Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 December 2019 Luke 1:46.

Luke 1:46.    ​My soul doth magnify (exalt) the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
 

Ah friends, it seems like one of those days where the ole fella is somewhat under the weather! And when your first job is to dress up in winter fashion and go outside to put the recycling bin on the curb, that certainly doesn’t endear the cold, dark and dreary morning to your tired and aching soul! (smile) And a couple of errant snowflakes floating down from on high doesn’t help maters either. But thankfully, we have the Supreme Being called Jesus Christ in our corner, so we don’t really have to worry about the weather or the state of our physical bodies, because He will brighten our spirits and our lives if we just ask Him sincerely! 

Give Him much thanks and praise yes mih people, because I don’t know what we’d do without Him nuh! Especially on a cold, dreary morning when my mind is in the dumps and I don’t know what to write about… And how about that? By the time I could finish the thought of not knowing what to write about, I received an amazing direction: ‘Write about faith; in particular, Mary’s faith, when the Holy Ghost told her about having an incarnate birth, having a child without knowing a man.’ So how can I not LOVE and revere the Lord’s faithfulness eh? 

So we all know that Mary didn’t quibble or quiver when she heard the news which would have caused a million problems in her life. But once Gabriel explained the situation, and told her that with God nothing shall be impossible, she bowed to the Lord’s wishes. ‘And Mary said, behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) And you’d notice the awesome difference in standards of faith when you check out Zechariah’s response to Gabriel’s message re, he’d be the father of John the Baptist. 

He was in the temple burning incense as was his priestly duty. ‘And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zechariah saw him, (the angel of the Lord) he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not Zechariah: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 

And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord his God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ (Luke 1:11-17) 

Yes precious people, Zechariah was also informed of the good news of the upcoming birth in his family, and one would think that as an older, wiser and more worldly person than Mary, as well as a priest in God’s universe, his faith would have been at a higher level than hers. 

But listen to his response. ‘And Zechariah said unto the angel, whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken (advanced) in years. And the angel answering, said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak to thee these glad tidings (this good news). And behold, thou shalt be dumb (mute), and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season (own time)’ (Luke 1:18-20) 

So Zechariah remained dumb until John’s birth. Meanwhile Mary, his wife’s cousin, who later came to visit and got such a great reception from his wife and unborn son (Luke 1:39-45) that her spirit was filled with such joyful faith that she could declare: ‘My soul doth magnify (exalt) the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate (lowly state) of his handmaiden (maidservant): for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 

And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats (thrones), and exalted them of low degree (the lowly). He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen (helped) his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.’ (Luke 1: 46-55) 

Wow mih people! Imagine a teen aged girl from a backwater town called Nazareth emoting so magnificently on the Lord’s behalf nuh! Today we call her speech’ The Magnificat!’ But that’s what happens when you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, regardless of your colour, class, creed, race, gender or age! (smile) So since we all now have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, let’s do as Bruh Paul said to the Ephesians nuh. ‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.’ (Eph. 5:18) 

Yes friends, as the scholars say: ‘5:18. The words ‘be filled’ here mean “be continually filled,” emphasizing that the fullness of the Spirit is a repeated experience for believers. A person filled with wine is under its influence, but God desires that the minds of Christians be controlled by the Holy Spirit so that they will walk in the Spirit, speak on behalf of God, and understand the things of God. Because people are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at salvation, they do not need to get more of the Holy Spirit, but the filling of the Holy Spirit occurs when the Holy Spirit gets more of the believer.’ Amen, to that my people! 

And for those of us sincerely and consistently endeavouring to allow the Holy Spirit more of us, let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know in no uncertain terms who and whose we are! All together 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!’ So let’s go out now and do just that nuh; trust Jesus and share his awesome LOVE! Much LOVE!

…to be filled with the Spirit…one must allow Him…to control one’s…thoughts, attitudes and actions…

P.S. I have to chuckle at how much I eventually wrote, when I didn’t know what to write. But that’s the Lord’s Holy Spirit for you! (smile) Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 October 2019 Psalm 119:116.

Psalm 119:116.   Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

 

And yes friends, we’ve been granted life and breath to see another day on God’s great earth! What a joy and a pleasure, that’s why we ought to give great thanks and enjoy it! And we’re doing just that today in Canada on our official Thanksgiving Day; giving lots of thanks for the numerous blessings we enjoy up there in that wonderful country and enjoying the fruits of our labour as the Lord would have us do. Sorry I’m not up there to share it with you my Canadian Scrip-Bit family, but I’m down in J.A. giving plenty thanks too, especially for the sunshine and warm weather, (smile) although some rain fell earlier this morning.

Oh, yes, today is also Monday, that means the start of a new work week for most people, except we Canadians, (smile) who mostly have the day off to give thanks and praise and celebrate. But just remember Granny’s warning: drunk or sober mind yuh business, and don’t give the devil an opportunity to get into yuh business, because yuh know how he destructive and deceitful, and just wants to muck up our lives and get us off the path of righteousness as set by Jesus.

Now I believe it’s just a holiday in Canada, which means lots of others still have to go to work, and many might just be jealous of us having the day off, so their spirits are low, (smile) but we’re here to assure them of our encouragement with that wonder-working prayer we call our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, which is designed to get us up and moving. So let’s declare it together now nuh, let’s call upon our mighty and magnanimous God for His awesome help, wonderful grace and mercy, which enable us to do His work.

All together now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. 

We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Oh mih people, don’t you just LOVE how those sincere words of prayer automatically raises our spirits and strengthens our entrails, causing us to get the gumption to go out and do Jesus’ work! That’s the endearing work of the Holy Spirit that indwells us for that very purpose! Give our wonderful God some thanks for the way He looks after us, how He has provided for our every need! 

And that’s what some of us, the Graduating Class of 1969, have been doing for the last few days; giving thanks and praise, reminiscing, fellowshipping, partying, and making new memories to add to the old ones we made some fifty years ago on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, that august institution that spawned so many leaders in so many fields all around the world! 

Sadly, that good time is now over, it ended yesterday with a church service and a brunch in Mary Seacole Hall of Residence for some of us, but some of the medical fraternity continued it up in the hills above Kingston by one of their colleagues. The Saturday night events were good too. It reminded the Economic Students especially, of the wonderful days in the Students Union where the parties happened back then. And the old tunes brought back vivid memories of those fun-filled times. And I LOVED the D.J because whatever old tune you asked for, he just dialled it up, and the music never stopped…

Oh by the way, we had the famed Jamaican musician Boris Gardiner with us that evening, and he crooned a few of his old hits, which we also  danced to – especially the rent-a tile ones. (smile) And I’m reaping the consequences of so much partying because my ole hip is aching like crazy. (smile) But it was worth it! All in all it was a most entertaining and worthwhile time; the camaraderie and togetherness were exceptional…just hope we can do it another fifty years from now. (smile) 

That brings us to today’s scripture taken from the great Psalm 119. ‘Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. Hold thou me up (uphold me), and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto (observe) thy statutes continually.’ (Ps.119:116-117) Ah friends, without the Lord’s mighty hands holding us up and looking after us, we’d be lost, adrift in this evil and ungodly world, merely playthings for the evil one! 

No wonder Bruh David, in Psalm 25, his prayer for guidance and protection, sincerely cried out: ‘O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies’ triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait (in faith) on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress (deal treacherously) without cause. Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.’ (Ps.25:3-5) 

Oh people, with sincere words like those reaching up to heaven, yuh think the Lord would ever turn them down? NEVER! Because that’s how He wants us to be; ever trusting and faithful to Him and His Word! And furthermore, no one who believes in the Most High God shall be ashamed of or disappointed in that trust and belief and hope. 

Hear Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘And hope maketh not ashamed (does not disappoint); because the LOVE of God is shed abroad (has been poured out) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were without strength, in due time (at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly.’ (Rom.5:5-6) Oh friends, what more can we ask or expect eh? Nothing really, because everything has already been provided for us by our wonderful heavenly Father! Give Him much thanks and praise for His grace and mercy to the ungrateful children of men! Much LOVE!

…there’s nothing in this world…as satisfying…as gratifying…as giving thanks and praise to our Creator…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 December 2018 Luke 1:34.

Luke 1:34.   Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man (I am a virgin)?
 
So it’s a tad wet, and cloudy and still a li’l snowy from yesterday…so what? What’s the big deal eh? It’s Friday, that’s all we’re concerned about! And Friday in the Christmas season to boot! That means plenty shopping, baking, cooking, singing Christmas songs, plenty lights on trees and all over the place, hugs and kisses a plenty, plus a whole lot of pleasant greetings like: ‘Merry Christmas!’ and ‘Happy Holidays!’ etc. etc. 

But hopefully friends, underneath all that joyfulness, let’s hope the real reason for Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ surfaces and makes a true difference, not only in outward affection, but also through sincere internal appreciation and true godliness. Amen! 

And there’s nobody singing louder and more joyfully than the ordinary workingman! He’s been on his soapbox from the beginning! ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday in the Christmastime! Blow me down! Christmas is just around the corner! And I don’t care about the shopping and the gifts nuh…cause I have no money to buy any! But who want to put themselves in debt…let them go right ahead yes! 

Me, I only concerned about the food and drink, and the nice time when we playing music, singing and dancing! I might even go to church for the Christmas…if I sober enough. Hn, hn, hn! But putting all joke aside, Christmas is the best time of the year oui: yuh see all yuh friends and family who you ent see for ages…and yuh nice to even the ones and them yuh doh like! Heh, heh! 

Wish it could be Christmas all year round yes! And this year it going to have plenty holidays too, because Christmas and Boxing Day on a Tuesday and Wednesday. Mama Yo! Ah can’t wait to celebrate them two days off from the massa work nuh, where he have to pay we for not working! He face going to be sour like a lime! But thank God for Fridays, weekends and Christmas time oui!’ 

Ah mih people, the workingman does have a way with words and thoughts yes. But he does have a couple of good points, like we even nice to people we don’t like, and oh…if the atmosphere, not necessarily the festive aspect, but the peace and good tidings could be present in our awful society all year round…what a wonderful world this would be! But I guess that’s just wishful thinking. No reason though why we can’t hope for it and have faith that Jesus one day will provide it. 

 Anyway, let’s sing our weekend song nuh, our Friday Chant. It might not be as colourful and imaginative as the workingman’s but it does suit our Christ-like purposes admirably. As one 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 Christian brethren, we need to remember that even in our joyful times not to go too far out on the limb, to stay within the borders of rationality, so that we don’t open up ourselves to attacks from the enemy; physical, spiritual and emotional, because he’s just waiting like a beast of prey to attack us on any level he can.

But enough of all of that, let’s get back to one of the most wonderful stories ever told; that of the angel Gabriel informing Mary, Jesus’ future mother, of what was going to happen. 

Remember yesterday Gabriel gave her the whole spiel about; ‘she’d found favour with God,’ she’d have a son. ‘His name would be JESUS,’ ‘called the Son of the Highest,’ ‘given the throne of his father David,’ ‘reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’ (Luke 1:30-33) 

Now how would any of us good, strong, mature Christian folk, in these modern times, react to that information eh? Either by laughing or being scared to death. But Mary didn’t even bat an eyelid. She merely asked a simple but very practical question to all that info: Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man (I am a virgin)?’  

Yeh friends, a very sensible and mature answer and question from a teenage girl in a backwater town in very ancient times! How could she get pregnant and bear a child without knowing a man eh? And though her faith seemed strong, she obviously hadn’t expected to be dealing with the Creator of the universe. 

And in like fashion, the angel Gabriel gave Mary a simple and straightforward answer to her million…no billion-dollar question. That’s how expensive and controversial the situation would have been back then. 

‘And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (one) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin (relative) Elisabeth (John the Baptist’s mother), she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ (Luke 1:35-37) 

Now friends, a lot of us spout that line, but how many of us really believe it and try to action it eh? Not very many! But hear Mary’s response to the whole contrary, mixed up situation: ‘And Mary said, Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) 

Now that’s why I LOVE Mary! After Jesus, she’s my most favourite character in the Good Book. From the get go she was mature and faithful about the very preposterous situation. She didn’t hem and haw like so many of us would have done…even those of supposedly great faith. Even knowing the horrific situation those things would cause in her life, she said bring it on without a fuss. 

Oh my people, my people, I sure hope we can use Mary as a shining example when the Lord calls us to do something that seems difficult and overwhelming. Remember He NEVER gives us more than we can bear, and ALWAYS helps us to complete the task. So there’s no need to be afraid or worried whenever He calls! Much LOVE!

…when the Lord says jump…it’s best to say…how high Lord…the very first time…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 July 2018 Lamentations 3:24.

Lamentations 3:24.   The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him.

Oh yes mih people, it’s a hot and humid Monday…but that’s no excuse to have the Monday summertime blues! Definitely not! Just think ahead for a moment; just think how we’ll be dying for, just begging the Lord for this same kind of weather in the next few months nuh, when the cold descends upon us with a determined vengeance. (smile) 

So please, let’s get with the programme nuh, let’s enjoy the time, enjoy each and every minute we’ve been granted down here on earth in this crazy summertime of 2018. Instead, let’s emphatically and joyfully declare like the psalmist did so long ago: ‘This is the day the Lord has made we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ 

Wow mih breddren! That’s the kind of attitude and approach our gracious and merciful God wants to hear us adopt. But just in case you can’t chase away those Monday summertime blues all on your own, then let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, the true antidote for just such an ailment. 

As loud and as enthusiastically as we can now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

And do words of sincere prayer ever raise the adrenaline levels in our souls my people! There is nothing else like, or as effective as it, in this whole wide world. No wonder Cousin Jerry, despite all his ‘sufferation’ could confidently declare in our Bit: ‘The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him.’  

And the psalmist Asaph concurs with Jerry, as he confidently proclaims: ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength (rock) of my heart, and my portion for ever.’ (Ps.73:25-26) 

Oh my fellow believers, are we able to declare those kinds of statements as emphatically as Asaph? I certainly hope so. But if we can’t just yet, then it’s something we should be working very diligently towards. As I read those words it reminded me of Horatio Spafford, the fellow who wrote our yesterday hymn, ‘It is well with my soul.’ 

He had to have had that kind of and level of faith to be able to pen those immortal and poignant words after experiencing so much tragedy in his life. And the writer of Psalm 119 puts it this way. ‘Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words. I entreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.’ (Ps.119:57-58) 

Of course our great, wonderful and magnanimous God will be merciful to us if we sincerely offer our whole heart to Him, for that’s what He’s all about: magnanimity and mercy! But we have to give Him our all, not just a part that we figure we can’t handle. 

And Cousin Jerry puts it thus earlier on. ‘The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former (maker) of all things; and Israel is the rod (tribe) of his inheritance: The Lord of hosts is his name.’ (Jer.10:16) 

Glory be my fellow believers! And through the auspices and sacrifices of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ we have been made a member of God’s tribe, we also are a part of His inheritance! What a blessed inheritance! Please, let’s make the most of it nuh, don’t throw it away and waste Jesus’ awesome sacrifice on our behalf. 

And we’ll close with these immortal and oh so encouraging words of the psalmist Asaph. ‘But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.’ (Ps.73:28) That’s wisdom of everlasting proportions my brethren! Please, I implore us to seriously embrace it. Much LOVE!

…wisdom and logic both dictate…that drawing close to our Maker…is our raison d’etre…the reason for our very existence…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 December 2017 Luke 1:37.

Luke 1:37.     For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And then it was Christmas Eve! Yeh friends, Christmas Eve, the day before Christ’s birth, aren’t you excited? (smile) We should be my people, because it’s around this time two thousand years ago we received the greatest gift ever. The Son of God was born so that He could save sinful man, whom His heavenly Father LOVED with such a great LOVE that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son, so that His human creation could be saved from hell fire and damnation. 

Glory to our Most High God my brethren, for there is no other Deity who would have ever dreamed of doing something like that! So my fellow believers, on this Christmas Eve Sunday, as we gather in God’s sanctuary to praise and worship Him, to give Him thanks and exalt His holy name and receive His mercy, grace, forgiveness, strength and confidence to face the upcoming week, let’s show our sincere gratitude and overwhelming LOVE by singing our hearts out with unspeakable joy and supreme gladness. 

And the song we’re going to offer up in our sacrifice of praise is the old but ever true and much liked standard, ‘O Holy Night.’ Apparently it was originally written in French, but was later translated to English, and has the distinction of being the first Christmas Carol to ever be played on the radio in 1906. So with sincere feeling now, as we raise our voices to high heaven. 

‘O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine! Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here came the wise men from Orient land. 

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our Friend! He knows our need; to our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King; before Him lowly bend! Behold your King; before Him lowly bend! Truly He taught us to LOVE one another; His law is LOVE and His Gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His Name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy Name! His power and glory evermore proclaim! His power and glory evermore proclaim!’ 

Oh friends, what beautiful sentiments, filled with eternal truths, while offering loads of assurance for the believer. I sincerely hope that tears of joy were flowing down all our faces as we sang those exquisite words. For how could it be otherwise eh, when we’re celebrating such a joyful occasion? And friends, the whole story of Christ’s birth is so incredible, that only a superior being could have worked it out so efficiently and competently and dramatically. 

That takes us to our Bit:  ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ Those were the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, Christ’s mother, after he informed her that she would bare God’s Son through the auspices of the Holy Spirit, and that her hitherto barren cousin Elisabeth, in her old age, was also pregnant.  And what I LOVE about Mary is that despite her young age, throughout Gabriel’s information session she never got riled or overly excited. Of course she was somewhat concerned and confused as Gabriel appeared out of the blue and began to lay such weighty matters on her. Her only real question was how was she going to get pregnant without knowing a man? 

And once Gabriel explained, she was fine. ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (One) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’ (Luke 1:35) I must say that Mary was pretty mature for her age and background. If an angel suddenly appeared now and told that a teenager, she’d either run away screaming in fright, or hurl vicious and angry words at the messenger. But Mary’s response at the end of the conversation was simply: ‘Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) 

Ah friends, I’m not sure that Mary would have been so relaxed if she had known the immense heartache she would have to face by being the mother of the Son of God. But nonetheless she held up under all the stress and strain of her position fairly well. Obviously the Lord gave her the wherewithal to stand strong and face the adversity, as He does with us all, when He gives us a job to do. 

So fellow believers, on this Christmas Eve Sunday of 2017, with our world in a complete mess, let’s try and spend some serious time contemplating the mystery and the miracle of Christ’s birth, and how it affects our lives today nuh.  And consequently, what we need to do to improve our lives and the lives of those around us, because if we are to be true followers of Jesus, and for His birth, death and resurrection to truly mean something, then we should always be in the process of becoming more Christ-like and setting a good Christian example to others. That’s Christ’s desire and our bounden duty. Much LOVE!

…ALL things are possible with God…you just have to study Christ’s life to see it…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 November 2016 Proverbs 13:12.

Proverbs 13:12.    Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Ah friends, after much unseasonable temperatures and many bright, sun shiny days, we might finally be getting our first taste of Mother Winter this weekend. The temperature is supposed to dip to just above zero on Sunday, and possibly provide flurries on that day and Monday. I sure am not looking forward to it. Wish I could be in sweet Tobago, going up Calder Hall to get some of Brother Kirby’s fine tasting and nutritious soup this Saturday morning. (smile) 

But you know the human animal is a strange being; we know that the winter weather will soon be here, and we’re supposed to be preparing for it, but when it does come, it seems to take us by surprise and throw us off guard, especially after such beautiful fall weather. Anyway there’s not much we can do, but just grin and bear it as best we can. 

But with that in mind let’s turn to our friend Anselm’s quotes, aimed at inspiring us for a better tomorrow. And today we have three, because they are all short. The first says: ‘A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.’ And that’s glorious advice!  

It reminds us of a quote from Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the U.S, which declares: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” 

Yes friends, persistence is the number one attribute that will help us when all else fails. Then Anselm tells us: ‘Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.’ More wonderful advice! Because we need to be active, to hold something dear and have something to look forward to that will make it all worthwhile. Those are the things that make us come alive and cause us to keep on keeping on. 

My favourite quote today though, is this last one: ‘Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.’ And that’s gospel truth friends! For with hope one can imagine anything and do anything. With it, we can be giants in a fallen world, but without it, we become wimps and wallow in self-pity. 

Consequently, our Bit for today deals with hope; Cousin Sol’s wise words on the subject. ‘Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.’ 

And the scholars explain it thus: ‘13:12. Hope deferred depresses, but its fulfillment revitalizes.’ 

Ah mih people, hope is the emotion that galvanizes us into action! All the other emotions are wonderful, but if they are not accompanied by hope, then they will most likely not be acted upon. For without hope, we become listless and without a sense of purpose, just sort of drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweed, wherever the wind might blow it. 

However my brethren, it’s also very important where and in what direction we focus our hope. And we have a good example of what Cousin Sol is talking about in Psalm 42 – An intense longing for God. The sons of Korah write: ‘Why art thou cast (bowed) down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance (presence).’ (Ps.42:5) 

Yes friends, when there is no hope in our souls, our fire goes out, and the best place to channel our hope is in Almighty God! There is no doubt about that! 

Listen to Jeremiah. ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see (fear) when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful (anxious) in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.’ (Jer.17:7-8) 

Aye mih breddren, yuh see what happens when we channel our hope in the Lord God Jehovah? No fear, no anxiety, just prosperity regardless of the circumstances! Now why would I want to place my hope in anything or anyone else eh? No way, Jose! 

And I just LOVE this verse of scripture from Zechariah. ‘Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render (restore) double unto thee.’ (Zech.9:12) That phrase ‘prisoners of hope,’ just raises my spiritual temperature! (smile) Oh friends, how I wish that we could all be ‘prisoners of hope,’ so that we could be more active and successful in Christ’s work. 

This verse from Psalm 119 is also a moving scripture. The psalmist petitions the Lord: ‘Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.’ (Ps.119:116) Oh precious people, our wonderful God will NEVER let us be ashamed of the hope we place in Him! Please, let’s write that indelibly in our hearts, minds and souls. 

And we’ll end with these brave and wise words of Bruh David from Psalm 31 – In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust.  He solemnly and confidently declares: ‘O LOVE the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth (fully repays) the proud doer. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.’ (Ps.31:23-24) 

So my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, I implore us to take that wonderful advice of Bruh David to heart today and put it into immediate action, so that our faith in the Lord God Jehovah will flourish and blossom like the bees make honey with the flowers. (smile) 

And let’s remember to keep our friend Scotty in our prayers, be prisoners of hope, that the Lord will restore him to full health, that he can continue doing good work in Jesus’ name. Much LOVE!

…hope is the catalyst that drives all other emotions…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 December 2015 Luke 2:33

Luke 2:33.   And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.

Oh my people, this Sunday morning, the first after Christmas Day is the perfect opportunity for us to sing and ponder this song, sung by several artists. It’s titled ‘Mary Did You Know?’ 

Please sing along with me: ‘Mary did you know that your baby boy Will one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your baby boy Will save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy Has come to make you new? This child that you’ve delivered Will soon deliver you? Mary, did you know that your baby boy Will give sight to a blind man? 

Mary, did you know that your baby boy Will calm a storm with his hand? Did you know that your baby boy Has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little baby You’ve kissed the face of God. 

Oh, Mary did you know   Ooh…  The blind will see, the deaf will hear, The dead will live again The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, The praises of the lamb? Mary did you know that your baby boy Is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your baby boy Will one day rule the nations? Did you know that your Baby Boy Is Heaven’s perfect Lamb? This sleeping child you’re holding Is the great I am?’ 

Oh Friends, I don’t know how many of those things Mary knew, but I am sure she knew that her baby boy was very special, especially from the manner in which He was conceived! Then there were so many signs and wonders along the way, how could she not know that He would indeed be a mover and a shaker. 

As our Bit so pointedly puts it:  ‘And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him. 

Now let’s look at some of the signs and wonders. First off is the manner in which she was apprised of the situation by the sudden appearance of the angel telling her that she had found favour with God and would conceive and bring forth a son to be called JESUS, who would be great and called the Son of the Highest (Most High) and the Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David. And the angel went on to explain how it would all come to pass. (Luke 1:27-38) 

Now if that didn’t give her some indication that something important was going to happen, then I don’t know what would have. And by the way, Mary was no simpleton, so her unhesitating agreement, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word,’ was more a matter of faith, rather than a lack of understanding. 

After that Mary went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who previously considered barren, was then some six months pregnant with John the Baptist. And when she entered Elisabeth’s house and greeted her, John jumped for joy in his mother’s womb. (smile) 

‘And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me (why is it) that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance (fulfillment) of those things which were told her from the Lord.’ (Luke 1:41-45) 

Then Mary declared the awesome words we now call the Magnificat. ‘My soul doth magnify (exalt) the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate (lowly state) of his handmaiden (maid servant): for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.’ (Luke 1:46-48) You can read the rest of it for yourselves my people. It runs up to verse 56. 

And according to the scholars: ‘1:46-56. This passage is called “the Magnificat,” based on the first word of the Latin translation (the Vulgate). It is rich in Old Testament imagery: Jesus’ coming was in fulfillment of Old Testament promises.’  

So even if Mary wasn’t too sure of the situation, once she heard Elisabeth’s pronouncement and spoke the immortal words of the Magnificat, then spending three months with Elisabeth, she must have been aware that an event of great importance was going to take place in her life. 

I am sure too that Mary was quite relieved when most likely, she very anxiously told Joseph about her situation, because the consequences of adultery or fornication were great in those days, even leading to the stoning of the woman. 

But the Good Book tells us: ‘Then Joseph, her husband, being a just (upright) man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily (secretly). 

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.’ (Matt.1:19-21)  

Now all of that was done to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy re the virgin birth of a child called Immanuel, God with us. (Is.7:14, 9:6) 

‘Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife. And knew her not (kept her a virgin) till she brought forth her first-born: and he called his name JESUS.’ (Matt.1:24-25) 

And the scholars explain: ‘1:19-20. Because Joseph was a just man, he decided to put her away (divorce her) privately (“privily”). The Jewish betrothal had to be legally broken. Joseph’s merciful attitude gives an insight into his true nature as a man.’ 

Yes friends, it wasn’t an easy row for either Mary or Joseph to hoe with the Saviour of man placed in their laps, but hoe it they did, with strength, wisdom, faith and obviously the Lord’s help. May we go forward on our own row today doing the same thing, of course with Jesus’ help. 

And we’ll continue Mary’s story tomorrow, God willing. Till then may we rest in the peace, comfort, joy and LOVE of our heavenly Father. Much LOVE!

…it’s Sunday…and still the Christmas season…so please let’s fill the churches with people…giving thanks and praise to God…as we ought to…