Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 July 2020 Hebrews 10:35.

Hebrews 10:35.     ​Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
 

And then it was a cloudy and uncertain Tuesday morning, just like the cloudy and uncertain Monday we had yesterday! But it’s oh so refreshing and wonderful when you don’t have to depend on the physical weather to get your sunshine; when you have the bright, amazing and beautiful light of Jesus and His everlasting salvation shining in your souls! Mama Mia! Yeh friends, you can tell that the ole fella is definitely glad to be alive to see another glorious day, be it physically rain or shine! It’s the only way to live this life! It also means that once we’re still here the Lord has big plans for us! Glory be! 

One person who’s no longer here with us though enjoying our earthly friendship is our ever-faithful church sister Mavis Harvey. Mavis died last week, thankfully with her family by her side, after being in poor health for a long time. But you would never have known it from her staunch and positive behaviour. She was the epitome of the sweet, quiet, godly, grandmotherly woman. Didn’t say much, but whatever she said had value. She was one of the few people who religiously attended our Wednesday morning service. 

And talk about stubborn! In the days before the church was shut down, Mavis, who lived a few blocks away and had some ambulatory problems, most always refused a ride to or from church unless the weather was real bad. She had her walker and that gave her exercise. She will always be remembered for her LOVING-kindness; baking stuff for the church, as well as knitting blankets and other baby stuff. It was good that our pastor, Father Jeff, was able to spend some time with her before she went home to glory. Our sincere condolences and prayers go out to her family. May your wonderful soul rest in peace Mavis, my sister. 

Ah friends, for more saints like Mavis in our church families, instead of the rango- tango, gossipy, resentful, petty cliques and divisions that seem to currently proliferate. Sometimes it makes one belief that the world is more inside the church body than outside, the way we behave so much like it. And especially in these tumultuous times when unity is so badly needed, it’s sad and sorrowful that we have such a divided and fractured church. 

But I firmly believe that these tumultuous times are instances that our great and mysterious God has allowed to come upon us partly for the purpose of bringing us together and showing the world that His people, Christ’s church are actually whom they claim to be; kind, LOVING, understanding, unified, helpful and godly folks, by actually doing Christ-like work amongst the poor, sick and needy. Yes, I know it’s a rather convoluted sentence, but full of truth, what I like to call a Bruh Paulian sentence. (smile) 

That’s why precious people of God, I’m here to encourage us, to exhort us to take a true and sincere stand in these uncertain and trying times to be salt of the earth and lights of the world like Jesus desires of us, so that we can rebuild, renovate, fix, make right, whatever is currently wrong with His church. Remember, actions speak much louder than words, and if ever there was a time that plenty action was needed from the church it’s right now! So let’s not faint and give up during this time of pandemic and strife nuh. 

Instead, let’s write this scripture indelibly in our hearts and action it with much vim and vigour. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience (endurance, perseverance), that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.’ (Heb.10:35-36) Yes friends, remember giving up is not in Christ’s vocabulary. And whosoever will endure to the end will receive a crown of glory. And even then, it’s not so much about the eventual reward nuh, but the fact that we LOVE and admire Jesus and all that He’s sacrificed for us and we just want to do His will as best we can. The eventual reward is just lagniappe, brawtha, icing on the cake. It’s not what should really move us. 

And I think this scripture from Peter is very useful for us in these non-understandable times. ‘But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity (LOVE) among yourselves: for charity (LOVE) shall cover a multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging (grumbling). As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles (utterances) of God; if any man minister. Let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.’ (1 Pet. 4:7-11) 

Oh friends, please remember that whatever we have, be it earthly wealth and power, or spiritual gifts they still belong to God, and we are only stewards down here on earth to ensure that they are well used and distributed. And please allow these words of Bruh Paul to sink deeply into our consciousness and truly live by them. ‘For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office (function): So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one (individually) members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.’ (Rom. 12:3-6) 

Ah mih people, the long and short of the story is that through the grace, the generosity, the undeserved favour of God, we have all been given certain gifts in different areas, and we must use them diligently, without grumbling or greed, to effectively promote Christ’s church. That’s it in a nutshell! (smile) And there’s truly no better time for us to come together and do our thing (stir up the gift of God) than right now when the world is in such a state of confusion and we are the ONLY ones with the ONLY solution: Jesus Christ! 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are. 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 do we ever need to share Jesus’ LOVE and friendship with this sad and sorrowful world! Much LOVE!

…in tough times…tough people…namely Christians…stand tough…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 June 2020 Hebrews 4:16.

Hebrews 4:16.     ​Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
 

‘And God spake all these words saying… 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, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ (Ex. 20:8-11) 

As always friends, our God never minces words, He comes straight out and tells it like it is. And by the way, for those of you who don’t know, that is one of the original Ten Commandments! (smile) Thus we have been told that we have to keep the sabbath day, which we celebrate on a Sunday, holy and in remembrance of God, with rest and praise and worship. 

Unfortunately, though churches have recently been given the green light to open for a specific percentage of people, with numerous safe conditions, most of them are not quite ready to do so. That means we still have to worship and sing and praise through technological methods. But it has never stopped us before, and neither is it going to stop us now. (smile) So without further ado, let’s get started with today’s song of praise nuh, a hymn appropriately titled for these rough and dangerous times: ‘Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace!’ 

Yes friends, that’s how our wonderful Lord expects us to come to Him – boldly, with confidence and faith in His undying LOVE, grace and mercy, but also humbly. Boldly, doesn’t mean arrogant and bold-faced. (smile) And now, with soulful voices, sincere hearts, and perfect harmony, let’s offer up our sacrifice of praise, boldly to the throne of God. 

‘Come boldly to the throne of grace, Ye wretched sinners come, and lay your load at Jesus feet, And plead what He has done. How can I come? Some soul may say, I’m lame and cannot walk; My guilt and sin have stopped my mouth, I sigh, but dare not talk. Come boldly to the throne of grace, Though lost, and blind, and lame; Jehovah is the sinner’s friend, And ever was the same. He makes the dead to hear His voice; He makes the blind to see, The sinner lost, He came to save, And set the prisoner free. 

Come boldly to the throne of grace, For Jesus fills the throne; and those He kills, He makes alive; He hears the sigh or groan; Poor bankrupt souls, Who feel and know, the hell of sin within; Come Boldly to the throne of grace; The Lord will take you in. Come Boldly to the throne of grace; The Lord will take you in…the Lord will take you in…Yes the Lord will take you in…take you in’ 

And He certainly will! The Lord will NEVER refuse anyone, despite their terrible sins, who comes to Him with a sincere heart of repentance. Because that’s exactly whom He came to earth to save; the lost, the sick, the weary, the tired and downtrodden! Jesus said so Himself: ‘For the Son man is come to save that which was lost.’ (Matt.18:11) If He says so, then it must be so! (smile) 

But here are the passages of scripture that our song was most likely based on, those to do with the sympathetic Christ, as recorded by the author of Hebrews. ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into (through) the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (conviction, faith). For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (our weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ (Heb. 4:14-15) 

And that’s where Jesus wins them my brethren; He is able to sympathize, to empathize with our predicaments, our ‘sufferation’ because He also suffered them as a man here on earth and knows exactly how they hurt and can be detrimental to our very beings! The only difference is that because He was also God, He did not fall to the temptations like we do. Glory be mih people! And that’s why the author of Hebrews could continue in strong proclamation: ‘Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:16) 

Mama Yo! What a glorious proclamation and scripture of assurance! How can we not turn to Jesus eh, since NO ONE else offers such a wonderful opportunity? We’d be truly foolish not to accept such a magnanimous gesture! And, furthermore, if this isn’t a time of rather acute need my friends, I don’t know what it will take to call it such nuh. With sickness and protests simultaneously enveloping our entire world, that certainly sounds like a time of need to me. 

And here’s why it’s oh so necessary to turn to Jesus and to hold on tightly to our faith. The scholars explain: ‘4:16. Only Christianity provides such boldness for sinful men before a holy God, and that boldness is possible only because of our High Priest (Jesus Christ). The figure of a throne suggests a place of authority and provision. It is the place to obtain God’s grace when it is especially needed.’ 

Yes mih people, NO other faith allows it’s members such reassurance! They have to go and beg and plead and try to browbeat their supposed deity. But as Christians, true believers in and followers of Christ, we are gifted with the provision to come boldly to the throne of God and ask for His amazing grace, His powerful favour, all because of Christ’s work on the cross at Calvary! 

That’s why Bruh Paul could confidently write to the Ephesians: ‘In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.’ (Eph. 3:12) In other words, in Christ and through faith in Him we may enter God’s presence with boldness and confidence. It can’t get any better than that friends! That’s why I encourage us today to put our whole trust, surrender our entire beings, hearts, souls and bodies to Christ Jesus, for only in Him is there any hope for the lost, the sick and the weary! Much LOVE!

…faith doesn’t make it easy…faith makes it possible…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 May 2020 2 Chronicles 7:15.

2 Chronicles 7:15.    ​Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.
 
Chuh! One more Sunday without physical corporate worship friends. But don’t worry, we’re drawing close to the day when the Lord’s sanctuaries will again be opened, and we’ll greet each other with hugs and kisses and handshakes and other physical greetings, as we sing and dance and enjoy physical fellowship together under one roof. (smile) As children of the Most High God Jehovah we must resonate with hope. And the restrictions are being slowly loosened, so it’s not like I’m totally talking out of my hat. 

Anyway, we’re still restricted from gathering physically to worship, but not through all the handy technological means we have today. So let’s get on with it nuh, let’s sing and dance and listen to the Word and gain confidence and enthusiasm and strength from it through our technological interaction, in our own personal spaces, adhering to the restrictions of physical distancing, but enjoying the social and spiritual closeness that we so badly need. And in these pandemic times, times of much anxiety and uncertainty, when our world is caught between a rock and a hard place with this Coronavirus that’s overwhelming us, we need a song of praise and worship that encourages and strengthens us and gives us hope for the future. 

And today we have one such song, most appropriately titled ‘God answers Prayer,’ sung by a young Jamaican lady who calls herself Da Flame. It’s a medium tempo soulful song, that details our many problems, but gives us hope, because we have someone who looks after us in our time of need. So in soulful harmony, let’s raise our sacrifice of praise and pleading to high heaven, drawing every emotion from deep down in our hurting and anxious hearts. ‘If you’re ever feeling down and like you have no where to go. If you’re feeling like an outcast as your problems overflow, just remember there is someone, and all it takes is for you to know, is that God is the answer, and God answers prayer. 

(Chorus: He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer) You may be broken and feel battered, but your strength will surely come, in the midst of all your heartache. Your battles are already won. Just remember in the hard times, don’t give up, don’t say you’re done, because God is the answer, and God answers prayer. 

(He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer. Oh He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for us. So let’s get down on our knees, and say, Saviour, help us please. Because one thing is for certain…our God answers prayer.’ 

Oh yes friends, that’s an indisputable fact: our great and faithful, merciful and gracious, forgiving and ever-LOVING God answers each and every prayer we offer up to Him with a sincere heart. He might not give us what we want when we want it, but He does answer our requests, with either an outright no, because it’s not in His will, a wait, not yet, or a definite yes.

And the one good thing that this Covid-19 disease is doing is turning more people than ever to prayer, because we realize that man made answers are not being quickly forthcoming, and when the chips are finally down, when we have no where else to turn, many of us turn to God, as our last resort, our final hope. 

And nothing’s wrong with that, although He should be our first avenue of help. The problem though is when we finally turn to Him and He doesn’t respond as quickly as we like, we get annoyed and go back to blaspheming and bad talking Him. But that’s another sermon for another day. (smile) Today we’re talking about Him answering our prayers. And that He certainly does, though not necessarily in our time. Remember He says that His thoughts and ways and timing are higher than ours, so one of the things we have to do is learn to wait on Him. He might take a while, but I can assure you, He’s NEVER late. 

And if you don’t believe me that He answers prayer, let’s look at a couple of scriptures that reassure us of it. Remember when Cousin Sol dedicated the majestic temple in Israel? Well he asked the Lord for one basic thing; if His children faltered in their obedience, but then returned and prayed at the temple, His house: ‘Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.’ (2 Chr. 6:35) 

And what was the Lord’s reply? ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.’ (2 Chr. 7:14-15) And we see it happen all the way through the Good Book, where the Israelites turned away from God, then turned back, and He heard their prayer and forgave them. The same thing goes for us today my brethren. 

As the scholars tell us: ‘7:14-15. While this promise was originally given to Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith. These verses stand as a high expression of God’s LOVING readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people (cf. 6:37-39; James 4:8-10).’ 

Yes friends, God answers prayer, but our hearts, our motives must be right. Now are our hearts and motives right, are we being truly repentant in these pandemic times, or are we just mouthing platitudes, and as soon as He heals our land, we’ll go back to our old, wicked ways?  I don’t know, but He will certainly check it out first. 

And Bruh David verified that the Lord answers prayer, when he declared: ‘In the day when I cried thou answeredst (answered) me, and strengthenedst (strengthened) me with strength in my soul.’ (Ps. 138:3) And Jesus faithfully promised the disciples: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt.21:22) Meanwhile, John says it thus: ‘And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.’ (John 14:13-14) 

Ah mih people, our God does answer prayer, but there are indeed some requirements for us to meet. Much LOVE!

…answered prayer…calls for…sincere hearts…and true belief in Jesus…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 March 2020 Numbers 13:30.

Numbers 13:30.     And ​Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it (take possession of it); for we are well able to overcome it.
 
Come Monday morning we’ll all be up bright and early, dressed and rearing to get out into the evil world and do good work for Jesus! Wow! Now that doesn’t have to be a pipe dream, but can become reality if we are really interested in furthering Christ’s kingdom. But unfortunately, though I am a prisoner of hope, I also am practical and know from hard experience that many of us supposed believers will never reach that high state of being ready and rearing to go on a Monday morning. 

But I am believing that the numbers will lessen as we move forward. Consequently, I can safely say that we will always need our Monday Morning Battle Hymn to act as an antidote for our Monday morning blues. So let’s get on with it nuh. In strong and sincere voice, with humility and confidence that our prayer will be answered because it is within God’s will. 

As one now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. 

We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

And like magic, (smile) through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, the heavenly worker bee, our souls and spirits and attitudes begin changing right away! A sudden burst of energy shoots through our bodies, while our souls and spirits react with a hitherto unknown enthusiasm and confidence and we’re finally ready to go out and fight who or whatever the world pits against us, all in the name and strength of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! We no longer see ourselves as grasshoppers in the eyes of the world’s evil giants, unable to defeat them, like the ten spies who went out with Joshua and Caleb to espy the Promised Land. (Num. 13:33) 

But we’re now like Caleb, who ‘stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it (take possession of it); for we are well able to overcome it.’ And unfortunately, like the ten fearful and negative spies, such is the state of too many Christians in this day and age. The Caleb’s and Joshua’s are rather few and far between. Thus the people of Israel, listening to the gutless spies, rebelled against the Lord, calling for a captain to lead them back into slavery in Egypt.(Num. 14:1-4) What gutless wonders my brethren! That’s why they wandered 40 years in the wilderness till all those who had come out of Egypt had died, except Joshua and Caleb. 

And while the Israelites were looking to go back to Egypt, the Good Book tells us: ‘Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces (prostrated themselves) before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent (tore) their clothes. (a gesture of deep distress). And they spake unto all the company children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 

If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it to us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against  the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us (food for our consumption): their defense (protection) is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.’ (Num. 14:5-9) 

What a moving speech by Joshua and Caleb. And the reaction from the people? The Good Book  relates it thus: ‘But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of before all the children of Israel. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke (despise) me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the (miraculous) signs which I have showed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.’ (Num.14:10-12) 

What a sad state of affairs friends, and Moses had to intercede for them with the Lord. (Num. 14:13-19) But we can’t be too judgemental of the Israelites, because we’re behaving just like them today. And why do I say so? Because of two explanations by the scholars. The first: ‘13:27-29. The report of the spies was factual: the land was fruitful, the people were strong, the cities were walled and very great, and the giants dwelled in the land. But they had left God out. Only Joshua and Caleb had faith (Heb.3:19).’ And the second: ‘14:11. The purpose of the signs performed in Egypt was to encourage the people to trust in God and follow Him (Ex. 4:5) 

Yes friends, just like the Israelites we have left God completely out of our current situation, and neither do we have the trust and faith in Him that all His many miracles wrought on our behalf ought to have raised to great levels. Thus so many of us are walking around in this evil and ungodly wilderness called the world, lost and forlorn, but still rebellious, even in the face of God’s truth. 

But friends, as the old people would say; however you make up your bed, that is how you have to lie on it. And there are only two ways to make up our beds; faithful and strong with Jesus, or weak and evil with Beelzebub! The choice is yours. But I implore us to choose the former because it’s the wisest and best choice, the one with all the good and lasting benefits! Much LOVE!

…this day…I put before you life and death…choose life…and live forever…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 February 2020 Matthew 7:7.

Matthew 7:7.    ​Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
 

Awright, here we go again, Monday, the first day of the work week. At least I think so, cause I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. (smile) And since we’re a bit on the late side, we hope everybody got to work safe and sound, regardless of flood, fire and storm. (smile) 

Oh I know the Good Lord will protect His saints wherever they are, so I’m not worried, but for the fearful and frustrated few – or should I say many, we still going to offer up our Monday Morning Battle Hymn for help to get us through these troubled and disturbing times. As our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ informed us: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ So let’s ask and knock and see what opens. 

Altogether now in confidence and humility: remember if we want to get good and serious answers, those two attitudes are quite important when we come to the Lord in prayer‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Oh my people, yuh feel the blessings? I know you do, because I feel them too! And do I ever LOVE that about out magnificent and magnanimous God; before we’re even finished praying, He begins to work His wonders on and in us! Give Him some thanks and praise my fellow believers, because He’s so wonderful and faithful and so deserving of our praise and worship and exaltation! 

As Bruh David so rightfully proclaimed in Psalm 34: ‘O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.’ (Ps. 34:3) And why would he do that eh? Because as he claims: ‘I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.’ (Ps. 34:4) Yes friends, Bruh David was always seeking the Lord! That’s why, despite his many shortcomings the Lord could still call him His friend and a man after His own heart! 

And so it should be with us; we ought to keep seeking the Lord despite the troubles we encounter and the mistakes we make. The Lord knows our fears, frailties and weaknesses better than us because He made us with them, so He’s not surprised at what we do, but desires us to come to Him in ALL circumstances. That’s the crux of the matter. As Jesus said we must ask if we want to receive. 

And as Bruh David further said: ‘They looked unto him, and were lightened (radiant): and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them’ (Ps. 34:5-7) Yuh see people, when we look to the Lord, call on him in humility, confidence and sincerity, we are never ashamed, and our faces are radiant, expressing the joy and LOVE that’s found in Jesus. 

And the asking and knocking and seeking is very prevalent in the New Testament, so let’s look at a few of those scriptures nuh. Hear Jesus after He cursed the fig tree for not having fruit when it ought to: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive it.’ (Matt. 21:22) Then, later He spoke the parable of the widow who kept harassing the wicked judge for justice, indicating that ‘men ought always to pray and not faint (lose heart).’ (Luke 18:1) 

Oh precious people of Christ, it is ever so important that we don’t ever stop praying, regardless of whatever happens! If you’re a believer, then it’s your bounden duty to pray, because sometimes the Lord is just trying to test our faith by not immediately answering our prayer requests. And as James wisely tells us: ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (not doubting). 

For he that wavereth (doubts) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ (James 1:5-8) And those aren’t my words friends, but those of Jesus’ brother James who eventually came to believe that His big brother was who He really claimed to be; the Messiah. 

And John adds his two cents worth: ‘And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.’ (1 John 3:22) Now therein lies the rub my people: we need to live a godly life, if we want to have a successful prayer life. As the scholars tell us: ‘Right living is an important part of successful praying.’ And to add to that, our motives and the things we ask for must be in the Lord’s will, because the Lord looks at the state of our hearts before considering our prayers. 

And what better scripture to close with than this one from Jesus: ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto (for) you.’ (John 15:7) So there you have it my brethren, ask and seek and knock with right motives, with Jesus’ words abiding in our hearts, and we’ll have what we need. Much LOVE!

…Jesus’ words…words to live by…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 February 2020 Psalm 18:32.

Psalm 18:32.    ​It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
 
Monday, oh Monday, how good you are to me! I truly do LOVE you! You cause me to get up early in the morning…while it’s still dark…and I haven’t had enough sleep…to fumble around and struggle to get dressed and go out in the freezing cold, to a freezing car, and then inch my way on a blocked up highway, full of sleepy-eyed and grouchy people just like me. 

And after it takes me an hour to make a normal fifteen minute drive, I get to the concrete jungle and search for another fifteen minutes to get a parking spot, that costs an arm and a leg, I finally get to my desk and plop myself down in the chair more tired than ever, but now expected to put in a full and productive 8 hour day, doing stuff that doesn’t turn my crank! And this is only the first of five consecutive days of this nonsense! (smile) 

Ah friends, we give Mondays such a bad rap eh, when the problem lies with us; we don’t prepare ourselves properly for what we know is going to happen on most Mondays of our working life! But it’s a long time human trait; cast the blame everywhere else than where it rightfully belongs, on us. Check out our forefathers, Adam and Eve after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. Eve blamed the serpent, and Adam blamed Eve. (Gen.3:12-13) 

So now that we’ve eased our conscience by blaming Monday for our woes, (smile) let’s get serious and go to the ONLY One who can really help us at this stage of the game nuh, our heavenly Father. And to make it easy, we’ve developed this ‘antidotal’ prayer we call our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, that automatically fills in all the blank spaces, but does not get us an answer unless we go about it the right way; that’s humbly, confidently and sincerely to the throne of grace. 

So as one humble, confident and sincere voice now, let’s lift up our petition to heaven: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

And yes, that incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit is now moving in all of us who prayed that prayer sincerely and humbly! That’s how quickly our God can move when it’s necessary! He knows that we have to go out and do Jesus’ work at a certain time, with not much to spare, so right away He acts on our request, raising our spirits, strengthening our belly and backbone, thus giving us the courage and confidence we need to go out and fight a good fight in His Son’s name. 

No wonder Bruh David could proclaim with such certainty in Psalm 18 – Thanksgiving for deliverance, when the Lord delivered him from the hands of all his enemies. ‘As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried (proven): he is a buckler (shield) to all those that trust in him. For who is God save (except) the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.’  (Ps.18:30-32) 

And that is the indisputable, gospel truth friends! Our God, the most potent Being in the universe, is the One who looks after all our needs on this troubled earth, just like Bruh Paul declared (yeah!) it to the Philippians. ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:19) 

And when Bruh David wrote that psalm, his needs were mainly those of a warrior, thus he declared (steups!): ‘He maketh my feet like hinds’ (deer) feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken (a bow of bronze can be broken) by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of salvation: and thy right hand hath holden (held) me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.’ (Ps.18:33-35) 

Ah precious people of Christ, wherever we are, at whatever stage of life we’ve reached, the Lord God Almighty, He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will supply whatever we need to be victorious! It’s imperative that we believe it and act like we believe it too, through the auspices of our wonderful faith! Otherwise our faith is useless. Remember faith involves believing for something like we’ve already seen it and received it, when, in reality it hasn’t yet happened, but we know for sure that through God’s largesse and faithfulness it will happen in His time! 

So this Monday morning, although things might be a tad on the rough side, let’s believe that the situation will change because our wonderful and ever-faithful God has promised that it will! He will work all things out for our good! (Rom.8:28) Now that should be more than enough to raise our desire to get out into our distressed world and do our best for Jesus! Much LOVE!

…working for Jesus can be difficult…but it’s ALWAYS rewarding…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 February 2020 John 15:13.

John 15:13.   ​Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
 
Sunday morning…time for church! Don’t let the inclement weather we have going in the G.T.A, or for that matter, good weather wherever you are, keep you away from darkening the doors of the Lord’s sanctuary this morning. (smile) Yes, good weather ofttimes can deceive us into not going to worship with our fellow believers, makes us feel we’d be better off doing something supposedly more enjoyable. 

But pray tell me people, what can be more enjoyable than meeting with a number of people who share our beliefs, who encourage us, then join with us to sing, praise, and dance before the Lord our God, to hear His magnificent and uplifting Word, and consequently leave His sanctuary refreshed, renewed, and full of the joy, peace and confidence that only He can give! Nothing friends…Nothing! So let’s get the show on the road nuh, beginning as usual with the singing and praising and dancing. 

And today’s song of praise is a fairly new Christian song that’s become quite popular over the years. It’s aptly titled: ‘In Christ Alone.’ The website Godtube tells us that the song was written in 2002, by Christian  songwriters Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. According to Townend “The song came about in an unusual way. Keith and I met in the autumn of 2000 at a worship event, and we resolved to try to work together on some songs. 

A few weeks later Keith sent some melody ideas, and the first one on the CD was a magnificent, haunting melody that I LOVED, and immediately started writing down some lyrical ideas on what I felt should be a timeless theme commensurate with the melody. So the theme of the life, death, resurrection of Christ, and the implications of that for us just began to tumble out, and when we got together later on to fine tune it, we felt we had encapsulated what we wanted to say.” 

And did they ever encapsulate a whole lot of stuff about Jesus! So let’s sing it now like we really mean it nuh, letting heaven know that we’re truly grateful for our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let our voices convey the sacrificial praise our hearts feel, in sweet, soulful harmony. 

‘In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of LOVE, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My comforter, my all in all— Here in the LOVE of Christ I stand. In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of LOVE and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied; For ev’ry sin on Him was laid— 

Here in the death of Christ I live. There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine— Bought with the precious blood of Christ. No guilt in life, no fear in death— This is the pow’r of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home— Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand…Till He returns or calls me home— Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand… Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand….’ 

And that’s for certain sure friends! In the amazing and awesome power of Christ we must ALL stand, because there has never been, and will never be another as magnificent and magnanimous as Him! As I keep saying He is indeed our EVERYTHING! Our hope, our light, our strength, our song, the cornerstone on which our faith is built, the ONE  who walks beside and guides us through the worst times of drought and storm… 

And don’t talk about LOVE…His is the greatest. As He said so simply and sincerely: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.’  (John 15:13-14) And then He went out and laid down His sinless life, sacrificed it ever so selflessly for us, with the expectancy and anticipation that we would be His friends and do what He commanded us. Yes my fellow believers (steups!), Jesus didn’t just talk the talk, He walked the walk…on our behalf. He died that we could be alive and be reconciled to the Father; took our sins and gave us His righteousness…and so much more. 

That’s why when Bruh Paul talks to us about the ways of the believer (steups!), we ought to listen and obey. ‘Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in LOVE, as Christ also hath LOVED us, and hath given himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (aroma).’ (Eph. 5:1-2) That’s exactly what He did my people, and as followers of His, He expects us to be obedient to His commands, do our best to adopt His character traits, because you know the Father’s ultimate plan is to have us all become like His Only Son…well as close as our human flesh and nature will allow. (smile) 

And we don’t even have time and space to touch on all the topics the songwriters touch on in our song. So we’ll just look at these last two; peace and comfort. Oh my my, Jesus is the Master of Peace: the peace that passes all human understanding! Here Him to the disciples nuh: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

And Bruh Paul describes Him thus: ‘For he (himself) is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition (division) between us;’ (Eph.2:14) No doubt about that! He mashed up the old order and destroyed the enmity between Jews and Gentiles and made them to exist in One body, His church. 

And when yuh talking about comfort friends, there’s no better place to find it than in Jesus! Here these extraordinary words from His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28, 30) No one else can make that promise and keep it! That’s why I keep saying that Jesus is the ANSWER, for He has everything that you will ever need, both for this life and the hereafter! Please be wise and lean confidently, faithfully and reassuringly on Him! He won’t let you down! Much LOVE!

…The Prince of Peace…of Comfort…and of LOVE…Jesus Christ…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 January 2020 John 3:16.

John 3:16.    ​For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
 
And Sunday, the great day of wonderful fellowship has arrived! Not that fellowship can’t happen at other times, but Sunday has been set aside by the Lord as the day He wants as many believers as possible to gather together in His sanctuary to sing and praise and exalt His holy name, to hear His amazing Word, then leave there with batteries thoroughly recharged, filled with LOVE, joy, grace, peace, mercy, spiritual strength and confidence to face the evil world in which we dwell! 

So let’s make a special effort to gather in the Lord’s house today nuh my people, so that we can have joyful communion with our great God and with fellow believers! Steups! Like I can’t spell believers either! Ah Lord eh! And in a most appropriate manner, let’s open the proceedings with a favourite song of praise that tells of the true greatness of our magnificent God, one aptly titled ‘How Great Thou Art!’ Oh, some people leave out the second verse, but I think that’s wrong, because like the first it describes God’s great work in nature. So we won’t leave out anything that glorifies our God! (smile) 

In full voice, like one harmonious whole, let’s raise our voices to heaven in sacrificial praise, sincerely believing the words we sing: ‘O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder Consider all The works Thy Hand hath made, I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder, Thy pow’r throughout The universe displayed, (Chorus: Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!) 

When through the woods And forest glades I wander I hear the birds Sing sweetly in the trees, When I look down From lofty mountain grandeur And hear the brook And feel the gentle breeze, (Chorus:) And when I think, that God His Son not sparing, Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in. That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing He bled and died, to take away my sin. (Chorus: ) 

When Christ shall come, With shouts of acclamation, And take me home, What joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow In humble adoration And there proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!” (Chorus: Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art! Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!’ 

Oh friends what a joyful and grateful song! The Lord was most pleased with our praise. How could He not eh, when the words were oh so true and the sentiments sincere? For throughout the scriptures there are acknowledgments of all that we have sung above. And it’s said nowhere better than in Psalm 148 – All creation to praise the Lord. 

Please declare with me: ‘Praise ye the Lord (shout Hallelujah): Praise ye the Lord (shout Hallelujah) from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished (established) them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.’ Ps. 148:1-6) 

Yes friends, it’s all been the Lord’s doing! As another psalmist gave voice: ‘By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap: he layeth up the depth (deep) in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast.’ (Ps.33. 6-9) What an omnipotent God we serve and worship my people! 

But yuh know what, the second half of our song is even greater than the first half, because it shows God’s true greatness through His mercy, grace, compassion and LOVE for us sinful children of men. Only a truly great, and in total control Deity could have espoused a scheme so magnanimous as sending His only Son to pay for our sins as a sacrificial lamb on the cross of Calvary. The old song says that ‘Only a fool breaks his own heart,’ but our God was no fool nuh when He broke His own to save us from eternal separation from Him. That just showed the immense LOVE He had for His creation, though that creation had turned against Him. 

Here these poignant words of Bruh Paul nuh: ‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 8) And Jesus Himself made it very clear with these awesome words: ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ It couldn’t get any better than that nuh friends! The Creator giving up His Son, His sinless wonderful Son to save a bunch of reprobates like us…

Chuh! I don’t see how we could not sincerely LOVE, worship, reverence, exalt and be obedient to Him nuh, after all that He’s done and has faithfully promised to do for us. But since we have free will, freedom to choose whom or what we serve, we getting stubborn and rebellious. Remember though friends, our God might be a compassionate Deity, but He’s also a God of justice and righteousness, and one day we all will have to answer to him for our earthly behaviour. Hebrews warns us quite clearly: ‘And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.’ (Heb.9:27) Please put that in yuh pipe and smoke it. Much LOVE!

…he who doesn’t hear…will certainly feel…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 January 2020 John 14:6.

John 14:6.    ​I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
 
And so today, Thursday is another day…one that we should be glad and rejoice in, because we did not see our names in the obits! (smile) Oh give glory to God because He chose us to handle His affairs down here on earth! That means we have the parts to do whatever He wants us to do, and He is proud and confident that we will do His holy will! Please note the amount of people He took away last night because they either couldn’t or wouldn’t do His will. 

Ah friends, we ought to consider it a joy and privilege to be alive, and everyday we open our eyes to another day, be it rain, snow, sleet or storm, our thanks and gratitude ought to rise to high heaven with heartfelt sincerity! Yeh, life can sometimes be rough and trouble-filled, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to leave it and go home. (smile) 

Neither is the Lord ready for us to come home because there is lot’s of work yet to be done down here on earth; the gospel has not yet reached ALL of mankind, and Christ’s church is not in the ascendancy over Satan’s infidels, which means the LOVE Revolution is not going as well as it ought to. So those are things we still need to work on because the Lord does not want to lose even ONE of His human creations to that lout Beelzebub! 

There you have it then; good reasons for us to be alive and bright and bubbly and eager to get on with Christ’s winning work of calling all; (whosoever will may come) to salvation and the exclusive and overwhelming ecstasy of eternal life in His holy presence! 

Wow! What a time that will be my friends; hanging out with Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit in heaven for eternity! Nothing could be more blissful than that! It’s certainly something most worthy to look forward to…in fact, there’s nothing better to look forward to! 

And my brethren, contrary to some opinions, the ONLY WAY to get to that Utopian place of eternal rest and peace and joy is through Jesus! He said it Himself, made it very clear when Thomas refused to believe until He saw the nail marks in His hands and side. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ 

Those are strong words my people, and it takes a lot of gumption to declare them, even if they are true. And if it’s one thing our Lord and Saviour had, and still has, is gumption! (smile) He has it in spades, because He knows the extent of his power! And we ought to know it too, because He bequeathed that awesome power to us through His Holy Spirit, so that we can use that same power to do His work down here on earth. 

But getting back to Jesus’ words, we believers ought to keep reminding ourselves of them, since it’s so easy to think otherwise and go astray, especially when there are a lot of false preachers and teachers recommending all sorts of other erroneous things and methods. 

John, in his epistle thought it important enough to write: ‘Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world.’ (1 John 4:1-3) 

Yes friends, there are numerous spirits and people out there in this big, evil world trying to tell us all sorts of nonsense, and we therefore need to be very careful who and what we listen to and read and test them by comparing them to God’s Word and the knowledge of His Holy Spirit. And I like John’s subsequent contention: ‘Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4) 

And all God’s children gave out with a loud and grateful shout: ‘All praise and honour be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; the most powerful being in the universe!’ And isn’t that a warm, assuring and enduring fact! The most powerful Being in the universe dwells within each and every believer through the auspices of His Holy Spirit! 

Now that should give us overwhelming confidence in our trials and tribulations in this troubled world, especially when we add it to the Lord’s promise, that He will eventually work out everything for good to those who LOVE Him and are called to do His work. 

Mama Mia! What confidence the true believer ought to have with all those things in his favour! But sadly many of us don’t, because we either truly don’t believe, or we’re fearful and full of doubt. That’s why Jesus was so critical of us and so often complained: ‘O ye of little faith!’ 

And why is that eh? Possibly because we don’t read or hear the Word sufficiently, and we don’t commune with the Father sufficiently. Those are the building blocks, the foundation of our faith friends, and we definitely need very strong faith in this overwhelmingly evil world if we want to not only survive, but even more importantly wrest power from Satan and his evil cohorts! 

So let’s get on seriously with our faith building nuh, cause Jesus is depending on us; we are his ears, eyes, feet and hands down here, His ambassadors, so let’s show ourselves to be worthy of His confidence nuh! And what I dearly LOVE about our great God is that He always gives us the tools to do His work. And so He has with our Thursday Blessings. 

So let’s declare them loudly and proudly: ‘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!’ 

Oh friends, what more do we need to do Jesus’ work eh? Nothing really! Just believe His Word and put our best foot forward…Oh, and don’t selfishly hoard those blessings, but share them generously with others, like He generously shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…Jesus…Jesus…Jesus…the ONLY name that really matters…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 January 2020 Psalm 71:23.​

Psalm 71:23.    My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.
 
And another Sunday has dawned; wet and icy and dark in the Greater Toronto Area! We did get that rain storm that was promised, and sincerely hope that it soon peters out to dry weather, because it has caused some damage in several areas. Unfortunately, I know that the inclement weather is going to be used as a convenient excuse not to attend the Lord’s sanctuary today and fellowship with other believers. 

But friends, we’re only doing ourselves a serious injustice when we stay away from church, unless it’s for a very good reason. That’s because we miss the camaraderie, the encouragement, the praise and thanksgiving, and the hearing of the Lord’s uplifting and guiding Word that such fellowship entails, and which allows us to leave the proceedings filled with trust and confidence in our omnipotent God! But to each his own. And as always, we’ll get the celebrations going with a song of praise. 

And today’s song is a wonderful one, officially titled ‘Hymn of Joy,’ but which most of us know as ‘Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,’ from its first line. Apparently it was a poem written by minister Henry van Dyke in 1907, inspired by the beauty of the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, with the intention of musically setting it to the famous “Ode to Joy” melody of the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s final symphony, Symphony No. 9. 

Van Dyke explained the hymn thus: ‘These verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time—hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion, or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven. Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope.’ And therefore rather appropriate for today’s gathering! So let’s raise our voices in sweet harmony to heaven, with joy, hope, trust and overwhelming sacrifices of praise in our mouths and our hearts. 

As one awesome choir now: ‘Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, Op’ning to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day! All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays, Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise. Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea, Singing bird and flowing fountain Call us to rejoice in Thee. 

Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest! Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, All who live in LOVE are Thine; Teach us how to LOVE each other, Lift us to the joy divine. Mortals, join the happy chorus, Which the morning stars began; Father LOVE is reigning o’er us, Brother LOVE binds man to man. Ever singing, march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife, Joyful music leads us Sunward In the triumph song of life. You bring us joy, joy, joy, We adore thee…You bring us joy, joy, joy, We adore Thee, Lord of mercy and of grace…We adore thee…You bring us joy, joy, joy…’ 

And does our great and wonderful God ever bring us joy by the bucketful my faithful brethren! You also see the amazing sentiments we can glean from merely admiring God’s handwork in nature, making the hymn one of the most joyful in our English language hymnal! Oh, friends, our God is indeed exceptional; exuding trust, LOVE, hope and faithfulness in miraculous and enormous quantities! There is none other like Him in this universe precious people! 

That’s why the psalmist who penned Psalm 71 – A prayer for help in old age – could confidently declare: ‘I will praise thee with the psaltery (lute or lyre), even thy truth (faithfulness), O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they (mine enemies) are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.’ (Ps. 71: 22-24) 

Yeh friends, the old man had seen enough of God’s goodness and mercy in his younger days that he had ho hesitation in placing his utmost trust in Him during the winter of his days! Can we say the same thing? I certainly hope so! And just to stir us up some more, (smile) listen to Bruh David as he offers thanksgiving for God’s mercy. 

‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with LOVING-kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ (Ps.103:1-5) 

Oh friends, it couldn’t be put any simpler and more straightforward than that! God’s goodness to the children of men is so wonderful, and the truth is, we don’t deserve any of it. But that’s the kind of magnanimous God He is! So please, I implore us, today, let’s spend some time pondering on His individual goodness and mercy and grace and forgiveness etc. etc. to us nuh, so that our spirits will be refreshed and our trust renewed, and thus give us the courage and confidence to go out and work diligently and excellently for Christ in this upcoming week. Much LOVE!

…remembering God’s goodness in our lives…raises our trust and faith in Him…

Previous Older Entries