Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 September 2021 John 13:35.

John 13:35.      By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.

So mih bredrin, a warm and wonderful Tuesday to all you who treasure Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour! May His light and LOVE shine through us today, as we go about doing His awesome earthly work, encouraging others to come to Him and enjoy the amazing benefits of being in His blessed organization, His church, and also having a most splendiferous personal relationship with Him! 

What could be better than that eh mih people; belonging to Christ’s body of followers, but also having a personal friendship with him? Absolutely nothing! Yes friends, in Jesus we have the best of ALL worlds! Never forget that! So let’s stop selling both Jesus and us short by thinking and consequently acting like He is not enough, for He surely is…and much more too! 

Ah friends the ole fella’s just getting excited, as I usually do when I talk about the goodness and mercy of Jesus, because I’ve experienced so much of it during my long life, even when I didn’t know what it was. Yes, in hindsight, I can now see and realize that it was indeed the goodness and mercy of God that kept me going through some serious situations before I fully gave my life to Him. 

And since I’ve done that…Brother! I’ve seen so much of His undeserved grace and mercy, that I can’t even count or remember half of them! That’s why I can confidently tell you that Jesus is an awesome friend and Saviour. His work is demanding, but His yoke is light and easy to bear, while His rewards are outstanding! Glory be my faithful brethren! 

And all Jesus really desires of us is to show that most worthy and amazing attribute of LOVE in our everyday lives. When you break it down it looks like this: to LOVE the Father, LOVE Him, and LOVE ourselves and each other. Now that should not be as hard to do as we make it seem, since it’s basically showing kindness and goodness to those we meet. But unfortunately, it seems that the opposite and very negative emotion of hate, found in things like anger, bitterness, resentment, strife and unkindness, are much easier for us to propagate, since it’s that negative stuff that’s now holding our world hostage. 

How sad it is my people, that goodness and mercy can’t seem to outweigh hate and its evil companions. And it’s only when we receive Jesus and hold on tightly to Him and what He stands for that we can ever hope to defeat the enemy and His wicked ways. That’s why Jesus said to the disciples: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Yes, my fellow saints, that’s the big difference between the followers of Christ and the non-followers; the followers are supposed to have LOVE for each other in words and deeds, not just meaningless talk, nor as He blasted the Pharisees. ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres (whitewashed tombs), which indeed appear beautiful outside, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness).’ (Matt. 23:27-28) 

And sadly, that’s how too many of us supposed believers and followers of Jesus behave nowadays. That’s basically why the unbelievers don’t pay more attention to us, because we don’t truly walk our talk, that LOVE for each other is most definitely not shown in our daily dealings. Just think about all the divisions in the church of Christ nuh, with umpteen religions, sects, denominations etc., which only breed petty differences, resentment, anger and the whole host of negative emotions amongst supposed Christians. 

How can that sad state of affairs draw others to Jesus eh? The enemy is more together, more as one, than we believers are. No wonder they are in the ascendance right now, while we believers are running a far second place because of our many differences and lack of togetherness. 

And in his own way, John repeated Jesus’ invocation to the disciples in his first epistle. ‘And hereby we do know that we know him (Jesus), if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the LOVE of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.’ (1 John 2:3-6) 

Yes friends, as the scholars so rightly inform us: ‘The test of knowing God’s LOVE is keeping His Word… While no one can or need duplicate Jesus’ atoning (earthly) ministry, His disciples are called to imitate His devotion to God and compassion for others. See John 13:15; 1 Peter 2:21.’ Those are indisputable facts, but unfortunately, our devotion to God and compassion for others is sadly lacking in these terrible times. And I believe it’s my bounden duty to highlight those two passages the scholars referred to above there. 

Listen to Jesus after He had washed the disciples’ feet. ‘If I then, your Lord and Master (Teacher), have washed your feet; ye ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.’ (John 13:14-15) It couldn’t get any clearer than that friends! Jesus is the example we ought to follow. Granted, we can’t do all that He did, but we surely can have much more reverence and devotion to the Father and show more simple compassion for each other. 

And Peter tells it to us thus: ‘For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.’ (1 Pet. 2:21) Don’t know what else to say nuh. So, for those of us who sincerely try to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, let’s go home declaring (yeah!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, telling the whole world who and whose we are; to whom we truly belong. 

Altogether 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!’ 

Now, it’s our duty to go out into the world and share that amazing LOVE and friendship of Jesus with the many who don’t know it! Much LOVE!

…it’s time for Christians…to play a strong and true game of…follow the Leader…                                                                                                           

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8     

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 November 2020 Psalm 107:8.

Psalm 107:8.     ​Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

One more time, one more time, let’s do it one more time fellow saints of Christ! I mean, let’s get together on the Lord’s Day, by whatever means possible, and worship and praise His Holy Name as He desires of us on at least one day of every week! Yes my people, that is one of the duties for which we were created, along with the awesome blessing of having a close and personal relationship with the wise and wonderful Deity who created us. Glory to His blessed name, for there is no other supposed god who desires such a relationship with their followers as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob desires with His. 

So let’s cut out the talk and get down to some serious worship nuh. (smile) And today’s song is one I sent to some of you by WhatsApp this week, titled ‘The Goodness of God’ sung by Jenn Johnson with the Bethel church. So some of you know it. (smile) And after listening to several versions of the song, all of them decent enough in their own right, I still had to come back to the Jenn Johnson version because it had a particular soulful and yet rocking sound that seemed rather appropriate for the song. 

So without further ado, let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise, offering up heartfelt and true emotion and sentiments to our majestic, magnanimous and magnificent God, Jehovah. In slow, soulful harmony to start, then breaking into a rocking, raunchy riddim at the chorus. ‘I love You Lord Oh Your mercy never fails me And all my days I’ve been held in Your hands From the moment that I wake up Until I lay my head down, Oh I will sing of the goodness of God (Chorus: All my life You have been faithful And All my life You have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, Oh I will sing of the goodness of God.) 

I LOVE Your voice. You have led me through the fire. In my darkest night, You were close like no other. I’ve known You as a Father, I’ve known You as a friend, Oh I have lived, in the goodness of God. (Chorus: Yeahhh! And all my life You have been faithful…I will sing of the goodness of God) Yeah, yeah, it’s so good! Your goodness is running after, It’s running after me. Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me. With my life laid down, I’m surrendered now, I give You everything, cause Your goodness is running after, It’s running after me. Ohhh, cause Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me. 

With my life laid down, I’m surrendered now, I give You everything, cause Your goodness is running after, It’s running after me. Your goodness is running after, it keeps running after me. And All my life You have been faithful And All my life You have been so, so good With every breath that I am able, Oh I’m going to sing, Oh I’m going to sing of the goodness of God. For all my life You have been faithful, all my life You have been so good. 

Oh You lead me in glory…ever-faithful, You are my anchor in the wind and the waves… You are my provider…Oh yeah…and You lead me in glory by your spirit…You are my joy…my joy…every day…Oh shepherd of my soul…what a joy to know You…Oh, the joy of knowing You God…You’re everything to me…so wonderful…so wonderful in all your ways…in all your ways. That’s why I will always sing of Your goodness Lord…I will always sing of Your goodness Lord.’ 

Mama Mia! What a great paean (song of praise, worship, triumph, thanksgiving) to Almighty God, in which our voices were gloriously united! It couldn’t get any better than that my brethren, because the sentiments were all true! And today all we’re going to do is look at some scripture that gloriously display God’s wonderful works to the children of men! And that’s the superscript of Psalm 107, from which most, if not all of our scripture will come. Hear how the psalmist begins nuh: ‘O Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.’ (Ps. 107:1-2) 

The psalmist there was talking about the nation of Israel whom the Lord took out of bondage from Egypt, and because of their disobedience, they wandered in the wilderness, lost and without a shepherd, hungry and thirsty and faint. (Ps. 107:3-4) But eventually they smartened up, and ‘Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.’ (Ps. 107:6-7) 

Yeh friends, that’s the difference between obedience to God and disobedience. If we want to be left alone, He will leave us alone to do our own thing, but when we decide to call on Him in true and sincere repentance, He comes running to our aid. As the psalmist further states: ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!’ (Ps. 107:8) What a glorious observation! Why, you ask? Hear the psalmist’s answer. ‘For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.’ (Ps. 107:9) 

Ah mih bredrin, when we come to God in repentance and submission, He looks after us. But when we turn away from Him, rebel against Him, He allows the evil one to cause us to ‘sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron (being prisoners);’ (Ps. 107:10) And when we wake up and cry out to Him again in times of trouble, He comes running and saves us out of our distresses. He brings us out of the darkness and the shadow of death, and breaks our bands in sunder (breaks our chains in pieces). And for that we should again praise Him for His goodness as our Bit says. (Ps. 107:11-16) 

Oh my people, we are so near and dear to the God of our forefathers that He can’t deny us when we turn to Him in true surrender. Look at what He did for the Israelites…and look at what He did for us by sending His Only Son Jesus to be sacrificed for our sins. That speaks of a golden heart of LOVE in the Being we call our God. And that’s why the psalmist’s cry makes undeniable sense: ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing (joyful singing).’ (Ps. 107:21-22) 

And that’s what we’ve just done: declared His works with joyful singing! Glory be precious people! And we can go on through Psalm 107 and the rest of the Good Book and find innumerable reasons for praising God for His goodness. But time and space are against us. So let’s remember all those times that He’s bailed us out nuh, both individually and collectively, and stay under His protective umbrella, because that’s the ONLY safe place in this evil world! Much LOVE!

…the Lord is good…ALL THE TIME… because that’s His nature… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 April 2016 1 Chronicles 16:34

1 Chronicles 16:34.     O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Well my people in the northern climes, this weekend’s temperatures are supposed to reach into the high teens… And all God’ people declared a loud and thankful ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Yeh friends, I know the frustration that’s been running through our mortal souls for the last couple weeks, with the cold, unseasonable winter weather. But I think spring has finally sprung, and I know that you will be all out in the bright sunshine half-naked, tooling around in your sports cars, revving your motorbikes, getting your tans, and of course the backyards and decks will be crowded, with barbecues blazing, while the beer is being greedily chugged down in large quantities! (smile) 

But please remember Granny’s advice; ‘drunk or sober, mind your business,’ because I know after the long winter hibernation, this sudden summer type weather can go to our heads and have us do foolish things, and thus allow Lucifer to get a foot hold in our souls, which is definitely not a good thing. 

But enough of my rambling, I have something I want to share with you. I recently received a form letter from Fr. Bob Colaresi, the Director of The Monastery of Mount Carmel Society of the Little Flower – the Society that’s associated with St. Therese – and the opening paragraphs were so beautiful, I just had to share them with you. 

The letter begins: ‘Beloved Friend, The heart is our centre. It pumps blood throughout. It beats with LOVE, longing and power. When we give our heart away, it signifies us giving ourselves away to someone. 

In some ways our heart is who we are, especially as women and men created in the “image and likeness of God” Who is LOVE.  We are created from LOVE, in LOVE and for LOVE. We believe in a God Who is recklessly in LOVE with us and longs for union. 

Pope Francis has challenged the Church to celebrate a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mercy is the heartbeat of God. For reasons hard to explain or understand we re-created a God of judgement. 

Somehow we seem to forget the Good News: that God reveals Himself as Mercy and LOVE – the God who gives us the benefit of the doubt. The God Who is always present with unconditional LOVE – Who never leaves us and always forgives.’ 

Oh friends, what a wonderful description of our amazing God! But do we truly live like we are LOVED and shown mercy by our magnanimous heavenly Father? Of course not! Too many of us simply pay lip service to God’s LOVE and mercy, and only come running to Him when we find ourselves in a heap of trouble from which we cannot extricate ourselves. 

But that’s certainly not wisdom for a true believer. For the true believer, living in the lap and luxury of God’s LOVE and mercy is an everyday, all day thing. It’s not something to embrace only when it suits our convenience, but we should be gloriously wallowing in it all the time, like pigs in mud. (smile) 

That’s when we truly get all the benefits of being in a personal relationship with Christ. Otherwise we are foolishly shortchanging ourselves.  And I don’t know about you all, but I definitely would like to receive all that God has earmarked for me, and the only way to do that is to live continuously in His LOVE and mercy, receiving stuff that we don’t deserve. That is true wisdom! 

And when I went looking for a Bit to match the words and sentiments of Fr. Bob above, I came upon this sentiment of indisputable truth that was ever so appropriate.  And it is also found in numerous places of the Good Book, which means it must be true and important. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.’ 

Now my brethren, if there ever was gospel truth, those words certainly qualify! And I simply cannot fathom why we are turning away from such a wonderful Deity in these turbulent and trying times. If there ever was a time for us to be running to God, it’s NOW!  

Now when we are being rocked by so much strife and disasters, both natural and man-made. Just look at how Japan was turned topsy-turvy by two strong earthquakes in the last couple of days. Only with a strong and true belief in a powerful and living God can we find the strength and wherewithal to overcome that sort of thing. But this modern day, selfish, egotistic society is running away from God instead! Steups! 

Ah Lord eh mih people! Sometimes I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall, all to no purpose, because people are not listening, they’re just too giddy, running behind the material things of the world. Anyway, that seems to be my cross to bear, so I’ll just have to bear it as best as I can. (smile) 

Now let’s look at some of the times and occasions where our Bit can be found in the Good Book. The instance we’re using is found when Bruh David brought up the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and the people celebrated and he wrote a glorious psalm of thanksgiving. 

Then later on in 2 Chronicles, when Cousin Sol completed the Lord’s temple and dedicated it, the celebration was amazing. Listen to the Good Book describe it. 

‘It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord. 

So that the priests could not stand to minister (continue ministering) by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.’ (2 Chr.5:13-14)  

Oh friends, we’ve run out of space and time, but yuh see what sincere praise and worship can do? It can cause our God to do miraculous stuff, because He just LOVES it when we praise and worship and glorify His Holy Name! That’s why He made us. 

So in this Easter season, when God gave us the biggest gift of all, eternal life, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, please let’s consider ramping up our praise and worship nuh, both as individuals and in fellowship, as the Church, the body of Christ. There could be no better reason. Then we’ll see our magnificent and magnanimous God do amazing and wonderful things in our lives! Much LOVE!

…there’s nothing in this world…to beat God’s LOVING-kindness and mercy…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…