVING kindness, while my other pursuits languish in varying stages of incompletion. If that was not the Lord directing my steps, then I don’t know who was, for this Scrip-Bit thing was surely not an option I envisaged. And as Sol also says: ‘There are many devices (plans) in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.’ (Prov.19:21) That’s gospel people! I’m sure all of you have had the experience at some stage of your lives, where you’ve planned to do something you considered important and worthwhile but found yourselves doing something else, very contrary to your original plan, because something or someone cropped up and caused the change of plans. That my Friends, was the Lord’s doing. Now there’s a saying in the Southern Caribbean, I can’t remember the exact words, but it boils down to man’s grandiose plans make God laugh. And He laughs because He knows we’ll never carry them out since they’re not His purpose for us. As Jeremiah declares: ‘O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jer.10:23) Poor Jerry felt the brunt of that principle, very forcibly too, and went through much anguish over it because originally he never saw himself as a prophet, but that was the Lord’s purpose for him. Oh Friends, take my advice; anytime the Lord comes calling, just say, ‘Yes Lord. How high Lord?’ Why? Because resisting Him is futile. He will only keep pestering you and have you jumping through higher and more hoops than necessary. Please learn one thing my people: If the Lord’s mind is made up that you’ll do certain things, trust me, you’ll do them, regardless of your disagreement and/or resistance. You’re fighting a losing battle from the start and only making your life harder. So when he comes a calling, it’s best to just acquiesce and ask Him for help to do His will, than to foolishly resist. Sol also says: ‘Man’s goings are of the Lord: how can a man then understand his own way?’ (Prov.20:24) He can’t my brethren. If someone’s leading you, then most likely you won’t know where you’re going or what you’re about. But that Friends, is the purpose of our faith, hope and trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He’s promised to lead us safely, securely and prosperously along a straight and narrow path, and if we exhibit the necessary faith, trust and surrender, He will do as promised. That leads us to another of Sol’s wise sayings. ‘The preparations (plans) of the heart in (belong) to man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.’ (Prov.16:1) So you see my people, anyhow you cut it, you’ll lose. Even if the Lord goes along with your plans, what you say will most likely be the Lord’s words. And this is great, because we need not worry about what to say when the occasion arises, for Jesus promised: ‘But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.’ (Mat.10:19-20) And all God’s people shouted: ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Oh Friends, isn’t it good to know that in times of crises we don’t have to worry about what words to speak, because our heavenly Father through His most kind, gracious and guiding Spirit will speak through us? What an awesome God we serve people! That’s why He proclaimed: ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)Yes people, the Lord runs the world through His Holy Spirit, quietly in the background, so there’s no need for Him to make any grand show of might and power. Those who believe, already know His abundant capabilities, so He doesn’t have to show off to impress us. I therefore implore us to take strong hold of that Sprit, and use it to guide our every thought, step, word and action, because that’s its purpose. If we fail to hold on and use it, hn, then crapaud smoke we pipe, we’ll end up lost and alone in eternal darkness and damnation with only Lucifer for company. And that’s certainly not a good mental image, so let’s smarten up RIGHT NOW Friends and take hold of all God’s promises for our lives. That’s where the smart money is. Much LOVE!…the zenith, the height of wisdom…accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 February 2010 James 5:20‏

James 5:20     Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
 
Oh Friends, contrary to popular opinion, winter isn’t over in my neck of the woods as yet, because there’s snow on the ground. Steups! Bah Humbug! (smile) It’s not really that much, but snow is snow, and it’s enough to cause problems with traffic and old people like me having to shovel it. But with the Lord’s help, we’ll come out of it with shining colours! We always do. So let’s offer up some thanks and praise for His continued goodness. And I have an interesting quote to share, one attributed to John Vance Cheney. ‘The soul would have no rainbow, Had the eyes no tears.’ Isn’t that beautiful, both poetic and a good analogy? Analogous to the saying that a rainbow appears when the skies cry no more. Well Friends, tears do the same job for our souls. They wash our souls clean, take away whatever was hurtful and made us cry, then leave our souls clean and fresh, bright and sparkling, with a rainbow of happiness surrounding us, enabling us to continue fighting the good fight. So don’t be afraid or ashamed to cry because it’s good for your soul. Now don’t cry over every little disappointment or adopt the silly macho tendency that men ought not to cry. That’s foolishness, for crying serves a very useful purpose, to cleanse our souls, else the Creator would not have made it a part of our lives. Some people can cry at the drop of a hat, while others can’t shed a tear if their lives depended on it. I’ve found that sometimes when I want to, or feel the need to cry, no tears will come, but when I think they shouldn’t, hn, they flow like rain. I guess it depends on the specific situation, plus the amount of hurt and sadness already built up inside that triggers the crying. Anyway, don’t overdo it at either end, for you can cause irreparable damage to your soul. (smile) That brings us to our Bit. But first, let’s look at the previous verse. ‘Brethren, if any of you do err (wander) from the truth, and one convert him (turns him back); (James 5:19) Our subject today deals with believers who stray from the faith, but thankfully are brought back, restored to the straight and narrow path by other believers. Then we ought to ‘Let him know that he which converteth (turns) the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death.’ Now Friends, that’s an important fact that all believers should know and keep handy at the back of their minds. Why? Because all believers are human, thus liable to stray to the broad and wayward path of temptation and sin, and if we happen to encounter a fellow believer going off track, it’s our duty to try and help them see the error of their ways. In that way we’ll be helping them save their soul from death, for remember a backslider is considered worse than an unbeliever. According to the scholars, that death that James talks about here is physical death that God sometimes uses to punish disobedient believers. But whether it’s physical or spiritual death, the important point is that the believer is saved from it. We have a perfect example of this when Jesus tells Peter of his upcoming denial. ‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted (you have turned again), strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.’ (Luke 22:31-33) Hn! Peter was full of talk, like many of us, but we know later on he couldn’t walk it, just like us, and ended up denying Christ, then felt terrible, and cried his heart out. Note the use of tears for the cleansing of Peter’s soul. But later his faith was restored and he finally became the pillar of the church, the true rock, the sure foundation upon which Christ had promised to build His Church. Ah Friends, we all know it’s not easy to trod the path our Lord has laid out for us, so in effect we are our brothers’ keeper, and must help each other when we can. Now that brings us to the thin, red line between intrusiveness in the person’s life and not doing our Christian duty. We have to be very careful how we go about trying to correct their errors and save their souls, for believers, more so than unbelievers, resent others telling them how to live their lives, or what’s wrong with them. For some unfathomable reason, every believer thinks that they are the epitome of Christian living, when in actual fact none of us are. As opposed to unbelievers, we’re just godly sinners with numerous faults and flaws like all humans. Thus, our saving of those souls from death, also ‘shall hide a multitude of sins.’ Yes Friends, our care and concern for straying believers shall also cover up many sins, those we’ve already committed, and also those we won’t commit by returning to the Lord’s way. For as Sol declares: ‘Hatred stirreth up strifes: but LOVE covereth all sins.’ (Prov.10:12) And isn’t that the awesome truth my people? And Friends, when we talk and think of LOVE, there’s no better treatise ever written on the subject than that by Bruh Paul: 1 Corinthians Chapter 13; ‘The way of LOVE.’ Just listen to some of it: ‘LOVE suffereth long, and is kind; LOVE envieth not; LOVE vaunteth not itself (does not brag), is not puffed up (arrogant), Doth not behave itself unseemly (rudely), seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (keeps no account of evil). Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth.’ (1 Cor.13:4-6) Oh Friends, if you’ve never read that chapter, please do so soon, because it’s not only Bruh Paul’s best piece of writing, it’s also one of the best in the Good Book. And here’s the best part of it: ‘And now abideth faith, hope, LOVE, those three, but the greatest of these is LOVE!’ (1 Cor.13:13) Amen mih people! And again I say, Amen! So Friends, let’s go out into the world and practice it nuh, then we’ll be doing our bounden duty, for God is LOVE, and LOVE is of God. Much LOVE!…there’s only one rule in a believer’s rule book…the message of LOVE…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 February 2010 Psalm 69:20‏

Psalm 69:20     Reproach hath  broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
 
‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus. The trumpet calls obey. Till every foe is vanquished. And Christ is Lord indeed!’ Yes Friends, it’s Monday morning, another beautiful day in some part of the universe, but in our rat race society the start of another work week, one of hostilities. Remember to give thanks, ask for guidance and to dress in all your spiritual armour, for without it you don’t stand a chance against the evil enemy. He takes no prisoners, and shows no pity. And on that topic, here’s a quote for our edification. ‘Self-pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.’ Those are supposedly words of Helen Keller, and she speaks the truth. Having others pity us is bad enough, but self-pity, when we’re both the giver and the ‘givee’ (smile) that only brings us to a rather low state of self-confidence and self-esteem, and only serves to bog us down in a mire of quick sand. And with each passing day that we wallow in it, our depression and self-loathing becomes worse. I know that it’s easy to ridicule self-pity, but Friends it happens to all and sundry; king, beggar and thief. The human spirit, our souls need a constant stream of positive affirmation from others to boost them. But when our inner being doesn’t get that rush of positive affirmation, or if we’re lambasted with negative action, whether fairly or unfairly, then it doesn’t take much to turn into ourselves and miserably bewail our misfortune. ‘Poor me. I’ve been misunderstood and treated so badly. No one cares about me.’ Then we let sadness and sorrow overwhelm us. Now all our claims might be true, but like anger and resentment, we can’t let self-pity thrive in our souls, for it only grows, hardens and turns to bitterness. In Psalm 69, Bruh David cries out with pleas of underserved suffering: ‘Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.’ (Ps.69:7-8) That was very fertile ground for self-pity. He also despairs: ‘They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away (did not steal).’ (Ps.69:4) Oh Friends, what great reasons to wallow in the funk of self-pity? Your enemies are plentiful and powerful, wrongfully accuse you, and though you returned what you didn’t take, they still want to eliminate you. And I doubt that any of us have been plagued by the many serious problems that befell Bruh David in his topsy-turvy life. But what was his attitude, what was his answer? Instead of turning inward to bemoan his misfortune, he turned outwardly and cried out to his Creator, his God. Right from the get go, he pleads: ‘Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul (quickly): I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.’ (Ps.69:1-3) Oh my people, all of us can identify with Bruh David’s plight at least once in our lives, where we’re so overwhelmed by misfortune that it just drives us crazy. But instead of letting it fester like a cancer within him, he turned to the God of his fathers, who’d seen him through many other rough and disastrous times. Even so should we my Friends. When problems drive us low, instead of bemoaning and bewailing our sorry plight with a ‘poor me one,’ attitude and sinking into a state of depression, we ought to cry out to our God, who’s promised to help us in and through all our calamities. This reminds me of a personal instance not too long ago, when an incident occurred that was not my fault, but unfortunately I ended up bearing the brunt of the blame and suffering the most reversal. Obviously I was sad, angry and disappointed, but fortunately realized in a short time that those negative sentiments would not help, but rather hurt and hinder my progress, so I did like Bruh David and prayed them down. It wasn’t easy, for the enemy always ramps up his attacks when you’re low down, but if you seriously set out on the right course of action, the Lord will eventually intervene and bring you through it. You might come out unscathed, or somewhat scathed, depending on whether His original purpose for allowing the misfortune was to teach you a valuable lesson. But you’ll certainly learn something from the situation. Hopefully I did. (smile) Anyway, in a few days I’d put the unfair situation behind me and moved on. As our Bit laments: ‘Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness (sickness): and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.’ Take solace Friends, others mightier than us also had problems in that respect. Even the mighty Lord, our God, suffered that fate, as He declared through Isaiah, talking about the day of vengeance: ‘I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me.’ (Is.63:3) The same thing happened to Job. When he complained of God’s seemingly unfair dealings with him, all his supposed friends reproved him. ‘Then Job answered and said, I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.’ (Job 16:1-2) Yes Friends, often it’s those closest to us who put us down the hardest and desert us when we’re in greatest need. And there’s no better example than Jesus after He explained to the disciples what was to happen and they claimed that they understood and believed. (John 16:25-30) But then Jesus said to them; ‘Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own (place), and shall leave me alone:’ (John 16:32) And so said so done, people. When the time came for him to be tried and crucified, none of His disciples were around, all disappeared for fear of being associated with Him and suffering some dreadful fate.  But as He had also said to them: ‘and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.’ (John 16:32) And that is the gospel truth of all gospel truths my people! We may be alone in terms of human companionship, but we’re never truly alone, for our heavenly Father is always with us wherever we go and whatever we’re going through. Please hold on to that tightly, because it’s possibly the most essential part of our faith. For some of Jesus’ last words to His disciples were: ‘lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ (Mat.28:20)  Stand strong my brethren in the promise of Jesus! Much LOVE!…to any who believes…Jesus will NEVER leave…

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