Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 March 2009 Ecclesiastes 11:5‏

Ecclesiastes 11:5    As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
 
And that my Friends is the ever-living truth! I stand before you as a perfect testimony to that, for if anyone had told me at the beginning of 2007 that I’d be writing a daily Blog based on the Bible and its practical application to our lives, I would have laughed them out of town, just like I laughed, not that hard though, when the Lord broached the idea. Obviously I had excuses, and in my opinion, good ones too. I didn’t know the Good Book well enough; I didn’t have the time; there were so many other things on my plate; and in any case not many people would be interested. But as the Good Book teaches us to do, the Lord persevered with me, that’s putting it nicely. He simply kept bringing it up, in that nudge, nudge, wink, wink manner He so often employs, which tires you out and gradually breaks down your resistance. Eventually I had no choice but to capitulate, as He seemed quite serious about the idea. Now, two years later, I certainly know the scriptures better than I did then. I’ve found the time, or made it. And sufficient people are genuinely interested to make it worthwhile. Yes Friends, March 2007 was when we began this labour of LOVE; for that’s what it has become, and thankfully we’re still going strong. But all the praise and glory for that goes to the Most High, for He’s the one who’s directed my steps all the way. He originated the idea and He gave me the wherewithal to accomplish it, so when I say that He doesn’t ask you to do anything without giving you the necessary tools, I’m talking from experience. But enough back patting, (smile) it’s only been two years, a mere glimmer in the Lord’s eyes. Now if we can keep this up until I’ve attained my allotted time of three score and ten, without missing a single day, then that would be something to celebrate. Wow! But let’s leave that alone yes, before the Lord picks it up and runs with it. (smile) But then again, I won’t be surprised if it wasn’t Him who just sowed that seed for thought. But like the spirit, the wind, we never know where He’s coming from, or going. Jesus emphasized this to Nicodemus, one of the Jewish leaders. ‘The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the spirit.’ (John 3:8) Yes my people, God uses His Spirit that dwells in us to guide and direct our footsteps. ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.’ (Zech.4:6) Where and how we never know, just like we have no idea ‘how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child.’ As Bruh David declared; ‘For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.’  (Ps.139:13) That’s an indisputable fact Friends! And though we don’t know exactly how the Lord formed our inward parts and weaved us in our mother’s wombs, we’re sure He did it, which leads Bruh David to extol His Holy Name. ‘I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.’ (Ps.139:14) So since we don’t really know or understand the complexities of our God, the Teacher is saying we should play it safe and be charitable; cast our bread upon the waters. Yes, we’re still in Ecclesiastes 11 that deals with charity; the broad meaning; that of of LOVE, kindness, generosity, truth and goodwill. And as such, we should ‘Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth…’ for ‘He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap…In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.’  (Eccl.11: 2,4,6) We don’t know what specific plans the Lord has for us individually, but His basic blueprint for all our lives is to spread our largesse; LOVE, money, kindness, time, wisdom, mercy, forgiveness, to as many as need it. That’s how our entire lives should be lived, since we don’t know which seed we plant will prosper; it’s possible for all of them to do so. But know for a fact, that when we plant good seeds, the Lord will rewards us, in His own way and time. We just need to sow those seeds, nurture them as best we can, then wait patiently to see what God has in mind for us. It could be something you like or even dislike. Or like me, never contemplated and figure you can’t do. And since hindsight is 20:20 vision, don’t be surprised when you look back and realize He was actually preparing you for that role all along. I see it in myself. About eight or ten years ago, I began going back to church regularly. I chuckled at all the religious programmes my mother watched; until one by one, don’t ask me how, I ended up watching most of those same ones. Then, when she had eye surgery, about four years ago, I volunteered to read her prayers for her. And wonder of wonders, that hasn’t stopped yet, although she can see to read most of them. Then He brought me to this Scrip-Bit thing. Oh mih people, our God does really move in mysterious, marvellous and wonderful ways yes! I am living proof! And I end up chuckling here too, for although I’m not sure what I wanted to write, I know it wasn’t this, or this much. So there He goes again. Till next time then mih Friends, the Good Lord willing; Much LOVE!….an’ remember…man plans…but God directs his movements…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 March 2009 Ecclesiastes 11:1‏

Ecclesiastes 11:1    Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
 
Once again my Friends, I have to give thanks and praise to our God for directing me to Today’s Bit. It was even easier today. I guess He felt I deserved a bligh. (smile) I just opened the Good Book, and there it was staring me in the face. ‘Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.’ More words of wisdom from the Preacher, the Teacher, maybe Cousin Sol, for there’s controversy amongst those learned folk, the scholars, about the Book’s authorship. But whoever penned them, they are indeed wise words. And what do they mean? Chap.11 of Ecclesiastes deals basically with charity; charitable works and the uncertainty of human labour. But though we don’t understand or can’t comprehend all the machinations of our omnipotent, omniscient God, or continually predict success, we still need to get involved, to immerse ourselves in the activities of life, and trust God to bring about good results. As Charles Stanley is wont to say, ‘Obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.’ That’s why we need to cast our bread upon the waters; the Lord says so. We have to get involved, do good works, give to those in need, help those who need help. In other words, spread the resources of which the Lord has made us stewards, far and wide, to the benefit of mankind, and the greater awareness of God’s kingdom, for that’s our basic purpose here on earth; to serve, to help, and to spread the Word. Isaiah says it thus: ‘Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.’ (Isa.32:20) Yes my people, as true followers of Christ, it’s incumbent on us to do good works when and where we can. Remember, Jesus said He came to serve. ‘But I am among you as he that serveth.’ (Luke 22:27) And if we’re to be mirror images of Him, we too need to learn to serve. He also said, ‘If any man serve me, him will my Father honour.’ (John 12:26) And when we do like Jesus and cast our bread upon the waters, what happens? The wise Teacher says; ‘for thou shalt find it after many days.’ Oh Friends, when we are charitable and helpful, in God’s time, we are well rewarded. That’s a veritable fact that can be found throughout the Bible. Bruh David declared: ‘He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.’ (Ps.112:9) Cousin Sol puts it this way in Proverbs: ‘He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.’ (Prov.19:17) And if you don’t believe Bruh David or Cousin Sol, then listen to the Lord Jesus: ‘And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.’ (Mat.10:42) Meaning that God Himself will reward even the smallest service done to the most insignificant of Jesus’ servants. I want us to pay particular attention though to two things, my Friends. The first is the condition of our hearts in the giving and charitable endeavours. When Moses talks about lending to the poor in Deuteronomy, he specifically cites; ‘Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shalt not be grieved when thou givest into him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand to.’ (Deut.15:10) And Bruh Paul expands on this. ‘Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for god LOVETH a cheerful giver.’ (2 Cor. 9:7) That means we shouldn’t give just because it’s fashionable, or looks good, or it might bring rewards, but because there’s a right spirit in us that makes us genuinely want to give. It’s not the money or the service that’s important, but the willingness and sincere desire to be a part of the good deed. It’s serious, but still cheerful and uplifting. Now the second point I want us to note people, is that neither Bruh David nor Bruh Paul is suggesting what’s currently known as ‘prosperity theology;’ that all generous believers will be financially wealthy. All they are saying is that the financial needs of the generous believer will be met, so that he can continue giving, and also that spiritually, he will increase and mature. Please don’t understand it to mean that because you give generously you will automatically become wealthy, as some people are falsely teaching, using it to dupe believers into making generous donations, some they can’t even afford. It’s possible, as all things are with our God, but it certainly won’t happen every time. As Bruh Paul explains: ‘And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.’ (2 Cor.9:8) The most significant part of that statement is ‘always having all sufficiency in all things.’ You might not be wealthy, but you certainly won’t want for anything. My Friends, it’s a very important distinction to understand, so you won’t be taken in by false teachers. We’ll close with some more appropriate words from Bruh Paul: ‘And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.’ (Gal.6:9-10) Oh my people, our world desperately needs a lot of that right now to put it back on an even keel. So let’s cheerfully give as much as we can, of our resources, and also of ourselves. Much LOVE!…Jesus expects us…to do good…from a right heart…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 March 2009 Proverbs 21:21‏

Proverbs 21:21    He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness and honour.
 
Oh my Friends, more words of wisdom from Cousin Sol today. It seems the Most High believes we’re in dire need of wise words, cause in His own inimitable way, He’s led me to these last two Bits. I just happened to be scanning  through Proverbs when my eyes fell on the verses and immediately something deep inside said, ‘that’s today’s topic.’ And since I’m such an obedient person, (smile) I just do as the Spirit says. That’s only because I’ve learned the hard way, from wasting time trying to write about one thing, when the Spirit’s leading me to something else. But that just seems to be human nature, we can’t learn anything easily. So what does Sol mean by ‘He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness and honour?’ Exactly what he says! If we always seek to do the right thing and show mercy and kindness to others, then we’ll experience a rich life; righteousness will come flowing back to us, others will treat us right, and eventually we’ll be appreciated and honoured, both by God and man. Oh my people, as with everything godly, it all comes right back to the true state of our hearts; what we sow, we shall reap. It’s the immutable, unchanging law of God. If your hearts is good, most likely you’ll sow goodness and reap the same. Likewise, if your heart’s consumed by hate and spite; those are the things you’ll sow and surely reap. Remember Jesus said what comes out of a man defiles him, not what goes in. (Mark 7:15) And in the Sermon on the Mount, in the Beatitudes, those attributes Jesus said would be blessed and rewarded by God, we find one closely associated with Sol’s words. ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.’ (Mat.5:6) Oh what an extraordinary promise my Friends! Those of us who are poor and empty in spirit, and recognize this spiritual poverty, then sincerely seek to quench that need, that hunger and thirst for it, a satisfaction that can only come from God, eventually our hunger and thirst will be completely satisfied. We’ll be satiated with the righteousness we seek. As the Psalmist proclaimed: ‘He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.’ (Ps.107:9) Now isn’t that a most wonderful and excellent God we serve my people? Of course! And all God’s people sang lustily; ‘Praise Him, Praise Him, Glory Hallelujah! He is LOVE! Yes! He is LOVE!’ Oh my brethren, our God is so good to us that it…it just boggles the ordinary human mind, we can’t comprehend why He does so much for a set of ungrateful, disobedient, sinful humans. Remember though that His comprehension and His ways are so much higher than ours. That’s why He’s God, and we are His creations, which leads Him to care for us and LOVE us unconditionally. Just listen to Isaiah declaring the Lord’s free offer of mercy to all. ‘Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.’ (Is.55:1) My Friends, God’s gift of salvation is free to all who are willing to accept it. And where else can you buy food and drink without money eh? Nowhere else mih people, but under the kind, ever-LOVING canopy of the Most High God Jehovah! Then why do so many of us refuse this wonderful free gift eh? Are we afraid, ashamed, or burdened by some other foolish, prideful emotion? Here is Isaiah again, talking about the punishment of the rebellious and the rewards of God’s people. ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed.’ (Isa.65:13) Oh my people, Lucifer can’t make these promises because he doesn’t have the wherewithal to keep them. Only our God has. But let me make one thing very clear Friends, the rewards are exceptional, but the journey is seldom a bed of roses. Yuh see what Jesus’ life was like, and since it’s God’s desire that we emulate Him, it’s not an easy row to hoe, but just keep your focus on the fantastic rewards, for they are well worth the oftimes rough journey. And I’ll let Jesus spell it out. ‘Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it.’  (Mat.7:13-14) Yes Friends, Lucifer’s property has a wide gate and a broad avenue that leads to his old, ramshackle buildings. But to Jesus’ mansions, the gate is narrow, and a simple dirt road leads to glory and eternal life. I implore us to all choose that simple dirt road, for at the end there’s a rainbow with a pot of gold sitting there waiting for us, in the person of Jesus. Much LOVE!…please…don’t be fooled by the wide promenade…take the narrow lane…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 March 2009 Proverbs 22:24‏

Proverbs 22:24    Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.
 
Yes my Friends, that’s the name Sol bestows on us when we act in arrogant pride; ‘proud and haughty scorner.’ Those three words, three attributes, all bear negative connotations, and don’t speak well of us if we’re so described. And as we said yesterday, be sure of one thing; wherever there’s pride, haughtiness or scorn, there are going to be falls, and some serious ones too, because the Lord abhors the prideful, arrogant sinner. Why? He magnifies himself without cause, treats others with scorn and disrespect, feeling that they are not worthy of his time and/or efforts, and most foolishly, often considers God of no account. And we, as a society have committed that abhorrent sin of magnifying ourselves and belittling God, our Creator, Guide and Caretaker. ‘The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, who shall bring me down to the ground?’ (Obad.3) The Lord God Jehovah is who shall bring us down my people! Listen to this passage from Job, where another of his friends, Zophar, talks about the wicked. ‘Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed on earth, That the triumph of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; Yet he shall perish forever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night…This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.’ (Job 20:4 -8,29) Yes my Friends, that’s the lot of the wicked. And I’m sure we all know someone who’s suffered that fate. It’s bad enough individually, but when we build… Sorry, build is the wrong word, cause it sorta signifies a sound structure. Let’s see…concoct might be more apt. Hn,hn,hn! Ah, the memories of living a full life eh! (Tell you a story about apt, sometime later) But when we concoct a society on a prideful, godless foundation, it’s going to fall apart sooner rather than later. I keep remembering the Jamaican brethren who taught me History in second form in High School in Tobago: He’d put his feet, clad in oxford brogues, up on the small desk at the front of the class, stroke his scraggly, salt and pepper beard and proudly, but solemnly intone; ‘What is History? History is a record of the past. And why do we lean History? So that we can understand the present.’ Sadly though my people, it seems we have not learnt from History, we don’t really analyze our History, since we keep making the same mistakes over and over, and one of our most popular clichés is ‘History repeats itself.’ But why should that be, if we’re supposed to learn from it eh? And one of the biggest, often forgotten or overlooked mistakes is abandoning God in prosperous times. Why is that such a hard lesson to learn eh? It’s only been played out a million times over the eons. Yet every nation that comes along and gets powerful, conveniently forgets where its power originated. And this seems to be true of all nations, whether Christian or heathen; like the Romans. Greeks and Egyptians, to name a few big ones. It just seems to be an inherent characteristic of man; that when he’s weak and lowly, he seeks help from some other being he considers more powerful, but having climbed to lofty heights, he conveniently forgets who helped to lift him up. That happens in our individual lives too. Then he starts believing that he’s a power in his own right, some kind of petty god. But my people, there is nothing worse than forgetting who brought us to the dance; a little thing called gratitude. And in this case, and every case for that matter, it’s the Lord God Jehovah; the kind, ever-loving God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for He’s the One and Only True God! He was, is, and always will be in control of His Creation; our Universe and all therein. And the sooner we get that into our heads, hearts and souls, the better off we’ll be. Why? Because the climb to the top is long and arduous, requiring lots of faith and hope, so that when we get to the top, we’ll hopefully appreciate it and keep doing the same things, since that’s the only way to remain at the top. We think though, that when we get to the top it’s time to relax, rest on our laurels, eat of the fat of the land, live on easy street. But that’s not the way God planned it. It takes time and effort to get to the top and remain there, but the fall is swift and merciless. Our society didn’t prosper overnight, but it sure seems it crumbled that way. And now that we’ve experienced first hand, the fall from grace, do we all sing hallelujah? Of course not! But Friends, if we’d been obedient to God, giving Him more thanks and praise, singing more hallelujahs, we would not be in our current predicament. It’s no use crying over spilt milk though. We have to get ourselves back to God, repent of our misdoings, ask His mercy and forgiveness, take back up the plough and look straight ahead, so that we can plough straight furrows. And please, don’t let those stupid weapons of the enemy; pride, arrogance, scorn and haughtiness, keep us from doing it. Let’s learn one thing from the rebellious Israelites; that whenever they erred and felt the Lord’s wrath, they were never too proud to run back to Him who created them; the One who LOVES us unconditionally, the One who will never leave or forsake us, once we stay under the protection of His all encompassing wings. That’s the answer my Friends; to remain under the protective umbrella of Almighty God. It’s only under that caring, comforting canopy, with the Lord as our sure and strong foundation, can we ever hope to live successfully, prosperously, in peace and in LOVE. I pray that we’ll all learn our History lesson and turn sincerely to the Lord again, welcome Him with open arms, back into our society and individual lives again. Much LOVE!…a fool…one who refuses to do…what he knows is right…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 March 2009 Habakkuk 2:9‏

Habakkuk 2:9    Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil.
 
And isn’t that the dire truth my Friends! When we try to use evil gain to uplift ourselves, it usually backfires on us. Habakkuk warned his people of Judah about trying to rise in social status and wealth through evil dealings, coveting and acquiring stuff that hopefully would save them from disaster. But Jeremiah scorned that strategy long before, when he solemnly declared; ‘Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord.’ (Jer.49:16) And yuh know how we stay mih people, how the society have we; as soon as we get a li’l money, by whatever means, we quick to go and build up on the hill, as high up as possible, for the higher you are on the hill, the more exalted yuh status. But remember this one thing, regardless of where our evil acquisitions take us, even to the top of the highest hill, even there the Lord’s punishment will find us. ‘For, lo, I will make thee small amongst the heathen, and despised among men.’  (Jer.49:15) Oh Friends, yuh could run, but yuh can’t hide! Fierceness and pride might drive thee to great heights, but they won’t keep you there for very long. We all know the sin of pride is one the Lord absolutely detests. He detests them all, but something about pride and arrogance just gets His motors revving overtime. (smile) ‘We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.’ (Jer. 48: 29) And if we look around us today my brethren, that’s the predominant behaviour pattern we’ll see. It seems to be the in thing, the now style; the pride, arrogance and haughtiness of the nouveau riche and the young Turks. Everybody seems to be puffing out there chests and stepping high, as though they owned the world. But Friends, time longer than twine, and yuh see what the Lord cause to happen to all of us proud fools? The big houses, fancy cars, important jobs, expensive women and all the high living, it done cut out now, because we were getting above ourselves, figuring it was all our doing and running the way Lucifer wants us to run instead of the Lord’s way. But once you step away from the Lord, thinking that you don’t need Him, that you can do it all on your own, then you’re immediately marked for ruin and destruction, just like the proud, arrogant citizens of Moab. ‘And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the Lord. Fear, and the pit, and the snare shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the Lord. He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab the year of their visitation saith the Lord.’ (Jer.48:42-44) As I said Friends, you can run but you can’t hide. And that’s the gospel truth! For yuh see how the Lord set it up; when you escape the fear, yuh fall in the pit, and if yuh manage to climb out the pit, then the snare trap yuh. So you can’t escape no how yuh try. And yuh notice mih people, that 2008-2009 was, or is the year of our visitation, for many of the dreams and schemes of our pride, haughtiness and arrogance have either crumbled,  been considerably reduced, or simply brought to nought. And anyway you look at the current meltdown of our economy and the coincident rise in strife and violence, wars and rumours of wars, it all points to our disobedience and separation from God, our reliance on our own efforts as being the number one cause. Why? Because like the Moabites, we have magnified ourselves against the Lord. And He just won’t stand for that. We obviously ignored God, put Him on the back burner, some even gleefully and unceremoniously ran Him out of town. And then we expect to live in peace and prosperity? Steups! Obviously not, if the Lord has anything to say about it. Come on mih people, think smart nuh. Remember what Obadiah said: ‘Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.’ (Obad.4) So please, don’t be fooled by the empty promises of the enemy. Long lasting peace and prosperity is only possible by having the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the ultimate power and authority in society. Once you abandon Him, you’re setting yourself up for ruin and destruction. Why are we such a hard-headed, stubborn people eh? Look at the number of times God’s chosen people, the Israelites, rebelled from under His rule and eventually were punished. What makes you think we’re different eh? But the beauty about them is that afterwards, they ran right back to the Lord, because deep down they knew that they were nothing without Him. And my brethren nothing has changed since then, except we’ve become more advanced in technology and science, which has unfortunately caused our egos to grow and make us feel invincible and in control. But that’s a fallacy my people; it’s just mirrors and sleight of hand. We’re no more invincible or in control than the Moabites or the numerous nations that prospered under the guidance and protection of the Most High God Jehovah, then perished when they got too big for their breeches and abandoned Him. And seeing that a short attention span is also the in thing, I’ll stop here for today. (smile) Doh want all yuh complaining about how it too long. So till then, God willing, Much LOVE!…remember…where there’s pride… falls will surely come…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 March 2009 Proverbs 14:30‏

Proverbs 14:30    A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of bones.
 
Oh my Friends, trust wise, ole Sol to tell it like it is! ‘A sound heart is the life of the flesh;’ Yes, when we walk with a right heart, obedient to the Most High God Jehovah, we’re full of life; thriving, content with what we have, though hoping to move up higher, but waiting patiently on the fullness of God’s time. We’re not tense, and angry and striving and bitter, for that’s what happens to us my people when the green-eyed monster invades our lives. It becomes all-pervasive, controlling everything we touch. Envy, jealousy and covetousness then rules our lives, and not in a good way, but like a cancer; it just spreads its negative tentacles in everything we do and corrupts us, both inside and out. If things aren’t going our way, we tend to get anxious, possibly try to force it, only making matters worse. Sometimes we’re even so driven by the need spawned by our envy, that we end up doing illegal stuff, which only gets us in deeper trouble. But as I said yesterday Friends, we don’t have to use any of those negative emotions and attributes like envy, greed, jealousy, covetousness, anger or strife to improve ourselves.  Bruh David set out the right process many moons ago: ‘Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth forever.’ (Ps.112:1-3) There you go my people! That’s the correct road to travel to wealth and honour! And what’s even more important is if we follow the Lord’s direction, we won’t be afraid of losing our salvation and eternal life, as we would, if we followed the road advocated by the enemy. As Bruh David says in the last verse of that Psalm, when the righteous man prospers, ‘The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.’ (Ps.112:10) That’s why sometimes I think we humans have an important screw missing from our brains yes. Check out this picture. Yuh have two parallel roads; as the Scots said, a high road and a low one. Now the low one is full of evil; jealousy, envy, grief, malice, strife and bitterness; all the negative markers. You’re also overly concerned about security, living in constant fear and dread of losing your life and whatever material possessions you have. Plus this lifestyle keeps you always wanting more. As the song says, ‘More, more, more! How do you like it?’ Not very much, because you’re never satisfied and constantly driven, because of this negative need that’s constantly stoking the flame of your desires. In the meanwhile; the high road, though rough and rocky too, has a more even tempo to it. There’s no hustle and bustle, this always on the go thing. You’re not driven to accomplish stuff that doesn’t serve any useful purpose. There’s peace and contentment, LOVE, kindness, mercy and forgiveness, and we’re walking hand in hand with the most powerful Being in existence. There’s no need to fear for our safety as such, and when our physical bodies stop humming, then our souls are assured of salvation and eternal life with the most kind, gracious and LOVING Leader there is; Jesus Christ. Under those circumstances, there’s no doubt which road is the best; the high road of course! That directed by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Why in heaven’s name would we want to follow a fallen angel, who has no real power, except what the Most High God allows him to have? Who has nothing of real value to offer, just baubles, bangles and bright, shiny, worthless things that look good on the outside but underneath are rotten, like Sol says. That’s why I’m surprised and confused my Friends that so many of us choose to take the enemy’s low road that’s full of carnage, and all the unhealthy, lustful things that he advocates. Oh my brethren, that’s the reason our world is in such a sad situation. And it all began with one small group, the proverbial one bad apple, desiring to have more at any costs, not figuring, or possibly caring about the negative effects their envy and greed, their more, more factor would cause. That’s what the green-eyed monster causes; we lose sense of reality and plunge headlong without thinking things through properly. And though things may prosper for a while, remember Friends, sooner or later the scales of life have to be balanced, but if there’s only hot air, worthless paper and fanciful dreams on one side, it’s inevitable that the see saw will collapse, turning everything topsy turvy. Sol understood this principle, hence this advice; ‘Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them: For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.’ (Prov. 24:1-2) Yes my people, envy, jealousy, covetousness is the first step to destruction. The ole folks  realized this too when they talked about your eyes being bigger than your stomach and your pocket, meaning that you put more on your plate than you can eat, and you want to buy more than you can afford. Sadly though Friends, capitalism, the system we live under, encourages us to do those things. It’s a system based on more, on greed. However though, the good news is that we don’t have to accept its encouragement and get caught up in the rigmarole. There’s indeed a better way. And for that we go right back to Bruh David; the first verse of the first psalm. ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.’ (Ps.1:1-2) Yes my people, that’s the only way to live, to be truly successful and prosperous in this mish-mash world; by trusting and obeying the Lord. Much LOVE!…ignore the low road…let’s all take the high one…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 March 2009 Psalm 73:3‏

Psalm 73:3    For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
 
Ah my Friends, the Lord in His loving-kindness and generous mercy has seen it fit to bring us together again to ponder His Holy Word, and try to meld it into the very fabric of our lives. Remember Jesus said; ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Mat.18:20)  That means He’s here with us again today as we continue to try and understand that most appalling attribute of our human nature; envy, jealousy and covetousness, generically known as ‘the green-eyed monster.’ And I beg of you my Friends, please don’t take it lightly, for it’s one of the enemy’s most lethal weapons, as we can see from the Psalmist, Asaph’s sad commentary on the mystery of prosperous wickedness. He begins thus: ‘Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, (boastful) when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.’ (vs.1-3) Oh people, oh people! How often has that same tragic emotion of envy done that to us eh? The times are too numerous to count! And it doesn’t only affect the poor or the uneducated, but also the wise, rich and famous. The sad thing about envy, jealousy and covetousness is not so much there existence, for want of a better word, but what they stir up in us; the anger, hatred, greed, strife, the need for revenge, all the terrible negative emotions. A dash of the green-eyed monster is necessary in our lives, in its productive form, ambition, where it lends encouragement and fills us with a desire to rise higher. But we only need a touch, because even too much ambition aggravates the situation and corrodes our souls. So much so that even a wise, godly man like the Psalmist, was drawn in, yes beguiled, like Eve, into the ranks of the envious. And yuh know Friends, that’s exactly how envy works; it beguiles us, lures us into a false sense of it’s all right to be jealous. But like all the enemy’s wicked wiles, once it gets its hooks into us, it’s an entirely different story; you see what others have, don’t know how they got it, whether they sold their soul to Lucifer to get it, but you want what they have too, and liable to do anything to get it. Look at Bernie Madoff’s pyramid, Ponzi scheme! Now how could he have gotten away with that billion dollar-fraud for almost twenty years eh? Because we too greedy, and always want something for nothing. His returns were always higher than the others, even in rough economic times. So obviously people run to invest their hard earned dollars with him, looking for soft earned ones. Hn! But people, believe me, no dollars are ever easily earned, someone, somewhere along the line has to work hard for them to increase. But once the gravy kept flowing, nobody asked any serious questions, not even the government agency set up to monitor those financial matters, although they were warned several times that his scheme seemed too good to be true. Ah Friends, those old adages and clichés don’t lie. If it seems too good to be true, then most likely it is too good to be true. And if we pay too much attention to what others have, especially if they’re boasting of their possessions, then it literally sours and sickens us, turns us green with envy, and leads us to slip, like Asaph, and oftimes fall. Job also bemoaned the prosperity of the wicked, but he was smart enough to realize that possessions were meaningless for they all died and left them. He was certainly hurt by his friends’ accusation of some great sin against God, for his sudden misery and misfortune. (Job 21) But as Bruh David wisely advises; ‘Fret not thyself because of evil doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.’ Instead, we ought to, ‘Trust in the Lord and do good…Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him and he shall bring it to pass.’ (Ps.37:1-5) Oh my people, right there is the correct prescription for prosperity. It’s a fallacy to go around thinking that believers should not be wealthy. The problem is how we acquire the wealth and what we do with it. There are many wealthy believers around the globe, who acquired it legally, who don’t boast or show off with it, and are using it judiciously, much of it in the Lord’s work. But we first got to trust, delight and commit ourselves to Him, then He’ll give us the desires of our hearts, and we won’t have to be envious of the wicked or worry about losing our salvation and the glory of eternal life. I’ll close with a couple of scriptures for us to ponder till tomorrow. Oh yes, we continuing tomorrow, so doh worry to sigh and shake yuh head in disgust, cause this green-eyed monster not only ferocious, but big too, and ah still have plenty scripture to share with you on it. (smile) And remember is the Lord directing this show, not me. Anyway, listen to two of the wisest men of faith. Sol says; ‘Envy not thou the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous.’ (Prov.3:31-32) And Bruh Paul pleads; ‘Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.’ (Gal.5:26) Oh my Friends, as true believers, let’s try and follow those two bits of wise advice nuh. They will certainly stand us, individually, and as the whole body of Christ, His Church, in good stead. Much LOVE!…be not envious…trust…delight…and commit to the Lord instead..
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 March 2009 Exodus 20:17‏

Exodus 20:17    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s.
 
Ah mih Friends, all yuh think it easy nuh? But it ain’t easy nuh. If unoo think I had a hard time deciding on a Bit yesterday for this envy, jealousy business, well today it even worse. Why? Because yesterday the ole fella didn’t remember about covet, and coveting and covetousness. And is a good thing too, since it just add a whole new dimension to the already overwhelming situation. Like the ole fella in his essence today. (smile) But, guided by the Sprit as usual, I finally decided to just go right back to the beginning; right back to them Ten Commandments the Lord gave His chosen people when He rescued them from slavery in Egypt. But yuh ever notice mih people, that out of those ten directives, only two positive; ‘Remember the Sabbath, and Honour thy father and mother.’ The other eight all begin with ‘thou shalt not.’ Now who knows why the Lord set them up that way eh? Possibly because in man’s early days ‘God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.’ (Gen.6:5-8) Can you imagine that though? From the beginning, mankind has been evil and revelled in wickedness. How ungrateful! It must surely have broken the Lord’s heart to destroy His wonderful creations. But luckily for us, Noah found grace in His sight and He didn’t wipe out everybody. He’s such a LOVING God and Father, that He decided to save a few and give us another chance. Fat lotta good that did Him, cause we ended up right back where we’d left off; evil and wicked as sin. But our God is so wonderful, He decided to try a different tack: Instead of destroying His handiwork again, He would choose a special group, give them some rules to live by, and use them as an example for how He desired us to live. So He chose the Israelites, gave them the Ten Commandments, and the rest is history; a history of idolatry, disobedience, evil; you name it. Whatever He told them not to do, that’s exactly what they did. And one of the worse things was the covetousness, because that leads us to commit all the other don’ts; stealing, adultery, lying and idolatry. For as James says; ‘Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?’ (James 4:5) That’s our natural spirit, not the Holy Spirit, and he’s referring to Gen.6:5 that we just read. Jesus didn’t mince words either when He said; ‘Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.’ (Luke 15:5) James also knew the reality: ‘For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.’ (James 3:16) Yes my people, where there’s envy, there’s always strife, which leads to confusion, and thereafter, destruction. And though we’ve been warned about the dangers of the green-eyed monster since day one, we’ve never obeyed that Tenth Commandment, but have instead built our society on the evil, foolish and porous foundation of envy, jealousy and covetousness. Now we’re paying the price. Our house of cards eventually tumble down, and the seeds of envy; the vines of strife, greed and confusion have grown so tall and thick, that they’re now strangling us. The constant clamour for more, for bigger, faster, now for now, has finally taken its toll. Envy and greed have been so ingrained in our society that too many of us were willing to do anything to satisfy those negative emotions. But my Friends, greed and envy are two things that are never ever satisfied. And we have the perfect example in the Bonus controversy that recently erupted. It’s so mind boggling that some of the same people who caused the disaster in the first place with their fraudulent dreams and schemes, are now being paid millions of dollars of taxpayer’s bailout money. It just shows the level of greed, selfishness and egotism that exists. They may be owed the money by legal contract, but they certainly don’t deserve it morally or ethically. And deh so boldface with it too! Instead of just letting it slide, with all the turmoil that’s happening, an’ so much poor people lose deh work, deh house, deh savings an’ otherwise, they still take it an open up a whole new can of worms. And then to try and justify the nonsense, they calling it, ‘Retention Bonus.’ Hn! What a joke! Why would I pay to keep them crooks who can’t even run a good scam eh? Steups! They should be fired and jailed! Throw away the blooming key too! Sorry Friends, but ah can’t handle greedy, boldface, stupid people. And sadly, none of these greedy fools who defrauded the world will ever even see one day of jail time. A few lowly fall guys might do a little a time yes, but that’s normal. But yuh know jail even too good for some of them. It should be like long time; bring them out in the square every Monday morning and put a good flogging on them. That’s the decent version. Ah vex, but ah have to smile, because since it suppose to be a godly forum, ah can’t say what ah really want to say. An’ all yuh doh tell me no chupidness bout violence doh work either nuh, because that is the only thing some of us understand. Anyway mih Friends, tomorrow is another day, and the Good Lord willing, we going to continue this. Till then; Much LOVE!…as 3 Canal say…stop minding other people business…an’ mine yuh own nuh…you’ll be better off…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 March 2009 Proverbs 27:4‏

Proverbs 27:4    Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
 
Ah my Friends, today I found myself in a strange quandary; I couldn’t decide what Bit to use from the multitude of choices available on this particular topic. Eventually though, the Sprit intervened and said; ‘Use that one; it’s the most powerful, also the shortest and gets the message across with the least preamble.’ (smile) And as you guessed, the topic is the ‘green eyed monster;’ envy, jealousy, call it what you will, but it’s undoubtedly a very destructive and strife causing emotion. Now what does it all mean? It’s simply a strong desire, striving, wanting, or craving for something someone else has, and brings out the basest of negative emotions in us. It doesn’t matter how the person acquired whatever it is; be it personal looks, clothes, cars, a beautiful wife, a big house or some other possession, all we know is that we want that particular thing, or one like it, or better yet, a bigger and/or better one. But we either can’t have it, which rankles our spirits, or we go overboard and kill ourselves working to get it. And heaven help those who stand in our way! Oh my people, Sol hit the nail right on the head when he declared that  ‘Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous, but who is able to stand before envy?’ No one really. ‘For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare on the day of vengeance.’ (Prov.6:34) And that’s a fact my Friends, for most of the wars and strife in man’s strife-torn history has been over jealousy and envy; many times over rather petty stuff too. But such is the nature of man. Even the Lord, our God laid down a stringent proviso to the Israelites when He brought them out of bondage from Egypt; ‘Thou shalt have no other Gods but me.’ Neither should they make themselves idols. ‘Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.’ (Ex.20:3-5) And later on He reiterates that solemn message about idolatry. ”For thou shalt worship no other God: for the Lord whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.’ (Ex.34:14) That’s jealousy in the sense of the Lord protecting His territory, not wanting anyone to intrude on it. Things will be fine if no one oversteps their bounds. But in our case, jealousy and envy is more about overstepping our bounds, stepping on someone else’s property, and not being able to have it, or something similar, creates a seething cauldron of bitterness in our souls, causing us to sometimes lose all sense of reason and lash out either physically, emotionally or both. But it certainly drives us crazy with longing. Look at how unrequited lovers behave, or those passed over for promotion, even when we know that the person deserves it more than us. But that doesn’t prevent us from being envious and bitter. Here’s a good example from Bruh Paul’s letter to Titus, where he’s talking about the basis of Christian ethics. ‘For we ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.’ (Tit.2:3) Oh my people that’s what jealousy and envy can do to us, especially when we live to serve divers lusts and pleasures of the flesh. And it’s one of the soft building blocks on which we’ve built our society, that’s why it’s imploded on us. Everyone was encouraged to buy more, build bigger, move ahead of your neighbours or catch up to them; the keep up with the Jones’ syndrome. And it’s all well and good to improve our situations my brethren, but at what expense eh? In the first place, too much wanting leads to greed, which eventually leads to fraud and other wrongdoing when we can’t genuinely afford our wants. To help us along, and encourage us though, the already greedy wealthy gives us credit and find ingenious ways to put and keep us in debt while lining their pockets even further, but that’s permissible, for the society prospers economically. But sadly it’s a false prosperity, built on sinking sand, a porous foundation. Well not even sinking sand, but rather hot air and fanciful dreams with no substance or basis in reality. And when the bubble burst, as they all do at some time, and everything crash, everybody hold deh head and bawl, ‘Poor me!’ But then it’s too late my Friends. As Eliphaz said when he rebuked Job; ‘For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.’ (Job 5:2) Ah my people, it’s a sad road we travel, one that’s only setting us up for disaster, when we follow the dictates of the enemy and just live to keep up with the Jones’. For have no doubts about it, envy and jealousy are the handiwork of Beelzebub. We’ll continue with this tomorrow, for there’s much more to say on the subject. Till then, walk safely with God. Much LOVE!…the wise keep their eyes on God…not their neighbour’s possessions…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 March 2009 Psalm 18:3‏

Psalm 18:3    I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
 
Oh Friends, the Lord dictated we take a break from the saga of our Faith Father, Abraham, and whom am I to say Him nay eh? (smile) Although right now I’m not too thrilled cause He just tested my spirit. I had some of this written and when I went to save it, something went wrong and I lost it all. Hopefully this version will be better since He always gives you better than what He takes away. Let’s try saving this now. That seemed to work. But anyway, there’s been something quietly bubbling in my heart to share with you, and the Lord said the time was now. I’m so obedient. (smile) Now recently I saw this dignified gentleman of African descent, Bishop Charles E Blake, of the Church of God in Christ preach a sermon as a visiting pastor in the Crystal Cathedral on the Hour of Power T.V. programme. His topic was Psalm 18, and the way he laid it out pleasantly surprised me. I’d done stuff on the Psalm, but never figured out his angle. I guess that’s why he’s a Bishop of some renown, while I’m only a lowly exhorter. (smile) Most of you already know, that besides Jesus, Bruh David is my favourite Bible character, cause I tend to fall into the same aspiration in terms of seeking God through words and music, and Psalm 18 is one of his longest and most powerful pieces of writing, which it should be, since it’s a royal song of thanksgiving for deliverance. Even the title I believe is longer than any others. It’s taken from 2 Sam.22, where the song is also recorded. ‘To the chief musician, A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.’ Yes my people, such an auspicious occasion called for a great outpouring of peace, LOVE, praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God. And nobody, before or after Bruh David does it better, except Jesus of course. Bruh Paul was learned and could use big words and highfalutin language, and yes, I know I tend to be longwinded like him, but Bruh David just had this easy, down to earth, grass roots way with the language, cause he came from humble beginnings and spoke from the heart. And here’s how he opens this glorious work of thanksgiving for deliverance: ‘I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. (vs.1-3) And that’s basically where Bishop Blake stopped. To my sweet surprise, he found four elements in those three verses, that if sincerely practiced by all believers, would certainly revolutionize our world, although that should have happened long ago. And what are those four elements? Well the first should be obvious: ‘I will LOVE thee, O Lord, my strength.’ Yes my people, that’s our first and foremost requirement as followers of Jesus; to LOVE the Lord. That’s why Bruh David put it first, and made it a definite statement that brooked no doubts or discrepancies. Then he explains why the Lord is his strength and why he LOVES him. ‘The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.’ And that’s the second element my brethren; trust in the Lord. Now if He’s all those things; rock, fortress, deliverer, God, strength, buckler, horn of salvation and high tower, then it goes without saying that we ought to trust Him unreservedly, with no reservations whatsoever. Bruh David certainly considered the Lord to be his everything, his end all and be all, and a Being with such imposing attributes and far-flung reach must definitely inspire great trust, if nothing else. Then he continues; ‘I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.’ And there my Friends is the third element of our walk of faith. If there’s this magnificent, magnanimous Being whom we LOVE everlasting and in whom we place such absolute trust because He looks after all aspects of our lives, then it logically follows that He is somebody that’s worthy of our constant praise, glorification and communication; ‘so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ And all God’s people lifted their hands, heads, hearts and voices and sang, ‘Hallelujah! Give Him thanks and praise, for the Sinless Lamb who died for us, is most worthy of our praise!’ Ah my Friends, it’s a simple but truly effective, efficacious remedy for our earthly walk with the Most High God Jehovah: LOVE Him with all our hearts, minds and souls. Trust Him with our very lives, depending upon Him to guide our every footstep. And call upon Him my people; call upon Him with every fibre of our souls, in the good times and the bad; glorify His Holy Name, give Him the thanks and praise He so richly deserves. In this way Friends, our worries will diminish, our burdens lightened, we shall be saved and have rest roundabout from our enemies. Please note that Bruh David was definite; He said, I will, I will, I will and I shall. Oh my brethren, let’s follow this simple but powerful routine nuh. It will make both the Lord and us very happy. Much LOVE!…the 4 keys… LOVE…Trust.. Call upon…Be saved…
 

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