Today’s Scrip-Bit   7 August 2022   Matthew 5:16.

Matthew 5:16.     Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

And another joyful Sunday has come along; joyful because we can gather and worship our great God, give Him much thanks and praise for His many blessings and awesome encouragement of the past week, and receive more blessings and confidence to go out and face the upcoming week, bold and unafraid in His magnificent name! All praise and honour be unto the Most High God Jehovah, who’s mercy endures forever to the undeserving children of men. And all the people, said a loud and grateful ‘Amen!’ 

So, let’s get on with the show by singing this wonderful Christian song of discipleship written by Christopher Rice in 2004 and sung by Kathy Troccoli, titled ‘Go Light Your World.’ In a heartfelt, soulful, harmonious, mid-tempo version, let’s raise our voices to high heaven in sacrificial praise. ‘There is a candle in every soul Some brightly burning, some dark and cold There is a Spirit who brings a fire Ignites a candle and makes His home. (Chorus: So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the helpless, confused and torn Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world Take your candle, and go light your world.) 

Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to Light his own candle some other way See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to Still holds a candle without a flame (Chorus:…Carry your candle…) ‘Cause we are a family whose hearts are blazing So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus Make us a beacon in darkest times. (Chorus: So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the hopeless, deceived and poor Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world… Repeat… Take your candle, and go light your world…Take your candle, and go light your world.’ 

Oh my people, those words hold such valuable promise, and ought to be so inspirational to all believers, especially with the current troubled and ungodly state of our world. Remember one of Jesus avowed reasons for coming to earth was to bring light to a darkened world of sin and ungodliness. As He said so profoundly to the disbelieving Pharisees: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) 

Yes friends, living for and walking with Jesus is all about basking in the light of His sinless self and the glory of His resurrection. Before he came our world was filled with the darkness of sin and evil as dictated by Satan, but when Jesus came, He came to set us free from that darkness of sin and ungodliness. Listen up, as He once again emphasizes His role as a shining beacon in a dark world. ‘I am come a light into the world that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.’ (John 12:46) 

And just before that He expounded thus to the people. ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be (become) the children of light.’ (John 12:35-36) 

It’s therefore obvious that light through belief in Jesus, was a major aspect of His ministry and teaching in opposition to the darkness and slavery to sin that Satan espoused. And we see it also in His ground-breaking, revolutionary statement to the disciples: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6) In other words, Jesus is everything: the way, the truth, the life, the light – the whole reason for living! 

But since Jesus knew that His sojourn on earth would be relatively short, hence His saying to the people earlier on, ‘walk while ye have the light with you,’ it behooved Him to make other arrangements for light, His light to stay here and overcome the darkness on the entire earth. And the arrangement He made was that His believers, His followers, would take His place and do the marvellous job of spreading His light in every nook and cranny of the earth. And He said it loud and clear in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’ (Matt. 5:14) 

And that’s the gospel truth! If you build a city on a hill, it is impossible to hide its light from the surrounding area. That means He desires His followers to be like cities built on hills, like shining beacons, to all and sundry around them. And that’s why lighthouses in olden times were built on hills, because their light could be seen for much further distances from a hill. And Jesus continued: ‘Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt. 5:15) 

Yes my people, light is not meant to be hidden, but shone around as much as possible. It doesn’t make sense then, that so many of us are hiding our candles, our lamps, under baskets and not allowing them to give light to all that are around us. But that’s exactly what the song is telling us: We are all lights of Jesus, and His Holy Spirit operates in all of us, so let’s get our candles burning brightly and go seek out the ‘hopeless, confused an torn… the frustrated brother, the abused sister, be a beacon’ in these dark and sinful times, for Jesus didn’t come to save the whole and the righteous, but the sick and the lost (Matt. 18:11) 

And we’ll close with these heartfelt and most meaningful words of Jesus on the subject. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) Yes friends, as faithful believers, let’s take our candles and go light the world as Jesus so desperately desires of us, and the world so badly needs.. Much LOVE!

…followers of Jesus…must have hearts that are blazing…so we can light up the sky… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   29 March 2022 John 8:12.

John 8:12.      I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Oh friends, it’s a bright sunshiny morning in my neighbourhood! This Tuesday morning in early spring, there’s nary a dark cloud in the sky! It’s so bright that I had to put on my dark glasses as I went to put out the garbage just now, else it would have blinded me! (smile) And it doesn’t even feel as cold as it did yesterday afternoon when I went out to the mailbox! 

Wow! That gives us the reassurance to confidently acclaim: ‘This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it! And don’t forget that something good is going to happen to us today, and something good is also going to happen through us today! That’s because we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us! And furthermore, our great and wonderful God will provide all of our needs according to His riches in glory through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

Mama Yo! That’s why it’s such a joy and a pleasure to live for Jesus. No one else provides the benefits and faithful promises that He does. That’s why He reassures in His word: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) And don’t forget this other magnificent upliftment for our souls: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 6:33) 

And that’s the gospel truth, because our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has indeed overcome the world by dying and rising from the dead, thus defeating hell, death, Satan and the grave! Glory Hallelujah! What a wonderful warrior is our Jesus! That’s why one of His favourite terms and words of advice while here on earth was ‘Fear not!’ But we still fear, despite all His entreaties and reassurances. 

And truthfully, we can’t ever stop fear from coming upon or against us, but we can certainly stop it from consuming us. This morning though, I want to share a poem on that malicious word ‘fear’ that I found stuck up on the bedroom wall of my young daughter. There’s no title attached to it, so we’ll just call it ‘FEAR!’ I am sure that I’ve shared it before, but in these fearful and turbulent times, it’s certainly worth hearing again. 

So please read with me: ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. 

We are born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’ 

Ah mih people, I couldn’t put it any better! And there’s a lot of truth in that poem, because many of us fear to open up ourselves not wanting to overshadow those around us. But that’s not supposed to be a problem, since when we shine our lights, we give others the encouragement to rise up and shine theirs too. Why do you think Jesus made such a fuss over us being shining lights in this evil world? Because it’s of the utmost importance. We cannot be afraid of this dark and evil world or what it threatens to do to us, because the light of Jesus is greater than any darkness that’s in the world. 

Remember John’s contention: ‘And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not (could not overcome it).’ (John 1:5) Yes friends light always opens up darkness, and the light of Jesus is the most powerful light in the world. Please remember the promise the Lord made through Isaiah, as he talks about the birth of the Prince of Peace. ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ (Is. 9:2) 

That light was Jesus. And that prophecy was considered fulfilled, as it’s recorded in Matt. 4:15-16, when Jesus began His ministry in Capernaum, along the sea coast of the afflicted regions of the northern tribal areas of Israel, like Zebulun and Naphtali which suffered greatly under the Assyrian invasion. Remember too, the prophecy of John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah at his birth, when he got back his speech. ‘Through the tender mercy of our God: whereby the day-spring (dawn, Messiah) from on high hath visited (will visit) us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ (Luke 1:78-79) 

And how can we ever forget Jesus’ great pronouncement to the Pharisees; and consequently to us, and to all the world: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) And let’s not forget what Jesus said to the people when they questioned His words on His resurrection and ascension. (John 12:30-34) ‘Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children (become sons) of light.’ (John 12:35-36) 

Now that’s what we ought to become when we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour; the children, the sons of light, because Almighty God is the Father of light, and Jesus is His bright and shining star. But He can’t shine individually to everybody, that’s why He desires to use us, His supposed ambassadors, agents and followers. And that’s why He commanded us thus: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket) but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:14-16) 

Jesus says it there loud and clear my people! If we are his followers, then our lights should be blazing forth to a dark and evil world, lighting it up like a Christmas tree! But unfortunately we are not doing that. Our lights are barely pouring forth, flickering like that which comes from a dying battery or a lamp low on oil, or a candle that’s at its end. And that is certainly not acceptable, not if we consider ourselves true believers in Christ Jesus! And sadly, we all know we can do better, but for whatever reason we refuse to make the effort it requires. 

Please friends, for a moment, let’s consider the ‘sufferation’ Jesus bore so that we could be set free and forgiven of our sins nuh, and in a moment of shame, let our resolve rise up to be better purveyors of His light in this dark world. That’s the only remedy that will suffice for our poor showing. Now, for those of us who are already trying to shine our light, let’s go home declaring (chuh!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. 

As one strong and sincere 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!’ 

Now let’s go out and walk that talk; share the amazing LOVE and friendship of Christ with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE him like we do! Much LOVE!

…when our light shines forth…then peace, joy and LOVE…come to our world… 

P.S.  And yes, it’s long, but I think it’s very good; a good reawakening! (smile) Much LOVE! 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   7 November 2021 Matthew 5:14.

Matthew 5:14.     Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Oh my fellow saints in Christ, may grace and peace be multiplied unto you through (in) the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord this November Sunday morning, in this unprecedented year of 2021! Yes friends, it’s another Sabbath Day for us to keep holy, gathering, by whatever means possible, to worship, give thanks and praise to our heavenly Father for the wonderful things He’s done, is doing and has promised to do in our lives. And all of God’s children said a loud, proud and grateful: ‘Thank You Lord! Amen!’ 

It’s time to throw off the blanket of tiredness and frustration that’s come over us this past work week and rejuvenate our souls and spirits with the Lord’s Word so that we can have the energy and faith to go back out next week and continue living strong for Jesus. And the best way to begin, like we always do, is with a song of praise. Today’s song of praise is titled ‘Go Light Your World,’ written and performed by Christopher Rice in the early years of this century, but since then performed by numerous others. 

The most popular version I believe is one done by Kathy Troccoli. But today we’ll do our own version; a soulful, up-tempo, harmonious, gut-wrenching, heart touching, encouraging, uplifting rendition. (smile)  So, without further ado, let’s raise our beautiful voices in sacrificial praise to heaven. ‘There is a candle in every soul Some brightly burning, some dark and cold There is a Spirit who brings a fire Ignites a candle and makes His home. (Chorus: So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the helpless, confused and torn Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world Take your candle, and go light your world.) 

Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to Light his own candle some other way See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to Still holds a candle without a flame (Chorus:…Carry your candle…) ‘Cause we are a family whose hearts are blazing So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus Make us a beacon in darkest times. (Chorus: So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the hopeless, deceived and poor Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world… Repeat… Take your candle, and go light your world…Take your candle, and go light your world.’ 

Ah mih bredrin, that last line there says it all. It’s the call that Jesus gave to us when He declared: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’ (Matt. 5:14) That’s what He wants us to be, what He expects of His followers: to be light in this darkened world, be shining brightly like a city that is set on a hill, whose light can be seen for miles around. It’s the Christian’s duty to shine bright for Jesus. Something we obviously are not doing to the best of our ability, otherwise our world would not be so covered in darkness and bright lights so difficult to find. 

And Jesus continued His light metaphor by saying: ‘Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt. 5:15) And that’s the purpose of light, to shine in the darkness so that one can see what’s happening around you, and where you are going. So, it makes no sense whatsoever to have a light and hide it, because that would be defeating the very purpose of the light. 

And we don’t only need to be a light shining in the darkness for others, but we also need a light to show us where to go. And our guiding light, as the psalmist so wisely tells us, is the Word of God. ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ (Ps. 119:105) So, once we know the Lord’s Word we’ll know how and where to walk. But Jesus wasn’t finished with us, for He went even further and said: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) 

And some of you might be wondering where you are supposed to get this light so that you can shine. Well, the song tells us very graphically. ‘There is a Spirit who brings fire Ignites a candle and makes His home.’ That’s the Holy Spirit of Christ my people, which came on Pentecost Day two thousand years ago, as the Good Book informs us: ‘And there appeared unto them (120 believers in a room) cloven (divided) tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Sprit gave them utterance.’ (Act 2:3-4) 

That’s where the fire comes from to light us up friends; from the Holy Spirit of Christ, which comes to indwell each believer and set them on fire for the Saviour. But I guess the fire has dimmed considerably, or even gone out in some of us, because our lights are not shining as they should. That’s why there are so many frustrated brothers and abused sisters out there who are unsuccessfully trying to light candles on their own, which is an impossibility without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. 

And most importantly, let’s remember, as the song says, that we are a family, the church of Christ, whose hearts are supposed to be blazing with the fire of the Holy Spirit. However, with the sad state of darkness and evil in which our world is currently enveloped, we therefore desperately need to ‘raise our candles and light up the sky Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus to Make us a beacon in these darkest of times.’ 

Oh my people, what more can I say to encourage us to live for Jesus eh? Just the heartfelt plea of our song. ‘So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the hopeless, deceived and poor Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world…Hold out your candle for all to see Take your candle and go light your world.’ 

It’s what Jesus desires and expects of His loyal followers. So please, after all He’s done for us, none of which we can ever repay, let’s not disappoint Him nuh. Much LOVE!

…to Jesus…be all the glory…and all the praise…for He richly deserves them…                                                                                                                   

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 November 2020 Matthew 5:16.

Matthew 5:16.     ​Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

And the election craziness and confusion continues in the good ole U.S. of A! What a surprise! (smile) On this spring-like Friday morning with glorious sunshine in my neighbourhood, it’s hard to pay much attention to the foolish antics that’s happening down there. The only sure thing is that there’s no sure thing, and won’t be for a while, what with all the hemming and hawing and legal wrangling and fake news and all the other stuff that’s recently made the U.S. look like one of those long-ago Banana Republics in South and Central America. 

I wish them the best of luck, but it seems that with the pending results, we will have four more years of overwhelming, divisive partisan leadership down there, which doesn’t bode any good for anybody, neither the country itself nor the whole world looking on, who unfortunately suffer in some way according to how the U.S. goes. Prayers are in order, rather absolutely necessary, for all of us! End of spiel! (smile) 

Now let’s hear what the ordinary workingman has to say today nuh. And as always, he crows: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! And it’s going to be a wonderful day, with sunshine and warm temps. Imagine that nuh, way down in November we been having temps in the high teens…Mama Yo! Today it might even rise to about twenty… Well that I can certainly handle! Ah don’t care what nobody says, but a blast of sunshine and warm weather brings out the best in mankind, at least in me! So let it shine bright and stay warm all the time nuh…Hn, hn hn! 

Oh I know that is only a pipe dream up here in these northern climes, but who says a body can’t dream eh? And the pandemic still raging all over the world, but plenty more worried and concerned about what happening with the U.S elections, but not me nuh, because I know them people down there don’t care a darm about nobody else but themselves, so if they want to fight and kill each other over foolishness, I say let them go ahead yes! But unfortunately, we up here in Canada too tie up with the U.S yes, so whatever happens down there, we certain to feel some backlash up here, especially since we have plenty up here who like to play, monkey see monkey do, and behave like them down there. Steups! 

Ah Lord eh, ah don’t know what the world coming to nuh, but it surely not as nice and warm and welcoming as it used to be. All a small man like me could do though is hope and pray and live one day at a time and give God thanks for Fridays and the li’l rest from the slave master work on the weekends yes!’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth friends! The most a lot of us can do is hope and pray for better times and give God thanks for our situations. And yes, I know that’s difficult in a world that is on edge, that’s just waiting and ready to fall over the precipice, but we believers have been charged with the enormous task of not letting it go over the brink and plummet into war and all the negative things that will happen if we reach that unfortunate stage. And all I can do is quote these immortal words of Jesus concerning our behaviour and duty in this confused and divided world. 

Please listen closely to our Leader, our Lord and Saviour. ‘Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour (flavour), wherewith (by what) shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand) ; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:13-16) 

Yes my brethren, that’s what our leader expects of us; to shine bright like the morning sun and be full of salt, well flavoured in our lives, being good examples of His gospel, ambassadors of His kingdom, offering, help, encouragement and meeting the needs of our fellow man, wherever and however we can! Oh, I know it’s never been, and will never be an easy task, but with His awesome help, we can do it. So let’s spend a li’l time right now and go to Him for that help we need nuh. Let’s cry out to Him through our Friday Chant for endurance and perseverance and whatever else it will take for us to stop our world going over the brink. 

All together now: ‘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, as the faithful believers we claim to be, let’s go out and do our best nuh; handle the situation in the best way we can! Much LOVE!

…in a world of violence and widespread unrest…Christians must show their mettle…be true salt and light… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 October 2020 John 8:12.

John 8:12.     ​I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Another wet and dreary day seems to be in the offing. But yuh know, unlike what the Carpenters said in their hit song way back in 1971, it’s not only rainy days and Mondays that get me down, but rainy days period. (smile) It’s just that rainy days seem to have this inherent touch of melancholia in them; just like sunshiny days have a built-in sense of upliftment. You see the sun and spirits automatically lift despite your circumstances. Likewise, you experience the wet and dreary looking weather and your spirits tend to fall somewhat, the attitude of relaxation and laziness also seem to pop up. (smile) You have to actively lift them up again. 

And so it is with this Tuesday morning, after a rather melancholy Monday. But yuh know friends, when you have Jesus as your Guiding Light, the kind of physical day doesn’t really matter, because He Himself is such a wonderful ray of sunshine that just thinking of Him and talking to him automatically lifts you up! Glory to God my people! Jesus Himself revealed His awesome Light. ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) 

But unfortunately, the Pharisees disputed His authority because He witnessed to Himself, which to them, invalidated His claim. That however did not change anything, all it meant was that the Pharisees would remain on the outside looking in; stubborn, like the head-butting goats they were. (smile) As Jesus’ reply indicated. ‘Though I bear record (witness) of myself, yet my record (witness) is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.’ (John 8:14) 

Now here is an interesting explanation on Jesus being the light of the world from the www.biblestudytools.com website. ‘Jesus saying He is the Light of the world is the outer recognition of His Father’s creation and presence, and the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit, by which we know our Father and walk with Jesus. Jesus is the Light of the world, our world, and in the world. Like God is omnipresent, so Jesus is Light.’ Ah friends, what a wonderful depiction of Jesus; His light just shining everywhere, being the ever-present reality, our invaluable and unbreakable connection to the Father! 

And it’s obvious that the Pharisees, supposedly the most learned scriptural group back then, didn’t know or understand the true meaning of the scriptures, or were simply being egotistical and guarding their earthly power, for Isaiah said it loud and clear. ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ (Is. 9:2) 

The prophet Malachi also told us about the bright Light that would come. ‘But unto you that fear my name shall the SUN of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall (grow fat like stall fed calves).’ (Mal. 4:2) 

Now if the Pharisees were so wise or knowledgeable of the scriptures, they would have put two and two together and come up with four and not three, especially since Jesus was healing people like crazy, something they’d never seen before. Or, possibly, as I said earlier, they did come up with four, but were wary of losing their upper crust position if they acknowledged Jesus for whom He really was. 

One stumbling block for the whole Jewish society though, seemed to be the thinking that the Messiah would be this great warrior king who would come and through war-like means, free them from the Roman atrocities, not a gentle, meek, peaceful Rabbi with LOVE as the basis of His testimony. And no doubt we have also been influenced by what or whom we believe Jesus to be in our lives, not what He truly is, and thus have erred in our direction, belief and behaviour, just like the Pharisees did. 

That can clearly be seen in all the different religions and denominations, doctrines, beliefs and behaviour held under the same great umbrella called Christianity. Thus the great disunity amongst Christ’s supposed followers. And thus, the lack of substantial testimony from us on Jesus declaration. ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ 

Yes friends, when Jesus returned to heaven, He designated us as His replacement for light in this ungodly world. But have we done that? Not to the extent that we should have, for there are still too many unbelievers out there, who have never heard about Jesus, or heard about Him and refused to believe because of our dark, unlit testimony. 

So my people, this dark and cloudy morning, please let’s remember Jesus words and do our best to put them into action nuh. ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt. 5:14-15) 

Those are words of awesome truth people, and if our light was shining as bright and as far reaching as possible, our hold on life worldwide right now would certainly not be as intimidating and tenuous. That means we have to raise our level of shining. In the immortal words of Jesus: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) 

And that’s all Jesus really expects of us yes friends; that we give good testimony of Him through our beliefs and behaviour, so that the Father can be glorified, which is what the Father sent him to do. And in these dangerous and uncertain times, it behooves us Christians to come up higher than we ever have, so the world around us can take some courage and assurance in Christ’s guiding light that shines forth through us. So let’ step up to the plate and do better nuh mih people. 

And now, as we go home, let’s boldly and confidently proclaim to the world, who and whose we are by declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra. ‘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!’  

And if we’re sincere, we’ll now go out and share that awesome LOVE and friendship of Christ with others who, in these desperate times, so desperately need to know and come to LOVE Him! Much LOVE!

…light will always overcome darkness…but only when it’s shone there… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 August 2015 Matthew 5:14‏‏‏

Matthew 5:14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Okay all you party people, it’s Sunday, time to get up and get yourselves to church, for this is the day that was ordained by God for His children to gather in His sanctuary every week to worship Him and to revive and refresh our faith and witness. Yes Friends, leaving church makes you feel reinvigorated, renewed, and lifts your spirits.  

And we don’t want any petty excuses like I’m tired because I was out partying till late. You should have thought about that before. When you came home from work or wherever, you were tired too, but that didn’t stop you from going out to party, so please don’t let a little tiredness, plus a lot of apathy and laziness stop you from going to praise and worship and give thanks to your heavenly Creator this Caribana Sunday morning of  2015!

I’m chuckling here Friends, but seriously, that is the exact scenario that’s playing out in many Christian homes this Sunday morning. What is it eh about going to church that makes it feel like pulling teeth, but going out to parties requires a tight hold on our reins?

And yet we still profess to LOVE God so much. But how can you LOVE Him when you don’t want to go to His house and make nice with Him eh? I guess it’s partly because we still have this idea of God being some faraway, ephemeral Being, more like a fairy-tale king, who just sits on His throne in heaven on high and looks down on us mere mortals with only a cursory glance and an occasional nod.

But that’s the furthest thing from the truth Friends, because our wonderful God is always right beside us. In fact He dwells within us through the power of His Holy Spirit and He is very much interested in EVERY thing we do, because He truly LOVES us, with a LOVE so great that He even gave His one and only son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice so that we could be reconciled to Him! Now if that isn’t real true LOVE, I don’t know what is.

Somehow though, we seem to have a real problem reciprocating that LOVE! But if we truly want to spend eternity with Him in heaven, my people we have to get to a point of true LOVE, surrender and obedience to the Father’s will. Another part of our problem is that we’re too much into the things and ways of this wicked world, which are in complete opposition to those of God.

That brings to mind a recent interesting quote from our friend Anselm, who delights in inspiring us for a better tomorrow. And Anselm warns; ‘Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.’

And that’s gospel truth my brethren! Many of us don’t have enough because we are always concentrating on and complaining about what we don’t have, which only aggravates our spirits and drives us nuts. However, when we’re thankful for whatever we have, we bring a different element, a different emotion to the table; one of contentment, of sufficiency, at least for the time being, instead of constantly being uptight and wanting.

Remember the ole Jamaican saying: ‘Wanty wanty, never get it?’(smile) That’s also indisputable truth! As sincere, practicing Christians though, what we need to do is to set a proper example for the rest of the world, for the infidel, the heathen, to follow.

As Jesus so wisely puts it our Bit: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’ And we all know that to be true, that’s why lighthouses were always built on hilly ground, so that their light could be seen from far and wide and give good guidance to the travellers seeking it.

That’s our mission on this earth people; to be guiding lights in a world of darkness. Not necessarily as overblown as a light house, but certainly at least as a large lamp. 

As Bruh Paul advised the Ephesians when talking about the ways of the believer: ‘For ye were sometimes (once) darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.’ (Eph.5:8) Yes my people, that’s certainly Jesus’ expectation of His followers.

And the scholars give us this bit of info on that verse. ‘5:8. Darkness indicates that the readers used to be spiritually unenlightened, and accompanying this ignorance was immorality with its resultant guilt and misery. Light denotes that the recipients are now to be religiously informed. Their knowledge of the truth is attended by moral purity and happiness.’

Ah mih breddren, what is it going to take for us to really wake up and see and truthfully accept the light eh? We have to do it real soon Friends, because Jesus can return at any moment, and then it will be too late.

Listen to how John describes God’s light in his first epistle. ‘This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not (practice) the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ (1John 1:5-7) What awesome consolation Friends!

And the scholars offer this info on those verses. ‘1:5. Again John implies his eyewitness status, having heard of him, that is, Jesus. John passes on to the church teaching he first received from Jesus. Light and darkness here have ethical overtones. John is saying that God is perfect and good; there is thus no sin or evil in Him. This will have implications for followers of this God in the following verses.’

‘1:6. Walk in darkness means walking in sin. John may have had in mind people who claimed to be enjoying a close relationship with God, but whose lives were clearly characterized by sin. Such a state of affairs, John say boldly, is impossible; such persons are lying.’

‘1:7. “God is light” (v.5): To walk in this light, which is to live free from the bondage of sin (cf. Rom 6:18), is to make true communion between believers possible. Jesus’ violent death on the cross, which is what blood signifies, is the initial antidote for and ultimate defense against sin’s presence and power.’  

Voilà! There we have it Friends! The only antidote and the best defence against Lucifer’s evil presence and power: the shed BLOOD of Jesus Christ! So please, let’s be wise and go to the cross and take hold of it nuh, so that we can run with it blazing like a brilliant torch of hope in the darkness of this satanic world. That’s wisdom everlasting! Much LOVE!

…while ye have light…believe in the light…that ye may be…the children of light…  (John 12:36a)

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 August 2015 Matthew 5:14‏‏

Matthew 5:14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Oh Friends, our God is a good God! Please don’t ever doubt that. Once you deal with Him decently, He will return the favour.

As you know, yesterday I suddenly ended up with this painful knee, which made walking somewhat difficult, to put it mildly. But then I wanted to go to the Pan Alive Steelband competition last night, which entailed some walking and climbing steps.

All day I agonized over the situation, because the Pan competition is the only Caribana festivity that I go to these days. However the Lord in His mysterious workings made the decision for me.

Around four thirty in the afternoon I got a phone call from my Auntie Anne and Uncle John saying that they were in town and would be at the Pan Alive. Well obviously I had to get up and get a move on. I couldn’t let them come to town and not see them.

So the Duchess bandaged up my knee and off I went. And believe me, the Lord in His goodness didn’t allow the knee to bother me too much. With the help of my trusty cane, which I hadn’t used in ages, we made the walk to the stadium and climbed the steps almost to the top to get a birds eye view.

And was the party ever good my brethren. The pan was sweet and the people around me; about 8 women and three men were a riot. We carried on all evening, through the cloudy periods, as well as when the sun shone brightly.

The interesting part is that I sat down to listen to the bands, but got up during the breaks, and that’s when the knee would ache some. But surprisingly, I danced it off without a problem. (smile)  Like standing up and moving made it feel better. Sitting down just caused it stiffen up.

Now if you know anything about Steelband competitions, you’ll know that there are always arguments, some very heated ones too. But our group wasn’t bad because they were all Panatics fans. Anyway the evening progressed quite nicely, until around 10.45 when the rain began to fall seriously.

It had drizzled a couple times before, but nothing to worry about. This shower though emptied the stands, except for a few hardy folks like myself. Well I had come prepared with my old jeans hat and my jacket, and I knew that if I ever came down those stairs I wasn’t going back up, I would probably have just left and come home.

But that wouldn’t have been wise because the band that was about to play, the second to last band was the reigning three time champions Pan Fantasy, and they were going to play my favourite kaiso for this year, Lucy by Destra.

The good thing is that while the rain fell, the riddim section of Pan Fantasy began pounding out a scintillating riddim and we all just stood up in the rain rocking to it. I even put down my trusty cane and rocked on my own. Wow! Glory to God!

The rain must have lasted for about half an hour, but the proceedings didn’t begin again until around 11.30. And believe me Friends, the wait and the rain were worth it, for Pan Fantasy put on a brilliant performance, they really mash it up, and the entire audience was in agreement that they should now be crowned champions for the fourth straight year.

Don’t know if that happened though, because I left during the playing of the last band, Afro Pan, which wasn’t as strong and powerful as they usually are. I didn’t get home until after one in the morning.

The only disappointment of the evening was that I didn’t see my Aunty Anne and Uncle John. I guess they didn’t come after all, because they would have surely seen me partying up at the back of the stadium. Got to find out what happened to them.

Anyway friends, the moral of the story, is that though the Lord places obstacles in our way, He WILL still enable us to enjoy ourselves once our hearts are right; such is His great favour and untold mercy to those who do try to do His will.

Now let’s see if we have time and space for our Bit after all my raving. (smile) ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’

And believe me Friends, the ole fella was indeed a bright and shining light in this darkened world yesterday evening, and the flavour of my salt was certainly strong and useful! (smile) I just spread peace, LOVE and goodwill all around. Glory to God!

Oh, and to tell how good the Lord was to me, as I was walking to the ticket window, a guy came up to me sold me a ticket for 20 instead of the official 30 dollars. So how can I complain eh?

That brings us to this statement of Jesus re John the Baptist. ‘He was a burning and a shining light (lamp); and ye were willing for a season (a time) to rejoice in his light.’ (John 5:35) Now why were they only willing for a season, for a short time to bask in the light of John the Baptist eh?

Jesus spells it out earlier. ‘And this is the condemnation, that light (The Light) is come into the world, and men LOVED darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.’ (John 3:19) 

And that’s still gospel truth to this day Friends! Possibly even truer in today’s rather evil and ungodly world. We LOVE the darkness because of all the evil stuff that’s running through us, and if we ever came to the light, our true selves and deeds would be laid bare for all to see and we’d no longer have the camouflage of darkness to hide who and what we truly are.

And Jesus continues: ‘For every one that doeth (practices) evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (exposed). But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.’ (Matt.3:20-21)

Oh my people, these sad and distressful times call for true faith and bravery on our part. None of us is perfect, we all have hidden deeds of which we are ashamed, but we are guaranteed absolution and forgiveness through the redemptive blood of Jesus.

So please let’s be wise and brave nuh, and bring all our evil deeds to Him in repentance, so that He can cleanse and heal us and bring us safely and LOVINGLY through to the light, His blessed light, where we can then flourish in His goodness, having His salt and light about us to do godly work instead of evil. That’s the wisdom of the ages! Much LOVE!

…living in the truth and light of Jesus…is much wiser…more wholesome and refreshing…than living in the evil darkness of Beelzebub…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 July 2015 Matthew 5:14‏

Matthew 5:14.    Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Ah Friends, after one time is really two yes! Yesterday this time I felt so light and airy and pain free that I could have flown away. Hn! Today I’d have to be a helicopter to lift off the ground, because I can hardly walk, at least not pain free.

Ah Lord eh! Our God does move in mysterious ways that we humans definitely can’t understand nuh. Yesterday evening I went into my bathroom and simply put my left foot up on the bathtub level, intending to go up there, but brother, by the time I placed the weight on it, a sudden and entirely unexpected pain ran through my left knee, and it’s been bugging me ever since.

No rhyme or reason whatsoever for it. And my knees have been the least of my worries for the longest while, merely the occasional pain, but nothing that lasts as long and as excruciating as this.

A while ago I went outside to greet the day and say good morning, it seems like another beautiful one, and as I stepped back inside, the pain unexpectedly ricocheted through my soul and sent my cries reverberating through the house. I doubt anybody heard though, because they are all still asleep.

Chuh Steups! And the sad part is that today is the Caribana Steelband Competition, the only Caribana event that I still go to regularly. But I can’t go if I can walk without excruciating pain, because it does entail some walking, and even worse, climbing steps to get a good view of the celebration.

And believe me, I won’t be a happy camper if I don’t get to go. But yuh know what Friends, we’re supposed to be people of faith, of strong faith, so I’m just going to put that faith to work. If the pain could rear up its ugly head so unexpectedly, the same way it can disappear just as suddenly. Oh glory to God!

Now let’s deal with more important matters, today being Friday…

‘Thank God for that yes!’ the shouts reverberate around me. ‘Oh TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday, Caribana Friday to boot, and a long weekend too. Mama Mia! It’s party time!’

Awright Friends, that’s all true, but let’s just remember that ole crook Beelzebub, waiting patiently in the weeds to jump and latch on to any faux pas or ungodly behaviour that we might unwisely engage in. So please be careful and keep our wits about us, this Caribana weekend, for there will be plenty of opportunity to fall prey to the enemy.

And to help us with that, let’s chant our Friday Chant with great gusto.  ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through.

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’

Yeh Friends, we have to remember what lies ahead after the partying is over, the daily grind and common task once again, and include it in our deliberations on how to spend the weekend. Oh, and don’t forget Granny’s wise advice: ‘Sonny boy, please, ah beg yuh, remember, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business.’ (smile)

Oh my people, we couldn’t get any better advice than that in such a small nutshell, in such few words. Now let’s go out and practice it along with the overall duty set out in our Bit by our Lord, Leader and Saviour Jesus Christ. ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’

Oh my fellow believers, it is indeed our bounden duty to bring the light of Jesus to this darkened and ungodly world. It is a truly big and difficult task, but only we who have seen the blessed light can accomplish it.

Luke in his gospel, when Jesus is talking about seeking the kingdom of God before anything else, quotes Him as saying: ‘Let your loins (waist) be girded about, and your lights burning.’ (Luke 12:35)

And the scholars explain it thus. ’12:35-48. Jesus recommends constant readiness in light of the approaching Judgement Day.’

’12:35. Loins be girded: One’s outer robe had to be tucked into a belt before working, running, doing battle, or the like. Jesus is saying, “Be alert!”

And that we certainly need to be my brethren, for we know not when our Lord will return in all His glory, but when he does return, He expects his people to be ready and waiting.

Jesus spells this out on several occasions. One of them is right there in Luke 12:36-40,when talking about the lord returning from a wedding and the servants waiting up to greet him. And ending with this admonishment. ‘Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.’ (Luke 12:40)

He also talks about having our lights burning and waiting patiently in the parable of the ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. (Matt.25:1-13) Five of them were wise and took extra oil for their lamps, just in case the bridegroom took longer than expected, while the other five were foolish and took no extra oil with them.

The long and short of the story is that the bridegroom came later than expected and the five foolish virgins who had to go and get oil, were eventually locked out of the party. This all has to do with the church being the bride of Christ and we being attendants at the wedding.

So please let’s all try to be wise and keep extra oil for our lamps, and keep them burning continuously, (1) so that others will be able to see the figurative light of Jesus shining through us, and thus want to know and surrender their miserable lives to Him.

And (2) whenever Jesus returns, we won’t be found wanting, we will be ready, with our lamps burning ever so brightly and waiting with bated breath and heavenly excitement to sit and sup with Him! Now that’s wisdom at its zenith my people! Much LOVE!

…watch therefore…for ye know neither the day nor the hour…wherein the Son of man cometh… (Matt.25:13)

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 July 2015 Matthew 5:14

Matthew 5:14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Oh Friends, I’ve run out of well known summer ditties to greet you with. (smile) But believe me, another beautiful summer’s day is in the offing on this terrific day called Thursday! Wow! The Lord in His ultimate wisdom, grace and mercy has prepared it especially for us to enjoy, and to do His wonderful bidding.

So let’s say it with joy and heartfelt gratefulness nuh: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we WILL and SHALL rejoice and be glad it in! Glory Hallelujah!’

Glory to the great and mighty King that sits upon His throne in the high heavens and satisfies our longing souls with His tender mercies, grace, forgiveness, compassion, understanding and unconditional LOVE! Mama Mia!

Oh Friends, there ought to be nobody happier than us Christians, we faithful followers of Jesus in this beautiful world that the Lord in His wisdom and generosity has created. And the good news is that it does not seem like it’s going to be a scorcher, at least not yet, because a nice cool and gentle breeze is blowing out there, and both the sun and the Son are shining incredibly brightly in their respective elements. Oh Glory to God!

Ah mih people, please excuse the ole fella for his extra passion and passionate speech this morning. I guess it’s because I woke up feeling the best I’ve felt in ages! Glory to God again! The old aches and pains weren’t as bad as usual. I feel light and feathery, like I can just up and fly away! (smile)

It’s possibly due some to a shot of cortisone I got injected into my right shoulder yesterday, ostensibly to ease the agonizing arthritic pain in my right shoulder, but it seems to be helping everything, obviously with a touch of God’s favour and enormous grace.

Oh, I know the basic aches and pains most likely won’t go away, but I am enormously thankful and grateful for any bit of relief I can get. More thanks and glory to God! He’s so wonderful!

Now here is this most important, outstanding and truth bearing quote from George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), the well known Irish born playwright and co-founder of the famous and prestigious London School of Economics, writer of plays like ‘My Fair Lady,’ and winner of the Nobel Peace prize for Literature in 1925.

George is reputed to have said that,’Life is not a “brief candle.” It is a splendid torch that I want to make burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.’ And we know that he did just that with all his world-renowned achievements!

Now it’s our turn my brethren to do the same. You’ll notice how we pass on torches at our big games to try and keep the flame going, the passion, the memories alive for those who come after us. That’s the only way later generations will know and understand where they are coming from, just like we learned it from those who went before us.

And note too, the batons we pass on during our relay races, which is symbolic of how we ought work together and pass on stuff to others in our everyday lives. And my One More Day Devotional for People with Chronic Illness, which is where I found George’s quote, adds an interesting statement to the situation.

‘If we assume that each one of our “small candles” represents another of our strengths, we can blend them together to form a torch of hope.’ 

I just LOVE that idea Friends! ‘A torch of Hope! Wow! I believe that is exactly what Jesus is looking for from us when He declares in our Bit: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’ Oh isn’t that the gospel truth!

Then Jesus goes on to elucidate after our Bit. ‘Neither do men light a candle (lamp) and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lamp stand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt.5:15-16)

Yes Friends, being a light unto this darkened world is one of the two things Jesus desires of us down here. The other is to be the salt of the earth, as He says before our Bit.

‘Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour (flavour), wherewith (by what) shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men.’ (Matt.5:13)

Isn’t it interesting how Jesus used two basic, simple things like salt and light to spell out the way He wants his followers to be different from the rest of the world. It’s all a part of His simple, but wise and knowledgeable philosophy.

Now here is some stuff the scholars have to say on those topics. ‘5:13. The Beatitudes are followed by a summary statement of the basic character of the Christian’s life as salt and light. Ye are the salt of the earth: Again the phrase “ye are” indicate that only the genuinely born-again person is salt and can help meet the needs of the world.

Salt adds flavouring, acts as a preservative, melts coldness, and heals wounds. Thus it is a very appropriate description of the believer in his relationship to the world in which he lives.’  

And that’s exactly why Jesus chose it as a foundational characteristic of His followers!

‘5:14-16. Ye are the light of the world describes the essential mission of the Christian to the world. He is the condition (salt) to meet the world’s needs and he has a mission (light) to the world. His light is to clearly shine forth into the darkness of human depravity.

He is to set his light upon a candlestick, not hide it under a bushel, that is, a basket. Darkness is the absence of light; and darkness cannot dispel the light, but the smallest light can dispel the greatest darkness’

Oh mih people, what more can I say to all of that indisputable truth eh? Not much, except to encourage us to raise the level of our passion for Christ and His work, so that we won’t be found wanting when the day of Judgement arrives and the Lord asks us: ‘What did your salt flavour, and where did your light shine?’ As believers, that is the ultimate in wisdom! Much LOVE!

…let’s all put our small individual lights together…and form a torch…a torch of hope…that we can blaze across this world of inordinate darkness…and thus bring light…the light of Jesus to a needy, depraved and  fallen world…

P.S. Oh Friends, I know it’s long and late, but is it ever so true and heartwarming! (smile) Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it – obviously with the Lord’s help and guidance. Much LOVE!