Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 April 2010 Psalm 127:3‏

Psalm 127:3     Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
 
Ah Friends, yesterday I gave my two cents worth on the state of our children. Today I want to show that indeed ‘children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.’ Just consider the numerous persons who badly desire children, but, for one reason or another, can’t have them in the normal manner. They resort to all sorts of ploys, legal and illegal to get them; by adoption, by using fertility clinics, surrogate mothers, and even stealing them. Now if we go to such devious and diverse lengths to get them, then children must be rather important to our society. And many unions have fallen apart because they were unable to reproduce. Unlike Jacob, for when he went to be reconciled with his brother Esau, he took along his whole family, and after they had hugged and kissed and wept, Esau ‘lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he (Jacob) said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.’ (Gen.33:5) Jacob considered himself lucky because God had blessed him with several children. He eventually sired twelve sons, not to mention daughters. Oh Friends, in olden times children were indeed considered a blessing from God. If you were barren, then it was assumed that you weren’t right with the Father. Just like Job was considered unrighteous because of his massive disaster. But note how the Lord blessed all those who found favour in his sight, including, or especially Abraham and Sarah, although they were well into old age before it happened. At 86, Abraham’s wife’s maid, Hagar bore him Ishmael, because they figured that was the only way for them to get an heir at that late stage of their lives. But at 99, the Lord made a covenant with him, promising to multiply him exceedingly if he obeyed His dictates. (Gen.17:1-2) He even changed his name from Abram to Abraham, meaning multitude of nations; ‘for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.’ (Gen.17:5-6) Now logically speaking, that appears very dubious at age 99 and with only one illegitimate child. And Abraham was doubtful, especially after the Lord told him to change Sarai’s name to Sarah (Princess). ‘And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?’ (Gen.17:16-17) And Abraham prayed that Ishmael would grow up before the Lord. But though the Lord promised to make Ishmael great, He was adamant that Sarah should bear a son called Isaac, and ‘my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear thee at this set time in the next year. (Gen.17:21) The Lord even established a time for it to happen. But just like Abraham, after three angels visited them and again promised Sarah a son, ‘Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’ (Gen.18:12) They doubted because they thought like men, lacking the perspicacity to see the bigger picture through the eyes of God. But we all know what happened. As Joshua said of the Lord in his final address to Israel: ‘And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood (the Euphrates river), and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And I gave unto Isaac, Jacob and Esau…’ (Josh.24:3-4) Yes Friends, from that one faithful promise of our omnipotent God to an old man and his aged wife, millions were raised starting with Ishmael and Isaac. Abraham’s children were indeed his godly heritage. And so should ours be to us, if we raise them right. We must understand Friends that having children is a very serious responsibility, one not to be taken lightly, as many of us are wont to do. The Lord blesses us with them for a good reason; they are our reward, and He expects us to do right by them, so that they can continue what we began; serving and glorifying Him. That’s what each generation is called on to do. When Moses spoke to the people, re blessings, He said of the Lord: ‘And he will LOVE thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee…’ (Deut.7:13) And later on he gushed: ‘Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body…’ (Deut.(28:4) So Friends, it is indeed a blessing to have children; it’s part of our reward from God. The Psalmist agreed. ‘He maketh (causes) the barren (childless) woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.’ (Ps.113:9) My people, children aren’t revered today as in olden times, neither is being barren considered a curse as back then. But children are still very important to a society; to keep alive its traditions and mores, to retain the heritage of their ancestors and build better on it. Cousin Sol knew this when he declared that; ‘Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.’ (Prov.17:6) Friends, do our children consider us their glory? I certainly hope so, else we’ve not set a proper example for them to be proud of. We’ll end though on a positive, promising note, by quoting the last two verses of the Psalm. ‘As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man (warrior); so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.’ (Ps.127:4-5) Now those are two practical purposes for having children; they bring us joy and also protect us…if we raise them right. Friends, our children will always be our children, and we have a serious responsibility to always look out for them, even when they’re old and grey. So please, let’s take it seriously nuh, and DON’T EVER GIVE UP on the fruit of the womb that our God has blessed us with, for they are truly our heritage. Much LOVE!…once a parent…always a parent…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 April 2010 Psalm 127:3‏

Psalm 127:3     Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
 
Yes Friends, we’re continuing with the need for relying on our God to do things successfully. Now successfully is the key word, for we can do many things without God’s help, but nothing with a sense of purpose or that will have eternal value. Let’s sink that right deep in our hearts souls and minds, people. And one of those things the Psalmist talks about is having and rearing children. And a most appropriate way to get into that is by sharing some of my brilliant wisdom. (smile) Recently, the spirit enlightened me with an awesome thought: The best way to get good people, is to start with good children. And isn’t that the truth mih Friends! It’s always better when you start out on the right foot. Unfortunately, in these crucial and critical times, too many of us are not doing that, and our children are getting off to bad starts and ending up lazy, selfish, undisciplined, and craving the ungodly lusts of the world. And sadly, we use all sorts of excuses to justify our lack of proper parental guidance and upbringing. Oh we’re too busy making a living for the same children, so we don’t have the time to raise them properly. We’re allowing the television, all the other godless technology and what they represent to raise our young. What then can we expect if they’re raised on consumerism, worldly lusts, immorality, no God or proper direction in their lives? Exactly what we have; a self centred, unscrupulous, lazy, immoral generation, who are only interested in fanciful, glittering, immaterial worldly stuff. But Friends, ‘children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.’ At least they’re supposed to be. But too many of us aren’t enthusiastic about the heritage we’re leaving behind in our children, and don’t consider them a reward of God because of their selfish, undisciplined behaviour. But who made them so eh? We the parents. Parenting begins and ends at home. The days when you could count on children getting discipline and learning something worthwhile in school and church are over. The schools have no discipline because we the parents took away that power from the teachers, and we don’t send or take the children to church. So if they’re not being disciplined in a godly manner at home, they’re not learning anything in school, and they’re not going to church, then obviously they’ll turn out wrong. Remember parents, if we don’t raise our children the way we want them to be raised, somebody else will do it their way. Granted the society is busier, more hectic and confusing than in our youth, but that’s no excuse for us not spending time and making the effort to set them on the straight and narrow path. Note, it’s not the quantity, but more the quality of time we spend with our children that’s important. Again, like most things in life, it’s the simple principle of sowing and reaping. You can’t plant corn and reap peas. So we can’t not teach our children the right way, but yet expect them to find it. The world and all its ungodly delights will not teach them that, but rather how to embrace the wide and winding path to death and destruction. So if we want them to walk the straight and narrow, then we’ve got to teach them to do it. But therein lies another problem Friends; how many of the parents themselves are godly and walking the straight and narrow. Obviously not enough, else our world would not be in such a sad, ungodly state. Maybe it’s the parents we should be working harder on, because the young usually follow the old folks. Maybe the parents aren’t setting a good example, living overly hypocritical lives, expecting the children to abide by the ‘do as I say not as I do’ principle. But Friends that doesn’t work. Eventually they realize our hypocrisy, start following our example and end up worse than us. Oh mih people, when I go about and see the rude, uncouth, unmannerly behaviour of our young, it saddens me. They lack class, ‘broughtupcy.’ They have no idea how to behave in different situations. It reminds me of the star system in the early days of Hollywood. Before you were unleashed on the public you were taught how to walk, talk, eat and dress, all the social graces, and your dirty linen was never washed in public. So though you came from a backwoods hick town, you were taught how to behave in public because you had a wholesome image to maintain, be it only a public persona. But look at whom we’re calling stars today, sorry superstars, for they’ve upped the ante with the name, but lowered the expectations and standards of behaviour. And sadly, our youth are given these people as role models; people of loose morals, poor education, lack of godliness, uncouth public behaviour, lusts for money and the worldly things it can purchase, their private lives played out in public on the t.v and in the gossip magazines. Meanwhile the driving forces behind this evil, disgusting behaviour are laughing all the way to the bank, but little do they know, also to Lucifer’s fiery lair. Friends, is that what we really desire for our children? I sincerely doubt it. Well then, please let’s spend more quality time with them. You can find it if you truly want to. Let’s teach them the right way, the godly way, because contrary to what many of us think, godliness isn’t a restrictive, non fun-loving way of life. Just look at Jesus example here on earth: He went everywhere, to all sorts of functions, and spoke to everybody; rich and poor, priest and prostitute, but He did it in a controlled not outlandish manner. That’s what we must learn to do, then teach it to our children, if we expect them to improve. It’s a matter of learning right from wrong, a concept, which unfortunately too many of our youth are lacking, so they’re forced, dragged along by what their friends and the world dictate. This is not the heritage we want to bestow on them, so let’s help them change nuh. It’s our duty as parents to raise them properly. They say you can raise the children but you can’t raise their minds, but that’s a fallacy, because if from the very start you raise them right, most of them will turn out okay, at least they will know right from wrong and have the options involved therein. Friends, at the rate we’re going, our generation will be known as the one that let the children stray, that lost them. Please, let’s change it while we still have the time. Much LOVE!…the best gift we can give our children…teach them to pray…from birth… 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 April 2010 Psalm 127:1‏

Psalm 127:1     Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
 
Oh Friends, what a bam-bam! Just one more natural disaster for us to think on and pray about. I’m talking about the terrible tornado that tore through the U.S South last Saturday, wreaking havoc across several states and causing the loss of at least a dozen lives. My people, we never know when our number will be called up yonder, that’s why we’re constantly warned and encouraged to be always prepared to meet our Maker, whenever and wherever He calls. I certainly hope those who died as a result of the tornado were prepared. We should pray for their departed souls, as well as those who survived the horrible disaster. Now the Psalm from which our Bit comes is titled ‘The need for relying on God.’ And that my Friends is the living gospel, for we are helpless without Him. As the Psalmist so aptly declares: ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.’ And the house here is not merely a building, but a group of lives, a people, a society. Whatever we try to build without God’s help and guidance is doomed to failure, for it’s only in His power, through His strength, that we’re able to successfully put all the necessary parts together to make a lasting whole. Yes Friends, the principle put forward here is that all our efforts will be in vain, unless we have the Lord’s blessing. And that shouldn’t be news to any believer, but it’s something we need to keep pounding into our hearts, minds and souls so we don’t forget it and go off trying to accomplish stuff on our own. That’s when we dispense with godliness and humility and let foolish pride and arrogance rule our lives. But remember my brethren ‘except the Lord keep (guards) the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’ And isn’t that an awesome truth! Unless we have the Most High God Jehovah in our individual lives and societies, it’s no use having a watchman stay awake at night to guard us. It will be all in vain because the enemy will still capture and destroy us anyway. And that is marvellously brought home by these words from Psalm 121 that deals with God’s sustaining power. ‘My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved (slip): he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.’ (Ps.121:2-7) Wow! That’s the beauty of our God, mih people! He’s our Protector. With Him we’re in safe hands; the safest hands possible. The All State motto is really applicable to only the One, True God we serve mih breddren. The Psalmist also talks about a couple of other things that’s senseless for us to do without God’s help and protection: ‘It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.’ (Ps. 121:2) Yes my Friends, it is not healthy to sit up late at night or get up too early in the morning; in other words, working overly long hours, because God gave us the restful, refreshing benefit of sleep so we can ably toil another day. That’s why we feel so lousy and are more susceptible to illness when we don’t get enough sleep. Keep quiet children. The ole fella gets enough sleep these days, much more than he used to get. I just might not get it all at once, or at what you consider normal times, but I am abiding by the principle, practicing what I preach, for I certainly don’t want to partake of that ‘bread of sorrows.’ And for your information Friends, that comes from God’s admonishment to our forefather Adam. ‘And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow (toil) shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life…In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ (Gen.3:17,19) Ah mih people, yuh see what happens when we don’t listen to God? We’re cursed and suffer thereafter. But our God, in His LOVING kindness and mercy, devised an ingenious plan to break that curse. It took everything into account, covered all bases. Though He LOVED us a whole lot and could have pardoned us with a wave of His hand or a simple word, being a just and righteous God, He could not let sin flourish and go unpunished. So He sent His only Son, Jesus to die as a sacrifice for our sins, putting them all, from day one till forever, on His innocent, unblemished shoulders, so that justice would be done and we could return to Him sin free. Mama Mia! What ingenuity! But what yuh think happened Friends? Sadly, after all that trouble the Lord went through to set us right, we gone back doing the same nonsense; not listening to Him, but trusting in our own puny efforts from our puny minds, with lives that are as feckless and fickle as a candle flame, easily put out by the slightest breeze. My brethren, I’m pleading and imploring us to get out of that bad habit of ignoring our Creator, Protector, Guide and Provider, else we’ll pay dearly for our mistake. Just listen to all that He is to us nuh. Now tell me, does it sound sensible or logical to ignore and disobey Him? Certainly not! And those who do it, do so at their own peril. Oh Friends, our God knows we’re not perfect. He knows all our faults, frailties and limitations because he moulded us with His own two LOVING, gentle, masterful hands, and also blew the breath of life into our dust based bodies, but He still LOVES us unconditionally, and desires nothing but communication and obedience from us. When we do that, it brings such pride and joy to His heart and a big smile breaks out all over His face. And remember, joy doesn’t reign in heaven only when one sinner is saved, but every time a sinner does right by His God. So please, let’s try to do right by our God as much as possible nuh. Much LOVE!…our purpose…to keep joy reigning continuously in heaven…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 April 2010 James 5:11‏

James 5:11     Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
 
Oh Friends, the Spirit must deem it important that we continue talking today about faith, patience, endurance, trials and testing, maturity and growth in our Christian walk, because he led me right back to James 5. And all that James says there is certainly true. ‘Behold, we count them happy which endure.’ That’s for sure! We definitely consider those who suffer the hardship and stay the course to be blessed indeed. Why? Because we can only do that with the Lord’s help. Unless He looks down on us favourably, we won’t be able to withstand any of the trials. The Psalmist truthfully declares: ‘Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest (instructeth), O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law. That thou mayest give him rest (relief) from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.’ (Ps.94:12-13) Yes mih people, only under the Lord’s direction can we withstand the adversity we’ll face in this world. And Jesus proclaimed it thus in the Beatitudes. ‘Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Mat.5:10) Meanwhile James says: ‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials). Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience.’ (James (1:2-3) Ah Friends, I know some of us are shaking our heads, wondering how we can consider adversity, joy. But though it’s not easy, it is sensible, since we know that once we’ve overcome it, our faith will be surely strengthened. The Lord will have accomplished a positive work in us. And please note that the mere trial or testing is not what produces the growth, but the victory over them. It’s only when we conquer those difficulties that we truly grow. And James encourages us to confidently tackle the problems and overcome them by saying: ‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried (has been proved), he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that LOVE him.’ (James 1:12) And all God’s people joyfully shouted: ‘Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name!’ Remember Friends, that difficulties are not necessarily punishment from God for wrongdoing, but oftimes are tests, ways by which we can receive God’s blessings, if we endure them without much complaining. So we should never really seek to escape them, but rather put out our best effort to conquer them, because God will always help us through them. He’s promised to never leave nor forsake us, so though it be hard, even back breaking, let’s promise ourselves to NEVER GIVE UP the fight for Jesus’ kingdom. ‘For ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord.’ Oh yes my people, we’ve certainly heard of Job’s perseverance and fortitude, and also witnessed the Lord’s intentions in his life. When Job heard the news of his family’s demise and the loss of all his life’s work, in spite of his conscious attempts to be righteous and faithful, he didn’t go crazy like many of us would be wont to do. No, he tore off his robe, shaved his head and fell to the ground and worshipped the Lord. ‘And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (accused him with wrong). (Job 1: 21-22) He also rebukes his wife when she tells him: ‘Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive (accept) good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil (accept calamity)? In all this did Job not sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:9-10) Incredible eh Friends! I don’t know if I can live up to Job’s standards, and as I look across the room at the sheet of paper tacked up there that says: ‘The Wisdom of Solomon; the Strength of Samson, and the Patience of Job,’ I have to chuckle at my audacity in my younger days to ask the Lord for those traits. The important thing though, is that when adversity comes, we all try our best, to grin and bear it, to stay focused on the Lord, for He is our only true hope of overcoming those situations. And we know the Lord’s intention, re Job, was to prove to Lucifer, that he was a good and faithful servant. And when he stood strong; ‘the Lord turned the captivity (restored the losses) of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.’ (Job 42:10) Wow! Isn’t that a generous and magnanimous God, my people? For certain sure! But that’s the way our Lord operates. He doesn’t bring or allow anything to come against us for no good reason; the ultimate purpose being to fashion us in the likeness, or as the old people would say, in the spitting image of His Son, Jesus. So when trials come, as they surely will, even one directly after another, or several at once, don’t take them personally, as punishment or some such, but reason that the Lord has a purpose, which is higher than our comprehension. Talk to Him, ask Him for help and guidance through the storms, and prepare yourself to stand strong and see them through successfully by studying the Word, keeping it in your heart and living it. Remember too ‘that the Lord is very pitiful (compassionate), and of tender mercy.’ ‘The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression…’ (Deut.14:18 Those are facts which the Lord Himself stated to Moses long ago, and we know He doesn’t change, so they’re still applicable to day. Oh Friends, ours can often be a rough life, with no apparent rhyme or reason, but that’s why we have faith, that powerful inner feeling that causes us to believe without first seeing. Consequently, we can direct that faith to assure us of the omnipotence of our God and also of the faithfulness of His promises. That’s why we keep reaching out for His mercy and forgiveness, not to mention His free grace that offers salvation and eternal life. He is the One, True God, and He is in control at all times. He wrote the Master Plan for the universe, which includes a secondary plan for each of our lives. So trust Him, He knows what He’s doing. Please keep believing that. It will certainly stand us all in good stead in the days of trial ahead. Much LOVE!…a life lived for Jesus isn’t easy…but His sacrificial and unconditional LOVE…sure makes it worthwhile… 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 April 2010 James 5:7‏

James 5:7     Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman (farmer) waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

 

It’s Monday again my people! Battle stations all! It just seems to come around so quickly. Hope you had a restful, rejuvenating weekend, where you fellowshipped and released all the stress and tension of the past week, because it’s time to don your battle armour again and rejoin the fray in this new work week. And I have an interesting quote from Thomas Fuller, reminding us that ‘Every tub must stand on its own bottom.’ Gospel mih people, pure gospel! Regardless of circumstances, good, bad or indifferent, each of us has to stand on our own two feet and make certain decisions about our lives. And even if we have the best advice in the world, straight from the mouth of Jesus, we still have to make the decision to believe and follow it or not. The same goes for the advice James gives in our Bit to believers who fall under the oppressive yoke of the evil rich that we spoke of yesterday. Believers are to be patient in affliction, waiting on the coming of the Lord, like the Israelite farmers of old waited patiently for their crops on the two rainy seasons of late fall and mid spring. And James continues: ‘Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.’ (James 5:8) Yes Friends, we’ve got to establish a sense of patience in our hearts and souls through prayer, meditation and fellowship, and wait for Jesus’ second coming, which draws closer every day.  James mentions Christ’s return to encourage us to have that perseverance and fortitude necessary for Christian survival and maturity. ‘Grudge (grumble) not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold the judge standeth before the door.’ (James 5:9) Ah mih breddren, that’s so very important if we’re ever to successfully spread God’s kingdom all over the earth. Unfortunately, the further along we’ve gone through the ensuing years, the more grumbling and complaining we’ve done amongst ourselves, till today Christ’s Church has been split asunder into innumerable divisions, with so much internal bickering and dissension that makes it easy for the ungodly to keep us suppressed and take control of the world. Remember Friends, at one stage the Church ruled the world, was the most important institution in society. Now we’ve been relegated to bit player status. Oh my people, it certainly isn’t easy to patiently endure the affliction which many believers have to undergo, but that’s what the Good Book teaches. But remember too that nothing worthwhile is ever easily accomplished. And James points out. ‘Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.’ (James 5:10) Jesus also used the prophets as an example of patience when He proclaimed the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’ (Mat.5:12) And the writer of Hebrews positively declared: ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience (endurance), that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.’ (Heb.10:35-36) So Friends, in the Christian life everything tends towards patience, endurance, perseverance and fortitude, even in the most difficult and dangerous of times and situations. But though it’s exceedingly hard to put into practice, without those things, we won’t last very long in this greedy, violent, evil, cutthroat world, which makes it essential for us to study the Word and encourage each other as much as possible. And here’s a little exercise to try; whenever we come under what we consider affliction, before we moan and groan, let’s just stop for a moment and compare our current situation with what the believers down through the ages suffered, then tell me if our affliction is so great after all. For we’ve suffered nothing in comparison to them. But we’ve become such a soft, whiny, selfish society, unable to withstand the simplest problems without complaining, that the Lord must shake His head in sad wonder. I doubt many of us would have made it in the earliest stages of Christianity, but luckily those early believers were made of sterner stuff, else we’d not know anything about Christ today. Oh Friends, the whole point of our existence is to endure and persevere so that we can further Christ’s kingdom here on earth. You can bet your bottom dollar that the unbelievers won’t sit idly by, as we seem to be doing, and allow us to do it. That means we desperately need to have the parts and smarts to keep on keeping on, even under the most daunting circumstances and challenges. I know you’re tired of hearing that, but it’s the only way Christ’s Church will stay alive, and more importantly spread to all areas of the globe. That’s Christ’s goal: He doesn’t even want to lose one sinner. And He assigned that job to us. So please let’s not disappoint Him, after all the sacrifices he made for us. Let’s get down to our bounden duty. It’s hard, but the rewards, salvation and eternal life are definitely worth it. Much LOVE!…to work for Jesus…is to work for the best employer ever…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 April 2010 James 5:1‏

James 5:1     Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

 

Oh Friends, I found an interesting fact in the newspaper today, actually Friday’s paper; it’s the supposed derivation of our popular word ‘tragedy.’ They claim that this is the anniversary of both Shakespeare’s birth and death, thus it’s appropriate to look at the word he made famous through his plays. And apparently it’s derived from two Greek words, ‘oide’ meaning song and ‘tragos’ meaning goat. So in other words, tragedy was a goat song, though no one seems to know why it was called that. Somebody snidely suggests that maybe goats were given as prizes at drama festivals in ancient Greece. Hn, hn! But whatever the word’s origin, it has come to play a major part in our vocabulary, and is an apt description of what will eventually happen to the rich, ungodly, oppressive men of this earth. James certainly doesn’t mince words in his warning: ‘Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.’ He was addressing the wealthy, unsaved Jews who had poor Jews working for them in disgusting conditions, for miserly, unfair wages. Oh Friends, how I wish our world’s wealthy would see and pay close attention to that statement. Why? Because unfortunately nothing much has changed in today’s world. The wealthy, both Jews and Gentiles are still ill-treating the less fortunate, keeping them totally subservient by means of unhealthy, unsanitary, unsatisfactory working conditions and beggarly wages, way below the true worth of their work. And if you complain, they fire you, instilling an element of fear in the remaining workers. James though is warning them that they will pay for their harsh, greedy, unjust deeds towards their fellow man. God’s judgement will be meted out to them in no uncertain terms. For as he continues: ‘Your riches are corrupted (have rotted), and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered (corroded); and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.’ (James 5:2-3) They have amassed wealth for their retirement, but sadly, it’s that same wealth the Lord will use against them. Jesus also spoke clearly several times on the topic. In the parable of the rich fool: ‘So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’ (Luke 12:21) Then in the Beatitudes, He declares: ’But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation.’ (Luke 6:24) They have already received their reward down here on earth. The next move is ‘sufferation’ to pay for their misdeeds. And He clarifies it all in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, where the rich man in hell is pleading with Abraham: ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.’ Luke 16:24-25) Yes Friends, that’s the reward of the wicked rich. And James spells it out even more for them. ‘Behold the hire (wages) of the labourers who have reaped (mowed) down your fields, which is of you (have) kept back by fraud, crieth (cry out): and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (of Hosts, of Armies)’ (James 5:4-5) He’s talking here about the all powerful character of our God who sees and hears the injustice and will repay it in His time and manner. ‘Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton (indulgent); ye have nourished (fattened) your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.’ (James 5:5-6) That hasn’t changed in today’s world either my Friends. If possible, it’s gotten worse. But don’t worry, the Lord will repay them for all their evil deeds and worldly lusts when He is good and ready. So let them have their fun now, thinking that they’re so strong and mighty that nothing can touch or harm them. But Friends, they haven’t encountered the Lord God Almighty as yet. When they do, it will be an entirely different story; just like Jesus described in the tale of Abraham and Lazarus, that’s worthy of continuation here. Abraham informs him of the great gulf between them so nobody can pass from one side to the other. ‘Then he said, I pray thee therefore father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.’ (Luke 16:27-31) And isn’t that the living truth Friends! They had Moses and the prophets, yet they listened not. Then Jesus came and rose from the dead, yet they’re still not listening. So what’s a man to do? Believers are to keep on trying, leading by example, sharing the word, upholding truth and justice, all in the name of Jesus. But listening and believing is the individual’s choice, and if they choose to put their faith in the things of the world, there’s not much we can do. Once we have sincerely tried, and our hearts are right, the Lord will understand. But we’ve got to keep on trying. Much LOVE!…remember…he who doesn’t hear…shall surely feel…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 April 2010 Numbers 13:20‏

Numbers 13:20      And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

 

And the sad story continues Friends: Because of their abominable behaviour, the Lord threatens to smite the Israelites with a plague, disinherit them and build a bigger and better nation. But Moses intercedes on their behalf, trying to talk sense and reason to God. Hn! He explains that if the Lord destroys Israel, Egypt and all the other nations would hear of it and cast aspersions on His power; ‘for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by daytime in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. (Num.14:14-16) Oh Friends, what a smart man Moses turned out to be! Then he continued to the Lord: ‘And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.’ (Num.14:17:18) Ah Friends, I have to chuckle at how Moses turned back and used the Lord’s words against Him. He spoke those words after He gave Moses the second tablets of stone bearing the Ten Commandments. (Ex.34:6-7) So you see it pays to listen to God. That reminds me of my good, ole bachelor days in T&T, when my Uncle Foster would tell me to do him anything but give him back his own talk. (smile) None of us really want to be reminded of things we said which contradict our current position. And so, knowing that he had the Lord, as we would say over a barrel, where He couldn’t disclaim His words, Moses boldly continued: ‘Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.’ (Num.14:19) Ah mih people, what a good thing the Israelites had Moses to intercede for them so eloquently; the same Moses who earlier claimed that he couldn’t face Pharaoh because of his speech impediment. What wonders God can work in us when we sincerely obey and reverence Him eh! Luckily, today we have Jesus running interference for us with the Father, and He carries a little more weight, more influence than Moses, for we sorely need intercession because the Israelites’ sins pale in comparison to ours. They could never dream or imagine some of our abominations, which must make the Lord shake His head and long for those simple, less sophisticated days of yore. Anyway, the Lord listened to Moses’ reasoning. Oh Friends, yuh see the wonderful God we worship, not an angry, despotic monarch, who never listens to His subjects. None of the other supposed gods can do that because they’re all dead, inanimate, man-made idols. But our God, that of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is alive and thus can interact sensibly with His subjects. ‘And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word. But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt, and in the wilderness, and have tempted (tested) me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware (solemnly promised) unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.’ (Num.14:20-24) So the Lord dissented from annihilating them, but nonetheless they would be punished; none of those who came up out of Egypt and experienced God’s ultimate glory and wonders and yet rebelled, would ever set foot in the Promised land. The Lord was so tired of the Israelites whining and grumbling, that He asked Moses and Aaron: ‘How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me?…Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole (entire) number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me…save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander (be shepherds) in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities (guilt) even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise (rejection or opposition). (Num14:27-34) Oh Friends, our God is a good but serious God. He doesn’t take kindly to disobedience or rebellion especially when He’s shown you what He’s capable of. Yuh see what became of that great Exodus from Egypt for lack of a little faith and courage? None of the older ones who began it ever entered the Promised Land, including poor Moses, because he paid for the Israelites sins too. Only Caleb and Joshua lived to enter therein, the rest perished in the wilderness. They wandered there forty years, a day for every one they’d spent searching the land and then rejecting it through fear and no faith in the Lord’s promises. And I have to chuckle at the way the Lord paid them back with their own words and ideas, when they grumbled about Him bringing them to die in the wilderness and their children to be prey. (Num.14:2-4)  And the moral of the story Friends? The Lord is the BOSS; He’s in control, and knows what He’s doing. So do not disrespect or disobey Him. Don’t grumble and complain when He tells you to do something. Just say ‘Yes Lord,’ and do it. And be careful what words or expressions you mouth, for they might just come back to haunt you. And above all my people, believe in His promises; stand strong in faith with courage and great expectations, for He will never let you down. Much LOVE! …to be successful in any endeavour…one must have first have courage to attempt it…

 

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