Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 January 2010 1 Timothy 4:14‏

1 Timothy 4:14    Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
Wow! Can you believe it Friends, January is finished already? I only wish the remaining winter months could go as quickly. But that just means the summer months are liable to go as fast, and in no time we’ll be back to square one; winter again. Hn! Same old khaki pants! (smile) Any way, I want to share a little insight that whether it’s winter or summer, rain or snow, regardless of the external environment, you’ll always have a friend with you. And we’re not talking of a spiritual friend, but a real flesh and blood human companion. And if you think that’s too good to be true, then listen to the words of Maxwell Maltz. ‘If you make friends with yourself, you will never be alone.’ Oh mih people, that rates another Wow! Why? Because it’s the gospel truth. When you like yourself and can enjoy your own company for decent lengths of time, then you’ll always have a true and faithful companion by your side; you. The problem though is that many of us don’t like ourselves. For whatever reason(s) we just can’t bear to be alone in our own company. That’s a negative attitude my people. Remember Jesus said to LOVE your neighbour as yourself. And the way some of us dislike ourselves, I certainly wouldn’t want to be our neighbour. (smile) And we’re not talking about inordinate pride or arrogance, but a simple appreciation of ourselves and our decent qualities, which should be overflowing from the well-spring of our souls if we’re true believers. Thus, if we met ourselves as a stranger on the street, we’d be very inclined to strike up a pleasant conversation from the aura that emanates from us. And liking whom we are is a paramount aspect of our faith, else we can’t do the good natured things it calls for with a right heart. Please note too that liking oneself in a healthy manner and being humble, as our faith decrees, are not opposites. They can co-exist quite nicely as they did in our leader, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That brings us to our Bit, where Bruh Paul is trying to encourage a shy, self-effacing Timothy to get with the programme. ‘Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.’ Timothy was a young preacher in Ephesus, whom the prophet(s) of the day thought was divinely gifted and so informed the church. Thus the church elders laid their hands on him, blessing him, and accepting that God had called him to ministry with a special talent for it. But unfortunately, though Timothy appeared to have all the knowledge to make a good pastor, he couldn’t seem to muster enough chutzpah to exercise a strong authority over the congregation. Consequently, in his second letter, Bruh Paul tries to boost his confidence and exhort him to endurance. ‘When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting (laying) on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of (share with me) the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.’ (2 Tim.1:5-8) Poor Timothy, he must have been even more troubled after receiving that message, knowing that he could never fill Bruh Paul’s shoes. But then Friends, very few of us can ever do that. However it doesn’t mean we can’t perform very useful service on God’s behalf, for all of us are given gifts to be used specifically to further His kingdom. But as Bruh Paul points out: ‘Now there are diversities (various kinds) of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations (ministries), but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations (activities), but it is the same God which worketh all (things) in all.’ (1 Cor.12:4-6) So Friends, the Lord’s endowed each believer with a special talent that we are called on, expected to use in His service. The gifts might be all different, but all serve some purpose in His overall plan. But just like Timothy many of us are not using those gifts anywhere close to their full potential. We’re either unsure, scared, lazy, too busy with worldly things or whatever reason we choose to give. The bottom line though is that we’re not using them satisfactorily. We’re not harnessing ‘the spirit of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind.’ Instead we’re being overcome by the ‘spirit of fear,’ and in many cases are ‘ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.’ Remember Friends, if we’re ashamed of Christ, He’ll also be ashamed of us. As Bruh Paul proclaimed re the power of the gospel. ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ (Rom.1:16) That’s it there in black and white mih people. If you’re a true believer then you cannot be ashamed of the gospel for it’s the power of God that brings you salvation and eternal life. So please, let’s get our acts together nuh Friends. Let’s seriously begin using those special gifts that God gave all of us to enlarge and further His kingdom. Don’t be like me and wait till late in life to begin exhorting, educating, edifying, encouraging, or whatever you were placed on earth to do. It’s only if we all work together as one, though using our diverse gifts, that we can ever hope to unify Christ’s Church and truly claim it as ONE BODY with different members. Much LOVE!…to each is granted a talent….not to be hidden under a bushel…but exposed to the light…for God’s ultimate glory. 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 January 2010 2 Corinthians 10:7‏

2 Corinthians 10:7     Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
Well my Friends, it’s the weekend again, and you know what that means; worship, fellowship and spiritual refreshing. At least that is what it should mean, but with all things human, there’s always a fly in the ointment. And the fly in the ointment of the Corinthian church was a host of serious divisions amongst the members, with people opting to follow individuals, letting them be their guiding light, rather than the basic doctrine of Christ. That occasioned Bruh Paul to write in his first letter to them. ‘Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you: or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius.’ (1 Cor.1:12-14) Now we can understand some of the distrust and subjectivity because the faith was then new in Corinth, but today, centuries later, there are still divisions in the church over form and function, with different cliques holding different opinions and choosing to follow one person or another. Friends, that’s totally unacceptable behaviour which only causes dissension and eventual downfall. Instead, the exact opposite, unity should be the worldwide goal of Christ’s Church. Jesus said it in plain, simple terms. ‘And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.’ (Mark 3:24-25) Yes my people, that’s the law of nature; anything that’s divided stands a much greater chance of falling apart than staying together. And sadly, the supposed church of Christ today, is more divided than unified. People are still being haughty and arrogant and thinking themselves more Christ like or Christian than others, solely on the basis of outer appearances and behaviour. Just because some people don’t behave pious and holy in their outward, everyday walk doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t pious and holy. By the same token, those that put on the pious, holier than thou act, aren’t necessarily true believers, it could be mere posturing, like Jesus said of the Pharisees. That’s why Bruh Paul told the Corinthians about judging and looking on outward appearances and reassured them that ‘If any man trust to himself that, as he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.’ I know it sound’s confusing, but that’s Bruh Paul’s style. He wasn’t into boasting and the outward piety stuff. He was confident in his abilities and knew where his spiritual authority came from, so though he was very vocal and therefore seemed somewhat showy, he always deflected the human praise away from himself towards God. Meanwhile some of the other leaders seemed to glory in their personal status, taking the glory to themselves, rather than giving it to God. Thus in his second missive Bruh Paul wrote: ‘For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether (if) we be beside ourselves, it is to (for) God: or whether we be sober (of sound mind) it is for your cause. For the LOVE of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.’ (2 Cor.5:12-15) That says it all Friends. None of us have anything to glory about, because whatever we have comes from and through Christ. We cannot and did not earn salvation and eternal life, so what’s there to blow our horns about eh? Nothing! It’s only through God’s overwhelming grace, mercy, LOVE, and forgiveness that we can even talk about being saved and having an after life. So all those who think they’re such hot shots in ministry and have a special place in Christ because of some outward success, let them think again, for the believer who has nothing to glory about outwardly, also belongs to Christ. ‘For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.’ (Rom.14:7-8) And that’s the living truth Friends. So please, let’s not be followers of those who glorify themselves, because all they have comes from God, and all believers, despite our frailties and regardless of our earthly status, are also fully LOVED and acknowledged sons and daughters of God. Much LOVE!…our earthly duty is just to do our best…so that in all things…God…not us…may be glorified…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 January 2010 2 Corinthians 10:7‏

2 Corinthians 10:7     Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
Oh Friends, what the ole fella wouldn’t give for some salt water and sunshine right now eh? Steups! And note, we talking about hot seas and hot sunshine. (smile) Sometimes this cold weather just gets in the bones and sets them to aching, and the best therapeutic remedy for that is good old-fashioned hot sun and warm seawater. The important element here is the heat, God’s natural warmth. Ah Lord eh! But I guess that’s what dreams are for? However, despite the discomfort, I’ll still give the Good Lord thanks and praise for allowing me to see another day, cause once I’m alive and living obedient to His will, anything is possible. And today we’ll continue looking at Bruh Paul’s important question: ‘Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?’ Though Jesus said we shouldn’t, all of us do to some extent because we’re only human and live in a world where it’s very prevalent. But it’s something all believers should be very wary and careful off, cause it can lead us to make wrong judgements and poor choices. The important thing is to be aware of it when we do it, and stop ourselves before we cause hurt or damage, since many of these biased ideas come naturally to us from whatever culture we follow. We spoke yesterday about it on the broader level, where the different religions and denominations are concerned. Now I want to look at it on a more personal and individual basis. And we’re interested in things like how we dress to go to church, how we behave in church, and who sits where? Most of it is based on man made rules and customs; some stringent ones from olden times, going up against the more liberal ones currently in vogue. Now when I was growing up, it was unthinkable, almost sacrilegious for a female to go to church without a hat. No true churchwoman would even consider darkening the church doors with her head uncovered. Today though, in many churches, hats are few and far between, sometimes even non-existent, and there is still some ill will on both sides of the custom. But who’s to say what’s wrong or right in that argument eh? The same goes for clothes. In my time you couldn’t wear jeans or come looking scruffy. Everybody was dressed in their Sunday best, with a spit shine from head to toe. (smile) But nowadays there’s a different ethic. Some say it’s okay to come any old how, because it’s not your clothes you’re going to show off but your heart, and that’s true. However, if Jesus only deals in excellence, then shouldn’t we uphold certain standards too, if we want to be like Him? If we truly want to reverence God, there must be some standards of dress and deportment when we enter His house. The collar and tie stuff might be a bit much, but likewise the scruffy, untidy, even dirty look is disrespectful to God and demeaning to us. There must be a suitable meeting point some where in the middle. The standards don’t have to be onerous and rigid, but they must reflect our overall reverence and respect for the Lord. Now that doesn’t pertain to those who only have raggedy clothes and no facilities to make themselves look prim and proper. Under those circumstances God will still gladly welcome you, though your fellow man might give you a cross, snotty look, and some even refuse you entry. But there again Friends, it’s the man made rules and customs that are causing the problems, not God’s dictates. He says come and worship, and expects a decent appearance, but men lay down some laws that many fellow Christians are not able to follow which turns them off of the faith. And then we wonder why the churches are only half full? But a lot of it is because of our hypocritical posturing. Another toxic point is who should sit where in the church? In my youth, the white, wealthy and socially important normally sat at the front. In some churches pews were even reserved for special people. Many church- goers consider this wrong, while other feel it’s right, especially if the seats are reserved for those who donate fair sums to the church. So once again, who’s right, and who’s wrong? I don’t know if there’s an equitable way to do that, but you definitely don’t want habitual latecomers going up to the front to their accustomed seats, stepping over people and disturbing the service. And I’ve seen that happen a lot in my day. The whole point of the discourse though Friends is to point out some of the petty, trivial and unnecessary actions that happen in our churches and subsequently defeats its purpose, for those things don’t further God’s kingdom, but rather drags it down, making a mockery of the faith. And though we put on nice smiles and good manners, mih people, please remember that’s what’s truly in our hearts always surfaces, and unfortunately usually in unguarded moments and makes us look real foolish and hypocritical. All I’m saying Friends is to put away the piddling nonsense that we all know goes on in the church, and instead focus, as we ought, on Jesus and the godly work we’re supposed to do in His name. My people, if we did that, hn! You wouldn’t believe how much better the church would operate. And we’ll end with a bit of scripture taken from Joel, that in my youth was often wrongly quoted and interpreted, but admirably serves our purpose today. It says: ‘And rend your heart and not your garments…’ (Joel 2:13) We were made to understand, or it was usually quoted as ‘render your heart, not rend’ and used as a biblical truism that the state of your heart was always more important than your outward apparel. I don’t know if it was done on purpose or by mistake, but it’s the gospel truth Friends. Consequently, let us never forget that what’s on the inside is always more important than what’s outside, and don’t go judging others by only what our eyes behold, cause it can cause us to make serious errors of judgement and is also not a part of the Christian ethos. More tomorrow, God willing. Till then, Much LOVE!…. know ye that…the eyes are a very poor judge of the heart…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 January 2010 2 Corinthians 10:7‏

2 Corinthians 10:7     Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is  Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
Ah Friends, we’ve been generously granted another day of life through the unending mercy of our God. Let us all therefore take a moment to thank Him and praise His Holy Name for His considerable goodness to us. And having done that, let’s return to the joyless reality of the situation; it’s winter once again, cold and windy. (smile) Our spring break of the weekend appears to be over. Time to exit the virtual realm that confuses our minds and face the real hard, cold reality of life in the Northern climes. This brings us to Bruh Paul’s question in the Bit. ‘Do ye look on things after the outward appearance?’ Oh Friends, it’s indeed a legitimate but very contentious question. It’s so contentious that it brokers trouble and disputes throughout the whole world, but nowhere as scathing and worrisome as within the Christian community. Now, as in every situation, the first thing we need to do is consider Jesus’ stand on the situation, and on this particular topic He’s very clear. ‘Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement.’ (John 7:24) That’s a cut and dried statement that brooks no argument or discussion. Jesus says we should not judge solely by appearances and as believers that’s how we ought to live. Unfortunately though, the mostly ungodly, evil world around us tends to judge quite a lot by outward appearances, whereby many profit undeservedly, while others suffer without just cause. That reminds me of a conversation I had in a grocery store two weeks ago. I went there to buy something that I knew I had enough money to purchase. But as always happens, we go for one thing and pick up several. So while waiting for the cashier to ring up the items, I idly wondered whether I had enough cash on me to pay for the extra things I’d picked up. I don’t remember how the gentleman next in line got into the conversation, but without knowing me from Adam, he suddenly exclaimed that I looked rich. Hn, hn! I laughed and told him he was wrong. If I were rich I wouldn’t be doing my own shopping in the first place, neither doing it in a discount store. But Friends, for some unknown reason, that’s been the bane of my existence wherever I go. Even in Tobago when I was growing up, people always felt that I had money. That probably stemmed from my father and his family appearing to have money. But everywhere else I’ve been, it’s the same; people always seem to think I have oodles of money. At times it amuses me, but at others I steups and shake my head because on some of those occasions, I’ve known for a fact that the people making the remarks had more dinero, or won’t as deep in debt as me. That’s a perfect example of people judging by our appearance, though I don’t know why people think I’m wealthy since I sure don’t dress or behave to give that impression. Chuh! It must be some aura or something that I give off that I’m not aware of. I’m sure all of you have experienced judgement by appearance, either through the way you dress, walk and talk, or behave in general. Our skin complexion, hair texture and accents also cause these external judgements. At one time here in Canada, every black person was asked if they were Jamaican because the white populace was only familiar with Jamaica and it’s culture. The same thing happened with crime; once a black person committed it, the Jamaican community was blamed. It still happens to a certain extent, but people now know about more of the other West Indian islands and their varied culture. Those examples pertain to life in general, but since people take their baggage wherever they go, it’s not unusual to find the same problems in the Corinthian church of Bruh Paul’s time, and sadly, even more in ours. It’s so prevalent that I don’t know where to begin. But let’s start with the macro approach; the differences between denominations. Each denomination has a somewhat different approach to worship. However, since all of us believe that ours is the best and only worthwhile religion or denomination, we summarily judge, look askance at others who worship differently to us, merely by what they do or how they behave. Those who believe in the old hell fire and damnation sermons think the evangelicals, or those who preach on a positive, heaven based philosophy are light and not the real thing. The same happens with those to whom doctrine is everything, as opposed to those who don’t consider it the end all and be all. The sad fact is that each person thinks theirs is the right one, many times demeaning others without even knowing how or why they worship the way they do. Therein lies very fertile ground for much dissension amongst Christians. I thought Jesus said there were only two basic commandments: LOVE your God and LOVE your neighbour. But men, just like the hypocritical Pharisees in Jesus’ day, have made their own rules and regulations, customs and doctrines for their benefit, and instead of simply following God, we follow man’s dictates. Oh Friends, with all the unnecessary friction between denominations and within them, many times over trivial, selfish matters, how can we expect Christ’s church to advance eh? The infighting turns off both believers and non-believers, then we end up pilfering members from other churches, so the overall numbers aren’t really increasing, they’re just being recycled from one church to another. In other words we’re not doing as Jesus commanded or desires. And that’s truly sad. Anyway Friends, think on these things and we’ll continue the discussion tomorrow, God willing of course. Till then, Much LOVE!…the Church is one foundation…built on Jesus Christ alone…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 January 2010 Ezekiel 40:4‏

Ezekiel 40:4     And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee; for to the intent that I might show them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.
Yes my Friends, it’s a new day, with new mercies and blessings, also new trials and tribulations. But please pay attention, remember that the Most High God Jehovah is still in control of everything, and nothing happens on this earth unless He allows it. We don’t always understand or appreciate His doings, but be sure He always has our best interest at heart. Give Him a shout of thanks and praise for that my people! It’s the same way He had the Israelites best interest at heart when He summoned Ezekiel’s spirit to the mountain top and showed him the outlines of a beautifully planned and laid out temple. Zeke was taken there in his vision for the explicit purpose of seeing the temple structure; ‘for to the intent that I might show them unto thee art thou brought hither.’ God knew that the Israelites would listen to a message on a temple, since their lives revolved around it. It was the most significant structure in their culture, their Holy meeting place, like our churches used to be at one time, but are sadly no longer. Thus He wanted Zeke to ‘declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.’ Tell them that their God had a wonderful future planned for them, despite the negative shortcomings of their captivity. But Friends, God wasn’t just being nice for nice sake. Remember there’s always a motive to His every move. The Israelites problems had been caused by their wilful disobedience over a long period of time, so He allowed Babylon to take them captive to teach them a lesson. He never intended to abandon them forever cause they were His chosen people, but when yuh doh hear, yuh surely going to feel. Now after Zeke’s tour of the temple, ‘the glory of the Lord filled the house.’ And the Lord said to Zeke: ‘Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever. Thou son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities…And  if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them…all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.’ (Eze.43:9-11) Yes Friends, that was God’s ultimate purpose; to give Zeke a message to His people, that if they put away their iniquity, repent and return to Him, He would grant them another chance. And God has a purpose and a message for every life He creates, but some of us don’t even know that, much less see it or seek it. Oh my people, our God is saying to us, what He said to Zeke: ‘behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I show thee.’ It’s not an easy task Friends, but as believers, we’re expected to be better than the average human, or non-believer. Jesus’ standard is excellence in all things, and we can’t be excellent unless we pay close attention to details. As I pointed out yesterday, in hindsight I can see God building stuff in my life towards the eventual purpose of writing this Bit. But back then I wasn’t even aware that something specific was going on, because I wasn’t focused, wasn’t paying attention to the things God was doing in my life. However my people, that inattentive attitude needs to be changed if we’re truly to behold the purposes and directions God has planned for us. We have to seek and see it with our eyes as well as hear it with our ears. Ears are made for, hearing, or to be a bit more precise, listening. They’re not always the same thing; hearing simply means sound passing through our hearing mechanism, but listening implies that we also pay attention to what we’re hearing. And in this particular application of listening to God, we don’t only use our ears, but also our souls and spirit. We listen for the still, small voice of God’s Spirit that dwells in us. Now that Spirit is often so softly spoken that unless we’re truly listening, we won’t even hear it, and so won’t be able to acknowledge it or follow its directions. Ah my people, our God is good to us every single day and expects us to reciprocate that goodness both to Him and to other humans. The best comparison I can make is to that of a teacher with a class full of unruly students preparing for the biggest and most important exam of their lives. He first wants us to settle down and behave like decent beings, kind and considerate to each other, not like the ‘leggo beasts’ we so often imitate. Then He wants us to pay attention to what He’s trying to teach us. Listen to His message, read, understand and make notes of what He’s written on the blackboard, then do our homework, conscientiously read His Word. Remember Friends this is the most important exam we’ll ever take, and unfortunately it’s a one and done test. There’ll be no repeats if we fail, just automatic expulsion into eternal darkness and damnation with Lucifer and any other unfortunate fools who refused to pay attention in class and thus failed the crucial, critical exam of life. God doesn’t want that to happen to any of His children, but there’s not much He can do if we refuse to obey His dictates. Remember He’s a just and righteous God, and just like He had to have our sin-debt paid in full before our sins could be forgiven, He needs us to believe in His Son Jesus and follow Him to the ends of the earth if we’re to avail ourselves of His salvation and eternal life. So it’s up to each individual to make a choice. And we can only make a sensible choice if we open our eyes and ears to Jesus and take all He says to heart, then like faithful followers, put it into practice. Let’s hope we all get the message, make the right choice and also share the good news of Christ. Much LOVE!…stop…listen to you heart… hear what it’s saying…LOVE your God…LIVE your Faith…and SPREAD His Word… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 January 2010 Ezekiel 40:4‏

Ezekiel 40:4     And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee; for to the intent that I might show them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all thou seest to the house of Israel.
Oh Friends, it’s obvious that our God likes to enshroud Himself in mystery and drama. We see it in many of His works throughout the Good Book. Today’s Bit is such an occasion. In the 25th year of Israel’s Babylonian exile, Ezekiel had this vision of himself being transported by God to a high mountain in Israel where something resembling the frame of a city was set out. ‘And, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass (bronze), with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed (rod); and he stood in the gate.’ (Eze.40:3) Ah Friends, isn’t our God great? His movements at times can be so contrary and unpredictable, but one thing’s certain, those movements NEVER belie His words. He always does whatever he says, just not always in a manner that we expect or understand. Now here is Zeke’s spirit, on this mountain in Israel, though his body is many miles away in Babylon. He’s looking at the framework of a city with a bronze man standing at its entrance. Now what’s the purpose of all this mystery and drama? The Lord obviously had something important to impart to Zeke and thought that a vision would have the greatest impact on him. ‘And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee; for to the intent that I might show them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that that thou seest to the house of Israel.’ Then the man showed him around the city, measuring the various rooms and pointing out the important places. Ezekiel’s vision deals with the temple, but we’re not going to focus on that. In passing though, let’s note that the scholars cannot agree on whether the temple was ever built, or if so, which one it is, or if it’s only a figurative temple, or one that’s to be built later on during the millennial reign of Christ. But that’s the scholar’s problem. Today I want to concentrate on the words the bronze man said to Zeke, in relation to God’s overall kingdom and His purpose for us. And just like our God, I’ll be somewhat contrary and start at the end. The last words of the Bit are; ‘declare all thou seest to the House of Israel.’ That was God’s main purpose for showing Zeke the vision. He wanted him to spread the word about the wonderful temple that their God had in their future and consequently a brighter life in general. And Friends, our God has a special plan and purpose for the lives of each and all believers. However, many of us don’t know what God has planned for us. Why? As the bronze man said to Zeke, ‘behold with thine eyes.’ Oh my people, that means we have to first make a conscious effort, to search out, to try and figure out what the Lord’s trying to do in the world in general and our lives in particular. He has a separate journey and job for each believer, and I believe He takes each one of us up to that high mountain, whether it be in a dream, during moments of meditation, or in a simple Eureka moment, and divulges, shows us the general framework that He has planned for our lives. Unfortunately though, many of us don’t pay close enough attention to what the Lord, through His Holy Spirit does in our lives. We either don’t think that aspect of our faith is important, or we don’t know how to gauge what God is saying to us. But Friends, it’s essential that we pay attention to what’s happening in our lives, especially to some of the small stuff that seems trivial to us. I’ll share some personal testimony on the point. Now, some ten or fifteen years ago, I went to church, but never watched religious programmes on the television. My mother would mention some names to me and I’d joke around with her about them. Subsequent to that, she had eye surgery and couldn’t read her normal prayers, so one day, out of the goodness of my heart, at least that’s what I thought at the time (smile) I offered to read them for her. Hn! Little did I know what I was getting into, for it’s been an ongoing situation ever since. But do you think I paid any real attention to that as God doing something in my life? Not really. Then, somehow or the other I began watching religious programmes on the tube. I really don’t remember how that came about, but would you believe they were the same ones I’d laugh about with my mother. And she didn’t want anything better, gladly figuring as a Christian mother that I was being brought further under the protective umbrella of Christ. Even then, I still never considered those occurrences of any particular importance, in the sense that I was being prepared for something deeper and closer to God. That’s why, when out of the blue, He suddenly broached this idea of me writing on scriptural matters I had to laugh. And though I resisted the idea, possibly through a combination of a lack of sufficient scriptural knowledge, the heavy workload involved and a lack of confidence to do a good enough job, I finally did as He desired. There were growing pains, still have some (smile) but the fact is that three years later the Scrip-Bit is going out every day to an ever increasing number of people through the Lord’s grace. What I’m saying Friends, is that in hindsight I can now see God using those things I just mentioned as building blocks in my spiritual growth and maturity, until He thought I was ready to take on the bigger job of writing the Bit. Oh my people, all sorts of things happen in our lives that guide us in certain directions, but what I’m asking us to do today is to pay closer attention to the things that seem to have no particular significance, but might just be God actually working in, or on a specific direction for our lives. And it’s to our benefit if we can fathom these things early, so we’ll make fewer mistakes and be better off. But time and space have run out, so we’ll continue this interesting topic tomorrow, God willing of course. But then again why won’t He be? All we’re doing is trying to LOVE our God, SPREAD His Word and LIVE our Faith. Much LOVE…our God doesn’t deal in insignificance…no matter how small…all His doings are significant…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 January 2010 Romans 6:16‏

Romans 6:16     Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Oh Friends, it’s a wet, cloudy Monday morning, but that doesn’t stop the weekday rat race from beginning again, just makes it more difficult. So don’t forget to offer up some thanks and praise, ask for heavenly guidance, then don all your protective spiritual armour and fasten it securely before going out to do battle with Lucifer and his evil cohorts. For as Bruh Paul so nicely, but windingly puts it: ‘Know ye not, that to whom ye yield (present, offer) yourselves servants to obey, his servants (slaves) ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?’ Now that’s a fact we cannot deny my people! Whatever, or whomever we bow to, worship, or allow to control us to an extraordinary extent, we become their servants, their slaves. In some cases the control is so great that it morphs into an addiction, be it physical attraction or chemical stimulants. And regardless of if it’s a sinful action(s) that will eventually cause us to end up in eternal darkness, or following the righteous commands of God, we are controlled by whatever is uppermost in our minds, thoughts and desires. As they say, you are what you think, and who or what controls your thoughts and actions, controls you. Peter said it beautifully when talking of false prophets and teachers. ‘For when they speak great swelling words of vanity (emptiness), they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were (indeed) clean escaped from them who lived in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in (into) bondage.’ (2 Pet.2:18-19) Those false teachers  enslave us with their false teachings, the same way they were enslaved. Though they were supposedly teachers of salvation, they unfortunately became involved with the world and were subsequently overcome by it and were turned into ‘servants of corruption.’ However Friends, in terms of sinful actions, Jesus didn’t mince words, didn’t indulge in any longwinded prose like Bruh Paul, He just came straight to the point, called a spade a spade, and who didn’t like it tough. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.’ (John 8:34) No ifs, ands and buts about it Friends. If you commit sin, you’re a servant, a slave of sin, sin is your master. Likewise, if we adhere strongly to the Word of God and whatever pertains to it, then we are servants of the Most High God Jehovah, who is a much more LOVING and caring Master than Beelzebub. Consequently, Bruh Paul offers this advice. ‘For in that he (Christ) died, he died unto sin once (for all, and for ever): but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon (consider) ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments (weapons) of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments (weapons) of righteousness unto God.’ (Rom.6:10-13) Ah my people, what words of wisdom! Somewhat confusing, but still words that all we believers should take to heart and attempt to live by. For indeed, when Christ died on our behalf, he put the boots to sin, kicked it clear out the park, so that we could be freed from its horrible, enslaving shackles and tormenting power. And thankfully, through His resurrection, replaced it with the righteousness of the Father, salvation and eternal life for those who willingly accept it. Oh praise Him my people for His most LOVING-kindness to the ungrateful, undeserving children of men! As a result, if we fall under the banner of Jesus, then we need to get rid of, eradicate sin from our lives and bodies, so we don’t follow its cruel, enslaving and unrighteous worldly lusts. As Bruh Paul lectured the Corinthians: ‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ (1 Cor.6:19-20) Oh Friends, I can’t begin to explain the extent of God’s goodness to us, saving us from sin through His abundant grace and Jesus’ death, so I’ll just let Bruh Paul do it. ‘But God be thanked, that (though) ye were the servants (slaves) of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you (to which you were entrusted) Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness…For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom. 6:17-18, 23) That says it all my people. It’s now up to us to choose whom we shall follow, the evil Lucifer, or the righteous Jesus. As far as I’m concerned though, there’s no real choice; Jesus wins hands down! Hope you feel the same way too and decide to seriously follow Him. It’s the only way to truly live. Much LOVE!…true wisdom decrees that…as for me and my house…we shall follow the Lord…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 January 2010 Job 19:26‏

Job 19:26     And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
Oh Friends, it’s supposed to be several degrees above freezing, with much rain, this winter Sunday in January. Now I’m not complaining, (smile) cause I’ll take rain over snow any day, just noting the recent change in weather patterns. Three decades ago that rarely happened, but it does now with regularity. I guess there’s some truth in the cliché that the only sure thing in this world is change. It’s like the lady, Etta Farrow, reputedly said about her face: ‘Those wrinkles are the maps of my life…They’re battle scars.’ And indeed they are, cause time and life readily etch all those monuments of pain and joy in our faces. But please remember Friends that the skin is only the outer covering, a protective layer for our most important part, our soul. Neither should we allow aging or wrinkled skin to affect, reduce or diminish our enjoyment of and for life. Granted, that as we increase in age, we won’t be able to do certain physical activities, but the soul is never too old to enjoy a life that’s abundantly filled with God’s gifts and blessings. Job even takes it all a step further when he says: ‘And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.’ My people, that’s a definitive statement of Job’s faith. In the previous verse he solemnly declares: ‘For I know that my Redeemer (Kinsman) liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.’ (Job 19:25) According to the scholars, God has humiliated Job, while his friends and relatives have abandoned him. (Job 19:21-22) He’s been reduced to begging for pity from them, but he’s still sure of his basic righteousness and confidently proclaims: ‘Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!’ (Job 19:23-24) He’s sure that if his case could be preserved for posterity, coming generations would give him a more favourable judgement than his current associates. And he’s also sure that he has a Redeemer, a Being, a Kinsman, who will stand up strong on his behalf, vigorously fight his cause and eventually provide his vindication. ‘Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another…’ Per the scholars, Job sees God Himself as the Redeemer, not His Son Jesus, as we do. However, according to them, the Hebrew word for Redeemer is often used to refer to God, so Job wasn’t wrong in his thinking. Please note Job’s contention, that after the worms destroy his body, ‘yet in my flesh shall I see God.’ He’s obviously talking about a resurrected fleshly body. The scholars claim that it can also be translated as ‘apart from my flesh,’ meaning a spiritual being, but the emphasis of the original Hebrew statement was ‘from the standpoint of my flesh’ in my resurrected body. And they use this as convincing evidence of the Old Testament belief in the resurrection of the human body. And there’s something to be said for that conclusion if one takes Bruh David’s closing remarks of Psalm 17, A prayer for protection against oppressors, into consideration. ‘As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.’ (Ps.17:15) Isaiah also contributes to that idea with these words. ‘Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.’ (Isa.26:19) Friends, Jesus uttered the official word on that in the Beatitudes. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’ (Mat.5:8) Meanwhile, here’s Bruh Paul’s take on the subject in his reasoning on the way of LOVE. ‘For now we see through a glass (mirror) darkly (dimly); but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.’ (1 Cor.13:12) We’ll leave the last word though with John. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons (children) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.’ (1 John 3:2) Oh Friends, it doesn’t matter whether our form is flesh and blood, or spirit, or both, the important thing is that there will be a resurrection, and at the triumphal coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we believers will be like Him and be able to see Him and then dwell with Him till eternity. Jesus promised that, and He is ever faithful who promised. So Friends, let’s get our act together, put our houses in order NOW, and try to help others do the same, so that when that great day comes no one will be left in eternal darkness with Beelzebub. That’s Jesus’ greatest desire, and our job to help Him accomplish it. Much LOVE!…it matters not…in what form I live with Christ…just that I live with Him…till eternity…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 January 2010 Psalm 27:1‏

Psalm 27:1     The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Well Friends, it’s the weekend, meaning Sabbath time; time for praise, worship, fellowship and rejuvenation. Just as any machinery that runs on gas stalls when its tank is empty, so too do we stall when we run out, or run low on God’s power. And like Bruh David drew his strength from the Lord, so too all we believers ought to draw our strength from Him. Yesterday we saw that the strength referred to was not so much physical, but more mental and inner spiritual power. Today I just want to highlight a few stalwarts of faith who showed true dependence on God for their well-being. Obviously people like Moses and Joshua had that strength else they could not have led the stubborn, recalcitrant Israelites for so long. Abraham was another faithful servant who left his family home in Haran at age 75 and went out into an unknown world simply on God’s promise to make a great nation of his progeny. (Gen.12:1-3) Abraham didn’t need only faith and physical strength but also that inner power to keep his faith steadfast and true. And he got it from the promise of his God. He knew deep down that whatever the Lord promised would be fulfilled if he was obedient. So he faithfully went wherever the Lord led him, and in the fullness of the Lord’s time, his seed became plentiful and prosperous. Note Friends, that whatever we’re called to undergo has a purpose, and it’s only if we persevere to the end that we’ll discover the Lord’s reasoning. That brings us to people like Ezra and Nehemiah, who had the vision to rebuild Jerusalem after its destruction by the Babylonians. They first needed permission from the Babylonian kings to do it, then gather sufficient money, the proper people, equipment and supplies and transport it all from Babylon to Jerusalem. They required plenty backbone and belly to overcome the physical and people challenges. Nehemiah prayed to his God that the king would have mercy on him and his plans because he was the king’s cupbearer. (Neh.1:11) And he did. As Nehemiah exulted: ‘And the king granted me according to the good hand of my God upon me.’ (Neh.2:8) And when opposition came against them, what was his response? ‘The God of heaven, he will prosper us, therefore we his servants will arise and build.’ (Neh.2:20) We can also talk about Daniel and his three amigos, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They did not comply with the king’s wishes, re indoctrination of the Babylonian culture or bow down to their idols. But when the three amigos were thrown into the super-heated furnace they came out not even smelling of smoke. And Daniel came to no harm after his sojourn in the lion’s den either. What was that all about eh Friends? It was a test of their faith. And that real and true faith in the Most High God Jehovah lent them the spiritual wherewithal to stand up to those with supreme earthly power over them. Oh my people, it’s the same for us. When we believe with a strong, unshakeable faith, we also rise to a higher level of perseverance and fortitude, and are able to withstand much more than the normal turmoil of everyday life. But of all those who stood strong in the Lord, the one that did it best in my opinion was Bruh Joseph. He doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves, both in the fields of patience and fortitude. We all know the story: A teenager living in a somewhat dysfunctional family where all his siblings dislike him because he’s their father’s pet. Then the father makes him a coat of many colours, and Joseph tells them about his dreams that signify they would all bow down to him at some time. That only brings more resentment and death threats. He’s finally sold into slavery, taken to Egypt and bought by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guards. He’s made chief steward of the household because his master sees the promise in him, but then the wife offers him some dalliance which he refuses; ‘How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? ‘ he tells her. He would not betray his master’s trust, neither would he do wrong in God’s sight. It’s very important to see my people that throughout all Bruh Joseph’s trials, he keeps the faith in the God of his father Jacob, and the Lord prospers him even in his servile state. He ends up in prison because of the false accusation by Potiphar’s wife, but even in there the warden notices his extraordinary skills and makes him his assistant. And even after he’s betrayed by Pharaoh’s butler and baker, he still stands tall and strong in the Lord without complaining of his terrible plight. How many of us could have withstood so much innocent tribulation eh Friends? Not too many. But the Lord had shown Bruh Joseph something in those dreams that gave him the strength and courage to remain focused on the straight and narrow. The Lord was obviously preparing him for something that needed such a humbled spirit, but that would also build tremendous strength of character. A couple years later when Pharaoh had a dream that no one could decipher, the butler remembers Bruh Joseph and sends for him. The rest is history: He interprets Pharaoh’s dream and becomes Prime Minister of Egypt, and in the Lord’s own inimitable way and His fullness of time, his parents and siblings do bow down to him. But it all hinged on him being obedient, faithful and trusting of God. That’s the only way we can ever increase and grow in our faith and walk with God. Now there are many more people who showed enormous inner strength and godly character during their life’s trials, but due to lack of space and time we can’t name them all. However we’ll close with a very apt quote from one of the mightiest; Bruh Paul. ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Phil.4:13) And that’s the gospel truth Friends, so please, let’s believe it with all our hearts, souls and minds, then practice it nuh. Much LOVE!…the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song…he also is become my salvation… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 January 2010 Psalm 27:1‏

Psalm 27:1     The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Oh Friends, I remember saying a couple days ago that this was an interesting Bit, but it has turned out to be even more interesting than I thought. We’ve spoken for two days on just the Light aspect of our God: how we viewed Him, how He viewed Himself and how Jesus viewed us. LIGHT and LOVE seem to be the basic characteristics of our Heavenly Father. Everything else can be found within those two attributes. Oh Praise His Holy Name my People! Finally, we move on to the next part of the Bit: ‘The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ We iterate again Friends that once the Most High God Jehovah is our guide, protector and provider, there’s no earthly being of whom we should be afraid. Jesus said we should not fear those who kill the body, but be wary and afraid of those who can kill our soul. (Mat.10:28) Just like Light was a very important part of the Old Testament perception of the Lord, so was His abundant Strength. All the faithful ancients relied heavily on Him for their strength to make it through their often rough and tumble lives. And it’s not so much physical strength they are talking about, although Samson did call on the Lord for that when he wanted to pull down the arena pillars on the Philistines. ‘O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.’ (Jud.16:28) And we all know that our wonderful God granted Him that physical strength, not only because Samson asked for it, but more likely because He also wanted the Philistines punished. Anyway Friends, it was more the spiritual rather than the physical kind of strength that The Lord’s people sought. They desired of Him things like perseverance, fortitude and strength of character, to stand up for what they believed in or what was right. In our West Indian parlance we’d probably say they desired ‘stick-to-itiveness,’ backbone and belly, an inner strength of spirit that allowed them to live the way their God desired. And when Moses sang his song, he joyfully proclaimed: ‘The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.’ (Ex.15:2) Wow! Those are surely strong words my people. But can we truly say like wise? We ought to, for it’s the inner strength that our Lord provides that really keeps us keeping on, and not balking or giving up at the slightest hint of adversity or disappointment. We all know it’s in the Lord that Bruh David found the wherewithal to carry on despite his many troubles and misfortunes. ‘In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.’ (Ps.62:7-8) Those are words of infallible truth my people! It’s in the Lord our God, and from no other source, that we find the strength to carry on when life gets rough and crazy, and also in Him that we find refuge, a hiding place, a place of comfort and rest in those times when we just can’t handle life anymore. Our God is the only one to whom we can go with any problem(s) whatsoever, at any time, and be assured of a friendly greeting, a listening ear, a caring heart, a comforting shoulder to cry on and most excellent advice on how to handle whatever ails us. Oh Friends, that’s the beauty of our God! He’s a one man wrecking crew as well as a one stop, fix it all. Obviously His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit ably assist Him. Now it’s very important that we, as believers, in these violent and uncompromising times, identify with God’s all-powerful nature and then make the best use of it. That’s what it’s there for mih people. It’s of no use just sitting there idly by, the same way whatever positive abilities we possess are wasted if unused. And our God wants us to come to Him, both in good times and bad. There’s nothing He desires more than that. But sometimes we get too proud and haughty for our own good and refuse to ask Him for help. And that’s where we get tripped up Friends, because the Lord thoroughly dislikes pride and arrogance. He wants us to come to Him humbly, but with the knowledge, the inner strength and confidence that whatever the problem, He will assist us, without condemnation too. We might not like His answers or advice, but be certain of one thing my people, that whatever our God does for or says to us, it is ALWAYS FOR OUR GOOD. And I just broke out chuckling because it seems that we’ll have to continue this Bit tomorrow since I haven’t said half of what I planned to say. But it’s all good Friends, for it’s the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and it’s only fitting that we end with some encouraging and prayerful words from Isaiah. This prayer is taken from his talk on ‘Salvation for those who trust in God.’ ‘O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.’ (Is.33:2) Yes Friends, that’s what we need to pray for; the strong arm of our God, to help and deliver us every day from the cruel and inhumane ‘sufferation’ that comes knocking at out door. He is the ONLY ONE who can do it ALL! Please remember that mih people, and let us act in compliance with it. And our God willing, we’ll have more on His Strength tomorrow. But why not eh? It’s His Name we’re glorifying and His Word we’re spreading in trying to live a life of Faith. Till then: Much LOVE!…don’t take our God for granted…but never fear to seek Him…and use His services to the max…

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