Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 June 2013 1 Thessalonians 3:12

1 Thessalonians 3:12:    And the Lord make you to increase and abound in LOVE one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.
 
Oh Friends and fellow believers, welcome to a brand new day! And though it may seem the same as any other day, I can guarantee you that it’s not. No day in God’s making is ever the same, because He creates them anew, right from scratch every 24 hours. He lays in new mercies and blessings for us to enjoy, new paths for us to follow, new people to meet, new things to do, plus new trials to go through and overcome that will make us grow and mature in our faith.
 
Therefore, let us give Him some thanks and praise this Sunday morning, for bringing us safely through the dark, fearful night of yesterday, into the bright and sparkling sunshine of today, a today filled with a multitude of opportunities for our personal growth, as well as the furtherance of His glorious kingdom.
 
And as we are wont to say, let’s say it loud and clear: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will most certainly rejoice and be glad in it!’
 
And for all of us who believe in Christ as Lord and Saviour, I hope that we will go to His sanctuary sometime this weekend, whenever we celebrate the Sabbath, and have joyful fellowship with other believers. That’s because the Lord’s house is where His children should find the utmost comfort, confidence and renewal of spirit with others of like mind.
 
Unfortunately though, for one reason or another, many believers don’t find comfort and a welcoming spirit in their churches, and that’s rather sad.  For if you can’t find comfort and solace in God’s house, amongst others like yourself, where else are you going to find it eh?
 
Oh my brethren, God’s house, from the most broken down, run of the mill church building, to the most beautiful modern sanctuary, in fact wherever two or three are gathered together in His Name, those places are supposed to be the most welcoming and encouraging places on God’s great earth!
 
And if they aren’t, then we, Christ’s supposed followers are not doing our jobs. Some churches are so cold, unresponsive and unwelcoming that I don’t know how they expect people to come there and worship. Nary a smile you see, or a chuckle you hear in some of them, while others take it to the other extreme, have it like it’s simply a party affair.
 
But Friends, it’s essential that we have a fine blend in our churches; a blend and balance of seriousness and levity to evoke both aspects of our human nature. One extreme is just as bad as the other.
 
That brings us to our Bit: ‘And the Lord make you to increase and abound in LOVE one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.’
 
Bruh Paul is here praying for the church at Thessalonica, as he habitually did for all the churches. ‘To the end (so that) he may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father (our God and Father), at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.’ (1 Thess.3:13)
 
Yes Friends, we definitely ought to do better in our churches, so that when Jesus comes again, He’ll find us fairly blameless, not the nest of vipers that we’ve recently become.
 
That led Bruh Paul to open Chapter 4 with an appeal for purity. ‘Furthermore, then we beseech (urge) you brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.’ (1 Thess.4:1)
 
There he begins exhorting them on the essence of living a practical Christian life. And you can read verses 2-12, where he talks about staying away from sexual immorality, the passion of lust, fraud, vengeance, deceit, etc. Instead though, we should be seeking things that pertain to and promote brotherly LOVE, as we ‘are taught of God to LOVE one another.’ (1 Thess.4:9b)
 
Ah mih people, are we finding those positive actions and attributes in our churches today? To some extent I guess. But sadly we have too much of the negative aspects, that’s why there are so many denominations and sects, divisions and divisiveness in the supposed one body of Christ’s church. We’re not different religions, but ONE CHRISTIAN BODY!
 
And we’ll close with some encouraging words of Bruh Paul in his second letter to the church at Thessalonica. ‘We are bound to thank God always for you brethren, as it is meet (fitting), because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity (LOVE) of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.’ (2 Thess.1:3)
 
Oh Friends and fellow believers, that is the goal to which we should all be working and striving towards, so that Christ’s church here on earth can truly reflect His wonderful, LOVING character and make unbelievers greatly desire to become a part of it. That’s one of our stated purposes, as we see from Matthew 28:19-20 where Jesus told His disciples to go out and spread the Word to the whole earth.
 
We’re surely not doing too good a job at it right now, and until we do, Christ’s church here on earth will not progress as it should, and there’ll be no one to blame but ourselves. Do we want to have that black mark against our earthly watch? I doubt it very much.
 
Oh Friends, we have all the tools we need to do it lying dormant and unused within us. And you know the saying if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. That’s exactly what’s happening to us.
 
So let’s follow the leading of the Holy Spirit nuh! Let’s allow it to ramp up our passion and energy and LOVE for Jesus and go out there into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us and get the job done! That’s truly following in Christ’s footsteps! Much LOVE!
 
…how can we say we LOVE Jesus…when we’re not doing as He desires eh…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 June 2013 Psalm 86:11

Psalm 86:11.    Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
 
Well Friends and fellow believers, we have been mightily blessed to see another glorious day on Planet Earth! Wow! I surely hope that we have all given our most gracious God some thanks and praise for that wonderful opportunity, because He deserves it for looking down on us with mercy and grace.
 
And though life on earth can be very trying at times, I doubt very many of us are ready to go home to heaven right now. I know I don’t want to, because I have so many things that the Lord has put in my heart still to do down here. And He could have easily taken us home during the night, but His not doing so means that He still has plans for us down here on Mother Earth.
 
So why don’t we talk to Him eh, and find out what He expects of us today? That’s the best way to know what’s what! And it’s usually best to communicate with our heavenly Father as soon as we awaken, so that we can begin the day on the right foot in His awesome presence, with the guiding of His Holy Spirit. That way Lucifer won’t stand a chance in hell to get to us early and sow his seeds of evil and corruption.
 
That’s what was so great about Bruh David; from his youth, he was always talking to the Lord, asking Him for His guidance, meditating on His words, wanting to learn His ways. Our Bit today exemplifies that great desire for wisdom and understanding as to the Lord’s ways and will. ‘Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart (give me singleness of heart) to fear (have reverential awe for) thy name.’
 
Ah Friends, how many of us try to dig, to delve so deeply into God’s ways and will eh? Not nearly enough! But if we want to learn more about God, then that’s the only way to go; right to the source, the fountainhead of all wisdom, truth, knowledge and understanding, to the One who created everything and everyone that exists, or has ever existed.
 
And what does Cousin James say about seeking wisdom? ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given to him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (not doubting). For he that wavereth (doubts) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ (James 1:5-8)
 
And that’s gospel Friends, eternal truth! But we have to be serious, really searching for wisdom and truth, and not be wishy-washy and unstable, because the Lord won’t help us then. Now let’s look at some scriptures where Bruh David entreats the Lord to teach him His ways and statutes.
 
Listen to him in Psalm 25, A prayer for guidance and protection. ‘Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all day.’ (Ps.25:4-5)
 
Then in Psalm 27, the Lord is my light and my salvation, he earnestly petitions his God: ‘Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain (smooth) path, because of mine enemies.’ (Ps.27:11)
 
And yet again, this time in Psalm 143, Teach me to do thy will, he plaintively cries out to God for wisdom and understanding re His Word and His will. ‘Cause me to hear thy LOVING-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my soul unto thee…. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.’ (Ps.143:8, 10)
 
No wonder Bruh David was so fortunate! He didn’t have an easy life, from being a shepherd as a boy, to king of Israel, and much of it was not his fault. But even when he was at fault, he was wise enough to cry out to the God of his forefathers for mercy and forgiveness, and the Lord usually granted him his wish, because He knew the generally right state of his heart.
 
So too my people, even unto this day, if we keep looking to God for wisdom and guidance with a strong trust and sincere surrender, He will grant them to us. We just have to have the right motives, because He doesn’t just listen to our tearful words, but bases His decisions on the state of our hearts.
 
Now it’s very obvious that we can’t handle the ruggedness of life here on earth by ourselves, and what better place to seek help and succour than at the footstool, the throne of our Creator? There’s no place better my brethren!
 
And we’ll end with a few verses of scripture that are famous in regards seeking wisdom and understanding, taken from Psalm 119. ‘Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statues; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.’ (Ps.119:33-35)
 
Yes Friends, the commandments of our God ought to be our delight! But they’ll never be unless and until we get serious about them and make a conscious decision to seek and follow them with all our heart, body and soul. Therein lies the faith and strength of a true believer. Much LOVE!
 
…to truly know God…one must have…deep and constant communication with Him…as they say…practice makes perfect…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 June 2013 Titus 3:8

Titus 3:8:    This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
 
Oh Friends, there’s nothing nicer than awakening in the early morning hours to the gentle sound of rain falling outside! That happened to me earlier on, and it was a tad difficult to get up out of the warm, cozy bed, as I lay there listening to ‘the rhythm of the falling rain; pita pata, pita pata.’ (smile)
 
But I eventually forced my self to get up, like I might have to force myself and go out in the rain and turn off the lawn sprinkler system, that’s just spurting away like crazy out there, while the rain is falling. Now it’s not supposed to come on if the rain’s falling, but I can’t curse it today because I’m not sure if it came on before the rain began to fall. I know though that when I went to bed around 2.30, no rain was falling.
 
Anyway, I’ll give it a few more minutes, and if it doesn’t turn off automatically, then I’ll go and turn it off. Oh, the headaches that these supposed modern conveniences cause eh! I believe the guy was here up to yesterday trying to time it properly.
 
But Friends, here’s the good news, it’s Friday! And all the voices rose like one: ‘Yes, oh yes! TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday! The weekend’s here at last! What a blast it’s going to be!’
 
And in Canada it’s certainly going to be a blast, except for those unfortunately flooded out in the Western Provinces, because it’s the long weekend when we celebrate Canada Day, our Independence, on Monday. So you can imagine what it’s going to be like, especially if it’s sunny and warm.
 
I finally had to go outside and turn off the sprinkler, if only to minimize the real risk of flooding, because who knows when the rain will stop, plus stopping an unnecessary increase in my water bill, which has gone up a fair amount since the sprinkler system was put in.
 
Anyway, summer madness will definitely be on display this weekend, so let’s see if we can keep it in check a little by chanting our Friday Chant, which gives us a better and brighter perspective on how to handle it. 
 
All together now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’
 
Yes my brethren, we have to enjoy the couple days off, but as Jeeves would say, ‘with a modicum of circumspection,’ so that Lucifer doesn’t even find one li’l pinhole in our spiritual armour, that he can use to cause us to go against God’s will. 
 
But instead that we should do as our Bit tells us. ‘This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.’
 
Yeh Friends, it’s the same Bit as the last two days because there’s some useful information from the scholars that I thought was important to share with you. It’s on the topic of regeneration, which we read about yesterday.
 
‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed (poured out) on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That we being justified (declared righteous) by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope (strong confidence) of eternal life.’ (Titus 3:5-7)
 
Now, per the scholars: ‘Regeneration refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation experience that produces new life in the believer. To express this concept, Jesus used the expression “born again” in His conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:3-7). Regeneration is the work of God, through the Holy Spirit, of placing in one who has faith a new nature, capable of doing God’s will.
 
The Holy Spirit is the agent or divine workman of this regeneration. His instrument is the Bible, which is likened to a hammer that judges sin (Jer.23:29), a mirror that reveals sin (James 1:23), a sword that defeats Satan (Heb.4:12), and a lamp that guides the believers (Ps.119:105).
 
Illustration: People are instantaneously “born again,” the moment they trust Christ as Saviour (1 Pet.1:23). Application: Christians should be careful to cooperate with God in growing as children of God after they are regenerated, or given new life. (First Ref. John 3:3; Primary Ref. Titus 3:5; cf. Eph.1:15)
 
Oh Friends, what greater gift can we be honoured with eh? None really!
 
Just ponder it for a Selah moment nuh: To be able to move from a situation of eternal death and damnation immediately to one of salvation and eternal life, simply by believing in Jesus, that He’s the Truth, the Light, the Life and the ONLY Way to God.
 
What a most blessed opportunity that is! One that we as believers have wisely taken hold of, but also need to share with others, because it’s the greatest gift ever bestowed on mankind, and right now too many people have not heard about it, so they’re still living in darkness, seriously threatened by eternal death and damnation, because they don’t know better.
 
And they won’t know better unless somebody tells them the Good News. And that somebody is us, Friends, the church of Christ!
 
Please remember Jesus’ last directive to the disciples: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20)
 
Yes my fellow believers, that’s our job, our bounden duty! But we can only accomplish it by first thinking the right things, affirming Christ-like stuff, then going out into this evil, ungodly world and putting them into action.
 
Please, let’s live up to the promise we made when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour nuh; that is truly LOVING our wonderful God, sincerely LIVING our Christian faith, and faithfully SPREADING the Lord’s Word!
 
That my brethren is definitely wisdom and Christian ethic at their highest levels. And Jesus desires nothing but excellence from His followers. Much LOVE!
 
…to act like a true believer…our thoughts must first be in sync…with those of Jesus…
 
   

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 June 2013 Titus 3:8

Titus 3:8:   This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly; that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.  
 
And then it was Thursday! Yes Friends, another heaven-sent day loaded with new mercies and blessings for God’s people is in the offing! Wow! What a most magnanimous and merciful God we serve! There’s none other like Him in the entire universe!
 
And all God’s people declared a mighty: ‘Glory Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name, for He is indeed worthy to be praised!’ Yes my brethren, our great God Jehovah is most definitely worthy of all the thanks and praise we can give Him!
 
Unfortunately though, I don’t believe we give Him enough glory. We keep wanting and requiring from Him, but our giving to Him is sadly lacking. Please let’s start turning that around now nuh. If you think we get plenty blessings now, you wouldn’t believe what’s in store, if we truly give Him the reverence and praise He deserves.
 
And since my hand is feeling fairly good, much better than I expected, I’ll give Him one big, ‘Thank You Lord for looking after me! I knew you wouldn’t do anything to stop me from spreading your Word, because that’s what you’ve anointed me to do. It’s not the greatest, but I can get the job done, that’s the important thing, with Your help of course. Amen.’
 
And now without further ado, let’s turn to our Bit. ‘This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly; that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.’
 
As promised my people, it’s the same as yesterday. But instead of putting forth our affirmations, as we did yesterday, today we’ll look at those Bruh Paul was referring to in his missive to Titus.
 
And in this chapter dealing with Christian citizenship, he strongly advises Titus to: ‘Put them in mind to be subject to principalities (rulers) and powers (authorities), to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers (not contentious), but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.’ (Titus 3:1-2)
 
Yes my people, those are just some of the things we should do as true believers in Jesus Christ! We ought to obey authority, because it originates from God Himself. In fact we should always be ready to do whatever good work is requested of us. Neither should we be gossipmongers, or given to strife and contentiousness, but be kind and LOVING to all, just as Jesus, our leader was in His earthly sojourn.
 
It’s not easy to live like that in this fallen, sinful world, but as believers, it’s our duty to attain to that lifestyle. And as we all know, our gracious God won’t ask us to do something without giving us the necessary tools to accomplish it. So we just have to be steadfast and press ahead towards the mark, the calling of Christ.
 
Then Bruh Paul continues, giving us the basis of our Christian ethic. ‘For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.’ (Titus 3:3)
 
Wow Friends! Can you imagine living like that? But that’s exactly how we were living until the Lord had compassion on us. ‘But after that the kindness and LOVE of God our Saviour toward man appeared.’ (Titus 3:4)
 
And all God’s people gave a heartfelt shout of ‘Praise the Lord for His kindness to the undeserving children of men!’
 
Yes my brethren, the Lord God Jehovah really and truly deserves our eternal thanks and praise, as we said at the beginning. But for some unknown reason(s) we seem to be very reluctant to do so, or do it very grudgingly, as though we were entitled to God’s grace and mercy, or we’re doing something great for God by giving Him the little thanks we offer.
 
But make no mistake Friends, it’s we, you and I, who are receiving the goodness and LOVING-kindness that we’re not entitled to, and neither are we receiving our just deserts for our sinful behaviour. So please let’s get off our high horse and stop thinking that we’re doing God a favour by worshipping and serving Him. Let’s get the right perspective; it’s Him that’s doing us the favours we don’t deserve!
 
For as Bruh Paul so rightly continues to inform Titus: ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed (poured out) on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace (declared righteous), we should be made heirs according to the hope (the strong confidence) of eternal life.’ (Titus 3:5-7)
 
Ah mih breddren, yuh see what the kindness and LOVE of God did for us! Hn! Before Christ’s sacrifice of LOVE, we were hateful and sinful, but through the shedding of His blood and God’s awesome mercy, we were cleansed, made whole, redeemed, sanctified, made right with God, so much so that we became rightful heirs of God with Christ.
 
And Friends, to end, I want to drive home the point that it was not by any good works of ours, that we were and are saved, as Bruh Paul points out, but by the LOVE, the Mercy, the Kindness, the Compassion and the Forgiving Nature of a most magnanimous, magnificent and omnipotent God, who created us and did not want to see His most wonderful creation end up in death and damnation with the foolish, fallen angel, the prince of darkness, Lucifer.
 
Please let’s get that straight, for until we do, we’ll never give God the true honour and glory He deserves. Much LOVE!
 
…before we can truly LOVE Jesus…we must truly understand what He did for us…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 June 2013 Titus 3:8

Titus 3:8:   This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
 
Oh Friends, All praise and honour and glory and thanksgiving be unto the Most High God Jehovah, our Creator and Provider! And I’m giving Him all that reverence and respect because my ‘trigger finger’ surgery appears to be successful. Glory Hallelujah!
 
I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but was told that I could still do my computer thing, which I am now doing, although I cannot feel the finger that was done, because it’s still somewhat numb from the surgery. In fact, I haven’t felt much pain, for the hand is still somewhat numb, must have been a real good anaesthetic. (smile). Anyway, thanks for all your prayers, let’s hope the recovery goes smoothly.
 
Now today we’re going to talk about affirmations. And according to Dr. Schuller in His Hour of Power Devotional: ‘Affirming – this is enthusiasm-generating faith. Great affirmations heighten the sense of expectancy and generate great enthusiasm. Affirm success and you will visualize yourself winning. When you imagine yourself winning, then that mysterious force of enthusiasm suddenly surges through your being.
 
Because enthusiastic people are happy people, they are energetic and ambitious people. So enthusiastic people are spirit-lifting, morale-boosting, talent-attracting, hope-generating people. It’s no wonder that affirmative people magnetically attract to themselves gifted people who generously offer their talent, time, or treasure to make the exciting dream come true.’
 
And that’s the gospel truth! Therefore Friends, it logically follows then, that if want to attract others to Christ, we need to be affirmative people.
 
Now here is the other half of the affirmations I recently shared with you, the one that I didn’t know where I got it from, and still don’t. But it sure is useful.
 
So please affirm with me now: ‘I can have victory in my life by dealing with the things that are keeping me from God’s best! I am confronting my struggles head-on so I can overcome them! God has given me the power to rise above! He has given me the strength to focus on him and push through! NOTHING will hold me back! This is my declaration of what I can do through Christ!’
 
And all God’s people delivered a loud and heartfelt, ‘Praise the Lord! Amen!’
 
Oh yes Friends, we do affirm all those things in the name of Jesus Christ, our wonderful Lord and Saviour! By the way, the exclamation marks and highlighting in the above affirmations are mine. I thought they would lend a little more oomph, some more decisiveness to our affirming.
 
That brings us to our Bit: ‘This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.’
 
Yuh see mih people, affirmations have been around for a very long time. It’s not something recently developed by the supposed mental experts of today.
 
We find Bruh Paul in our Bit, wisely advising Titus to constantly affirm certain things in his ministry, so that those under his spiritual care will adhere to the good works that the affirmations encourage, because it’s ‘good and profitable’ to believers.
 
One word of caution though my brethren. We can affirm all we want, but as everything else, when we talk the talk, afterwards we need to walk the walk. Affirmations only set our minds on the right paths, give us the right perspective, so if they aren’t followed by some action(s) that will bring them about, that manifest them, then our affirmations are a waste of time.
 
Talk can say a lot, and also provide serious motivation, but it’s the action behind the talk that brings it all to fruition. So please don’t think that just because you affirm something with your mouth, that it will automatically come to pass, because it won’t. You will not see the true fulfillment until you put the proper procedures in motion, begin the actions to bring it to pass.
 
Now I don’t want to force my hand more than is necessary. I’ve written more than I expected, and I am starting to feel a little pain as the fingers thaw out, like a frozen piece of meat. Hn, hn! So we’ll close for today.
 
And wonder of wonders, you’ll actually get a rather short Bit! Wow! As the old people would say: Wonders never cease, but daily they increase! So you can’t complain that God isn’t good to you. (smile) 
 
Tomorrow though, if the Lord’s in favour, we’ll continue this topic, looking at some of the affirmations that Bruh Paul had in mind when he wrote to Titus.
 
Till then my beautiful fellow believers, please walk safely with God, and let’s allow His Word to rule in our hearts and minds, and go out and put all those affirmations we made above into action. That’s wisdom, LOVE and righteousness at their very best! Much LOVE!
 
…to affirm is wonderful…but to put the affirmation into action…now that’s heavenly…
 
 
 
   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 June 2013 Luke 1:27

Luke 1:27:  To a virgin espoused (engaged) to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
 
Oh Friends, this really is the year of the flood yes! Look at the above average rainfall that’s caused terrible flooding and all the other inherent disasters that’s happened this past week in Northern India and also here at home in the Western Province of Alberta.
 
The city of Calgary, one of the five largest in Canada, and the surrounding areas of High River and Medicine Hat, were literally under water. The newspaper claims that Calgary, possibly the country’s most progressive city, has been left in shambles. River-like torrents of water have been running down the city’s streets, and thousands have been evacuated.
 
Add all of that to the wicked flooding we recently saw in much of Europe and in the Western Province of Saskatchewan, and we have to admit that flood damage seems to be this year’s chosen area of disaster. And the hurricane season is just starting, so who knows what’s going to happen eh. We just have to be prepared to face whatever disaster comes our way.
 
And Friends, despite all the negative news, as true believers in Jesus Christ, we can all relax – well not really relax, we still have to mind our business, drunk or sober, (smile) but we don’t have to go crazy with worry, anxiety and overwhelming concern, because our God has promised to look after us in whatever situation we may find ourselves. And we all know that He’s always faithful in keeping His promises.
 
Besides, worry and anxiety never fix anything, just cause more problems and negative consequences. And today, please let’s give God enormous thanks for our safety and well-being, and also pray for the thousands of unfortunates who are caught up in the numerous disasters around the world.
 
Individually, we may not be able to do much to help them, but together we can certainly move mountains on their behalf, with the help of Jesus. So please let’s remember them in our prayers, because the day will certainly come when we’re undergoing our own disasters and need them to pray for us.
 
Now let’s turn to our Bit, which is the same as yesterday. ‘To a virgin espoused (engaged) to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.’
 
And according to the scholars: ‘Espousal (similar to our engagement period) was, under Jewish law as binding as marriage. It lasted about a year, during which time the woman’s purity was maintained.’
 
Yesterday we talked about the new Norwegian version of the Good Book changing the word ‘virgin’ in Mary’s case to that of ‘young woman,’ which entirely misses the point, and thus fails to convey the fundamental aspect that Mary’s virginity had and has on the Christian faith.
 
Today we’ll look at two other scriptures and hear from the scholars, per the great importance and relevance of Mary’s virginity to our beliefs. And the whole virginity business began with Isaiah’s prophecy to King Ahab at an upcoming Assyrian invasion of Israel.
 
‘Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.’ (Is.7:14)
 
Then Matthew, in his gospel, referring to Isaiah’s prophecy, declares: ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted (translated) is, God with us.’ (Matt.1:23)
 
And the scholars tell us that: ‘A virgin relates Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the prediction found in Isaiah 7:14. Matthew used the Greek word, ‘parthenos’ to translate the Hebrew word ‘almah.’ His contextual usage of ‘fulfill’ is certainly indicative of his understanding the Isaiah passage to contain a definitely predictive element.
 
The quotation of Isaiah 7:14 follows the Septuagint (Old Testament in Greek) rendering where ‘parthenos’ is also used to translate the Hebrew ‘almah.’ There can be no doubt that the Greek term ‘parthenos’ is always to be translated ‘virgin.’
 
The Hebrew ‘almah’ is the most accurate and precise term for virgin used in the Old Testament. Therefore Matthew is clearly correct in quoting Isaiah 7:14 as being fulfilled in the virgin birth of Christ.
 
Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us: This is a title describing the deity of the person of the Son of God rather than a name actually used by Him. It implies God will come to dwell among His own people, which He did in the person of Christ.’
 
Ah Friends, some of that might be slightly confusing, but the scholars want to show how truly important the concept of Mary’s virginity and Christ’s virgin birth are to our Christian faith. And not totally acknowledging it as such, in essence denies the basic tenet of our faith; that of Christ being the incarnate (spiritually conceived) Son of God and not the physical conception of man.
 
In other words, Jesus was the human embodiment of God, God in the flesh of man. That means that if Mary wasn’t a virgin in the real and true sense of the word, then Jesus’ father had to be a human being, and that would totally negate all of the New Testament.
 
So please my brethren, let’s be careful to try and keep the true meaning of the Good Book in all we say and do, so that we don’t mislead others, or give them the wrong perspective on what our faith really is all about. And I daresay that in many modern translations that is already taking place.
 
But Friends and fellow believers, the Good Book MUST NOT be watered or dumbed down to meet the dumb and watered down minds of this current age. Instead we should concentrate on lifting, upgrading the minds of our young people to meet the understanding of the Good Book. Please, I implore us to make that a critical part of our outreach, our ministry. 
 
And in closing, I’m asking us to float up a few words of prayer to heaven for the ole fella, who’s going to have some surgery this morning on his right hand to rectify a condition they call ‘trigger finger.’ Please pray for it to be successful, and that I can continue writing the Bit without missing any days, because that would be very disappointing.
 
I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but since our God is omnipotent, and we can do all things through His empowerment, I feel confident that He will help me find a way, even if in the natural, there seems to be none. Much LOVE!
 
…let’s remember that God’s Word never changes…so don’t go changing it on the whims and fancies of this fallen world…
 
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 June 2013 Luke 1:27

Luke 1:27.    To a virgin espoused (engaged) to man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
 
Oh my beautiful fellow believers in Christ, it’s Monday! It’s also the first Monday in the official summer period of our northern seasons. And what a day it’s forecasted to be; thirty degrees Celsius, with a mixture of sun and rain!
 
So please make sure to put on your sun screen if you plan on being out and about much in the sunshine, but also remember to walk with your trusty umbrella, just in case the rain catches you off guard, because it’s being doing that a lot recently. 
 
I experienced it up to yesterday afternoon. I was getting dressed to go out and it was bright sunshine outside, but some fifteen minutes later though when I emerged, yuh better believe it was raining. 
 
Anyway, since there’s not much we can do about the weather, except dress suitably for it, let’s get up and get our act together. And to put us in a positive and godly state of mind, let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with a large dollop of excitement and enthusiasm!
 
As one loud and harmonious voice now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together.
 
We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies.
 
But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle.
 
Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’
 
There we have it Friends, the catalyst to get us going this Monday Morning!
 
Now here’s our Bit: ‘To a virgin espoused (engaged) to man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.’
 
I’m sure some of you are wondering why I chose that particular scripture for our Bit today, since it’s usually associated with the birth of Jesus at Christmas. But there is indeed method to my madness, my brethren!
 
Earlier on, I was reading an article in the newspaper which stated that recently in Norway, a new and modern version of the Good Book had been printed in the Norwegian language, coinciding with an upsurge in Christian activity in the country. Now that’s certainly wonderful news, but the example of the modern terminology they used in the article certainly didn’t sit well with me. Instead of saying or specifying that Mary, the mother of Jesus was a ‘virgin,’ they chose to refer to her as a ‘young woman.’
 
Ah Lord eh! What’s wrong with us in these supposed modern times eh? We seem to think that everything that’s old has to be changed, wiped out or replaced. And though some of that might be true, in this particular case, nothing could be further from the truth. That’s because Mary’s virginity, her not having laid with a man, is paramount to our Christian beliefs.
 
And though ‘young woman’ in Mary’s day might have conveyed a connotation of virginity, in these times of excessive sexual freedom, it most definitely doesn’t, because the supposed young women are having sex at an earlier and earlier age.
 
Here’s how the scholars put it: ‘One of the historic fundamentals of the faith is the virgin birth of Christ. It begins with the supernatural conception of Jesus Christ in the womb of Mary without the seed of man. The miraculous birth is verified by the statement that she was a virgin when she gave birth to Christ (Matt.1:23-25) By means of the Virgin Birth, Jesus Had the human nature of his mother and the sinless, divine nature of His Father.
 
Illustration: Those who deny the Virgin Birth tend also to deny His deity, so must necessarily question the integrity of the Scriptures. Application: The miracle of the Virgin Birth involved the yieldedness of Mary. This attitude is reflected in her last recorded words, which are a good standard for Christians today, “Whatsoever he (Jesus) saith unto you, do it” (John 2:5) ‘ 
 
And is that ever so true Friends; whatever Jesus tells us to do, we ought to do it!
 
So, having said all of that, it simply means that to those reading the Good Book for the first time in their lives, if they use the new Norwegian version, then they will have no understanding of the great importance of Mary’s virginity to the whole story of Christianity. And that I believe is doing a grave injustice to the both the new readers, as well as the substance and fundamental foundation of our faith. 
 
Anyway, we’ll stop there for today. But both the scholars and I have some more to say on the subject, which hopefully we’ll say tomorrow, the Lord in favour. Till then though my people, let us walk safely under the mighty protective wings of our omnipotent God, diligently doing His will, as we walk steadfastly in our faith, for that’s indeed the measure of our wisdom! Much LOVE!
 
…any attempt to bring God’s Word into the language of the 21st century…MUST ENSURE…that the true meanings are not lost in the translation…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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