Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 April 2020​ 1 Corinthians 15:57.

1 Corinthians 15:57.    ​But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Happy Easter

First there was Christmas – the birth of Christ, the greatest gift ever to mankind; then Good Friday – the savage torture, injustice and horrible crucifixion He endured for the payment of our sins; then today – Easter Sunday, His triumphant resurrection from the dead! Yes friends, today is possibly the most important of those three days, because without Christ’s resurrection our faith would be worthless, since eternal life would have been merely a pie in the sky promise. That’s why it’s ever so important that Jesus won the battle with Satan for the keys to hell, death and the grave and rose victorious. 

Jesus told it thus to John in His Revelation: ‘Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.’ (Rev. 1:17c -18) Oh my bredrin, it couldn’t be any plainer than that! And though we have no corporate fellowship these days because of the lockdown for the Covid-19 virus, it is still such an important occasion in our faith calendar that we must do our best to celebrate it with whatever means are at our disposal. 

And as always, we’ll open with a song of praise and worship, one that is ever so appropriate for this momentous occasion. It’s the old hymn by that magnificent writer, Charles Wesley, titled ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today!’ But before we get into it, listen to this enthusiastic monologue that opens the version of the hymn from the Simple Series Musical ‘Mercy Tree’ available on Youtube. ‘We have gathered to lift up the name of Jesus. We rejoice in His victory over sin and the cross. Our cries of ‘Hosanna! Save us now!’ have been answered. Our Redeemer has conquered death! And because we are certain of that, we have reason to celebrate!’ 

Mama Mia! What awesome truth that is! So, without further ado, let’s celebrate, let’s rejoice in the resurrection of Christ, the redemption of our sins and the sure promise of eternal life! In a rollicking, but soulful and harmonious fashion let’s sing the praises of Christ our wonderful King! ‘Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia! 

LOVE’S redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia! Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia! Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia! Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia! Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia! King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia! Everlasting life is this, Alleluia! Thee to know, Thy pow’r to prove, Alleluia! Thus to sing, and thus to LOVE, Alleluia!’ 

Oh friends, what a magnificent rendition of a magnificent hymn! Wow! And as somebody wrote, every word in it truthfully refers to Christ’s work in the resurrection! And I particularly like two statements therein. The first is ‘LOVE’S redeeming work is done!’ And is it ever! The enormous price of Christ’s life has been paid for our sins for ALL TIME! Now that’s certainly nice to know! And the other statement that captivates me is: ‘Christ has opened paradise.’ And that He surely has done, by giving us the option to believe in Him and spend eternity in His amazing presence. 

Now since all of us know the Resurrection Story itself, with the women coming in the early morning to check on Jesus, finding the tomb empty and two angels telling them that He is risen and gone to Galilee to meet them, and they running to tell the others, and Peter and John coming to check it out, and Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for the gardener until He calls her name, (smile) we won’t get into it, rather we’ll look at some other scriptures that have to do with our own resurrection and how we ought to behave. 

The first thing is Bruh Paul’s advice to Timothy: ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship) as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ (2 Tim. 2:3) Now that’s rather important if we want to set a good example to the unbelievers and create heavenly rewards. And yes, ministry is not an easy task, especially with the enemy constantly trying to spoil our testimony. We must be willing to suffer privation if we want rewards. And I like how Bruh Paul continues later on: ‘It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer (endure), we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. If we believe not (are faithless), yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.’ (2 Tim. 2:11-13) 

Yes friends, it’s all a matter of standing strong and faithful, of growing and maturing; of suffering with and for Christ, if we want to reign with him in eternity. As the scholars explain: ‘2:11-13. The principles of endurance are enumerated on the basis of the assurance of salvation.’  And there’s no better time for us to show true faith and endurance than RIGHT NOW in this scary pandemic situation! 

And to bring it all together, hear these marvellous words of Bruh Paul to the Corinthians. ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave (Hades), where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor. 15:54a-57) Now all of that is gospel truth my people. Death and the grave were defeated. They can’t touch us anymore, because of Christ’s victorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. And we owe it all to the great LOVE that our heavenly Father had, and still has, and will always have for us. 

But in the long run, the crux of the matter is our behaviour, as Bruh Paul said to Timothy above, and as follows to the church at Corinth. ‘Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain (futile) in the Lord.’ (1 Cor. 15:58) Oh my fellow believers, not because we achieved victory through Christ’s sacrificial death we can afford to now sit on our laurels and our fat fannies and do nothing. 

Please note, that the enemy, though he was soundly defeated by Christ, has not turned tail and run home whimpering, but has revamped his army of evil minions and is still out there fighting, trying to recapture his lost territory. That means that we also need to continue working as hard as we can, keep on fighting the good fight, doing what Jesus desires of us; spreading the gospel to all parts of the earth, and thus helping to making disciples of the unbelievers. That’s what Christ’s death, resurrection, redemption and atonement of our sins requires of us. So let’s get to it this Easter Sunday as we celebrate and rejoice over His magnificent victory nuh! Much LOVE! 

…though victorious in battle… a wise army…NEVER lets down it’s guard…or lowers its work ethic…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 December 2019 John 1:14.

John 1:14.    ​And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
 

 

MERRY  CHRISTMAS !

Merry Christmas all you beautiful Scrip-Bit friends and family! We’re rolling out a tad late, due to a small family gathering that began late and continued into the wee hours of the morning. (smile) But the good thing is that we’re rolling out, hale and hearty and giving thanks to our magnificent and magnanimous God who LOVED us so many, that He gave us the greatest gift that He, even as the Almighty Lord of the universe could ever give: His wonderful Son Jesus Christ as the sacrificial Lamb to take away all our sins! 

And all God’s children declared a loud and grateful: ‘Thank You Lord! Thank You ever so much for sending Jesus to us this day so long ago as a babe in swaddling clothes, so that He could grow amongst us to eventually be our Lord and Saviour and Eternal King! We give You everlasting thanks and praise for that gift; the greatest gift this sinful and evil world has ever seen. Lord we LOVE You and praise, glorify and exalt Your holy name!’ 

Mama Mia! The ole fella’s on a roll this Christmas morning mih people! (smile) But even better still, let’s get into the poem for Christmas Day from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings from Ruth Harms Calkin, appropriately titled: ‘ITS CHRISTMAS!’ 

Please pray with me: ‘It’s Christmas! Sing! Rejoice! Celebrate! Let God create in you Colourful explosions Of joy and excitement. Smile away fears, push away tears. Out with pretense, in with praise. It’s Christmas! Open your heart to light To trust, to LOVE, to hope. Awaken slumbering memories Stir up stupendous dreams Anticipate surprises Open your arms wide. 

It’s Christmas! Time for candles and cards For carols and cookies For brightly lit trees With the fragrance of pine. Time to hug and hold To think and thank Time to greet the world with the Good News. It’s Christmas! Thank God for life Thank Him for the manger For the splintered cross For the empty tomb Thank Him for His holy Son The Saviour of the world. Shout! Laugh! Share! Care! And say to God On Christmas morning: “I entrust myself anew To You.” 

Oh friends, what beautiful sentiments for this Christmas Day and Season, and even for all year round! As true believers we really should be doing those things year round, because we have them all year to be thankful for. But today though, let’s do as the poem says nuh; let’s entrust our lives, our hearts, bodies and souls and minds anew to God nuh. It’s such a wonderful thing to do. And though the Lord will greatly appreciate it, please be aware that dealing with God is ALWAYS for our benefit! 

Let’s remember that today nuh, as we celebrate Christ’s incarnate birth, as we sincerely and seriously ponder on all it means to sinful and evil man. And please, please, don’t let the day be all about gifts and eating and drinking and partying, but let’s find, no let’s MAKE some time to include Jesus in our thoughts, words and deeds today, because remember, He is the reason for the season! That’s why I can’t fathom all the nonsense about ‘Happy Holidays’ etc. etc. If you took Jesus out of the equation, there’d be no blooming holidays! 

I’m simply tired with all the nonsense about being politically correct. Don’t other faiths say things like ‘Happy Hanukkah! Happy Eid,’ and all the other rest? So why can’t Christians say ‘Happy Christmas’ without it offending other faiths eh? Don’t they think that we Christians get offended too when we hear other faiths declaring (steups!) their holidays without a blush or fear? Chuh man!! It seems like it’s only Christians who are required to give up their stuff. But we won’t get into that political minefield today. (smile) We’ll keep it light and lovely! 

And the Bible verse of promise for our poem is also our Bit today; the momentous words of John! ‘And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’ Yes friends, God Himself, fashioned as a man came, down from heaven to dwell with us, to give us a more intimate and close up look at who He was, and how He wanted to interact with us. 

And the scholars explain that verse thus: ‘1:14. Made flesh indicates the incarnation (miracle birth) of God the Son. The use of ‘flesh’ contradicts the Gnostic heresy that God could not be united with human flesh, which was seen as evil. Dwelt among us: John used the word for ‘tabernacled,” here translated as “dwelt.” The Old Testament tabernacle was where God dwelt among the Jews in the wilderness. In this context, God is dwelling in the person of Jesus Christ. We beheld his glory: Perhaps John refers to the shekinah glory which appeared in the tabernacle of the Old Testament. The expression signifies the visible manifestation of God. John later uses ‘glory’ to refer to Jesus’ life (2:11), death and resurrection (12.23).’ 

Ah mih people, without a doubt, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did come to earth and dwell with His human subjects as one of them, but still completely sinless, because that was the only way He could pay for our abominable sins. And please remember friends that Jesus will be coming a second time, as portrayed by John in his revelations; then riding on a white horse called ‘Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war… and his name is called The Word of God.’ (Rev.19:11c, 13b) 

Yes fellow believers, when Jesus comes again, He will be coming in victory, to take His rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The first time He came at Christmas, it was to reveal the LOVE and grace of God, the next time will be to reveal His holiness, justice and judgement. Let’s remember that and continue living the faithful obedient life, as we expound in our Wednesday Wail. 

‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Please have a blessed and joyful Christmas Day my people, being assured that our faith In Jesus Christ will be greatly rewarded in His time! Much LOVE!

…only the LOVE of Jesus…will see us safely through to eternity…

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 14 January 2019 Jeremiah 31:31.

Jeremiah 31:31.   ​Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Jacob.
 

Awright folks it’s Monday once again…and it’s somewhat cloudy and a tad depressing…so what eh? No big deal, for we are all well equipped to deal with it. We just don’t put out that heavenly power that we possess. We allow the negative thoughts of the new workweek to oppress us and make us anxious. 

Oh my people, instead of letting Monday come up over us, with the help of Jesus, we ought to come up over it! This is a new year and we’re supposed to be coming closer to Jesus, and one of the things that needs to happen is that we become better able to deal with Mondays and all its negative connotations. Right ho! We simply need to be better prepared. 

Anyway, seeing that our God is gracious and merciful and forgiving and kind, He’s given us a way to embrace all that He is and has to conquer those fearful feelings of Monday. It’s appropriately called our Monday Morning Battle Hymn! It’s the undisputed antidote for all that ails us on a Monday morning. So let’s declare it now with some enthusiasm and sincerity. 

In unison: ‘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!’ 

Wowee! Wowee! Just feel the Holy Spirit rise within us now and get all the adrenaline flowing and our own spirits soaring to high heaven! We’re feeling like true conquerors through Him who LOVED us! Yes friends, that’s the power of prayer…especially where two or three are gathered together and agree on it! Mamacita! 

Ah mih people, I hope all of this also puts a smile on our faces and some joy in our souls, because our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was indeed a person who smiled a lot and was always joyful, even through His trials and tribulations. ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33)

We obviously don’t have all the parts that He had, but we do have sufficient to keep us joyful throughout our earthly sojourn. And as always, it’s for OUR benefit, not God’s! So why feel bad when you can feel good eh? No reason whatsoever! 

 Now let’s see what the Good Book has to offer us this glorious morning, this awesome day in the life! Give our amazing God some thanks and praise for allowing us to see another bountiful day on this precious earth nuh! 

And the Good Book reminds us today of these faithful words of our God, spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Jacob.

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord.’ Jer.31:31-32). 

Oh my people, I can’t help but keep on declaring (spelled it wrong): ‘What a wonderful God we serve and worship!’ Even though His people broke their covenant with Him, He was still ready, willing and able to make another one with them; and an even better one.

‘But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts (minds), and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth (disturbs) the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name.’ (Jer.31:33-35) 

Oh Mama Mia! What an awesome and faithful promise from the Creator of the universe my brethren! Only a real FOOL would not accept such an exceptional offer! 

And if you didn’t realize what all of that was about, listen to this explanation from the scholars. ‘31:31 New Covenant: In this prophecy Jeremiah foresees the new covenant (“testament”) that God will make with mankind by extending His grace to the Gentiles. Under this new covenant, God will call out a people for Himself from all the nations of the earth to form the bride of Christ (Rev.21:1-9).

This new an unconditional covenant is better than the old covenant because it rests on the efficacy of Christ’s atonement for the sins of mankind (Heb.8:10-12). First Ref. Jer.31:31; Primary Ref. Luke 22:17-20; cf. Eph.1:10.)’ 

Yes friends, it was all about the coming of Christ, our inclusion into the house of God as His beloved children and the forgiveness of our sins! About the Holy Spirit that now dwells in each and every one of us, to lead and guide us in a godly manner on this ungodly earth!

The same Holy Spirit that just lifted our spirits and made us feel joyful! And yuh want to tell me that our God isn’t faithful and true to ALL of His promises? That’s foolishness, utter rubbish yes man! 

So let’s get out there this Monday and just do Jesus’ work yes and ignore all the chupidness that the world wants to tell us! Cause we are beloved children of God! That’s who we are! Glory Hallelujah! That’s certainly something to celebrate, so let’s do it nuh! Much LOVE!

…that in the dispensation of the fullness of times…he might gather together in ONE…ALL things in Christ…which are in heaven…and which are on earth…even in him… (Eph.1:10)

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 December 2018 Psalm 69:30.

Psalm 69:30.   ​I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
 
And then there was snow…not a terrible amount, but enough to call it a snowy day! (smile) So it looks like the purists, though they didn’t get the white Christmas they longed for, might get a white New Year’s Eve. And now another Sunday has come around, the last one of this rather controversial year of 2018, which just means that we have to keep on keeping on, hoping, trusting and having faith in the ever-faithful promises of our ever-faithful God! 

Consequently, it behooves us to make our way today to His sanctuary to worship, praise, celebrate, fellowship, exalt His holy name and hear His reassuring word! And today we going to praise and worship with an old soca song, but one that is full of praise and exaltation for our great God. And I have a small axe to grind, to stir up a hornet’s nest, on the matter of local music being used in our local churches. Now where does it say that only the old European dirges should be used in our local praise and worship eh? 

It’s time we get rid of that colonial mindset. Nothing’s wrong with many of them, but likewise nothing is wrong with playing locally based music in our churches. God LOVES all kinds of music! In fact to make life real, wherever the gospel is preached, local music, music of the local culture should be inculcated into our praise and worship. And I know some of you die-hards won’t agree, because you’ve been brainwashed by the old ways. 

But just think about it for a moment nuh, why are we seeing so few young people in the traditional churches, where we just sing the traditional hymns eh, but so many go to the more contemporary ones, where they sing what is nowadays called Contemporary Music? Now this is the song I wanted to feature last week, but wasn’t able to. It’s a West Indian take on Mary’s Magnificat, by the Calypsonian Penguin, from way back in his 1985 ‘The King Moves’ album. 

Now I featured it one Sunday at Easter time this year, but it’s worth featuring again for this Christmas season. The words are true to the Good Book, and the music is scintillating and most excellent, sure to be LOVED by those hearing it in heaven. And there’s no reason why it can’t be played in our local churches. If you don’t believe me, then Google it and see for yourself. 

And this is what I wrote back then at Easter: ‘So without further ado let’s burst into praiseful song with the ‘Magnificat’, in an easy rocking, up-tempo Soca melody. Listen to the intro of bells, organ and crackling guitar…then shout out: ‘Hallelujah, Hallelujah, (horns sing) Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah!’ Now sing it again: ‘Hallelujah, (horns sing) Hallelujah, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah!’ 

Now let’s extol the praises of our God: ‘With joyous voices, (horns sing) my spirit rejoices. (horns sing) And my soul has soared, to magnify my Lord. (horns sing) For He took me so humble, And He made me His vessel. Oh yes, He chose me from all the rest. Nations from east and west will know I have been truly blessed.’ (Chorus: For He that is mighty has done great things, I can claim, Oh yes, He is risen, mighty, glory is His name. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! – Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah!  

From generation, (horns sing) unto generation, (horns sing) He has been the same, to all who hear His name. Never vengeful nor angry, He keeps showing His mercy, a mercy that comes from up above, filled with His precious LOVE. It’s a mercy I can tell you of. (horns sing) (Chorus: For He that is mighty…) And pride and conceit, (horns sing) from right in their front seat, (horns sing) with His arm so strong, the Master pull them down. (horns sing) Those who rich and have plenty, He send them away empty. But from the poor He don’t turn His face, Fills them with LOVING grace, And raise the humble to high place. (horns sing)  

(Chorus: For He that is mighty…) He has received well, (horns sing) His good servant Israel. (horns sing) If you serve Him true, He will receive you too. Just like he spoke to Jonah, Abraham and Elijah, He still talks to us everyday, In His own special way, Listen and you’ll hear what He says. (Chorus: For that he is mighty…. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah…!’  

Oh friends, what beautiful music and words of exaltation to our wonderful God. I know heaven was dancing and singing along with us. And I was listening to the song and rocking along while I was typing it. (smile)’ I was indeed listening and rocking along while following it and adding horns sing! So tell me what’s wrong with singing that song in church nuh? Not a so and so thing? But if it was written in European style music, it would be quite all right! Ah Lord eh!  

Now that brings us to our Bit; exciting words from Bruh David: ‘I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.’  I think it is still a rather appropriate Bit for that song. That’s because God desires, and LOVES nothing more than to hear our praises and thanksgiving rising up before Him in song! 

Remember that’s one of the reasons He created us in the first place. But unfortunately I believe we’re not coming up to scratch with our praise and worship these days, simply taking His blessings and LOVING-kindness for granted. But that’s not how it ought to be my people. 

Hear Bruh David again, this time from Psalm 28- A Prayer for God’s help: ‘Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth, and with my song will I praise him.’ (Ps.28:7) 

Oh my people, if God is such a prominent part of our lives, and has done so much for us, then it follows logically that we ought to sing and rejoice and give Him grateful praise and thanks, for NO ONE else is going to be so wonderful to us! But time and space are running out on us, so let’s have one more scripture for good measure nuh. (smile) 

More Bruh David – what else eh: ‘But I have trusted in thy mercy (LOVING-kindness); my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.’ (Ps.13:5-6) Yeh friends, if the Lord has dealt bountifully with us, then let’s sing and praise His holy name as though there were no tomorrow nuh! And who knows if there will be a tomorrow? Much LOVE!

…God’s heart overwhelmingly bursts with pride and joy…when sincere praise and thanksgiving…rises up to heaven from His people on earth…

…God’s

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 October 2018 Proverbs 4:26.

Proverbs 4:26.    Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

 

And I can see all the joyful smiles and hear all the joyful conversation simply because it’s Friday, and the working population has only the upcoming weekend on their minds. What a way our attitudes can change from one day to the next, when something that seems good is on the horizon. Wish we could have that joyful attitude come next Monday morning. (smile) 

And there is no stopping the ordinary workingman come Friday morning, for he will sing his song, come hell or high water. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday mih breddren! The weekend come…and while it brings joy to our lives, it brings tears to the slave massa’s eyes, because he has to pay us for not working for two whole days! Glory be! 

You wouldn’t know how that eats away at his thieving sinful soul. But God is good…and fair too. And after plenty fighting and dying we finally get some days off with pay. Wow! And as always, we going to party hearty and celebrate that fact, because we entitled to enjoy the fruits of our labour! Thank God for Fridays and weekends oui!’ 

Ah friends, the workingman does make some good points in his song, but just goes too far out on the limb in pursuit of the ripest, juiciest fruit. Yes my brethren, there is inherent danger in pursuing that at the edge of the limb, it’s liable to break more easily, because it’s usually smaller and more brittle out there. And when the bough breaks, you’ll fall, and down will come cradle, baby and all. (smile) 

And as that pertains to our Christian faith walk, it means allowing the enemy to get into our lives and settling in to spoil them, and have us walk away from Jesus, rather than with Him. Now that’s one thing we definitely don’t want to happen, and the best way to avoid it is to stay away from what appears to be the juiciest fruit at the edge of the limb. 

We need to erect some boundaries as to how far we’re going to go, so that we don’t invite the enemy into our lives. That’s why our Friday Chant is different from the workingman’s song, with more circumspection and awareness of the pitfalls of unbridled carnal living. So let’s chant our Friday Chant nuh, with even more enthusiasm than the workingman, because we know that we have Jesus on our side. Glory to God! 

Altogether 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, to live sincerely for Jesus means always being aware of the world around you and its constant efforts to make you succumb to its evil ways. But we’re blessed, for Jesus’ Holy Spirit that dwells within us warns us of the pitfalls. Oh, we don’t always pay attention to, or take heed to the Holy Spirit’s advice, so we have no one else to blame but ourselves, when that unwise attitude gets us into trouble. 

That’s why Cousin Sol warns us in our Bit and beyond: ‘Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.’ (Prov.4:26-27) And that jells nicely with these words of the Lord spoken through the prophet Isaiah. ‘And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.’ (Is.30:21) 

Yes friends, anytime we veer off the straight and narrow path that Jesus advises us to follow, we will hear His Holy Spirit calling us back to it, for the broad way of the world only leads to eventual destruction. As Cousin Sol further declares: (Chuh! Spelled it wrong again). ‘For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth (weighs, observes) all his goings.’ (Prov.5:21) 

So please don’t foolishly believe that we can do stuff that the Lord doesn’t see, because His eyes are always on our goings and comings. That’s why we have to pay close attention to the warning against disobedience in Hebrews: ‘Wherefore lift up (strengthen) the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way (dislocated); but let it rather be healed.’ (Heb.12:12-13) 

And the scholars explain: ‘12:12-13. Some of the runners of verse 1 have grown so weary that they have become stooped and need spiritual strength to be straightened up again. They must be given help, yet they themselves also must strengthen their paths by avoiding obstacles that would spiritually trip them up.’ 

Yuh see friends, neither the Lord, nor our fellow man can or will do everything for us. At some stage of the game we need to strengthen ourselves, pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and set out eyes firmly on that straight and narrow path. 

And here’s a fitting end from Hebrews to today’s message. ‘Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ (Heb.12:14) So let’s be wise and try our best to do that nuh my people! Much LOVE!

…there’s only ONE way to stay on the straight and narrow…keep your eyes fixed steadfastly on Jesus…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 August 2018 John 10:10b-11.

John 10:10b-11.   I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Awright my believing brethren, what shall we say about this day eh? ‘This is the day the Lord has made we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ And what else? That this is the Lord’s Day and we WILL go to His sanctuary to give Him much praise and thanks, to celebrate our blessed lives and fellowship with others of the same belief! 

We shall also listen to His Word, let it seep into our hearts and souls, and consequently have our spirits refilled with God’s LOVE through His Holy Spirit, so that we can walk tall and strong, proud and confident, when we depart from His sanctuary! And all God’s people said a loud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

Yes friends, our God is indeed worthy to be praised! And there’s no better way to praise Him than in song: He enjoys it, and it brings the best out of us. And today’s song of praise is a favourite gospel song from a few years back, one we all know and LOVE; it’s simply but oh so meaningfully titled ‘Oh Happy Day!’ 

It was written by the gospel singer Edwin Hawkins, and first recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. Unfortunately though, Edwin Hawkins died a few weeks ago, but in conjunction with his choir, he left the world a wonderful legacy in song. I also saw a wonderful rendition of it on You Tube by Ray Charles and the Voices of Jubilation choir. Oh, Ray was so worked up that on his way off the stage he stopped at least three times and did a Happy Day dance! 

So let’s open our hearts and mouths and allow our voices to soar to high heaven with these few simple but oh so meaningful words. Remember, half the beauty of the song is in its call and response style, so let’s call and respond in all sincerity and truth nuh, letting our magnificent and magnanimous God know how deep is our joy, in having the wonderful privilege of worshipping Him. Hn! I hope that makes sense. 

But anyway, enough talk, let’s sing: ‘Oh happy day (oh happy day) Oh happy day (oh happy day) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (oh happy day) 

Oh happy day (oh happy day) He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray And live rejoicing every, everyday Oh happy day He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray And live rejoicing every, everyday Oh happy day Oh happy day (oh happy day) Oh happy day (oh happy day).’ 

Oh my fellow believers, how could we not be ecstatic eh, when Jesus washed away our sins, cleansed us with the blood He shed on Calvary? He also taught us how to watch, to fight and pray and live rejoicing every day! Glory be! We’d be foolish and ungrateful if we didn’t appreciate His stellar and selfless efforts on our behalf. 

Just look at what our Bit says: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ And that’s exactly what Jesus did my brethren! He gave His life so that we could enjoy abundant living in concert with the Father; redeemed, made righteous once again, with salvation and eternal life the end benefits. 

That means Christians ought to be the happiest people on Planet Earth…and show it in our behaviour too. For why would anyone want to come to Jesus if we claim to have so much wonderful stuff when we believe in Him, but our attitudes and demeanour are sour and miserable and definitely don’t reflect the joy we talk about so much eh? 

If our everyday lives aren’t filled with hope, happiness and heavenly thoughts and longing then we’re not true believers and/or Jesus sacrificed His sinless life in vain. Please friends, let that not be the case, because it would break both the Father and Jesus’ hearts. 

So please let’s make every day a happy day nuh; watching for His promised return; fighting the many evil enemies who want to discredit Him and turn us away. But they don’t know that when we get on our knees, both literally and figuratively, and pray to the Father in His name that the battle is as good as won! Glory Hallelujah! 

And with all of that good stuff, the rejoicing just comes naturally. Ah mih people, we have so much to look forward to when we sincerely make Jesus our Lord and Saviour. And when our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then we’re sealed forever as a child of God, our bonds are so ironclad that nothing, or no one can ever break them. That’s how powerful association with the Lord and His heavenly host is. 

So today, let’s step right up to the plate and hit the devil right out of the park for a large home run. That’ll show him to mess with Jesus’ people! Much LOVE!

…as a believer in Jesus…we’re promised joy for ever more…now who in their right senses would refuse that eh…

 


 

 

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