Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 April 2016 1 Chronicles 16:34

1 Chronicles 16:34.    O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Oh friends, it’s a new day, filled with the many new mercies and blessings showered down on us by our magnanimous, magnificent, ever-faithful, ever-LOVING God! Oh glory be! 

And since that’s so, it’s only common sense that we declare with sincerity and enthusiasm, like the psalmist of old: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we SHALL rejoice and be glad in it!’ 

Yes precious people, that’s the only reaction that makes any sense. For if we whine and complain and get angry and let all the negative emotions control our lives, we definitely will not rejoice. However, if we are positive, proactive, generous, friendly and faithful, we stand a much better chance of truly enjoying our day. 

Oh, I know that is difficult for some of us to do because of the difficult and challenging circumstances we are currently facing, but not to worry, our awesome God says that if we trust Him, He will never leave nor forsake us, and He has His Holy Spirit living within us to help and guide and comfort us, which proves His faithfulness. 

Anyway, it’s Monday, and like it or not, we have to go back out to work and face the heathen horde. So to help us to handle that mammoth undertaking, (smile) let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with much zest and plenty chutzpah. 

All together now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Yes mih breddren, that ought to get our motors cranked up and the adrenalin flowing freely. And it wasn’t a bad rendition either, as the smile on our choirmaster, Jesus’ face acknowledged. So let’s get out there and do whatever is necessary to win lives, or cause others to come to Him for salvation and eternal life nuh, because that’s our bounden duty. 

Now let’s turn to our Bit. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.’ 

And all of you, my fellow believers know that that is the endearing, everlasting truth! That means we can trust our God with our lives, surrender them to Him, because He is exceedingly good and merciful, and will not lead us astray, but through His Holy Spirit, will keep us focused on the straight and narrow path that leads to Him. 

And we’ll conclude this series of messages on the goodness and mercy of our wonderful Creator, God and sure Provider by checking out some more of the instances where our Bit is used. We find it used a lot especially in the Psalms.  Yes friends, those words, or some variation thereof, begin Psalms 106, 107, 118, and 136.  

Meanwhile Psalm 117 – The truth of the Lord endureth forever – in its two verses simply says: ‘O praise the Lord, all ye nations (Gentiles): praise (glorify) him, all ye people. For his merciful (LOVING) kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.’ (Ps.117:1-2)  

And the scholars have an interesting note on it. ‘Psalm 117. Well known as the shortest chapter in the Bible, this little psalm contains a great message. Though some have denied it an independent existence, attaching it to Psalm 116, Psalm 117 has all three elements of the hymn of praise: a call to praise  (v.1), a cause for praise (v.2a,b), and a conclusion , which, in this case, is a simple praise ye the Lord (v.2c). 

The fact that the nations and people (lit. “peoples”)  are addressed in verse 1 makes this psalm the only one in the Psalter addressed in its entirety to the Gentile world. Its evangelical mood was still baffling to some of Paul’s readers. This is one of the four passages that Paul quotes from the Old Testament, in Romans 15, to prove that God is interested in saving the Gentiles.’ 

And now you know it friends! (smile) And the last instance of the use of our Bit for today comes from the prophet Jeremiah. He is here promising a glorious return to the captives when Judah will be revived. 

‘The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land (the captives of the land to return), as at the first, saith the Lord.’ (Jer.33:11) 

Ah friends, I do hope that we took the sacrifice of praise into the Lord’s house yesterday and faithfully worshipped and fellowshipped with others of our faith, so that we could be renewed and fully equipped to go out and face the dark, evil and lustful world today and all week. Anything other than that, simply makes no sense at all. Much LOVE!

…if we don’t get our batteries of faith and trust recharged on Sundays…then we won’t have the necessary energy and power to withstand the enemy during the week…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 April 2016 1 Chronicles 16:34‏

1 Chronicles 16:34.   O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Ah mih breddren, the ole fella went out and party last evening… the first time in ages too. In fact, the first time since New Year’s Eve! Glory to God! But the ole fella must really be getting old if it takes three and half months between his partying. (smile) 

Oh it was nothing spectacular, just our church’s first International Dinner and Dance held in the church’s auditorium. And was it ever well attended, over a hundred beautiful souls. And talk about food; all kinds of food from all the many cultures of our rather diverse congregation. 

And would you believe that after everybody had their fill, with seconds and thirds, and people bought food to carry home, there were still loads of food left. And this was no catered affair, just members of our congregation cooking and donating food from their particular culture. 

And please note that the West Indian fare was first and foremost  – as usual. (smile) Ah can’t help it people, ah just biased towards mih West Indian victuals and way of life. And if is one thing, no two things the St. Francis congregation can do well, is eat and party, led by our inimitable Fr. Jeff. 

And the ole fella partied too, to the good music that the D.J. spun, with my natural enthusiasm obviously, but not with my leggo beast antics. It seems that those days are over, and now I have to be more circumspect about my physical activity. 

But look at that nuh; the ole fella can’t party as physically and energetically as he used to. I guess, as they say, after one time is two. Hn, hn! And by the grace of God, and some man-made medication, the knees are holding up well this morning. Praise be! 

Anyway friends, today is Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and that means we have to get ourselves to church and praise and worship and fellowship with our Christian brethren. I do hope that all of the partiers’ last night can get up and get to church this morning, and they are not suffering from the after effects of the night before. (smile) 

Or they don’t use that as an excuse, cause you ever notice how we Christian folks can find all sorts of reasons not to go to church, but none not to go out and indulge in the lustful lifestyle of the world. We just don’t seem to hold going to church as sacred and important as we ought to. 

Now enough of my two cents worth, let’s check out our Bit. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.’ 

Yes friends, that’s what we ought to be doing this Sunday in the Lord’s sanctuary; giving thanks for His everlasting goodness to us undeserving human beings. That reminds me of the words of the old Beres Hammond song ‘Giving Thanks.’ 

‘Morning sun rising behind me, Stars at night come out to remind me, To give thanks for all the things that I have. All is well, I’ve got my health and in such good shape, Pockets broken, I’ve got nothing, waiting for that break, 

So I’m giving thanks, for all I’ve got, I’m giving thanks, whether or not, I’m giving thanks for the life I’ve got, I’m giving thanks now, Yes I’m giving thanks for all I’ve got, I’m giving thanks, whether or not, I’m giving thanks for the life in me, I’m giving thanks…I’m giving thanks…’ 

Oh my people, if we’d only give a little more thanks to our wonderful God, our lives would be so much better! I guess we don’t realize that our blessings are proportional to the thanks that we give. Even if we don’t have anything, that’s material possessions, we still have life to be thankful for. 

And to remind us that a lot of other folks don’t have even life this morning, just read the obits. So please, let’s wake up and smell the roses nuh, let’s acknowledge the mercy and LOVING-kindness of our awesome Creator. That’s all He’s asking of us yes; to appreciate what He done, is doing, and has promised to do for us. 

And we’ll continue checking out instances of our Bit being used in the Good Book. Yesterday we saw it used when Bruh David brought up the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and when Cousin Sol finished building the Lord’s temple. Today let’s look at how it was also used when the Israelites returned from their captivity in Babylon and laid the foundation for the rebuilding of the Lord’s house. 

The book of Ezra describes it thus: ‘And they sang together by course (responsively) in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 

But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.’ (Ezra 3:11-13) 

Ah friends, do we shout with such joy nowadays when we are doing the Lord’s work? I don’t think so. But you can see how happy the Israelites were that they were in the process of rebuilding God’s sanctuary. And we’ll close with an explanation from the scholars on that joyous time. 

‘3:12-13. It had been about 50 years since the first temple had been destroyed, and many of the older men (ancient men) who had seen the earlier building, wept now because of the sorrowful contrast in size and splendour. 

When the temple was completed later in 520 B.C; there were still some of these old men who wept again. Haggai 2:3 and Zechariah 4:10 relate Zechariah’s challenge to those who “despised the day of small things.” 

Oh friends, please, let’s not despise small things, because EVERYTHING, big or small has been made and provided by God. Consequently, it means that we are despising God, when we despise the things He’s made or allowed to be made. That’s certainly not wisdom! Much LOVE!

…Blessing…and glory…and wisdom…and thanksgiving…and honour…and power…and might…be unto our God…for ever and ever…Amen…  (Rev.7:12) 

P.S. Sorry friends, it could have been earlier, but I had to practice what I was preaching; I had to leave and go to church. And it’s a good thing too, because it’s in one of today’s readings that I heard the afterthought above. Please have a blessed day! Much LOVE!

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 April 2016 1 Chronicles 16:34

1 Chronicles 16:34.     O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Well my people in the northern climes, this weekend’s temperatures are supposed to reach into the high teens… And all God’ people declared a loud and thankful ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Yeh friends, I know the frustration that’s been running through our mortal souls for the last couple weeks, with the cold, unseasonable winter weather. But I think spring has finally sprung, and I know that you will be all out in the bright sunshine half-naked, tooling around in your sports cars, revving your motorbikes, getting your tans, and of course the backyards and decks will be crowded, with barbecues blazing, while the beer is being greedily chugged down in large quantities! (smile) 

But please remember Granny’s advice; ‘drunk or sober, mind your business,’ because I know after the long winter hibernation, this sudden summer type weather can go to our heads and have us do foolish things, and thus allow Lucifer to get a foot hold in our souls, which is definitely not a good thing. 

But enough of my rambling, I have something I want to share with you. I recently received a form letter from Fr. Bob Colaresi, the Director of The Monastery of Mount Carmel Society of the Little Flower – the Society that’s associated with St. Therese – and the opening paragraphs were so beautiful, I just had to share them with you. 

The letter begins: ‘Beloved Friend, The heart is our centre. It pumps blood throughout. It beats with LOVE, longing and power. When we give our heart away, it signifies us giving ourselves away to someone. 

In some ways our heart is who we are, especially as women and men created in the “image and likeness of God” Who is LOVE.  We are created from LOVE, in LOVE and for LOVE. We believe in a God Who is recklessly in LOVE with us and longs for union. 

Pope Francis has challenged the Church to celebrate a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mercy is the heartbeat of God. For reasons hard to explain or understand we re-created a God of judgement. 

Somehow we seem to forget the Good News: that God reveals Himself as Mercy and LOVE – the God who gives us the benefit of the doubt. The God Who is always present with unconditional LOVE – Who never leaves us and always forgives.’ 

Oh friends, what a wonderful description of our amazing God! But do we truly live like we are LOVED and shown mercy by our magnanimous heavenly Father? Of course not! Too many of us simply pay lip service to God’s LOVE and mercy, and only come running to Him when we find ourselves in a heap of trouble from which we cannot extricate ourselves. 

But that’s certainly not wisdom for a true believer. For the true believer, living in the lap and luxury of God’s LOVE and mercy is an everyday, all day thing. It’s not something to embrace only when it suits our convenience, but we should be gloriously wallowing in it all the time, like pigs in mud. (smile) 

That’s when we truly get all the benefits of being in a personal relationship with Christ. Otherwise we are foolishly shortchanging ourselves.  And I don’t know about you all, but I definitely would like to receive all that God has earmarked for me, and the only way to do that is to live continuously in His LOVE and mercy, receiving stuff that we don’t deserve. That is true wisdom! 

And when I went looking for a Bit to match the words and sentiments of Fr. Bob above, I came upon this sentiment of indisputable truth that was ever so appropriate.  And it is also found in numerous places of the Good Book, which means it must be true and important. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.’ 

Now my brethren, if there ever was gospel truth, those words certainly qualify! And I simply cannot fathom why we are turning away from such a wonderful Deity in these turbulent and trying times. If there ever was a time for us to be running to God, it’s NOW!  

Now when we are being rocked by so much strife and disasters, both natural and man-made. Just look at how Japan was turned topsy-turvy by two strong earthquakes in the last couple of days. Only with a strong and true belief in a powerful and living God can we find the strength and wherewithal to overcome that sort of thing. But this modern day, selfish, egotistic society is running away from God instead! Steups! 

Ah Lord eh mih people! Sometimes I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall, all to no purpose, because people are not listening, they’re just too giddy, running behind the material things of the world. Anyway, that seems to be my cross to bear, so I’ll just have to bear it as best as I can. (smile) 

Now let’s look at some of the times and occasions where our Bit can be found in the Good Book. The instance we’re using is found when Bruh David brought up the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and the people celebrated and he wrote a glorious psalm of thanksgiving. 

Then later on in 2 Chronicles, when Cousin Sol completed the Lord’s temple and dedicated it, the celebration was amazing. Listen to the Good Book describe it. 

‘It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord. 

So that the priests could not stand to minister (continue ministering) by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.’ (2 Chr.5:13-14)  

Oh friends, we’ve run out of space and time, but yuh see what sincere praise and worship can do? It can cause our God to do miraculous stuff, because He just LOVES it when we praise and worship and glorify His Holy Name! That’s why He made us. 

So in this Easter season, when God gave us the biggest gift of all, eternal life, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, please let’s consider ramping up our praise and worship nuh, both as individuals and in fellowship, as the Church, the body of Christ. There could be no better reason. Then we’ll see our magnificent and magnanimous God do amazing and wonderful things in our lives! Much LOVE!

…there’s nothing in this world…to beat God’s LOVING-kindness and mercy…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 November 2015 Psalm 118:1

Psalm 118:1.   Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; because his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever.

HAPPY  THANKSGIVING  U.S. OF A !

Well a Happy Thanksgiving Thursday to all you fine folks in the U.S. of A! Let’s hope that it will indeed be a happy one, with lot’s of thanks and giving and LOVING, as there ought to be. 

We are indeed blessed in these challenging times and should truly pay homage to the One who has brought us such prosperity. I know things aren’t all hunky dory, but believe me, we in the West are having it much better than many others in the rest of the world, and that is enough to be thankful for. 

Now here is an interesting and appropriate poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, entitled ‘Thanksgiving Day Dream.’ 

And it says: ‘On this fragrant, frosty Thanksgiving Day The huge turkey browns beautifully In our king-size oven. The tender yams are evenly candied; The corn soufflé is beginning to bubble; The congealed salad is ready to unmold. 

The homemade bread with its crunchy texture Is wrapped in foil for reheating. The ice cubes are bagged in plastic; The relishes are artistically arranged On a round crystal plate. The pumpkin pies are still slightly warm. Fresh yellow chrysanthemums Grace the long, colourful table. The house glistens and shines. My makeup is evenly applied… 

So dear family How about settling down In our favourite chairs For an hour of relaxation Before our guests arrive! Lord I dream of this happening Some ethereal Thanksgiving Day!’ 

Yes Friends, I know that most of you dream that a Thanksgiving Day could play out as simply and efficiently as that. But the truth of the matter is that that seldom happens, because there are always last minute preparations and hustle and bustle to complete before the guests arrive. 

I guess though, that is a part of all that makes the Thanksgiving Day special, especially since this is probably the biggest and most widely celebrated holiday in the U.S. with everybody heading home, or to some where, to meet and greet long lost or long unseen friends and family and enjoy turkey and pumpkin pie, and good relations. 

Oh, it’s never all sugar and spice when families get together, but it doesn’t have to be nasty and ungodly. Now please be careful. Enjoy it, but don’t over do it! Remember to give plenty thanks, because that’s what the holiday is all about. 

Oh, and don’t forget Granny’s words of heavenly wisdom: ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober please mind your business!’ (smile) 

Unfortunately though, many residents of the U.S will not be enjoying such a Thanksgiving Day because of a lack of family or LOVED ones, because of poverty and homelessness, or being sick in the hospital, or incarcerated. So please, as much as is within your means do help those who don’t have as much as you do. 

Remember Nehemiah’s admonition when the Jews returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon and first heard the Word of God read to them. ‘Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Neh.8:10) 

And it is indeed my brethren. So in your joy today, please don’t forget those who have no joy, or anything to celebrate with. 

That brings us very appropriately to the promise to which our earlier poem was linked. ‘Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered (hungry), and ye gave me meat (food): 

I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.’ (Matt.25:34-36) 

Yes my fellow believers, that’s what Jesus wants to see from us, especially on such an important, but also one of the loneliest days of the year. So please help whomever and wherever you can, so that the light of Jesus can shine brightly in this too dark world. 

And finally, we come to our Bit. ‘Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; because his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever.’ 

Oh what a wonderful scripture my precious people! And it shouldn’t only be followed on Thanksgiving Day, but EVERYDAY, because we have so much to be thankful for EVERYDAY! 

And sadly, somehow or the other we’ve lost that attitude of gratefulness, of thankfulness that our fathers had. I don’t know if that’s because they had to depend so much on Almighty God for their livelihood, or we have just become such an ungrateful, selfish and thankless bunch. 

Now we are just going to end with a couple of scriptures that wisely advise the giving of continual thanks. Listen to Bruh David from his psalm of thanksgiving. ‘Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.’ (1 Chr.16:8-9) 

And Jeremiah reminds us of what will happen when Judah is revived; all the desolation will be removed, and this will occur. ‘The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, 

Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land (cause the captives of the land to return), as at the first saith the Lord.’ (Jer.33:11) 

So Friends, on this glorious day, with the wonderful breath of Jehovah God flowing through our bodies, let’s all offer the sacrifice of praise to Him nuh, because we all have so much to be thankful for. Much LOVE!

…in every thing give thanks…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus…concerning you… (1 Thess.5:18)