Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 July 2016 Luke 8:50

Luke 8:50.    But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

‘Oh Lord we give you praise and thanks, honour and glory, because through your LOVE, your grace and mercy, you sacrificed your only begotten Son, so that we worthless sinners could be saved, every single one. Thank you Lord for your forgiveness.  

From the very bottom of our hearts, we sincerely thank you for Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, and we bless and revere your holy name. We promise to be always faithful and obedient to your word, so that one day we can dwell securely and joyfully with you in heaven. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!’ 

Oh friends that’s just a li’l ditty I concocted on the spur of the moment to begin our daily meditations. It’s not spectacular, but it does contain all the important and relevant elements of our faith and hopefully it will bring our focus to rest on Almighty God, our Creator and Provider as we try to build our faith, encourage each other and further the good news, the wonderful gospel of Christ.  

And to help us do that, check out these two quotes from our friend Anselm, who always aspires to inspire us. And the first quote provocatively proclaims: ‘DON’T stop believing…  Every day we get up, we will have something to deal with. But we must not let these things stop us from believing in God, ourselves and others. Our belief (or faith) in good is the fuel that will keep us going. In spite of the daily challenges, there is still so much good to believe in, to experience and to tell.’ 

And isn’t that the indisputable truth my people? It certainly is! A couple things we believers cannot stop doing is believing in good, in God, and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for if we do, we’ll be completely lost and most likely captured by the evil enemy Lucifer and end up in Hades with him. And believe me, that won’t be a very pleasant situation. 

And the second quote says: ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.’ Those are more words of truth my brethren! 

Now technically speaking we all can’t lead, since leading inherently supposes followers, but all Christians ought to have some leadership tendencies in them. As Anselm says, we ought to have actions that inspire others to dream, to learn, to stand strong and faithful, to rise up to the level God has planned for them. That’s what our faith is all about! 

And to back up our contentions, let’s turn to our rather appropriate Bit. ‘But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.’ 

That’s what Jesus said to Jairus, a ruler in the synagogue, whose daughter He was on the way to heal, but then Jairus’ servants brought news of her death and the father slumped in grief. Yes friends, two simple but powerful and overwhelming statements: ‘be not afraid, only believe.’ That’s how Mark records it. (Mark 6:36)  

And they are not very easy to do when negative circumstances come against us, like in Jairus’ position, but we need to just keep on believing my people, for its ‘a mark of our Christian maturity when we can do it successfully. Remember the words ‘give up,’ do not exist in our vocabulary. 

And note too, that while Jesus was on His way to Jairus’ house, a woman with an issue of blood for twelve years, made her way through the enormous crowd believing that if she could just touch His garments she would be healed. And she was too. So much so that Jesus looked around and declared: ‘Who touched me?’ 

The disciples were amazed that within the throng of people Jesus would ask such a question. ‘And Jesus said, somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue (power) is gone out of me.’ (Luke 8:46) 

Finally the woman came to Jesus and acknowledged that she was the one who had purposely touched Him and was immediately healed. ‘And he said unto her, Daughter be of good comfort (cheer): thy faith hath made the whole (well) go in peace.’ (Luke 8:48) 

And the scholars offer this explanation. ‘8:48. The woman likely had superstitious notions about how she had been healed, but Jesus clarifies what took place.’ It was all because of her strong belief, her unshakeable faith! So friends, a lot of what happens to us also depends on our faith and the strength of our belief in Jesus Christ.  

Now let’s look at another scenario where Jesus again invokes the power of belief. This time a father brought his epileptic son to the disciples, but they were unable to heal him. 

‘Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless (unbelieving) and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer (bear with) you? bring him hither. And Jesus rebuked the devil (demon); and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 

Then came the disciples to Jesus apart (privately), and said, Why could we not cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove (move); and nothing shall be impossible to you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.’ (Matt:17:17-21) 

So friends, although Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of belief, of not strong enough faith, He eventually acknowledges that prayer and fasting are important elements in faith works. 

And we’ll end with a quick explanation from the scholars. ‘17:15-23. As a grain of mustard seed: This seemingly impossible obstacle or difficulty stands in the way. Since Christ alone is the glorified Saviour, the disciples’ ability to work depends totally upon His empowerment.’  

That means we also need His empowerment my believing brethren; the only difference is that we now have His Holy Spirit dwelling with us and back then they had Jesus in person. Ah mih people, yuh see the power that is possible when we believe. We shouldn’t have to be told to believe, but some of us still need it. So please believe! (smile) Much LOVE!

…only believe…only believe…all things are possible…if you’ll only believe…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 July 2016 John 6:48‏‏‏

John 6:48.    I am that bread of life.

HAPPY  CANADA  DAY !

Happy 149th Birthday Canada! May the Lord bless and keep you strong and godly that you might see another 149 birthdays! Amen! 

And though you may have recently declined in some respects, you are still the best big country in the world! And I believe that with my whole heart. I don’t want to live in any other big country. I have spent more than half of my life here, and obviously there have been some rough times, like there are everywhere, but you’ve never mistreated me. 

And the truth is, if you can make it in the northern climes, you can make it anywhere in the world. It hardens and toughens you up, gives you belly and backbone, which so many of us sadly lack in these trying times. 

And without a doubt, the populace, at least the working populace is overjoyed that today is Friday and also a holiday, so there’s been much shouting and carrying on re ‘TGIF! Thank God for Friday and this long weekend! The partying will be terrific! Lots of food and drink! Thank God for Fridays and the weekends yes!’ 

Ah Lord eh! (smile) Now to help us correct the overblown idea of the weekend being the time for excessive partying, let’s chant our Friday Chant, which offers us a much better perspective. 

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.’ 

Yes friends, our lives would be much richer if we’d use that template for our weekend behaviour. Oh, and by the way, I’d be rather remiss if I didn’t throw in Granny’s wise advice for this long weekend. ‘Sonny boy, ah beg yuh, please, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business!’ 

And better advice than that could not be given my people, for ole Lucifer is always sneakily trawling around, seeking a soft or unprotected spot in our spiritual armour to jump in and cause havoc. So please let’s not give him any chances during our celebrations this weekend nuh. 

And if you think things will be humming up here this weekend, just think about what the U.S. will be like as they celebrate their 4th of July Independence Day on Monday. Mama yo! The whole of North America will be jumping this weekend, and Beelzebub and his evil cronies will certainly be busy too! 

But if we just keep our wits about us, we’ll be fine, since the enemy has no power over believers in Jesus Christ unless we allow him to. 

Now let’s address our Bit; the same one of the past couple days. ‘I am that bread of life.’ 

Christ while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, had been trying to explain to His listeners who He was and His purpose here on earth. But they were most likely more concerned with physical bread to fill their stomachs than the spiritual kind that Jesus was referring to. 

Just before our Bit, He declares unto them: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’ (John 6:47-51) 

What a wonderful invitation and promise my people! Do you want to live forever? Then eat the bread of eternal life that Jesus offers! It’s that simple. 

Today it might be for us, because we know the scriptures, but back then it was a tough thing for the people to imagine much less understand. And the Good Book tells us: ‘The Jews therefore strove (disputed) among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ (John 6:52) They didn’t realize that Jesus was speaking figuratively, rather than literally. 

‘Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat (food) indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by (because of) me. This is that bread that came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.’ (John 6:53-58) 

Now imagine talking about eating your flesh and drinking your blood to any group of people at all, much less one forbidden to drink blood? (Lev.7:26-27) Obviously they were stunned and couldn’t fathom His speech. 

But friends, today, we know that Jesus was talking figuratively, meaning the Eucharist that we now celebrate. The bread represents His flesh and the wine His blood. So technically speaking, we have no excuses for not living forever, having eternal life, if we so desire. Unfortunately, many of us refuse it, but the wise choose it, because it is the word of God, the truth. 

Friends, I do hope that you are amongst that group of wise people who chose Jesus’ offer of eternal life, for that is the wisdom of all wisdom! Much LOVE!

…to refuse the Son of man’s offer of eternal life…is like committing suicide…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 June 2014 Acts 14:22

Acts 14:22.    Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

‘Morning Neighbuh, morning! May the great and wonderful God of our fathers be with you this new day, showering you with His ever-flowing mercy and abundant blessings, while keeping you and yours safe from harm.’
 
And all God’s people declared a loud and grateful ‘Praise the Lord! Amen.’
 
Oh Friends, I guess I’ll never be a good weather forecaster, because I said that yesterday was going to be a rainy day Tuesday. Hn! But which rain fell eh? None! For by the time the sun rose the rain abated, and it turned out to be a hot, windy day Tuesday instead. I even had to turn on the A/C. Note, just to see if it was working after the long, harsh winter it endured. (smile)
 
What a life eh! A couple weeks ago we badly wanted heat, but now that we’re getting some of the natural stuff, we’re already crying out for cooler weather. Chuh! I guess though that that’s the nature of the human animal – when we have one thing we want something else, and vice versa.
 
But my people, I’m here to tell us that this earthly life is not a bed of roses… or rather, it is a bed of roses! That’s because one of the most beautiful of all God’s creation, the rose, grows at the end of a long, thorn riddled stalk, and to get to one, you have to carefully navigate the thorns on its stem.
 
Life is just like that my brethren. To get to the top of the ladder, or to the most beautiful parts of life, you have to carefully navigate through thorny paths, covered with brambles and all sorts of other obstruction. There is no clear, unobstructed path to our glorious destination of heaven and eternal life with Jesus Christ.
 
As our Bit tells it, in the immortal words of Bruh Paul to his protégé Timothy: ‘Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.’
 
And that’s no lie Friends, for all sorts of obstacles and stumbling blocks will crop up in a believer’s life, and it’s only with God’s help are we able to successfully navigate them. And we’re going to end this series of messages with a couple of scriptures pertaining to both the first and last parts of our Bit.
 
As to the first part; ‘Confirming (strengthening) the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith,’ let’s look at Acts 11, regarding the church in Antioch, where believers were first referred to as Christians.
 
After Stephen was stoned to death in Jerusalem, the disciples were scattered all over, teaching the gospel, but to Jews only. However, some of them, when they came to Antioch, began preaching the Lord Jesus also to the Gentiles.
 
The Good Book tells us: ‘And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings (news) of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
 
Who, when he came and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted (encouraged) them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto (continue with) the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.’ (Acts 11:21-24)
 
Yeh Friends, we all need help and encouragement to keep on keeping on in our walk of faith, because it is not an easy row to hoe. And that fact is borne out later on when Barnabas brings Bruh Paul back to Antioch, where envious Jews did not want the gospel taught to the Gentiles.
 
‘And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought (begged) that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism) followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.’ (Acts 13:42-42)
 
But the opposition never ceased. ‘And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against (opposed) those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
 
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed (grew) bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you (reject it), and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
 
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
 
But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable (prominent) women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts (region). But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.’(Acts 13:44-52)
 
Glory be! Ah mih people, what a beautiful example of when opposition comes against us, that we nonetheless stand strong in preaching the Word, and we will be strengthened and filled with the joy of the Lord and His Holy Spirit! That’s because the Word contains power, the greatest power on earth!
 
But jealousy and envy can move us to do evil, if we’re not very careful. The Jews at first didn’t want to hear about Jesus, and then they didn’t want the Gentiles to hear about Him either, so they stirred up false info to the powers that be, and had them run Barnabas and Bruh Paul out of town.
 
And unfortunately many Christians are behaving the same way, though not through jealousy, but through apathy, fear and simply not caring enough to share the good news of the gospel with others. Remember though my people, that that’s our Great Commission; to spread the good news of Jesus all over the globe. (Matt.28:19-20)
 
But it wasn’t easy back in those first days, and it certainly isn’t easy either in these last days. But with perseverance, strong faith, trust and surrender to our helpful and ever-LOVING God, we CAN, and we WILL proselytize the ENTIRE WORLD, just as Jesus commanded.
 
Oh Friends, I got so caught up in the first part of our Bit, (smile) that I went on longer than I expected. So like we’ll just have to leave the other stuff till tomorrow, God in favour.
 
Till then, please stand strong in the faith, and fearlessly and unashamedly spread the good news of Jesus to all and sundry, because that is indeed wisdom of the highest order! Much LOVE!
 
…in the world ye shall have tribulation…but be of good cheer…I have overcome the world…  (John 16:33)