Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 October 2014 1 Corinthians 9:24

1 Corinthians 9:24.   Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain.

Wednesday…oh Wednesday…you’re my ‘renewer’…my lifeline…!

Yes Friends, it’s a big Wednesday morning! That means we’re halfway home; we have won the first two rounds of the workweek battle… Glory Hallelujah!

So please don’t give up now. Don’t even think about letting go! Instead, it’s time for us to take stock, like a marathon runner, to catch our second wind, and put on a brilliant dash to the finish line that’s Friday! And all God’s people said a loud and hearty ‘Amen!’

Ah mih breddren, we need to be very thankful that we’ve been allowed to see another sunrise, because it means God’s plan for our lives isn’t over as yet. He still has a purpose for us to complete, His plan is still in full swing since we haven’t yet accomplished what He’s set forward for us to accomplish.

Therefore, we need to be trusting, faithful, energetic, courageous, bold and confident in the promises of our magnificent and magnanimous God, for there’s NO other like Him in this great universe!  

As our Bit so wisely reminds us: ‘Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.’

Yes Friends, we need to run our race of life with plenty vim and vigour, so that we may obtain that awesome victory which awaits us at the end.

And the scholars give us some background info into what Bruh Paul was referring to. ‘9:24. Paul draws on a scene familiar to his Corinthian readers in order to drive home his point. The Isthmian Games were an athletic event known to all his readers.

They were held on alternate summers in the vicinity of Corinth. It was an event not to be missed by anyone of importance in all parts of Greece. As a national institution, it was as familiar to his readers as modern football to most Americans.’

Oh mih people, the race of life is never an easy one. In the first place it’s often a marathon-like adventure, spread over a long period of time, and certainly strewn with all sorts of pitfalls, pratfalls, options of different paths and untold kinds of obstruction along the way, stuff that wants to discourage, depress and deflate us and get us to quit in mid-stream.

But please remember that that awful word ‘quit,’ doesn’t exist in a believer’s vocabulary. And besides, we have the antidote for that rotten, wearisome word right at hand, as our great God and Guide has caused it be so eloquently written in our earthly Guidebook, the Bible!

‘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.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher (originator and 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. For consider him that endured such contradiction (hostility) of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint (discouraged) in your minds (souls).’ (Heb.12:1-3)

Yes my people, we have to buckle down now and do what is necessary to run the race of life with excellence and finish with style, as Jesus desires of us. And at those times when we falter or stumble, as we all will do, we need to look to our supreme champion, Jesus Christ, for guidance and strength, for He is also our most worthy example of successfully running this earthly race.

And as we just read, He is indeed ‘the author and finisher of our faith.’ He began our faith by running His earthly race with outstanding conviction and sense of purpose, combined with loads of perseverance and endurance. As the scholars declare: ‘He has already blazed the trail and finished the course.’

The author of Hebrews also boosts our confidence earlier on as he tells us: ‘Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.’ (Heb.5:8-10)

And though we will never have all the parts that He possessed, per His being the incarnate Son of God, we can nonetheless rest assured that He WILL enable us to run our race with the same winning qualities and meet us at the finish line with a radiant smile, a big bear hug, a warm kiss, and sincere words of…

‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ (Matt.25:21)

Now NOTHING will ever surpass that glorious moment my fellow believers!

So, starting today, right now, let’s get out there and run our race of life with power and confidence nuh, so that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be magnified and glorified, as He so richly and justly deserves! That’s the wisdom of Almighty God! Much LOVE!

…to run…to run…and yet to run…even when the spirit seems to be tiring and wants to stop…by looking unto Jesus…the author and finisher of our faith…our supreme champion…

 

 
 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 June 2013 Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11:1:    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
 
Oh Friends, another day is in the offing! I know that many of them seem mundane, same old, same old, but that’s just another one of Lucifer’s lies, to make us lose our joy in Jesus by seeing a brand new day.
 
So don’t listen to his lies, for every day is brand, spanking new, with different stuff involved, and as we all know, each is chocked full with mercies and blessings, manna for God’s people. So how can it not be fresh and exciting eh?
 
Therefore my brethren, let’s all rejoice and be glad in it, keep our spirits up, because our wonderful God has lots of new stuff planned for us today! Rely on, rest assured in His promises that He will never leave nor forsake you; that whatever He brings you to, He will bring you through, and that He will work out all things for your good eventually.
 
Wow! What a plethora of promises! And all God’s people shouted a loud, appreciative, heartfelt, ‘Praise the Lord! Amen!’
 
And I want to tease and test us here with a quote from one of my old devotionals, attributed to Bertolt Brecht, (1898-1956) the famous German poet and playwright, which says: ‘Never believe in faith, see for yourself! What you yourself don’t learn, you don’t know.’
 
Now at first reading that seems totally at odds with our Christian belief, which places great emphasis on faith. But when you look at it from another perspective, the learning aspect makes sense, because the quote isn’t panning faith, but instead extolling learning.
 
And the fact is, that our faith can only grow, if and when we learn about Christ and His requirements. No wonder we mature more perfectly in Christ when we learn the lessons of life for ourselves. People can tell us useful and important stuff, as well as we can learn from their examples, but the greatest learning tool, the greatest teacher was, is, and always will be personal experience!
 
And why is that eh? Simply because we oftimes don’t believe until we see, feel and/or experience stuff personally. That’s just the nature of the human animal. 
 
And as a quote at the end of the devotional so wisely declares: ‘Learning strengthens my faith – in my Higher Power, in others, and in myself. I can use that greater faith to enhance and strengthen the quality of my life.’ 
 
And that’s gospel Friends! In this life we should never stop learning, for the more we learn, the more adept and mature we become as regards life. That is what keeps us healthy, wealthy and wise! (smile) 
 
Now that brings us to our Bit; one of the famous and well known verses in the Good Book. ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’
 
Ah mih people, what a perfect play on words! But before we get into what they actually mean, let’s note that the major words in there are ‘hoped for.’ So faith is first of all based on hope. If we don’t have hope, we cannot have faith.
 
Now let’s see what Bruh Paul says about hope in his letter to the church at Rome. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then we do with patience (perseverance) (eagerly) wait for it.’ (Rom.8:24-25)
 
Yes Friends, that tells us that faith is definitely based on, and involves things that we cannot see, because if we can see them, why hope for them eh? But we can also note that once we have faith or trust in something or someone, and are hoping for stuff based on that faith or trust, once that hope comes to pass, then our faith is built, raised to another level, and it gets a little stronger with the positive realization of each expectation of hope.
 
By the same token, if we don’t see the realizations of our hope, if they turn out negatively, then our faith dies a little each time. So the long and short of the story is that if we don’t have faith, then we can’t look forward to anything with eager patience.
 
But Glory Hallelujah, when we do have faith, when we acquire it, for it must be acquired, then we become more assured, more confident, absolutely believing that having faith was the right thing to do!
 
Now to pull all of this together, let’s hear some comments from the scholars’. ‘Verse 1 (our Bit), is not so much a definition of what faith is, as it is a description of what faith does (cf. 11:6). Two truths concerning its activity are stated here.
 
First, faith provides substance (Gr. hypostasis). Though broad in its usage, this Greek word normally has the meaning of “assurance” in the New Testament (cf. 3:14; 2 Cor.9:4; 11:17)  and this seems to be the best sense here.
 
Second, faith provides evidence (Gr. elegchos). It is evidence in the sense of proof that results in convictions. The difference between assurance and evidence would be minimal were it not for the phrase qualifying each: of things hoped for and of things not seen.
 
The first involves future hope; the second involves present realities that are unseen. The first includes the hope of the resurrection, the return of Christ, and the glorification of the saints. The second involves unseen realities, such as the forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice and the present intercession of Christ in heaven. Hope is faith relating to the future; conviction is faith relating to the present.’
 
Ah mih people, I do hope (smile) that it’s not all too confusing, and that you glean some useful understanding about faith and hope, how they interact and all that they stand for, because it’s very important to our Christian beliefs.
 
But as we said at the beginning, we need to keep learning, for that’s the only way we’ll mature. So please keep on reading the Good Book, keep on learning, keep on hoping and having faith in Jesus Christ, for all your realizations will turn out positively. Much LOVE!
 
…the good things about faith and hope are…they apply both to the present and the future…as well as tangible and intangible stuff…