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…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 July 2016 Psalm 12:2‏

Psalm 12:2.   They speak vanity (idly, falsely) every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with double heart (an inconsistent mind) do they speak.

Well friends, the celebrations finally over! Canada Day and 4th of July done for another year! It’s time to get back to the common grind and daily task. And we’ll begin that by singing this favourite ode to Joy. 

In harmony now: ‘Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening 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 heaven reflect Thy rays, Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea, Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee. 

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed, 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.‘ 

Good show friends, good show! Hope that joy stays with us all day as we focus on doing Christ’s work. 

Oh, and here’s a little story about that hymn. Apparently one Henry J. van Dyke wrote it in 1907. He wrote it while staying at the home of Harry A. Garfield at Williams College, Massachusetts. It was first published in the Pres­by­ter­i­an Hymnal in 1911. It also appeared in the Poems of Henry van Dyke, 1911.  

Van Dyke wrote: “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 it surely is my people! So let’s continue to hold on securely to that trust and joy and hope we find in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because it’s what keeps us truly grounded in this earthly life. It is our sure foundation. 

And to further build on that sure foundation, let’s declare our Tuesday Mantra like we truly believe it. As one voice now: ‘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!’ 

Oh glory to God my believing brethren! More solid and indisputable truth about the goodness and LOVING-kindness of our wonderful God! How reassuring and encouraging to know that we are His beloved children, and also the friend of Jesus! Nothing can be better than those two things! 

Now it’s our duty to go out and share the LOVE of our Lord and friend with the remainder of this our lost and quickly sinking world. But we can’t do it unless we’re very serious and diligent about counteracting the words and actions of our Bit. ‘They speak vanity (idly, falsely) every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with double heart (an inconsistent mind) do they speak.’ 

Yes precious people, that kind of ungodly activity is currently overwhelming our world, and obviously making it a place of hate and evil instead of one of peace and LOVE like our God and Saviour desire. These days one can hardly trust the words and actions of friends, much less strangers. 

Falsehood and flattery seem to be the name of the today’s game and they’re causing such havoc in the lives of so many people who are unfortunately coming under their spell. Bruh David declares in Psalm 41 –Abuse and assurance: ‘Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me (acted as a traitor against me). (Ps.41:9) 

No doubt a lot of us can attest to such traitorous treatment. That’s why we have to be ever so careful as to whom we let into our confidence. Meanwhile, in Bruh Paul’s epistle to the Romans, he quotes various scripture passages to prove the presence and extent of the problem back then. 

‘Their throat is an open sepulchre (grave); with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ (Rom.3:13-18) 

And that’s the gospel truth friends! The enemy right now is the driver’s seat, but it is our job to dislodge him and replace him with Jesus. But again, as I said earlier on, we need to be very serious and diligent about that duty if we want to be successful. 

We can’t afford to be lackadaisical and wishy-washy in our words and actions. We need to come up higher than the enemy if we want to defeat him. We need to be able to sincerely declare like Bruh David when he fled from his son Absalom’s rebellion. ‘I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.’ (Ps.3:6) 

Yes my fellow warriors for Christ, until we can utter true words like those, until we can cast out our fear of the enemy, we won’t be able to break his stronghold on us and on the world. Remember, Jesus has already defeated hell, death and the grave, which means the enemy has no power over us unless we allow him to. 

So let us go out today, and everyday, with words such as these pouring out of our mouths and hearts. ‘We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfill all thy petitions.’ (Ps.20:5) 

Yes friends, we need to stand up very strong, steadfast and courageous in Jesus’ name, and battle to the death, if we truly want to defeat the enemy. There’s no other way. Much LOVE!

…Stand up stand up for Jesus…Ye soldiers of the cross…Lift high His royal banner…It must not suffer loss…