Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 December 2016 1 Peter 4:12.

1 Peter 4:12.   Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.

Aloha friends, and family, Aloha! Is Friday one more time… And as expected, the place is already hopping in expectation of a wild and wicked weekend, especially with Christmas time in the air. 

Yeh, mih people, all around the place yuh hearing the usual ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday! Thank God for the weekend in this Christmas season, where we going to eat and drink and party fuh so…and even fall down drunk sometimes too! Thank God for Fridays and the weekend, come Christmas time!’ 

And believe me, this time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, is used to cover a lot of debauchery and licentiousness. But thankfully, we believers know better, we know the true reason for the season; the birth of Christ, and we celebrate it in a much more godly manner, don’t just use it as an excuse to party. 

Anyway, since it’s Friday let’s chant our Friday Chant, which shows a better standard of behaviour in the use of the weekend. As one 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.’ 

Yeh friends, that’s a much better way to spend the weekend, getting some balance and restoration in our souls, without which we won’t be able to do Christ’s work in the excellent manner that He expects from His followers. 

Now let’s get to our Bit, which a lot of believers still can’t fathom. (smile) ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.’ 

Ah mih people, working for Jesus does not come easy, for at times, much of them unexpected, we are put through the fire to test our mettle, to see how our faith matches up with the words we speak and the behaviour we display. And it’s never easy to welcome these unexpected trials with the joy that is required of us. 

However, as we grow in faith, as we stay in close proximity to Almighty God, taking all our problems to Him, finding joy in tribulation becomes easier. We have to go through it several times before we can truly appreciate the truth and the vitality contained therein. 

Now we’ve heard James’ and Peter’s take on the subject, but no word on trials and tribulations will be worth its salt if it doesn’t contain these fiery words of Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. 

‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience (produces perseverance); And patience, experience (character); and experience, hope: 

And hope maketh not ashamed (does not disappoint); because the LOVE of God is shed abroad (has been poured out) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.’ (Rom.5:1-5) 

So friends, since we have been justified through Christ, through God’s doing, not man’s, and thus have right standing with Him through reconciliation, we can therefore rejoice in whatever befalls us, because we are sure of God’s deliverance. 

Hn! Hope that makes sense. (smile) That’s why Bruh Paul says we can glory, can boast in all the negative stuff that comes upon us, since they only grow us, make us stronger in our faith, bring us closer to God and more Christ-like, which is our end-goal. 

Now here is the crowning glory of it all, found in the words of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ that He delivered in the Sermon on the Mount. This is the last of the Beatitudes, and I don’t know if Jesus had a special reason for putting it last, possibly because He knew that it would be the hardest one to live by. 

Nonetheless, please listen closely my brethren. ‘Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’ (Matt.5:11-12) 

And the scholars give us this interesting and uplifting explanation. ‘5:12. Rejoice is the command that grows out of the blessedness of the believer. The phrase Rejoice, and be exceeding glad means even more, exult! 

Great is your reward in heaven focuses attention on the eternal destiny of all things. If God is as real as He claims, if the Bible is true, if heaven is to be gained, then no temporary earthly trouble or persecution can dispossess the child of God of joy in the prospect of the eternal glory that lies ahead.’ 

Oh friends, we know that our wonderful God is real, He is who He claims to be, plus the Bible is true, so no earthly trouble should take away our joy in the salvation of Christ Jesus! 

So let’s go out today and just exult nuh; exult in the glory of God, knowing that our place in heaven is safe and secure! That’s what it means to be a true and mature Christian! Much LOVE!

…mourning may last for a night…but joy comes in the morning…because our faith is strong…and Christ’s salvation is real… 

P.S. I visited our bubba Scotty yesterday afternoon. He is doing much better. He says he’s alive but can’t kick too hard just yet. (smile) So let’s keep on praying for him to make a full recovery very soon. Much LOVE!

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 March 2016 Philippians 1:29‏

Philippians 1:29.   For unto you it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

And then it was Tuesday…wonderful Tuesday! 

And amidst all your difficulties and troubles you ask, what’s so wonderful about it eh? 

Well for one thing you’re alive. That’s more than can be said for a lot of people. Most likely you also have a roof over your head, food on your table and a paying job. Well that means you’re better off than the majority of the world of some 7 billion souls. 

And for another you’re a Christian, a believer in the One and Only Son of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Wow! That alone makes it a wonderful day friends, because working for Jesus is always filled with unexpected and interesting events! 

And since it’s Tuesday, before I forget, (smile) let’s declare our Tuesday Mantra with true sincerity and much enthusiasm nuh. 

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

And isn’t that the gospel truth my brethren? It certainly is! We’re not defined by what the dark and sinful world says about us, because we know that we are the beloved of God, and that no one can deny or take away from us. Oh glory to God my fellow believers! 

The problem though is that we don’t seem to take our designation as God’s beloved children seriously enough, we’re still anxious, doubtful and fearful, and thus continue letting the world’s unwise and often untrue and foolish systems define us. It’s time to break that oh so restrictive chain my people! 

And the only way to do that is by sincerely and faithfully taking hold of what our wonderful God has said about us, and the magnificent things He’s done and continues to do for us each and every day. 

In other words friends, we need to truly believe! Without true belief and faith, we’re lost, caught up in the worries and troubles of the world and our circumstances. But when we’re truly walking with, and living for Jesus, we don’t let our circumstances overwhelm us; we rise above them, of course with Jesus’ help. 

As I keep reminding us, being a true and faithful believer is no easy or simple matter, but it is certainly doable and enjoyable if we rest all our burdens and fears on His strong and healthy shoulders, as He tells us in His Great Invitation, Matthew 11:28-30. Please look it up if you don’t know it…and even if you do know it, please read it again so it can revitalize your spirit. 

And yesterday we saw how Bruh Paul exhorted the Philippians to steadfastness in Christ’s gospel, through proper conduct and behaviour in unity and oneness of mind. ‘And in nothing (no way) terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token (proof) of perdition (destruction), but to you of salvation.’ (Phil.1:28) 

And I repeated that verse because I want to share an explanation from the scholars. ‘1:28. One of the ways in which the readers’ proper conduct benefits the gospel (v.27) is mentioned here: not being terrified by their adversaries. The lack of intimidation is a twofold sign: (1) to unbelievers it is evidence of their lost condition; (2) to believers it is an assurance of their salvation.’ 

And that my brethren is one of the problems with present day Christians; we are terrified by our adversaries, plus have adopted the selfish behaviour of the current world; everything being, ‘I, me and mine, first person singular.’  If we weren’t, we’d be standing up strong and facing them and not allowing them to take God out of our society as they are so blatantly doing. 

Oh my people, Jesus died that we could have a good and abundant life, and we definitely can’t live that kind of life if we’re afraid and/or selfish. That brings us to the next verse in Bruh Paul’s exhortation, our Bit. ‘For unto you it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.’ 

Yes friends, we have the obvious privilege of not only living the good life through Christ, but also suffering with Him. It’s a two-pronged situation, though in our selfishness and fear we expect it to be simply all good times. 

When Jesus came to die for us, He didn’t have only good times, but also plenty rough ones, especially His crucifixion, which we’ll celebrate in a few days. So why should we have it all good eh? 

And the scholars provide an interesting explanation on that passage. ‘1:29. For reinforces the assertion that the proof of the believers’ salvation, provided through their courage in persecution, comes from God. 

This justification lies in the fact of the Philippians being divinely granted the dual privilege of believing in Christ and suffering for Him. Thus the assurance of their salvation is from God, just as is their suffering for Jesus, for the latter was the occasion providing the former.’ 

Yes my fellow believers, our salvation was provided by Jesus’ suffering, let’s never forget that, and therefore let it help us to stand up strong in His name and do His will, regardless of the tough circumstances we occasionally face, for salvation is greater than anything the world can do to, or offer us! 

And all God’s children gratefully and joyfully declared: ‘Glory Hallelujah! All power and glory be to the Lamb that was slain for us!’ 

And we’ll end with these immortal and most appropriate words of Jesus from the greatest sermon ever preached; the best laid out philosophy of life ever promulgated, the Sermon on the Mount. 

‘Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which went before you.’ (Matt.5:11-12) 

Yes my brethren, persecution will follow us simply because we believe in Jesus, that’s a fact we cannot ignore or deny since it happened to so many prophets, including Jesus, meaning we’re in excellent company. 

But by the same token, when we stand up strong during the persecution we’re blessed and are storing up rewards in heaven. No, it’s definitely not easy, but the only way to overcome it is by keeping our focus on the rewards in heaven, rather than the persecution here on earth. 

So friends, though it might be somewhat on the rough and tough side, let’s go out and put that into practice today nuh, so that our lives can be more blessed, and Jesus’ message of, and free gift of salvation can be more widely spread abroad and accepted, for that’s our bounden duty. Much LOVE!

…stand up, stand up for Jesus…the trumpet call obey…till every foe is vanquished…and Christ is Lord indeed… 

P.S. Unfortunately, late nights breed late mornings. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 August 2015 Hebrews 10:35

Hebrews 10:35.   Cast not therefore away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.

Oh Friends, oh Friends, it’s Monday! Yes, Monday, the first day of this new workweek! Glory Hallelujah! So let’s rise and shine and greet it with a grateful and joyful spirit nuh! It’s our Christian heritage you know. Remember Jesus sacrificed His sinless life in part so that we could have a vibrant and abundant one ourselves. And there’s no knowing what wonderful things and situations our magnificent and magnanimous God has in store for us today. 

Wow! Let’s get excited nuh my people! Oh I know that Job wisely said that we can’t have good without bad, (Job 2:10) but today, and everyday hence, we must be positive and believe that the good, whatever it may be, will certainly outweigh the bad. Glory to God! 

And with all that passion and enthusiasm for Jesus bubbling up in us, let’s give the earth…and the heavens too, a rousing and most awesome rendition of our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

All together 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!’ 

Oh mih breddren, mih breddren, that was beautiful; magnifico, tres magnifique! – couldn’t get in the accents (smile). We were so into it, so sincere and true that tears of joy were flowing down Jesus, our choir director’s cheeks, as our passion was contagious, and He in turn wielded a tantalizing baton to direct us. 

Oh Friends, the angels… in fact all of heaven was eventually singing along with us, including the Father. And they all stood up afterwards and clapped for an encore! What a wonderful way to begin our day my brethren! Heaven’s on our side, and thus everything is right with our world! 

Now if we could only package that enthusiasm and emotion for Jesus and distribute it all over the earth, then there would certainly be great improvement all around. Jesus’ LOVE Revolution then would be in full swing. But unfortunately, the reality is that we cannot simply package it and send it off. Somewhere along the line we also have to live it, and let others see the passion in our souls. 

For remember that actions usually speak louder than words, and people are most likely to do as we do, rather than as we say. If I remember correctly, ‘examples speak more forcibly than precepts (words),’ is how the author of the novel Joseph Andrews puts it. That brings us to the intriguing and encouraging words of our Bit. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.’ 

Yes Friends, in this earthly life, this pilgrim’s journey, one of the most important things we have to do is to stay confident in the faith, the belief and promises of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It’s not always easy, especially with the enemy and his evil minions constantly breathing down our necks and whispering foolish lies and deceits in our ears. 

But as the author of Hebrews continues after our Bit: ‘For ye have need of patience (perseverance, endurance), that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.’ (Heb. 10:36) Yes my people, our faithful God will not fail to reward us for the sincere work we’ve done in His name. 

The author of Hebrews also addressed that problem earlier on in the chapter. ‘Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith (hope) without wavering: (for he is faithful that promised :)’ (Heb.10:23) Those are certainly words to live by my fellow believers. It’s even better than money in the bank! (smile) 

Jesus even spelled it out for us in the Sermon on the Mount. ‘Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’ (Matt.5:11-12) 

And the scholars have a great explanation of that verse. ‘5:12. Rejoice is the command that grows out of the blessedness of the believer. The phrase, ‘Rejoice, and be exceeding glad means even more, exult! Great is your reward in heaven focuses attention on the eternal destiny of all things. If God is as real as He claims, if the Bible is true, if heaven is to be gained, then no temporary earthly trouble or persecution can dispossess the child of God of joy in the prospect of the eternal glory that lies ahead.’ 

Wow! What powerful words! And we all know that there are no ifs and buts, doubts and questions about Jesus, heaven, salvation and eternal life. They are for real. So people, let’s do the wise thing nuh and Rejoice… be exceedingly glad, exult, for that is the wisdom of heaven! Much LOVE!

…true believers in Jesus…should be the most exultant lot on God’s planet earth…because of the reality and blessedness…of salvation and eternal life…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 November 2013 Matthew 5:12

Matthew 5:12.   Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Oh Friends, the church bells are tolling this beautiful Sunday morning! They’re tolling to invite us to fellowship and worship as the body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ down here on earth! Wow! What a special benefit and honour to be numbered in that most august society!

Many of you may remember growing up with the church bells pealing every Sunday morning and evening, calling all the faithful to the house that Christ built. I remember them quite vividly, because I lived only a couple minutes walk away from St. Andrews Anglican in Scarborough, Tobago, and I’d use them as a time piece, listening for when the last bell begin to toll, then I’d hustle off to get there just in time.

There were either two or three tollings, I don’t remember, but back then, when the bells pealed, you knew that almost the whole community was getting ready to go to church, regardless of their denomination. Unfortunately though, church bells tolling as a means of inviting the faithful to worship is now a thing of the past, like prehistoric dinosaurs.

The youth of today don’t even know that church bells existed, for there are very few around now, and even fewer toll, and likewise, even fewer attend church regularly. But my brethren, going to church and fellowshipping with others of like faith, is exactly one of the things Jesus had in mind when He commanded us to ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’

That’s because it’s much easier for believers to rejoice and be exceedingly happy, in spite of persecution, when they are gathered together worshipping and praising Almighty God, whether it be in a church, a house, a thatched hut, a cave or in the open air. Togetherness is the bedrock, the foundation of Christ’s body! No wonder we’re not making the progress we should, since that body is so fragmented, divisive, quarrelsome and resentful of each other.

But Friends, it’s virtually impossible for us to stand strong in the face of persecution when we’re not in sync with each other. That only gives the forces of evil an excellent opportunity to further divide and conquer us. For as logic declares, a group can usually stand stronger together against a common enemy, than a single individual.

And my people, coming together is one of the things we desperately need to concentrate on, if we’re to ever survive the challenges and persecution that the evil world powers are plotting against us. And even as a group, we can’t do it without the omnipotence of Jesus working in and amongst us. So please, let’s seriously concentrate on coming together, rather than drifting further apart nuh. That’s the only hope we have of strengthening and growing Jesus’ LOVE Revolution.

And I have the perfect quote for that from an article I read earlier on in the Anglican Newspaper, November 2013 edition. I copied it for use at some future time, but in God’s mysterious workings, (smile) that time seems to be now. It’s written by Bishop Patrick Yu, on the subject of inviting people to church.

He writes that ‘Growth is actually the sign of all living things, including a living faith and a living church!’ Now that’s gospel truth my people! If we’re not growing in faith and fellowship, then to all intents and purposes, we’re spiritually dead.

Anyway, enough sermonizing from me for today. (smile) Let’s get to the scriptures I faithfully promised you yesterday. And the first one deals with the first part of our Bit: ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:’

Peter puts it this way: ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as (to the extent that) ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.’ (1 Pet.4:12-13)

Yeh Friends, it’s definitely not an easy concept to grasp and then hold on tightly to, but we do need to believe that when we suffer for Jesus’ sake, we’re part of His suffering. Therefore, when He comes back in all His majestic glory, then we too shall participate in the overwhelming joy during those momentous times!

And James say it thus: ‘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)

Short and sweet eh Friends! (smile) What a way we doing a lotta smiling today mih breddren! But that’s just the way it ought to be, if we’re exceedingly glad.

Now here’s what the scholars have to say: ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall (Gr. peripipto). These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing.

The words in verses 2 and 3 (temptations and trying) are often regarded as virtually synonymous. If this were true, then the trials themselves would produce spiritual maturity. But they do not. Often, testings make Christians bitter instead of better, with no spiritual growth occurring. The Greek word for “trying” (dokimion) might be better translated as “approving.”

It is not merely one’s presence in such trials but one’s victory over them that brings spiritual growth and maturity. Those Christians whom God can use the most are those whom God has bruised the most.’

And all God’s people said a low, unenthusiastic ‘Amen,’ because they know that’s the living truth, and it’s hard for the flesh to handle!

But enough for today Friends, I don’t want to stretch your intelligence and busy lives by running on too long. (smile) So let’s ponder all that we’ve said and heard, then make some good and godly decisions, in as many areas as we can, obviously with the help of Jesus. Much LOVE!

…for whom the bells toll…for all mankind…why…so that they can come to Christ…to acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour…and receive the free…but oh so wonderful gifts of salvation and everlasting life…