Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 August 2020 1 Peter 5:6.

1 Peter 5:6.     ​Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 

Happy Independence Day T&T! Congratulations on 58 years of sterling nationhood! (1962-2020) And in that time you have certainly made important contributions to all aspects of human life – been a beacon of hope and light in the Caribbean! We wish you many long years of success as an innovative, refreshing and enduring nation. 

Wonder how the celebrations going to go on today with the pandemic situation and the resultant lockdown? Oh not to worry, T&T is the best partying nation in the world. Nobody LOVES a party like we, and we going to find some innovative way to celebrate Independence Day. It surely won’t pass without some kind of celebration, regardless of what the law says. (smile) You can bet yuh bottom dollar on that! 

However, it’s Monday, the last day of August, and most of us are not concerned about celebrations, but rather about the start of a new work week, and possibly anxious about what this week in this year of calamity will bring. But as the Good Book tells us, when worries beset us, take them all to the Good Lord in prayer and He will ease the anxiety in our souls. 

Peter puts it thus: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet. 5:6-7) And since that’s gospel truth, let’s do it now nuh through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. So in confident, but humble voice, let’s come before God’s throne and empty our hearts of all the confusion and uncertainty residing there. 

All together now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive and standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

And yes friends, we have certainly sinned against our great God, fallen into wilful disobedience, and are now experiencing the consequences of that disobedience. As Jeremiah says in his lamentation over Israel’s adversity. ‘Wherefore doth (how can) a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try (examine) our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted (pursued) us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.’ (Lam. 3:30-44) 

Oh my people, if the Lord could punish His chosen people for their wilful disobedience, why wouldn’t He do the same thing to us eh? Yes, He is indeed patient and long suffering, but even the Lord’s patience will run out at some time if His prize creation keeps going headlong down the path of evil and disobedience. But here’s why He is indeed a great God, the ONLY TRUE and LIVING GOD! 

Jeremiah himself said it earlier on: ‘For the Lord will not cast off forever. But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly (with delight), nor grieve the children of men. To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, To turn aside the right of man (justice due) before the face of the most High, To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.’ (Lam. 3:31-36) 

Yes my brethren, our God is a merciful God, but He is also a holy and just Deity and to be true to His Word, He must cause justice to be done in the affairs of man. So if we have sinned and come short of His Word, then it’s expected that at some time we will suffer the negative consequences. But as He promised, if we repent and turn back to Him, He will indeed forgive us and heal our land. And without a doubt, right now our land is in dire need of healing, and the Lord God Jehovah is the ONLY ONE who can do it. 

So let’s wise up nuh, let’s show ourselves to be the wise and wonderful creation He wonderfully made and repent and joyfully receive Him back into our society, so that our children, and our children’s children will have a decent future to look forward to. That’s wisdom for the ages! Much LOVE!

…the wise way to do life…is to obey God and leave all the consequences to Him… (Dr. Charles Stanley) 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 August 2020 Psalm 139:17.

Psalm 139:17.    ‘How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

Grace and peace, mercy, LOVE and forgiveness to you my fellow saints in Christ from God our Father, this last Sunday of August in this crazy year of 2020! Our heavenly Father desires that we use all those gifts to withstand whatever adversity we’re going through, assured in the knowledge that He cares for us and won’t forsake us under any circumstances. Faith friends, faith, that’s what those gifts ought to grow in us. But enough of me, (smile) it’s Sunday morning, which means it’s time to celebrate the Lord’s Day with some praise, thanksgiving and worship. 

And plenty of us still can’t go to the physical sanctuary and worship together, so we’ll do it by technology, as we’ve been doing for the last how long. Hn! Did you ever imagine there’d come a day when we couldn’t gather together physically and hug and kiss and worship our God? But that’s what faith is all about; even in adversity we find a way to get the job done. 

And to open our worship I decided that the most appropriate hymn for today would be our old favourite written by Johnson Oatman Jr. titled ‘Count Your Blessings!’ That decision was made because yesterday we spoke about having an attitude of continuous prayer and giving thanks in all circumstances, as well as counting our blessings. And you ask, what’s the purpose of counting our blessings? Well it’s simple: ‘to be grateful for the good things in your life, often to stop yourself becoming too unhappy about the bad things.’ 

Yeh mih people, to keep us joyful in the Lord our God, remembering that the joy of the Lord is our strength. And the website http://www.godtube acclaims: “Count Your Blessings” is a wonderful song to sing any day of the year as a reminder of the many blessings of God, even during hardships. You will feel joy and contentment after joining in with this hymn!’ Wow! 

So since we counted our blessings yesterday, and got such a great number (smile) we should have no problems in bursting out in sacrificial praise this morning. So all together now, in perfect harmony, in an up-tempo beat, let’s remember our many blessings and give our wonderful God much thanks and praise for them. 

‘When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. (Refrain: Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.) Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by. [Refrain] 

When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; Count your many blessings, money cannot buy Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. [Refrain] So, amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.’ 

Yes friends, we did find joy and contentment after singing that song! Oh mih bredrin, when we spend time counting our blessings, we really see what God has done and is still doing in our lives! The website http://www.godtube expresses it this way: ‘God truly gives us so many blessings each and every single day. Some may even be so small that we might overlook them. The classic hymn ‘Count Your Blessings’ truly reminds us to stop and give thanks for all God has done in our lives. This is definitely a pause we all need to take. Amen.’ And in this increasingly busy, confused and uncertain world, we all need to make that pause every so often, when the cares of the world start closing in on us. 

Now here’s an amazing scripture form Bruh David from Psalm 40 – Praise for answered prayer – describing just how marvellous and generous our God is to us. ‘Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order (recounted) unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.’ (Ps. 40:5) And that’s the awesome truth my brethren, for as godtube says above, some of them are so small that we tend to overlook them. 

And in Psalm 139 – The everlasting presence and power of God – Bruh David declares (yesss!): ‘How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.’ (Ps. 139:17-18) And if you think that’s all, please listen to Bruh Paul’s greeting to the Ephesians. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ (Eph. 1:3) 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul is praising the Lord because He has bestowed all spiritual blessings on His people. And the scholars offer this synopsis of that verse. ‘These spiritual benefits are granted to the believer and are retained in heaven for him, being progressively dispersed to him on earth in accord with his need and spiritual growth….This verse, therefore, makes five points: (1) What has God done? He has blessed us. (2) With what? With every spiritual blessing. (3) When? In eternity past. (4) Where are these blessings? In heaven. (5) How did God do this? By Christ.’ 

Oh precious people, what a marvellous God we serve, one who has our wellbeing uppermost in His mind and blesses us accordingly. I don’t know what more we can ask for nuh. And we’ll end with this interesting quote from whom I don’t know (smile), but it is very relevant. ‘If you always find yourself numbering your troubles, you will never find time counting your blessings. There is no use becoming frustrated in your difficulties while you have all opportunities hiding in them for a turnover.’ 

Let’s ponder those words today nuh, as we enjoy the Lord’s day. Much LOVE!

…if you are a believer…counting one’s blessings…ought to come naturally… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 August 2020 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.     ​Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Oh friends there’s nothing better to awaken to than a clean earth that’s been well washed by divine showers of blessings during the night, and then opens as a bright and sunshiny day. Everything smells fresh and clean and there’s an added sparkle to the morning, as when silver is polished to a heightened state. (smile) Well that’s the kind of day with which we’ve been blessed in my area on this lazy, late summer Saturday. And since it’s Saturday, I guess I should turn my attention to the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And this first one is certainly interesting: ‘Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.’ Now that’s what you call gospel truth, because none of us ever knows if our next breath may be our last. The Grim reaper can come calling so suddenly, that we need to continually remember the vapour that life is. As James puts it: ‘Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.’ (James 4:14) And Job, when he remonstrates with God, solemnly declares (yeah!): ‘O remember that my life is wind…’ (Job 7:7) 

That just goes to show how frail and uncertain our lives can be. Consequently, this next quote can certainly help us in that regard. ‘If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.’ Ah mih people, those two words, ‘thank you,’ are possibly the best two we can ever say to God or man. Now I’m assuming that the author of that quote doesn’t mean the one single prayer you’ve ever said in your entire life, and that you’ve never said another, (smile) but that ‘thank you’ is the prayer you say continually, and nothing else. 

Under those circumstance I believe that God will be extremely pleased, because all He asks of us is to be thankful and grateful for the life and blessings He’s so generously bestowed on us, especially the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. And as Jesus says, we don’t need to prayer long prayers. ‘But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ (Matt. 6:7) Now that doesn’t mean that our every prayer should be only a few words, but generally speaking, babbling on like the heathen are accused of doing, doesn’t mean our prayers will be heard or answered any quicker. 

That leads to the following quote, which does a marvellous job of explaining how our lives ought to be ordered. Listen up carefully. ‘It is necessary, then, to cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.’ Oh friends, oh friends, what wonderful truth is contained in those words, and if we were to ever follow it, our lives would be different like night and day! 

And it’s so sad to realize that the habits of gratefulness and thankfulness are fading fast away from our greedy, selfish, godless and immoral society. For some of us, saying thank you, or showing gratefulness is like pulling teeth without the use of anesthetic! Being grateful for all that we have, or have done, which makes us who we are, has become anathema to our society, and has been replaced by the cult of entitlement. Yes, entitlement now rules the roost my brethren! We are now entitled to everything! 

But let’s remember the immortal words of Bruh Paul to the Thessalonians nuh: ‘Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess. 5:17-18) That means, as the scholars explain: ‘5:17. A believer ought to remain in the attitude of prayer though not always praying audibly.’ ‘5:18. In every event or circumstance (thing) the Christian is to give thanks to God for the good He can bring out of the event, even should the event be unpleasant. The constant attitude of prayer, mentioned in verse 17, will help the believer to maintain gratitude in the face of adversity.’ 

And to the Ephesians, re the ways of the believer, Bruh Paul said it thus: ‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear (reverence) of God.’ (Eph. 5:20-21). Meanwhile to the Colossians, he said: ‘And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.’ (Col. 3:17) How much more do we need to hear for it to sink in and take active root in our lives eh my people? 

And this last quote covers, or encapsulates all the others. ‘When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.’ And is that the living truth! My precious people of God, when we begin counting our blessings, instead of our adversity, then the whole mood, mode and tempo of our lives change for the better. Our vibes then become positive and not negative and we look forward to life each and every day, although we know that it won’t always run as smoothly as we desire. 

But that’s the Spirit of God then working in us to lighten and brighten our days. As the song ‘Count Your Blessings’ so wonderfully puts it: ‘Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God hath done…’ Why don’t we try doing that today my fellow saints in Christ, rather than dwelling on the negatives in our lives eh? That’s wisdom to the nth degree. And we all know that wisdom is the principal thing. Much LOVE!

…nothing beats a grateful and thankful heart… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 August 2020 Ecclesiastes 9:16.

Ecclesiastes 9:16.     ​Then said I, wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.

Welcome to another day of celebration friends; another day of excitement, adventure and purpose on God’s great earth as we set out to do His awesome will! And is that ever a marvellous thing, because we don’t know what’s in store for us, but we are assured that whatever it is, God will make it all good eventually! That’s His promise, and He is ever-faithful to keep them. And remember today is Friday, the day we let our hair down in preparation for the weekend. (smile) 

So let’s see what the ordinary workingman has to offer us today nuh. And he seems to be getting His energy and zest for living back after the long Covid-19 lockdown, for he declares (steups!) with great enthusiasm: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday at last, and the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all’s right with my world, or as right as it can be under the circumstances! (smile) Well we still have to be careful with this Corona virus thing, but it’s not as bad as it was before with the reopening of plenty places, and above all, people not behaving as stupid as they did in the beginning, finally realizing the deadliness of the virus and how we have to be ever so careful in dealing with it. 

And yes, I know that it still have the odd ones who going to behave foolish, and those who still believe that is all fake and the numbers are boosted to make it look bad, but the fact of the matter is that people still dying from it, and once that is happening, yuh have to pay attention to yuh lifestyle. I guess that’s what they calling the new normal… Hn! And I really can’t complain too much nuh, because ah working, mih children healthy, mih wife not as stressed out as before… 

But ah don’t know bout this school business though, with li’l children wearing mask whole day, and so many a them in li’l cubby hole classrooms with no proper ventilation… I guess school’s important, but look how many days we break beach, played hooky from school, and we still turn out okay. (smile) Don’t see why the rush to send them back to school when they know it not safe nuh. But we’ll see how it turns out. Till then we have to give thanks to God for Fridays and the weekends oui!’ 

Ah mih people, as always, the ordinary workingman raises some good points, but who’s going to listen to him eh? As Cousin Sol said so long ago in Ecclesiastes: ‘There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks (barriers, siege works) against it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then said I, wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.’ (Eccl. 9:14-16) 

And that’s the gospel truth! The wisdom of the poor man is seldom considered important; that is if it’s ever thought that poor people can be wise. But we all know better than that eh my brethren. And there’s no better example of the poor being despised re wisdom than Jesus’ appearance and teaching in his own hometown of Nazareth. (Mark 6:2-3) When he began to teach in the temple they were astonished at His wisdom, wondering how the simple carpenter boy from their town got so wise. ‘And they were offended at him.’ 

Imagine that nuh. But it happens all the time, all over the world. As Jesus so wisely said to them. ‘A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin (relatives), and in his own house.’ (Mark 6:4.) And because of their offense and disbelief, Jesus was unable to do any mighty work in His own home town. (Mark 6: 5-6) How sad! 

That brings us back to Cousin Sol in Ecclesiastes. Hear these awesome words on wisdom. ‘For wisdom is a defense (shade, shadow), and money is a defense: but the excellency (advantage) of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.’ (Eccl. 7:12) Mama Yo! What wisdom! (smile) And it’s the gospel truth! Wisdom offers something to its holder that money or any other material substance cannot. That’s why Cousin Sol said in Proverbs that ‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.’ (Prov. 4:7) 

Oh my people, wisdom should be the number one thing we seek after in this earthly life. And what’s so wonderful about wisdom is that it comes from God, as James says: ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given to Him. But you have to ask in faith, not wavering.’ (James 1:4-5)  That means, to truly seek wisdom, you have to truly seek God, and that’s our raison d’etre, our reason for being here on earth; to seek Him, to LOVE and adore and worship Him, our God and our Creator. 

So let’s go to Him now seeking wisdom nuh; wisdom to handle all the difficulties we’re now engulfed in. Let’s chant our Friday Chant. All together now, with sincere hearts. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. Yuh know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the racial strife causing. We not accustomed to that kind of life Lord, and it really telling on us. And we know we can’t handle it on our own, that we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, so that we can avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and handle the situation like we promised – like real faithful believers! Much LOVE!

…money can’t buy you wisdom…but wisdom will help you make money… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 August 2020 John 15:5b.

John 15:5b.     for without me, ye can do nothing.

It was a wet and foggy night, but surprisingly it’s turned out into a dry and sunshiny morning with a cool breeze coquettishly titillating the leaves and branches of the trees. (smile) Oh friends, words can paint such interesting pictures! Unfortunately though, too many of us are resisting the word pictures we’re painting in these troubling and turbulent times; the basic picture that Jesus is our answer, ONLY He can meet ALL of our needs… ONLY He can fix ALL of our problems, as individuals, as a nation and as a worldwide society!  

Yes my people, as I keep reminding us, Jesus is our Be All and End All! It’s as simple as that! And if we want our lives to go relatively smoothly, then we must get attached to Him. He makes it abundantly clear in these momentous words: ‘Abide in me, and I in you. as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me, ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:4-5) 

Oh mih bredrin, that’s the awesome truth, and Jesus has spelled it out in black and white for us: without Him, we can do nothing! But such is our pride and ego based on the finite knowledge and technological improvements we’ve made in our lives, that we refuse to accept the fact that Jesus is all-powerful and we can’t do anything without Him being involved in it. 

But here are a couple of scriptures from Bruh Paul that reiterate Jesus’ contention. The first comes from his second letter to the church at Corinth, who were having serious behavioural problems. ‘And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;’ (2 Cor. 3:4-5) 

And that’s the major stumbling block in our world today; we think too highly of ourselves and not highly enough of God. We believe that we are self-sufficient, but that’s a ghastly lie, and we’re only fooling ourselves and digging ourselves deeper into the pits of hell because of that false and oh so erroneous belief. Just look at the problems in our world today, if we were so self-sufficient and wonderful in our own strength, don’t you think we would have solved most of them by now? 

But we haven’t! And we won’t without divine help! That’s just the way the cookie crumbles! And until we understand that, we’ll just keep cascading down the cataract filled river of life until we come to one too big for us to handle in our own strength. Possibly we’ve just reached it; the pandemic and strife that’s currently overtaken our world, might just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

And the second scripture from Bruh Paul comes from his letter to the Colossians, where he’s talking about his service for Christ. ‘If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled (steadfast), and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.’ (Col. 1:23) 

And the scholars explain that verse thus: ‘1:23. If ye continue in the faith (or, “since you will persevere in the faith”): the Colossians future entrance in God’s heavenly presence depends on whether they remain in the Christian faith. The words “since you will persevere” indicate that they will remain loyal to Christ. Perseverance in the Christian’s faith is a test of the reality of one’s trust in Christ. This verse implies that true believers will persevere.’ 

And we better had persevere, if we want to see the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said that very clearly too. ‘But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.’ (Matt. 24:13) So yuh see friends, is two things we have to do in this life; sincerely accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, then persevere in the faith that He’s proscribed to the end. But unfortunately too many of us refuse to accept those terms, and that’s why our world is spinning out of control, and headed straight for Hades… yes, we going to call it by its nice name, (smile) though we know that down there is a place of utter confusion and torment. 

Remember the saying that pride goes before a fall, well that’s exactly what’s happening to us right now, we’re falling and failing because our pride refuses to accept the fact that we’re not sufficient in our own strength to run our world, and only in Christ Jesus can we do a good job. Ah mih people, this life’s not easy, but with the help of Almighty God, it certainly can be real interesting and adventurous! And that is highlighted by the awesome blessings our wonderful God has given us to do His work down here on earth. We call them our Thursday Blessings. 

So let’s shout them out loud and proud nuh: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! 

I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

And with such an awesome array of blessings at our fingertips, let’s go out, or even stay at home, (smile) and use them to bless others just as generously as God has blessed us. That’s our bounden duty! Much LOVE!

…JESUS…ALL we ever need… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 August 2020 Ecclesiastes 12:13.

Ecclesiastes 12:13.     ​Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Ah mih people, the summer is quickly coming to an end… and many of us didn’t even have the time to notice it was summer and do all the things we enjoy doing in this wonderful season…and we all know why. (smile) And it wasn’t bad summer weather at all, hot – like you know where – with some rain and thunderstorms, what we would have termed a good summer if we were able to engage in all the usual summer activities. But now it’s time to buckle down for fall and the cold winter days ahead. 

Who knows what life will be like then eh? Will there be school, will there be some ease in the pandemic and strife, or will we see another round of the scourge and more strife? Questions, questions! That’s all we have, and only time will reveal the answers! Oh what a wonderful philosophical statement! (smile) Lighten up mih friends, our wonderful God is still on the throne, still controlling things, and that’s all we need to know! 

He’s the same yesterday, today and forever, which means we know exactly what to expect from Him, so there’s no need for us to hold our heads and bawl, He will make it right in His own time, when we are sufficiently repentant and have turned back to Him, sincerely welcoming Him back with open arms. Back to our homes, our schools, our society, when life once again focuses and throbs around His everlasting sovereignty! 

The longer our serious, mind boggling problems persist, the stronger I feel that only repentance and a return to God will save us. The only problem is how long can we afford to pussyfoot around when more people are dying everyday through sickness and strife? Yes, the Lord will save a remnant, like He did with Israel every time He punished them for disobedience, but I believe the size of that remnant will depend on how soon we move to bring Him back to our society. 

So in effect, the ball is in our court, we are the deciders of our faith – turn back to God and prosper, or continue down the destructive, hell-bent trail we’re now on and suffer divine intervention. Wow! Is the ole fella waxing philosophical this morning or what! (smile) But here are some interesting words from one who was ever so much wiser than me. 

We talking about Cousin Sol, and writing as the preacher in Ecclesiastes, he says: ‘I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also knoweth not his time as the fishes that are taken in an evil (cruel) net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.’ (Eccl. 9:11-12) 

And has an evil time ever fallen suddenly upon us my brethren! Oh some may say that it has not fallen suddenly because our evil deeds have been on a path of accumulation all along, and this is just the culmination. But however we parse it, these are indeed evil and unfortunate times. And I like the scholars’ brief explanations of those two verses above. ‘9:11-12. Five statements of unexpected results are followed by an explanation. Man’s ability cannot guarantee the results (vs.11) because of the equalizing effects of time and chance.’ 

Yes friends, our wealth, strength, wisdom, understanding and skill does not keep us from ‘sufferation,’ for we are all liable to the equalizing effects of time and chance, which happen unexpectedly to us all. Thus, the only thing we can be sure of in this life is the sovereignty of Jehovah God, who created us in His own spiritual image and still controls the reins of our lives, regardless of what the wise or evil man might think. And furthermore, as Cousin Sol says earlier in his famous treatise of a time for every purpose under heaven: ‘A time to LOVE and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.’ (Eccl. 3:8) 

Oh precious people, these crucial and most critical times are ones for LOVE and peace, not hate and war! The latter two will only drive more nails into our already prepared coffin. Only the godly traits of LOVE, peace, mercy, grace, forgiveness, kindness, friendship and the like, can save us in these turbulent and unrelenting times. And yes my fellow saints in Christ, Cousin Sol has some really good words of wisdom and advice in Ecclesiastes. Hear these, as he enjoins us to charity, which is so badly needed in this time of lack and hardship. 

‘Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth… As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit (wind), 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. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper (which will succeed), either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.’ (Eccl. 11:1-2,5-6) 

Now hear the scholars on those verses. ‘11:1-6. These verses contain a series of sayings about the uncertainty of human industry, and are held together by the fourfold occurrence of the expression thou knowest not. Although man cannot comprehend God’s work, nor predict success, he needs to be involved in life’s activities and trust God for the results.’ And that is exactly what I’m trying to get through to us my people! The only sure thing in this world is God, regardless of what we think or believe! And the only sure way to live this life with positive purpose is to interact sincerely with Him. 

And Cousin Sol wraps it up thus: ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.’ (Eccl. 12:13-14) That’s it in a nutshell friends! To live successfully, we need to reverence God and be obedient to His will, nothing else will suffice! 

And now that we’ve been reassured and re-indoctrinated (smile) to our earthly purpose, let’s go home declaring (awright!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our most wonderful position in Christ Jesus. All together now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And will it ever be glorious, if we endure to the end! Much LOVE!

…wisdom dictates…that bowing to Almighty God…is the true answer to life… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 August 2020 Hebrews 12:11.

Hebrews 12:11.     ​Now no chastening (discipline) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby.

Well it’s Tuesday, and I’m alive and kicking, not totally true, (smile) but thankful for what I do have, and giving thanks for all the good things that are going to happen to, and through me today. I hope all of you my fine and faithful Scrip-Bit friends and family are doing, or have done the same as the new mercies from heaven on high have greeted you this marvellous summer day. But I do have another li’l something to share; that we won’t only be showered with tender mercies and compassions, but some tough times will also occasionally befall us. 

Those will be times we don’t like or appreciate, but which will all serve a useful purpose, since God allows nothing in our lives that isn’t useful for our godly growth and development. And we must learn to accept them with grace and strength, solemnly remembering the immortal words of Job in his time of immense tribulation. ‘What? shall we receive (accept) good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil (accept calamity)?’ (Job 2:10) Great words of wisdom and faith there my brethren! Not very easy to follow and/or accept though. (smile) 

And this Tuesday morning I’d like to share something that will help us bear those rough times; something from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, appropriately titled ‘Intrusions.’ Please pray with me. ‘A thousand intrusions Have crowded in on my life today. My reaction, Lord? I’ve resented every one. And now I read in Your Word That I’m to put out the welcome signal! In fact, I must welcome each intrusion As a personal friend. (Perhaps even serve tea, Lord?) 

You assure me that You have a purpose For their continual persistence: My faith needs depth My endurance needs development. I have no argument with that, Lord But I had hoped than an hour or two Of trial and testing would suffice. Or a day at most, dear God. But again you remind me That the process must continue Until maturity becomes my password And independence becomes my goal and the Crown of Life becomes my reward.’ 

And isn’t all of that the awesome truth friends! It certainly is. We complain when the trials and testing continue, ofttimes non-stop in our lives, but our great and wonderful God has a purpose for each one of them. And remember Bruh Paul says in the Word that God will work ALL things together for good. (Rom. 8:28) That means He will use both the good and the bad to work out a wonderful scenario in our lives, so we need to be faithful and don’t worry, for the eventual outcome will be good. 

And then it’s written in Hebrews, possibly by Bruh Paul again: ‘No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained this way.’ (Heb.12:11) Now that’s the NLT (New Living Translation) used for our poem, and that sounds nice and sugary, but I think it loses the essence of the KJV (King James Version) which says; ‘Now no chastening (discipline) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby.’ 

I don’t know why, but the last one just sounds more biblical, more threatening than the first translation. (smile) And I guess it’s all because of my bias towards the King James Version of the Bible. To me, though many of the new translations might explain the situations in more understandable language, they tend to lose the essence of the writings found in the KJV. But whatever the version, they all make it clear that the Lord’s discipline, or any discipline at all, is never liked at the time it’s applied, but in time, we all realize the benefits. 

And we can all testify to that, using our parents’ discipline as the sounding board. As we got older we all realized that our parents disciplined us for our own good, and if we’re truthful, we’ll admit that it often worked out just that way. That still doesn’t mean that we like or appreciate it. It’s the same with our heavenly Father. He uses trials to test and discipline us on the way to our winning the victor’s ‘Crown of Life.’ 

At the end, we ought to be able to truthfully say, like Bruh Paul wrote to Timothy. ‘For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (death) is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that LOVE his appearing.’ (2 Tim. 4:6-8) 

And if there’s one thing we know is that Bruh Paul endured a lot of trials and tribulation in doing the Lord’s will. As he recounts to the Corinthians. ‘Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes (lashes) save (less) one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils in the heathen (Gentiles), in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness (toil), in watchings (sleeplessness) often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.’ (2 Cor. 11:24-27) 

Ah friends, fortunately I don’t think any of us will be called on to go through the many trials that Bruh Paul went through, but we will be called on to go through some, for the price of discipleship is not cheap. As Jesus warned: ‘If any man will (desires to) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’ (Luke 9:23) So we can all expect to go through some difficult times in this life, but the good thing about it all is that the Lord never allows us to go through them without His divine presence and help, and in the long run, He works everything out for our good and crowns us with a crown of righteousness. Glory be my people! 

So let’s go home now with fire in our bellies (like Jeremiah) sincerely declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. In strong voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

So, having proclaimed it, being the faithful believers that we are, (smile) let’s do it then nuh! Much LOVE!

…the consequences of discipleship…are no laughing matters… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 August 2020 Psalm 1:2.

Psalm 1:2.     ​But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate (ponder by talking to oneself) day and night. 

And moving along in strong faith this Monday morning, we prime ourselves to do whatever the Lord has called us to do; be it work from home, or get out there and face the unknown, lurking evil forces, or just do nothing at all. (smile) The important thing is that we don’t worry, for we are assured that He will give us, the grace, courage and mercy to do His will. But they don’t occur automatically, we have to let His promises that are indelibly written deep in our hearts, souls and minds from much study and meditation, rise to the forefront and propel us forward. 

And that puts me in mind of one of the most powerful passages of scripture in the Good Book; the Lord’s instructions to Joshua when he took over from Moses as the leader of the Israelites. Our God was quite clear and very explicit in His instructions. ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of (be constantly in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) 

What’s in that to misunderstand eh my people? Absolutely nothing! It spells it out loud and clear: if you want to be prosperous and successful, then you need to learn my Word and then live it. But you can only learn it if you keep feasting on it. Unfortunately though, in these modern times, we have not done that, no wonder our society is in deep distress. Instead of learning the Word, we have chosen to disregard it, throw it on the junk heap, make it of no account in our lives. 

So what can we expect from that ungodly and unwise behaviour eh? Serious negative consequences, for our God doesn’t make idle promises. If He says to do something or else something negative will happen, then that’s exactly what He means. But we’ve become so big for our britches with our advanced technological society that we think we don’t need Him any longer. What foolish wisdom! And the necessity for delving deeply and constantly into the Word and living by it is again highlighted right at the beginning of the Psalms. 

Psalm 1 – Blessed are the righteous tells us in no uncertain terms. ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly (wicked), nor standeth in the way of sinners, not sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate (ponder by talking to oneself) day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.’ (Ps. 1:1-3) I think that’s self-explanatory. 

And the scholars explain: ‘Psalm 1. The key word in the psalm is the word blessed. It serves here as a pronouncement upon a man – but a certain kind of man. The happy man avoids evil influences, deeds, and attitudes (vs.1); he delights in God’s Word (vs.2); therefore God causes him to prosper (vs.3).’ Yes friends, when we walk seriously and sincerely with the Lord our lives will be enriched, not necessarily with material possessions, although that is very possible, but with a spiritual experience that trumps everything else. 

Obviously, the ungodly, the wicked are not so. And don’t ask why so many ungodly are so wealthy and so many godly people so poor? The answer is simple; ‘the way of the ungodly shall perish.’ (Ps. 1:6b) Oh they might wax rich and fat and powerful here on earth, but in the next life they will be on the outside looking in, like in Jesus’ parable about the rich man and Lazarus, where the rich man is being tormented in hell, but the earthly poor Lazarus is living it up in heaven. (Luke 16:19-31) Please read it, it will give you a good idea of how ungodly earthly living is a very dangerous and foolish thing. 

So let’s come before our wonderful God now nuh, and lay our earthly concerns confidently, but humbly before Him, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. All together now. ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive and standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. 

We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Now let’s go home reminding ourselves of this other powerful verse of the Lord to Joshua, and ultimately to all believers. ‘Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.’ (Josh. 1:9) There’s no more to say my brethren, for a word to the wise is sufficient. Much LOVE!

…he who does not hear…will most certainly feel… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 August 2020 2 Kings 2:8.

2 Kings 2:8.     ​And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 

‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Ah friends, what a wonderful scripture that is, and I wish it could be done without any fear of repercussions, medically and governmentally, (smile) but unfortunately many of us still can’t actually, meaning physically go into God’s house and fellowship together. But when has that ever stopped God’s people from celebrating His magnificence, from worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth eh?  NEVER! Celebrating God’s goodness and mercy doesn’t need a physical place to make it real. So for those of you who can once again gather together, good for you, the rest of us will keep on gathering virtually. (smile) 

And today we’re going to begin our celebration with what the website hymnary.org tells us is ‘one of the best known African American (Negro) Spirituals in Christian history,’ the one titled ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot.’ Hold on to yuh horses a minute mih pardner Scottie, because I know that this one of your favourites. (smile) 

Let’s hear some more good info from hymnary.org. ‘On any given day, reading any newspaper or watching any daily news show, it is not hard to become despondent about the state of the world. When our friends die of disease, or our children are bullied, we cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord, how long?” And yet (for the believer, there is always a “yet”), we make this cry knowing that we have a God who hears us and responds. We are able to call out the evils of this world for what they are, because we know something better is coming. We have hope in our own salvation, and in the renewal of God’s creation. 

Thus, when we sing this great spiritual, it is important that we do so not in an escapist mentality. While we eagerly await the day we see God face to face, we must trust that until that day comes, God is fulfilling His purpose on the earth through us. We can’t sing this hymn in order to run away from the hardship and the pain. Rather, we sing this hymn as an assurance that hardship and pain is not the end. Amidst all of our trials, we know what is yet to come, both in heaven and in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, and we wait for that day expectantly.’ 

I couldn’t have said it better. And would you believe that I listened to several versions by different people, in different genres, but had to come right back to the first one: a raunchy, rocking, reggae version by Eric Clapton done way back in 1975. And if we take the words above seriously, you’ll see that this ditty has got to be sung with passion and tempo and expectancy! So let’s do just that now nuh! As one harmonious choir, after the drum roll… let’s lick it up in scintillating reggae fashion – and remember the call and answer response (smile). 

‘(Refrain: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.)  I looked over Jordan, and what did I see, coming for to carry me home? A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] If you get there before I do, coming for to carry me home; tell all my friends I’m coming too, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] I’m sometimes up, I’m sometimes down, coming for to carry me home; but still my soul feels heavenly bound, coming for to carry me home. 

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home… coming for to carry me home… swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home… coming for to carry me home.’ 

Oh mih people, mih people, that was tres magnifique! All heaven was singing and dancing with us…including the Father and the Son, because the Father likes nothing better than a rollicking song of praise! Wow! And aye Scottie – I heard you loud and clear brother! (smile) 

And here’s some more good info from hymnary.org. ‘Considered by Erik Routley to be one of the “archetypal” (perfect or typical specimen) of African American spirituals, “Swing Low” welcomes death as the occasion “to carry me home” to glory. The text incorporates the imagery of “Jordan” and “chariot” from the Old Testament narratives of Elijah’s ascent into heaven (2 Kings 2). In spite of the “ups” and “downs” of earthly life (vs. 3 above), it is comforting for Christians to know with certainty that their final destination is the glory of a new heaven and earth.’ Now it couldn’t get any better than that friends! 

And for those of you who don’t know the story, and will not read 2 Kings 2, I’ll spoon feed us a li’l bit of it. (smile). ‘And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.’ (2 Kin.2:1) And it’s amusing that all the way along to Jericho, Elijah kept telling Elisha to tarry here at whatever town they came to. But Elisha refused and went with him all the way, even to the Jordan river. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets, who had told Elisha that his master would be taken away from him that day, which Elisha already knew, stood and watched them on the banks of the Jordan. (2 Kin.2:2-7) 

‘And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither, so that they two went over on dry ground. (2 Kin.2:8) Now after they got to the other side, ‘Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken away from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 

And it came to pass as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder (separated the two of them); and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes and rent (tore) them in two pieces.’ (2 Kin. 2:9-12) 

Thus Elisha got twice as much of Elijah’s spirit ‘so that Elijah’s God-empowered spiritual activity might continue after his departure through his successor. Obviously only God could grant such a request.’ That means there is still hope for all of us friends. So please, let’s keep looking to heaven, for who knows what we might see there and the resulting consequences thereof! Much LOVE!

…with God…ALL things are possible… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 August 2020 Psalm 133:1.

Psalm 133:1.     ​Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

So here we are, a tad late (smile) on this lazy summer Saturday morning, the penultimate one in the month of August, in this crazy, mind-boggling year of 2020! What a ride it’s turned out to be… and it’s not over yet. Whatever comes next though, 2020 will certainly go down in the annals of history as a rather eventful and transforming year. But nonetheless, we’re still enjoying the compassions and mercies of our great God, which are new every single day. And to that we have to say a loud and grateful: 

‘Thank You Lord! We do sincerely appreciate all that you’re doing for us in these disturbing and uncertain times. And we do ask that you keep a close watch over us and help us to stand strong in faithfulness with you. We are confident, because we know that you are still on the heavenly throne, in full control of things, and has promised to work ALL things out for good to those who LOVE you and are called according to your purpose. We pray this in the wonderful name of your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And having made obeisance to our God, let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Oh mih people, like our friend Anselm was in a rather grateful and thankful mood this week, (smile) for all his quotes centre around those two emotions. Hear this first one: ‘What you truly acknowledge truly is yours. Invite your heart to be grateful and your thank you’s will be heard even when you don’t use words.’ I can’t dispute that because when your heart is truly grateful, thanks pours out automatically without your saying anything. 

Then there’s this: ‘Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.’ More living truth friends! When we learn to have a continually grateful heart and attitude, it certainly attracts more of the things we like and value. That’s sort of like reaping what we sow, and positive things happening when we think positively. It’s just that way in God’s economy. 

Now listen closely to this quote. ‘We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.’ And isn’t that the God-given truth? Of course it is! We should always be thankful, even extra thankful, to those who help us settle our spirit and soul, help us rekindle the joy and good attitudes we need to face this crazy, evil and uncertain world. Wow! We are indeed blessed if we have those kinds of people around; even one of them. People who can lift our spirits when we are down and depressed are worth more than their weight in gold. 

In fact they ought to be considered blessings from heaven, for restoring the equanimity of another’s soul is ever so important in this mish-mash life. Sadly though, very few of us possess the kind of people around us who can truly do that. They are indeed a rare breed, that’s why they are to be greatly treasured. But the encourager and lifter of our spirits to be most greatly treasured is our comforting, enabling and encouraging God. When there’s no human being around to help lift us up, let’s not worry or be anxious, we just need to go to God for help.

 We do like Bruh David did when his men threatened to stone him after their home of Ziklag was burned and looted by their enemies. ‘…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’ (1 Sam. 30:6b) Yes mih bredrin, our mighty and stalwart God is ALWAYS there for us! Let’s never forget it, and don’t rely on fickle and frail mankind. Brother, I never intended to say so much on that quote, but I guess it just opened up, touched something in me. (smile) 

And since the last two quotes are very similar, one just emoting a li’l more, going a li’l deeper than the other, (smile) we’re going to deal with them as a sparkling and encouraging pair, just what they are. Listen, and let them come into our hearts and remain there forever. ‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’ Gospel truth that; we can’t only talk appreciation, we must show it. Now here’s the clincher. ‘To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.’ 

Ah mih people, how true and wonderful is that eh! That brings to mind these marvellous words of Bruh David from Psalm 133 – The joy of brotherhood. ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ (Ps. 133:1) That says it all friends. When we live in unity, we take each other’s concerns and feelings and heartaches and problems in mind and we don’t abuse them, but rather use them positively to build up each other. 

That’s what Jesus desires of His followers; unity and tenderness and grace, forgiveness and mercy to each other. What I believe we ought to understand is that gratitude is not just being thankful, but more a way of life, the Christian way of life. As the earlier quote said, when we live a life of gratitude, we don’t even have to say thanks out loud, but it’s understood by our actions. And when we live that kind of life, then we touch heaven, because it’s what Jesus expects of us. 

But that will never happen until the saints of Christ learn to live together in unity and harmony. And how are we ever to do that eh? As Bruh Paul said to the Ephesians re the using of our particular gifts and the edifying of the church: ‘For the perfecting (equipping) of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we come in (into) the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (mature) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ (Eph. 4:13) 

And the scholars explain: ‘4:12. This verse discloses the purpose for the gifted individuals of verse 11. Their responsibility is the perfecting of the saints, that is, to train and equip the rank-and-file Christians to do the work of the ministry. The aim of this ministry of Christian service is for the edifying of the body of Christ, that is, to build up the church numerically and spiritually.’ ‘4:13. The edifying of the church (vs.12) is to continue till we all come in the unity of the faith, that is, until all Christians attain spiritual maturity. Since new believers are constantly added to the church, this objective will not be realized until the Lord returns.’ 

Yes friends, the only way for us to live grateful, and thus touch heaven is by living in unity, bringing all our gifts both spiritual and physical together for the betterment of all! And I’m chuckling here in disgust, because like unity (brother!) is another word I can’t spell right. Every time I’ve used it today, including just now, I’ve spelt it wrong. Ah Lord eh! It’s a good thing the Lord knows my heart. (smile) Please have a blessed and fruitful day, living in LOVE and unity! Much LOVE!

…to the saints of Christ…a normal life…ought to be a grateful life… 

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