Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 July 2014 Isaiah 61:3

Isaiah 61:3.   To appoint unto (console) them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Oh Friends, it’s a nice cool Thursday morning in early summer! And what does the ole fella have to say for himself? Not a whole lot nuh. I went to bed late, reading a novel, then had a rough night, turning and tossing, dreaming all sorts of stuff. But luckily though, it was all pleasant stuff, no nightmares, nothing scary… Thank the Lord for small mercies!
 
And now I’m here to write the Bit, seeking heavenly guidance to write something sensible that will help us all; that will motivate, encourage and keep our focus steadily on Almighty God, our LOVING Creator and generous Provider.
 
And in keeping with that task, I’ll just remind us that our task on this great earth is to take hold of God’s grace, to endure our afflictions with patience, without growing weary, knowing that in His own good time, our heavenly Father will perform, establish, strengthen and settle us.
 
We must be of good courage and wait with patience and perseverance, hungry hope and expectant faith on our wonderful and most faithful God. And all God’s people said a delightful ‘Praise the Lord! Amen.’
 
Yes Friends, we ought to, because that is all simply gospel truth! And why is that so? Because every worthy name named in the Good Book, had their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs, their tests and passages through the fire to check their true mettle.
 
And those who stood steadfast and strong, who passed the tests – obviously with God’s help – were subsequently rewarded By the Most High God Jehovah.
 
Oh my people, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and expectations. However, when we do acknowledge our shortcomings, confess our sins and return to being obedient to His will, He is most magnanimous to forgive and forget.
 
Oh what a great God we serve and worship! He delights so much in our repentance, that He’s promised there would be future glory in Zion, with good tidings of salvation:
 
‘To appoint unto (console) them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.’
 
And was His great and holy name ever glorified when His Son Jesus fulfilled the first part of His everlasting promise!
 
We’re just waiting now, with patience and perseverance, hungry hope and expectant faith – yes, I do like those terms – for that fateful day when, as Isaiah promised in the Lord’s name: ‘Violence shall no more (longer) be heard in thy land, wasting (devastation) nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
 
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. The sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw it self: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
 
Thy people shall also be righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his (its) time.’ (Is.60:18-22)
 
Oh Friends, what a glorious day that will be eh!
 
And if you don’t believe Isaiah, then listen to those same promises reiterated by our faithful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to John in His Revelations: ‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.’ (Rev.21:4)
 
Oh Glory Hallelujah! I can’t wait for that day my brethren! No more aches and pains – Wow!
 
And furthermore,  hear this on the New Jerusalem: ‘And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Rev.21:22-23)
 
Oh happy dayyyy! When Jesus washed… When Jesus washed… ALL my sins away…!
 
As the scholars explain: ’21:22-23. There is no temple in the city, since both the Father and the Son will be present in their fullest manifestations. Its light will be provided by the Shekinah glory of God and of Christ (cf. Ex.3:3-4; 24:15-17; 33:14-16; Luke 2:9; 9:29; Heb.1:3).’
 
Plenty of scripture references tocheck out Friends. (smile)Now that’s not all: ‘And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
 
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh (causes an) abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.’ (Rev.21:24-27)
 
Mama Mia! Oh my brethren, the imagined sight of that, through the eyes of faith is just working on me, stirring me up! (smile)
 
And there’s more: ‘And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in (on) their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle (lamp), neither light of the sun; for the Lord giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.’ (Rev.22:3-5)
 
Oh my people, that is what awaits us at the end of the day, if we bear our burdens and yokes, already much lightened by our Saviour Jesus Christ, with patience and perseverance, hungry hope and expectant faith! There’s absolutely nothing better than what He’s promised!
 
So please, let’s get serious nuh, let’s buckle down, pull up our britches, pull up our socks, and whatever other cliché there is concerning improving our behaviour, and just live for Jesus, as He desires us to do. That’s wisdom of untold benefit! Much LOVE!
 
…Let’s LOVE our God…LIVE our Faith…and SPREAD His Word…that’s all He asks of us…
 
P.S.  Oh my Friends and fellow believers, I do hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. There was a smile on my face and joy in my heart from soon after I began writing it, and saw where it was headed. Hope it brings a smile to your faces too and produces a fire in your hearts for Jesus! Please have a most blessed day walking safely and talking intimately with Jesus! Much LOVE!

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 March 2013 Philippians 1:11

Philippians 1:11.     Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Oh Friends, what is your joy quotient this Thursday morning in March 2013 eh? Is it high, low, or just mediocre? I read an old Joel Osteen devotional earlier on that advised us to be always joyful, and today that advice just reverberated so strongly in me that I had to bring it to our attention. Why? Because I know that many of us, even faithful believers, have less, experience less than an adequate amount of joy on a regular basis. We still fret and worry too much, have too much resentment and anger in our souls, which only allows the wily Lucifer to suck the joy, the very lifeblood out of us. For remember, the joy of the Lord is our strength, (Neh.8:10) and without it, we’re helpless, useless, victims in waiting for all the negative actions and options of the evil one. So here’s a prayer taken from the devotional, which encourages us to up the level of our joy, and to keep it high at all times. Please pray with me: ‘Dear Father, thank You for filling my life with joy. Thank You that I am blessed and cannot be cursed. Thank You that in all things You cause me to triumph. Thank You for your strength within me that comes from that joy. I bless You today and rejoice in your goodness.’ And all God’s people declared a loud and joyous, ‘Praise the Lord! Amen.’ Yes Friends, today, and everyday, let’s prep ourselves early on, to rejoice in the goodness of our wonderful God nuh! What’s the purpose of having such a kind, LOVING and considerate God, whose Word abounds with so many faithful promises, if we just live in sadness and mediocrity, in worry and all the other negative things the world tries to get us involved in? We might as well have no God at all. Oh what a terrible, unthinkable thought! Anyway, with that exclusive joy of God in our hearts, let’s turn to our Bit. Sorry, not yet. First, let’s see what caused Bruh Paul to write our Bit. He’s writing from prison, talking about thanksgiving and prayer. ‘And this I pray, that your LOVE may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement (discernment); That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.’ (Phil.1:9-10) And the scholars have a good comment on those verses. ‘Things that are excellent means “things that really matter.” This refers to important issues. As the Philippians’ LOVE increases in knowledge and discernment (v.9), they will be able to accurately distinguish the vital and worthwhile things in life from those that are not. Contextually, the readers’ LOVE for Paul vexes them as they are anxious over his imprisonment. He wants them to perceive his imprisonment as being among those “things that really matter” because of the good that God will bring out of it. The purpose for such discrimination is that ye may be sincere (or morally pure) and without offense till the day of Christ.’ Then comes our Bit: ‘Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.’ Please note Friends, we can’t do what our Bit talks about unless we have the joy of God securely planted in our souls. Now listen to the scholars’ comments on our Bit. ‘This verse could be translated, “Filled with the fruit that is righteousness, which comes through Jesus Christ for the purpose of glorifying and praising God.” The believer who is pure and without offense before God (v.10) has divinely developed in him a practical “righteousness” or daily moral life that measures up to God’s standards in character and conduct. The ultimate purpose for this “righteousness” is to glorify God.’ Yes fellow believers, let’s never forget that regardless of what we do or what happens to us, our ultimate purpose on this earth is to glorify the Most High God Jehovah! That’s why we’re filled with the Holy Spirit and the subsequent righteousness granted to us; all because of Jesus’ actions! So now, having made all of that understandable, (smile) let’s introduce some scripture that corroborates our Bit. For that we’ll turn to Ephesians, where Bruh Paul’s telling them of grace and faith. ‘For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any should boast. For we are his workmanship (creation), created in Christ Jesus unto (for) good works, which God hath before ordained (prepared) that we should walk in them.’ (Eph.2:8-10) That ought to put everything in its proper perspective my brethren: We were saved through the unmerited favour of God, so that nobody could boast of their good works. And also spiritually reborn through Jesus, so that we could then do good works. And we’ll close with a comment from the scholars on that subject. ‘The apostle’s thinking is this, since the Christian has been given spiritual life for the purpose of doing good works, there could have been no good works by him prior to conversion that would merit salvation. Good works follow – do not precede – salvation.’ And all God’s people said a loud and glorious ‘Amen!’ Yes Friends, please remember that our earthly pilgrimage is first and foremost about praising and glorifying our most wonderful God! Much LOVE!…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…for without Him…we are nothing…nothing at all…
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 March 2013 Isaiah 40:8

Isaiah 40:8.      The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
 
One more morning, one more day, filled with new mercies, filled with new blessings, showered down from heaven with fatherly LOVE! Yes Friends, that’s what is happening on this new Today, and what happens on every new Today! And before we get too carried away, let’s realize that it’s not because of our goodness, or what we rightfully deserve, but because of our wonderful God’s LOVING-kindness towards us! His heart is so overflowing with LOVE and tenderness for us, that despite our lack of enthusiasm and strong faith, He has a hard time saying No to us. So in grateful appreciation, let’s offer a few words of thanks nuh. Pray with me: ‘Oh heavenly Father, we, your humble servants, created and so richly provided for by You, offer our sincere thanks and praise this new day. We don’t know what lies ahead, but we know that whatever comes our way, You’ll be right there with us to help us through it. Please continue to bless and protect us. We pray this in the holy name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who sacrificed His sinless life at Calvary, so that we could be reconciled and once again have glorious fellowship with You.’ And all God’s people declared a loud and sincere, ‘Praise the Lord! Amen!’ Ah mih people, I’m so glad that it was only supposed to be a few words. (smile) But yuh know, sometimes when you start giving our awesome God the praise and thanks He so richly deserves, you often get carried away by the deep LOVE for Him that’s in your heart. Now let’s turn to our Bit, which, as promised, is the same as yesterday. I’m trying my best to be like the Lord and keep my promises. (smile) And our Bit boldly proclaims: ‘The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.’ And that’s no lie, my brethren! The Word of our great Deity will never depart from the life of this world, as long as it exists, be it in physical or spiritual form, because it comes from the Mighty One who created it and all it contains. Unfortunately many don’t believe that, and I’m genuinely sorry for them, because it means they are not enjoying the rich and fulfilling life that comes from believing and following the Word of the Most High God Jehovah. And as Isaiah confidently declares before our Bit, in this Chapter 40, that deals with comfort through trust in the Lord: ‘And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry (out), And he said, what shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the godliness (loveliness) thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit (breath) of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.’ (Is.40:5-7) Yes Friends, in the time line of our God, we certainly have short lives; lives comparable in our understanding, to that of the grass and flowers that spring up rich and beautiful one day, but by the next are withered and faded. However, the glorious Word of our omnipotent God will live much longer, indeed forever! Why? Because it comes from the One who is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, who created everything that exists, controls it all, and can do whatsoever He wants with it! As the prophet Micah promises, when talking about turning swords into ploughshares: ‘And I will make her that halted (is lame) a remnant, and her that was cast far off (the outcasts) a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.’ (Mic.4:7) What an awesome promise my fellow believers! And it will eventually come true, because our God is ever faithful to keep His promises. Meanwhile, Isaiah solemnly delivers another of God’s promises in Chapter 24, that after judgement comes upon the earth: ‘Then the moon shall be confounded (disgraced or ashamed), and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients (elders) gloriously.’ (Is.24:23) Wow mih breddren! That will be such a glorious day that even the sun and moon will have to step back from the marvellous light of our enchanting God! And as we like to do whenever possible, we’ll end with some moving and meaningful words of the Master Teacher, Jesus. Here, He’s telling the people of His upcoming death, resurrection and ascension. ‘The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest the darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knowest not wither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.’ (John 12:34-36) Oh Friends, that’s the Word of our God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And yuh know what? It will certainly live on forever, so if we’re smart, we’ll consciously choose to follow it, so that we too can live on forever with Him. Much LOVE!…true believers…must use the wisdom generated by the Holy Spirit in them…to LOVE and obey the Word of God…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 February 2013 John 11:35

John 11:35.     JESUS WEPT.
 
Ah Friends, I don’t know if our weather forecasting is getting worse, or if the weather itself is playing mind games with us by changing more often than we can keep up with. And I say that because it doesn’t seem like if anyone forecasted the serious snowstorm yesterday afternoon and early evening that dumped about 3 to 4 inches of snow on Toronto. The unforeseen deluge of heavy white stuff disrupted everything, especially traffic, both on the roads and at the airport. I had to go into the city and left home around 6 p.m in a light snowfall. When I got to the highway though, I found that it was backed up and crawling at a snail’s pace, so I called my people and told them I’d probably be late because of the traffic congestion. They told me that the traffic problem was possibly because of the snow. I wondered what snow they were talking about, because the roadway was fairly clean in my area. However, when I finally crept up the road for about a mile or so, I saw where the still falling snow had cruelly mugged the highway. (smile) And the closer I got to my destination, the harder it seemed to fall. A journey that should have taken me around 20 minutes, took me 70. But one can’t do much about that, because this is Canada in the winter time … and it’s still the best big country in the world! And all proud Canadians joyfully shouted: ‘Praise the Lord!’ (smile) Now have a gander at the weather predictions for this coming week in the daytime: Tomorrow, Monday; partly cloudy with a high of zero. Tuesday; a high of plus 5 with sleet. Hn! Wednesday; a high of minus 5 with flurries. Thursday; a high of minus 5 and partly cloudy. And Friday; a high of zero with snow. That’s enough to make you cry and get down on your knees and beg for summer, when you have to be out on the roads everyday, twice a day. But crying is at times understandable, for as our Bit simply but very importantly states: ‘JESUS WEPT.’ I like it Friends, short and straight to the point: ‘JESUS WEPT.’ I don’t know if there are any more two word sentences in the Good Book, but this one is rather important to our understanding of Jesus’ persona, re His humanity, which we’ll get into later. This incident of Jesus weeping occurred when His bosom buddy, Lazarus died. Jesus got the message that Lazarus was very sick, and though He LOVED the family (Mary, Martha and Lazarus), He sojourned two more days where He was. At that time though, He spoke these prophetic words: ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.’ (John 11:4) Jesus wasn’t being irrational or unfeeling. There was a definite purpose behind His words and actions; the most important thing to Him and all believers – the glorification of Almighty God – and by extension, His Son! And we all know the story, that by the time Jesus reaches Bethany, where the family lives, Lazarus has already been entombed for 4 days. And since Jerusalem was less that two miles (15 furlongs) from Bethany, many Jerusalem dwellers, some possibly the enemies of Jesus, had come to comfort Martha and Mary in their time of grief and mourning. And such was the faith the sisters had in Jesus, that when both met Him, they both proclaimed that if He’d been present during Lazarus’ illness, death would not have claimed him. Mary’s was so strong she believed that even then, the Father would grant Him anything He asked. (John 11:21-22, 32) Now the weeping of the sisters and the other Jews with them had a real emotional effect on Jesus. The Good Book reports: ‘He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.’ (John 11:33) Then Jesus asked: ‘Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.’ (John 11:34) And that’s where our Bit comes in: ‘JESUS WEPT.’ Yes Friends, our Lord and Saviour cried actual tears of hurt and pain and sorrow. So much so that: ‘Then said the Jews, Behold, how he LOVED him!’ (John 11:36) And the whole purpose of this exercise is to show that though Jesus was God, He also felt and exhibited real human emotions. The scholars describe it thus: ‘Jesus wept. The verb ‘wept’ is used only here in the New Testament, meaning a shedding of tears, a deep grief (cf. Heb.5:7) Although Jesus was God, He was also Man. John recognizes and records this expression of a very human emotion. He affirms the full humanity of Christ, as well as His deity. John is not a Docetist, one who believes Jesus was merely a phantom.’ Of course not Friends, Jesus was human through and through! And while here on earth, He definitely exhibited all the human emotions and frailties; laughter, joy, sorrow, anger, hurt, pain, etc. – all except sin. Unfortunately though Friends, time and space have run out for today. So tomorrow, God willing, we’ll continue this message on Christ’s weeping, for there’s much more to be said. (smile) It’s certainly been a smiley day! (smile) Till then, please let’s take the Word seriously, ‘actioning’ it as best we can, while walking safely under the LOVING protection of Almighty God. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Much LOVE!…heartfelt tears… they tell the true story of the soul…