Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 November 2017 Proverbs 13:12.

Proverbs 13:12.   Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

And as the church bells peal the call to church, we put on our Sunday best and get ready to gather in the house of God, be it a magnificent cathedral or a manger like where Christ was born. The physical place is not as important as the people who gather in Christ’s name, and what they do there; sing, praise, worship and glorify His holy name. 

Oh friends, only the ole fogeys will remember the simpler days when church bells rang to tell us how long before church began. And you’d see a whole lot of us hurrying into church just as the last bell was ringing. (smile) But sadly church bells are now a thing of the past, just like church going is for way too many of us. 

Anyway, enough reminiscing, let’s get on with today’s proceedings. And we’ll open with this well-known 18th century hymn by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 90:1, to instill a sense of assurance and a place of refuge in Almighty God. 

So let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise like we’ve truly found that sense of assurance and place of refuge nuh. ‘O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home. Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; Sufficient is Thine arm alone, And our defense is sure. Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting Thou art God, To endless years the same. 

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust, “Return, ye sons of men”: All nations rose from earth at first, And turn to earth again. A thousand ages in Thy sight Are like an evening gone; Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun. The busy tribes of flesh and blood, With all their lives and cares, Are carried downwards by the flood, And lost in foll’wing years. 

Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Bears all its sons away; They fly, forgotten, as a dream Dies at the op’ning day. Like flow’ry fields the nations stand Pleased with the morning light; The flow’rs beneath the mower’s hand Lie with’ring ere ’tis night. O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Be Thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.’ 

Oh my people, those words come close, but they can’t really do our great God justice, for there are no words to truly describe what He means to mankind.  He is our BE ALL and END ALL! We are created by Him, live physical life under His dominion, then end up wherever He thinks our spiritual life is best suited. So since He is Master of ALL He surveys, true wisdom will dictate that we put ALL of our trust and hope in Him. 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.’ And we only had time yesterday to admit to that truth; when we don’t have hope, we’re depressed and miserable, but when we do have it, we’re revitalized and joy abounds. But what actually is that thing we call Hope eh? 

Here is an interesting definition from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) from His Hour of Power Devotional.  He says: ‘HOPE. It is a scientific experience of the presence of God operating in your personality… Your good luck is really your good Lord. Hope is a mystery. God always offers hope regardless of your beliefs, whether you are an agnostic or atheist. Hope is the presence of a God of LOVE coming into your mind, your spirit, your body, your personality. This is God. This is HOPE!’ 

And who are we to doubt him eh? However we define hope, it is important to realize that it comes from our LOVING Creator, and it is given to reassure and encourage us to have faith in Him. Moses so rightly declared in the opening of his psalm. ‘Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place (refuge) in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed (gave birth to) the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.’ (Ps.90:1-2)  And if all of that is true my people, then the only logical place to look for succour and refuge, to acquire that mysterious, scientific uplifting experience termed hope, is from Almighty God! 

And another stalwart of faith, Bruh David concurs completely with Moses, as he questions his depressed mood. ‘Why art thou cast (bowed) down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance (presence).’ (Ps.42:5) Yuh see friends, Bruh David is there seeking refuge, hope, relief from his depression, revitalization through God’s presence. And if we are wise, we will do the same thing. 

Now hear how Bruh Paul describes hope in his epistle to the Roman church, as he expounds on the results of justification. ‘And patience, experience (character); and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed (does not disappoint); because the LOVE of God is shed abroad (has been poured out) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time (at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly.’ (Rom.5:4-6) Yes friends, Christ died that we might have hope, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us is the living sign of that hope, as He walks and talks with and for us. 

And we’ll close with one more applicable scripture from Bruh Paul to the Romans, as he talks about Life in the Spirit. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) (eagerly) wait for it.’ (Rom.8:24-25) Truer words were never spoken my brethren! Now let’s put our hope and trust in God nuh, so that our faith can be boosted and our lives become more Christ-like. Much LOVE!

…you can’t have faith without hope…for hope is the underlying nature…the foundation of faith…



Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 April 2016 Psalm 46:1

Psalm 46:1.   God is our refuge and strength, a very present help (an abundantly available help) in trouble.

Well friends, it’s Saturday and I’m just biding my time to go up Calder Hall and get some of the revitalizing and refreshing and energizing soup of Brother Kirby. Oh mih people, I can see those three big iron (Dutch) pots sitting on the fire under the tent, just filled with delicious tasting soup. 

One containing pigeon peas, or as my Jamaican family calls it, gungo peas; then the other is bubbling with dasheen bush, and the last with a thick cow foot mixture, just guaranteed to set your palate right. Oh I know some of you will skin up your face at that last one, but truthfully, I believe that the cow foot is the most nourishing of the three kinds of soup. 

So I’m dreaming, so big deal! That’s why the Lord gave us imaginations, and through the eyes of faith I’m seeing myself slurping back some of that nourishing and tasty Tobago soup, not too far in the distant future. Mama Yo! Tobago soup!

Yeh friends, the ole fella misses Tobago; the sunshine, the saltwater, the friends, the family, early morning devotions on the patio as the sun rises and the birds chorus their songs of LOVE, the church going and Bible Study, watching the ferries go back and forth from Scarborough to Port of Spain, not to mention the peaceful calm of the sea just breaking over the reef and washing up on to the rocky shore.  

And I miss it even more, when up here, they are calling for rain and snow today and tomorrow. But what to do eh? Not much but grin and bear it, because this is where the Lord has me currently planted and that means He has work for me to do here. But one day, one day, provided the Lord is in favour, I know it will surely happen.  

Now here is an interesting quote from our friend Anselm, as always inspiring us to aspire to a better tomorrow. This quote says: ‘Somebody came into my office crying. I said, “Look, don’t cry to give up! Cry to keep going!!” Don’t cry to quit! You already in pain, You already hurt! Get a reward from it!’ 

And you know that does make a whole lot of sense my brethren. As Christians we keep talking about the Lord testing us, teaching us useful lessons, putting us on His potter’s wheel and reshaping us, then putting us in the kiln to bake for a while to toughen us up.  

Now that is all painful, but you know what? We need to always learn from our pain. And coincidentally, it’s just in the last few days I heard two preachers say the same thing. We must not waste our pain. What’s the point of bearing the pain if we don’t learn something from it, or as Anselm says: ‘Get a reward from it.’ 

Yes friends, a lot of us are hurting in some form and fashion, and none of us like to be hurting, but it’s an essential part of human life, especially the Christian faith, where we grow stronger and more Christ-like through painful situations. So since we cannot get around the hurt and pain of this mortal life, we might as well embrace it and use it for some useful purpose. 

Just don’t ask me what and how? (smile) I have some here that I don’t understand the whys nor the wherefores, but when I figure it, out I’ll let you know. 

Ah mih people, life just happens to us all, and we can only benefit by using it in a positive manner, and laughing some at our problems, otherwise we’ll go crazy in no time at all. And as Christians we have it better than anybody else, because as our Bit so truthfully and powerfully declares: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help (an abundantly available help) in trouble.’ 

And that is the gospel, the indisputable and irrevocable truth my brethren! Our God is our hiding place and our tower of power! 

Consequently, the sons of Korah continue the psalm thus: ‘Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst (the heart) of the sea: Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.  Selah.’ (Ps.46:2-3)  

Yes my fellow believers, that’s how strong we ought to be, even with earthquakes and tidal waves surrounding us. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible or practical, but it is the pinnacle for which we ought to aim, since the Creator and Controller of the world is our heavenly Father, our refuge and our strength in time of trouble, and furthermore has promised never to leave or forsake us. What better place to put our trust and faith eh? 

Now listen to Bruh David say it in his own inimitable style. ‘My soul, (silently) wait thou only upon God: for expectation (hope) is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved (shaken). In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.  Selah.’ (Ps.62: 5-8)  

Ah friends, there’s not much more that I can add to that. And we all know the painful but faithful life Bruh David lived. Some of his problems were of his own making, but others, like Saul hunting him down like a wild animal, was God’s way of testing him. It took him something like twenty years after he was anointed, to actually become king. 

Likewise, some of our troubles are self inflicted, while others come to try our mettle of faith. And hopefully, like Bruh David, we will have the wherewithal to stand up strong and pass most of the tests, as the Lord desires of us. 

Now let’s close with these awe inspiring words of Moses, as he exhorts the Israelites to obedience. ‘For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh (a God so near) unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?’ (Deut.4:7) 

And the truthful answer to that my brethren is a resounding ‘NO OTHER!’ 

So with all of that godly encouragement and inspiration, please let’s go out today, and every day henceforth, to LOVE and serve our Lord, and do His will with humble pleasure, as Jesus did in His earthly sojourn. It won’t be easy, but with God’s always available help, it’s doable. Much LOVE!

…with the Creator as our refuge and strength…Christians don’t need any other protectors or protection…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 August 2015 Psalm 97:7

Psalm 97:7.    Confounded be all they that (let all be put to shame who) serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

Welcome my fellow believers to the first and best day of the week; Sunday! Two decades ago it was primarily a day of rest with mostly church going and family gatherings. But unfortunately the busyness and supposed advancement of life intervened and now almost everything is open 24/7. 

Obviously that has detracted from those things we once held sacred on a Sunday. However, that doesn’t mean that church attendance, rest and family gatherings are any less important now, perhaps they are even more important because there is less time and opportunity for us to engage in them with a lot of people on different work schedules. 

And worshipping Almighty God as a body of believers, Christ’s Church, is still of the utmost importance in our Christian faith. For it is where we get together to sing and praise the Lord, read the Good Book, hear it explained, and thus boost our spiritual selves, and consequently leave the house of worship renewed and reinvigorated in bodies, souls and minds to face another week of backbreaking and mind boggling labour. (smile) 

Again we might consider fellowshipping even more important now, because of the many more activities that vie for our time, and it’s so easy to put off that renewal of spiritual self in favour of some other worldlier pastime.  But Friends, as I keep reminding us, that is not a very wise decision, for basically how you spend your Sundays, that’s how your work week will bottom out. 

Why do you think the psalmist encourages us thus: ‘O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand (under his care).’ (Ps.95:6-7) 

Oh Friends, when we sincerely get together and worship the Lord our God, worthwhile emotions like peace, joy, togetherness and LOVE fill our souls. Then that enables us to put on the mind of Christ, to LOVE the Lord and reach out to others in need. 

And our Bit seriously warns us: ‘Confounded be all they that (let all be put to shame who) serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.’ 

And shame is putting it rather mildly my brethren, for listen to what the Lord said long ago, when He gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments. ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before (but) me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image; or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them (worship them), nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting (punishing) the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands that LOVE me, and keep my commandments.’ (Ex.20:3-6) 

And having heard all of that Friends, I don’t see how we can now blithely hold the things of the world more important than our great God. And furthermore, the Lord thought it important enough to remind the Israelites, and us to ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, not thy maidservant, nor thy cattle; nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 

For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.’ (Ex.20:8-11) 

Now we won’t get into any divisive arguments about which day is truly the Sabbath day because that in no way furthers God’s kingdom, but suffice it to say that we must give one day each week to God. So whatever day our denomination chooses to worship Jehovah God, then we should be present to participate in the praise and thanksgiving and fellowshipping. 

You’ll notice too that Jesus considered it very important to attend the synagogue, and wherever He was on the Sabbath day, He made it a practice to faithfully attend. So if Jesus believed it necessary to go and worship the Father, who are we not to think it important eh? Ah mih people, I don’t know why it’s so difficult to get supposed Christians to go to church nuh, when it is required of their faith. 

One recently told me that they don’t need to go to church to have a personal relationship with Christ, and that is perfectly true. But Christ also said that He wants his followers to gather together as one body, His church, where fellowship would be paramount. 

No man is an island, and can’t live by himself, but needs other humans around him. Likewise, no Christian can live unto himself, but needs others of like faith and belief to help him walk the long and oftimes lonely and difficult road that is this earthly pilgrimage.  

Oh Friends, I’m pleading with us this Sunday morning to return to worshipping Almighty God in His sanctuary in numbers like we used to do. It is a requirement of God and our faith, and we each need it, the benefits are very worthwhile. 

So please let’s put God first in our thoughts this morning, and let it take us to His house, along with our children, so that we can sing and dance and praise and worship our wonderful Lord and Creator. That is what He desires of us, He says it in His word.  And it also signifies wisdom on our part, wisdom of the highest degree. Much LOVE!

…one can’t truly live for Jesus…if one is not a sincere member of His body…His church…and gather regularly with other believers in praise and worship…