Today’s Scrip-Bit   29 July 2022   1 Corinthains 13:11.

1 Corinthians 13:11.      When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

Well, it’s here at last…so let’s shout it out nuh: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday and the long Caribana weekend has begun!’ And this evening I’m going to attend the only function on the calendar that I do nowadays, that’s the Steelband competition. Yes friends, that’s what it’s finally come down to. (smile) As they so truthfully say, after one time is two. But the fact of the matter is that the ole fella can no longer handle the long walking and the pushing and shoving of the young people. 

In my time, we knew how to party, but these days that wisdom seems to have gone by the bye. And the costumes and music are not as nice as before. Like life, and so many other things nowadays, the standards have fallen and it all seems watered down now… at least in my opinion. (smile) So, since I can’t handle it physically and emotionally, I just keep myself to myself, and only check out the pan competition which is always a blast; you see people you haven’t seen in ages, plus you make new friends, and don’t forget the numerous arguments and controversies, especially over the judges’ decisions at the end. 

If you’ve ever been to a Steelband competition, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. (smile) And strangely enough, I find that one occasion satisfies my Caribana weekend. Once upon a time, if I didn’t get down to the Saturday parade early, I’d be rather unmannerly to those who kept me back. My family could certainly tell you about that. (smile) But thankfully, along with age comes that very important thing called reason. That reminds me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians that says it so wisely. ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ (1 Cor. 13:11) 

Ah friends, that’s exactly what a lot of us need to do in these uncertain, disastrous and turbulent times; give up our childish behaviour and act like the adults we’re supposed to be. We certainly don’t need all the resentment, strife, evil-doing, back-biting and scandalous behaviour that has become so much a part of our current society. And those ungodly actions are not only running rampant in the outside world but unfortunately also in the church of Christ! Obviously, that’s not welcome behaviour in the body of Christ, but who’s going to change it eh? 

Only we, the supposed believers in and followers of Christ can do that. The problem though, is do we really want to change our unchristian ways? Some of us do, but others don’t. So what’s going to happen eh? Christ’s church obviously cannot be allowed to continue being as sinful and ungodly as the world. And the sad part is that a lot of this behaviour comes from the leaders not from the basic congregations. In fact, some leaders consciously promote that behaviour. It’s obvious that they are not obeying the words of Bruh Paul to Timothy: 

‘This is a true saying, If a man desire (aspires to) the office of a bishop (overseer), he desireth a good work (a noble task). A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant (temperate), sober (sober-minded), of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to (able to) teach. Not given to (addicted to) wine, no striker (not violent), not greedy of filthy lucre (for money); but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity (reverence); For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? (1 Tim. 3:1-5) 

Now that’s a very good question? If a man cannot run his own house in a godly manner, how then can he run Christ’s church properly eh? And the scholars tell us this about the Pastoral Office. ‘The pastor, who shepherds’ today’s church, also fulfills the New Testament role of elder and bishop (overseer), and is responsible to God for the spiritual welfare of the church (Acts 20:28). When Christ returns, He will judge and reward these pastors (elders) according to their faithfulness in leading the church to accomplish God’s will (1 Pet. 5:4).’ And I do hope that some of those leading Christ’s flock today would read that and understand it and change from their evil ways. 

But let’s look at some deeper explanations of the duties Bruh Paul associated with a godly leader. ‘Blameless means irreproachable, that is, impeccable in reputation. The husband of one wife, faithful to his wife. Vigilant means temperate. This speaks of spiritual sobriety; not intoxicated or controlled by fleshly passions and sensual appetites. To be sober is to be of sound mind; that is, not of frivolous disposition, but serious and possessing good judgement. Of good behaviour means orderly in life, habits, and work. One who is given to hospitality receives strangers warmly and treats guests generously. 

To be apt to teach is to be skillful in teaching Scripture. Not given to wine means not addicted to wine. No striker means not physically violent. Not greedy means not fond of dishonest gain. Patient means not quarrelsome, peaceable; that is does not argue over minor matters or always seeks to have his own way, but defers to the wishes of others when no cardinal doctrine or policy is sacrificed. Not covetous, literally, “not a lover of money.” His main priority is not the acquisition of money. Materialism ill befits one called above to care for the spiritual welfare of souls.’ 

And that’s the gospel truth! However, unfortunately many of our current leaders do display too many of the ungodly traits described above. Now, it must be stated that a lot is expected of them, and since they are mere men like us, they do have human drawbacks and frailties, and will have occasional lapses in godly behaviour, but the unfortunate truth is that too many of our leaders have poor leadership qualities and are thus leading Christ’s church astray, that’s why it’s in such bad shape today. 

But we cannot put all the blame and responsibility on our leaders, we the congregation also need to take some of it, for both allowing the leaders to do some of the ungodly stuff they do, and also for following them when we full well know that their actions are wrong and totally ungodly. And the only way for the church to get cleaned up is by both congregation and leaders deciding to clean it up. That’s seriously looking at themselves and doing the things they know that ought to be done. This will have to be an internal cleansing, coming to terms with our misdeeds and deciding to change our ways, with God’s help obviously. 

And there’s no better time to start than right now. So, let’s go to God in prayer, through our Friday Chant, laying our cards sincerely before Him. As one voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. 

And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And now that we’ve pleaded for divine help and made promises, let’s go out and keep those promises, otherwise we won’t receive that divine help. It’s as simple as that. Much LOVE!

…promises are not made to be broken…but to be kept with a sincere and honourable heart… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   28 July 2022 Philippians 3:14.

Philippians 3:14.      I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

And then it was Thursday, the penultimate day in our workweek, but around here in the Greater Toronto area, not many people are thinking of work, but of the upcoming Caribana weekend and the Simcoe holiday on Monday. Yes friends, this is T.O’s big weekend, where it’s parties galore and the big street parade on Saturday. Oh, sorry, I believe I called the celebration by the wrong name. It’s now something like Toronto Caribbean Carnival, or some such moniker, because of the legal dispute over the ownership of the ‘Caribana’ name. But call it what they will, it will always be popularly known as ‘Caribana.’ End of story! (smile) 

Now, today we are going to consider an interesting writing from our One Year Book of Bible Promises authored by Ruth Harms Calkin, titled ‘It Takes a Lifetime.’ Please read with me. ‘How I LOVE the words of the apostle Paul. ‘I don’t mean to say…that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 

No, dear brothers and sisters. I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.’ (And it’s noted there that that passage comes from the New Living Translation of Phil. 3:12-14.) 

But then the writing continues: ‘What tremendous encouragement! Paul, who knew Jesus Christ so intimately, whose consuming desire was to please Him, who endured illness, imprisonment, shipwreck, beatings, mockery, and heartache all for the sake of Christ – this very same Paul confessed he hadn’t “arrived.” God was still growing him! I see again, while my conversion took but a moment, my growth takes an entire lifetime. In God’s great wisdom and knowledge He anticipates the finished product while He LOVINGLY takes me through the long, long process.’ 

And is that ever the glorious though difficult truth my fellow believers! It certainly is! Yes, coming to Christ takes but a moment, but becoming like Christ takes an entire lifetime because it is not an easy process. And that is what a lot of us don’t seem to understand. God’s eventual purpose is to make us all over in the image of Christ, as the Good Book says: ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.’ (Rom. 8:29) 

And to be made over into anything at all doesn’t happen overnight, and to be made like Christ…brother! That will obviously take ages! And, as the writing intimates, if Bruh Paul was so closely involved with Christ, knew Him so intimately and still didn’t consider himself ‘arrived,’ then it’s obvious that those of us who are not as intimate still have a long way to go. As Bruh Paul says in 2 Corinthians. ‘But we all, with open (unveiled) face beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed (transformed) into the same image (that of Christ) from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ (2 Cor. 3:18) 

Yes, it’s the Lord’s Spirit that transforms us into Christ’s likeness from glory to glory or step by step, not all at once. And Bruh Paul assures us earlier on in his missive to the Philippians: ‘Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it (complete it) until the day of Jesus Christ.’ (Phil. 1:6) Oh isn’t that wonderful to know my brethren! God will not stop transforming us into the image of His Son, until his Son comes back to take over His kingdom! Glory Hallelujah! 

That’s why these words of Bruh Paul are so important. And we’ll read them in the more powerful King James version. (smile) ‘Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (arrived): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) 

And all of that simply means that he has given up all his earlier accolades, like his great education and position as a powerful Pharisee, in his determined pursuit to know the risen Christ. As he also said earlier on the same letter: ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ….and do count them but dung (rubbish) that I may win Christ.’ (Phil. 3:7-8) So knowing and winning Christ, and the divine prize, that’s ‘the joyful and personal satisfaction of having attained it,’ is all that he was then focused on. 

And it’s all that we should also be focused on, truly knowing Christ should be our life’s goal. So much so that when we come to the end of this earthly stage of life, we can say like Bruh Paul did to Timothy. ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto them also that LOVE his appearing (eagerly await His second coming).’ (2 Tim. 4:7-8) 

Now that’s what we ought to be working towards! And let’s hope that those scriptures we’ve considered this morning will light, or relight the flame in our souls and spirits for Christ, so that we can sincerely put our best foot forward and do His divine bidding with excellence, diligence and a true sense of purpose. And to help us do that, let’s go home now declaring (awright!!!) our Thursday Blessings, which have been so generously bestowed on us to enable us to do our earthly work. 

Altogether now: ‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

And having activated those blessings by declaring (steups!!!) them aloud, we must now go out and generously use them in winning souls for Christ! Much LOVE!

…we can’t sincerely press toward the heavenly prize…unless the flame of Christ burns brightly in us… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 August 2019 Proverbs 3:31-32.

Proverbs 3:31-32.    ​Envy not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the forward (perverse person) is abomination to the Lord: but his secret (secret council) is with the righteous.
 

Well hello there all you partygoers, it’s the big Caribana weekend in T.O.! Yeh it’s the long Civic (local) weekend holiday at the beginning of August that just gets the city moving and a grooving for many people…but not for me. I’ve got to say that Caribana no longer interests me. And if I do anything at all, is just to check out the Pan Competition on a Friday night. 

I think it’s just lost the real West Indian vibe and flavour and it’s no longer a participatory festival but has become a watching show. Plus there’s been so much wrangling and confusion and resentment and legal proceedings over the last few years as to who owns the name and who’s going to run it, etc. etc. that it has soured me on the whole thing. Most important of all though, I can’t handle the long bouts of walking any longer! (smile) 

But people still enjoy it and think it’s a blast. So far be it from me to take a way from their joy. And the ordinary workingman is one of those particularly enthused as he joyfully declares: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday oui! And it’s Caribana weekend too! Yeahhhh! Another long summer weekend! We going to party and celebrate and have a good time! Celebrate the goodness of summer, cause it’s been a decent one so far. 

Wow! The town going to be a mess this weekend with visitors from all over the world, and partying everlasting. I don’t have much need for the big crowds and them, so most likely I won’t go to the parade, unless the children badly want to. But I’m certainly going to participate in the many other sideshows, because this is my town’s biggest weekend of the year! We going to show them how to really party in a big town! Thank God for the long weekends in the summer yes, and particularly this Caribana weekend!’ 

Ah mih friends, I’m sure most of us will agree with those sentiments. It has indeed been a decent summer, and we are very thankful for it, but just remember to be careful in all your celebrations, have an eye out for the tempter, walk with a modicum of circumspection and remember Granny’s advice: ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business!’ 

And I don’t care if yuh tired hearing me say it, you could set up yuh mouth and steups as much as yuh want, because it’s my bounden duty to remind you of it, so you don’t get into too much trouble when the deceitful enemy comes a calling with all his nice enticements and entrapments. (smile) 

And believe me he does step up his game in these times of celebration, where we are most liable to let down our hair and get lazy and complacent. So please be on yuh p’s and q’s this weekend. Now all of the above has just been my rambling, it’s time to see what word the Lord has for us today. Soon come! 

And thankfully, the Lord was right on cue…(smile) Isn’t He a wonderful God? He most certainly is! And His word for us today comes from Cousin Sol’s wisdom: ‘Envy not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the forward (perverse person) is abomination to the Lord: but his secret (secret council) is with the righteous.’ 

Oh, what marvellous words of wisdom and truth my fellow believers! And very appropriate for these evil and ungodly times! The Lord placed it in Cousin Sol’s mind to write it, so it must be true. And if you don’t believe Cousin Sol, then try Bruh David’s immortal words nuh. (smile) 

‘Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed (thou shall feed on His faithfulness). Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgement (justice) as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices (schemes) to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil (as it only causes harm). For evildoers shall be cut off (destroyed): but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.’ (Ps.37:1-9) 

Oh my people, I hadn’t intended to write all of that nuh, but when I read it, I realized that all of it had to be said, because that’s the entire Word of the Lord in short form. It tells us exactly what and whatnot to do: trust, delight, fret not, cease, commit, wait, rest in…! If we only followed that wonderful advice, we’d be such wonderful Christians! (smile) So shall we listen attentively to Bruh David and follow his wonderful, God inspired directions? Of course, as true believers, WE WILL! (smile) 

Now let’s go home chanting our Friday Chant that’s not as outgoing and rambunctious as the workingman’s song, but it meets our needs in Christ beautifully. All together now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

Ah friends, living and working for Jesus is such a wonderful life! Let’s gladly share His story with others as we enjoy this weekend nuh. Much LOVE!

…if yuh not in LOVE with Jesus…then yuh don’t know nothing about LOVE at all…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 August 2017 Proverbs 9:10.

Proverbs 9:10.   The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy (Holy One) is understanding.

Yeh friends, it’s that time again, Monday morning! Time to roll out of that warm, comfortable bed and get a move on! Time to go out and make a million bucks! And please stop the whining, for it’s rough on everybody. Nobody in their right mind wants to get up and go out and face the evil, daunting world that lurks out there, but if we want to eat and pay the mortgage, we don’t have a choice. 

And we Christians are better off than the rest of the world because we have a God and Saviour who will move heaven and earth to help us if we walk obediently in His will. So what’s all the fuss about eh? (smile)  

Now I know it’s not always easy to get going on a Monday morning, that’s why we have our picker-upper; our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. So let’s get with the programme and belt it out as lustily as we can. And I know the Canadian voices will be the loudest and the hoarsest because we don’t work on this Civic Holiday Monday, the last day of the Caribana long weekend. 

As one 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 the Canadians were the most enthusiastic – a no work day does lift one’s spirit – but their voices were also the most gravelly, after all the shouting and partying over the weekend. But for you unfortunate ones, who have to get out into the world and labour today, please keep that adrenaline flowing so you can do a good job for Jesus amongst the enemy. 

And for you Canadians, who still have today to party, please take it easy because you will have to go to work tomorrow  and will be of no use to yourself or anyone else if you don’t heed Granny’s advice: ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business.’ And that my friends, is exceeding wisdom, anytime and anywhere! 

And you truculently ask – What is wisdom eh? Well here is how the reputed wisest man in the world explained it. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy (Holy One) is understanding.’ So if Cousin Sol explains it thus, who am I to say him nay eh? 

That means friends, until we have a proper reverence and awe as pertains to Almighty God, we cannot obtain true wisdom. Of course we can obtain what the world terms wisdom, but that is not true wisdom. True wisdom comes only from and through God. 

James tells it like this: ‘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 anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ (James  1:5-8) 

Yes my brethren, wisdom comes from the Lord, but you must first revere Him, hold Him in proper esteem, and then you must ask for wisdom with faith, not doubting. And what is faith? The author of Hebrews describes it thus: ‘Now faith is the substance (the realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb.11:1)  

In other words you have to believe it before you see it or receive it. That’s how it operates in God’s economy. The world says ‘seeing is believing,’ but God says when you believe, then you’ll see it. 

And why should you desire wisdom? Cousin Sol provides the answer. ‘For by me (wisdom) thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased (years of life will be added to you).’ (Prov.9:11) 

Now that sounds like a pretty good reason to me. Hope it does to you too. But just in case that explanation didn’t satisfy you, (smile) then listen to this earlier one, again from Cousin Sol. 

‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to (place on) thine head an ornament of grace, a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.’ (Prov.4: 7-9) 

I don’t know about all yuh nuh friends, but I taking Cousin Sol advice yes; I seeking wisdom, so I could embrace her and get the ornament of grace, the crown of glory and long life. Yuh see what the Lord gave Cousin Sol when he asked for wisdom and understanding and good judgement to rule Israel? All of that plus wealth and honour. (1 Chr.1:8-12) So he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Much LOVE!

…it all begins with reverence…then comes faith…then comes wisdom…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 July 2014 Psalm 42:1

Psalm 42:1.   As the hart panteth after (the deer longs for) the water brooks, so panteth (longs) my soul after thee, O God.

And then it was Thursday – the day before Friday, the harbinger of the weekend! And this is Toronto’s big weekend in the sun, its weekend to shine brightly as the Caribana celebrations ramp up to the finale, the big parade on Saturday, moving from the Exhibition Stadium grounds out on to and down Lakeshore Boulevard.
 
Oh sorry Friends, officially the celebration is no longer Caribana, but something like Scotia Bank Caribbean Carnival. That’s because in the last few years the original Caribana Committee took the current runners of the festivities to court claiming copyright for the name Caribana, and they won.
 
However, despite all the legal wrangling, it will be forever known as Caribana, to the millions who’ve been involved in it. As they say, what’s in a name eh? A rose by any other name is just as sweet. I guess the same goes for the T.O. festivities. And would you believe that after all the bad blood between the two sides, there is now talk about them joining together. Ah Lord eh!
 
Anyway my brethren, I want to share with you a few words from one of my favourite pastors, Dr. Robert H. Schuller, and this from his Hour of Power Devotional. I don’t think I’ve shared this before, but even if I have, it’s worthwhile hearing it again.
 
He says that we ought to be extraordinary. ‘Choose the best, shun mediocrity. Mediocrity has a way of shrivelling up enthusiasm. But commitment to excellence taps an incredible source of energy. Elect the best, no matter what the price tag.’
 
And that’s gospel truth my people! And electing the best becomes even more important when you are a follower of Jesus Christ, because Jesus requires excellence in all those who choose to come to Him. Without overall excellence in our lives Friends, we’ll never reach the pinnacle, the heights that the Lord has planned for us.
 
And we cannot achieve excellence either without a helping hand from Almighty God. That’s why it’s so important to have that need, that intense longing for Jesus, as our Bit so astutely declares: ‘As the hart panteth after (the deer longs for) the water brooks, so panteth (longs) my soul after thee, O God.’
 
And that, my people, should be the modus operandi, the wish of all true believers! We ought to hunger and thirst after righteousness, as Jesus says in the Beatitudes, (Matt.5:6) so that He can fill us with His LOVE and mercy and guidance, without which we’d be totally lost in this evil, oppressive world.
 
And I just noticed an interesting scholars’ explanation for that Beatitude. ‘5:6. These future possessors of the earth are its presently installed rightful heirs, and even now they hunger and thirst after righteousness. They experience a deep desire for personal righteousness, which in itself is proof of their spiritual rebirth.
 
Those who are poor and empty in their own spiritual poverty recognize the depth of their need, and they hunger and thirst for that which only God can give them. They shall be filled (Gr. chortazo) refers to a complete satisfaction. The psalmist proclaimed: ‘He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” (Ps.107:9)
 
Ah Friends, why in heavens name would we not be hungering and thirsting for Jesus and His righteousness if we claim to believe in Him eh? But the sad fact of the matter is that many of us are doing just that, claiming to believe, but not intensely longing for His righteousness, even though we are spiritually poor.
 
Unwisely, we try to fill up the empty space in us with the things of the world; its false glitz and glamour and earthly riches. But my brethren none of that can ever fully replace, or be better than the riches and the righteousness of heaven. And though some of us know that deep down in our hearts, yet we insist on pushing Jesus aside to embrace the things of the world.
 
Now hear these words from Psalm 84, the rejoicing of a pilgrim to the temple in Jerusalem. ‘How amiable are thy tabernacles (lovely are thy dwellings) O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.
 
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will still be praising thee.   Selah…. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper (stand at the threshold) in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
 
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.’ (Ps.84:1-4, 11-12)
 
Oh Friends, those are the sentiments of an earthly traveller hungering for God’s presence, and until we can all truthfully echo those same sentiments, we are not doing our best, we are not longing for Jesus as intensely as we should, and therefore we will not be as excellent as we ought to be.
 
Again my people, I ask us today to ponder, to consider the condition of our souls, and if there be any lack, any emptiness therein, please turn to Jesus and ask Him to LOVINGLY  fill those empty spaces with His grace, LOVE and mercy, so that we can go out and do excellent things in His holy name. For that is the wisdom that comes from heaven on high! Much LOVE!
 
…I stretch forth my hands unto thee…my soul thirsteth after thee…as a thirsty land…Selah… (Ps.143:6)