Today’s Scrip-Bit   21 November 2021 John 10:11.

John 10:11.     I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

It’s that time again my brethren, Sunday morning, where we gather to worship our wonderful God, to sing His praises, hear His refreshing and enlightening Word, and give Him much thanks for His awesome LOVE and compassion towards us, His most undeserving children. But that’s the kind of God we serve and worship. And today’s opening song is a not so old hymn, (smile) as compared to some others we sing, written by John Willard Peterson (1921-2006), in the early years of his ministry, and aptly titled ‘No One understands like Jesus.’ 

And believe me friends, that’s the indisputable truth! And why shouldn’t it be true eh, since He is God whose thoughts and understanding are incomparable, and when you add the fact that Jesus Himself underwent all the stuff that we go through down here on earth, it certainly adds up to a wealth of understanding. That’s why Hebrews can tell us: ‘For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (who cannot sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 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. 4:15-16) 

Anyway, enough talk, time to do some singing. And in our usual harmonious and soulful manner let’s offer up our sacrifices of praise to heaven and our marvellous Godhead. ‘No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare; Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him!) No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels; Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals. 

(Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail; You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail! (Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way; Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him! Cast your every care on Him, Cause no one understands like Jesus.’ 

You can say that again my people: ‘No one understands like Jesus!’ (smile) And there seems to be an interesting and heart-felt story behind the writing of this song, as there usually are behind many of our favourite tunes. Mr. Peterson appears to have been quite involved in Christian music and tells the story thus: ‘”At one time I had a responsible position with a well-known gospel ministry. One day a supervisory position opened up in my department. I was led to believe that I was to be promoted to this position. I was thrilled and challenged by the prospect of a new joy. But I was by-passed, and a man from the outside was brought in to fill the position.  

There followed days of agonizing heart searching. It was all I could do to keep from becoming bitter. One night I had occasion to spend an evening with the man who was brought in for “my” position. For some reason or other, though otherwise a very pleasant fellow, that night he became quite caustic in some of his remarks to me; and I was deeply hurt. Later that evening, after returning home, I was sitting in our living room thinking about the events of the past days and about the bitter experiences of that evening. I began to feel very alone and forsaken. 

Suddenly, I sensed the presence of the Lord in an unusual way and my mind was diverted from my difficulties to His faithfulness and sufficiency. Soon the thought occurred to me that He fully understood and sympathized with my situation–in fact, no one could ever completely understand or care as did He. Before long, the idea for the song came and I began to write. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). 

And Peter, who witnessed the perfidy of Judas, echoed his words: “Casting all your care [anxiety] upon Him, for He cares [is deeply concerned] for you” (I Pet. 5:7). Discouragement gripped him. He felt alone and forsaken, and was tempted to become bitter, until he began thinking about the great compassion of the Lord. Who cares? He does!’ 

Yes friends, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does care deeply about us, else why would He leave the joys and comforts of heaven and come to earth in human flesh to suffer the humiliation and abuse He did eh? These awesome words of His speak plainly of caring. ‘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.’ (Jon 3:16) There was no reason for the Father to do that, except that His LOVE and compassion for us was so great, He couldn’t just allow us to lose our souls and end up in Hades with Beelzebub. 

So Jesus’ coming to earth was all about caring. And the Good Book tells us in so many instances of God’s care and concern for us. Let’s check out a few nuh. Mr. Peterson mentioned a couple. The first one being the words of Bruh David from Psalm 55 – A cry against deceitful friends – where he declares in no uncertain manner: ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit, allow) the righteous to be moved (shaken).’ (Ps. 55:22) and if you are a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then it’s imperative that you believe those words! 

Then there was Peter, who experienced Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, as well as his own, when he thrice denied knowing Christ, having been forewarned by Christ that he would do it. And when the cock crowed and Jesus looked around at Peter, he must have wished the earth could open up and swallow him, the shame he felt. (Luke 22:55-62) But the Lord not only forgave Peter, but also encouraged him, ‘Feed my sheep.’  (John 21:15-19) And Peter rose to be one of the leaders of the church. 

All of that caring and compassion of Jesus, must have compelled him to write: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet. 5:6-7) And that’s the gospel truth friends! Peter experienced it, so he could testify to it. Likewise, many of us have also experienced the Lord’s care and compassion in our normal everyday lives, but you know what, in these turbulent and dangerous times we need to seek His care and compassion even more than usual, since the world is in such turmoil. 

And Psalm 37 – the true state of the wicked – has a couple of interesting verses that we should all take hold of. ‘Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass…The steps of a good man are ordered (established) by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.’ (Ps. 37:5, 23-24) 

Oh my fellow believers there’s no doubt whatsoever that Jesus cares for us. How else can you interpret these words of His: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) My fellow saints, please ponder those words today, and see if they don’t add up to a tender and heartfelt caring on the part of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Much LOVE!

…no one understands…or cares…like Jesus… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 October 2014 1 Kings 17:24

1 Kings 17:24.   And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth. 

And then Friends, it was Thursday! The week’s moving right along as the Lord programmed it. Likewise, our lives are moving right along in union with God’s plan for them. The difference though between the days of the week and us, is that the former has no choice, so they have to move as He dictates. 
 
But as God’s supposed greatest creation, we were given a state, an option of choice. We can choose to follow His plans for us or not. And unfortunately too many of us in the world are choosing not to follow God’s plan for their lives. That’s one of the major reasons why our world is in such a sad state of disrepair and strife.
 
Now my brethren, following our own plans, those of the world, or other people is definitely not a wise move on our part, because the best plan for each human life is the one that God has prepared for it from the beginning of time!
 
So please don’t allow the unbelievers, evildoers and other godless people to fool us into thinking otherwise, because in the long run, we are the ones who will suffer most for that mistake. When we live in union with God’s plan for our lives, they take on an entirely different character and quality; one of peace, LOVE and goodwill!
 
We have internal rest even when the storms of life are raging all around us. In other words, the strong anchor that is Jesus keeps us afloat and steady, whereas if we accept the foolish wisdom of the world, we’ll end up being thrown upon the rocks, battered and bruised, and even lifeless in the times of storm.
 
And the only way to know God’s plan for our lives is to talk to Him about it, read His Word and meditate on it. You will find succour for your pain and everything else that you need because His Word is TRUTH and nothing else!
 
As the widow in our Bit confirms to Elijah: ‘And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.’
 
And before we get into the scriptures for today, I want to share some interesting info from the scholars, re terms for those who do God’s work.
 
It’s a note for ‘1 Sam. 9:16-11. Three terms for prophet occur in these verses: Seer, which stresses the reception of God’s message; Prophet, which emphasizes that the messenger is truly called of God to pronounce His word to the people; and man of God, which underscores the messenger’s relationship to God. He is above all, God’s man.
 
Other terms include: “messenger of the Lord,” which reminds the prophet of his task of bearing God’s word and “servant of the Lord,” which underscores his task before God as called to serve.’
 
I do hope that makes our understanding of those terms a little clearer. Now what I want to do today is relate some scripture where people begin believing that Jesus was indeed Lord, and His words were absolute truth. I believe they all come from the gospel of John. 
 

And we’ll begin at the beginning, which is usually the best place to start. (smile) That brings us to Jesus’ first miracle; turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. What a miraculous wine that must have been! I’d surely like to taste it! It must have gone down real smooth, as the governor of the feast remarked. (smile)
 
The Good Book informs us: ‘This beginning of miracles (signs) did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth (revealed) his glory; and his disciples believed on him.’ (John 2:11)
 
And per the scholars: ‘2:11. Jesus’ miracles always had a purpose. This miracle resulted in the manifestation of his glory (cf.1:14), and in his disciples belief in Him (cf.20:31).’
 
Then we have the nocturnal, clandestine visit of Nicodemus, the Pharisee and Jewish leader. ‘The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles (signs) that thou doest, except God be with him.’ (John 3:2)
 
Now the scholars surmise that Nicodemus came to Jesus: ‘3:2. By night: Probably he feared criticism. John refers several times to “fear of the Jews” (see 7:13; 9:22; 12:42-43; 19:38). Nicodemus accepted Jesus as a teacher and a rabbi from God who worked miracles, but Jesus was not impressed with the depth of Nicodemus’s belief or understanding. Many unbelievers still agree that Jesus was “a great man.”
 
Oh Jesus was indeed a great man, but even more than that, He was God incarnate!
 
Then we come to that time when Jesus spoke to the disciples saying: ‘These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs (figurative language): but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs (figurative language), but I shall show (tell) you plainly of the Father.
 
At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself LOVETH you, because ye have LOVED me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
 
His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb (use no figures of speech). Now we are sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?’ (John 16:25-31)
 
I like the little touch of sarcasm in Jesus’ question: ‘So now you believe eh? What were you doing all along?’ (smile)
 
Next up is when Jesus got on Peter’s case about feeding His sheep. ‘He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, LOVEST thou me (do you have affection for me)? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time LOVEST thou me (do you have affection for me)? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I LOVE (have affection for) thee, Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.’ (John 21:17)
 
Peter admits that Jesus knows everything, including His LOVE for Him, so why the continued questioning?
 
And finally, we come to Thomas’ unbelief. Only when he saw the marks on Jesus body from the cruel wounds of His crucifixion, did Thomas believe. ‘Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
 
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through (in) his name.’ (John 20:29-31)
 
And the scholars explain: ’20:30-31. John tells us here he wrote this gospel for purposes of conversion, that ye might believe, and of sanctification, that ye might have life.’
 
Yes Friends, there is no mistaking that Jesus, was, is and will always be the Christ, the Son of God! And believing that will bring you salvation and eternal life, the greatest gifts ever bestowed on mankind! Wow! So please, let’s be wise and truly believe! Much LOVE!
 
…ONLY BELIEVE…and the rest will follow naturally…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 July 2014 John 21:22

John 21:22.   ‘Jesus saith unto him, If I will (desire) that he tarry (remain) till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.’  
 
‘Just one of those days, just one of those days…’

 
Yes Friends, it was just one of those days, or rather nights, when impulsively, and some may say foolishly, I was lured by the sweet song of the summer siren on to my front porch late last night, until after 1 a.m. And what was I doing out there at that late hour?
 
Why, simply enjoying the cool, fresh morning air, eating watermelon and playing games on the Duchess’ I-pad, watching the lightning flash around me, listening to the thunder roll ominously, communing with my wonderful God, until the rain finally began falling. Mama Mia! And I might have been out there even later if the rain hadn’t begun blowing in on me. (smile)
 
And when I did get to bed, this time lulled by the sweet song of the falling rain, I obviously didn’t have the parts to resist the temptation to sleep in until after six o’clock this morning. And that’s my story…and I’m sticking to it! (smile)
 
Yeh mih people, I’ve promised myself to enjoy this summer, come hell or high water, for who knows how many more I’ll see eh? And as far as I’m concerned the weather’s been most excellent; not too hot, with a cool breeze blowing most of the time, thus making the need for air conditioning unnecessary.
 
Although I’m not doing anything terribly exciting, simply enjoying the days as they pass by, with a deep peace in my soul, doing what I can and not worrying about what doesn’t get done, waiting with hungry hope and expectant faith, trusting the Lord to work everything out in His own time and in His own way.
 
And my fellow believers that is exactly where a lot of us fall down; we’re eager to do stuff, but we can’t wait for God’s timing. Unfortunately we fall for the world’s now for now folly, its need for constant busyness, and therefore rush to do whatever it is, outside of God’s timetable. Obviously our plans fail or falter, and then we get frustrated and miserable.
 
Trust me Friends, for I certainly know of wherewith I speak from loads of personal experience. (smile) There are all sorts of things that I’ve wanted to do, and thinking it was God’s will, set out to do them, only to realize that it wasn’t yet on His schedule. Now there are some that I’m still hoping to do, but am playing it, or trying to play it cool right now, expectantly watching and eagerly waiting to see how God’s plan for my life unfurls.
 
Oh Friends, there are too many good things He’s put in my heart, that never to allow them to come to fruition would be a total repudiation of His Word, re to give me the desires of my heart. And I know that our wonderful God will NEVER allow His word to be repudiated.
 
As He says in Isaiah: ‘So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void (without fruit), but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.’ (Is.55:11)
 
And all God’s children sang out with a loud, lusty and joyful, ‘Praise the Lord for His LOVING-kindness to the children of men!’ 
 
So my brethren, if today you find yourself in a similar spot, just rearing to go on some project that God’s placed in your heart, please be careful, talk to Him and make sure that it’s His time for it, because if it isn’t, you’ll only end up disappointed, and even begin doubting or struggling with your faith.
 
Now that doesn’t mean you have to go to the other extreme and rest on your fanny, conveniently using the excuse that it’s not God’s time. (smile) Don’t worry, I struggle with that too. Everyday I ask Him whether what I sometimes consider laziness or lethargy in not doing certain things is His will?
 
For whenever I plan to do some things which to me need doing, other things just seem to crop up and overshadow them, and I’m left wondering whether it was my fault, or simply God’s mysterious moving.
 
The important thing though my people, is not to worry. Be obviously concerned, and keep talking to God about whatever is happening, but never, never worry, for worrying won’t help, but often makes matters worse.
 
Ah mih breddren, regardless of what some may say, please be assured that our God is a great and wonderful God; most excellent in compassion, mercy, forgiveness and LOVE! He’ll never lead us astray, and above all, He keeps His promises!
 
So whatever He’s sincerely promised, He WILL deliver, He WILL fulfill, but we need to work in consort with Him, not He with us, for remember, He is the Boss, our Creator, Provider, Guide and Strong Tower.
 
And now that I’ve written all of that from the heart, guided by the Holy Spirit, let me go and find a Bit that will fit it. (smile) Soon come.
 
Oh Friends, I’m back in less than five minutes, with a Bit that fits. Now listen up closely. ‘Jesus saith unto him, If I will (desire) that he tarry (remain) till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.’
 
In other words, mind your own business. Don’t look too closely at what I’m doing in the lives of others, simply concentrate on what I’m trying to do through you.
 
That was just one of the many times that Jesus rebuked Peter. It occurred after He’d asked Peter three times, if he LOVED Him, got an affirmative reply each time, then each time told Peter to feed his sheep. (John 21:15-19)
 
The Good Book then informs us: ‘Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus LOVED, (John) following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do (what about this man)? Jesus saith unto him, If I will (desire) that he tarry (remain) till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.’ (John 21:20-22) 
 
But as is often the case, though we hear the same words, we often interpret them differently, for the Good Book continues: ‘Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will (desire) that he tarry (remain) till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. (John 21:23-24)
 
Yuh see Friends, the amazing power of jealousy and envy and gossip? Apparently John was one of the few, if not the only one not to consider Jesus’ statement as meaning that He wouldn’t die.
 
And we’ll end with an interesting explanation from the scholars. ’21:20-23. Perhaps John added this account to counteract a commonly believed notion that Jesus had predicted that John would not die. He did outlive all of the other disciples. In fact, all of the others were probably dead by the time John wrote this beloved gospel in about A.D. 85’
 
Ah my fellow believers, it’s obvious to us today that Jesus never meant that John should never die, but in the simple, uneducated minds of those early disciples, especially after seeing all the miracles Jesus performed, that was certainly a possibility.
 
All Jesus was saying to Peter, and to us, is what 3 Canal so wisely and to the point say in their song: ‘Mind yuh business, mind yuh own business, seek your own interest, stop minding (other) people’s business… And if you ent have no business, well yuh better find a business, seek yuh own interest and stop minding people’s business, mind yuh own business…. Yuh too darm farse…’
 
Ah Friends, Jesus could not have put it any better. (smile) And if we’d only follow that wise formula, all our lives would be so much better; less frustrating, and not fraught with the envy, jealousy and resentment that now cloud them.
 
Those words, my people, slang-like though they may be, are indeed full of godly wisdom. Let’s follow them nuh… provided we want to live better lives. Much LOVE!
 
…the Lord has different plans for different lives…it’s not our job or purpose to question them…just to follow His plan for OUR LIFE…