Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 April 2018 2 Timothy 3:16.

2 Timothy 3:16.    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Ah mih people, this Sunday morning we can go to the Lord’s sanctuary without any fear of slipping and sliding or getting in an accident because of the dreadful weather! Glory be! The ice is slowly disappearing as the weather gets a little warmer. But last week it was something else. And that ice-storm was not half as bad as one a few years ago. They are worse than just the ordinary snow storms. 

Anyway, that’s in the past now, let’s look to the glorious spring weather that’s ahead of us and go to fellowship with other faithful believers, to sing and praise and make merry to Almighty God, and receive His resurgent confidence and enthusiasm in our tired and empty souls. Some of us might need two weeks resurging, since we didn’t get any last week. (smile) 

But whatever, or how much ever we need, we know we will get it in the Lord’s house, so let’s open as always with some praise and worship,  with this foundational hymn ‘Standing on the Promises of God’ written by Russel Kelso Carter, a professor in the Pennsylvania Military College of Chester.

 His bio reads thus: ‘While there he was licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Church. He became very active in leading camp meetings and revivals. After failing health forced him to abandon this work, he studied and became a medical doctor as well as a writer. He wrote novels as well as hymns.

Yeh friends, it’s obvious he knew what he was talking about when he wrote the hymn. So let’s declare it now nuh, with joyful voices and sincere hearts, because those are such wonderful promises we have to stand on, that mere words alone couldn’t do them justice. 

As one glorious choir now: ‘Standing on the promises of Christ my king, through eternal ages let his praises ring; glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, standing on the promises of God. (Refrain: Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God my Savior; standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.) 

Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God. [Refrain] Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, bound to him eternally by LOVE’S strong cord, overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, standing on the promises of God. 

[Refrain] Standing on the promises I cannot fall, listening every moment to the Spirit’s call, resting in my Savior as my all in all, standing on the promises of God. [Refrain].’ 

Oh friends, oh friends, doesn’t that just elevate your soul and spirit to new heights of rapture? (smile) It ought to since we have such golden promises made to us by a most faithful Deity. And today friends, we are going to check out some of those awesome promises found in God’s word. 

And we’ll begin with one that lays the foundation for them all, the words of Bruh Paul to Timothy re the truth of scripture, as stated in our Bit. ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.’ 

That is the first step my brethren; to acknowledge that the word of God is true, and though written by mortal men, was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, under God’s authority and guidance, and it is indeed a guide book for earthly living in righteousness. As Bruh Paul continues: ‘That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished (equipped) unto all good works.’ (2 Tim.3:17) There we have it friends, guidance and regulations to lead a godly life. 

Here are some useful explanations from the scholars. ‘3:14-17. Inspiration of God (lit. “God-breathed.”) describes the unique character of scripture. It is not only written by men, but authored by God. For doctrine means to tell one what to believe. For reproof means to tell one what is wrong. For correction means to tell one how to correct wrong. 

For instruction in righteousness means to tell one how to live. Perfect (Gr. artios, “proficient, capable”) is having everything needed to do what God wants.Thoroughly furnished means “thoroughly equipped.” God’s inspired Word, properly used and applied, provides all we need for life and ministry.’  

Mama Yo mih breddren! Where can you find another all-encompassing tome like that eh? Nowhere else in the world but in the Christian faith! Glory to our great God, who in His endless wisdom gave us ALL that we needed to live the kind of life He desires of us. And so having acknowledged that the word of God is true, let’s look at a couple of promises that are contained therein. 

The first one is a scripture that we all know and quote, but how many of us truly believe it eh? It’s from the prophet Jeremiah and says: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you an expected end.’ (Jer.29:11) 

But that doesn’t come just so friends. We have to pray, call upon God, seek Him with all our hearts, live the kind of life He expects of us, then we’ll see His mercy and favour and the plan He has designed for each one of His people. Now I think we only have space for one more promise; that from Bruh Paul to the Philippians: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.’ (Phil.4:19) 

Yeh friends, because of the Philippians sacrifice on behalf of Bruh Paul, God will meet their need in a glorious manner through Jesus Christ. The same applies to us today my fellow believers – live the way God desires, and you’ll want for nothing. And we’ll end with these most appropriate words of Bruh Paul. ‘Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Phill.4:20) 

More on the promises of God tomorrow friends, God willing. Till then, please walk safely with Him. Much LOVE!

…some promises have conditions…others don’t…but they are ALL readily available…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 March 2018 Matthew 6:12.

Matthew 6:12.    And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Awright friends and faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we’ve been blessed with another day on God’s great earth! So let’s take advantage of it nuh, because we don’t know how many more we will be blessed with, if any, and let’s open today by declaring like the psalmist did so long ago: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps.118:24) 

Wow! What a positive opening statement friends! That sets the tone for the rest of our day. We have the opportunity now to go out and enjoy God’s favour; His mercy, grace, LOVE and forgiveness as we work with diligence and excellence to do His awesome, holy will. 

Mama Mia! It couldn’t get any better than that in this sinful and wicked world nuh mih people! Living under Christ’s umbrella is the best antidote for all that ails the world and us. 

And I have a li’l something to share from C.S. Lewis that describes our Christian walk. He says: ‘To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! God has forgiven us so greatly that it’s only reasonable and to be expected that we forgive others. 

And you know what friends? That isn’t even an individual choice we have, because our Lord and Saviour, Our Leader and heavenly King, Jesus Christ enshrined it as a decree in what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, as our Bit declares: ‘And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’ 

Now what does that mean? The scholar’s offer this explanation: ‘6:12. Forgive us our debts refers to sins, which are our moral and spiritual debts to God’s righteousness. The request for forgiveness of sin is made here by the believer. In order to be saved one need not necessarily name all of his sins, but he must confess that he is a sinner.’  

A good thing too, else some of us would still be confessing. (smile) And why is forgiveness so important you wonder? Well Jesus explains a couple of verses later. ‘For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ (Matt.12:14-15) 

It’s as simple as that my brethren! Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Don’t forgive, and you won’t be forgiven. As the old people would say, ‘tit for tat.’ And would you believe, that in spite of Christ’s serious warning, forgiveness is currently one of the world’s biggest problems? And not only on the small, individual scale, but also on the large national stage. 

What do you think is causing so many small wars and skirmishes to continue to flower and flourish all over the world eh? Memories of wars and other atrocities committed by long ago descendants. But the current ones have not forgotten or forgiven, so the anger, bitterness and hatred continue, unfortunately festering the souls of legions of people who had nothing to do with the initial atrocities. 

Just look at the distrust and angst between the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese that now plays out in international affairs because of the way the Japanese ravaged the Chinese and Koreans in the recent wars. It’s the same thing in the Middle East. Thousands of years have passed and old wounds are still festering. Look at Britain, with Wales, Scotland and Ireland; the same thing is happening. 

Old injuries and slights are still playing a vibrant part in today’s scenarios. And we won’t even talk about what’s happening with the individual members of our society. Forgiveness is anathema; repugnant and odious to so many of us, as we scurry through the rat race, the dog eat dog scene that’s today’s world. 

We’re only interested in our own aggrandizement, and anyone that gets in our way, too bad for them. We want to be forgiven, but we refuse to forgive. And if yuh think that forgiving is a one-time deal, you better had think again. For when Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother ‘till seven times?’ Jesus replied: ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but until seventy times seven.’ (Matt.18:21-22) 

So friends, forgiveness is an ongoing action. It never stops. Once there has been an infraction, there needs to be forgiveness. And the sad part of the matter is that forgiveness isn’t so much for the other person, but for you the forgiver. It releases your spirit from anger and bitterness and all the other negative emotions that clutter up your soul when you refuse to forgive. 

Oftimes the person who you think has done you wrong, doesn’t even know it, or care, and goes on about their business regardless, while you hold all the unforgiveness in your heart. You are the one who’s suffering because you refuse to let go of the wrong. That’s not a very wise way to live my brethren. So please, let’s raise our level of forgiveness, and see how it raises the level of the remainder of our life nuh. 

Now let’s go home shouting out to the world, our position in Jesus Christ through our Wednesday Wail. Altogether now.  ‘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!’ 

And oh, how glorious indeed, will be that future with Jesus! I cant wait to experience it! Much LOVE!

…to forgive, forgive…and yet to forgive…that’s the message of Christ…and His cross…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 March 2018 Hebrews 13:1.

Hebrews 13:1.   Let brotherly LOVE continue.

And the wicked winter storm in the U.S. North East continues unabated. It caused havoc yesterday and apparently will cause more of the same today, as the plentiful snow (2 feet in some areas) and high winds, gusting up to 55 miles per hour, continue to pound states like New York, Maine, Pennsylvania, New England and Massachusetts, leaving many thousands without heat and light. 

And all of that just after a terrible rainstorm and serious flooding caused some deaths and extensive damage only last week. Oh friends, could it be some sort of heavenly warning?

I don’t doubt that it could be a combination of climate change and a warning from the Father, letting people know that He’s tired and fed up with their rather evil and sinful ways, and if we don’t smarten up, we will suffer more disasters and calamities than we can handle. 

Yuh see how He handled His people, Israel, way back when they became too full of themselves; numerous enemies coming against them and being taken into bondage, with earthquakes simply swallowing them up and snakes biting them to death in the wilderness.  

And just check out the numerous natural disasters that have been bombarding the U.S over the last couple of years; several hurricanes, and storms in different parts of the country; severe brush fires, earthquakes, bad mudslides, tornadoes, and snow in places that’s never seen it before, and all the other human turmoil that’s going on in the land that was at one time supposedly close to God’s heart. 

And it certainly doesn’t help that the U.S. has acquired the reputation of being one of the most, if not the most, sinful country in the world today. Remember though, is only suppose we supposing, we don’t know anything for a fact. 

Anyway friends, let’s hope that a lot of the people will take it as a warning and move to change their ways and turn back to God. It couldn’t do anything but help. And in the meanwhile we can pray for them, for their safety and their repentance and God’s renewed blessing on them and their land. End of supposing. (smile) 

And before we turn to our Bit, here is some info, I believe it’s from Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley), on the ‘effective elements of prayer’ found in the word ‘ACTS.’ They include, ‘Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.’ So now when you read the Book of Acts, you know what you’re doing. (smile)  

And our Bit is simple but oh so important and far-reaching. ‘Let brotherly LOVE continue.’ And what does it all mean eh? In the simplest terms, it basically means treat others good.

As Jesus said in the golden rule; ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.’ (Matt.7:12) And that simply means to treat others the way we want to be treated. 

Oh my people, if we’d only do that, our world would be so much better, such a wonderful place!  But I guess the evil, sinful and selfish parts of us refuse to go along with such a simple formula. But my brethren, as precious people of Jehovah God, we are by His command bound to such a lifestyle. 

Hear how Bruh Paul puts it to the church at Rome. ‘Be kindly affectioned (affectionate) one to another with brotherly LOVE; in honour preferring (giving preference to) another; Not slothful in business (lagging in diligence); fervent (boiling over) in spirit; serving the Lord; 

Rejoicing in hope; patient (persevering) in tribulation; continuing instant (steadfastly) in prayer; Distributing to the necessity (needs) of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless (speak well of), and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not (do not set your mind on) high things, but condescend to men of low estate (associate with the humble). Be not wise in your own conceits (estimation).

Recompense (repay) to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest (have regard for good things) in the sight of all men….Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Rom.12:10-17, 21) 

Yes friends, that’s basically what it means to live in brotherly LOVE as a Christian. I left out a few verses because of space, but included the last one in the section which sort of encompasses the whole brotherly LOVE scenario; never repay evil for evil, but overcome evil with good. And if we truly strive to do that, then we’ll be showered with blessings. 

Now let’s declare our Thursday Blessings, highlighting some of the many blessings that our magnanimous God has showered down on us. In loud voice and sincere truth: ‘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!’ 

Yeh mih people, that’s the kind of life sincere believers live! So now let’s go out and share it with others, because that’s one of the reasons the Lord blessed us; to share them with the less fortunate in brotherly LOVE. Much LOVE!

…do unto others…as you want them to do unto you…that’s the golden rule…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 February 2018 Philippians 4:6.

Philippians 4:6.   Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And then it was Friday…and a lot of grateful sighs punctuate the universal skies. None more enthusiastic and exuberant than that of the ordinary workingman: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui mih people! The end of backbreaking labour for a few days! Time to celebrate a li’l freedom from the cruel mental lash of the criminal slave master! 

Our time now is ours to do what we want with it. And believe you me, we going to do just that; we going to party and celebrate and be thankful for this short freedom from unfair work for unfair pay. And whatever happens after that happens! Who cares eh? Just be thankful for Fridays and the weekend that eases we pain!’ 

A lot of sad truth in there mih friends, but as believers, we are encouraged to handle the situation differently. We have Jesus in our corner, so though many of us might suffer the same injustice, we have a different recourse, a different way, to alleviate our problems. 

We turn to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has faithfully promised to look after us from the time we are saved until eternity. That’s why our Friday Chant differs so much from the workingman’s song. Let’s chant it now nuh, with heartfelt sincerity and a strong sense of purpose. 

‘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.’ 

Yes faithful believers, our God wants us to abide within certain boundaries so that we can be rejuvenated and continue His awesome work without missing a beat. The workingman’s song invites Beelzebub and his carnal addictions, our Friday Chant invites Jesus and His eternal spiritual salvation. 

Wow! What a good and mighty difference! It frees us from having the judgement of Hades constantly hanging over our heads, like the infamous sword of Damocles, suspended by a single hair. Instead, as true believers we can focus on the wonders of heaven and the amazing life to come that Jesus promises. 

But that means sincerely following Him; consistently reading and meditating on His word, offering up prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, and generally being obedient to His law. And the good part is that He knows we’re not perfect, but He is ever so willing to work with us on becoming more mature and Christ-like. 

And in this season of Lent, where we seem to be somewhat more prayerful than at other times, (smile) I guess this is as good a time as any to remind us of Bruh Paul’s admonition to the Philippians, as reflected in our Bit. But first, the two verses before it. 

‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.’ (Phil.4:4-6) 

Ah mih breddren, what wonderful and wise advice! And the scholars have this to say about those verses. ‘4:4. The mention of believers’ names being recorded in heaven (v.3) causes the author to write rejoice in the Lord always. Harmony among church members, as Paul assumes will be the result of his plea in verses 2 and 3, is another reason to “rejoice.”  

In adding and again I say, rejoice, it is as though the apostle looks into the future, considers all possibilities of sorrow, and in spite of them all repeats “the command.” This command to rejoice at all times and in all circumstances is nothing less than a call to faith. For if the Christian believes that his life and all its circumstances are in the hands of a sovereign, wise and LOVING God who is always working to accomplish good for him, then he can indeed “rejoice always.” 

Oh friends, there is no disputing that logic! If we have the faith to believe it, then there’s all the more reason to rejoice! 

As for 4:5. Moderation means “graciousness” or “sweet reasonableness.” The believer who is at peace with his fellow Christian (v.2) and who rejoices always (v.4) is indeed a gracious, reasonable person. The Lord is at hand means two things. First, His return to earth is near. 

His imminent coming as a judge encourages the Christian to be “gracious” unto all men, for He will judge the believer for all his actions toward all people, and will avenge all wrongs committed by others against him. Second, the “Lord is at hand” spiritually. The Lord’s being presently near should free the Christian from fear and anxiety. Hence the command of verse 6.’ 

And that says: ‘4:6. Be careful for nothing means “don’t worry about anything.” The Lord’s nearness (v.5b) leads Paul to forbid his readers from worrying. This is no summons to irresponsibility or an invitation to dismiss legitimate concern. The solution to undue anxiety is to be prayerful about everything. While God is eager to hear our requests, they are to be accompanied with thanksgiving.’ 

And if we do all that, then ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:7) 

Oh my people, what a glorious promise!  So today, let’s try and stop worrying and complaining nuh, for if we believe in our faith, then there is no reason for them.  Instead, let’s pray and give thanks nuh, because there’s a whole lot for us to be grateful about. Much LOVE!

…worrying and complaining invites Lucifer…prayer and thanksgiving… makes Jesus shine forth…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 February 2018 Matthew 5:20.

Matthew 5:20.   For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Oh friends, out there is like a true winter wonderland! Everything is as white as ever, for as far as you can see. And the white stuff has begun coming down again, at least in my area. Chuh! 

But that’s the Lord’s will. There isn’t anything we can really do about it. It’s winter, and that’s what happens in winter. We’ve just been lucky over the last few years not to see so much snow, so early in the season. 

But remember, anything God brings us to, He will bring us through. So if you have to go out today, please be careful, because that white stuff, though it may look beautiful on the ground, like the enemy it can be very deceiving and dangerous. 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Listen to this first one. ‘When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.’ And why would you want to do that eh? It’s your life. You have to control it. 

Now check this out. ‘All the days that you wake up, you got one job, and that’s to get better every single day.’ And that’s oh so true, especially for a Christian. We need to aspire to grow in maturity and Christ-likeness every day that we draw breath. 

That leads us to: ‘Clear your mind of can’t!’ Wonderful advice! For as a believer in Jesus Christ, ‘can’t’ is not supposed to be in our vocabulary, since ALL things are possible with God, and we are God’s chosen people! 

And here’s an interesting one. ‘If you wanna fly, you got to give up the useless stuff that weighs you down.’ Is that ever so true friends! You can’t fly, or prosper, or take off, or rise up if you are being weighed down by useless and unnecessary stuff. 

Note how they carefully pack airplanes and ships for balance, and consider how much stuff is placed in them, otherwise they won’t be able to lift off the ground or sail. The same goes for people, improperly placed and unnecessary baggage will hold us back. 

And this last quote says: ‘If you do not go after what you want, you will never have it. If you do not ask, the answer will always be NO. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.’ 

And that is certainly true, but for believers a serious proviso has to be added to it: All we do, must be done under the will of God, His leading, and in His awesome timing! If not, our seeking will be to no avail; we’ll never truly fly, or write a good life story. And I do hope those quotes give us something to ponder this snowy Saturday morning, as we laze around the house. (smile) 

And we have a very interesting Bit today; memorable words of Jesus, as He talks about the law. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ 

Wow mih people! Imagine that nuh! And those people were supposed to be the most religious in their day, but Jesus lambasted them right, left and centre for their hypocritical behaviour. 

Hear how the scholars explain it. ‘5:20. Because of the necessity of righteousness as a requirement to enter heaven, Jesus then declares that except their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees they could not enter heaven. 

The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered those people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness. 

In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behaviour demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. Here we discover the practical application of genuine Christian character to true spiritual living. Here we see the gospel in action.                                  

              Law                                           Spirit                         

             No Murder                               No anger

              No adultery                            No lust

              No divorce                               Commitment

              No oath-taking                      Speak the truth

              No retaliation                        Forgiveness

              Hatred for your enemy       LOVE for your enemy                  

             (tradition allowed it)                  (commanded)

Ah mih people, yuh see the basic difference between the laws of man and those of God. Our God expects us to come up to a higher standard than that of the basic law. Just living by the law is not good enough. And the scribes and Pharisees didn’t even truly live by the law that they propagated. 

Unfortunately, so do a lot of us supposed Christians in these end times. Some of us put on a great outward show, talk a good talk, but behind closed doors it’s an entirely different story.

But please remember Jesus’ words; unless we are more righteous than the religious leaders of His day, we won’t enter heaven. Now, that’s something of immeasurable value and importance for us to ponder this Saturday morning. Much LOVE!

…unless you walk the walk…in God’s eyes…where it really matters…talking the talk is useless…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 January 2018 Isaiah 25:4.

Isaiah 25:4.   For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 

Ah friends, we’re sailing on the good ship Sunday, towards the sanctuary of God, where we will fall on our knees and praise and worship Him, give Him innumerable thanks, exalt His holy name and glorify Him without ceasing! 

Wow! What a time we will have in the sanctuary as we fellowship with each other, encourage each other, hear God’s word and bury it deep in our hearts, and souls, and eventually leave the sanctuary fortified with His strength and confidence, able to withstand whatever comes against us. And please remember the immortal words of the psalmist; this is the day the Lord hath made, let us all rejoice and be glad in it! That’s both wisdom and common sense friends! 

And as always, we’ll open the proceedings with worship in sweet song. This morning we’ll sing a Christian Gospel tune titled ‘The Anchor Holds.’ It was originally written by a pastor, songwriter called Lawrence Chewning. Apparently the year of 1992 became known as the year of sorrows for him and his family. 

One sorrow after another hit them and finally Lawrence, depressed and discouraged, was left burnt out, so he took a six month sabbatical from his pastoring duties and during that time began playing the piano more, in an attempt to get closer to God. In this sorrowful time he read stuff about the long dark night of the soul, when it seems you just can’t find God anywhere, and also experienced that emptiness for a while. 

Then, one day, in his many hours of playing the piano, he discovered that he was writing a song, a song that was coming from deep down in his soul. It was so touching that it provided him with therapeutic help in his depression and discouragement. But the song was some ten minutes long. However, a couple of years later, he offered the song to his friend, Christian singer songwriter, Ray Boltz, who edited and recorded it and made it a hit. 

Ah friends, ‘The Anchor Holds’ is one of my favourite Gospel songs because I can testify to the truth of those immortal words. And if you’re a true believer, so too can you. So let’s offer it up through the sacrifice of our lips now nuh, with appropriate reverence and heartfelt sincerity. In glorious harmony: ‘I have journeyed Through the long dark night Out on the open sea By faith alone Sight unknown And yet His eyes were watching me (Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn) 

I have fallen on my knees As I faced the raging seas The anchor holds In spite of the storm I’ve had visions I’ve had dreams I’ve even held them in my hand But I never knew They would slip right through Like they were only grains of sand (Chorus) I have been young But I am older now And there has been beauty these eyes have seen But it was in the night Through the storms of my life Oh that’s where God proved His LOVE to me. 

(Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn. Ohhh yes, The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn).’ 

Ah mih people what words of truth and encouragement! And it’s only when we are going through a stormy period in life that we can write such heartfelt words. You’ll notice too, that it’s during the storm that God proves His wonderful and unconditional LOVE to us, more so than when the seas are calm and quiet. 

Because that’s when we need Him the most, when we discover that our efforts are too puny to withstand the storm that’s bruising and battering us. And only when we take refuge in His safe harbour, when we allow Him to anchor our hearts and souls in the sheltered bay that’s His awesome LOVE and grace that we truly find rest and rejuvenation for our troubled, storm-filled lives. 

Oh what a wonderful God is our God! No wonder in Isaiah’s song of praise by the redeemed the survivors of the Great Tribulation exalt the Lord, lift their voices in praise to God for His protection. ‘O Lord, thou art my God: I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap (a ruin); of a defensed (fortified) city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built (rebuilt). 

Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible (ruthless) nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.’ (Is.25:1-4) 

Yeh friends, our God runs things; He controls it all. So in your time of need, who are you going to call eh, who are you going to run to for refuge? Almighty God, if you are wise! As the old reggae song says, ‘You’ll run to the rock for rescue, but there will be no rock.’ But if you run to the Creator of the universe, you’ll find Him ready, willing and able to offer help. 

As Isaiah prophesies about Jerusalem’s glorious future. ‘And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow (shade) in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert (shelter) from the storm and from rain.’ (Is.4:6) 

Oh friends, there’s no better place to hunker down in stormy times than under the wings of our heavenly Father, just like chicks hide under the mother hen’s wings when it rains, for under there we are guaranteed safe passage through the storms of life. Much LOVE!

…through the heartache…through the storm…take my hand precious Lord…lead me on…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 January 2018 Psalm 16:8.

Psalm 16:8.   I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

And another one bites the dust! Yeh people, another of my associates from university days in Mona, Jamaica, has apparently gone home to the Father. Dr. Emmanuel Griffith M.D. passed away yesterday in a nursing home in South Trinidad. He’s been sick, partially paralyzed for a number of years, initially felled by a stroke, and another stroke carried him home. 

One thing’s for sure; Emmanuel Griffith, better known as ‘Griff,’ a Trini South Boy, LOVED life. Tall, dark and full-bodied, with his thick black frame glasses, he was loud and talkative, but friendly, and was always ready for a party or a lime. He was good people. Once he became your friend, he’d do anything for you. Some of you who read the Bit knew Griff, possibly even participated in some of his hijinks, because he also liked his pranks. 

But that’s why it is important to make good memories in your young days. And Griff mih brother, we certainly made some good ones back in those youthful times. I can look back now and chuckle at the many nights you had me walking the dark, back roads of Kingston, after the busses had stopped running, trying to get back to the Mona campus, because I had naively allowed you to talk me into accompanying you to see a lady friend. 

But in hindsight now, it seems that even back then, the Lord’s hand was actively involved in my life, because it’s on one of those night excursions that I initially got involved with the lady who would eventually become my wife. Brother! I can’t believe I’m talking about 50 years, a half century ago. 

I know we lost touch once I left the Mona campus and returned to T&T, and by the time you came back to T&T, I had migrated to Canada. But over the years through a mutual friend, I’d occasionally hear revelations of your still crazy life. But who am I to judge you eh brother? I haven’t been the greatest either. 

And now your body will be returned to the dust from whence it came, free of all the pain and earthly sorrow, but thankfully your spirit will be free to roam the halls of heaven. I know that you will enjoy that! Happy roaming my friend! My condolences go out to your family and friends, left behind to mourn and celebrate your life. 

Yeh people, it’s a fact that as you get older you find your friends slowly dwindling. Over the last few years I can count at least six of my friends going home to be with the Lord. And just this past week an older friend and I were discussing the situation, because he had just come from the funeral of one of his already few friends. 

But that’s life! We’re only here for a short time, and hopefully we’ll all meet up again in the wild blue yonder when Jesus comes back for us. But until then, we just have to grin and bear what ever befalls us on this evil earth. 

And the wisest way to do that is by leaning on Jesus, as Bruh David says so eloquently in our Bit, while seeking preservation and blessing. ‘I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’ And that my friends is not only the absolute truth, but also indisputable wisdom! Glory to God! 

Whenever we sincerely look to, partner with Almighty God, we place ourselves in the very best position to have an abundant and joyful life, despite the adversity and calamity that will inevitably crop up on occasion. Nobody faced more adversity than Bruh David, but when he placed his sincere trust in God, after our Bit, he was able to say with great conviction: 

‘Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest (dwell securely) in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer (allow) thine Holy One (Jesus Christ) to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.’ (Ps.16:9-11) 

What absolute confidence and trust in Almighty God, Bruh David shows there my fellow believers! That’s the kind of trust and surrender and confidence each and every Christian ought to have. And I think I’ll just order the reading of Palm 16, as today’s homework, (smile) so you can understand the scholar’s explanations thereof. 

‘Psalm 16. The attitude of the righteous man is described in life (vs.1-8) and death (vs.9-11). In life, his attitude is one of trust (v.1), gratefulness for God’s goodness (v.2), delight in God’s people, (v.3), separation from idolatrous worship (v.4; cf. Ex.23:13; Deut. 12:3), satisfaction in God’s gracious provisions (vs.5-6), praise for the Lord’s counsel (v.7), and steadfastness in spiritual devotion (v.8). 

In facing death, the righteous man rejoices and is hopeful (v.9). He is confident that God will preserve him from the decay of death and that death will not result in his corruption (v.10). Rather, he will travel down the path of life, that is, the path leading to life, which will terminate in God’s joyful presence (v.11). David’s confidence in his ultimate destiny is valid for him (and for all believers) only because Christ has travelled down that path and paved the way for all who believe in him (Acts 2:25-28).’ 

Oh friends, it could not be said any better. So if we’re wise, we’ll try and live that lifestyle, as it’s the optimum one available here on earth. And by the way, Acts 2:25-28 is only Peter’s paraphrasing of vs.9-11 in his big sermon on Pentecost day. Now let’s go home declaring our stellar position with Christ Jesus. 

In all sincerity and truth now: ‘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!’ 

And if we truly believe, then we know that there is indeed a glorious future ahead with Jesus Christ for all those who believe in and obey Him! Much LOVE!

…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…  

P.S. Yeh, it’s long and late, but nonetheless very worthwhile! (smile) 

 

 

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