Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 November 2018 Ecclesiastes 5:2.

Ecclesiastes 5:2.   Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few.

 

Wow Friends, these Sundays come around so quickly that sometimes you don’t even have time to think! (smile) We just get up and go to church by rote, like robots, without preparing properly for it. And though it’s good to go to the house of the Lord and worship with fellow believers, I believe we should pay careful attention to these words of Cousin Sol writing as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes: 

‘Keep thy foot (walk prudently) when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few.’ (Eccl.5:1-2) 

Yeh friends, we have to be careful when we go to church, not to get too caught up in the moment and make vows and promises we can’t or won’t keep. The scholars offer this explanation on the verses. ‘5:1-7. The emphasis on the passage is on the folly of an empty religious profession before a sovereign God: God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth. God expects sincerity and meaningfulness in worship. He is not impressed with foolish vows.’  

And sadly many of us don’t take worship seriously enough. But please, let’s not do that today. Instead, let’s lose the empty religiosity, and gather together with the sincerity and meaningfulness that our God expects of His faithful followers. And let’s begin by showing it in our song of praise, which today is possibly one of the master hymn writer Charles Wesley’s most popular: ‘LOVE Divine, All LOVES Excelling.’  

As one harmonious and melodious choir, let’s put our hearts and souls into it. ‘LOVE divine, all LOVES excelling, joy of heav’n, to earth come down, fix in us thy humble dwelling; all Thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, thou art all compassion; pure, unbounded LOVE Thou art; visit us with Thy salvation; enter ev’ry trembling heart. Breathe, O breathe Thy LOVING Spirit into ev’ry troubled breast! 

Let us all in Thee inherit; let us find the promised rest. Take away the LOVE of sinning; Alpha and Omega be; end of faith, as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty. Come, Almighty, to deliver; let us all Thy life receive; suddenly return and never, nevermore Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, serve Thee as Thy hosts above, pray and praise Thee without ceasing, glory in Thy perfect LOVE. 

Finish then Thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be. Let us see Thy great salvation perfectly restored in Thee. Changed from glory into glory, till in heav’n we take our place, till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, LOVE, and praise.’ 

What a marvellous hymn my brethren! And we sang it with much fervour and sincerity too! I’m sure heaven was deeply touched! (smile) Now here is a brief explanation of the hymn from Wikipedia: ‘Like many hymns, LOVE DIVINE, is loosely Trinitarian in organization: Christ is invoked in the first stanza as the expression of Divine LOVE; the Holy Spirit in the second stanza as the agent of sanctification; the Father in the third stanza as the source of life; and the Trinity (presumably) in the final stanza as the joint Creator of the New Creation. 

Like many hymns, too, this one is a tissue of Biblical quotations, including “Alpha and Omega” (st.2) as an epithet of Christ, from Revelation 21:6; the casting of crowns before God’s throne (st.4), from Revelation 4:10; the promise that Christians shall be “changed from glory into glory” (st.2 and 4), from 2 Corinthians 3:18; as well as other, more general allusions.’ 

Whew! That’s what you call a brief, in depth, general explanation! (smile) But it all makes sense. Ah friends, today is also the day we celebrate as ‘Remembrance Day,’ in the British system, and ‘Veteran’s Day’ in the U.S. The day we remember all those who died fighting for our freedom and democracy. And believe me many many gave their lives on our behalf. So today we honour them with marches and speeches and memorials and services at their gravesites, etc. 

And this year it’s the 100 Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty that ended the first Great War. But we never learned from it, and unfortunately the celebrations are somewhat tainted, because those who survived all our wars, and the relatives of those who died, are finding it very difficult to get the monetary benefits, housing and medical attention that they deserve. Our governments talk a good talk on days like these, but when it’s time to get down into the trenches, it’s all hypocrisy. 

Just this past week the Canadian Government finally allocated a hundred and something million dollars that should have been paid to the veterans some time ago. And even with that allocation, who knows how long that will take to filter down to those in need. It’s the same poor attitude in the U.S. However, although we don’t treat the vets and their families as well as we should, at least we remember them in our prayers and ceremonies. 

And we’ll close with that ever-popular poem ‘In Flanders Field,’ written in their honour by Lieutenant Colonel John McRae: ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, LOVED and were LOVED, and now we lie In Flanders Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.’ 

Ah friends, so many young men died in those unnecessary wars without having even lived life…But we thank them for their sacrifice and today we remember them, with LOVE and gratitude. Much LOVE!

…besides saying…lest we forget…what about saying…we won’t let it happen again eh…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 October 2016 1 Samuel 30:6b.

1 Samuel 30:6b.    …but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Okay friends, this Sunday morning let’s begin our praise and worship with this joyous hymn, penned by Charles Wesley. It’s one we all know and treasure, so let’s raise our voices to the heavens in harmony and true surrender, believing what we sing. 

All together now: ‘LOVE divine, all LOVES excelling, Joy of heaven to earth come down; Fix in us thy humble dwelling; All thy faithful mercies crown! Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded LOVE Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation; Enter every trembling heart. 

Breathe, O breathe Thy LOVING Spirit, Into every troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit; Let us find that second rest. Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its Beginning, Set our hearts at liberty. Come, Almighty to deliver, Let us all Thy life receive; Suddenly return and never, Never more Thy temples leave. 

Thee we would be always blessing, Serve Thee as Thy hosts above, Pray and praise Thee without ceasing, Glory in Thy perfect love. Finish, then, Thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be. Let us see Thy great salvation  Perfectly restored in Thee; Changed from glory into glory, Till in heaven we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, LOVE and praise.’ 

Ah mih people, what a beautiful hymn! And it resonates with so many practical aspects of our faith, of our everyday lives. For instance it talks about, ‘take away our bent for sinning.’ Now I can’t think of a better desire than that!  Then we sang ‘set our hearts at liberty.’ Oh how good that would be – freedom from the restrictive chains of sin! 

And then we’d truly be a ‘new creation… changed from glory to glory…lost in’ the awesome wonder that’s Jesus, as we serenade and praise Him with true LOVE! 

Oh friends, I guess that’s what you’d call the perfect Christian. Unfortunately though, too many of us don’t even come close to being perfect. For one thing we still speak with forked tongues, and still desire to wallow in the mire of the things of the world, instead of the things of Jesus. 

Remember, we’re just supposed to be in the world, but not a part of it. And that can sometimes get difficult and confusing, but please remember too that our lives are in the best hands that exist – Almighty God’s. And nothing is too hard or too difficult for Him to do on our behalf. 

So when the pressures of life get to us, we feel all alone on a desert island and no human help seems to be forthcoming, it’s Jesus we need to turn to. We need to do as our Bit says: ‘but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’ 

Yes friends, when Bruh David’s people wanted to stone him because their families had been taken captive and their city burnt, he had no alternative but to encourage himself in the Lord, to let his faith rise up and seek God’s strength and wisdom.  

The Good Book tells us: ‘And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.’ (1 Sam.30:8) And so said, so was it done! 

Bruh David pursued the marauding Amalekites with his six hundred men, but along the way, at the brook Besor, he left two hundred behind who were too weak and faint to go on. And as the Lord would have it, they found a young Egyptian slave whom the enemy had left behind because he was sick, and after feeding and reviving him and promising not to slay him, he led them to the Amalekites camp. 

‘And when he (the slave) had brought him (David) down, behold they (the Amalekites) were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. 

And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.’ (1 Sam.30:16-18) 

Yuh see friends what is possible when we totally surrender our lives to the Lord and place our complete trust in Him. If Bruh David had just sat around moaning and groaning like the rest of his men, they might probably have ended up stoning him. But instead, ‘he encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’  And why wouldn’t he eh? He’d be rather foolish not to, after all the wonders and miracles that the Lord had previously done in his life? 

Now that’s where a lot of us fall down my people. When times get real rough, we tend to forget God’s promises and all that He’s already done for us. But that’s the time when we need to remember His many blessings and mercies, so that our faith can be lifted, our trust in Him strengthened, and our circumstances turned around through His wise guidance. 

And I want to close with this example of Bruh David’s godliness and generosity.  After they defeated the Amalekites and returned with all the spoil, the selfish ones who had fought declared that the two hundred, who had remained at the brook of Besor, should only get back their families and none of the spoil. 

But Bruh David overruled them. ‘Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.’(1 Sam.30:23) Then he made it a law from henceforth that all should share in the spoils of war. He also sent some of the spoil back to the people of Judah who had suffered at the hands of the Amalekites. 

And the scholars offer an interesting take on Bruh David’s doings there. ’30:26-31. David’s sharing of the spoils of the victory over the Amalekites not only assured them of his gratitude for their friendship and help during his days of flight from the presence of Saul, but would convince his allies of his loyalty, despite the time spent with Achish (the Philistine king). Moreover, it would prepare their hearts for his soon-coming kingship.’  

Ah friends, that’s what Christianity is all about; integrity, character and sharing the spoils God has blessed you with, especially if you’re a leader! Much LOVE!

…true faith means…never giving up…even under the greatest adversity…because our God is always there to help us…