Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 September 2018 Psalm 8:1.

Psalm 8:1.    O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
 

‘Monday, Monday! Oh how I LOVE thee! Let me count the ways!’ Ah friends, the ole fella’s not crazy, just somewhat eccentric. (smile) There’s just something I like about Mondays – it hints at new beginnings, new possibilities. Like you’ve wrapped up one section over the weekend, and another is about to start on Monday’s. 

Hn! The problem with some of us is that we don’t like new beginnings or possibilities, because they upset the status quo, and the human animal dislikes change, doesn’t want his or her life to be uprooted or turned topsy-turvy too often. 

On the other hand, Monday reminds some of us of the same old, same old; the same old work drudgery, endless traffic jams, crowded sidewalks and elevators, and slaving for never enough money to make ends meet, with little or no job security, and sometimes at more than one job too.

That obviously will not make you a happy camper, but you don’t have much choice, so you’ll just have to grin and bear it and hope that with time, and God’s help, it will improve…and substantially too.  

And that brings us to our mother, or father’s li’l helper (smile) our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. Ah friends, it’s only simple prayer; but remember that prayer is the most powerful force in the universe, and it’s also our main method of communicating with the Creator of that universe. So if we pray the right way, for the right things, under the right circumstances, we’re guaranteed that our prayers will be answered. 

And our Monday Morning Battle Hymn meets all of those conditions, that’s why it works…every time! So let’s get down to brass tacks here now nuh, and declare it in unison, with heartfelt sincerity. ‘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!’ 

And I can see by the brightening of your countenance and the new spring in your step that our antidote for all Monday ills worked! Glory to our great God! That’s why Bruh David could shout out our Bit from Psalm 8: ‘O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who has set thy glory above the heavens.’ 

Ah friends, the Creator of our universe is indeed a mighty Deity, but also one overflowing with  tender LOVE! Listen to Bruh David later on in Psalm 8: ‘When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest (pay attention to, or care for) him?

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.’ (Ps.8:3-6) 

And right in those few words my brethren, we have the basic essence of our universe: the great spiritual Being we call God created it for His pleasure, spoke it into being through the power of His words. Then He created us from the dust of the ground and His breath of life so that we could have sincere communion with Him. 

Note how important we are to Him, that He made us just a little lower than His heavenly host, but way above and in charge of all His other creations. And all He has done, is doing, and will do on our behalf stems from His great and wonderful, unconditional and never-ending LOVE for us! 

Consequently, the psalmist could declare that all creation ought to praise the Lord. ‘Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons (sea creatures), and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word. Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:

Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent (exalted); his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn (strength or dominion) of his people, the praise of all his saints; even the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord (shout Hallelujah!)’ (Ps.148:7-14) 

Yes friends, the entire universe ought to praise and exalt our gracious, merciful, mighty and LOVING God! Unfortunately my brethren, that’s not the way it is in our depraved world, so let’s go out and do our best to make it so nuh, because if we don’t, who else will eh? Much LOVE!

…O Lord our Lord…how excellent is thy name…in all the earth… (Ps.8:9)

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 March 2018 Psalm 148:5

Psalm 148:5.    Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded and they were created.

Seven days have passed friends, since we last visited the Lord’s sanctuary to refresh our souls and spirits. That means we are due for a refuelling today. 

So let’s all come together, gather in the Lord’s house and fellowship with enthusiasm, hope, faith, praise and worship, while He replenishes, with His word and spiritual touch, the faith we’ve used up this past week. That will enable us to go back out and work diligently and sincerely on His behalf, with a full tank of joy, LOVE, confidence, persistence and peace. 

And all of God’s children declared a loud and thankful: ‘Glory to God for His LOVING-kindness to the undeserving children of men!’ And how right we are, to give God the glory for all the magnanimous and magnificent things He’s done for us. 

Now, as always, let’s begin our praise and worship with a favourite old hymn titled ‘All things bright and beautiful.’ It was written by Cecil F. Alexander around 1848. And does it ever celebrate the Lord and His creations in nature. So let’s belt it our now through lips lined with sacrificial praise and hearts filled with enormous LOVE and gratitude to our Maker. 

‘(Refrain: All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.) Each little flow’r that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings. (Refrain) 

The purple-headed mountains, The river running by, The sunset and the morning That brightens up the sky.(Refrain) 

The cold wind in the winter, The pleasant summer sun, The ripe fruits in the garden, He made them every one. (Refrain) The tall trees in the greenwood, The meadows where we play, The rushes by the water, To gather every day.(Refrain) 

He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well. All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.’

Yeh friends, ALL the beauty we enjoy in nature was made by our heavenly Father, for our enjoyment. Unfortunately though, many of us, including Christians, don’t seem to appreciate the wonder and beauty of nature. 

What can be more beautiful than a golden sunset; a full moon in full glow while stars sprinkle the night sky, or birds singing sweet songs of thanks in the early morning hours as they rise and give praise to their creator. 

Chuh! But we, the most important of God’s creation find it difficult, or even impossible to thank Him for His fatherly goodness and the beauty He’s created to enliven our earthly lives. 

Now we’re going to spend the rest of this message giving Him some of the praise He so worthily deserves. And we’ll begin with Psalm 148 – All creation to praise the Lord – from which our Bit is taken. ‘Praise ye the Lord (sing Hallelujah): Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. 

Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.’ (Ps.148:1-5) 

And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! The Lord commanded everything to be made that was made! Therefore everything that was made, especially man, ought to be constantly singing His praises and admiring His handiwork. And He even went a step further than just creating them: ‘He hath also stablished (established) them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall never pass.’ (Ps.148:6) Glory to God friends! 

Nothing God has made shall pass away unless He wills it. Therefore ‘Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps (sea creatures): Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: 

Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent (exalted); his glory is above the earth and heaven. 

He also exalteth the horn (strength) of his people, the praise of all of his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord (sing Hallelujah)’ (Ps.148:7-14) 

Oh my people, how awesome is our God eh! I can’t understand why we refuse to exalt and glorify Him the way we should. But this Sunday morning, as we gather to worship Him, let’s begin changing that nuh. Let’s raise up our voices and our hearts in gratitude and tenderness and LOVE and exaltation, so that He can know that we truly appreciate Him and bring a beautiful smile to His face and a glow of warmth to His heart! Much LOVE!

…by the word of the Lord…were the heavens made…and all the hosts of them…by the breath of his mouth… (Ps.33:6)

 

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 25 December 2013 Isaiah 33:22

Isaiah 33:22.   For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, he will save us.

                                                        MERRY  CHRISTMAS! 
 

And the congregation raised their voices in heavenly song: ‘Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconcile. Joyful all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With the angelic host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem. Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn king.’

 

Yes my beautiful fellow believers, on this awesome day, some two thousand years ago, our King, Jesus Christ was born! And all God’s people gave a mighty and grateful shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah!’

 

What a momentous and memorable moment that was in the annals of history! So momentous, that since then it’s been creating an unbelievable uproar amongst mankind; some bad, but most of it good.

 

No wonder the prophet Isaiah lustily declared centuries before, in our Bit: ‘For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, he will save us.’

 

And today we’ll bypass the ‘lawgiver’ aspect of our God, and instead scan the Good Book for appropriate scriptures that proclaim Him as ‘our king, he will save us.’

 

And what better place to begin than with the everlasting promise of God’s mercy and salvation. Hear Isaiah tell it as it is: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

 

Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.’ (Is.9:6-7)

 

And the zeal of the Lord did perform it my brethren! As all the other promises of our omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, magnanimous, merciful, and forgiving God, this came to pass on that fateful Christmas night two millennia ago, when the holy, sinless, incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, was born to a poor carpenter’s family in Bethlehem of Judea. 

 

But yuh know what Friends, even before that magnificent pronouncement, previous to an Assyrian invasion of Israel, Isaiah had specified the way that our King, our Messiah, would be born. ‘Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (God with us).’ (Is.7:14.)

 

And did this all come about? OF COURSE! The gospel of Luke tells us that ‘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. 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 (considered) in her mind what manner of salutation (greeting) this should be. 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 (Yahweh Is Salvation).

 

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 for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a 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.’ (Luke 1:26-35)

 

And so it was said…and so was it done! We all know the story of how Joseph was told about the immaculate conception in a dream and went on to marry Mary, and how they went up to Bethlehem to register for a census and how Jesus was born that night in a stable, because there was no room in the inn for them.

 

And what a glorious night that was my brethren in ole Bethlehem, for all the heavenly host of angels were singing and rejoicing over the birth of our Saviour, and joyfully declared to the shepherds who were out watching their flocks: ‘Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger (feed trough). And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:10-14) 

 

Ah mih people how mighty and faithful is our God! For all that was prophesied centuries before came together on that first Christmas night to begin the process of our salvation, of our reconciliation to the heavenly Father, through the birth, life, and sacrificial death of His Son Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead on the third day, having defeated the hosts of Hades, to claim His rightful throne, His rightful kingdom, both here on earth and in heaven above. A kingdom that shall NEVER END! 

 

So let’s go home singing His praises nuh. ‘Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in his wings. Mild he lays his glory by, Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth. Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King.’

 

Great and faithful is our God my people, so please, in grateful appreciation, let’s spend some time today pondering on the mighty promises He made, and oh so faithfully fulfilled. That’s the true reason for this exciting Christmas season. Much LOVE!

 

…blessed is the season…which engages the whole world…in a conspiracy of LOVE!… (Hamilton Wright Mabie – 1846-1916 – American essayist editor, critic, lecturer)