Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 April 2020 Psalm 118:8-9.

Psalm 118:8-9.    ​It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
 
Prologue: Yeahhh! I got it right this time! Just want to apologize for the length and lateness of the Bit, though you all already know my penchant for late nights and many words. (smile) I want us though to take what’s written very seriously, because it could have a serious effect on the eventual status of our world. Much LOVE!

And the calamitous time continues; more contraction of the Covid-19 disease and more deaths. And it does seem that the situation will get worse before it gets better. But that’s normal in many cases of unexpected disaster. However, we will not dwell on the actions and results of the Coronavirus this morning, because talking about it too much only increases the fear, anxiety and panic associated with its disastrous run through the world. Today though we’re going to focus on more proactive stuff like courage and trust. 

And the first word comes obviously form the Good Book, Bruh Paul’s encouraging words to Timothy and also to us in these most trying times. ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power (His Holy Spirit), and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind.’ (2 Tim. 1:7) Right there friends is a most important bit of scripture for us to use in the fight against this dreaded and deadly virus that’s causing fear and alarm all over our world. Our first reaction must be to take courage; that’s if we believe that our great and wonderful God is still in control and will work everything out for our eventual good. 

It’s not possible to serve the Lord from a position of unmitigated fear! So let’s stand strong by putting all the courageous words and promises found on the subject in the Good Book in the forefront of our lives nuh. That’s the first requirement… And the second – it’s like the first (smile) Put out absolute trust in Almighty God, not in man nor machines. And there are so many scriptures that tell us to trust in God and not man that you could possibly spend a whole day just reading them. (smile) They are especially popular in the Psalms, like these verses from Psalm 118 – Thanksgiving for the Lord’s Salvation. ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.’  

Now my people, that says it in black and white. And during this pandemic we’re seeing a lot of instances where we can’t put trust in normal man or even princely men, for all sorts of hypocrisy and lies and half-truths are flying around and people are not keeping their promises, especially in a time like this when trust is so necessary. And right now I’d like to share the Quote of the Week from a message that a friend sends me. And is it ever so apropos to our current situation. 

Please read with me. ‘God always requires total trust in Him alone for our victories in life. Throughout Scripture we are cautioned not to place our trust in the strength of horses, other men or our own abilities. In 1 Chronicles, David’s decision to take a census was a failure to keep his trust totally upon the Lord. David’s purpose in counting his population was to assess his military strength. David’s commander evidently recognized the grave error that his king was about to make. 

Joab was right — the census displeased the Lord. David was falling into the temptation of trusting in the size of his army rather than in the Lord. In consequence, God punished David and reduced his forces by bringing a plague that killed 70,000 men. How do you avoid placing your trust in God today? Do you trust your bank accounts, your skills and the security of your workplace? When you begin to place your faith in these things instead of in the Provider of these things you get into trouble with God. What a lesson this is for each of us. Today, let’s place our total trust in the Lord for all of our needs.’ 

I couldn’t have said it any plainer or better my fellow believers! Total trust in the Lord is the NUMBER ONE requirement in life, especially when we’re under heavy duress like now! And we can see how Bruh David seemed to get too big for his britches from the first verse of 1 Chronicles 21. ‘And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked (moved) David to number (take a census of) Israel.’ 

And the scholars put forth a very interesting explanation from 2. Samuel 24:1, which also deals with the situation. ‘24:1. Taking a census was not the wrong thing to do per se. God Himself had previously ordered Moses to make two censuses (cf. Num. 1:2-3; 26:2). However, in this case Satan (cf. 1 Chr. 21:1) seized upon the growing pride of David’s heart (vs.2-3) to incite him into taking a census, so the king might have a ground of boasting (cf. Dan. 4:30 – Nebuchadnezzar’s boast). God, the controller of all things, allowed the deed to be done so as to bring David to a place of humility and reality (vs.10). God and Satan are often involved in the same event, but for different causes (cf. Job) – God, so that the believer might be instructed and grow, but Satan, to discredit the believer and therefore, God Himself.’ 

Ah friends, the same way Nebuchadnezzar ended up going crazy and living like a beast for seven years after boasting about His might and glory, same way Bruh David received chastening before the Lord. The Good Book says: ‘And David’s heart smote him (his conscience bothered him) after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.’ (2 Sam. 24:10) 

And that’s why Bruh David could be called a friend of God and a man after His own heart! He had a heart for God, and God knew that, but being a man, and thus by nature sinful, he obviously made mistakes. But once those mistakes were made known, he never hesitated to fall before the Lord in sincere prayer and repentance. That’s why the Lord, though he punished him for his mistakes, still never took away his special place from him. And I think we all should read what happened after Bruh David took the census. That’s found in 2 Samuel 24:10-25. Here’s a brief synopsis (smile). 

The Lord sent the prophet Gad to Bruh David…and wonder of wonders, He gave him the opportunity to decide his own punishment. Did He ever LOVE Bruh David! The choices were: seven years of famine, him fleeing for three months before his enemies, or three days pestilence in the land. ‘And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait (great distress): let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.’ (2 Sam 24:14)  So the Lord sent a plague into the land – just as He is doing to us right now, and some seventy thousand men died. And many have died, and many more will die, until we come to the Lord with sincere confession and repentance. 

Then, like the Lord did with Israel, He will stay His hand and the deaths will stop. (2 Sam. 24:16) Then David repented and made his peace with God. (2 Sam. 24:17-25) As the scholars say: ‘24:17. God’s chastening had achieved its desired effect. David recognizes that as the king of Israel his primary task was that of a shepherd with his sheep. He manfully and humbly repents of his sin and pleads for his beloved people. Despite his oft-besetting sins, David had a tender heart toward God and God’s people. Accordingly, David is commended as a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22).’ 

So friends, I do believe that the Lord will deal the same way with us, if we bow down and repent and turn back to Him, for there’s no denying that our world is so steeped in sin and wickedness that most of us don’t have a clue as to what’s really going on. And for those of us who recognize the seriousness of the situation and are tuned into the Saviour, let’s go home now declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. 

In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

And the next action is to truly communicate and share God’s LOVE and friendship with others, any way we can, in these really tough and trying times! Much LOVE!

…trust in the Lord…and do good…regardless of the circumstances…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 March 2020 1 John 4:18.

1 John 4:18.    ​There is no fear in LOVE; but perfect LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath (involves) torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in LOVE.
 

Well a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We’ve now reached the middle of the Lenten Season. But unfortunately there’ll be no public celebrations in green this year as the lockdown of the world continues… with the panic moving right along with it! Ah Lord eh! Canada has now barred certain people from certain places from entering the country. You’ll have to check out the Canadian Government Website to find out exactly who or whom are no longer welcome.  And sadly, every day, it seems to be getting worse; more people contracting the virus, more people dying, more empty shelves in the groceries and supermarkets, more places closing, but absolutely no word of how and when this pandemic will end, and certainly no reassuring news of some antidote been found to contradict the virus. 

But friends, when the Lord made man, He instilled one truly admirable quality in him; that of hope which leads to faith; of being able to fight through extremely tough situations with His awesome help. And in these turbulent and tremulous times, with no positive end in sight and no medical solution on the near horizon, it’s our faith and trust and surrender to Almighty God that is going to get us through. And to bolster our faith and courage and lessen our fear, here’s ‘A Great Message for the moment.’ A beautifully written piece by one Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM. I received it from a friend yesterday, and thought I just had to share it because it was so true and beautiful and uplifting. Please read carefully, inwardly digest and take the necessary outward actions. It’s titled “Lockdown!” 

‘Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is buying panic. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. 

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today, a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighborhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary. All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting. All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way. 

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality. To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To LOVE. So we pray and remember that, Yes, there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes, there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is buying panic. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes, there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul. Yes, there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of LOVE. 

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe, listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again. The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by LOVE. Open the windows of your soul. And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, SING!’ 

Oh friends, isn’t that touching! I certainly hope that it resounds powerfully within each and everyone of us. And if you will, please share it, because it’s the first positive reaction I’ve seen throughout these crazy and panic-filled times. And strangely enough, earlier on this morning, when I got up and went to the bathroom, I heard birds singing outside for the first time this year, and smiled to myself, thinking, spring is near! Glory be! (smile) 

And the psalmist said it in spades, so long ago: ‘Make a joyful noise (shout joyfully) unto the Lord, all ye lands (all the earth). Serve the Lord with gladness, come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord, he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.’ (Ps.100:1-5) 

Precious people, just in those five verses the psalmist has spelled it all out for us; the Lord God is good and mighty, and we need to bow before Him with singing and praise and thanksgiving! And singing has always been a way to ease the pressures of life. As another psalmist says: ‘I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.’ (Ps.104:33-34) And as Bruh Paul told the Ephesians on how to be Spirit-filled: ‘Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ (Eph. 5:19-21) 

Ah my people, that is the first move we ought to make in this crisis; seek God! And I do hope that we see His hand at work in this fear-filled time, because it is present. It’s His way of reining us in, of bringing us back to our senses, and as the author says above, of showing us how small we really are and how little control we do have over our lives and situations. It’s His way of bringing us back to him, killing our false and foolish pride, of showing that the most important thing is not worldly wealth and power, but His righteousness. That’s why His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ said so emphatically during His earthly sojourn: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) 

But no, we in our false pride and bravado, with the li’l intelligence we’ve gleaned over the years, have now gotten so big for our britches, that we now desire to, and foolishly believe we can remove our Creator from our society. Hn! What a nonsensical desire and belief! And I have to sadly chuckle when I think about the small virus that the Lord has used to bring us to our knees. Think about it nuh people. Some small, simple, unknown infection is driving the mighty mankind crazy! Can you believe it? 

But yet in all the confusion, many of us are finding, new hope, stronger faith, trust and LOVE! And why is that? Because as John says: ‘There is no fear in LOVE; but perfect LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath (involves) torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in LOVE.’ And having said all of that, my faithful followers of Christ, let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are! 

In strong voice with sincere hearts in these trying times, let’s be strong in our Triune Godhead. ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ And in our current situation, we do need to share the warm, reassuring LOVE of Christ and His amazing friendship with each other more than ever. Much LOVE!

…when you’re sad…sing songs of praise…and you’ll reclaim your joy…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 March 2020 Matthew 28:18.

Matthew 28:18.    And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
 

It was a very good day, but an extremely rough night! Chuh! We accompanied the newly wedded couple into the country yesterday afternoon, the backwoods of Hanover Parish, up in the mountains…and we talking real mountain here. Hn! After driving up the rough, hill incline for a couple miles, we finally had to park and walk almost a quarter mile further up the hill to get to our cousins’ property right at the top. 

And it was only a rough, uneven, stony path, always climbing upward. When you got to a bend, you’d think ‘Well this is it.’ But there was always another stretch around that bend. But the duchess/first lady and the ole fella handled it quite nicely. Just took our time and did our thing. Along the way there were all sorts of flora on either side with some big palms trees gracing the hillside, as well as a few houses. 

At one time I told them that I was smelling mannish-water, the Jamaican soup made from goat entrails. What I was smelling though was what they used to make the mannish water; a live ram goat close by in the bushes. I had to laugh because it smelled so authentic. And when we were coming back down I also smelled it. (smile) 

And was the sight at the top ever so lovely; mountains and sea all around, as well as all kinds of fruit trees on the property itself; mango, soursop, sugar apple, caimete, cocoa, pimento, gungo peas etc. Yes, I know that technically speaking those last three aren’t fruits, but the name suits our purposes here. (smile) 

The amusing part is that while going up the rain kept drizzling, and when we got to the top a decent shower came down and we had to shelter in a li’l lean to, as the house on the property had been burned down some years ago. Coming back down was harder than going up, because of the slant of the hill and the uneven, stony ground, but we made it…Praise the Lord! 

And on the way back to Mo Bay, we stopped at the restaurant along the seacoast, Paiche’s, that we’d stopped at last week. And while they had their fish stuff, I had some curry shrimps with fry plantain, fry breadfruit and festival. All in all it was a very interesting day, didn’t get back home until around nine p.m. 

But brother…the night was a different story! Went to be around eleven, got up around two to go to the bathroom, and thereafter it was just horrors! My right hip just kept aching, couldn’t find a comfortable position no which way I tried, but I refused to get up out of the bed. Like a petulant child I just lay there and turned and tossed from side to side. I must have dozed off sometime, because I remember having at least one dream. (smile) 

Oh, somewhere in there I got up and took some Tylenol, but that did not help matters any. And around six thirty, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and finally got up. Steups! I guess though, as Job said, we have to take the bad with the good, that earthly life won’t be a heavenly trip, though I don’t see why not, since we’d all like it to be. (smile) 

And though the Boss has a different take on the proceedings, He does encourage us with His awesome words and promises. ‘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) Wow! What reassuring words my brethren! 

That means that though my hip is lending me beans, I can keep my peace through my faith in Him, since I know that He has already overcome hell, death and the grave and has all authority on earth and in heaven, meaning NOTHING can keep me from my destiny with Him! 

Please note Jesus words when He appeared to His people and gave them the Great Commission: ‘All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ (Matt.28:18-19) You can’t make such a monumental statement without sure authority and power! 

And I like how the scholars put it: ‘The triumphant, living Lord sends forth His ambassadors to proclaim His gospel throughout all the world. The Great Commission is not just an order but a pronouncement of victory (mundus regium Christi) by the risen Saviour through His disciples. All power or authority (Gr. exousia) is now in the hands of Christ, in heaven and on the earth. On the basis of that authority and power the Christian disciple is to carry out the Great Commission of the church.’ 

Yes friends, we have been commanded to go and teach, and also given the power to do so! So what are waiting for eh? And just to show that the Good Book is not just a wishy-washy, hurriedly put together manuscript, but a purposeful and well thought out tome, listen to this foretelling of Jesus’ power and authority way back in Daniel, as he recounts his vision of the four beasts. 

‘I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people (peoples), nations and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.’ (Dan.7:13-14) 

Yuh see friends, the Lord had a plan from long ago, which He implemented when the time was right, and there’s still more to be implemented. Listen as the scholars explain those verses. ‘7:13. The Son of man who came to the Ancient of days is the Son of God approaching God the Father. Evidently Jesus took the title ‘Son of Man,’ which was His favourite way of referring to Himself in the Gospels from this passage.’ 

‘7:14. The commencement of Christ’s everlasting dominion will take place at His second coming (cf. Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Rev. 11:15).’ So it’s all set in place my fellow believers! Our wise and wonderful God didn’t leave anything to chance, so there’s no need for us to fear. So with all of that in mind, let’s go home declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know who and whose we are. 

In strong and sincere voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

Mama Mia! What a wonderful Saviour we have my people! Let’s go out and tell the world about Him nuh! Let’s not be selfish and keep Him all to ourselves! Much LOVE!

…are you using Jesus’ power to do His work…or just aimlessly wasting it…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 January 2020 Hebrews 12:1.

Hebrews 12:1.    ​Wherefore seeing (since) we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us.
 

Greetings and salutations this dreary looking Tuesday morning my Scrip-Bit friends and families! And as Bruh Paul liked to say in his letters to the New Testament churches: ‘Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world (age), according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen!’ (Gal. 1:3-5) Yes my faithful brethren, EVERY DAY, we ought to remember the Father and the wonderful things He’s done for us through Christ Jesus and give Him the necessary praise and thanksgiving! 

And please don’t tell me it’s too difficult, or you’re too busy and you don’t have time…Make time! You make time for other not so important stuff, but you can’t make time for God, the most important thing, being and element in your life? Steups! Just take a moment and consider your state if He had not shown His amazing LOVE and compassion through the incomparable gift of His Son! You’d be headed straight for hell and the eternal company of Lucifer, the fallen angel and now the deceitful, lying devil! 

But through Christ, He’s offered us another option, much better than what we had – eternal life with Him and Christ in heaven – and yuh boldfaced enough to tell me that you can’t make time to spend a few minutes with Him every day! Chuh! Pure foolishness that mih breddren! Anyway, here’s a most appropriate writing for this time of year and our current winter affliction; SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. And it’s also appropriately titled ‘January.’ 

Please pray with me: ‘It’s January, Lord – The drab, dreary middle – And my thoughts are as drab As the miserable month. Does everybody hit a January slump Or am I the only one? The first week wasn’t too bad: There were Christmas thank-yous to write A few resolutions to store away The huddle of year-end sales. But thank-you notes bring no returns And resolutions are quickly broken and marked-down trinkets fast lose appeal. When You said “Behold I make all things new” Did You forget January, Lord? Or in January do I sometimes forget You?’ 

Ah friends, I think the correct answer is more like the last one – we forget the Lord, because He’s promised NEVER to leave nor forsake us, and He always keep His promises. That we know for a fact. So if any forgetting goes on, it’s most surely on our side of the equation. And the strange thing is that the drearier and more downcast the weather and our souls are, the more we need to find consolation in God, not forget or move further away from Him. It’s like when you’re sick, that’s when you certainly need a doctor, and the worse you get, the more you need the medic! You run to Him more than ever then, not away from him. 

And it’s the same with our great God; we need Him more than ever when things are not going so good. So let’s think on that some today nuh, and see if we’re falling into that common rut. And we should also think on the Bible Promise from the poem, which is our Bit for today. ‘Wherefore seeing (since) we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us.’ 

Yes friends, we have so many heavenly witnesses looking on at our race of faith, who earlier ran the same race and testified to the LOVE and faithfulness of God, that we need to get serious and put aside any and everything that will hinder us in our own faith walk. And please remember that our race of faith is not a sprint, but a long-distance race, a marathon; one that requires lots of endurance and energy, not merely simple patience. As Bruh Paul said to the Roman church: ‘Rejoicing in hope; patient (persevering) in tribulation; continuing instant (steadfastly) in prayer.’ (Rom.12:12) 

That’s the kind of belly and backbone we need to run our race friends! And though we have plenty of other believers to look at as examples, the best and brightest is as the Good Book says: ‘Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher (originator and perfector) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Heb. 12:2) 

Oh my people, how can there ever be a better example than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ eh? NEVER! For He is the One who blazed the trail, made the way, didn’t consider the shame or rejection or all the other negative stuff thrown at Him, and finished the race in steadfast and enduring faith! Wow! What a giant is our Jesus! That’s why the Father exalted Him to sit at His right hand of His throne ‘and given Him a name which is above every other name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of (those) things in heaven, and (those) things in earth, and (those) things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil.2:9-11) 

And likewise my brethren, if we are faithful and run our race with an abundance of the necessary Christian elements, then we too will also be rewarded at the end. As Peter calls it: ‘a crown of glory that fadeth not away.’ (1 Pet. 5:4) So let’s up the ante this cold and dreary-looking winter’s day nuh – and even if you’re in the blazing sunshine too! (smile) Let’s raise the level of our faith so that we can witness for Jesus, like the true salt and light we’re meant to be. 

And we can begin doing that by declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra with strong voice and sincere hearts. As one now: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

Then the next move is to actually go out and share Jesus’ wonderful LOVE and amazing friendship! Much LOVE!

…the race of life…the hardest to run…but the most rewarding to win…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 January 2020 Psalm 107:8.

Psalm 107:8.    Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
 
Yes, we’re somewhat tardy this morning, but through no fault of mine. Let me make that abundantly clear! (smile) I went to bed early…well yes and no…but I was up early, had to go and do some blood work though, that’s why we’re running a tad behind. (smile) 

And we’re going to begin today with a prayer, one of my favourites, something I’ve shared before, doubt you’ll remember it though. (smile) But it’s one done by the Life-Study Fellowship Group in Noroton, Connecticut, some years back. It’s titled, ‘Lord, Please Accept My Heartfelt Thanks!’ And the prayer has as it’s Bible promise: ‘Praise the Lord for His Goodness.” (Ps.107:8) And do we ever need to do that my fellow believers in these sad and trying  times. So please pray with me. 

‘Dear Lord, You are so good to me! And I thank You sincerely for the many blessings You send me! I’m very glad to have You in my life day in and day out – whatever I do and wherever I go! You are the One who always does what is best for my happiness! How grateful I am to be able to turn to You for guidance and comfort when troubles come my way! If any situation arises that makes me feel discouraged, You let me know I can lean on You for support! And because of Your LOVE for me, somehow I seem to find the strength to keep going – even through the most difficult times! 

I’m grateful, too, for peaceful moments like these when I’m all alone with You in prayer! Talking with You never fails to reassure and uplift me! Nothing I say to You goes unheard. You listen with great concern to everything I confide in You! For You truly care about me! As I look to 2020 I pray that You will continue to watch over me – and grant me even more of Your wonderful blessings! And may I serve You well in my every word, my every deed! Be my Guide hour by hour, I pray! Amen!’ 

Oh friends, what a marvellous prayer! I think it covers all the bases: gratefulness for guidance and comfort in times of trouble; encouragement and support when necessary. As the old Bill Wither’s song says, ‘Lean on me when you’re not strong. And I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on!’ Now that’s exactly what our God does! And we can surely do that with all confidence because He is an omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present God! And because of His LOVE…oh my people, my people, because of God’s unending, unconditional and unsurpassed LOVE, we find the strength to keep going even in the most difficult of times! Glory Hallelujah! 

As the Good Book says: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’ (Phil. 4:13) Mamma Yo! With a God like that, who else do we need eh? Not a single soul! For our God is more than enough to meet our needs. Again, as He promised: ‘God will meet all of my needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus!’ (Phil.4:19) Wow! But yuh know the best part of that prayer is the peaceful moments experienced when we’re all alone with our Maker in prayer. 

Oh friends, there’s something we experience when we’re communing with Almighty God, our heavenly Father, that cannot be truly defined or put into words. I guess the best we can do is call it peace, or the all encompassing Jewish word ‘Shalom!’ And when you’re talking to him, and know for a fact that He’s listening to you closely, and sincerely cares for you…why wouldn’t He eh, when He made you? A feeling of utmost quiet and stillness and calm, even when it’s rough, comes over you. 

Remember too, the Lord is also the Best Confidante we can ever have. He doesn’t tell our ‘secrats’ to anyone, and we can bring EVERYTHING, yes EVERYTHING to Him in prayer, because He’s interested in EVERYTHING that concerns us, be it big, small or intermediate! That’s the kind of caring and considerate God we serve and worship my people! I know some of us wrongly think that we can’t bother God with small, supposedly unimportant stuff, but He’s truly interested in it all! Just as we like our children to bring even their most personal problems to us, so does our heavenly Father want us to bring ALL our problems to Him. 

Remember, He’s not only our God, our Creator, our Judge and Saviour, but also our Father…and Friend, and He does desire to perform fatherly and friendly duties for and with us! Give Him much thanks and praise my breddren, for He so worthily deserves it! As the psalmist so rightly declares: (steups!) ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men!’  And do we ever need to thank the Lord for all the blessings He bestows on us, especially the most important one; our Lord and  Saviour Jesus Christ! 

Oh we can never give Him enough thanks and praise for that nuh, because there isn’t enough in all the world to ever make up for Jesus! Bless His holy name! That’s why I’m encouraging us to really get with the programme this year of 2020 my fellow believers, for it’s a watershed year, a year that will make or break us, a year that will set the tone for all the other ones to come! That’s why Christians have to seriously and truly come together in these perilous times, because everything depends on us; the fate of our children and our world rests solely in our hands; placed there by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ when He gave us the Great Commission: 

‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the very end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20) And yuh see how kind and caring our Jesus is? Although He’s given us a big and important job to do, He’s also given us the tools to do it, through his Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and by whom He also keeps His promise to be always with us. 

So friends, on this first Tuesday of our new year, let’s sincerely declare (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know in no uncertain terms, just who and whose we are. In strong voice, with sincere hearts! ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ Now, as we’ve just promised, let’s go out and tell them about our Lord and Saviour, His undying LOVE and amazing friendship! Much LOVE!

…the Lord…He satisfieth the longing soul…and filleth the hungry soul with goodness… (Ps.107:9)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 November 2019 Jeremiah 17:7.

Jeremiah 17:7.    ​Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
 

Well the promised snow did not come during the early morning commute yesterday as promised, but by mid morning it was certainly flying, and continued to do so for most of the day. So yesterday afternoon’s commute was, and this morning’s will be indeed a horse of a different colour! (smile) But please be careful, the white stuff sure looks beautiful when lying quiet and undisturbed, but when tangled with, it’s just as dangerous and deceitful as the prince of darkness himself. Looks like we might even have had a record amount of snow for this time in November, and the month might even be colder and snowier than usual. 

Ah, but not to worry, for we have Jesus, and when we walk closely with Him, He makes everything right! And all His followers gave a loud, proud and grateful shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah! Bless the name of the Lamb that was slain for us! Bless his holy name indeed!’ Oh friends, there never was, and never will be anybody like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And are we ever blessed to have Him as our guide and leader, especially in the evil and ungodly world in which we now live, where everybody wants to do their own thing, and right and wrong are whatever you figure them to be. 

That brings me to this sad, but ever so true commentary. It comes from a recent episode of the comic strip ‘Mutts,’ but is it ever so reminiscent of our current society. One of the characters, a cat, says to two dogs: “I’ve started and endangered list.” “What’s on it?” the dogs ask. The cat simply replies: “Empathy, compassion, kindness, sympathy, decency, sensitivity, integrity, altruism, affection, benevolence, heart, tenderness, LOVE, humanity, charity, grace, courtesy, tolerance, mercy, intelligence, leniency, understanding, common sense, goodwill, patience, wisdom…” 

Yes friends, you don’t have to be a believer, only a half-decent observer, to notice that all those good qualities above are being practiced less and less in this …I don’t know what to call it society! It’s the essence of everything that’s wrong with our current lifestyle! When those things are absent in any group of people, that group is certainly on the downswing towards chaos and anarchy! Why is that you ask? The answer is real simple: It’s those things that create a strong, well-functioning organization, a real and true society. 

The dictionary defines ‘society’ as ‘an organization of a civilized nation.’ And it’s impossible to be civilized without those positive and godly things playing a large part in any group that wants to succeed and grow. So what does that say about our society now eh, when all those things are fading away, and as the cat truthfully says, becoming endangered? Sadly, not a whole lot. But yuh know what? I just discovered that they’d left out one important factor from that endangered list…HOPE! ‘Glory be! And we all know friends that once there’s hope, there is indeed life! So if hope isn’t amongst the endangered habits, then there is still a chance for us to turn this thing around! 

And where does that wonderful thing called HOPE come from? From the Lord our God! Hear Jeremiah declare it: ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.’ Wow! And in his Lamentations, he reiterates that sentiment, recalls the Lord’s goodness in his time of great sorrow and need: ‘This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.’ (Lam. 3:21-26) 

Please notice my people, that it’s because of two things on the endangered list why we’re still around; the Lord’s compassion and mercy! That means we ought to show the same sentiments to our fellow humans. Now let’s look at some scriptures that encourage and fill us with hope in the Lord. Hear Bruh David from Psalm 31: ‘Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.’ (Ps.31:24) And the sons of Korah declare: ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance (my salvation), and my God.’ (Ps.42:11) 

And we all know these awesome words of Bruh Paul to the Roman church. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) (eagerly) wait for it.’ (Rom. 8:24-25) Yes friends, hope is not what we see, for if we see it, why do we hope for it? Hope is the essence of our very being, our spiritual connection with Almighty God! That’s why this verse from Zechariah, when he’s talking about Zion’s future king, is one of my favourites on hope. ‘Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render (restore) double unto thee.’  (Zech. 9:12) 

Oh my people, the Lord God Almighty is indeed our stronghold, our rock, our fortress, and I’m pleading with us to be ‘prisoners of hope, because that’s our only positive solution to turning around our embattled and embittered society!  Now let’s go home showing that we’re true prisoners of hope, by declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are. In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ Now let’s action those words nuh! Much LOVE!

…when you’re a true believer…hope springs eternal…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 November 2019 1 Samuel 2:3.

1 Samuel 2:3.    ​Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy (arrogance) come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
 

It’s Tuesday morning and the ole fella is somewhat pained up in both body and soul! (smile) I guess that’s because I went to bed too early last night and did not get up during the night to do anything constructive. Oh, how I envy those blessed people who can lie in their beds for ten hours or more! Me, I’m lucky if I can get to four or five without the old aches and pains starting to act up. And I know that, but last night I was just too lazy or tired, or whatever to get up, so now I’m feeling the consequences of my actions. (smile) 

Yes friends, there are always consequences to our actions, be they good or bad. And one of the sad things about our society nowadays is that we don’t stop long enough to consider the consequences before acting. And to make matters even worse, when those unthought of consequences of our unwise actions backfire on us, we’re quick to blame everybody and everything else but ourselves! No wonder our society is going to Hades in a hand-basket! When you don’t think of consequences before acting, and can’t accept the blame for the resulting negative stuff then the society is indeed in a bad way. 

That reminds me of one of Uncle Charles’ (Charles Stanley) favourite sayings: ‘You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow!’ And that’s just how it is in God’s economy.  And the most unwise, no, let’s not clothe it in purple robes, but show it for what it really is; the most stupid and foolish decision this society has so far made is to take God out of our lives; out of our schools and public places! And quite correctly, we are now reaping the consequences of the foolish seed we’ve sown. Just look at our world; at how strife-filled and strife-torn it is; there’s negative upheaval all over the planet; with a new age of dictatorship coming to the fore; while both natural and man made disasters are proliferating like never before! 

Do think this is just happenstance friends? Trust me, it is certainly not! Remember our God moves in mysterious ways, and He has not given up control of His universe, that means His hand can be in anything. Please remember the adversity He brought upon His chosen people, the Israelites, every time they rebelled against Him. Now why wouldn’t He do the same thing with us eh? That brings us to our Bit, which comes from the Song of Hannah, the prophet Samuel’s mother, after the Lord had ended her barrenness. ‘Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy (arrogance) come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth my fellow believers! Listen to what the Lord told Samuel later on when He sent him to anoint one of Jesse’s sons and Samuel admired the big, good looking son Eliab. ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused (rejected) him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’ (1 Sam. 16:7) Ah mih people what’s wrong with us eh? Why are we so stubborn and hard-headed eh? Why can’t we realize that the Lord’s hand is upon us in our foolish rebellion? 

Please take note of these significant words of the psalmist: ‘Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.’ (Ps.49:20) Oh friends, we’re supposed to be the crème de la crème of God’s creation, but when we reject His solemn word and rebel against His will, then we’re just like the wild beasts who cannot think, and thus perish in their ignorance. And there are so many scriptures that remind us of God’s power and righteousness, as well as man’s foolhardiness. Let’s check out a couple. 

Hear Isaiah, as he talks about Judah, being a sinful nation. ‘The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib (manger or fed trough): But Israel doth not know (understand), my people doth not consider.’ (Is.1:3) Oh friends, it couldn’t be put any better than that nuh! We are indeed a sinful nation, who don’t know where our bread is truly buttered, and sadly, we don’t even consider our actions regarding it. We just blunder ahead foolishly; like a horse with blinkers. And Jeremiah’s words still ring true today: ‘And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.’ (Jer. 9:3) 

Unfortunately, those words bring a sad chuckle to my soul, as we now face a diabolical debate over truth with Trump’s behaviour in the U.S. And Jeremiah continues later on: ‘Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait (inwardly he sets his ambush). Shall I not visit (punish) them for these things? Saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?’ (Jer.9:8-9) Personally, I think the answer to that is a resounding ‘YES!’ And the Lord has already set it in motion with all the adversity that’s happening in the land, despite the overall prosperity. 

Now for us true believers, let’s go home declaring (yeh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are. In strong voice and sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ And if yuh serious, then now is time to go out and share that LOVE and friendship of Jesus with the unfortunate others who don’t know Him! Much LOVE!

…there’s none so blind…as he who refuses to see…

 

 

 

 

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