Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 February 2020 Matthew 8:27.

Matthew 8:27.    But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!’
 
And on this first day of February, in the leap year of 2020, some snow did fall in my area, not a whole lot, but enough that we can say snow fell. (smile) Yeh, it looks bad if you’re in winter and there’s not even a touch of the white stuff on the ground. Hn, hn! And I didn’t even know that this was going to be a leap year until recently when I checked out the February calendar and saw 29 days. I had to look again to make sure that I was seeing right. 

Times surely have changed yes! Once upon a time a leap year was a big thing, all sorts of stuff was supposed to happen in one, you’d hear that news all over the place. But now, no one seems to pay much attention to it; nobody’s even mentioned it to me in passing. Don’t even know if the young people nowadays know what’s a leap year, or how it comes about. We have so much bloody information now that it’s hard to choose what to read or listen to, and more importantly, what to believe (yeah!). 

But anyhow it’s Saturday, so let’s take a look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week in his sincere effort of aspiring to inspire us. And this first quote is ever so appropriate because it’s exactly what Anselm is trying to do with us. ‘The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.’ Yeh friends, the Christian’s bounden duty is to try and lift up, encourage, and inspire those around us to come up higher in anything they choose to do. 

Remember the motto of Jesus’ people is ‘diligence and excellence.’ We have to work sincerely at stuff, and do it in an excellent manner, not wishy-washy, like is so common nowadays. Our jobs and lives might be difficult, even unfair, but Jesus still desires a solid and sincere effort from us. For in His dominion, ‘Failure is impossible.’ And that’s an indisputable fact. Jesus doesn’t hold with failure at all. There’s absolutely no giving up in His kingdom! 

As Cousin Sol says in Proverbs: ‘For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief (stumble into calamity).’ (Prov.24:16) And according to the scholars: ‘24:16. The righteous man always recovers, but the wicked man faces permanent destruction.’ Yes friends, if you check out Jesus’ dictionary you won’t find the words ‘failure’ or ‘give up’ in it. Because He’s the Master of Everything; the possible as well as the impossible! 

And if you are a part of His dominion then you need to think like Him and behave like Him, and remember that through Him we can do ALL things, because He strengthens us! Then there’s this next quote; a dandy: ‘A good thing to remember is somebody’s got it a lot worse than you do.’ And is that ever gospel truth my people! We might think we have it rough, but believe me, a lot of other people are usually having it rougher, much rougher than us. 

I remember complaining to my mother when things were rough with us, and she’d tell me, yes, times were tough, but they were a lot of people even worse off than us. In my youthful naivety I couldn’t believe that was possible, but as I went around the neighbourhood with a greater awareness, I was surprised to see many families living  worse off than we were. And now, when you think of the rampant poverty, homelessness and sickness in our Western Society, we complain about how bad it is, but just check out the numerous societies and cultures on the other side of the globe who have it much worse than us, and tell me in which one you’d rather be. 

At least in ours there seems to be some smidgen of hope for better times and conditions, but in many of those others there’s not even a smidgen of hope for anything better. Many were born into abject poverty, sickness and homelessness and will live and die the same way. So when you think you’re having such a bad day, and times are so rough, just think about those other more unfortunate people, and gratefully say, ‘Thank You Lord!’ 

And this last quote succinctly informs us: ‘Anyone can take the wheel of the ship in calm water but it’s not so easy when it’s not calm water. You can’t just enjoy the good times, you have to be resilient in the tough times.’ And that word ‘resilient’ seems to have faded from our vocabulary and lifestyle in these modern days, for the words backbone and belly which make us resilient are non-existent. 

There’s never been as much complaining and whining in our world as there is now, even in the midst of great prosperity! Partly because we have allowed the young generation to grow up in an easy and non-sacrificial manner, no chores before or after school, always getting what they want, so now when real life hits them, they can’t cope with it. They think they are owed an easy life, have an inalienable right to it, because we the parents didn’t raise them right, and God is usually the furthest thing from their minds. 

But friends, it’s only in and through Jesus that we can acquire the parts to stand strong when life comes against us. And one of the best examples of that occurs when Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee and a violent storm arose. The Good Book tells it thus: ‘And behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 

And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!’ (Matt. 8:24-27) 

Friends, Jesus is the man who made the winds and the seas, that’s why they obey Him! He is also the man who made us in His own image, that’s why we ought also to obey Him! Despite the free will He gave us, it behooves us, it’s the epitome of wisdom to believe and obey Him, because He is the ONLY one who can right the ship, or better yet calm the storms, the raging seas and gusting winds that inevitably confound our lives in this fallen world! Much LOVE!

…I’ll say it again…Jesus is the answer…to EVERYTHING…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 October 2019 Matthew 14:33.

Matthew 14:33.    ​And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

 

And then it was Sunday…Oh beautiful Sunday! Time to join fellow believers in praise, worship and thanksgiving at the Lord’s house on His special day. What a wonderful privilege to come into His presence with others of like mind, to hear His Word, exalt His holy name and receive His awesome confidence, LOVE, mercy, grace and strength that enable us to keep on fighting the good fight in His name! So, without further ado, let’s do as we always do nuh, (smile) begin with a song of praise. And today’s song is aptly titled: ‘LOVE LIFTED ME!’ And so it did friends; Christ’s great LOVE for us, lifted us out of the mire of sin, through His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary that paid the price of sin for all time. 

But we all know that, so let’s check out something that we might not know, namely the story behind today’s hymn. According to the web site GodTube, it was written and published in 1912 by Arthur James Rowe (1865-1933), a copper miner’s son, an immigrant to the U.S from Ireland in 1889. He worked for ten years on the New York railroads, then became an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society. The hymn was inspired by two biblical stories, both about Jesus and His disciples on the stormy seas of Galilee. (Matt.14:22-33) & (Matt.8:23-27). ‘Rowe masterfully incorporates both stories, using sinking or being swamped into the sea as an illustration for “sinking deep in sin…sinking to rise no more.” Jesus, “Master of the sea,” hears our pleas for help, reaches out to us in LOVE, and lifts us up into the well being of grace.’ Oh what a beautiful description! 

So now that we have some idea of what the hymn is all about, let’s sing it nuh, in strong, soulful voice, with exquisite harmony, and much sincere thanks and gratitude appropriately flowing from our hearts. Altogether now: ‘I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me, now safe am I. (Refrain: LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me. LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me.) 

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling, In his blessed presence live, ever his praises sing. LOVE so mighty and so true merits my soul’s best songs; Faithful LOVING service, too, to Him belongs. [Refrain] Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves; He will lift you by His LOVE out of the angry waves; He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey, He, your Saviour wants to be, be saved today. [Refrain: LOVE lifted me…When nothing could help…LOVE lifted me…’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my fellow believers? It’s only something as powerful as LOVE that could have ever lifted us out of the depths of sin! The amazing LOVE of Jesus is the only thing ‘that can lift us out of despair to salvation.’ Now let’s refresh our memories about those two stories on which today’s hymn was based. The first one tells us about Jesus entering a ship with His disciples. ‘And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ (Matt.8:24-27) 

Ah friends, as the hymn says, Jesus is the ‘Master of the sea.’ He was intimately involved in making it, therefore, it must do as He directs it. The second story happens after Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. When Jesus heard of it, He was saddened, and took a ship to a deserted place to be alone. But the crowds followed Him, and Jesus being Jesus, was filled with compassion and He taught them and healed their sick, then later on He fed them; five thousand men, beside women and children. (Matt.14:1-14) After that, He sent the disciples away in a ship, dispersed the multitude, then went up into a mountain by himself to pray. However, while Jesus was up on the mountain praying, the disciples were having an extremely hard time crossing the sea of Galilee because of a severe storm, brewed up by a contrary wind. 

By the fourth watch (3-6 a.m.) they were obviously tired from rowing all night and not making much progress. Then suddenly this apparition appeared unto them walking on the water. They claimed it was a ghost and cried out in fear. ‘But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I, be not afraid. Then Peter with his impulsive self blurted out: ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee  on the water. And he said,  Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous (violent) he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.’ (Matt.14:27-33) 

Ah mih people, please note Jesus response in both situations: ‘O ye of little faith.’ He challenged them on the substance of their faith. They had seen Him do all sorts of miracles, yet still they were scared of their own shadows. When He walked on water to them, a few hours earlier they had seen him feed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fishes, and still pick up twelve full baskets of left overs. So why should they be so afraid seeing Him walk and water and calm the stormy seas eh? The sad part of the story though is that unfortunately, we are in the same boat as the disciples. We talk a good talk, but when adversity strikes, we forget all the wonderful miracles that Jesus has done in our lives, and we too cry out in faithless fear. 

But the long and short of the story is that we know much more about Jesus and how He works, than the disciples did, so we ought not to be as afraid as so many of us are. Each adversity we undergo, and He brings us through successfully, ought to build our faith and make us stronger. So please, let’s ponder on all that we’ve said today nuh, and promise ourselves to try and do better, faith wise, with God’s help of course. Jesus needs us to show strong faith to the unbelievers, so that they too will want to share His salvation! Much LOVE!

…it should not be as hard for us…as it was for the disciples…to truly believe…that Jesus is the Son of God…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 February 2019 Matthew 8:26.

Matthew 8:26.   ​And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea: and there was a great calm.
 

Well it’s Tuesday now, and the crazy wind storms and snow squalls that have harried us for the past couple days seem to have died down, but it’s still beastly cold, somewhere around –12 in my area. And I’m chuckling here because I know that during the inclement weather many of us were praying, trying to get God’s attention to stop it. Not me so much, because I was praying rather that He’d get me safely to where I was going, cause I got caught out in it a couple of times. 

But this time I don’t think Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat nuh, He was wide awake and just waiting to see how we’d behave. And we behaved just like the disciples did when the storm caught them going across the lake and Jesus was resting quietly, ostensibly without a care in the world, but the disciples panicked: 

‘And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea: and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him.’ (Matt.8:25-27) And that kind of behaviour from men who had been with Jesus for quite some time and seen Him do all sorts of miracles! 

The point I’m trying to make here this morning friends is that too many of us supposed believers are still too small in faith like the disciples, though we have seen Jesus do great and extraordinary things in our lives! We talk a good talk about faith, but when the occasions come for us to show that faith, we always seem to fall short. 

Why is that eh?  Don’t we truly believe…or are we just scared and afraid of whatever comes against us? No, it’s not easy, and Jesus promised that we’d have trials and tribulations in this world…’But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) 

Yes, and even with that encouragement, He knows that it will be hard for us, but He expects that our faith, which is supposed to grow each and every day we draw breath, will strengthen us and see us through whatever difficulties we encounter down here on earth! 

And the sad part is that even before Jesus came, the Lord was dissatisfied with the faith of His people Israel, as outlined in the words of Moses’ song to the Israelites. ‘And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very forward (perverse) generation, children in whom is no faith.’ (Deut.32:20) 

So I guess nothing much has changed sine way back then! And how many times did Jesus lambaste, castigate His people for not having the faith they should have eh? And there are several! Here are a couple of illustrations: In talking about nature versus Cousin Sol’s glory, nature won out every time. ‘Wherefore, if God so clothe(s) the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall ye not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?’ (Matt.6:30) 

That means we ought not to worry and be anxious or fearful of what’s going to happen because we’re more important to our heavenly Father than nature, which He looks after so well. And when the Roman centurion came to Jesus, asking Him to heal his sick servant, and Jesus offered to go to his house and do so: 

‘The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in all Israel.’(Matt.8:8-10) 

Yeh friends, the servant was healed, not because of his own faith, but because of His master, the centurion’s faith. Jesus was just showing up there the foolishness of His Jewish people who refused to accept t Him for who and what He proclaimed to be, but this supposedly heretic Roman, had no problem with doing so! And He’s doing the same thing today my people; crying out to us to truly believe and have the faith that belief ought to instill in us, but which seems to be sadly lacking! 

Remember the words of the great psalm that we all like to quote: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ (Ps.23:1-6) 

Oh my people, how do you think all of that wonderful stuff, those mighty and awesome  promises are going to happen eh? They won’t just fall into our laps like manna from heaven nuh, but we’ve got to believe them and have the faith to expect and do our part to allow them to happen. 

So please my brethren, please let us improve our faith nuh, starting today, RIGHT NOW, both for our sakes and the sake of Jesus’ church, for if we don’t do better very soon, our world will surely fall apart with all the ungodliness and evil that’s currently being foisted upon it. 

And having said all of that, let’s go home declaring (right ho) our Tuesday Mantra, telling the world, loud and clear, who and whose we are. In strong and sincere faith now: ‘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 the corollary to that is for us to now go out and share the friendship and LOVE of Jesus with those who don’t know Him, but desperately need to! Much LOVE!

…according to your faith…be it unto you… (Matt.9:29)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 November 2018 Matthew 8:26.

Matthew 8:26:   And he saith unto them, why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Well here we are again on a Sunday morning, hopefully getting ready to visit, or having already visited the Lord’s sanctuary to get our reassurance and strengthening for the upcoming week, through praise, worship, fellowship and hearing the Lord’s word.

And I like Bruh Paul’s reasoning in Romans 10, re those calling on the name of the Lord shall be saved, especially when he asks: ‘how can they hear without a preacher?’ (Rom.10:14) That’s why we have preachers! (smile) 

But before we hear the word, let’s get into some hearty praise and worship to soften our stony hearts and make them more receptive to the Lord’s dialogue. And today’s song of praise is one we all know and LOVE, titled, ‘Put Your Hand in the Hand.’

According to Wikipedia, it ‘is a gospel pop song composed by Gene MacLellan and first recorded by Canadian singer Anne Murray from her third studio album ‘Honey, Wheat and Laughter.’ 

Wow! I knew that our very own Canadian Songbird from down the East coast had sung it, but I never knew she was the first to record it. And since then it’s been recorded numerous times by all kinds of singers and musicians.

Today, we’re going to send up a blazing, brilliant, harmonious and magnificent rendition to our heavenly Father, showing our sincere gratitude for all that He’s done for us through His Son, and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

Now let’s bring tears of joy to the eyes and hearts of those in heaven as we sing: (Chorus: ‘Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water. Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea. Take a look at yourself, and you can look at others differently. Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.) 

Every time I look into the Holy Book, I wanna tremble. When I read the part where the carpenter cleared the temple See those buyers and the sellers were no different fellas Than what you and I profess to be. And it causes me shame to know that man is not what he should be. (Chorus: Put your hand in the hand…) 

Hey, my mama taught me how to pray, before I reached the age of seven When I’m down on my knees, hey, I’m close to heaven. My daddy lived his life with two kids and a wife and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do But he showed me enough of what it takes to see you through 

This is what he used to tell me… Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea Ya got’a take a good look at yourself, then you can look at others differently Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.’ 

Magnifico my brethren, Magnifico! The eyes in heaven are all filled with tears of joy! Glory be! And believe you me, that rendition was so sweet that the Father was singing along with us, not to mention that He is also grateful for the Son’s unwavering obedience in His plan to save our undeserving souls.  

Now hear the word. The story goes like this: ‘And when he (Jesus) was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. 

And he saith unto them, why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!’ (Matt.8:23-27) 

The answer to that question is not rocket science friends, but is quite simple: the winds and the sea obey Him because He made them and still controls them! And if you don’t believe me, then listen to the words of the psalmist:

‘They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 

They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end (don’t know what to do)

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.’ (Ps.107:23-30) 

 Yes friends the seafarers know the Lord’s power, His all-around control of the wind and the sea, so they know to look to Him for succour in time of need. My brethren, we too should realize and acknowledge the Lord’s omnipotence and majesty and revere Him, surrender our lives, put our sincere trust in Him and His awesome Son, the man from Galilee, who rebuked the winds and the waves and caused them to be calm.

So let’s wise up and take His hand nuh; and hold it very tightly too, don’t ever let go!  It’s a no-brainer my people; the height of wisdom! Much LOVE!

..whose hand would you prefer to hold over Jesus’ eh…NOBODY’S…