Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 February 2020 Matthew 7:7.

Matthew 7:7.    ​Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
 

Awright, here we go again, Monday, the first day of the work week. At least I think so, cause I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. (smile) And since we’re a bit on the late side, we hope everybody got to work safe and sound, regardless of flood, fire and storm. (smile) 

Oh I know the Good Lord will protect His saints wherever they are, so I’m not worried, but for the fearful and frustrated few – or should I say many, we still going to offer up our Monday Morning Battle Hymn for help to get us through these troubled and disturbing times. As our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ informed us: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ So let’s ask and knock and see what opens. 

Altogether now in confidence and humility: remember if we want to get good and serious answers, those two attitudes are quite important when we come to the Lord in prayer‘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 my people, yuh feel the blessings? I know you do, because I feel them too! And do I ever LOVE that about out magnificent and magnanimous God; before we’re even finished praying, He begins to work His wonders on and in us! Give Him some thanks and praise my fellow believers, because He’s so wonderful and faithful and so deserving of our praise and worship and exaltation! 

As Bruh David so rightfully proclaimed in Psalm 34: ‘O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.’ (Ps. 34:3) And why would he do that eh? Because as he claims: ‘I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.’ (Ps. 34:4) Yes friends, Bruh David was always seeking the Lord! That’s why, despite his many shortcomings the Lord could still call him His friend and a man after His own heart! 

And so it should be with us; we ought to keep seeking the Lord despite the troubles we encounter and the mistakes we make. The Lord knows our fears, frailties and weaknesses better than us because He made us with them, so He’s not surprised at what we do, but desires us to come to Him in ALL circumstances. That’s the crux of the matter. As Jesus said we must ask if we want to receive. 

And as Bruh David further said: ‘They looked unto him, and were lightened (radiant): and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’ (Ps. 34:5-7) Yuh see people, when we look to the Lord, call on him in humility, confidence and sincerity, we are never ashamed, and our faces are radiant, expressing the joy and LOVE that’s found in Jesus. 

And the asking and knocking and seeking is very prevalent in the New Testament, so let’s look at a few of those scriptures nuh. Hear Jesus after He cursed the fig tree for not having fruit when it ought to: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive it.’ (Matt. 21:22) Then, later He spoke the parable of the widow who kept harassing the wicked judge for justice, indicating that ‘men ought always to pray and not faint (lose heart).’ (Luke 18:1) 

Oh precious people of Christ, it is ever so important that we don’t ever stop praying, regardless of whatever happens! If you’re a believer, then it’s your bounden duty to pray, because sometimes the Lord is just trying to test our faith by not immediately answering our prayer requests. And as James wisely tells us: ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (not doubting). 

For he that wavereth (doubts) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ (James 1:5-8) And those aren’t my words friends, but those of Jesus’ brother James who eventually came to believe that His big brother was who He really claimed to be; the Messiah. 

And John adds his two cents worth: ‘And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.’ (1 John 3:22) Now therein lies the rub my people: we need to live a godly life, if we want to have a successful prayer life. As the scholars tell us: ‘Right living is an important part of successful praying.’ And to add to that, our motives and the things we ask for must be in the Lord’s will, because the Lord looks at the state of our hearts before considering our prayers. 

And what better scripture to close with than this one from Jesus: ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto (for) you.’ (John 15:7) So there you have it my brethren, ask and seek and knock with right motives, with Jesus’ words abiding in our hearts, and we’ll have what we need. Much LOVE!

…Jesus’ words…words to live by…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 February 2020 Micah 6:8.

Micah 6:8.    ​He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to LOVE mercy (LOVING-kindness), and to walk humbly with thy God?
 

Well, well, well, we’ve gotten rid of Monday; overcome its fear and dread, and sent it to the dustbin of history, to cavort uselessly in the detritus of time! (smile) Now it’s time for us to eagerly embrace Tuesday’s purpose, which by the way, was, and is the same as Monday – to do God’s work in a diligent and excellent manner! Yes friends, the days, the months, the years might change, but our job, our earthly function is always to do the will of God, to do His bidding in a joyful, faithful and compassionate manner! 

And all God’s people declared a loud and thankful shout of: ‘Praise the Lord! Bless His holy name, fear and reverence Him forever, for He is indeed worthy to be praised and exalted! Amen!’ 

And my fellow believers (yeah!) you ask, what is the will of God? Well hear it is, in God’s own words. Moses said it on His behalf, like this: ‘And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to LOVE him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes which I command thee this day for thy good (benefit, welfare).’ (Deut.10:12-13) 

And yes it is important to keep the commandments of God and all those other things, but possibly the most important part of Moses speech is the last part – ‘for thy good.’ Yes friends, all we’re asked to do is not because the Lord needs it, but because WE need it! It’s all for OUR benefit, OUR welfare. So if we’re too foolish, or not wise enough to appreciate that fact, then crapaud smoke we pipe! That’s the mistake so many humans have made, and are still making; thinking that we’re doing the Lord a favour when we do His bidding or keep His commandments. 

Steups! Look friends…Let’s wake up and smell the coffee yes! God doesn’t really need anything from us, cause He’s sitting quite comfortably in high heaven on His glorious throne running things, but we need EVERYTHING from Him, starting with His breath of life, His daily provision, compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, LOVE…etc. etc…! Without any of those things, we’re all goners! 

Unfortunately though, we are behaving just like the Israelites did when the Lord admonished them through the prophet Hosea. ‘For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men (like Adam) have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.’ (Hos. 6:6-7) 

And believe me friends, when you transgress the Lord’s covenant, you WILL pay the price eventually. He might forgive us and all that, but please remember that sin and disobedience ALWAYS bear a hefty price tag! Just look at Israel’s first King, Saul. The Lord commanded him to destroy the Amalekites completely. ‘Now go and smite (attack) Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.’ (1 Sam.15:3) 

That means they were to be totally annihilated! But what did Saul do? He saved the king Agag, and the best of the Amalekites animals and worldly possessions. And when Samuel asked why he hadn’t followed the Lord’s instructions to the letter, Saul made excuses, as we always do, blaming the people for taking the plunder to sacrifice to the Lord. Thus Samuel admonished him with words that we all know, but still refuse to follow: 

‘Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken (listen) than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (divination), and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.’ (1 Sam.15:22-23) Yuh see friends, Saul lost his crown because he did not completely obey the Lord. And like Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) likes to say, partial obedience is still rebellion against God. (smile) 

And the scholars tell us: ‘15:22-23. These verses reinforce the Old testament viewpoint that religious ritual devoid of spiritual reality and of a life of total allegiance to a sovereign Lord is worthless (cf. Ps. 40:6-8; Is. 1:10-20; Mic. 6:8).’ What more can I say eh? Except to quote the age old passage from Micah, which is also our Bit for today. ‘He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to LOVE mercy (LOVING-kindness), and to walk humbly with thy God?’ 

Oh my people, those are the basic requirements of our great and awesome, but EVER-LOVING God! Even Jesus referred to the words of Samuel, Hosea and Micah, twice to boot! The first is when the Pharisees complained about Him eating with publicans (tax-collectors) and sinners. ‘But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole (are well) need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ (Matt. 9:12-13) 

And again, when the disciples plucked some corn from the field to eat on the Sabbath and the Pharisees complained that that was not lawful, Jesus, after telling them how Bruh David and his men, when they were terribly hungry, ate bread which was supposed to be for priests only, and how the law shows that on the sabbath the priests in the temple profaned (made common) the sabbath, and yet are blameless. (Matt.12:1-5) 

‘But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have (desire) mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.’ (Matt.12:6-8) Yeh friends, ours is not to just condemn, but rather to show justice and mercy! 

So let’s go home now having writ all of that indelibly in our hearts minds, bodies and souls, declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are. As one, in strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘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!’ 

Mama Mia! What blessed people we are! Now let’s go out and share that wonderful friendship and amazing LOVE of Jesus with the less fortunate nuh, for it’s His heartfelt desire! Much LOVE!

…to be obedient to the Lord…is the believer’s unending pledge…and bounden duty…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 February 2020 Matthew 8:27.

Matthew 8:27.    But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!’
 
And on this first day of February, in the leap year of 2020, some snow did fall in my area, not a whole lot, but enough that we can say snow fell. (smile) Yeh, it looks bad if you’re in winter and there’s not even a touch of the white stuff on the ground. Hn, hn! And I didn’t even know that this was going to be a leap year until recently when I checked out the February calendar and saw 29 days. I had to look again to make sure that I was seeing right. 

Times surely have changed yes! Once upon a time a leap year was a big thing, all sorts of stuff was supposed to happen in one, you’d hear that news all over the place. But now, no one seems to pay much attention to it; nobody’s even mentioned it to me in passing. Don’t even know if the young people nowadays know what’s a leap year, or how it comes about. We have so much bloody information now that it’s hard to choose what to read or listen to, and more importantly, what to believe (yeah!). 

But anyhow it’s Saturday, so let’s take a look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week in his sincere effort of aspiring to inspire us. And this first quote is ever so appropriate because it’s exactly what Anselm is trying to do with us. ‘The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.’ Yeh friends, the Christian’s bounden duty is to try and lift up, encourage, and inspire those around us to come up higher in anything they choose to do. 

Remember the motto of Jesus’ people is ‘diligence and excellence.’ We have to work sincerely at stuff, and do it in an excellent manner, not wishy-washy, like is so common nowadays. Our jobs and lives might be difficult, even unfair, but Jesus still desires a solid and sincere effort from us. For in His dominion, ‘Failure is impossible.’ And that’s an indisputable fact. Jesus doesn’t hold with failure at all. There’s absolutely no giving up in His kingdom! 

As Cousin Sol says in Proverbs: ‘For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief (stumble into calamity).’ (Prov.24:16) And according to the scholars: ‘24:16. The righteous man always recovers, but the wicked man faces permanent destruction.’ Yes friends, if you check out Jesus’ dictionary you won’t find the words ‘failure’ or ‘give up’ in it. Because He’s the Master of Everything; the possible as well as the impossible! 

And if you are a part of His dominion then you need to think like Him and behave like Him, and remember that through Him we can do ALL things, because He strengthens us! Then there’s this next quote; a dandy: ‘A good thing to remember is somebody’s got it a lot worse than you do.’ And is that ever gospel truth my people! We might think we have it rough, but believe me, a lot of other people are usually having it rougher, much rougher than us. 

I remember complaining to my mother when things were rough with us, and she’d tell me, yes, times were tough, but they were a lot of people even worse off than us. In my youthful naivety I couldn’t believe that was possible, but as I went around the neighbourhood with a greater awareness, I was surprised to see many families living  worse off than we were. And now, when you think of the rampant poverty, homelessness and sickness in our Western Society, we complain about how bad it is, but just check out the numerous societies and cultures on the other side of the globe who have it much worse than us, and tell me in which one you’d rather be. 

At least in ours there seems to be some smidgen of hope for better times and conditions, but in many of those others there’s not even a smidgen of hope for anything better. Many were born into abject poverty, sickness and homelessness and will live and die the same way. So when you think you’re having such a bad day, and times are so rough, just think about those other more unfortunate people, and gratefully say, ‘Thank You Lord!’ 

And this last quote succinctly informs us: ‘Anyone can take the wheel of the ship in calm water but it’s not so easy when it’s not calm water. You can’t just enjoy the good times, you have to be resilient in the tough times.’ And that word ‘resilient’ seems to have faded from our vocabulary and lifestyle in these modern days, for the words backbone and belly which make us resilient are non-existent. 

There’s never been as much complaining and whining in our world as there is now, even in the midst of great prosperity! Partly because we have allowed the young generation to grow up in an easy and non-sacrificial manner, no chores before or after school, always getting what they want, so now when real life hits them, they can’t cope with it. They think they are owed an easy life, have an inalienable right to it, because we the parents didn’t raise them right, and God is usually the furthest thing from their minds. 

But friends, it’s only in and through Jesus that we can acquire the parts to stand strong when life comes against us. And one of the best examples of that occurs when Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee and a violent storm arose. The Good Book tells it thus: ‘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) 

Friends, Jesus is the man who made the winds and the seas, that’s why they obey Him! He is also the man who made us in His own image, that’s why we ought also to obey Him! Despite the free will He gave us, it behooves us, it’s the epitome of wisdom to believe and obey Him, because He is the ONLY one who can right the ship, or better yet calm the storms, the raging seas and gusting winds that inevitably confound our lives in this fallen world! Much LOVE!

…I’ll say it again…Jesus is the answer…to EVERYTHING…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 November 2019 Psalm 65:2.

Psalm 65:2.    ​O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
 

Come Monday morning, I’ll be up and about with the rising sun, doing my Lord and Saviour’s work, because I know how important it is. His business of saving the world, of reconciling it to the Father is the most important job we disciples, we ambassadors of Christ have to do. Remember His Great Commission: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:19-20) 

Well that command still stands today friends, so let’s grab the bull by the horns this first day of the new workweek and get busy nuh, fulfill our bounden duty with diligence and excellence. And yes, because of our human nature, some of us do need a li’l push, some encouragement to get up and get going. But we have just the right medicine for your ailment this morning, it’s called our Monday Morning Battle Hymn; a cry to our great God for help in handling our current rough situation. So altogether now, let’s sincerely float this prayer up to heaven, where Christ is waiting in the wings to intercede with the Father for us. 

‘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!’ 

Awright precious people of Christ, yuh feel it working? Yuh feel the power of the Holy Spirit, working in you, causing the adrenaline level to rise and your enthusiasm to soar? That’s God’s answer to our sincere, heartfelt prayer! That tells us that God answers prayer my believing brethren; no doubt about it! And today we’re just going to point out a few scriptures which assure us of that undeniable fact.

And we’ll begin with the Lord’s own words of advice to Cousin Sol when he dedicated the temple. ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.’ (2 Chr.7:14-15) 

And the scholars point out right away. ‘7:14-15. While this promise was originally given to Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith. These verses stand as a high expression of God’s LOVING readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people (cf. 6:37-39; James 4:8-10).’ Yes friends, the first aspect of prayer is coming to God with a sincere and humble heart. Now hear Bruh David from Psalm 65 – God is powerful in nature. ‘O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.’ And judging from Bruh David’s record with God, that is the absolute truth. 

And if you don’t believe Bruh David, then listen to Jesus. ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matt. 7:7-8) The scholars warn though: ‘7:7-10. The three imperatives ask, seek and knock are in the present tense of the original language, suggesting both perseverance and frequent prayer. Fervent and continual prayer is to be made on behalf of those for whom we are concerned. God promises to answer all genuine prayer (v.8). Everything we need for spiritual success has been promised to us. God leaves us no excuse for failure.’ 

There you have it friends, there’s no excuse for not praying! Jesus also reinforced that last statement by later saying: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt.21:22) That introduces another essential element of successful prayer; that of belief. You must believe it before you see it! Then John, in his first epistle writes: ‘And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.’ (1 John 5:14) That introduces another aspect of prayer; our petition must fall within the parameters of God’s will; frivolous, greedy and selfish prayers, most likely won’t be answered. 

And we’ll close with some awesome words from the scholars. ‘Prayer. Both Jesus (Luke 18:1) and Paul (1 Tim. 2:1) emphasized the importance of prayer, noting that people ought always to pray. Prayer includes asking and getting answers from God. But it is more than just asking; it is confession, adoration, thanksgiving, and fellowship with God. By its nature, prayer is talking with God. It is the basis of the successful Christian life, and is so important that not praying is considered a sin (1 Sam. 12:23) 

When we pray, we should follow the model prayer that Jesus gave His disciples and address it to our heavenly Father – beginning with adoration, including thanksgiving and confession of sins, making reconciliation with others, praying for our needs and the needs of others, and concluding in Jesus’ name (Matt. 6:9-15; John 14:14).’ 

Now you can’t truthfully say you didn’t know. (smile) So with all of that solid information under our belts, let’s see if we can’t improve our prayer lives nuh, it will be of great benefit to all mankind!  Much LOVE!

…men ought always to pray…and not to faint… (Luke 18:1)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 October 2019 Luke 17:17.

Luke 17:17.    ​And Jesus answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
Well it’s Sunday once again, but this time we coming to you from the hot and hazy capital of Jamaica, Kingston. Now the ole fella is a li’l bit in doubt here, for it’s shortly after five in the evening, and I can’t make up my mind whether we should have church or not, because there’s a lot of stuff to share with you re my recent activities in this wonderful land. In any case, whatever I decide, I will have to leave you shortly, until whenever I come back from dinner with one of my sisters. 
Oh yes, I have plenty sisters here in J.A; not the biological kind, but the even more important, actual caring and LOVING kind, who enriched my stay in J.A fifty something years ago! And those kinds of people are ever so important in our lives, whether you see them constantly, or once in a blue moon; just knowing that they are there, and they care, adds a whole lot of satisfaction and glow to our souls. Sorry, got to go now, sis is here. (smile) See you soon. 
Back now mih people, shortly after nine my time, but ten, for many of you. Tried mih best to get back sooner, but just couldn’t make it happen, couldn’t do mih sister a Spanish; eat and run. (smile) Then when I walked into the hotel lobby a group of medical people from the same graduating year were sitting there and they coerced me into joining them for about half an hour. And ah sorry, but the way it looks like we not having no church today. But don’t worry, the ole fella went to church this morning, up in the chapel on the university campus. 
To tell the truth, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been in there. I knew about it, but in those days I suspect that I was not as God conscious as I am now. However the service was good, though somewhat long, with plenty praise and worship. The young lady who led us in that was truly excited about leading worship and I believe her enthusiasm flowed over into many of us. The University Chorale sang for us; a truly fine group of singers. 
The service was a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the U.W.I Graduating Class of 1969 and the U.W.I Mona Library Open Week 2019, and the theme of the whole thing was ‘A HEART OF GRATITUDE!’ And as our preacher, Rev. Dr. Henroy Samuels so rightly said in his sermon, the graduates of that class who walked the campus some fifty years ago, looked good and were still healthy because of their heart of gratitude, exemplified by our return to celebrate and give thanks. Those were certainly true words. 
And the scripture was taken from Luke 17, where Jesus healed the ten lepers. The Good Book reports it thus: ‘And it came to pass, as he (Jesus) went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he (Jesus) entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ (Luke 17:11-13) They had to stay afar off because their illness was contagious. 
And as always, Jesus did show them mercy. ‘And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.’ (Luke 17:14) Back in those days, lepers were total outcasts and could only be integrated back into society, if they happened to get cleansed, by showing themselves to the priests and getting their permission. Thus Jesus’ directive for them to go to the priests. Now that’s the good part of the story, but what happens next is the kind of thing we’ve been talking about – a heart of gratitude. 
Hear the Good Book: ‘And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.’ (Luke 17:15-16) Right there we see a major problem. Ten men were healed, apparently nine were Jews and one a Samaritan, the bitter enemies of the Jews. But as life would have it, only the Samaritan returned to give thanks to Jesus and the Father. 
As the minister said this morning, who knows, the Jews who didn’t return and give thanks might have believed that because they were the Chosen People, they were entitled to it. and that’s a major problem in our society today! Too many of us believe we’re entitled to too much, and are not grateful and thankful for what we have. We complain so much about what we don’t have, instead of giving thanks for what we do have. But hear the end of the story: ‘And Jesus answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.’ (Luke 17:17-18) That was a stinging rebuke to His Jewish people. 
According to the scholars: ‘17:18. Stranger literally means “of another race of people”; it therefore refers to a Gentile. The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. This non-Jew, Jesus points out is more spiritually minded than the nine leprous Jews. Yet “strangers” (to cite a use of the word from outside of the Scripture) were forbidden to enter the temple’s inner confines by prominent signs in the temple precincts.’ I guess that might have made it somewhat difficult for the Samaritan to show himself to the priests. (smile) But anyway, good manners and a grateful heart dictated that the other nine should have returned to Jesus and gave Him thanks. 
They were brave and bold enough to beg Him for mercy, but when He showed them that mercy, they couldn’t even come and say a simple ‘Thank You Jesus!’ Unfortunately, that’s the way too many of us also behave today, even supposed believers. Too many of us are not grateful for all the Lord has done, is doing, and has promised to do on our behalf! And that is totally wrong my brethren. Now hear how Jesus ends it. ‘And he said unto to him, (the Samaritan), Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.’ (Luke 17:19) 
And as the scholars say: ‘17:19. All were healed, but only one gives Jesus thanks. His salvation is complete.’ Ah friends, yuh see the great difference some thanks and gratitude made: The Samaritan was granted salvation, while the Jews were still adrift in their ungratefulness. Please, don’t allow that to happen to us nuh. It doesn’t take a whole lot to say, thank you and be grateful. It could certainly make a big difference in our lives, both here on earth, and in heaven too. Much LOVE!
 
…it is our bounden duty…to give thanks and be grateful…for all the Lord’s blessings…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 October 2019 Isaiah 55:11.

Isaiah 55:11.    ​So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void (empty, without fruit), but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

 

Well it’s started out wet and cloudy again in my neck of the woods. But who knows what’s going to happen later – only the great God who created it all and still controls it! So let’s give Him some thanks and praise for our joyful awakening to another faithful and fruitful day in our earthly lives, as we commit to seeking His kingdom and His righteousness. 

So let’s sincerely acclaim: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it! And consequently: ‘As for me and my house, we WILL follow the Lord!’  Now it’s up to us, as true believers to keep those two promises…just like the Lord keeps His. And the promise of God that I want to look at today is that found in His free mercy to all, as prophesied by Isaiah. 

‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. 

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void (empty, without fruit), but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.’(Is.55:8-11) 

Oh friends, the Lord has spelt it out in His usual forthright manner. His thoughts and ways are indeed higher than ours, and His Word will not return empty, but fulfill its purpose! Glory Be! And we all know that He keeps ALLof his promises! And having made that unbreakable promise, the Lord further promises through the mouth of His prophet Isaiah: 

‘For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir (cypress) tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.’ (Is.55:12-13) 

What wonderful promises my fellow saints in Christ! That’s the kind of stuff we have to look forward to, since the Lord has sincerely promised it! And the scholars explain: ‘55:8-13. God’s sovereignty and omniscience are extolled by the statement that His thoughts (i.e., purposes or intentions) and ways (‘derakim’, or directions) are higher than ours. 

While God may certainly be known by men, He is still incomprehensible in the totality of His person and purposes. Therefore He reveals Himself to men by His word, which shall not return to Him void (in vain). The Word of God, therefore, accomplishes His purpose in announcing salvation to all mankind.’ 

And are we ever delighted by that announcement my people! For it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to mankind since the great Creation itself! Wow! Without that promise, and the keeping of that promise, through the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, we’d all be goners! All praise and glory to God the Father, Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Son, and the Holy Spirit, the One who works it all out in us! 

And it’s not the first time He’d promise salvation. Listen to Him from an earlier chapter in Isaiah; re salvation will come only by the Lord. ‘For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it not in vain (empty or a waste), he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain; I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. 

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are (have) escaped of (from) the nations: they have no knowledge that set up (carry about) the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 

Look (turn) unto me, and be ye saved, and all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear (take an oath).’ (Is.45:18-23) 

Ah friends, just like the Lord there was calling His people Israel to assemble from out of the nations of the Gentiles and come to Him for salvation, the same way He is calling us today, we Gentiles, to come to Him through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus Christ for salvation, because it’s ONLY through Him, that salvation is possible and available! Shall we not answer that call my people? It would be wisdom extraordinaire to do so, for the only other option we have, eternal death and hellfire, is not even thinkable! 

And our Lord is so great and generous that He even gave us a multitude of blessings, which we call our Thursday Blessings, to go out and use them to bring others to Him, so they too can receive those awesome things called salvation and eternal life. Let’s declare them now in strong voice and true sincerity: 

‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! 

I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now, with a true sense of purpose, let’s go out and put them to use nuh, for that’s our bounden duty! Much LOVE!

…listen to Jesus…heaven and earth…shall pass away…but my words…shall not pass away… (Matt.24:35)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 September 2019 Psalm 33:1.

Psalm 33:1.    ​Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
 

Well another week has passed my people, and we’re right back at Sunday! Imagine that nuh! And we still alive and going strong, thanks to our wonderful God! And it means that one more time we have to gather in fellowship to give Him thanks and praise for His outstanding mercy and grace this past week, as well as for Him to strengthen our faith, renew our confidence and raise the levels of our joy, so we can do the important work of His salvation ministry in the upcoming week. And all of that is just to say, that today is Sunday, and we ought to find ourselves in church sometime today to celebrate the Lord’s Day with other believers. (smile) 

So without further ado, let’s get our proceedings underway nuh, as usual with a song of praise and worship, exalting the Lord in the highest, just like all the heavenly host constantly do. And today we’re going to sing a contemporary Christian tune by Mat Redman (Matthew James Redman (1974 -) an English Christian worship leader, singer-songwriter and author. And today’s song is his best-known composition, the two-time Grammy Award-winning single, “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”. It’s a wonderful song, with great lyrics and melody, so let’s raise our voices in prayerful, sincere song and let our great God know how much we LOVE and appreciate Him. In rich, sweet and perfect harmony now: 

‘(Chorus) Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul, Worship His Holy name. Sing like never before Oh my soul, I’ll worship Your Holy name.) The sun comes up It’s a new day dawning It’s time to sing Your song again Whatever may pass And whatever lies before me Let me be singing When the evening comes (Chorus) Bless the Lord oh my soul……I’ll worship your holy name) You’re rich in love And You’re slow to anger Your name is great And Your heart is kind For all Your goodness I will keep on singing Ten thousand reasons For my heart to find. (Chorus: Bless the Lord oh my soul…I’ll worship your holy name) 

And on that day When my strength is failing The end draws near And my time has come Still my soul will sing your praise unending Ten thousand years and then forevermore… forevermore. (Chorus: Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul, Worship His Holy name. Sing like never before Oh my soul, I’ll worship Your Holy name. Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before Oh my soul, Jesus, I’ll worship Your Holy name, worship your holy name…worship your holy name.’ 

Oh mih people, such sweet exaltation to Almighty God, that the four beasts that surround the heavenly throne joined us in worship, as well as the elders up there; they fell down before the Lord on His throne, cast their crowns before the throne and lustily sang along with us. (Rev.4:8-10) Wow! Who says that there isn’t spontaneous joy in heaven when the Lord is sincerely praised down here on earth eh? And yuh know the Lord just swallowed up all the praise, because there’s nothing He likes more than praise. And He very well deserves every bit of it too. 

And nobody knew that better than Bruh David and the other psalmists, that’s why they could write praiseful words like: ‘I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever; with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations…Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn (strength) shall be exalted.  For the Lord is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.’ (Ps.89:1,15-18) That’s Ethan the Ezrahite expounding there on God’s sure promises to Bruh David. 

Then you have Bruh David himself declaring, (steups!) in thanksgiving for God’s mercy: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with LOVING-kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ (Ps.103:1-5) 

And if all that isn’t reason enough to thank the Lord and praise and exalt His glorious name, then I really don’t know what is nuh! That’s why we ought to keep doing what the writer of Psalm 33 so wisely advises: ‘Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.’ And is it ever my people! And that’s one of the reasons the Lord created us, to sing His praise and glory! 

As the psalmist continues: ‘Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery(lute) and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise (shout of joy). For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.’ (Ps.33:2-4) Oh friends, what more can I say eh? Except to quote some more of Bruh David’s words for you. (smile) 

‘I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.’ (Ps.34:1-3) 

And that’s exactly what we did this morning friends, magnified the Lord, exalted his name together…and there is joy in heaven…as well as down here on earth! Let’s keep that awesome joy going nuh people, as we continually praise and magnify God’s holy name. That’s our bounden duty! Much LOVE!

…rejoice in the Lord always…and again I say…rejoice… (Phil.4:4)

 


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