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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 September 2013 John 3:27

John 3:27.  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
 
Oh mih Friends, it’s another day in the life! And I know that many of us live the same bland, same old, uneventful lives from day to day, but if we truly believe in Almighty God, then though the events might seem the same – home, work, home – the spiritual undercurrent and happenings will definitely be different. Everyday we’ll be faced with different spiritual challenges.
 
And getting logical, (smile) how can each day be truly be the same eh, when we’re getting new mercies, blessings, forgiveness and opportunities from heaven above? Our God is so wonderful that He threads the needle of each day with a different colour thread, so that our lives will all seem to be beautiful reflections of His rainbow. (smile)
 
And to add some encouragement to all of that, because that’s what we try to do here at the Bit, here is this interesting quote. I might have shared it before, but if I did, it’s certainly worthy of sharing again. It comes from the German writer, Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825).
 
It says: ‘Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm. When a storm approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet smelling flower.’
 
Ah mih people, those are certainly wise and encouraging words, but not always easy to live by in this mish-mash world. But whoever said that living on this ungodly earth was meant to be easy eh? We’ll all endure times of storm and times of peace and calm, we just have to hope and pray that the latter will greatly outweigh the former.
 
And regardless of what comes against us, we can only face it as a sweet smelling flower with the help of Jehovah God!
 
And with that indisputable fact, we’ll segue smoothly into our new Bit. ‘John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.’
 
Now Friends, that is the truth of all truths! And we’ll prove it with some scriptures in a minute. But first let’s get some background on the subject.
 
John gave that answer to his disciples when they came and told him: ‘Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.’ (John 3:26)
 
Then after our Bit, John continued: ‘Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.’ (John 3:28-30)
 
John’s ministry and that of Jesus ran concurrently for a short period. And as Jesus’ was increasing, John’s was decreasing. This however didn’t bother John, because He knew that was God’s plan. John’s ministry didn’t really end until he was imprisoned and then beheaded.
 
And with that bit of background, let’s check out some supporting scriptures, beginning with Bruh Paul’s exhortation to the church at Rome, re the service of LOVE to all.
 
‘So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one (individually) members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
 
Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity (liberality); he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.’ (Rom.12:5-8)
 
Yes mih breddren, we have all been endowed with different gifts for different purposes, but they all come from the same source, the same eternal fountainhead; the Most High God, He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! And we are all supposed to use those gifts, whatever they may be, in doing God’s holy will; being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, not hiding our lights or abusing and abandoning God’s gifts.
 
And as Bruh Paul continues to the Roman church: ‘Let LOVE be without dissimulation (hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil; cleave (cling) to that which is good.’ (Rom.12:9)
 
Now that, my people, is the greatest thing a believer can ever do!
 
And as the scholars advise: ‘The Christian’s conduct in the local church toward fellow believers is to be a volitional caring for others, (exercised through one’s will), LOVING faithfully in spite of the response received. The LOVE is to be genuine and unfeigned.’
 
Unfortunately though, that doesn’t happen in our churches today as much as it ought to. Some of the bitterest fights and most hypocritical actions are currently consuming our churches, that’s why the body of Christ is so divided, disjointed and much weaker than it should be.
 
And since I’m so concerned about our short attention span, (smile) we’ll end with one more scripture. Don’t want you all to blame the length of the Bit for your not reading it. Hn, hn! But we all know that’s one of our favourite complaints today for anything that takes a few minutes to comprehend.
 
And this last scripture is from Bruh Paul to the Corinthians, trying to make them understand that Christians ought to be co-workers, not simply individual labourers. Remember there was some confusion as to whom the Corinthians should follow, Bruh Paul or Apollos?
 
Well he straightaway tells them: ‘Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.’ (1 Cor.3:5-7)
 
And on that note of gospel truth, my Friends, we’ll close today. Let’s hope that the words we’ve read will reach deep down into our hearts, minds and souls and take root, and thus make a sincere difference to the way we treat each other, especially those of the Christian faith, for it’s all about togetherness and LOVE.
 
Much LOVE, my fellow believers!
 
…LOVE is the strong cord that’s supposed to bind Christ’s body together…