Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 November 2018 Matthew 8:26.

Matthew 8:26:   And he saith unto them, why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Well here we are again on a Sunday morning, hopefully getting ready to visit, or having already visited the Lord’s sanctuary to get our reassurance and strengthening for the upcoming week, through praise, worship, fellowship and hearing the Lord’s word.

And I like Bruh Paul’s reasoning in Romans 10, re those calling on the name of the Lord shall be saved, especially when he asks: ‘how can they hear without a preacher?’ (Rom.10:14) That’s why we have preachers! (smile) 

But before we hear the word, let’s get into some hearty praise and worship to soften our stony hearts and make them more receptive to the Lord’s dialogue. And today’s song of praise is one we all know and LOVE, titled, ‘Put Your Hand in the Hand.’

According to Wikipedia, it ‘is a gospel pop song composed by Gene MacLellan and first recorded by Canadian singer Anne Murray from her third studio album ‘Honey, Wheat and Laughter.’ 

Wow! I knew that our very own Canadian Songbird from down the East coast had sung it, but I never knew she was the first to record it. And since then it’s been recorded numerous times by all kinds of singers and musicians.

Today, we’re going to send up a blazing, brilliant, harmonious and magnificent rendition to our heavenly Father, showing our sincere gratitude for all that He’s done for us through His Son, and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

Now let’s bring tears of joy to the eyes and hearts of those in heaven as we sing: (Chorus: ‘Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water. Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea. Take a look at yourself, and you can look at others differently. Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.) 

Every time I look into the Holy Book, I wanna tremble. When I read the part where the carpenter cleared the temple See those buyers and the sellers were no different fellas Than what you and I profess to be. And it causes me shame to know that man is not what he should be. (Chorus: Put your hand in the hand…) 

Hey, my mama taught me how to pray, before I reached the age of seven When I’m down on my knees, hey, I’m close to heaven. My daddy lived his life with two kids and a wife and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do But he showed me enough of what it takes to see you through 

This is what he used to tell me… Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea Ya got’a take a good look at yourself, then you can look at others differently Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.’ 

Magnifico my brethren, Magnifico! The eyes in heaven are all filled with tears of joy! Glory be! And believe you me, that rendition was so sweet that the Father was singing along with us, not to mention that He is also grateful for the Son’s unwavering obedience in His plan to save our undeserving souls.  

Now hear the word. The story goes like this: ‘And when he (Jesus) was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. 

And he saith unto them, why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!’ (Matt.8:23-27) 

The answer to that question is not rocket science friends, but is quite simple: the winds and the sea obey Him because He made them and still controls them! And if you don’t believe me, then listen to the words of the psalmist:

‘They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 

They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end (don’t know what to do)

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.’ (Ps.107:23-30) 

 Yes friends the seafarers know the Lord’s power, His all-around control of the wind and the sea, so they know to look to Him for succour in time of need. My brethren, we too should realize and acknowledge the Lord’s omnipotence and majesty and revere Him, surrender our lives, put our sincere trust in Him and His awesome Son, the man from Galilee, who rebuked the winds and the waves and caused them to be calm.

So let’s wise up and take His hand nuh; and hold it very tightly too, don’t ever let go!  It’s a no-brainer my people; the height of wisdom! Much LOVE!

..whose hand would you prefer to hold over Jesus’ eh…NOBODY’S…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 March 2018 Mark 11:9.

Mark 11:9.    And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord:

Oh friends, it’s Sunday, Palm Sunday, that venerable feast day in our Christian history and calendar when our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem like a conquering hero, the king He was and is, riding on the back of a humble donkey, as the jubilant people spread their clothes and palm branches in the road for Him to ride on, and they kept singing, ‘Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the Highest!’ 

Ah mih people, what a wonderful and moving spectacle that must have been, seeing and hearing the people give praise and honour and glory to our God and King, Jesus Christ. 

Likewise, this Palm Sunday morning, the Sunday before Easter, as we gather in the chapel, the sanctuary, or wherever, let’s lift up our voices in praise and glory like they did two thousand years ago, as we welcome Jesus into our hearts and spirits and surroundings. 

Let’s resurrect those shouts of Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest!’ As one awesome sounding choir now, let’s offer the sacrifice of praise through grateful lips from joyful hearts. ‘Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest, Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest Lord we lift up your name With our hearts filled with praise Be exalted OH Lord our God Hosanna in the Highest. 

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb of God Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb of God Lord we lift up your name With our hearts filled with praise Be exalted OH Lord our God Holy is the Lamb of God. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the King of Kings Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the King of Kings Lord we lift up your name With our hearts filled with praise Be exalted OH Lord our God 

Jesus is the King of Kings Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest Lord we lift up your name With our hearts filled with praise Be exalted OH Lord our God Hosanna in the Highest.’ 

Yeh friends, is it ever important that we lift up the name of Jesus, the name that’s above every other name, so that all people can bow their knees to Him and call him Lord and Saviour, for that’s exactly what He is. And now that we’ve offered praise and worship, our hearts and souls have been opened, ready to receive God’s word, that will bless and keep us for the next week. 

And here it is, describing Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. ‘And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethpage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he (Jesus) sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against (opposite) you, and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him 

And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.’ (Mark 11:1-3) 

‘All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek (lowly), and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Matt.21:4-5) 

‘And they (the disciples) went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without (outside) in a place (on the street) where two ways met; and they loose (untied) him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye do, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. 

And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way (road): and others cut down branches off the trees, and strewed them in the way (road). 

And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.’ (Mark 11:4-10) 

‘And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.’ (Matt.21:10-11) 

And there we have it friends; the word of the Lord! And all God’s people declared a loud, grateful and confident ‘All thanks and praise be to our wonderful and sovereign God!’ 

Yes my fellow believers, He is indeed worthy of all the praise and glory our hearts and souls can muster! And you’ll notice that I interspersed the words of Matthew and Mark in our gospel reading so that we could get the full benefit of the information contained in both, since they each tell the story in a slightly different manner. 

Now I sincerely hope that the gospel story and the praise and worship have touched our hearts and souls today, and will make us confident and secure to go out and face another week of work. Until next time then, the Lord willing, walk faithfully and carefully with the Saviour. Much LOVE!

…Hosanna…Hosanna…save me Jesus…save me…is the right cry for us all to call out… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 April 2017 Matthew 21:5.

Matthew 21:5.    Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek (lowly), and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt the foal of an ass.

HAPPY PALM SUNDAY!

Well friends, it’s another Sunday morning in the life; an important one too – Palm Sunday – when our Lord and Saviour Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey two thousand years ago. And oh, how the enormous crowd shouted with joy, throwing their clothes and palm branches in the dusty streets of Jerusalem for the King of Kings to ride upon! 

And on this special day, we’ll open with a song of rejoicing and honour that was written in 820, especially for this occasion. So now, with much enthusiasm, joy and faithfulness, let’s offer up to heaven, a sacrifice of praise with our lips, as we declare the wonderful words of the hymn, ‘All Glory, Laud and Honour.’  

‘(Refrain: All glory, laud and honor, To Thee, Redeemer, King, To Whom the lips of children Made sweet hosannas ring.) Thou art the King of Israel, Thou David’s royal Son, Who in the Lord’s Name comest, The King and Blessèd One. (Refrain) The company of angels Are praising Thee on High, And mortal men and all things Created make reply. (Refrain) 

The people of the Hebrews With palms before Thee went; Our prayer and praise and anthems Before Thee we present. (Refrain) To Thee, before Thy passion, They sang their hymns of praise; To Thee, now high exalted, Our melody we raise. (Refrain) Thou didst accept their praises; Accept the prayers we bring, Who in all good delightest, Thou good and gracious King. (Refrain)’ 

Oh my fellow believers, how wonderful is that song of praise on this Palm Sunday morning eh! When we recall all the important and joyful stuff that went on that day it just lifts our hearts and spirits with emotions of heavenly wonder! (smile) Palm Sunday was one of the foundational stones in our Christian faith; it lifted our faith to a higher level. 

And since we just praised the day in song, let’s hear what the Good Book says about it now. ‘And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethpage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he (Jesus) sendeth forth two of his disciples. And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against (opposite) you, and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose (untie) him and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.’ (Mark 11:1-4) Bethany, 

Yes friends, Jesus had the whole show set up beforehand! Now there is a discrepancy between Mark and Matthew’s version, in that Matthew speaks about a colt and a mature donkey, while Mark only talks about the colt. And I’ve used Mark’s version because of some important words of Jesus found there; ‘whereon man never sat.’  

And the scholars tell us those words indicated that ‘An animal devoted to a sacred purpose must not have been put to common use. (Num. 19:2, Deut. 21:3) So for it to be worthy of Jesus, it must never have been ridden before. 

And the Good Book tells us why Jesus set up that scene. ‘All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,  Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek (lowly), and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Matt.21:4-5) 

Now the scholars inform us that our Bit ‘is a combination of Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9, taken substantially from the Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament.’ 

And we’ll go back to Mark for the next piece of the story, as Matthew doesn’t go into it in as much detail. ‘And they (the disciples) went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without (outside) in a place where two ways met (on the street); and they loose (untied) him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.’ (Mark11:4-6)  

Now back to Matthew. (smile)  ‘And (they) brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him (Jesus) thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed (spread) them in the way (road). 

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.’ (Matt.21:7-11) 

Ah friends, I do hope I did not confuse you with moving from text to the next, but I just wanted to give us the entire story. And I know you all are smart enough to pick sense from nonsense anyway. (smile) 

Now here is some more relevant info from the scholars. On the subject of Palm Sunday itself, they declare: ‘This event is traditionally known as the triumphal entry, when Jesus officially offers Himself to the nation of Israel as her long-awaited Messiah. However, in many ways, it was far from a triumph, for the day ended in Jesus’ public prediction of His rejection by His own people.  

The crowd’s cry of ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,’ echoes words from 2 Sam.14:4 and Psalm 118:25-26. Riding on the colt of an ass marked the official entry of Israel’s kings. Thus Jesus arrives in the full declaration of His kingship.’ 

How very fitting my people! So let’s go out and celebrate and rejoice today nuh, reliving the joy, the splendour and magnitude of that august day so long ago. Much LOVE!

…the king is coming…the king is coming…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 December 2016 Luke 1:31.

Luke 1:31.   And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

Well, a good Wednesday morning, four days before Christmas, my fellow believers in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! (smile) 

Let’s hope that this message reaches you all in good health and joyful spirit as we plan the celebrations for this Christmas season, where we remember and give thanks for the birth of Christ. 

And all God’s people declared a loud, proud and grateful, ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

Yes friends, that day of Christ’s birth will soon be upon us, and we all know that Jesus is the star of the show, but today I want to talk about one of the lesser, but still very important role players in the story, Christ’s mother, Mary. 

Now over the last few years, after getting more familiar with her part, I’ve come to believe that she doesn’t get the recognition she truly deserves. Remember it all begins with her. 

‘And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused (betrothed, engaged) to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.’ (Luke 1:26-27) 

Yuh see friends, right there Mary’s importance in the proceedings is established. An angel of God, come to earth to talk to this young, engaged Jewish girl in a backwater town of Nazareth. 

Before we go further though, let’s check out a couple of the scholars’ explanations. ‘1:26. This was the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy.’ Elisabeth was Mary’s cousin, at first barren, but then pregnant with John the Baptist. 

‘1:27. Espousal (similar to our engagement period) was, under Jewish law, as binding as marriage. It lasted about a year, during which time the woman’s purity was maintained.’ So we see right there, Mary was already under heavy manners, because of her betrothal. 

‘And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail (Rejoice), thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind (considered) what manner of salutation (greeting) this should be.’ (Luke 1:28-29) 

Ah friends, can you imagine being a teenaged girl, engaged to be married in a strict Jewish community, sitting quietly in your parents house and this angel comes up to you and begins to exalt you. Obviously you’d be somewhat anxious and wonder what it was all about. 

‘And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.’ (Luke 1:30-31) 

Ah Lord eh! Can you imagine Mary’s consternation? She’s already been betrothed, and the rules are so strict, now this angel is coming to tell her that she will get pregnant and bring forth a son, who’s name shall be Jesus! 

To make matters worse, she’s little more than a girl with no life experience in a tightly controlled Jewish society. Personally, I would not have wanted to be in her situation. But give Mary full marks for courage. She doesn’t go overboard, jump and holler, or any negative actions. She just listens quietly as the angel Gabriel continues: 

‘He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest (Most High): and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’ (Luke 1:32-33) 

Yes mih breddren, even in these enlightened times, such an outlandish approach would be a cause of consternation and anxiety in any experienced female. So can you imagine poor Mary’s thoughts? 

She was engaged, and wasn’t supposed to have sex before marriage, but to have a child one must know a man first (at least in those days). So what was this angel trying to do to her life eh? But apparently she didn’t make a fuss, throw a tantrum over Gabriel words, but simply continued with her own question 

‘Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know no man, (I am a virgin)? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall over-shadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (one) which shall be born of thee shall be called the son of God. 

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ (Luke 1:34-37) 

Mamacita! What a situation to put a young girl in! But you know what endears Mary to me? Her calm response in the face of all that the situation would entail for her. 

‘And Mary said, Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) 

And the scholars tell us to consider and contrast Mary’s response with that of Zechariah (v.18) who didn’t believe when he was told that his barren wife would bear a son, and was made dumb until the birth of John the Baptist. 

Yeh friends, Mary’s faith seems to have been well developed at a pretty young age. And we all know what she eventually went through, so please don’t dismiss her as just another bit player in the saga of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Now let’s go home, suitably challenged, (smile) declaring our Wednesday Wail with sincere passion and truth. In unison now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! 

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. 

I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Oh friends, it’s so wonderful to be associated with Jesus Christ, that words can’t describe it! Much LOVE!

…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 December 2015 Luke 2:33

Luke 2:33.     And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.

And after all the hoopla and celebration, we right back to the same ole, same ole; the daily grind and common task. Chuh! 

Yes friends, it’s Monday morning and the agonizing trip back to work is facing most of us squarely in the face. But hopefully, after all the thinking and talking about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ over the past week, our spirits are at an all-time high and we’ll have no problems getting up and getting out there to face the infidel, bright and strong.  I just know that it’s going to be a piece of cake mih people! (smile) 

However, just to be on the safe side, let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with all the enthusiasm and fervour that we’ve been lavishing on the Christmas season. So as a mighty choir, like the heavenly angels that sang at Christ’s birth, let’s fill the airwaves with our glorious song.  

‘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!’  

Oh precious people, that was beautiful, or as the French would say, ‘tres magnifique!’ You could see the light in Jesus’ eyes as He swung His baton up and down, from side to side with much verve, conducting us. And all of heaven gave us a ‘Standing O!’ Glory Hallelujah! Maybe we should just celebrate Christmas every week. (smile) 

Now let’s turn to our Bit, as we consider some more of those signs and wonders that enveloped Joseph’s and Mary’s lives after Jesus was born into their household. ‘And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.’ 

Now while Mary was in the late stages of her pregnancy, she was forced to go up to Bethlehem with Joseph to be registered in a census, per the orders of Caesar Augustus because he was of the lineage of Bruh David.  And per the Lord’s plan, she had the baby Jesus there in a smelly stable with all sorts of funky animals because there was no room for them in the inn. 

And a host of heavenly angels broadcast the good tidings of great joy to the shepherds watching their flocks in the field. ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’ (Luke2:11)  Again fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy of chapter 9:6: ‘For unto us a child is born…’ 

Then the shepherds went and saw the baby Jesus and spread the word of his birth all around the countryside, glorifying God! 

And I like this particular verse of scripture. While everybody was wondering about the shepherd’s news, the Good Book states: ‘But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.’ (Luke 2:19) That was to be her trademark in her association with her firstborn; not saying a whole lot, but simply storing and pondering His ofttimes seemingly eccentric nature. 

And if the shepherd’s inquisitiveness wasn’t enough, there came three wise men out of the East, following a bright star to worship the baby boy, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, gifts worthy to be offered to a king. (Matt.2:1-12)  

Now to add to all that drama, after the wise men left, Joseph had a dream to take his family and flee to Egypt, because Herod the jealous, crazy king was seeking to kill Jesus.  So Joseph departed into Egypt and lived there for a while until after Herod’s death. In the meanwhile Herod killed all the children in the area under two years of age, because the wise men had fooled him, had not come back to tell him where the baby Jesus was situated.  

Nonetheless when Joseph returned to Israel, he settled in the region of Galilee, fearful of Herod’s son, Archelaus who was then reigning in Judea. ‘And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, he shall be called a Nazarene.’ (Matt.2:23) 

Oh friends, our God is the greatest dramatist ever yes! You’ll notice that many of the situations throughout the New Testament, had already been prophesied in the Old Testament and Jesus was the fulfillment of them all! 

But before that particular bit of drama re fleeing to Egypt, we can recall the story of Simeon in the temple, who had been promised life until he saw the Messiah in living colour. And that he did when Joseph and Mary brought him to the temple to be circumcised on the eight day, as per Jewish custom.  

And he took the child and blessed God, and said, ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word (God’s promise to him). For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten (bring revelation to) the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.’ (Luke 2:29-32) 

Yes my people, Jesus’ life was colourful and dramatic from beginning to end, as befitted the Son of God, and it certainly wasn’t easy on His parents. But they never gave up on Him, just like we are never to give up on our difficult children. 

Tomorrow, more signs and wonders, God in favour. Till then, let’s keep the bubbling spirit of Christ and Christmas overflowing in our hearts as we tread confidently and righteously in this evil and ungodly world. Much LOVE!

…All hail the King of glory…whose virgin birth significantly changed world history…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 December 2015 Isaiah 9:2

Isaiah 9:2.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Well Friends, Christmas Day is over for another year…but not the season! Today is only Boxing Day, when many of you will rush to the malls to get those bargains so widely advertised. (smile) We still have lots of celebrating to do over the next two weeks right into the New Year! 

So we still need to remember that the birth of Jesus was, and still is the reason for all the hoopla all around the world and still pay our respects and reverence like the three wise men and the shepherds did. 

Anyway, I don’t know if I have shared this prayer before, but even if I have, it’s well worth sharing again. It comes from Gramps Schuler’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuler) Hour of Power Devotional. It’s called ‘A Christmas Prayer.’ 

Please pray with me. ‘You lead me, Jesus Christ, to thoughts of God. I see you in a manger carved from a tree. I see you as a young man with hands that reach to touch hearts that hurt. Your caring reaches out like the strong and kind branches of a gentle tree reach out to invite road-weary and travel-worn wayfarers to quiet rest. 

I see you again hanging on a tree with outstretched arms taking in the whole world. From your cross, you show me that God will stop at nothing to save my soul. So, I celebrate God’s LOVE today as I celebrate your birth around a twinkling Christmas tree. I pray my life, like yours, O Lord, may be tall and upright as a pine tree pointing, reaching, sharing, sparkling, life-giving; solid, sturdy, strong rooted in God’s LOVE, a beautiful soul, evergreen forever. Amen.’ 

Ah mih people, after all that our God has done for us, how can we doubt His wonderful and heartfelt LOVE eh? But lots of people seem to do so, and sadly they will suffer for that mistake.  

Now it’s time for our Bit. But first let’s get some context of what it’s all about. Isaiah had earlier prophesied deliverance for Israel, however that would be only after a period of trouble and darkness. 

And he begins Chapter 9 thus: ‘Nevertheless the dimness (gloom) shall not be such as was in her vexation (upon who is distressed), when at the first he lightly afflicted (esteemed) the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea (he shall glorify the way), beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations (Gentiles). 

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ (Is.9:1-2)  

And the scholars offer this explanation: ‘9:1-5. The dimness of Israel’s rejection was especially prevalent in the northern tribal areas of Zebulun and Naphtali, which would suffer greatly under the Assyrian invasion. Galilee is named and identified with the nations (goyim, Gentiles). 

To those in the darkness of the north God promises to send a great light, which is quoted in Matthew 4:15-16 as being fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. The prophet sees these events as though they were already happening. Thus he predicts the future with certainty, as though it had already come to pass.’  

What great prophecy my people! And Isaiah could not have figured out all that by himself. It had to come from a Higher Power. And Matthew concurs in his gospel when he talks about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. 

‘Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, The Land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles; 

The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light has sprung up (has dawned). From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matt.4:12-17) 

 So Friends, Isaiah was quite right, for the child that was born unto us, called Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace etc. did begin His serious ministry in the region that Isaiah identified.  Oh glory to God my brethren for the might and depth of His Word! 

And we’ll get another prophecy fulfilled soon after Jesus’ birth. He was brought to the temple at eight days old, as per the Jewish custom to be offered to God and be circumcised. 

Now when Joseph and Mary showed up at the temple with Jesus, they met an old man named Simeon, ‘just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel (Messianic hope): and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.’ Luke 2:25-26) 

And would you believe that day the Holy Ghost led him to the temple just as Mary and Joseph showed up? ‘Then he took him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word (God’s promise): for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  

A light to lighten (bring revelation to) the gentiles; and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of them.’ (Luke 2:28-33) 

And per the scholars: ‘2:32-33. Here for the first time the parents hear the startling prophecy that Jesus’ significance would extend even to the Gentiles. This would be surprising even if it had not come from an apparent stranger.’ 

It certainly would my people, and I can just imagine how Joseph’s and Mary’s mouths must have been wide open with wonder at the child they had borne.  

And yuh know what Friends, two thousand and odd years later, we are still drooling in wonder at the Christ child, as we should, because that is wisdom of the highest order. Much LOVE!

…no other baby ever born…can match the wonder that’s Jesus…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 April 2015 Matthew 28:6 ‏

Matthew 28:6.    He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.                                         

 HAPPY  EASTER ! 

Oh Friends, it’s Easter Sunday… and the promise has come! Yes my people, the promise has come! It certainly didn’t tarry long; for Jesus Christ is risen…He is risen… Jesus Christ is risen indeed my faithful brethren!

And all God’s children burst out in joyful song: ‘He is risen, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Christ is risen! Let the whole world sing, Christ is risen, Christ is risen from the grave! He is risen, He is risen! Oh Christ is risen from the grave! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Let the whole world sing, Christ is risen from the grave!’

Oh what a joyful day in Christendom my people, for Christ’s resurrection means that He has conquered, He has mightily defeated once and for all time hell, death and the grave! He has put Lucifer and all his evil cohorts to flight, has them running for their very lives! Oh what a wonderful Lord and Saviour is our Jesus! He sacrificed His sinless life for us unworthy humans…Glory to God!

That means a whole lot of wonderful things are now open and readily available to us. We’re talking about blessings like atonement, reconciliation, grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, LOVING-kindness, eternal life, wisdom and understanding – or as the Rasta breddren say, ‘overstanding.’ For how can it be good if it’s under eh? Hn, hn! It has to be over to be better than average.

Yes Friends, however you want to put it, this Easter Sunday morn is a most beautiful, exciting, wonderful and promising time in the life of mankind! Even the Father is flashing a big happy smile, because He now has His BELOVED Son back, and a whole new set of adoptees because of it. Wow! The world is now a much better place!

Oh my people, let’s certainly enjoy the time, but please don’t get too carried away, because Lucifer and his wicked minions are still around, hungry and looking for any available soft spot to invade our spiritual lives. So during this weekend’s celebrations, let’s once more invoke Granny’s words of wisdom: ‘Sonny boy, please, please remember that drunk or sober, to mind yuh business!’

Oh Friends, I’m not trying to cramp your style, or restrict your celebrations, but it’s just that when we get to celebrating, especially such a joyful occasion as Jesus’ resurrection, we tend to go overboard, and that’s when Lucifer is going to trip us up and make us fall. And we definitely don’t want that at any time at all. So please be careful, do observe a modicum of circumspection in your celebrations. (smile)

Now let’s hear what the Good Book has to say about this joyous, most auspicious occasion. I’m going to try and combine the gospels so that they read sequentially. And as the scholars note: ‘All four Gospels essentially agree in reporting the facts of the Resurrection. The variety of details in each account supplement rather than contradict one another.’  

Sometime during the early morning hours of the Resurrection day things got moving, as Matthew tells us:  ‘And behold there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door (of Jesus’ tomb), and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment (clothing) white like snow. And for fear of him, the keepers (guards) did shake, and became as dead men.’ (Matt.28:2-4)

The scholars inform us that ‘The earthquake and the angel who rolled away the stone, did not come to let Jesus out of the tomb, but to reveal that it was empty and that He was already gone.’

Now Mark joins the story:  ‘And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came upon the sepulchre (tomb) at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great (large). (Mark16:1-4)

‘And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay.’ (Matt.28:5-6) ‘But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed:’ (Mark 16:7-8)

‘And they returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest… And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.’ (Luke 24:9,11) But ‘Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple (whom Jesus LOVED), and came to the sepulchre (were going to the tomb). So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin (face cloth) that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together (folded) in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and he believed. For as yet they knew not (understood) the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.’ (John 20:3-10)

The scholars explain: 20:8-9. Believed. For as yet they knew not: They believed Jesus was alive, not yet knowing the details of His resurrection.’

‘But Mary stood without  at (outside of) the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept , she stooped down , and looked  into the sepulchre. (This was Mary’s second visit) and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

And when she had thus said, she turned herself back (around), and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence (carried him away), tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself and said unto him, Rabboni, which is to say Master (Teacher). Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things to her.’ (John 20:11-18) 

The scholars explain: 20:17. Touch me not is a present imperative, forbidding the continuation of an action already begun. “Stop clinging to me” is a helpful paraphrase. Compare with verse 27, where one week later, we are told He encouraged Thomas to touch Him. I am not yet ascended: “Do not worry, I am not leaving immediately.”

Oh Friends, I know that that was not perfect, but I do hope that it gives you some continuity in your reading of Jesus’ Resurrection.  Now get thee out to church and celebrate, worship, and praise our wonderful God and Saviour, for the great gifts of salvation and eternal life that came our way on this special day. Enjoy yourselves with your friends and family too, but remember don’t overdo it. Happy Easter! Much LOVE!

…the greatest words ever spoken…He is risen…Jesus Christ is risen indeed…

 

 

 

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