Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 December 2019 Ephesians 6:11.

Ephesians 6:11.    ​Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes)  of the devil.
 

Well friends, it’s the first Sunday in Advent! And why is that important eh? Because in the church’s calendar, this is the time of year we begin preparing for Christ’s coming! Originally it seems like it was a time to think of Christ’s Second Coming, a cry for the Messiah to come back and take over the evil world. But apparently down through the years it got intertwined with the First Coming of the Messiah, what we call Christmas, so now we celebrate Advent by looking back nostalgically at the First Coming, while excitedly and expectantly looking forward to the Second One! Only in the Christian faith can we have such double celebrations my people! (smile) 

Anyway, as we gather today in joyful fellowship in the Lord’s sanctuary, to give thanks and praise and worship His Holy Name, we not going to open with an Advent hymn because I got a zeppo intimating that the Lord wanted to hear this particular tune, ‘Stand up for Jesus!’ I guess He’s feeling that believers are not being strong and steadfast enough in the faith. We’re being too fearful and wishy-washy, sitting on the fence, wavering like a leaf in the wind, and too ready to compromise so that we can go on with our comfortable lives! 

Consequently, He wants us to get our acts together, get really serious about our cause, and like true warriors come out fighting valiantly under Jesus’ banner, even to the death, if needs be! So let’s raise our voices in strong and solemn song, as we sing these most excellent sentiments, but also truly fighting words, written in 1858 by George Duffield (1818-1888) in honour of his dear departed friend and leader, Dudley Atkins Tyng (1825-1858) in a tragic farm accident. It’s reputed that Tyng’s last message to his associates was for them to, ‘Stand up for Jesus,’ and this became the theme of Duffield’s song. 

And to make it even more powerful, we going to do a scintillating, rocking Reggae version, a la Miss Carlene Davis. Wow! Rockers time mih people! (smile) So altogether now: ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross! Lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory his army he shall lead, till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear; if while ye sleep he suffers, away with shame and fear. Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without, charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout. 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in his strength alone; the arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own. Put on the gospel armour, each piece put on with prayer; when duty calls or danger be never wanting there. (Bridge: Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up.) 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long; this day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song. To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be; he with the King of glory shall reign eternally. (Extro: Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up….!’ 

Aye friends, I hope we truly meant what we just sang, because our world is desperate for somebody, for serious somebodies to stand up to the evil one in Jesus name! And it’s sad that we all know the scripture that characterizes that song, but we’re not putting it into full and proper use. Hear Bruh Paul as he articulates to the Ephesians, re the whole armour of God: ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ (Eph.6:10) 

As Christians we’re engaged in a spiritual battle from now until Christ’s Second Coming that we’re looking forward to this first Sunday in Advent. And there must be ‘no quarter given, no ceasefire, no temporary truce, no cessation of hostilities.’ But to do that successfully, we have to stand strong, be strengthened in and through the Lord’s might and power. And this next verse is also of the utmost importance: ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes)  of the devil.’ 

Yes my faithful brethren, no soldier worth his salt, goes into battle without armour, without protective gear. And since in this case our battle is not physical but spiritual, we need specialized protection: Our loins must be girded with God’s truth; the knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. Our chests must be protected by a breastplate of righteousness, holy character and moral conduct, through obedience to God’s truth. And then our feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We must be eager and willing to take on the satanic one and his demoniac cohorts, take the fight to him, and we get that from the gospel of peace, that frees us of any anxiety and fear. 

Then we need the shield of faith so we can repulse all the fiery darts of the wicked one. That means taking God at His Word, believing His awesome promises, dispelling all doubt Satan might try to induce. And we must have a helmet; that of salvation; the hope of and assurance of salvation, the surety, that we’re saved. And you can’t fight without a sword, in this case the sword of the Spirit; the powerful and ever-conquering Word of God! 

But along with all of that protective armour friends, we still need to use the most powerful tool in the universe; prayer! Without it, the armour is useless. So let’s hope all of this has lit a fire in our bellies, reignited our passion for Christ, so that we can become better soldiers in His victorious army! Much LOVE!

…Christians…put on your spiritual armour…the time to fight is NOW…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 November 2019 Proverbs 1:7.

Proverbs 1:7.    The fear (reverential awe) of the Lord is the (principal) beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
 

Well thank the Lord for eyes that opened again this Friday morning unto another new day in God’s great universe! Although I don’t think that many of us found the time to do it for real, since we were, and are still too occupied with the man-made commercial day called Black Friday! Ah Lord eh, another day to spend our money, or rather get into debt foolishly for things we don’t need, another snare of supposed sales to get you into the stores and spend what you don’t have. And it’s become so big over the last few years that even in Canada now it’s taken over, ostensibly to stop the northerners from going south to spend their hard earned cash and credit. 

And sadly, it just shows up man’s wild beast behaviour, as we rush and push and fight, and even kill to be the first into the stores, for the storekeepers are smart enough to only advertise a few items at a true sale price, so that mayhem can erupt at their doors. I don’t know how many Thanksgiving Day parties ended early so the participants could go and line up early for Black Friday Door Crashers! 

But let’s hear what the ordinary workingman has to say about all of that nuh: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday again oui! That means the weekend is here, and there’s no more work! And please doh tell me no nonsense about Black Friday eh! I work hard enough for my money, ah not going to go and throw it away now and buy stuff I don’t really need. And on top of that, to get out early and rush and push to get the few items on sale. 

No way Jose! Too much violence does go on in that Black Friday business nowadays yes! It just have we behaving like wild animals…even worse than wild animals, the way we fight each other to get in the stores and them. Steups! Let them do their do yes! I not going nowhere no stores today! I’m just going home after work, as usual, and just enjoy mih weekend, making my preparations for the real big and worthwhile celebration…Christmas! Would you believe Christmas just round the corner! Mamacita! Thank God for Fridays and weekends oui people!’ 

And who says the workingman isn’t wise in his own simple way eh? There’s nothing that says you need a lot of education to be wise. In fact, in these foolish and tremulous times, more education seems to equal less wisdom. But thankfully there’s a group that specializes in wisdom, (smile) true believers in Christ Jesus. Although I’m sure many supposed believers are involved in the Black Friday crush. (smile) Nonetheless, let’s chant our Friday Chant so that we can show the world that we’re somewhat different. 

As one strong and sincere voice 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!’ 

Yeh friends, that’s wisdom personified! If you are sincerely and diligently trying to do the will of Almighty God, then you are certainly numbered among the wise by those in heaven, though not necessarily by those on earth. But heaven is where it truly matters, since this earth will eventually pass away, but heaven, God’s Word and His Will, will not. That’s why Cousin Sol in his Book of Proverbs specified these awesome words of wisdom right at the very beginning: ‘The fear (reverential awe) of the Lord is the (principal) beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.’ 

Oh my people, that is indeed gospel truth! If you believe that the Lord made the universe and all therein it, then to know what the universe is all about, you must first know what’s Creator is all about. I think that’s simple logic. But hear how the scholars explain that verse. ‘1:7. The fear of the Lord means submission to the Lord and His revelation. When one is afraid of something, he either runs from it or submits to it. The latter idea is in view here. It is a healthy fear, like the fear of electricity or the fear of one’s parents, which causes one to act in an appropriate manner. The beginning does not mean that “the fear of the Lord” is left behind in the course of acquiring wisdom, but that it is the controlling principle of wisdom.’ 

Oh friends, how I wish that a much larger portion of this fractious world’s population truly feared, showed a reverential awe of the Lord! Then most of the nonsense that’s now happening would not even exist. And Job said it thus in his discourse on the subject. ‘But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price (value) thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.’ (Job 28:12-13) 

Then after evaluating the pros and cons of the matter (vs. 14-25) Job finally saw the light and announced: ‘When he (God) made a decree (set a limit) for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder (thunderbolt); Then did he see it (wisdom), and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.’ (Job 28:28) How much clearer can it get eh people? Not a whole lot! 

Now hear the psalmist: ‘He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.’ (Ps.111:9-10) 

There’s nothing left for me to say nuh friends, since great men of God have already declared the truth of the matter. All I can do now is to implore us to diligently seek the Lord, seek His face, seek His amazing wisdom though a sincere and reverential awe, so that wisdom can be ours, this day…and forever more! Much LOVE!

…you can’t know the created…until you know the Creator…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 December 2018 1 Peter 5:8.

1 Peter 5:8.   ​Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
 
Aye mih beauties, welcome to spring time in December! It’s raining outside, and they say it might go up to as much as ten degrees Celsius today! Brother! Imagine that scene at the end of December nuh! I feel sorry for the purists who did not get their white Christmas and might not even get to ski as they ring in the New Year. But what yuh going to do eh? Everything’s changing, and changing fast too! I remember the days when you could be assured of snow, and plenty too, for Christmas! 

The duchess and I might even have wasted money paying for snow removal, since we can’t do it ourselves any longer, and there hasn’t been any to remove so far. But like my friend Scotty, I’m the eternal optimist! (smile) We will get snow, it’s only a matter of time…and then we’ll get so much, that we’ll all hold our heads and bawl! Matter fix! 

Now let’s hear what the workingman is singing this spring-like Friday morning nuh: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday! And another long weekend…in cool weather to boot, as New Year’s rolls on in! Wonder what 2019 going to hold for we eh? Most likely the same old slaving for the slave driver…but we going to cross that path when we come to it yes! Right now is celebration time, ringing out the Christmas season and ringing in the New Year! 

And brother, what a Christmas we had; food and drinks and parties galore, though not as much presents under the tree as usual! But everybody was happy and had a good time. So we can say that Christmas 2018 was wonderful, as we thank the Lord for Fridays, weekends and Christmas time!’ 

Ah mih people, I do hope that we all had a good Christmas, and that unlike the workingman, we included Christ in it, because in spite of everything the unbelievers say and do, He is the reason for all this celebration, every year, in the month of December.

Let’s also hope that we didn’t overdo any aspect of the celebrations, kept Granny’s warning in mind: ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business.’ And consequently, did not give the always lurking enemy a chance to get even a toehold in our souls, for we all know that’s his avowed purpose. 

Now let’s sing our weekend song, our Friday Chant. It’s not as colourful as the workingman’s but it serves our purposes admirably. 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!’ 

Yeh friends, our song elicits a modicum of circumspection that’s absent from the workingman’s; we tend to keep narrower borders, so that the enemy isn’t given an open invitation to infiltrate our souls. That’s why Peter steadfastly warns us: ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.’ 

And that’s gospel truth friends! Satan is only interested in stealing our peace and joy found in Christ Jesus! When he has us low down and miserable and doubting then he laughs and believes he’s won. But the truth is he can NEVER WIN unless we allow him to, for Jesus has already won the battle for death, hell and the grave, He has the keys to eternity, and the prince of darkness is a defeated foe! He’s only trying to fool us into thinking that he has some sort of authority and power. But he’s actually a toothless tiger! (smile) 

Nonetheless, we still need to follow Peter’s advice: ‘Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in (experienced by) your brethren that are in the world.’ (1 Pet.5:9) Yeh mih people, all of us experience some kind of affliction in this earthly life, because it’s a fallen world. Jesus said it clearly: ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33b) 

Oh friends, I know that’s easier said than done, but Peter also has some advice for how we can best resist the adversary. Listen up: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet.5:6-7) Oh faithful believers, truer words were never spoken! Our heavenly Father cares for us more than we can ever imagine! 

And He is the ONLY ONE who can help us to steadfastly resist the enemy! But we do need to acknowledge His supremacy, and humbly come to Him asking for His help. And please note, He will NEVER turn away anyone who comes to him sincerely and humbly asking for assistance. That’s his ever-faithful promise! So let’s not be proud and foolish nuh, thinking we can do it on our own, because we can’t. 

But if we seek the Lord diligently, Peter promises: ‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen and settle you.’ (1 Pet.5:10) Wow mih brethren, what a wonderful promise! We can’t expect life to be all wine, roses and song, there must be some tough times so that we can grow spiritually, become more Christ-like! 

However, when we’ve valiantly withstood those times, with Christ’s help of course, then our wonderful God will indeed establish and strengthen us in His might and power. That’s why Peter ends thus: ‘To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!’ (1 Pet.5:11) Oh what a great God we serve and worship my people! Let’s not forget that He is our Alpha and Omega, our First and Last, our Everything! Much LOVE!

…living for Jesus…is the ONLY sensible way…to live this earthly life…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 December 2018 Matthew 6:33.

Matthew 6:33.   ​But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 
Ah friends, as Christmas week is winding down, and we winding up to New Year’s Eve, what’s there to say eh? The ole fella is stymied! Hn, hn! And I can hear some of you who know me chuckling and wondering if that is possible. But wonder of wonders it is possible! Contrary to popular opinion, the ole fella doesn’t always have something to say, but when he does, he makes no bones about it and says it loud and clear. 

Friends, I make no apologies for wearing my emotions on my sleeve, they might not always be appropriate, but believe me, they are always well intentioned. It’s sad though, that those who think I talk too much, on the odd occasion, when I keep quiet, they believe that I am angry. 

So how to please them eh? I guess I just don’t try, for I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t! And if anybody can tell me how we got to all of that, I’d be very happy, since I don’t have a clue! Guess the Lord thought since I didn’t have anything to say, that stuff might be a good idea. For all our sakes, let’s hope so yes! (smile) 

And I’ve just been searching through the bits of paper on my desk here, looking for something to write on – I really don’t have anything – and two quotes from the Daily Bread Devotional just jumped out at me. The first is: ‘Knowing God is what matters most!’ And the second is: ‘Jesus ALONE gives the rest we need!’ 

And yuh know friends, when you ponder those two thoughts, you can easily build a beautiful Christian life around them. They are all you really need to know! For as Jesus so strenuously and ardently emphasized in His Sermon on the Mount: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ 

Oh my fellow believers, there are no more important words than those in the Good Book, because the first thing we need to do in this life is to seek God! And once we do that, He’s promised that everything else will fall into place! Give Him thanks and praise my people, for being such a wonderful Father to us stubborn and disobedient children! 

And as a fitting corollary to our Bit, hear these words of our wonderful God, as spoken through the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah: ‘And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.’ (Jer.29:13) What a beautiful assuring scripture mih people! All it entails is us seeking the Lord with all of our heart; meaning humbly, sincerely and with the right motives! 

So now that we’ve come to know God, the next important thing is to find rest and revitalization in this cruel, busy and evil world. And where best to find that than in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the One who uttered this Great Invitation when He walked amongst fallen men here on earth. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28-30) 

Oh friends, oh friends, that’ the best invitation ever offered in this crazy, fallen world! Nobody else has ever offered such an invitation…and even if they did, it’s very unlikely that they can fulfill it, because it’s only something that Jesus can fulfill. No one else can give you rest for your souls, after He has died to atone for your sins, and bear your earthly burdens on top of all that! 

My people, Jesus knows what we’re going through here on earth, because He went through it too, that’s why He can offer the sustenance and easy yoke found in His unconditional and ever-abiding LOVE! And if you didn’t believe Jesus there, then here’s another opportunity to do so: ‘And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.’ (John 6:36) 

Yes my fellow believers, Jesus IS the bread that gives life: spiritual and eternal life! What else do we need to hear before we come to Jesus eh? Well try these words that He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob: ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water (fountain) springing up into everlasting life.’ (John 4:13-14) 

And yuh know what friends, that Samaritan woman was smarter than many of us in this supposedly enlightened age. Without hesitation, she fervently replied: ‘Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.’ (John 4:15) Yeh mih people, she might not have understood all the ramifications of Jesus’ words, but unlike us, she knew a good thing when she heard it. What are we waiting for to seek God and come to Jesus for rest eh, my brethren? 

We waiting until He comes back again and it’s too late? Please, please, let’s not fall into that trap of the enemy, because He is only looking for company. Remember the worst fate that can befall a soul is to be on the outside looking in when Jesus returns! So please let’s smarten up today, RIGHT NOW, and look after our eternal future. That’s the wisdom of the ages! 

And having said all of that, let’s not forget to declare our Thursday Blessings that have been so lavishly bestowed on us as believers in Christ Jesus. As one, in strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

 I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and action, share those blessings as Jesus desires of us. Much LOVE!

…a word to the wise is sufficient

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 December 2018 Luke 2:7.

Luke 2:7.   ​And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger (feed trough); because there was no room for them in the inn.
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!
‘Drink ah rum and ah punchacrema, drink ah rum! It’s Christmas morning!’ Ah mih people, in my area it might be a tad early to drink a rum and a punchacrema, although some of you on the other side of the world most likely have tibbled some already. (smile) I have a brand new bottle of the rich, creamy stuff to check out later. A friend sends me one every year, that’s his Christmas present to me. 

However, let’s get to the important stuff: It’s Christmas morning! Glory be my friends and Scrip-Bit family! We’ve lived to see another one of these monumental days that ushered in the beginnings of our faith! That miraculous immaculate conception of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which ended up in His humble birth on this day some two thousand years ago in a lowly stable. 

 But that was just the planting of the seed, one of the four most important days in the annals of man, where God finally put His exemplary plan of salvation, free saving grace and eternal life for all and sundry into production, having promised it for numerous years before! Yes, it all began in a dirty animal stable with the birth of a baby boy called Jesus, our Emmanuel, our God with us! And there was such a racket around the fields of that little town of Bethlehem on this momentous night, that the world has never forgotten it. 

Now let’s remember it in praise and worshipful song as we sing the much adored song, ‘Joy to the world,’ written by that prolific writer Isaac Watts way back in the 18th century. Let’s raise the rafters with the joy that emanates from our hearts and souls this Christmas morning of 2018 as we joyously, joyfully, ‘joyeuxly’ (smile) declare: ‘Joy to the World; the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King! Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing. (Repeat line twice) 

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields & floods, rocks, hills & plains Repeat the sounding joy. (Repeat line twice) No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow Far as the curse is found. (Repeat line twice) He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love. (Repeat line twice) Joy to the World; the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King! Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing. (Repeat line twice).’ 

Yeh friends on this Christmas Day there should be such explosive joy in EVERY Christian heart that we should just want to burst with LOVE for Christ! For He is indeed the Way, the Truth and the Light! The awesome means by which we are saved! For NO ONE comes to the Father BUT through Him! 

Now let’s take a look at some of the miraculous action that happened around Bethlehem on that most auspicious night. Now Joseph and the pregnant Mary had gone up to Bethlehem to be registered per Roman edict. And it so happens that while up there Mary’s time came upon her: ‘And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger (feed trough); because there was no room for them in the inn.’ 

Now one would think that the omnipotent Lord God Jehovah, His heavenly Father, could have made room for them at the inn, but He was out to prove a point by showing that humble and lowly beginnings don’t mean a thing! If His Son could be born in a loud, foul smelling barn of animals and do great things, so could any one else! 

Oh, listen to this explanation from the scholars: ‘2:7. Swaddling clothes were bandage-like strips of cloth wrapped around an infant to ensure that the limbs would grow straight. Not to swaddle a child would be a form of abuse (Ezek. 16:2-4). This wrapping would aid the shepherds in identifying Jesus.’ 

Now here’s the action! ‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon (stood before) them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore (greatly) afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David (Bethlehem) a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes (cloths), lying in a manger (feed trough). And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:8-14) 

Wow friends! Can you imagine that quiet, silent night in the fields around Bethlehem, with shepherds sleepily guarding their animals, when an angel suddenly appears and tells them about the birth of this heavenly child, then a host of other angels arrive and begin singing, glorifying God, and exuding peace on earth and good will to all mankind! The shepherds were probably expecting another quiet, uneventful night, when to their amazement, it suddenly turned into a rather raucous affair of praise and thanksgiving and good news! 

Oh my people, those shepherds were so excited by the news that the Good Book says: ‘And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered (marvelled) at those things which were told them by the shepherd. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.’ (Luke 2:16-20) 

Ah my people, as we celebrate this most auspicious occasion, please let’s remember why it all happened, for our benefit, and let’s do like those shepherds did so long ago, when they heard the good news, praise and glorify God for the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

And let’s not forget to declare our Tuesday Mantra which says who and whose we are; Christ’s! So as always, in strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ And today is definitely the day to share that awesome LOVE OF JESUS! Much LOVE!

…the first time He came humbly and without much fanfare…the next time though…the heavens will burst forth…and He’ll come as the royalty…the mighty King He truly is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 December 2018 Isaiah 9:2.

Isaiah 9:2.   The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
 
And then it was Sunday…Christmas Sunday…Yay! Just imagine friends, only two more days and it’s here; one of the biggest and best days ever in the history of mankind; the day when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born! Glory Hallelujah! Give the Father much thanks and praise for sending His only Son as a human to dwell amongst us and show us His holy ways! 

And as always, when we gather in His sanctuary on a Sunday we open with praise and worship, exalting His name and softening our hearts so that we can receive His holy Word. And today we’re singing that magnificent and well-known, traditional Christmas hymn, ‘Silent Night’ (“Stille Nacht” in its original German). 

‘The song was originally a poem written by pastor Joseph Franz Mohr and composed by his friend Franz Xaver Gruber in early 19th century Austria. Pastor Mohr desperately needed a carol for the Christmas Eve midnight mass that was only hours away, and he hoped Gruber – a school teacher as well as the church’s choir master and organist – could set his poem to music; he composed the melody in just a few hours on that Christmas Eve. 

The melody used today (a slow, meditative lullaby or pastorale) is slightly different from Gruber’s original (a moderato tune in 6/8 time and siciliana rhythm), particularly in the final strain. The English translation we most frequently sing today was written and published by Episcopal priest John Freeman Young in 1859, who translated three verses of Mohr’s original six.’ 

So now that we know something about the song’s origins, let’s sing it with heartfelt praise and gratitude nuh. As one earthly choir now! ‘Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace. Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight; Glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia! Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born! 

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, LOVE’S pure light; Radiant beams from thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.’ 

Yes my faithful brethren, our Saviour’s birth changed the world like nothing before it ever has! As the prophet Isaiah declared long before it happened: ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ 

Yes my people, Christ’s birth brought the light of heaven to earth where many were living in darkness and evil. And unfortunately, two thousand years later, too many of us are still living in darkness and evil! 

And Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, when he had regained his voice, after being struck dumb for not believing the angel Gabriel’s promise of a son in his old age, (Luke 1:11-20) also spoke of God’s redemption of His people, on the day that John was presented to the Lord. 

‘And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation (a Mighty Deliverer) for us in the house of his servant David; As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 

That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.’ (Luke 1:67-75) 

Yeh friends, please note those provisos: ‘serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our lives.’ God’s promises weren’t any fly by night stuff; they had a definite purpose behind them!

And if you don’t believe, then the scholars point us to ‘1:73: See Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-6; 22:15-18).’ Yes friends, that’s a list of the promises God made to Abraham, every one of which He kept! Please check them out for yourselves. I just did! 

But Zechariah was not done with prophesying. Having spoken of Jesus, he turned to his son, John: ‘And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission (forgiveness) of their sins,

Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring (Messiah) from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ (Luke 1:76-79) 

That’s why John is known as the forerunner of Christ; he was sent to prepare the way for Christ’s coming. And the scholars give an interesting explanation of ‘1:78: Dayspring means “dawn” and figuratively refers to the coming of the Messiah. The clause should be translated, “Dawn from heaven will visit us.” That is the Messiah from heaven will come to help us. God’s messianic deliverance is often expressed as the bursting forth of a great light.’ 

Ah mih people, this Christmas season, as we celebrate Christ’s birth, please, please let’s allow that great light to burst forth in our lives nuh, so that we can be delivered out of all the darkness that currently covers us! Much LOVE!

…for with thee is the fountain of life…in thy light…shall we see light… (Ps.36:9)  

P.S. Yeh, it’s somewhat late, but I had to go to church first…And anyway, it’s still enlightening! (smile) Much LOVE!

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 December 2018 Lamentations 3:22.

Lamentations 3:22.   It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
 
Aye mih people, it’s a brand new day with new mercies, LOVE, forgiveness, blessings and all the other good things that our magnanimous and ever-LOVING God showers down on us each and every single day! Glory be! Give Him much thanks and praise for His enduring goodness and LOVING-kindness to the undeserving children of men! Yes friends, is our God ever good to us! 

And would you believe that with only four days – not four shopping days (smile) to Christmas that we have rain in our area and not the crazy white stuff called snow! I’m surely grateful for that, although the skiers and other snow people won’t be thrilled.

Sorry people, but the Controller of the universe apparently feels for rain right now, not snow, and consequently there’s nothing we can do about it! But have no fear, we will get our fair share of the white stuff…in God’s time, that is! 

And the workingman has not forgotten us in these most celebratory times. Hear him sing his song: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday – the weekend! And only four days till Christmas too! Oh how we going to make merry and celebrate Christmas…but I already doing that yes!

I eating mih home made bread with ham flavoured with chow chow an’ pepper sauce! Brother does that ever taste good! Nice heavy bread with substance, not them light fluffy chupidness they sell in the bakery an’ call them bread! 

Then ah washing it down with sweet sorrel or ginger beer…an’ black cake and ice cream for dessert. Yuh smell how the alco strong in the cake? If yuh eat too much it soon black yuh up yes! (smile) And all we doing is going round to other people’s houses, singing carols and sweet parang music, an’ eating and drinking up all their Christmas goodies! Oh Christmas is such a wonderful time! Thank God for Fridays, weekends and Christmas oui!’ 

Yeh friends, Christmas is indeed a wonderful time, and all the celebrating is good, but it should not be paramount in our lives. The birth of our Lord and Saviour is what should hold first place in our lives this Christmas season, for it’s the very reason for the season! Without the birth of Christ, there’d be no Christmas! 

So why have we allowed that fact to be obscured by the foolishness of the man made festivities eh, where shopping and other bacchanalian activities seem to be honoured above the birth of our Saviour? Yuh can’t even say ‘Merry Christmas’ to some people! All they want to hear is the foolishness bout ‘Happy Holidays!’ What holiday is it eh? CHRISTMAS! So say it loud and proud: ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS!’ 

And forget the nonsensical watering down of the time when our God gave us His greatest gift ever: that of the birth of His only Son Jesus Christ, so that He would grow and show us the Father, and eventually die on the cross at Calvary to atone for our heinous and abominable sins! Brother! How can we not celebrate and give oodles of sincere thanks for such wonderful occurrences eh? 

My Christian brethren, please let’s not fall into the enemy’s trap of considering Christmas as more of a worldly time than it is eh. It’s ALL ABOUT CHRIST! So please let’s keep the CHRIST in CHRISTMAS! Keep it first place, like we ought to keep God first place in our overall lives! End of sermon! (smile) 

And I’ve talked so much about keeping Christ in Christmas that I almost forgot about our Friday Chant. Hn! So please let’s chant it up now with the same enthusiasm that the workingman placed in his song. 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, it’s not as worldly as the workingman’s song, but it serves our purposes rather admirably; keeping us away from the excesses of the world, and more in line with the straight and narrow path that’s Christ desire for His people. That finally brings us to our Bit; a most wonderful piece of encouraging and reassuring scripture: ‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.’ 

And is that the gospel truth or what my faithful brethren! If it wasn’t for the Lord’s compassionate heart and intense care for us, we’d be long burnt up like the noonday sun burns up the dry grass! That’s why we need to take our Christian faith more seriously than many of us are doing. But hear how poor Jeremiah continues as he laments over his trials and tribulations nuh. 

‘They (the Lord’s mercies) are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.’ (Lam.3:23-26) 

Oh my people, those are indeed words of eternal wisdom! If we sincerely believe in God, then we have to HOPE and WAIT for His timing and dispensation! Nothing else makes any sense. And if you don’t believe me, then listen to the scholars’ explanation of that last section. ‘3:26. Jeremiah’s observation resembles those of other saints who have expressed great grief of soul (Hab. 2:20; 3:17-19; cf. Job 40:3-5; Ps.37:7; 73:23-27; Is.26:3; 2 Cor.1:7; 2 Thess.3:5).’ 

Yuh see friends, even though the great saints suffered trials and tribulations, and more than most of us do nowadays too, they all felt the assurance of hoping in and waiting for God. And I just looked up all those scriptures the scholars noted, and they are indeed interesting and inspiring stuff. So please look them up yourselves so that you too can be enthused and reassured! That’s the only sensible way to live this life my people! Much LOVE!

…ONLY because of Christ’s birth…is there Christmas…let’s remember that…and act accordingly…

 

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