Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 July 2017 James 1:19.

James 1:19.   Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

Oh friends, I’m so glad to be alive, especially on such a wonderful summer’s morn that I just wanted to jump for joy, click my heels, and shout ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ 

But fortunately, the wise One that dwells within me immediately cautioned that the first two actions would be somewhat foolhardy, given my precarious physical state. So I simply shouted ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ (smile) 

What a bam bam it is when your body can’t keep up with your mind eh? But them’s the breaks! It’s what happens when you’ve lived a long and productive life and have finally reached the winter years. So we just have to grin and bear it. 

And with Jesus Christ in our lives, there are so many other pleasures for us to enjoy than just the physical ones, that we really lack for nothing. All glory to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

And let me apologize now for the lateness of the Bit. It seems that the pain medication I took before going to bed this morning also has some sleep inducing properties, which made it difficult to get up at an earlier hour. 

Now here is a li’l something, which I shared way back when, but is still very useful in these trying times. It’s from Sholem Asch (1880-1957), a London born dramatist and writer of Polish-Jewish background, who later settled in the U.S. 

He tells us that: ‘Not the power to remember, but the power to forget is a necessary condition for our existence.’ 

And that’s quite true mih breddren, otherwise our minds would be so riddled with memories, and mostly the bad ones too, that our lives would be even more confused that they already are. 

But thankfully many of us old fogies don’t have to worry about that condition of life, because in our advanced stage we automatically forget most things anyway. (smile) 

And though it’s convenient to forget, we have to remember to follow the critical command and warning of our Bit, even in old age. ‘Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.’ 

And why is that you ask? Listen to James’ explanation that follows. ‘For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.’ (James 1:20) Yeh friends, uncontrolled anger and speaking have no place in the Christian’s life, because they lead us to ungodly decisions and consequently harsh repercussions. 

Hear the scholars take on those verses. ‘1:19. This is a key verse because it expresses three topics that James develops later: hearing, verses 19-27; speaking, 3:1-12; and wrath, 4:1-12.’ 

‘1:20. Trials require silence and patience because talk inflames anger, and anger inflames talk. Anger also distracts from listening to God.’ 

There you have it friends, several good reasons for controlling talk and anger! And I guess it’s only right for us to continue listening to James on the subject of hearing. 

‘Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity (abundance) of naughtiness (wickedness), and receive with meekness the engrafted (implanted) word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21) 

And the scholars offer an interesting explanation to that verse. ‘1:21. Engrafted word might better be translated “implanted word” and may reflect Christ’s parable of the seed planted in the four different soils (Matt. 13:3-9). Both Christ and James focus on the proper hearing of God’s Word (Matt.13:13, 19-20, 22-23). 

One needs to hear that Word, for it is able to save your souls. Though the phrase accurately describes the Word’s work of producing initial salvation, it is better in this context to understand it as the Word’s ability to preserve and mature the Christian’s life through trials.’ 

So anyway we cut it people, God’s Word is of the utmost importance in a believer’s life; both for producing our initial salvation and then keeping us on that straight and narrow path which allows us to grow in faith and trust in our wonderful Creator. Praise the Lord for His wonderful Word that leads and guides us safely on our earthly pilgrimage! 

And it isn’t coincidence that Bruh Paul wrote some of those same things to the Colossians. ‘But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond (slave) nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.’ (Col.3:8-11) 

Yeh friends, the believer is called to a much higher standard of living than the great unwashed. (smile) And hear Bruh Paul again agreeing with James on the power and benefits of the Word. 

This while preaching at Antioch. ‘Men and brethren, children (sons) of the stock (family) of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.’ (Acts.13:26) 

My people, I implore us, to never forget that! Consequently, we can go home now truthfully and sincerely declaring our Wednesday Wail. ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! 

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. 

I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Let’s do it for Jesus nuh mih people! Much LOVE!

…a Christian’s earthly life contains difficulties…but the rewards of heaven…especially Jesus’ eternal company… totally compensate for them…

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 April 2017 Joshua 24:15(a).

Joshua 24:15(a).   …choose you this day whom ye will serve…

Oh friends, it’s Monday, our favourite hate day!  (smile) And we only hate it because it means we have to get up and go out and labour, after spending a soft, cushy, licentious weekend. But them’s the breaks my people. You either go and work or be homeless and starve. 

And yuh better believe you’re darm lucky and blessed if you have a job, because there are millions of people out there who don’t have one and will gladly take yours in a heartbeat. So let’s start living right over the weekend nuh, so that on Monday we don’t have the set of steupsing and complaining we currently have. 

In any case, let’s take the antidote for that there illness right now; the glorious singing of our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. In full voice and perfect harmony, let’s belt it out: ‘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!’ 

Not bad friends, not bad, but not good enough to get a big rise out of our choirmaster Jesus. Anyway, with that adrenaline antidote taking effect, as it courses through our bodies, raising both our physical and spiritual capacity, let’s get a move on, for Jesus is waiting for us out on the battlefield, so we can fight the good fight with Him. Time to move out mih people! 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘choose you this day whom ye will serve…’ 

Yes friends, we can either serve the prince of this evil world, Beelzebub, or the Prince of Peace, of Light and Eternal Life, Jesus Christ. The decision is totally yours. But let me give you a li’l bit of wise advice. It will be better for you, if you serve Jesus Christ, for He is the mighty conqueror of hell, death and the grave, Beelzebub’s territory! That’s why Beelzebub now has no power over true believers, unless we fall for his lies and deceits. 

Now we all know the numerous times the Israelites turned away from God and suffered adversity, then caught themselves, repented and were welcomed back into the fold of God. Anybody with a bit of common sense can do that, but let’s check out an individual circumstance, where the reward of a Gentile for choosing the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was immeasurable. 

We’re talking about the story of Ruth, the Moabitess, who immigrated to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi from her own land of Moab, after her husband, brother and father in-law had died, leaving three widows behind. Now Naomi, having heard that the ‘Lord had visited (attended to) his people in giving them bread,’ (Ruth 1:6) she decided to return to her people in Bethlehem, where it might be possible for a Jewish widow to scrape together a half-decent living. 

So she kissed and blessed her two daughters’ –in- law and told them to go back to their own people. But they wept and refused. However, eventually the one named Orpah did leave Naomi, ‘but Ruth clave (clung) unto her. (Ruth 1:7-15) 

‘And Ruth said, Entreat me not (urge me not) to leave thee, or return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.’ (Ruth 1:16-17) 

And the scholars tell us thus: ‘1:16-17. Ruth’s faith and faithfulness are in evidence throughout the book, as expressed here in her commitment to Naomi’s God as her own. Ruth’s own concern for Naomi is bound by a strong oath made before the Lord Himself.’ 

And how did the Lord repay Ruth’s faithfulness? By causing her to marry the richest man in the city and having a baby boy whom Naomi the grandmother nursed. ‘And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.’ (Ruth 4:17) 

Ah friends, you never know what our great and wonderful God will do nuh! For from that union of Jew, Boaz, and Gentile, Ruth, came Bruh David and later his descendant Jesus!  So one more mysterious but wise working of our great God! 

And as the scholars declare: ‘from the union of Jew and Gentile would ultimately come the Saviour of all men. (Acts 4:12). The marriage of Boaz and Ruth may thus serve as a picture of Christ and His church through whom all believers become one (Eph.2:11-22).’  

No better way to end today my brethren! Much LOVE!

…as for me and mine…we WILL serve the Lord…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 January 2016 Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews 12:1.  Wherefore seeing (since) we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (perseverance, endurance) the race that is set before us.

Ah mih people, it’s another cold, bleak winter’s day! But we have to remember that that’s what winter is all about; cold and bleak, though it doesn’t seem so bad when the sun shines through in all its glory. (smile) 

And since this is where we live, we just have to learn to live with it, knowing that through God’s faithful help we will be able to handle it, and eventually come out victorious in the glorious springtime. Oh glory to God friends for His unceasing help! 

Now here is something from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that probably hits the nail on the head with many of us. I couldn’t help but share it. 

It’s simply titled ‘January,’ and reads thus: ‘It’s January, Lord – The drab, dreary middle – And my thoughts are as drab As the miserable month. Does everybody hit a January slump Or am I the only one? 

The first week wasn’t too bad: There were Christmas thank-yous to write A few resolutions to store away The huddle of year-end sales. But thank-you notes bring no returns And resolutions are quickly broken And marked-down trinkets fast lose appeal. 

When you said Behold, I make all things new Did You forget January, Lord? Or in January do I sometimes forget you?’ 

Oh friends, that poem certainly does resemble the mid January funk that many of us find ourselves in. The weather is the pits, the Christmas bills are starting to come in, and we don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay them, and added to that anxiety, we’re still physically and mentally tired from all the Christmas and New Year’s hoopla. It certainly is a familiar predicament. 

But to answer the poets ending question, the response is a definite Yes! We do seem to forget God in these anxious times, when these are the times we should be drawing ever closer to Him. God doesn’t make mistakes or lie. If he says that everything is made new, then it IS made new! 

That means the problem lies with us, which brings us to the promise for that poem, which is also our Bit. ‘Wherefore seeing (since) we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (perseverance, endurance) the race that is set before us.’ 

Ah my fellow believers that is exactly the kind of advice we need this cold morning in mid-January. And the Lord moves in such mysterious ways, that it’s only last night I watched Uncle John (John Hagee) preach a sermon on that same verse. He titled it ‘Run To Win!’ 

And so it should be my fellow believers. Why else would we run a race if it were not to win eh? And the particular race we’re talking about here is the race of life! 

Bruh Paul likened our earthly lives to a race, having in mind the ancient Greek Olympics, which we can compare to out own modern day Olympiads. 

And the first thing he does is remind us of all the other saints, the heroes that have run this race before us, the ‘great cloud of witnesses,’ who are looking down on us as we run our race. So it’s not like we don’t have any examples or mentors to look back at. 

Then we have to ‘lay aside every weight,’ that prevents us from running this race of life. Yes my brethren we have to get rid of all the impediments that weigh us down and prevent us from putting forth our best efforts. 

And Bruh Paul refers to some of them in Colossians. ‘But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not to one another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond (slave) nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.’ (Col.3:8-11) 

Oh my precious friends of faith, those are the kinds of things that prevent us from properly concentrating on running this magnificent race of life that’s set before us. 

And here are some explanations from the scholars, which will help us to further understand those scriptures. ‘3:9. Seeing means “since.” The old man is all that a person was prior to salvation: his worldly thinking and sinful acts. Since all this was renounced at conversion, one should lie not. Falsehood ill becomes the person claiming to be a disciple of Him who said, “I am the…truth.” 

‘3:10. The new man is the person one becomes after conversion: he possesses a new nature, values, aspirations, and a new life-style. This “new man” is constantly being renewed or developed until he attains a mature knowledge of the God who (re)created him. The more a believer knows and understands of God, the more he will be like God in character and conduct.’ 

‘3:11. Not only is the “new man” to put sin to death, he is also to put away man-made barriers that divide people and that nourish the vices of the old life. Among renewed humanity there are no national, ceremonial, cultural, or social distinctions. To the redeemed Christ is all: that is, He is everything and He is what matters most to them. And Christ is…in all; that is, He dwells in all believers.’ 

Yes Friends, we’ll end with those wonderful words of wisdom: Christ is everything to the believer, and He dwells in each and every one of us. Oh what a wonderful scenario! 

Let’s remember that, and ponder on all that we’ve said to day, so that we can increase in the knowledge and maturity of Christ our Lord and Saviour. Much LOVE!

…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 January 2015 Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews 12:1. Wherefore seeing (since) we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us. 
 

All hail my fine Friends in Jesus Christ! It’s a brand new spanking day! Yes my brethren, we’ve been granted the fabulous gift of life on a new day through the wonderful grace of Almighty God, so please, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!
 
Let’s joyfully enjoy (smile) the new mercies and blessings that have been specially prepared for us for this day. Let’s also do our best to live up to the high ideals of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whose motto is excellence at all times.
 
And having said all of that, on this chilly Thursday morning, the 15th day of January 2015, I have this most appropriate passage for this time of year to share from the One Year Book of Promises, with writings from Ruth Harms Calkin. It’s simply titled ‘January.’
 
Read with me: ‘It’s January, Lord – The drab, dreary middle – And my thoughts are as drab As the miserable month. Does everybody hit a January slump Or am I the only one? The first week wasn’t too bad: There were Christmas thank-yous to write A few resolutions to store away The huddle of year-end sales.
 
But thank-you notes bring no returns And resolutions are quickly broken And marked-down trinkets fast lose appeal. When you said Behold, I make all things new Did you forget January, Lord? Or in January do I sometimes forget You?’
 
Oh my people, those sentiments are so true, for many of us feel that way at this time of year. I guess we can call them the ‘dog days’ of January, where we’re somewhat lost in the middle of it all. The celebrations are over and done with for the old year, and the new one hasn’t quite taken shape or hold as yet.
 
Plus we’re wondering and contemplating how we’re going to pay the bills that we’ve amassed over the Christmas season. (smile) But yuh know what my fellow believers in Christ? In this time of uncertainty, we can all hold on to the promise attached to that passage, which we’ll use as our Bit.
 
‘Wherefore seeing (since) we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us.’
 
Yes Friends, there are so many heroes of faith that have gone before us that we don’t lack for good and positive examples in living our Christian faith. But we need to do certain things if we’re going to be successful.
 
First of all we need to throw off any weight, both literally and figuratively, any impediment at all that is holding us back from running our race. We also need to throw off any sin, large or small, that’s entangling us, that has us struggling or keeping us back from reaching the lofty goals that Christ has planned for us.
 
And above all, we need to do those things with patience and perseverance, keep a steadfast and true pace. Yes my people, we need to be always trying to improve as we run this race of life.
 
And as the author of Hebrews so wisely and rightly continues, we ought to be: ‘Looking unto Jesus the author (originator) and finisher (perfector) of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Heb.12:2)
 
Oh Friends, what an encouraging and uplifting picture! Jesus is the best example of earthly living we can, and will ever have! He both began and finished the course of our faith. So we need to look to Him for proper guidance and strength to face this rat-race world that we’re currently living in.
 
We’ll never be perfect as Him, but the important thing is to try, to do our best to get as close to a Christ-like character as we can. That brings us to our New Year’s resolution of endeavouring to have a closer walk with Jesus.
 
I do hope that we haven’t already forgotten it as we get caught up again in the busyness of life. And I believe that if we’re feeling like the passage above from the Book of Promises, then we have indeed forgotten that resolution.
 
Please, let’s realign our priorities, with Jesus as NUMBER ONE, so that we can have a fruitful and successful 2015, for I firmly and faithfully believe that this will be the BEST YEAR in many of our lives!
 
Now let’s look at a scripture passage that adds weight to our Bit and empowers us in our faith. Hear Bruh Paul’s advice to the Colossians, where he’s talking about the new life in Christ. Here are some weights that we might need to throw off to lighten our load in running this race of life.
 
‘But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond (slave) nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.’ (Col.3:8-11)
 
Truly words of wisdom, my people! Now let’s close with some interesting and important notes from the scholars re those verses. ‘3:9. Seeing means “since.” The old man is all that a person was prior to salvation: his worldly thinking and sinful acts. Since all this was renounced at conversion, one should lie not. Falsehood ill becomes the person claiming to be a disciple of Him who said, “I am the…truth.”
 
3:10. The new man is the person one becomes after conversion: he possesses a new nature, values, aspirations, and a new life-style. This “new man” is constantly being renewed or developed until he attains a mature knowledge of the God who (re)created him. The more a believer knows and understands of God, the more he will be like God in character and conduct.’
 
‘3:11. Not only is the “new man” to put sin to death, he is also to put away man-made barriers that divide people and that nourish the vices of the old life. Among renewed humanity there are no national, ceremonial, cultural, or social distinctions. To the redeemed Christ is all; that is, He is everything, and He is what matters most to them. And Christ is…in all; that is, He dwells in all believers.’
 
Oh my people, it’s not easy trying to live a truly Christian life in this evil and ungodly world, but if we stick like glue to Christ, He will empower us to run this earthly race successfully, and that’s no lie! Much LOVE!
 
…just a closer walk with thee…grant it Jesus…is my plea…daily walking close to thee…let it be…dear Lord…let it be…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 November 2014 2 Peter 1:7

2 Peter 1:7.   And to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (LOVE).
 
Ah Friends, it’s Saturday – the swing day of the week. You’re tired from the week’s work, but you also have lots of stuff to do around the house, and errands to run outside that you could not do during the normal work hours.
 
You want to sleep in late, but you also want to hit the stores and groceries before the crowd, the others in the same boat as you, hit them and make it a maelstrom of swirling, rushing and jostling bodies.
 
Oh, what a stressful life we live in these modern times! And isn’t it strange and laughable, but also very sad, that all our endeavours throughout the earlier generations were to make our modern lives easier, with little or no stress, with more time for relaxation and fun, more time for family and God.
 
Hn! What a joke! Now we’re busier than ever, with much less free time. We work more than ever – when you can find it – and are more stressed out and anxious in peacetime as never before! Ah mih people, we just seem to have everything backwards.
 
And very foolishly, in all the current rush for power and glory, wealth and material riches, we’ve abandoned the Lord God of Israel, when we were admonished and reminded long long ago: ‘But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish (confirm) his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.’ (Deut.8:18)
 
How unwise of us eh Friends; looking for something by turning away from the One who has the power to grant that same something! Only humans would do that you say… And you’re quite correct!
 
Enough on our misguided ways though, let’s turn to our Bit. ‘And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (LOVE).’
 
And today I want to point out a few instances of kindness in the Good Book, a couple of which eventually led to great rewards. Let’s begin with Rehab the harlot, who helped the two Israelite spies in Jericho. (Joshua 2)
 
Before helping them escape, she said to them: ‘Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by thy Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that ye will also show kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token (a pledge of faithfulness). (Josh. 2:12)
 
And the men promised: ‘Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring  (gather) thy father and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household unto thee.’ (Josh. 2:18)
 
And the scholars have an interesting note on that last verse. ‘2:18. Rehab’s scarlet thread, bound to the window of her house, made the house easily identifiable by the Israelite troops. The incident is reminiscent of the protection accorded to the Israelites in Egypt at the first Passover (Ex.12:7, 21, 23). The scarlet may also contain an indication of Rehab’s sin, covered by the blood (cf. Is.1:18; 1 Cor.5:7; Heb.9:22).’
 
And that promise was kept when the Israelites captured Jericho. Before they destroyed the city, Joshua sent in the two spies to bring out Rehab and her family.
 
‘And the young men that were spies went in, and brought Rehab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred (relatives), and left them without (outside) the camp of Israel….
 
And Joshua saved Rehab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.’ (Josh.6:23, 25)
 
Yeh Friends, kindness usually begets kindness, though not always right away.
 
Now let’s look at the story of Ruth, whose kindness and fidelity to her mother-in-law, Naomi, caused her to be one of only two women – Esther is the other one – to have a Book in the Bible named after them. Please read the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament, if you do not know the story. It’s very short, so it should not take too long.
 
It also caused Ruth to become an ancestor of Jesus Christ, through her marriage to Boaz. That union produced a son named Obed, who then fathered Jesse, Bruh David’s father, to whose line Joseph, Jesus’ father belonged.
 
And remember Friends, that Ruth was a Gentile, which made the union between her and Boaz rather symbolic, as the scholars point out. ‘Thus through the union of Jew and Gentile would ultimately come the Saviour of all men (Acts 4:12). The marriage of Boaz and Ruth may thus serve as a picture of Christ and His church through whom all believers become one (Eph.2:11-22).’
 
Then we have the famous statement of Bruh David. ‘And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness (covenant faithfulness) for Jonathan’s sake?’ (2 Sam.9:1) Remember the covenant between Jonathan, King Saul’s son, and Bruh David. (1 Sam.20:14-17)
 
And there was found a lame son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, living in hiding and abject poverty. Bruh David brought him to his house. ‘And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.’ (2 Sam.9:7)
 
Yes my people, kindness, especially amongst friends is a wonderful thing!
 
Now here are a couple of notes from the scholars that will give us a little more insight into the story, and into the benefits of kindness. ‘9:1. The kindness of David related to the covenant bond into which he and Jonathan had entered. (See the note on 1 Sam.20:14-17)  David’s kindly behaviour towards Jonathan’s helpless son in raising him from a lowly state and providing for his every need stands as an illustration of God’s own grace to men in their need (cf. Eph.2:4-7).’
 
And that note on 1 Sam.20:14-17 says: ‘Kindness and LOVE are essential ingredients in the covenant stipulations of the ancient Near East. They speak of a relationship whereby each party treats the other as a full family member, with loyalty, dignity, and devotion.
 
Jonathan continues with recognition of David’s divinely established preeminence (cf. v.8; 18:3-4). The everlasting covenant between Jonathan and David (cf.vs.23, 42) will be remembered by David when he becomes king (cf. 2 Sam.9).’
 
Ah mih people, if only such kindness existed today on a much broader and wider scale, then our world would not be in such an agonizing, antagonistic and resentful mess!
 
But we can definitely improve the situation if we follow these memorable words of Bruh Paul to the Galatians. ‘And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (do not lose heart). As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.’ (Gal.6:9-10)
 
Oh my fellow believers, please, let’s write those words indelibly in our hearts and minds this morning nuh, then faithfully practice them from henceforth. It’s not only our bounden duty, but also wisdom at its zenith. Much LOVE!
 
…it’s so much easier and wiser…to be kind…than to be cruel…

 

 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 June 2014 Acts 4:31

Acts 4:31.     And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Oh Friends, it’s Saturday! Yeh, and you’ll notice that no evil spirits took hold of you yesterday, Friday the 13th. (smile)

That’s because you believe in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit of Christ is immensely stronger than any evil spirit that exists. Our downfall though is when through ignorance and/or foolish pride, we don’t acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit and then follow His lead and guidance.

And yes, we’re going to continue looking at the works of the Holy Spirit after its widespread dispersal on that fateful day of Pentecost. And that’s because my people the Holy Spirit is such an integral part of our Christian lives, and if we don’t understand its use and its immense power we’ll be selling our faith and ourselves short. So please bear with the ole fella as he tries to raise our understanding of the most important element in our lives. (smile)  

Yesterday we saw, where in the face of the multitudes glorifying God, and the lame man healed in their presence through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Jewish rulers had no just cause to punish Peter and John, so they simply threatened them before setting them free.

‘And being let go, they went to their own company (companions), and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine (plot) vain things? The kings of the earth stood up (took their stand), and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ.

For of a truth against thy holy child (servant) Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together. For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel (purpose) determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by (through) the name of thy holy child (servant) Jesus.’ (Acts 4:23-30)

Oh my brethren, how beautiful and heartwarming it is to our most gracious and wonderful God, when believers unite in praise and prayer! Remember, as Jesus so avidly and faithfully promised: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20)

And was He ever amongst that group of believers that day!

Hear the Good Book tell it, through the words of our Bit: ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.’

Oh Friends, what a mighty mover and shaker is the Holy Spirit of Christ! And the scholars remind us: ‘4:31. As with Peter in verse 8, so now the whole body of believers experiences a renewal of the controlling influence or filling of the Spirit. See the note on 2:4.’

That deals with the difference between being baptized with the Holy Spirit, or the first anointing as a new believer, as opposed to the being refilled and refreshed at different stages of our walk of faith. Back in verse 8, Peter was recharged with the Holy Spirit which enabled him to stand up and boldly speak to the Jewish rulers.

And not only were the believers emboldened that day by the Holy Spirit, but their communal living was also vastly enriched. ‘And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught (any) of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices (proceeds) of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is being interpreted, The son of consolation (encouragement), a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.’ (Acts 4:32-37)

Oh my people, how good and how pleasant it is when believers dwell together in unity!

And though we know that kind of communal living won’t work properly in our society, there’s no need, no reason why we can’t be a more caring and considerate community of believers. The problem there is that we allow the world and its ungodly ways to come between us. For despite all the talk we talk, we’re still ruled by the things of the world and not by the things of God.

Yuh see how none of those early believers lacked for anything, and everyone was given as they had need? Hn! In our society though, so many lack and have need, while others have excess that they will not share. We’re always looking for a way to increase. And generally that’s not a bad thing…but at what cost? At what cost to others in our community, and at what cost to our relationships with our families and with our God?

That’s the question we need to ponder today my people; how much is our involvement in the ungodly world destroying our godly nature. Remember, we must be IN the world, but not OF it.

So let’s seriously consider our positions, then, with God’s ever-available and always generous help, try and come up better. For that’s eternal wisdom. Much LOVE!

…for though we be Jew or Gentile…of different creed and race…we all fall under the same all-encompassing LOVE of Jesus…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 June 2014 Acts 4:19

Acts 4:19.      But Peter and John answered and said unto them, whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

And then it was Friday…Friday the 13th to boot!

‘So what,’ shouted the people? ‘Who believes in those old-wives tales any way? We’ll still sing TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday! And thank God the weekend is finally here! No evil forces can stop that. For it’s the Lord’s will and desire! So shout it out loud and proud: TGIF! Thank God is Friday, and the weekend’s here!’

Yeh Friends, sure believers in Jesus don’t worry about the evil forces who are supposed to be in the ascendance on a Friday the 13th. Simply because none of those evil forces can stop God’s time. Jesus has already defeated them all, so they are only ‘flimming and flamming’ now, without any real power at all, just working on our natural fears and anxieties.

So let’s chant our Friday Chant with much energy and enthusiasm, that some will rub off on all of those who hear us. As one harmonious voice 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.’

Good chanting Friends, good chanting! Now let’s go and put it into practice. (smile)

And we’ll continue studying the stuff that the mighty moving of the Holy Spirit wrought at that memorable Pentecost, some two thousand years ago.

Yesterday we saw the apostles, Peter and John, stand up strong and brave to the Jewish leaders, with Peter boldly declaring that the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ was the source of their power. And that Jesus was the only one by whom salvation could be obtained.

Now the Jewish leaders were obviously unhappy with the situation, but what could they do? They had a group of uneducated, lower class men speaking bravely and powerfully to them, and a lame man who had been healed through their instigation, in the sight of countless people.

Those were facts they could not deny. But how were they to handle the delicate situation, without losing face and power; that was their quandary.

So they put Peter and John outside and ‘conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? For that indeed a notable miracle (a remarkable sign) had been done by them is manifest (known) to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly (severely) threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.’ (Acts 4:16-17)

Oh Friends, how the forces of evil are troubled and affrighted by the name of Jesus! So much so, that they try and stop us from speaking His Holy Name. Hn! But they do try in vain!

As the scholars so wisely and rightly declare: ‘4:12. The name of Jesus Christ is the centre of contention (v. 7, 10, 12) and ever will be. Salvation for Jew and Gentile alike is exclusively through the name of Jesus Christ (cf. John 14:6).’ 

Oh yes my fellow believers, you can bring up any other name in the world, in any kind of company, and none will cause as much contention as Jesus’!

Why my people? Because of the inherent power vested in that most remarkable name! It just touches a hidden nerve in our beings; a chord programmed thus by our Creator, at our creation. Else why would a single name cause so much contention, consternation and dissension eh?

Anyway, having made their decision, the Jewish leaders called the apostles back into the room. ‘And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’ (Acts 4:18-20)

Oh mih breddren, what a way Peter has developed into this brave and courageous believer! So that he can now look the Jewish elders in the eye and tell them to get lost. Oh the power of Christ’s Holy Spirit! For it was simply Holy Ghost power that Peter was operating on.

‘So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how (for which) they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was showed (had been performed).’ (Acts 4:21-22)

Oh Friends, I just LOVE it! I just LOVE the way our wonderful God moves in His most mysterious ways, His works to perform! The problem though is whether we are allowing His Holy Spirit to put such courage and confidence in our everyday lives? That is the trillion dollar question my people!

And it’s obvious that as a church, as a body of worshippers in the name of Jesus Christ, we are falling far short of expectations, otherwise our world would not be in such an awful mess, lacking LOVE and kindness, but full of hate and resentment. 

Oh my brethren, it’s time for us to conquer our fears, anxieties, or whatever is keeping us from doing a good job in Jesus’ name. It’s full time we allow His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in all truth and righteousness, so that we can joyfully and fearlessly proclaim His name to all the world, as He desires.

We’ve seen how the Holy Spirit moved in the early believers, and it’s still working the same way today. It’s just that we aren’t making the most of it, although we have more information, freedom and opportunity to do so.

Ah Friends, let’s wake up and smell the sweet perfume of those lovely roses nuh. Let’s see the evil and hateful world for exactly what it is – a stinking cesspool – and come to the great realization that without our best efforts, our world will only become more evil and hateful.

Is that the legacy we want to bequeath to our descendants? I greatly doubt it. So let’s hitch up our breeches, pull up our socks and allow the Spirit of Jesus to work in us as it should nuh… for our children’s sake. That’s wisdom to the nth power! Much LOVE!

…a believer who doesn’t embrace the leading and guiding power of Christ’s Spirit…is no true believer at all…

 

 

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