Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 May 2020 2 Timothy 1:7.

2 Timothy 1:7.     For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power (His Holy Spirit), and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind.

And then it was Friday, the last day of the normal workweek; a week of heightened calamity and tension, hatred and overflowing resentment around the world… all of that within the current upheaval caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Oh friends, our world is now in a state ripe for exploding, and if we don’t lessen the tension soon, it will certainly explode. At one stage the pandemic seemed to be bringing us together, but with all the divisive rhetoric spouted on it, highlighting differences of opinion on what it is and where it came from and how to cure it, the obvious and nasty casting of blame and if it’s even true, the stage is set for a lot of national and international disagreement. 

But faithful saints of Christ, please let us remember who created this universe; our omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God! And let’s not forget that He is still in complete control of it and whatever goes on therein, and He is not an absentee or weak-kneed ruler, but He’s very present on His throne and has the reins of His universe well in hand. And that means He knows what is happening and why He’s allowing it. It’s all happening according to His divine plan. Remember His thoughts and ways are higher than ours so we’ll not understand all that happens. 

Therefore we must not let fear, worry, anxiety and all the other negative emotions bury us under their heavy yoke and cause us to lose faith, for faith in Almighty God is the only thing that will successfully see us through all the current problems we’re facing. Remember that majestic and most assuring verse of scripture from Bruh Paul to Timothy and now to us: ‘For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power (His Holy Spirit), and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind.’ 

Well NOW IS THE TIME for us to put that verse into steadfast action; to stand strong and faithful in the reverence, assurance, wisdom and LOVE of our great and faithful God! Remember, in His Word, He also says that he who survives to end will receive a crown of glory. So please let’s fight the good fight, run whatever race we have to run with diligence and excellence and the utmost faithfulness, so that we can prevail in the end. And no, I haven’t forgotten that today being Friday, many of you are looking forward to what the ordinary workingman has to say. 

And as always, he opens – though somewhat less energetically than usual – with this proclamation: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday! And thank God the weekend is here at last too. It’s the second week of work since some of the lockdown restrictions lifted…the first full one, since last week Monday was Queen Vic holiday. And am I ever glad to see the weekend, because after such a long time off work, the body’s gotten soft and flabby and thus the work’s become physically harder. And I still need to get back accustomed to waking up so early in the morning. 

But what a crazy world we live in eh Dr. Jack? Like they let some of us out from the zoo, the way we behaving like wild animals with no responsible physical distancing and such, although we still in the throes of the pandemic! Steups! Mankind is something else yes! That’s why they say we’re our own worst enemy…and that’s the gospel truth! No other animal quick to destroy themselves as we humans are. And sadly my views doh make any difference to anybody nuh. All I could do is my best yes…and hope and pray that people soon wake up and realize how bad the situation is oui… Otherwise crapaud certainly smoke we pipe!’ 

And there’s no doubt whatsoever about it friends, if we don’t wake up very soon, there will be pure pandemonium around our world; pandemonium like we’ve never seen before, or might ever see again! And as individuals, there’s not much we can do about the situation, but together, as the Church, as Christ’s body in this confused world, we can stand together and make our voices heard, and behave in a right and responsible manner, and hope and pray! So let’s start with the praying part right now nuh, our Friday Chant. 

As one now, in strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. It’s been pretty rough…some of it from work, as many of us are now back to work in varied ways, but most of our anxiety still comes from all the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus still causing. We not accustomed to that Lord, and it really telling on us. But with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat this virus. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who have to go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, so that we can avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways.

It’s also a good opportunity to introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Yes friends, we’ve fulfilled the praying part of the solution, let’s now turn our attention to the hope and responsible behaviour that must be done if we’re to be successful in defeating this virus and bringing some desperately needed stability to our world! Much LOVE!

…talk is cheap…especially when action is what’s needed…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 March 2020 Isaiah 59:2.

Isaiah 59:2.    ​But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

 

As the Genius – Ray Charles, would sing: ‘Here we go again. Another day of Coronavirus lockdown again… Wonder when this live play, this serious tragedy, will end? Oh, by the minute, it just seems to be getting worse…No light at the end of the tunnel yet!’ Ah friends, it is indeed a pretty rough and serious situation, but please remember that we worship the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator and Controller of the universe! And He has promised us that we should not fear, for anything that comes against us, He will be right there to guide, lead and accompany us through it. 

Remember these awesome words of promise declared through His prophet, Isaiah. ‘But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon (scorch) thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour; I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.’ (Is.43:1-3) 

Yes friends, though Israel deliberately rejected the Lord as their king, He yet reassured them of His eventual redemption from earthly spiritual and physical bondage, as well as that to come in eternity. And He has kept His promise to one and all, including we, the Gentiles, by sending His one and only Son Jesus to die for our sins and redeem us. But as it was from the day our forefathers sinned in the Garden of Eden and listened to the voice of the evil serpent, sin has separated us from our Holy God. And sometimes, when we get so sinful and corrupt on a national, and like now, a worldwide basis, the Lord has to remind us of our very unbecoming behaviour, which He won’t tolerate forever. 

Listen to His words to Israel, through Isaiah again. ‘Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood (bloodshed), and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity (empty words), and speak lies; they conceive mischief (trouble or evil), and bring forth iniquity.’ (Is.59:1-4) 

Oh my people, just like the Israelites sins separated them from God, so do ours right now! And there’s no one around, and in their right mind who can truthfully say that our world is currently not a sinful cesspit; possibly the most sinful it’s ever been! And I don’t know why we think that other sinful societies suffered the Lord’s wrath, but we will not. And it’s amazing how the Lord could point out our iniquity through such a small and yet very dangerous germ. His ways of working are indeed very mysterious…but also very productive! (smile) 

And it’s good to see that people are taking it seriously and are remembering that God is still on His throne, still controlling things, and at least trying to turn back to Him. Enough preaching for the day though. (smile) It’s Friday, so let’s hear what the ordinary workingman has to say. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! Thank God for the Coronavirus yes…! Well not really, except for the fact that it’s my second week off work with pay, and that’s nice. But you can only take your family being always around you for just so long, then everybody begins to get on everybody else’s nerves. And you can only go around the block so often in a day. 

Steups! I’m getting stir crazy! And ah have to laugh too, because I’m actually missing work and my buddies down there. Chuh! I can only drink so much by mihself too! And the wife has definitely gone stir crazy, since she’s not accustomed to having all of us underfoot the whole bloody day, every day! And to make matters worse, all you can hear on the radio and tv and social media is about the virus; how so many people have it, and how it killing so many people. And we still don’t have no real way to fight it. No wonder people panicking! But what can I say or do in my li’l corner eh? Nothing but thank God for Fridays and weekends yes, and hope they find a cure soon!’ 

Ah friends, I’m sure a lot of people feel useless like the ordinary workingman there, but we all are useful in these trying times. And the first and most important use we can put ourselves to is that of prayer. And then if we can help anybody else in whatever safe shape or form, then please do so. And since it’s Friday, let’s chant our rejigged Friday Chant in answer to the workingman’s song. All together now, with strong voices and sincere hearts: 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. As usual, it’s been kinda rough, but a different kind of roughness than normal. All this confusion with the Covid -19 virus and the monumental storm and the seemingly unending havoc it bringing…we not accustomed to that Lord. But with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat this virus. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the  least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, and also introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now, let’s put our faith into action, as Jesus so desperately desires of us. Much LOVE!

…pray without ceasing…and remember…to give thanks too…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 March 2020 Psalm 107:29.

Psalm 107:29.    ​He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
 
Ah friends, this late night and early morning business will eventually kill me yes! (smile) But that’s just the nature of the beast. Some of us are made to be early birds and others night owls. It just so happens that I fall amongst the latter, but still have to get up and write the Bit at a decent hour. And to make matters worse, the computer is slow, guess too many people are on the internet with so many things shut down. And rather unwisely (smile) just now I agreed to a restart for an update, when I had other options, but it simply stood there spinning its wheels, so I had to shut it down and reboot it. 

Ah Lord eh! The things the enemy talks us into doing! (smile) But not to worry, with the Lord’s awesome help, we will accomplish whatever He sends us out to do. And on this bright and sunshiny Saturday morning, it’s His pleasure to keep us all safe and sound from whatever our ever-lurking foe throws against us! So let’s remember to give Him much thanks and praise for being our wonderful guardian Shepherd, especially in these unusual and abnormal calamitous times, so suddenly precipitated by the Covid -19 virus. And all God’s children said a loud and grateful ‘Praise the Lord for His absolute kindness to the children of men! His mercies are new every day and endureth forever. Amen!’ 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this week nuh, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Here’s the first one. ‘It’s not about money or connections, it’s the willingness to out work and out learn everyone. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.’ Now that’s certainly an interesting quote, and there’s lots of truth in it. However, I’m not so sure about the out working and out learning everybody else. 

We must be diligent and excellent in our endeavours, but I think it’s somewhat impractical to always be trying to out work and out learn everybody around us. I believe we’re wasting valuable time and energy in the competition aspect, which could be better used in other areas. But we must always try to learn from our mistakes and do better the next time around. 

Now hear this one: ‘There is always one more thing to learn.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth my people. Whilst there is life, there are always things to be learned! And despite our age, the old folks say that we should try and learn at least one new thing each and every day. Why? Because learning is the basic foundation of life! If you don’t learn, you can’t live life successfully. 

And that’s the problem so many of us are having nowadays, believers included; for whatever reason, we’re not upgrading ourselves sufficiently in the things that matter most in life; the things of God. Please note Cousin Sol’s words in Proverbs. ‘A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto (acquire) wise counsels.’ (Prov.1:5) 

That brings us to this next interesting quote: ‘When you can’t control what’s happening challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.’ Now that’s something for all we believers to hold on to very tightly. Yes my people, it’s all about attitude; our attitude towards prevailing circumstances. How we respond to those circumstances, especially those over which we have no control, is what’s going to make or break us. Responding to things like anger, rejection or abuse with the same attitude does us no good whatsoever. 

Forget the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth saying. Jesus said to LOVE your enemies, and forgive those who do us wrong. And that’s wisdom of everlasting proportions, for responding in kind is only going to prolong the negative circumstances and cause even more confusion and adversity. Remember Bruh Paul’s invaluable words to the church at Rome: ‘Recompense to (repay) no man evil for evil… Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Rom. 12:17a, 21) 

Yes friends, it’s always better to come up over whatever is challenging us with a positive, godly attitude, than a negative, ungodly one. There is simply more good energy in the positive and godly attitude, and it will help us to better handle whatever is coming against us. And there’s no better time to apply it than RIGHT NOW with the serious problems that our world is facing! And this last quote, shows that our friend Anselm is on top of things. (smile) ‘As we deal with the Coronavirus, remember “To ride out your storm”.’ 

Oh friends, that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to teach us these past tough days; we need to ride out these stormy times. And the ONLY WAY to do that successfully is through faith, trust and surrender in Almighty God! For He creates the storms, and He also calms them! And if you don’t believe me, then listen to these scriptures. Ethan, the Ezrahite, in his contemplative psalm – God’s sure promises to David, puts it thus: ‘O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? Or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.’ (Ps.89:8-9) 

Now hear the words of the psalmist from Psalm 107 – God’s wonderful works to the children of men. ‘For he commandeth and rasieth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.’ (Ps.107:25) And when we in fear, reeling to and fro, cry out to Him. ‘He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.’ (Ps. 107:29) Mama Mia! What a most powerful and merciful Deity we serve and worship my faithful brethren! 

And we all know or ought to know (smile) the famous story of Jesus and the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee and the terrible tempest that arose and how the disciples were so scared and awoke Jesus who was sleeping comfortably in the stern. And His immortal words to them: ‘Why are ye so fearful, O Ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, what manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him.’ (Matt. 8:26-27) 

Oh my people, that’s not rocket science, it’s simple logic: The Lord made the seas and the winds, and still controls them, so when He speaks to them, it’s obvious they respond the way He wants them to. What a pity that His greatest creation – mankind – doesn’t respond in the same obedient manner to His will and wishes! Much LOVE!

…if Jesus is your life pilot…then the inevitable storms…won’t be disastrous…  

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 March 2020 Philippians 3:7.

Philippians 3:7.    ​But what things were gain to me, those things I counted loss for Christ.
 
Well here it is at last; the churches have been shut down! What’s next? The hospitals! Can you believe it? The scare of the Covid-19 virus, in conjunction with the Government’s directives has caused the Church Leaders to finally pull the plug on church worship. Hn! Did you ever think it possible that one day, most, if not all of the churches would be closed to public gathering? Certainly not! And though it’s not as good as actually gathering in the sanctuary,  there are enough other outlets; radio, t.v. and computer streaming for us to keep in touch with our corporate worship. 

But it’s interesting to see how one small, unknown, but apparently powerful virus has brought the world to its knees in just a couple of weeks. Personally, I think we’ve overreacted and caused unnecessary fear and panic. There’s no need to be buying out the stores and stocking up as though we’re going to war, or suffering from a nuclear fallout. But that’s the problem with too much easy and convenient communication and too many fearful and ungodly people in the world. And though it’s a serious matter I still have to chuckle. If we can’t handle a simple virus with all our modern technology and medical prowess, can you imagine the mess Egypt must have been in when the Lord brought those 8 plagues on them to force Pharaoh to set His people free.

 Can you imagine been pestered by lice and flies and blood and frogs and locusts and death and whatever? But before we move on, here’s something to ponder on, a li’l food for thought. Remember Moses’ warning to the Israelites: ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.’ (Ex. 15:26) 

Oh my people, can this be a warning from our God? We certainly are not keeping His commandments and doing as He desires, and all throughout the Good Book, He’s warned of serious penalties for willful sin and disobedience. And since this virus has now become pandemic in nature, all over the world, who knows if it’s the hand of our mighty God moving in one of His many mysterious ways to remind and warn us of our sinful ways? And in these last tumultuous days, that is something we should surely ponder on, but I doubt too many of us will. 

Anyhow, it’s Saturday, so let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘It’s the little things you do that make the big things happen.’ And that’s a fact my people! Unless we do the small things, and do them well, the big things won’t turn out right. That’s why we’re warned to pay particular attention to the small things in our lives, since God, or no man will ever give us big things if they see we can’t take care of the small ones. And remember the Jamaican saying: ‘One one cocoa full basket.’ But unfortunately, in this brave new, but very foolish world of ours we don’t treasure the small stuff, everybody just wants to be on the big stage! 

And the second quote says: ‘He who stops being better stops being good.’ And there is a lot of truth in that also. If we don’t keep getting better but insist on sitting on our laurels, then we’ll eventually rub out, use up, whatever good we have, because we need to keep replenishing our souls and spirits every day. That leads us quite nicely into this next quote. ‘Do not be afraid of improving slowly. Be afraid of standing still.’ Whoa! Is that ever the killing of the human soul! Standing still is definitely not an option, especially if you’re a child of the Most High God Jehovah! And you can’t get truly better overnight; it all takes time. It’s like learning a craft; only with continuous practice and time spent with it will you ever learn it. And that’s what life is really, the craft of living! (smile) 

Now the next quote is like the previous two: ‘Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement. Get a little bit better every single day.’ Now that is basic logic and common sense. But sadly those two very important things are almost nonexistent in our current society, where we value the need for speed, now for now, above all else. But in the words of some wise person, let’s remember ‘that speed kills!’ It certainly does. If you do anything too fast it most likely will end up in a mess. But it’s how our society views life nowadays; we desire and want to have everything right away. The number one technological aspiration these days is how to make everything work quicker and faster. But there are undoubtedly stumbling blocks in that approach, which we’ll discover as time goes by. (smile) 

And the last quote wisely advises: ‘Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.’ Now that is gospel truth. The only perfect being in our universe is our Creator, and He did not make us to be perfect, but He does expect us to do our best in that direction, being diligent towards it, and thus ending up excellent. Yuh know the two most important things in being ambassadors of Christ is being diligent and excellent in His service. We can’t be wishy-washy, irresponsible and lazy, for that’s not the lifestyle He wants us to portray to the unbelieving world. 

And I think one of the best scriptures in that regard is Bruh Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where after listing all his earthly accomplishments, he sincerely declared. ‘But what things were gain to me, those things I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (rubbish, refuse), that I may win Christ.’ (Phil. 3:7-8) 

Oh friends, the most excellent thing we can ever seek in this world is the knowledge of Christ! All of our earthly accomplishments, wealth and power, mean absolutely nothing until we have Jesus securely embedded in our hearts, souls, minds and bodies! That’s the only true and sure way to live this earthly life! So on this controversial Saturday, where the whole world is in an uproar, please let us, the truly faithful, place all of our cares in the Lord’s hands, and just relax our souls and spirits and minds. Incessantly worrying about Covid-19 won’t make it go away, but with God’s Spirit working in us, we can be relaxed and rest in His promise that He is indeed Jehovah Rapha…the God who heals! Much LOVE!

…what’s the purpose of faith…if you don’t use it in times of crisis eh…