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…

 

 
 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 December 2013 Matthew 6:25

 

Matthew 6:25.     Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for (do not worry about) your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat (food), and the body more than raiment (clothes)?

Well hello again, you beautiful children of God! What an enormous and exciting privilege to be called a child of God, eh mih people! But do most of us think of our selves in those terms, and if we do, do we truly appreciate that monumental fact?

I’m afraid that the answer to both questions is most likely NO! We neither seriously consider ourselves children of God, nor do we truly appreciate it, otherwise we wouldn’t continue doing some of the abominable things we do. But once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, then we do become heirs of God, along with Jesus, and what better state can there be to live in eh, my fellow believers? NONE WHATSOEVER!

For being a child of the Most High God Jehovah means we’re right at the top of the totem pole, right at the heart of the matter, more privileged than those who refuse to believe. But by the same token my brethren, that elevated status also comes with great responsibility; namely to do the Father’s will and show plenty appreciation for such an undeserved distinction.  

And this is the season for celebrating the greatest gift that was ever bestowed on mankind; the incarnate birth of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Prince of Peace, etc. etc, born to bear and pay for our sins, from the very beginning of time, right through eternity.

Again, do we really show our heartfelt appreciation? And I’m not talking about running around shopping, buying gifts, food and all the other stuff the world expects of us. But whether we thank our heavenly Father, from the very depths of our being, for that great gift of LOVE He so selflessly bestowed on us, simply because He LOVED us and didn’t want to see us end up in the evil tentacles of Lucifer for all eternity, especially since we are His own special creation, created in His likeness.

And that means talking to, and thanking Him personally, as well as in fellowship with other believers. And then doing what Jesus advises in our Bit, which I believe is on its last day, won’t guarantee it though. (smile)

‘Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for (do not worry about) your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat (food), and the body more than raiment (clothes)?

Oh my brethren, when we truly come to God, we need to be like little children, who are totally dependent on their parents, looking to Him for daily guidance and sustenance.

As Jesus says, seeking His kingdom FIRST, getting a spiritual agenda going, before considering  the material things, because that’s the Father’s will. And why wouldn’t we, when Jesus so avidly declares that if we seek and follow the spiritual needs, then the Father will supply our material wants? That sounds absolutely great to me!

But unfortunately too many of God’s supposed children don’t seem to think so and instead foolishly follow the ways of the world, putting the material things way before the spiritual, sometimes even going so far as to completely ignore the things of God. And then we wonder why personally, and as a society, we’re in such dire straits.

Today Friends, we’re going to check out some scripture where other discerning and properly focused children of God share the great promise that Jesus makes in our Bit.

And we’ll begin with some wonderful words of advice from Bruh David, from Psalm 55, where he cries out against deceitful friends. ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit) the righteous to be moved (shaken).’ (Ps.55:22) 

And those are awesome words of truth my people, as so many of us who have followed them, have found out to our great benefit. The problem though is that not enough of us do it.

Then turning to Bruh Paul, who has a point of view on almost every subject. (smile) Here, he’s telling the Philippians about rejoicing in the Lord. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand (is near spiritually, and will be back to judge).

Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:4-7)

Yeh Friends, everything we do, ought to be passed FIRST before our great God! In that way, we’ll always be operating in His will, which is His greatest desire, and can be our greatest accomplishment.

And we’ll close with some more wise words, this time from Peter, words that we all know but don’t sufficiently follow. In the closing chapter of his first epistle, Peter exhorts us to: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet.5:6-7)

Oh Friends, no simpler words exist to convey that rather important message, so if we don’t get it, then it’s definitely our fault. And please note that all the advice we’ve heard from those men of God wasn’t hearsay, but derived from actual personal experience. All of them depended on our heavenly Father for their sustenance, so if they could do it and prosper, then why can’t we eh?

I’ll leave us to answer that question individually before our Maker, and trust that we’ll all let Him talk to our hearts, and thus lead us on the straight and narrow path which takes us directly to His door.

Oh mih Friends, that’s wisdom at its highest! So let’s try and do it nuh. Much LOVE!

…belief…surrender…trust…hope…faith…the 5 essentials of Christianity…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 November 2013 Genesis 22:18

Genesis 22:18.    And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
 
Aye mih people, it’s Friday morning, and I hear you loudly shouting ‘TGIM! Thank God it’s Friday! The weekend is here, and no more work for two big days! Pappy oh! That means it’s party time!’
 
But hold on a minute mih people, that’s the way the world looks at it. True followers of Jesus ought to look at it in a different light though; the light that our Friday Chant extols. So please let’s chant our Friday Chant instead, so that we can bring the right attitude, the correct perspective to the wonderful weekend ahead of us.
 
All together now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’
 
Now that, my Friends and fellow believers is more in keeping with what our response to the weekend ought to be! And the time has come to turn to our Bit, the same one as yesterday: ‘And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.’
 
We saw yesterday where the Lord commanded Abraham to go to the land of Moriah and sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. No doubt Abraham experienced great internal stress, since the Lord’s command deviated substantially from His promise to make him the father of many nations through Isaac.
 
However, on the outside, Abraham remained calm and did what the Lord commanded. And when he was about to slay Isaac, the Lord stopped him, then provided a lamb for the purpose, and in honour of the Lord’s faithfulness, Abraham called the place Jehovah-jireh (the Lord will provide; for He did indeed provide in Abraham’s time of want. (Gen.22:1-14)
 
Now that whole episode makes me wonder what effect it had on young Isaac. How he must have fretted eh, especially after asking his father about the animal to be sacrificed, being told that the Lord would provide one, then having his father bind him upon the altar to use him as the sacrifice. (Gen.22:7-8)
 
The Good Book doesn’t say anything about it, but one way or the other, it must have had a great impact on Isaac, a mere youth at the time. But that unselfish act of Abraham must be considered as one of the greatest acts of faith ever shown by a believer, especially in those first days when the Lord was trying to put His chosen people together.
 
The Lord must also have been greatly moved, for as the Good Book tells it: ‘And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
 
That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed (descendants) as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
 
So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.’ (Gen.22:15-19)
 
Yes Friends, that’s the magnanimous, ever-faithful God that we serve! When we are faithful to obey His commands, especially those real deep, soul searching one, He honours us superbly! You can certainly see why He eventually made Abraham the father of many nations; his faith and trust were exceedingly great!
 
Now here are some relevant thoughts on the situation from the scholars. ’22:1-14. God did tempt Abraham: The word tempt is better rendered as “proved or tested.” God does not tempt anyone with evil (James 1:13), but in certain instances, He does test, try, or prove us (James 1:2; 1 Pet 1:6-7). Therefore we must assume that the command to sacrifice Isaac was not evil. God knew what He would do in the end. He had no intention to permit the murder of Isaac.
 
The reason God prohibited the Israelites from following the example of the Gentiles who offered their own children as sacrifices to their gods (Deut.12:31) was that such monstrous deeds were in contradiction to the character of the true God. Abraham’s faith was being tried. This was the entire purpose of the episode.
 
Moriah was in the general area that included the hills on which Solomon later built his temple in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 3:1) The journey was about 50 miles. God will provide is a phrase that would be immortalized in the name of the place in verse 14.
 
Now I know that thou fearest God indicates that God was certain that Abraham feared (reverenced) Him more than anyone else, since he was willing to offer Him his son. So God provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac. (cf. John 1:19)’  
 
Ah my brethren, our great God does move in mysterious ways, but He’s never reneged, or will He ever renege on any of His promises! That’s the point that we’re trying to make.
 
He promised Noah a rainbow as a token of His covenant, and even to this day, thousands of years later, the beautiful rainbow of God’s promise still graces our skies every so often.
 
Likewise Abraham, though he experienced a lot of negatives on his journey of faith in and for God, today, most of the world, Jews, Christians and Muslims are all considered descendants of Abraham through Isaac, Jesus and Ishmael respectively. 
 
Wow! The Lord indeed kept His awesome promise, making him a father of many nations, and his heritage known around the world. That just goes to show my people that we can faithfully trust the God of Noah and Abraham to keep His promises to all and sundry, without any exceptions.
 
So Friends, if the Lord is talking to you today, please listen closely, then do as he asks. You’ll cause yourself less problems in the long run, for if He really wants you, He’ll eventually get you, the hard way. I can tell you that from personal experience.
 
So whenever he comes a-calling, just say, ‘Yes Lord! How high Lord?’ And then jump to it. That’s wisdom at its zenith. Much LOVE!
 
…as per Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley)…the wisest move we can ever make…is simply to obey God…and leave all the consequences to Him… 
 
P.S. Yes Friends, I know it’s a tad long, but I just wanted to finish the messages on Abraham’s promise today. So please bear with the ole fella, since it’s all for your enlightenment and edification. (smile) Much LOVE!
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 November 2013 Genesis 17:1-2

Genesis 17:1-2.    And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God (El Shaddai); walk before me, and be thou perfect (blameless). And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
 
Oh Friends, is Sunday morning! Hear them church bells ringing nuh! Is we deh calling yes, saying: Come and worship, praise and thank Him; Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour; our Prince of Peace; our Emmanuel; the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, to whom every knee shall one day bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord indeed, to the glory of God the Father! 
 
What an awesome, divine, undeniable, indisputable truth my people! And all God’s children shouted ‘Praise the Lord!’
 
And continuing on with God’s promises to Abram, we see from our Bit, that thirteen years after Ishmael is born to Hagar, Sarai’s Egyptian maid, the Lord comes back to Abram with the promise of giving him a multitude of descendants. ‘And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God (El Shaddai); walk before me, and be thou perfect (blameless). And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.’
 
Ah Friends, I wonder what went through Abram’s mind eh? Did he think thoughts like: ‘But Lord you promised me that some twenty three years ago, and still nothing has happened. I only have this child by Hagar which doesn’t seem to fit your plans. How long am I supposed to wait eh? Sarai and I are getting older and closer to death everyday.’
 
The important point here though my fellow believers is that despite what Abram felt or thought, his response to God’s promises was certainly respectful and reverential. The Good Book describes it thus: ‘And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many (a multitude of) nations. Neither (no longer) shall thy name any more be called Abram (High, Exalted Father), but thy name shall be Abraham (Father of a multitude); for a father of many nations have I made thee.
 
And I will make thee exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. and I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed (descendants) after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. and I will give unto thee, and to thy seed, the land wherein thou art a stranger (of your sojourning), all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’ (Gen.17:3-8)
 
Oh Friends, what a weighty set of promises to lay on a hundred year old man eh! Now to us it might seem like a lot, but back in those day men lived for hundreds of years and continued fathering children. (Gen.11:10-32) Even Abraham’s father, Terah must have sired him around age 130, since Abram was 75 when he left home and Terah died at 205 years old. (Gen.11:32)
 
So here’s poor Abram, God has piled up the promises: He’s changed his name from Abram to Abraham. All sorts of royalty will come from him, and the land of Canaan would belong to his descendants in perpetuity, and El Shaddai will be their God. Abraham’s mind must have been spinning. But God wasn’t done, He finally adds the clincher.
 
‘And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in (throughout) their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token (sign) of the covenant betwixt me and thou.’ (Gen.17:9-11)
 
Ah Friends, the stakes were now getting higher. As a sign of the covenant with God, Abraham, his male descendants and all other males born or dwelling in their community had to be circumcised. At eight days old every male child had to be circumcised. And anyone who wasn’t circumcised would be considered cut off from God’s people, a breaker of the holy covenant. (Gen.17:12-14)
 
Hear how the scholars put it: ’17:9-14. Abraham’s part in the covenant-making process was circumcision, which God established as a sign of the covenant to indicate that his offspring were uniquely dedicated to God. (Ex. 4:24-26; Rom. 4:11). A Hebrew who failed to observe this rite would be cut off from the covenant community. Circumcision was to serve as an outward sign of inward dedication to God. In itself it (circumcision) was neither efficacious, nor unique to Israel.’ 
 
Now Friends, that wasn’t all that God laid on Abraham that day nuh: ‘And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah (Princess) shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of (by) her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 
 
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
 
And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
 
And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.’ (Gen.17:15-22)
 
Oh my brethren, can you imagine your reaction to God laying all of that on you at one time? Mama Mia! But such was the strength and faithfulness of Abraham, that although he laughed and doubted in his heart that Sarah would eventually produce a son, nevertheless after the Lord left him, he took all the males in his household, including Isaac and himself, and they were circumcised according to the sign which God, declared would be the sealing of the covenant. That’s surely indicates great faith and trust.
 
Anyway Friends, enough for today. Let’s read, mark, ponder and inwardly digest what we’ve read and heard, because it’s important that we know where and how our faith came about.
 
Much LOVE!…if we don’t know where we’re coming from…where our roots lie…then how can we know where we’re going…what kind of fruit we shall bear…