Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 July 2020 2 Kings 6:16.

2 Kings 6:16.    ​And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
 

And it looks like another cloudy day is in the offing in my area… Wonder if we’ll also get rain like yesterday? Ah, it’s so calming and refreshing when the rain falls – it also gets you lazy and in a LOVING mood… Now I could certainly handle that! (smile) But unfortunately we have more serious matters to attend to this Thursday morning in late July of 2020. 

Now today I’ve been led to some scriptures on encouragement in times of peril and need. I guess the Lord sees our overwhelming need for encouragement and assurance in these rather turbulent and uncertain times. So here’s the first one: This from King Hezekiah when the Assyrians under Sennacherib came to do battle against Judah, in particular Jerusalem. 

‘And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably (encouragingly) to them. Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves on (were strengthened by) the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.’ (2 Chr. 32:6-8) 

Oh friends, those are some of the same words our God, that same God, is saying to us today in these frightful times! But are we listening? And if so, are we taking courage like the people of Jerusalem? That’s the million-dollar question! But that brings to mind another similar scripture – this time with the prophet Elisha and his servant when the King of Syria and a mighty host surrounded his house because Elisha was telling the king of Israel the secret things the king of Assyria planned against them. 

Now this particular morning when Elisha’s servant went out early, he saw the host of Syrians surrounding the city, so he ran back and informed Elisha of the grave situation and said: ‘Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.’ (2 Kin. 6:15b-16) What marvellous words of encouragement, but unfortunately the servant could not see what Elisha saw. So Elisha prayed that the Lord would open the servant’s eyes. ‘And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots round about Elisha.’ (2 Kin. 6:17) 

Yes my people, likewise guardian angels are constantly all around God’s children protecting us, so that we do not come to harm. But we have to believe it to see it! Are we believing it though, or are we constantly being ravished by fear and the evil schemes of the enemy? But please remember these immortal words of Bruh Paul to Timothy. ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind.’ (2 Tim. 1:7) Please my brethren, let’s root that scripture deep in our hearts and souls nuh, and let it grow and flourish to give us strong assurance in these disturbing times! 

Now hear these other encouraging scriptures that our God has been telling us from day one nuh. These from Moses to his people, when he handed over the leadership of Israel to Joshua. ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them (your enemies): for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go before thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ (Deut. 31:6) Then he called Joshua and told him the same thing. 

And what I LOVE about the passing of the torch from Moses to Joshua is that the Lord Himself told Joshua the very same thing when He appointed him the official leader. ‘Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.’ (Josh. 1:9) And not a word of that has changed down to this day my people! So why are we so afraid and fearful of life eh, when we have the assurance of the greatest power in the universe on our side? 

And if yuh want to tell me nonsense about all of that being in the Old Testament which doesn’t matter now – ah Lord eh – then hear Jesus’ most often used words in the New Testament: ‘Fear not!’ And hear His encouraging words: ‘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) That’s Jesus telling us the same thing in slightly different words! So what’s our excuse now for not following them eh? 

Ah mih people, we just like to talk yes! And we must talk some, but all talk without any action is useless. That’s why James, Jesus’ brother wrote these oh so truthful words: ‘But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?… Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ (James 1:22; 2:14,17) And yes faith does save our souls like Bruh Paul says, but what’s the point of having faith if you don’t put it to work eh? 

That’s exactly what Bruh Paul did too. As he told Timothy: ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith:’ (2 Tim. 4:7) That meant he had done what the Lord called him to do; preach the gospel to the Gentiles; he had put his faith in God to work, and we all know the numerous trials and tribulations he went through to do it. But the Lord saw him through it all…and so will He with us if we are strong and courageous, if we put our faith to work. 

And He’s so magnificent and magnanimous that He’s showered us with numerous blessings, to enable us to do just that! What an awesome God we serve my people! So as we go home now, let’s declare (awright!) some of those wonderful characteristics, what we call our Thursday Blessings, so that we can empower them in our lives. 

All together now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! 

I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

And having proclaimed them, it’s time to go out and put them to good use now… generously too! (smile) Much LOVE!

…greater is He that is in us…than he that is in the world… (1 John 4:4)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 December 2017 Hebrews 1:4.

Hebrews 1:4.   Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Well mih people, we’re into the month of December and the Christmas season is already madly upon us! Oh the lights are up, people are busily running around in search of gifts and presents for their LOVED ones, planning office parties, and making plans to go home for Christmas. 

But before we go any further friends, let me make one thing abundantly clear: JESUS is the reason for Christmas and the Happy Holidays or whatever you choose to call them nowadays, and if you are not celebrating Him, His birth and glorious coming to earth, then you’re not truly celebrating Christmas. 

Jesus MUST BE, HAS TO BE, the focal point of the entire season, or else you’re just mouthing the man made platitudes and falling into the worldly trap of it being just a time for gifts and merry making. All the worldly trappings are, and should be just ancillary stuff to the importance of Jesus. 

Remember, WITHOUT Jesus, there would be no celebrations! Matter fix! (smile) Just thought I’d get that in there before we all begin running around like chickens with our heads cut off making Christmas preparations. Those preparations are supposed to begin and end in our hearts, with gratitude and praise and thanksgiving for Jesus coming to earth to save us. 

Now since it’s Saturday, let’s turn our attention to some quotes from our friend Anselm, who aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘Never complain, never explain. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or make excuses.’ I don’t think I’d go so far as to say ‘never,’ because complaints, excuses and defending ourselves are a natural part of our make up, but we should certainly keep them to a minimum. 

And then there is this: ‘If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.’ That has the definite ring of truth to it! You can’t achieve unless you improve yourself. 

Now listen to this one: ‘Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.’ I don’t know if ‘any’ decision is better than ‘no’ decision at all, because by making no decision, you are in fact making a decision not to make a decision. (smile) However to be people of integrity and good character, we must be decisive, and not continually waver. 

And this last quote is a gem. ‘The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.’ It’s just the basic law of God; give and it will be given unto you. How much you sow is how much you’ll reap. And have you ever noticed that in life, those who get the biggest accolades are those who seek them the least, Jesus being one of those people? 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.’  

And what I want to do today friends, is talk some on the subject of angels. We hear a lot about them in the Bible, but I don’t think our pastors preach much, or enough on them, more or less relegating them to a secondary or even tertiary role. But angels play a large part in the kingdom of heaven; they are like the worker bees in a hive, and have their own ministry. 

I think it’s time we learn a little more about them because back in Bruh Paul’s day, they were even worshipped, and he had to warn against it. ‘Let no man beguile (defraud) you of your reward in a voluntary humility (delighting in false humility) and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.’ (Col.2:18) Basically these heretics, false teachers, would rob the Colossians of their spiritual blessings if they listened to them and worshipped angels. 

Now let’s see what the scholars have to say about angels and their ministry. ‘1:4. Angels are created spiritual beings who are servants of God. The word ‘angel’ means “messenger.” Though they also have power to become visible in human form, they are incorporeal beings (no solid body), possessing intellect, emotion, and will. 

The word ‘angel’ is always used in the masculine gender, although sex in the human sense is never ascribed to them. They have great power (2 Kin.19:35), but are not omnipotent. They have extensive wisdom (2 Sam.14:20), but are not omniscient. Their number is great (an innumerable company of angels) Heb.12:22), but not limitless. 

Illustration: Man is made “a little lower than the angels” (2:7), although the same writer reminds us that Christ is greater than the angels (vs.4). Application: There are a number of benefits derived from understanding the ministry of angels. When we realize that they constantly observe our Christian lives (1 Cor.4:9; 11:10; Eph. 3:10), we will improve our conduct. When we understand how they protect us, we will appreciate God’s care for us (vs.7). 

When we consider their tremendous strength and ability, we will be encouraged. Finally, their example of unceasing service ought to motivate us to more consistent service for God. (First Ref. Gen.1:1 – ‘heaven’ is plural in Hebrew, meaning God created the whole, with its innumerable separate parts, including angels; Primary Ref. Heb.1:4; cf. Heb.12:22).’ 

Oh friends, please check out those reference scriptures, I just did, and they back up and make clearer a whole lot of things. Hope this session on angels opens our hearts and minds and gives us a better understanding of the heavenly hierarchy and our place in it. Much LOVE!

…without guardian angels…we would be in a much bigger mess than we’re in…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 May 2016 Matthew 18:3

Matthew 18:3.    And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 Oh friends, it’s a glorious Saturday morning on God’s wonderful earth! So like children, let’s take some time out to play nuh. Playing is a wholesome, healthy and hearty retreat from the pressures of this world. 

Remember what Jesus said when the disciples refused to let the children come to Him? ‘Suffer (allow the) little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt.19:14)  

Yeh friends, heaven is made up of simple, trusting, innocent people with child-like faith. So to keep our minds and bodies in a healthy state, sometimes, especially on beautiful days like these, we just need to let all our cares, worries and anxieties go and just play like innocent children. 

You’d be surprised how refreshed and renewed our souls, minds and bodies would be with a little mindless, free spirited playing. Believe me people, we all need to have some regular playtime in our lives. This evil, stressful, dangerous and angry world calls for it. 

Otherwise, it wouldn’t be long before we go stark raving bonkers, holding all the stress and tension that this world generates inside of us. Our bodies were not made to bear a whole lot of negative emotions, but positive ones. You see how quickly they deteriorate when they are consumed by too much negativity. 

So please, let’s lighten up some, and don’t try to take on all the worries of the world on our frail and mortal shoulders. Our Creator doesn’t seem overly worried, so why should we be, especially if we sincerely believe that He is in control of the universe He created?  

Now here is a little tidbit from our friend Anselm, who always tries to inspire us to reach for a better tomorrow. He says that ‘Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.’ 

And that’s no lie my brethren! It’s simple, straightforward logic. You will accomplish more if you control what you can, instead of selfishly trying to control what you can’t. But that’s a regular pattern of life with many of us, as the crazy, selfish world we live in sets us that example.  

Just look at how our world is populated with control freaks; those who want to control everything and everyone, and fighting tooth and nail to do so. Meanwhile, if they would just concentrate on those things they do have power over, their lives would be so much happier and longer. 

That brings us to our Bit, where Jesus explains greatness to the disciples by calling a child to Him and setting him in the middle of the crowd: ‘And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ 

There we have Jesus again referring to the importance of a child-like nature. And He continues: ‘Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones (cause them to sin) which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offenses (enticements to sin)! For it needs be that offenses come; but woe to the man by whom the offense cometh.’  (Matt.18:4-7) 

And the scholars offer this explanation of those verses. ‘18:1-7. The dispute over who is the greatest was settled by Jesus’ emphasis that it was the one who was willing to forgive the most! 

Be converted means a “turning” of one’s whole life and person toward God. This is the true biblical picture of conversion. It is far more than mental acknowledgement of the truth or intellectual assent to certain ideas. 

To become as little children means to be born again (converted) as a newborn spiritual child, characterized by faith and humility. The little child represents a new convert or young believer. To receive such a fellow believer is to welcome Christ Himself. Therefore the basis of true Christian fellowship is established in Christ Himself. 

Offenses are viewed as a reality that must be accepted in the present world, but woe (the prophetic condemnation to death) to the one who is the source of the offense. A millstone is literally an “ass-stone,” or a large grindstone turned by an ass.’  

So you see my people, to enter heaven we must humble ourselves and have faith like a young child. And beware, if we cause one of these young children, the new spiritual converts to sin, then we’re surely in for a rough time; ‘woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.’  It would be like dissing and demeaning Jesus Himself. 

And Jesus ends that section with this warning. ‘Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt.18:10)  

And the scholars tell us: ‘Just as temptation arises from within, so does offending others and being offended. The reference to their angels (v.10) supports the idea of individual guardian angels for believers (see Heb.1:14). Salvation is not just a privilege to be enjoyed by a select few, but it is also to be shared with the lost, so that they too can be saved.’ 

Now friends, today as we play and pray, let us ponder how all that we’ve said pertains to us nuh. Are we causing others of less faith to sin, are we hogging salvation and not sharing it with others, are we being humble and faithful? Those are multi-million dollar questions my brethren, but questions only the individual can answer, before a just but kind and merciful God. 

It’s therefore imperative that we take stock of ourselves now and make whatever amends are necessary, so that that “ass-stone’ is not hung around our necks and we be deposited in the deep. Wisdom is desperately calling for that my people! Much LOVE!

…the open door to heaven calls for…innocent, child-like surrender, trust, faith and humility…