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 24 January 2020 1 Peter 5:8.

1 Peter 5:8.    ​Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
 
And then it was Friday…and there was lots of shouting and jumping for joy! Hn! More of us were happy to see Friday, and the end of the work week, than to celebrate being alive and kicking in God’s great universe and being a BELOVED and saved child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! 

Now what’s wrong with that picture eh? Does it mean we’re putting the world before God? Maybe! And if so, then it’s a very unwise move, because when we celebrate God, with His awesome help, we are able to handle whatever the world throws at us. But following the dictates of the world, only makes life harder, for there is no help but our own, and we all know that there isn’t a lot we can do on our own. 

Remember, Jesus said that we ought to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then all the worldly things will be added to us, we won’t have to sweat and strain and break our backs to acquire them, because the Father knows we need them. (Matt. 6:32-33) So please, let’s check out our lives today nuh, and see what’s our priority; God’s kingdom and His righteousness, or the things of the world, because it’s ever so important to get our priorities right! 

And as you’d expect, the ordinary workingman is hovering in the background, eagerly and expectantly waiting to sing his song, so let’s bring him on stage nuh. (smile) And as always, he crows: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! And the chains of the slave master will be unshackled for a couple of days! 

Wow! What freedom! And yuh better believe I’m going to use that freedom to the hilt; do whatever I want, whenever I want…providing the other snake in the grass, the weather allows me to! Chuh! The weather’s been so contrary these days that you can’t make any serious plans, because it changes from one minute to the next! And yet they tell me that climate change ain’t real! Pure heifer dust yes! But if I can’t go out and do whatever I want to, then I’ll certainly do it in mih own yard, where I’m king of the castle…

Hn, hn, hn! King of which castle eh? When the wife and children protest my behaviour, then I have to modify it. So even in mih own yard, ah not really the boss nuh! But what yuh going to do eh? Nothing but grin and bear it, because nobody ever send or call me to have wife and children, is I with mih fresh self, went and look for them, so now I have to put up with whatever they bring. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE them dearly, and wouldn’t want to be without them, but yuh know, sometimes…sometimes they just cramp yuh style! (smile) And the truth of the matter is that I’m still ever so thankful for Fridays and weekends, regardless of the drawbacks!’ 

Ah friends, yuh see even when God is not your first priority, you still have barriers and boundaries to your behaviour. And as a serious and practicing child of God, we have more boundaries than most since we don’t want the enemy to compromise our lives and our living for Jesus. Consequently, our Friday Chant is somewhat different to the ordinary workingman’s song. So let’s chant it now nuh, in full voice with sincere hearts – yes our hearts must always be right when we come to the Father, otherwise He won’t acknowledge us. 

As one now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

Now, though we have some boundaries as believers, it doesn’t mean we have to be constantly looking over our shoulder for the devil and his evil cohorts, but we do have to be careful that we don’t go too far out on the thin limbs of life. That’s why we have to constantly remember these poignant words of Peter. ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:’ 

And that’s the gospel truth friends, the enemy is always on the prowl, always looking for some way to compromise us. And not because he’s a toothless lion with more bark than bite (smile) since Jesus defeated him and now has the keys to hell death and the grave, he still can cause immense trouble in our lives if we give him the slightest opening. It’s up to us to keep our doors and windows and crevices closed so he can’t get in. 

And continuing with Peter’s advice: ‘Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in (being experienced by) your brethren that are in your world.’ (1 Pet. 5:9). Oh, I know when the devil comes a calling, it doesn’t help all that much to know that other believers are suffering temptations too, but nonetheless, we must resist him through our faith in Jesus, because he’s a liar and cheat and deceiver and only wants to turn us away from God. 

Yuh see how smoothly and efficiently he made our forefathers Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit? He hasn’t changed, possibly gotten smarter and has more tools at his behest. So it’s of the utmost importance that we stand strong against him. And Peter ends with this assurance. ‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen, settle you.’ (1 Pet. 5:10) 

Ah friends, some temptation and affliction is necessary in the lives of all believers, because that’s how we get strong, how our faith grows. But be aware that the Lord will never give you more than you can bear, and with every temptation, He will either carry you through it, or make a way for you to go through it. That’s his ever faithful promise! So let’s stand strong and steadfast in the faith! Much LOVE!

…though Jesus rules…the devil still exists…with his evil ways…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 January 2020 Philippians 4:19.

Philippians 4:19.    ​But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.
 
And the snow did fall…in copious quantities too, but thankfully my information was wrong, we were only going to get 15 cm of snow, not the 50 I wrote about yesterday. However, the east coast province of Newfoundland and Labrador did receive a solid walloping over the weekend culminating in some 70 cm of the white stuff. Obviously everything was shut down under such a blanket of snow, with power outages and other necessities sadly lacking. 

Apparently even the snow trucks had to be taken off the road, since the blizzard was so bad that visibility was impossible. Friends, please, let’s pray for them and offer any other help that we can, because we never know when it will be our turn to be in such a despairing and disastrous situation. 

So closer to home now, the snow is finished falling but we had some freezing rain overnight and with the drop in temperature, it’s possibly slick and icy out there. So please be careful if you’re venturing out. And please don’t use the weather conditions as a convenient excuse not to go to church, (smile) although some of us will find it extremely difficult, even impossible to get out and about. 

And having said all of that, let’s turn to our multi-purpose in the Lord’s sanctuary today; to worship our great God, give Him much thanks and praise from sincere and overflowing hearts of gratitude, to enjoy sweet and encouraging fellowship with other believers, to hear the awesome Word of God which refreshes and renews us and gives us oodles of confidence and reassurance to face the fallen world in which we live! 

Now how can we get all of that if we don’t go to church eh, or have a gathering of two or three somewhere convenient? For Christ did say that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, that He would be right there in the midst of them. (Matt. 18:20) So if only a small gathering is possible, then so be it, but a big gathering would be nicer. (smile) And today’s opening song of worship is indeed very appropriate for these troubled and disastrous times. It’s aptly titled ‘Lord I Need You’ 

And do we ever need Him friends, so let’s raise our voices in sweet harmony as we call out to our Lord and Saviour for the help that only He can give. ‘(Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) Lord, I come, I confess Bowing here I find my rest Without You I fall apart You’re the One that guides my heart (Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) 

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more Where grace is found is where You are And where You are, Lord, I am free Holiness is Christ in me (Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) Teach my song to rise to You When temptation comes my way And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You Jesus, you’re my hope and stay. Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You. I need You every hour, Oh Lord how I need You…Oh how I need You. yes Lord, I need You, every hour of every day…That’s how much I need you.’  

Ah mih people, from all of that we should see how desperately we need Jesus Christ and all that He stands for. And what is a need you ask? Here’s something from a website that I forgot the name. But it says: ‘A need is something that is necessary for an organism to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants in that, in the case of a need, a deficiency causes a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death. In other words, a need is something required for a safe, stable and healthy life (e.g. food, water, shelter) while a want is a desire, wish or aspiration. 

When needs or wants are backed by purchasing power, they have the potential to become economic demands. Basic needs such as water, air, food and protection from environmental dangers are necessary for an organism to live. In addition to basic needs, humans also have needs of a social or societal nature such as the human need to socialize or belong to a family unit or group. Needs can be objective and physical, such as the need for food, or psychological and subjective, such as the need for self-esteem. Needs and wants are a matter of interest in, and form a common substrate for, the fields of philosophy, biology, psychology, social science, economics, marketing and politics.’ 

And yes we need all of those things, but even more importantly we need things like spiritual protection, the ability to confess our sins and know we’re forgiven, a place of rest to lay down our burdens, someone to guide us, to help us with righteousness, to provide grace and mercy, freedom from worry and anxiety, a strong tower to fall back on, not forgetting strength and faith to stand strong against temptation! Yes friends, we do need a lot, and Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can satisfy it ALL! He is indeed our ‘hope and stay!’ 

And there’s no better verse in the Good Book that guarantees our needs than Bruh Paul’s words to the Philippians, after they sacrificed from their little to send him a gift. ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.’ 

And the scholars explain that verse thus: 4:19. Because the Lord is aware of the sacrifice (v.18) that the Philippians made in meeting Paul’s needs, God will surely supply all their need. God will meet their need (1) according to his riches, that is in proportion to His unlimited resources: (2) in glory, that is, He will meet their need “gloriously” or “in a splendid manner”; and (3) by Christ Jesus.’ 

Ah friends, once we have Jesus, we don’t need anything, or anybody else! Let’s remember that and put our whole faith and trust in Him nuh, because He will see us faithfully through this live unto the next one, and long thereafter. Much LOVE!…

so let us come boldly (confidently)…to the throne of grace…that we may obtain mercy…and find grace…to help…in time of need… (Hebs. 4:16)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 January 2020 1 Peter 3:11.

1 Peter 3:11.    ​Let him eschew (turn away from) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (pursue) it.
 
And as the day opens, a whole lot of people around the world emit sighs of relief because it’s that magical day called Friday, when their outside labour will end for a couple of days and they won’t have to face snarled, slow-moving traffic twice a day, and engage in mindless chit-chat with selfish, ignorant co-workers whom they thoroughly dislike! (smile) 

Ah friends, what an evil and deceitful world we live in! And the sad part is that it’s getting worse daily. All the negative stuff that’s currently happening in our world is just creating more tension, anxiety and strife between hitherto comfortable people. But all that us true believers in Christ can basically do is pray for world peace and then do our best to pursue it in our families, friends and neighbourhoods! 

And since it’s Friday, we ought to hear what the ordinary workingman has to say for himself. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! And am I ever grateful for the two days off! I forgot how hard work could really be. Yeh, now that the new year has truly gotten rolling, the work is pouring in and the slave driving task master we have is flashing the whip often because the more work we do means more money for him. And yes, we do get a little more too, but nothing like what he gets, and certainly not in proper proportion to the amount of work we do to create the extra money… 

But I guess them’s the breaks! It’s how the greedy massa and them build the society – the people who do all the back breaking work, get the smallest amount of the harvest. And to tell the truth, in all the different systems we have in the world, one thing stands out…the handful of people who run the show, always get the best part of the pie! Regardless of how much revolution yuh have, it always end up like that. And right now, I too old to fight it anymore, so I’ll just put mih gear in cruise, and just bide mih time till I retire, and until then keep saying, ‘Thank God for Fridays and weekends oui!’ 

Now that’s the unfortunate reaction of a great number of people in our down-pressed world today, and sometimes you can’t give them wrong because they do seem to be fighting a losing battle. However, as true believers in Christ Jesus we don’t have to accept that defeatist philosophy, because in Christ there’s NO giving up. In fact, He has already won the victory and all we now have to do is walk it through in diligent faith and preordained works. That’s why our Friday Chant is so different from the workingman’s song. 

So let’s chant it now nuh, in strong voice and sincere hearts, so that we can be encouraged this Friday morning. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

You see my faithful brethren, whatever it looks like, and however life turns out, we believers need to keep on keeping on, fixated on the promises and sacrificial work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, always looking forward to His wonderful  coming in glory, sometime soon, any day now! In the meantime though, one thing we should all be seeking is that very real, but very elusive thing called peace, because it is a very important part of Christ’s kingdom. 

Now let’s look at some of the many scriptures in the Good Book that call for the making of peace. The first one is the prophecy of John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah re John’s work. ‘To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ (Luke 1:79) And if a big part of John’s work was to guide us in the way of peace, and John was the forerunner of Christ, then it means that peace was also a big part of Christ’s ministry. 

And He made that clear often enough. One of the Beatitudes, those 8 states of mind and heart  that Christ said was absolutely necessary for Christian discipleship in the Sermon on the Mount is: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.’ (Matt.5:9) Yes friends, blessed are those who seek peace and make peace and are at peace with God and man. And Peter makes it quite clear that if we want to have a good, long life: ‘Let him eschew (turn away from) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (pursue) it.’ Yuh see people, we have to make a definite decision and action; pursue peace. It doesn’t just come by desiring it, we have to make it happen! 

And I’m chuckling and a tad confused because I have so many scriptures on peace I don’t know which to share because of our time and space constraints. (smile) But since we can’t ever go wrong with Jesus, listen to Him again. ‘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) Yuh see that, Jesus’ peace is an entirely different kind of peace to what we find in the world. His is the kind that surpasses man’s understanding! (Phil. 4:7) And if we’re smart, we’ll diligently seek for His kind and not the world’s. 

And Hebrews so wisely tells us: ‘Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ (Heb.12:14) Then James proudly proclaims: ‘And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.’ (James 3:18) Yeh friends, peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and you can’t get it unless you sow it. And what better way to end than with one of Jesus’ better known sayings on peace. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) 

Oh friends with those encouraging words ringing in our hearts and minds, let’s go out today and in our own li’l way pursue peace nuh, because that’s the only way our world will ever improve! Much LOVE!

…as much as possible…follow peace with all men…

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 10 January 2020 Proverbs 3:25.

Proverbs 3:25.    ​Be not afraid of sudden fear (terror), neither of the desolation of (trouble from) the wicked, when it cometh.
 
And then it was Friday, that day we so revere and look forward to, because it means we’re about to get a much needed break from work. Many of us, however, are today more concerned about the serious state of negative affairs in our world in this short space of ten days of the new year. The anger and concern in our world hasn’t been this high in a long while. What with the natural disasters of fires, famines and whatnot, we also have the heightened tensions caused by indiscriminate bombings and killings and heated words and arguments of imminent international war being thrown around by incompetent and corrupt leaders. 

Steups! Haven’t we had enough of war? Are we still so stupid and short sighted to think that war solves anything? We must be, since the warmongers are having a field day with rhetoric of unbelievable proportions! But friends, the long and short of the story is that most of us can’t do anything about the tenuous situations currently facing our world, so we have to stop the worrying. Remember, worrying fixes nothing, just causes things to get worse. If you can fix it, why worry about it, just fix it! And if you can’t fix it, then why worry about it eh? 

Our main solution to the problem is simply prayer; turning to God with sincere hearts minds bodies and souls. And what amazes me is that we’ve turned away so far from God, that with all the negative stuff happening, our religious leaders aren’t even thinking that it might possibly be all a wake up call from our dissatisfied God, and all He’s seeking is for us to return to His wonderful fold. It’s been documented in the Good Book all down through it’s history, so why should these perilous times be any different eh? 

Friends, I don’t know the answers either, but I do know that this ought to be a time of serious prayer and repentance because that is the only thing that can bring us back from the overhanging precipice of war and possible extinction on which we’re currently precipitously balancing! Anyway, it’s Friday and the workingman is just dying to have his say. So what say we let him eh? (smile) 

‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! It wasn’t a bad week at work nuh, though the weather could have been more consistent; instead of one minute snow, one minute rain…yuh never know what to expect. Just look at all the snow we had fall yesterday. Today there’s hardly a trace of it; either washed away by the rain, or melted in the warmer temps. I guess that’s all about climate change. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, for generally speaking, the less snow I have to encounter in my everyday life, the happier I am! 

And with the children back to school now, contented with all their toys and stuff, for the time being that is, the wife was able to get some much needed rest and do some stuff for herself. Brother, it’s so busy and draining being a homemaker these days, even with all the helpful tools that are supposed to make it easier! Don’t know how women long ago handled it nuh. We just got to be thankful for sensible, hardworking wives, Fridays and weekend yes!’ 

And all the men said a loud and grateful ‘Amen!’ (smile) Ah mih people, life might have been somewhat harder physically long ago, but it certainly wasn’t as stressful and busy like it is today. And one would think that with all the technological inventions etc. etc. we’d be able to slow down. But the truth is all those inventions are just making us become busier and want things in even shorter time periods. 

But for those of us who sincerely believe in and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we don’t need to rush around like a chicken with it’s head cut off – have you ever seen that – (smile) we ought to be well grounded, calm and not anxious or fearful. And to help us do that, let’s give out with our Friday Chant nuh. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ Yes friends, ours is a more cautious though still amazingly more enjoyable life than that of the ordinary workingman. 

And you’ll notice that in his song he didn’t mention anything about the current turmoil in our world. That’s because a lot of the ordinary working people, don’t have the time to worry about such stuff, even though they might hear it on their televisions or radios or social media. Why? Because they’re too busy trying to make a half decent life in this crazy, dog-eat-dog world in which we now live! 

And I believe this passage from Proverbs will help us today, if we seriously embrace it. ‘The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths (deeps) are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, let not them (wisdom, understanding, knowledge) depart from thine eyes; keep sound wisdom and discretion: 

So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace (favour) to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear (terror), neither of the desolation of (trouble from) the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.’ (Prov. 3:19-26) 

Oh my people, as true believers, let us not fear in these troubling times, but instead stand strong and sincerely turn to our omnipotent God, Creator and wonderful Shepherd! That will certainly stand us in good stead when negative things come against us! Much LOVE!

…the most used words of Jesus…FEAR NOT…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 January 2020 John 15:5.

John 15:5.    ​I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
 

And yes, I know some of you are patting your chests, feeling self-satisfied and proud as a peacock, because you have now darkened the church doors on your usual two occasions for the year; at Easter and Christmas. And I still don’t understand why you go at all because twice a year is certainly insufficient if you consider yourself a true believer in Jesus Christ! Church ought not to be a sometime thing. The Lord planned it to be a regular occurrence, and if you think twice a year is sufficient, then you are totally fooling yourself and seriously suffering from the sin of pride, which the Lord abhors more than most others. 

Church was made for fellowship, so believers could gather together and enjoy each other’s company, encourage each other, sing and praise the Lord and hear His enlightened Word, thus refreshing and renewing our tired minds, bodies and spirits from a stressful week of work, so that we can begin the cycle all over again on Monday. Anyway, mine is not to judge, just to point out the inadequacies. (smile) So let’s get the show on the road with today’s song of praise. And since we’ve all resolved to have a closer walk with Jesus this new year of 2020, I figured the most appropriate song would be the old faithful: ‘Just a closer walk with thee.’ 

But before we get into it, here is something from the website Hymnary.org, which gives us food for thought as we sing. ‘In this song, we acknowledge our human inability to live righteously, but we also express awareness of the grace and strength that God gives us in our daily walk. Even such an esteemed saint as the apostle Paul acknowledged his need for this grace: “But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” … For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, 10b ESV).’ 

So as we sing, as we raise our voices to high heaven in perfect harmony and true sincerity, let’s contemplate the sentiments we utter in that light nuh. All together now: ‘I am weak but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee. (Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.) Thro’ this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee. [Refrain] 

(And Anne Murray inserts this chorus here: ‘Take my hand Lord Jesus, take my hand. Take my hand Lord Jesus, take my hand. There’s a race to be run, there’s a victory to be won, every hour, give me power to go through.) When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore. [Refrain] (Take my hand Lord Jesus, take my hand. Take my hand Lord Jesus, take my hand. There’s a race to be run, there’s a victory to be won, every hour, give me power to go through.) Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be. Just a closer walk with thee, Dear Lord let be…let it be…’ 

Ah mih people, the only way to walk this earth successfully is to be continually in close proximity to Jesus; the One who bore all our sins on Calvary’s cross, then rose triumphantly from the dead and ascended into heaven where He sits at the Father’s right hand advocating on our behalf. Glory Hallelujah! And if you don’t believe me, then hear it from Jesus Himself: ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:4-5) 

Now if that isn’t telling it in plain and straightforward language, I don’t know what is nuh! Yes friends, if we don’t stay tightly attached to Jesus then we’ll be lost like sheep without a shepherd, headed straight for naïve and innocent slaughter by falling for the enemy’s lies and deceit. That’s the gospel truth! Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can provide us with the strength and the wherewithal we need to make it through these dark, dismal and turbulent times! 

And Bruh Paul puts it thus to the Corinthians in the last chapter of his second letter, when he speaks of his coming to them and warns of prevalent sin in their church: ‘For though he (Jesus) was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates (unless you don’t stand the test, are counterfeit Christians)?’ (2 Cor.13:4-5) 

Ah mih people, in this new year, these trying times of history, it’s ever so necessary for each and every one of us to examine ourselves and make sure we’re not fakes, counterfeit believers! If we’re true believers, then Christ ought to be in us. And if Christ is in us, then we have the awesome responsibility to act and behave in a manner that is worthy of Him. That means bearing the fruit of the Spirit: LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), meekness, temperance (self-control). 

Today, let’s take a few moments and examine ourselves to see if we are bearers of such fruit nuh. And whether we are or not, let’s sincerely ask the Lord to help us bear such fruit so that we can exalt and glorify His most worthy name through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Much LOVE!

…not that we are sufficient of our selves…to think any thing as of ourselves…but our sufficiency…is of God… (2 Cor.3:5)

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