Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 January 2017 Psalm 23:1.

Psalm 23:1.   The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (lack).

Aye friends, it’s a rainy Tuesday morning in my neck of the woods, but it sure is good to be alive! Praise the Lord! I sure hope that all of us who have enjoyed His awesome largesse this morning have given Him the thanks and praise He so rightfully deserves. 

Every day we open our sleepy eyes, to another day, we ought to shout ‘Thank You Lord! Thank You for allowing me to see another beautiful day down here in paradise!’ For contrary to what a lot of us think, earth is indeed the Lord’s paradise, we have just made it seem like hell with all our iniquity and the carnality injected by the enemy. 

I was actually up a few hours earlier, but still felt sleepy, so I decided to get some more z’s, got to get them when I can (smile) since my sleep recently has not been the greatest, what with all the different medications I’m taking. 

But I feel fairly fresh now, so let’s get into our Bit without further ado. ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (lack).’ 

Yeah mih people, we’re still with that most promising of verses, because there is still a lot to say about the 23rd Psalm. Bruh David must have been truly inspired when he wrote it, there’s just no other answer to why it’s so beautiful and so encouraging! 

Anyway, what I want to do today is first share some thoughts from the scholars on it, then some choice scriptures which corroborate its verses. 

So listen first to the scholars: ‘Psalm 23. The psalm had been a favourite of God’s people through the ages and with due reason: it expresses as simply and clearly as any the role of God as our protector and provider in life. 

The charm of the psalm rests on two figures of speech: the Lord is compared to a shepherd and the believer to His sheep (vs.1-4); then the Lord is likened to a host with the believer as the guest (vs.5-6). The image of the Lord as shepherd is a frequent one in both the Old Testament (Is.40:11; Jer.31:10) and the New (John 10:11-16; Heb.13:20). 

Believers are never pictured in Scripture as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on their Shepherd for His provision and protection. 

The believer is more than a dependent sheep, however, he is also like an honoured guest, since the Lord prepares a table for him (v.5). Connected with this honoured position is abundant provision, vindication before one’s enemies, and eternal celebration of God’s goodness.’ 

And all God’s people declared a loud and proud ‘Glory Hallelujah! Glory to our great God on High! Praise His Holy Name, for He is indeed worthy to be praised!’ 

Yes friends, our awesome God deserves even more praise and thanks than our mortal souls can give! He’s done so much for us, creating, protecting and providing for us all down through the ages, despite our foolish penchant for turning away from Him. 

Now let’s look at some corroborative scriptures. Bruh David says: ‘The Lord is my shepherd…’ 

And Isaiah, when he talks about comfort through trust in the Lord, declares in full agreement: ‘Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand (in strength), and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him. 

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is.40:10-11) 

How beautiful, promising and reassuring is that eh my fellow believers! One can’t ask for more. Then Bruh David says: ‘I shall not want (lack).’ 

And Bruh Paul shouts back at the Philippians: ‘But I have (received) all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell (aroma), a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. 

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever Amen.’ (Phil.4:18-20) 

Ah mih people, what a wonderful God we serve and worship! The Philippians had sent some gifts to Paul, and as the scholars tell us: ‘4:18. I have all means that Paul has received their gifts. And abound signifies that he has plenty, since all needs are now met through their generosity. God looks on their gift to Paul as an odour of a sweet smell (a fragrant scent) and a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing.’ 

‘4:19. Because the Lord is aware of the sacrifice (vs.18) the Philippians made in meeting Paul’s needs, God will surely supply all their need. God will meet their “need” (1) according to his riches, that is, in proportion to His unlimited resources; (2) in glory, that is, He will meet their need “gloriously” or “in a splendid manner”; and (3) by Christ Jesus.’  

Oh friends, I do hope that as we ponder all we’ve said today, it will bring a greater understanding of the Lord’s word and His many promises, and increase our faith and LOVE for Him. 

Now let’s go home declaring our Tuesday Mantra in full voice and strong belief. ‘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 that’s the gospel truth my people, so let’s go out and put it all into action nuh! For that’s what Jesus desires of us. Much LOVE!

…to know…know…know Him…is to LOVE…LOVE…LOVE Him…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 February 2015 Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

And then it was Wednesday – the middle of the work week, and sadly too my pen-ultimate day in Paradise! And I was just about to go for possibly my last morning work along the shoreline, when strong winds and a sudden shower of rain put paid to that little jaunt. So I began writing the Bit before I intended to.

Ah Friends, it’s been a wonderful time in sweet Tobago! I met so many people and went to so many places, places and people I haven’t seen in donkey years. (smile) Several of them that I never even remembered. And now that it’s drawing to a close, there’s an underlying sadness in my spirit.

But I won’t complain, get greedy, resentful or any of those negative things. Instead I’ll thank the Lord for granting me this wonderful reprieve from the cold! In His great wisdom and mercy, He obviously realized that I needed a break from the harsh, unforgiving weather, and from the exceeding busyness of my usual surroundings. And for that I will be most thankful and grateful!

In, and through the vacation, the Lord has certainly raised the level of my hope, faith and trust in Him! The way certain things came together to make it all possible meant only one thing; that His faithful hand and LOVING –kindness were working on my behalf. And all I can say is: ‘Thank You Lord, thank You!’

Ah mih people, as I keep telling us, the more we put our trust and faith in God, and wait on Him in hungry hope and expectant faith, the more we see of His blessings and great favour. But we have to believe, truly believe, and surrender our entire lives to Him. It’s not always easy to do, especially in the negative and ungodly kind of world in which we’re now living.

But it is essential, if we want to enjoy the peace, LOVE and understanding that He brings to those who put their faithful and undying trust in Him. And the beautiful thing about our magnificent, majestic and magnanimous God is that He WILL help us to understand His ways and means when we sincerely ask for His help to do so.

Which other supposed deity does that eh; put’s you through tests, then helps you work through them? NONE! And that’s because there is no other true, real and living deity besides the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! All the other stuff that man worships, are either inanimate, dead, or will die someday. Only the Holy One of Israel is alive and kicking; has been from day one, and will still be there till eternity!

Oh Friends, I’m chuckling here because I don’t know where all of this is leading to. But with the Lord leading and guiding me, I know that whatever it turns out to be, it will be helpful and useful to somebody who reads it. And unusually, in this dry season, another shower of rain has just come down. I like how the rain’s been falling during my stay here; fall strong for about ten or fifteen seconds, then let up, no continuous downpour.

But enough of my rambling, let’s turn to our wonderful Bit, chocked full of so much wise and wonderful advice from Bruh Paul. ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’

Ah mih breddren, those are indeed golden words for us to live by! When we have found God, when Jesus comes to live in our hearts as our personal Lord and Saviour, then we definitely need a do over in our lives, to turn over a new page. New things have to happen in our lives, and some of the old things have to be consciously put aside, because they just don’t fit into the lifestyle of the followers of Jesus.

And don’t worry, the changes won’t happen overnight, for you didn’t become what you are overnight. But the Lord will gradually show you what He wants you to give up, and what He wants you to take up. But to successfully do that, you have to seriously communicate with Him, through prayer, Bible reading and study, and fellowship with other believers.

And what I LOVE about Jesus is that if you don’t understand what’s happening, you can always go to Him and ask about it, and He WILL give you an answer. Not necessarily right away, or in a manner that you like. But an answer will be forthcoming, involving a test of your faith and maturity, dependent on how you react to the answer.

If you react negatively, then it’s your loss. If you react positively, even if you don’t like the answer, then it’s your great gain, it might even be accorded to you as righteousness, as happened with Abraham. But know one thing Friends, our lives in Jesus are one unbroken line of tests.

From the moment we claim to believe, we are entered into a lifelong test; a cycle of ups and downs, zigs and zags, that sometimes seem unnecessary and even painful and unfair.

But fellow believer, if we have put our complete trust in Jesus, we have the faithful promise that in the end, it will all work out for our good. The Lord God is our Creator and Controller, and as such, His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours, and we won’t always understand what He’s all about. In fact we don’t need to understand everything, just trust Him to be our strong fortress, guide and Provider.

That’s where our level of faith comes into play. God deals with us according to the level of our faith, and we must realize that until the day He decides to take us home, our earthly lives will always be bound up in tests, trials and tribulations that we don’t enjoy, or even deserve. But it’s the Lord’s way of remaking us into the image of His Son Jesus!

And that’s what the whole programme is about my brethren – when we look in the mirror, to see Jesus smiling back at us.

And we’ll go home with some words of practical advice on Christian living, on truly living for Jesus from Bruh Paul’s second missive to the Thessalonians. ‘Furthermore then we beseech (urge) you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication (sexual immorality): That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence (passion of lust), even as the Gentiles, which know not God:

That no man go beyond and defraud (take advantage of ) his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us into uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth (rejects), despiseth (rejects) not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.’ (1 Thess.4:1-8)

Yes Friends, those are some practical words of advice in living for Jesus! So please let’s consider them today and try to inculcate them in to our daily lives as required nuh. That’s wisdom at its highest level! Much LOVE!

…living for Christ is no easy matter…but the rewards…both earthly and heavenly…are certainly worth it…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 November 2013 Philippians 4:12

Philippians 4:12.   I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Oh Friends, sadly on this autumn Saturday morning my mind is blank. And though I’m trying to wait patiently for the words I need to flow from heaven, as Jesus promised, so that I can reach out to you with God’s LOVE, mercy, goodness, and forgiveness, they seem to be taking their own sweet time to come. (smile) But I have no doubt that they’ll come, just in the Lord’s own time.
 
Yuh know that’s the only problem I have with the Lord; His timing. He obviously wrote the book on the just in time method that manufacturers are using these days. Sometimes I just can’t handle this last minute business that He likes to indulge in.
 
But believe me people, though in our opinion, our God might be a bit tardy in answering our supplications, I can guarantee us one thing; He’s NEVER LATE! And that’s the gospel truth! I can testify to that with all my heart, because it’s happened to me often enough over the years, and not once has He ever let me down.
 
So until the Lord decides it’s time to let those words flow into my spirit, let’s check out this poem, re ‘God’s Promise,’ which I’ve shared with you before, but which is still good to hear and run through our souls every so often. I don’t remember where I got it from, but it’s very appropriate and invaluable in helping us to live a good Christian life.
 
And it says: ‘I will not fear; God is always with me. I will not doubt; God is always in control. I will not despair; God is always good. I will not falter; God is always watching. I will not fail; God is always victorious.’
 
Yes Friends, those are indeed thoughts, words, affirmations, or whatever you choose to call them, which we should hang on to for dear life, possibly make them a mantra, because each statement is indisputably true! For God is always with us, always in control, always good, always watching over us, and always victorious! Let’s never forget those things my brethren! Instead, let’s write them indelibly in our hearts, minds and souls, since they can be of great help in times of struggle or low faith.
 
And there we have it my people, the words I’ve been waiting for from heaven. (smile) I told you that our God is faithful and wouldn’t leave me in the lurch. He NEVER HAS, and NEVER WILL leave any of His children to walk the rough, ungodly paths of this evil world alone. 
 
And all God’s people gratefully declared: ‘Thank You Lord for looking out for us, although we don’t deserve Your LOVING-kindness! We truly LOVE You, and will try to improve our ungodly behaviour. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.’
 
Now those are most excellent sentiments Friends, but please remember we should not make promises, especially to God, unless we intend to keep them. For as Cousin Sol so wisely informs us: ‘When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer (delay) not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than thou shouldest vow and not pay.’ (Eccl.5:4-5)
 
Words of true true wisdom mih breddren! Now let’s turn to our Bit: ‘I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’
 
Ah my fellow believers, being contented, though not necessarily happy, regardless of our circumstances, is an exceedingly vital and integral part of Christian maturity! For without it, we’d just go crazy, being constantly buffeted by life’s ups and downs.
 
And that steadying influence can only come from steadfastly standing on the promises of Jesus, who suffered the same highs and lows in His earthly sojourn, but found strength and succour by staying in constant contact with the Father. That’s what we also need to do my brethren, if we hope to survive the raging billows, and then the sudden calms of the sea of life.
 
Now here are some thoughts from the scholars on our Bit. ‘4:12. By listing some specific examples, this verse elaborates upon the very general and broad “in whatsoever state I am” of verse 11. Be abased means literally to discipline oneself, that is, to tighten the belt in lean times. To abound means to live in prosperity. Every where and in all things I am instructed (or, “in all circumstances I have learned the secret of how”) to be full, that is, “well-fed.”
 
To abound means to have plenty. To suffer need means to go without. Paul has acquired the skill required for successfully living with little and with much, the latter probably being harder: “For one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.” (Thomas Carlyle)’
 
Yeh Friends, sometimes having too much is harder to handle than not having enough. Anyway, the important thing is that we learn to bear whatever state we’re in without too much grumbling and complaining, for that’s what pleases our God. Much LOVE!
 
…earthly circumstances will change…but our God and His promises…NEVER WILL…and until Christians truly believe that…and also act on it…Christ’s church will never become all that it’s capable of becoming… 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 November 2013 Philippians 4:12

Philippians 4:12.   I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
 
And the band played, as the people lustily sang: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday! TGIF! Thank God is Friday! Work soon done, then it’s my time to play, my time to party! Yes work soon done, then is my time to play, my time to party!’
 
But hold on a minute Friends, please don’t jump off the deep end so fast. Now some partying is good for the soul, but like too much of anything, it can either get boring or too rip-roaring and thus cause us to go astray, consequently allowing the evil one to gain a foothold in our souls. And that my people we must try to avoid at all cost.
 
So let’s stop for a moment, let the euphoria of Friday simmer for a bit, while we put on our thinking caps and find some wisdom to lead and guide us successfully through the weekend. And we’ll start by sincerely chanting our Friday Chant, which gives us the right attitude for handling the weekend.
 
All together now: ‘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.’
 
Yes my brethren, that’s what we need when the weekend rolls around, a shot of circumspection, so that we don’t run lose like wild animals and lose our God-centred focus.
 
Now there’s one new disaster to contend with, as though we didn’t have enough worldwide. The super typhoon Haiyan apparently hit the Central Philippines this morning, with winds roaring up to 195 miles per hour. Mama Yo! A hundred and ninety five miles an hour!
 
Yuh know the amount of disaster and destruction that can cause mih Friends! There will most likely be plenty loss of lives and lots of physical destruction, so please, I implore us to pray for them in their time of dire need, and also help however else we can, for that’s our sure duty as true believers.
 
Ah Lord eh! There isn’t a day that passes by without some kind of bizarre catastrophe taking place in our world, either natural or man-made. But the good thing my people is that as followers of Christ we don’t have to get too low or too high about whatever happens, for we know that come what may, the Lord is firmly planted in our corner.
 
For as Bruh Paul tells the Philippians in our Bit: ‘I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’
 
Now my brethren, that’s how the Christian ought to be able to live. And I daresay that I have reached a fairly mature point in that respect, because I’ve been around long enough – don’t read or think old – (smile) and have gone through enough ups and downs to appreciate both the rough times and the good ones.
 
As a lot of things in Christianity, it’s a learned behaviour; one you can only truly acquire through experience. And the one thing I have going for me in that regard is that though I like nice, expensive things, it doesn’t rile my soul if I don’t get them. I’ve been dirt poor and I’ve also hung out with some wealthy folks, but truthfully, I don’t like either end of the spectrum.
 
I have to thank the Lord that I’ve never been a greedy, ‘gravalicious’, ‘wanty-wanty’ person. My feet have always been firmly planted on solid ground, and at this stage of my life, I’ve done some of all that the Lord’s put in my heart, though not to the extent that I would have liked. But I’m a prisoner of hope, Glory Hallelujah! And I am still waiting patiently for Him to fulfill those desires to a greater degree. 
 
But Friends, I know the glitzy, glamorous things of the world, the lifestyles of the rich and famous are causing havoc in many believer’s lives today because they want to be able to live the same way. But as I keep saying, we don’t know what they’ve done to get what they have, they’ve most likely sold their soul to Beelzebub.
 
Now that’s something you surely don’t want to do. Unfortunately though, many of us are indeed doing it. We need to stand strong though and resist that temptation. Granted, none of us want to be poor, but being rich also has its inherent problems.
 
Oh I know you’re going to say, I’ll take the rich problems rather than the poor ones. But please remember that our God doesn’t judge us by our possessions or outwards actions, but by the motives of our hearts. So all the possessions and good deeds don’t mean a thing if you’ve sold your soul to Lucifer. 
 
For as Jesus asked of His disciples: ‘For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ (Matt.16:26)
 
Now that my Friends, is a question each individual has to answer for him or herself. But I just want to let you know that the correct answer to that is, NOTHING OF THE WORLD should be able to purchase our souls!
 
In fact they’re not for sale, because Jesus has already bought and paid for them with His selfless sacrifice upon that old rugged cross at Calvary some two thousand years ago!
 
And all God’s people shouted a most grateful, ‘Praise the Lord for His wonderful goodness to the undeserving children of men!’ And that’s as it should be my people!
 
We’ll end here for today, because it’s already long and I don’t want to tire us out by having to read too much heavy stuff. (smile) So we’ll continue this message tomorrow, obviously if the Lord’s in favour.
 
Till then, please let’s go safely, constantly walking and talking with God, so that He’ll bless and keep us and cause His wonderful countenance to shine upon us with peace, wisdom and LOVE! Much LOVE!
 
…it’s not easy…but Christians must learn to be satisfied…contented in whatever state or stage they’re currently at…because that’s exactly where the Father wants us…at that particular time…