Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 March 2020 Isaiah 55:7.

Isaiah 55:7.    Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 

And it’s the Lord’s Day once again, meaning it’s church time… Glory be! But since we can’t participate in corporate fellowship because the physical sanctuaries have been closed on account of the rapidly spreading and dangerous Coronavirus, we just have to make do with our li’l internet-based worship. (smile) Oh, you might think it silly, but the fact of the matter is that any which way you can communicate God’s Word and have praise and worship and thanksgiving, it will be considered worthy and appreciated by our heavenly Father. 

So enough talk, (smile) let’s get to today’s song of praise. And it’s a most appropriate soul song composed way back when, by one Ron Miller and first recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1970. But today we going to sing a churchier version, (smile) one done by Ray Charles and Gladys Knight. And by the way, the name of the song is ‘Heaven Help Us All.’ Yes friends, in these scary, dangerous and uncharted times, all of us do need all the help we can get from heaven above. So let’s raise our voices in harmonious praise and thanksgiving, but also in a sincere plea for help in these most trying times. 

Let’s get soulful with Ray and Gladys: ‘Heaven help the boy who never had a home Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone And Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall Lord, won’t you help us all? Heaven help the black man if he struggles one more day Heaven help the white man if he turns his back away Heaven help the man who kicks the man who has to crawl Heaven help us all. (Chorus: Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call) 

Oh, yeah Heaven help the boy who won’t reach twenty-one And Heaven help the man who gave that child a gun And Heaven help the people with their backs against the wall Lord, won’t you help us all? (Chorus: Heaven help us all…when we call) Gladys monologue – ‘I want everybody within the sound of my voice this evening to fall down on their knees and say a prayer; asking for His guidance, His grace, His mercy. You might want to say: Lord, Lord, Lord, have mercy! – 

Now I lay me down before I go to sleep In a troubled world, I pray the Lord, the Lord to keep Keep hatred from the mighty and the mighty from the small Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call. We need You Jesus so won’t you hear us when we call. We can’t do without You, so please hear us when we call. Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call.’ 

Ah friends, I do hope our plea was sincere so that the Lord will act on it. Because, as the song says, our backs are against the wall, both literally and figuratively. This generation has never dealt with a problem of this type and magnitude, so we don’t really know how to handle it. We can deal with war and economic disaster, but we certainly aren’t prepared for an unknown germ on a worldwide scale. And more than ever before, we do need to fall on our  knees and pray; offer a pray of sincere repentance first, just in case this tragedy has befallen us because of our very sinful and disobedient condition. Then pray for guidance, grace and mercy to handle it successfully. 

I might be wrong, but I do think this is the Lord’s way of reminding us of how small and truly insignificant we are, and how little control we have over His universe. But that’s just my opinion, though it certainly won’t do any harm for us to come to our senses and repent. Yuh know we always think that the Israelites were foolish, for having experienced God’s mercy and miracles in bringing them out of bondage from Egypt, they still turned away and worshipped pagan gods and man-made idols. 

However, whenever the Lord made them pay for their disobedience, they were quick to run back to Him. They wisely remembered on which side their bread was buttered. But my people, we have been behaving just as foolishly as they did, by trying to push God out of our society, blaspheming His holy name and considering Him of no account. Now, I believe it’s time for us to do the same wise thing they did on so many occasions; return to the ONE, TRUE and LIVING GOD, He of Abraham, Issacs and Jacob, who created us in His wonderful image and still scrutinizes and macro-manages all of our goings and comings, though we don’t seem to think so. 

And what amazes me is that despite all the promises of our God, we still stubbornly refuse to repent and return to Him. Listen to a few of them. Nehemiah says it all: When the Israelites refused to obey and wanted to rebel against Moses and go back to Egypt, the Lord didn’t punish them: ‘for thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.’ (Neh. 9:17) 

And even when they made a molten calf to worship, despite such provocation: ‘Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.’  (Neh. 9:19-20) 

And Isaiah said it straight up on the Lord’s behalf: ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.’ Wow! Friends, if we can’t accept and believe that scripture in light of all the other faithful promises God has made, then I don’t know what else to say. I can certainly try to persuade you with more promises of pardons for repentance, like in Jeremiah 33:6-9, but I won’t because it will make the Bit too long, and furthermore, at this level of our faith, we shouldn’t need a whole lot of scripture to convince us of God’s awesome promises. Much LOVE!

…what’s the point of having promises…if you don’t believe them eh…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 January 2018 Isaiah 25:4.

Isaiah 25:4.   For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 

Ah friends, we’re sailing on the good ship Sunday, towards the sanctuary of God, where we will fall on our knees and praise and worship Him, give Him innumerable thanks, exalt His holy name and glorify Him without ceasing! 

Wow! What a time we will have in the sanctuary as we fellowship with each other, encourage each other, hear God’s word and bury it deep in our hearts, and souls, and eventually leave the sanctuary fortified with His strength and confidence, able to withstand whatever comes against us. And please remember the immortal words of the psalmist; this is the day the Lord hath made, let us all rejoice and be glad in it! That’s both wisdom and common sense friends! 

And as always, we’ll open the proceedings with worship in sweet song. This morning we’ll sing a Christian Gospel tune titled ‘The Anchor Holds.’ It was originally written by a pastor, songwriter called Lawrence Chewning. Apparently the year of 1992 became known as the year of sorrows for him and his family. 

One sorrow after another hit them and finally Lawrence, depressed and discouraged, was left burnt out, so he took a six month sabbatical from his pastoring duties and during that time began playing the piano more, in an attempt to get closer to God. In this sorrowful time he read stuff about the long dark night of the soul, when it seems you just can’t find God anywhere, and also experienced that emptiness for a while. 

Then, one day, in his many hours of playing the piano, he discovered that he was writing a song, a song that was coming from deep down in his soul. It was so touching that it provided him with therapeutic help in his depression and discouragement. But the song was some ten minutes long. However, a couple of years later, he offered the song to his friend, Christian singer songwriter, Ray Boltz, who edited and recorded it and made it a hit. 

Ah friends, ‘The Anchor Holds’ is one of my favourite Gospel songs because I can testify to the truth of those immortal words. And if you’re a true believer, so too can you. So let’s offer it up through the sacrifice of our lips now nuh, with appropriate reverence and heartfelt sincerity. In glorious harmony: ‘I have journeyed Through the long dark night Out on the open sea By faith alone Sight unknown And yet His eyes were watching me (Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn) 

I have fallen on my knees As I faced the raging seas The anchor holds In spite of the storm I’ve had visions I’ve had dreams I’ve even held them in my hand But I never knew They would slip right through Like they were only grains of sand (Chorus) I have been young But I am older now And there has been beauty these eyes have seen But it was in the night Through the storms of my life Oh that’s where God proved His LOVE to me. 

(Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn. Ohhh yes, The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn).’ 

Ah mih people what words of truth and encouragement! And it’s only when we are going through a stormy period in life that we can write such heartfelt words. You’ll notice too, that it’s during the storm that God proves His wonderful and unconditional LOVE to us, more so than when the seas are calm and quiet. 

Because that’s when we need Him the most, when we discover that our efforts are too puny to withstand the storm that’s bruising and battering us. And only when we take refuge in His safe harbour, when we allow Him to anchor our hearts and souls in the sheltered bay that’s His awesome LOVE and grace that we truly find rest and rejuvenation for our troubled, storm-filled lives. 

Oh what a wonderful God is our God! No wonder in Isaiah’s song of praise by the redeemed the survivors of the Great Tribulation exalt the Lord, lift their voices in praise to God for His protection. ‘O Lord, thou art my God: I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap (a ruin); of a defensed (fortified) city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built (rebuilt). 

Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible (ruthless) nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.’ (Is.25:1-4) 

Yeh friends, our God runs things; He controls it all. So in your time of need, who are you going to call eh, who are you going to run to for refuge? Almighty God, if you are wise! As the old reggae song says, ‘You’ll run to the rock for rescue, but there will be no rock.’ But if you run to the Creator of the universe, you’ll find Him ready, willing and able to offer help. 

As Isaiah prophesies about Jerusalem’s glorious future. ‘And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow (shade) in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert (shelter) from the storm and from rain.’ (Is.4:6) 

Oh friends, there’s no better place to hunker down in stormy times than under the wings of our heavenly Father, just like chicks hide under the mother hen’s wings when it rains, for under there we are guaranteed safe passage through the storms of life. Much LOVE!

…through the heartache…through the storm…take my hand precious Lord…lead me on…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 July 2014 Mark 5:36b

Mark 5:36b.      Be not afraid, only believe. 

 

Oh Friends, it was one of those nights when the early to bed, early to rise situation was replaced by the late to bed, therefore late to rise tactic. And believe me, the rising wasn’t made any easier by the gentle riddim of the falling rain. (smile) But we all know that once there’s hungry hope and expectant faith, all things are possible.
 
And that’s worthily enhanced by our word from my almanac for today: ‘BELIEVE!’
 
Now that’s one of the strongest tools in man’s arsenal, my people! So much so that Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), the 26th U.S. President, is reputed to have declared: ‘Believe and you’re halfway there.’
 
And there’s certainly a lot of truth in that statement, my brethren. The first action in any thing is usually one of belief; believing you can do it, or that the action is possible. As the Chinese Proverb also declares: ‘The longest journey begins with the first step.’
 
But Friends, we cannot take that first step until we believe that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is worth journeying for, is worth sacrificing whatever is necessary to achieve it. And believe me Friends – yes it’s a day of belief – anything that’s worthwhile striving for, will include a fair amount of sacrifice.
 
But the elementary position in it all must first be belief. As we said earlier, belief that the thing is possible, and also belief that you can carry it out to a successful ending. That’s why our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ placed so much emphasis in His teaching on belief.
 
Our Bit says it quite clearly: ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’
 
And a very important aspect of any situation is that once we believe, we need to keep on believing, for belief is not a one time, one and done thing, but a continuous process, especially where Jesus Christ is concerned!
 
Now let’s look at the situation under which Jesus spoke the words of our Bit. And it was indeed a red-letter day, one of the many in Jesus’ earthly sojourn. For on that day, as He was on His way to heal a ruler of the synagogue’s (Jairus) daughter, a woman in the huge crowd who had suffered from an unusual blood flow for 12 years, BELIEVED!
 
She had spent all her money on medical treatment, but instead of getting better, she just got worse. But that day, when she heard that Jesus was in town, she hurried down to see him. ‘For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.’ (Mark 5:28)
 
What belief, what faith my people! So she surged through the crowd and touched His clothing. ‘And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague (affliction).’ (Mark 5:29)
 
Yes Friends, the power of belief is a helluva thing, especially if that belief is in Jesus Christ!
 
And the scholars explain the woman’s possible reasoning. ‘5:28. Popular belief had it that a person’s dignity and power extend to what he wears.’
 
And in that light, her actions make complete sense. But what’s also interesting is that with all the crowd milling around Him, and everybody pushing and shoving to get a better position, Jesus knew immediately that something was amiss; ‘knowing in himself that virtue (power) had gone out of him, turned him about in the press (crowd), and said, Who touched my clothes?’ (Mark 5:30)
 
The disciples were obviously astounded by His question, as there were so many people around Him. ‘And he (Jesus) looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague (affliction).’ (Mark 5:32-34).
 
Yes my people, faith can only come from belief! In fact, simply put, faith is strong belief!
 
And the scholars give us this interesting explanation of the woman’s behaviour. ‘5:33. The woman would be fearful of a rebuke, since her bleeding rendered her “unclean” according to Jewish law. She ought not to have been mixing in the crowd, nor reaching out purposely to touch a man. That she owned up indicates that her interest lay not only in physical health: she wanted to be right with Jesus Himself. Her faith, not the grasp of her hand, brought restoration to her.’
 
That brings up an interesting and oh so important question my brethren; how many of us sincerely want to be right with Jesus eh? So right that we fall on our knees and admit our wrongs?
 
Hopefully all believers, since it’s a rite of our faith, of our belief in Jesus! For now though, we’ll just leave that question and its answer to circulate in our souls, (smile) and continue with the story of that red-letter day.
 
The Good Book describes it thus: ‘While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master (Teacher) any further?’ (Mark 5:35)
 
And to that statement, the scholars declare: ‘5:35. Obviously, Jesus has intentionally let the time pass in which He might have preserved the girl’s life.’
 
And the Good Book continues: ‘As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.’ (Mark 5:36)
 
Yes Friends, all we have to do is BELIEVE!
 
So today, let’s get the ball rolling on belief nuh; particularly in strong belief in Jesus! And for those of us who already have that strong belief in Him, let’s go out and teach and show others by our words and actions how that belief plays such a great and wonderful part in our lives. For that’s what Jesus expects of His followers, of His true believers. In fact it’s our bounden duty as a true believer!
 
So let’s go out and do our duty, make Jesus proud of us by exhibiting belief and faith as strong as, if not stronger than the woman in the story with the issue of blood, thereby glorifying Him to all with whom we come into contact. Much LOVE!
 
…one can’t truly believe in Jesus…without it being showed in one’s actions and words… 
 
P.S. Oh my people, the lateness of the Bit was even further aggravated by my security company wanting to do an important update in the middle of my writing, then needing me to shut down the computer so that the update could take effect. It certainly was aggravating. But I guess that’s a part of the whole computer scene, and we just have to grin and bear it. Again, my humblest apologies. (smile) Much LOVE!