Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 April 2020 Isaiah 40:1.

Isaiah 40:1.    ​Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
 
Well Friday’s rolled around again friends. What’s happening eh? I guess it’s the same old, same old. No work for most, too much for a few, and very little play for anybody. But for the foreseeable future, that seems to be the new state of affairs, so we’d better get accustomed to it. And since it’s Friday, let’s get straight to the workingman’s song, because he’s just dying to get a word in sideways. (smile)

 ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday and the weekend here! But is not the same nuh, because there’s no work to go to, or come home from, and every day is just the same. So the weekend doh really mean nothing. Steups! It really playing havoc with mih mind yes. I can’t handle this every day is the same thing business. You can only do so much when yuh lockdown in a small house with small children and a tired wife. Never thought I’d miss going to the slave master work, but I do. 

At least it use to give me a sense of purpose, like I was doing something useful. But now, what ah doing eh…with this Corona virus thing that shut down almost everything? Not a blooming thing! Ah tired watching tv…and besides all yuh see on the so and so television is more bad news about the virus, so why watch that and drive mihself more crazy than I already am eh? Steups! And ah can’t drink mihself stupid every day either. The children tired too playing with the same ole toys and driving deh mother mard. 

And though the weather been nice this past week, you could only spend so much time outside because it still fairly cold, and yuh can’t go the park or anything so. Ah Lord eh! What we going to do? Ah guess we just have to grin and bear it and hope they find some cure for this bloody thing soon oui! Else we going to have a whole world of even madder people than before…for those who manage to survive it.’ 

And isn’t there a lot of truth in the workingman’s statements. Boredom and aggravation have begun setting in for many people. And being continuously locked up together is certainly going to cause problems in some families, especially the larger ones living in smaller homes. Being constantly underfoot is not something we humans handle very well. But we’d better learn to handle it, because this virus doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. 

And yuh know what? We believers in, and followers of Jesus Christ are the ones expected to be in the forefront of the battle, leading the way through our good and faithful example! Being fruitful examples of salt and light to a hopeless and disbelieving world! Yes friends, that’s what Jesus expects of us. And the first step in our battle is to talk to our great and merciful God, give Him thanks and ask for guidance and direction and divine relief from our misery. So let’s do so now by chanting our rejigged Friday Chant, in strong and confident, but humble voice. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. It’s been pretty rough…though not from work, but from all the confusion and havoc that the Covid -19 virus causing. We not accustomed to that Lord, and it really telling on us. But with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat this virus. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the  least amount of loss to life and property as possible. 

And please use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, and also introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Yes mih people, it’s up to us Christians to stand up strong and steadfast, leading the way, so that the world can see what true faith looks like, and realize that it’s ONLY through Jehovah God that hope and life exist. And hear these words from our comforting Deity that speak to the bleak situation at hand: ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably (comfort) to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished (ended), that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.’ (Is.40:1-2) 

Oh friends, ONLY through sincere trust in the Lord can we receive true comfort. Remember Christ’s Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) Oh precious people of God, who else has ever had the parts to make such an offer eh? NO ONE BUT JESUS! Because He is the ONLY ONE who can make that offer come true! And that offer is still open, and is even more relevant in these disastrous times than ever. So please be wise and accept it. 

And we’ll end with this interesting message I got through social media yesterday. A lot of it floating through the airways is nonsense, but I thought this was interesting enough to share. It reads: ‘I don’t know who wrote this, but it’s beautiful. We fell asleep in one world, and woke up in another. Suddenly Disney is out of magic. Paris is no longer romantic, New York doesn’t stand up anymore, the Chinese wall is no longer a fortress, and Mecca is empty. 

Hugs and kisses suddenly become weapons, and not visiting parents and friends becomes an act of LOVE. Suddenly you realize that power, beauty and money are worthless, and can’t get you the oxygen you’re fighting for. The world continues its life and it is beautiful. It only puts humans in cages. I think it’s sending us a message: “You are not necessary. The air, earth, water and sky without you are fine. When you come back, remember that you are my guests. Not my masters.” 

Yes friends, the world was fine until God made man and woman, and they in their stupidity chose to move away from their Creator. And it will be fine again if He removes us from it through this current pandemic. Throughout the ages, it’s always mankind who has been the fly in the ointment. Everything else unfurls as God planned it. And here’s how He’s planned it; thankfully with our benefit in mind: 

‘Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand (strength), and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is. 40:10-11) 

Oh, how beautiful are all the promises of our wonderful God! So today, please, please, let’s be wise and take them sincerely and seriously to heart nuh, and thus move forward strong and steadfast, as He desires of us! Much LOVE!

…God is ALL we need…especially in the times of calamity…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 April 2020 Deuteronomy 30:19.

Deuteronomy 30:19.    I call heaven and earth to record this day (stand as witnesses) against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.
 
Oh friends, oh friends, before beginning to write the Bit this Thursday morning in these very concerned Covod-19 times, I needed a touch of divine inspiration and so I turned to some praise and worship, music that truly moves me, Psalm 34 sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. And as always, it certainly did the job! There’s something about that version of that song that just gets me going! Thus, I invite you now to bless the Lord with me! Let’s magnify His name together! Let’s  exalt it together! 

There’s no better form of praise than to glorify His most holy name for ever and ever! For He surrounds His saints with divine protection and no one who calls on Him in sincerity and truth will ever be ashamed. He will hear their pleas and protect them from their enemies! Wow! What other faith can say that about their God eh? NONE! That’s why it’s ever so important to stay true to the God of our forefathers if we want to be delivered from the enemy and receive redemption and forgiveness and eventual salvation. 

But I know that’s not easy to do, even in normal times, much less in these very trying and uncertain ones. And the only way to do it is by keeping hope and faith alive through prayer and meditation and strong action. That’s why today I was guided to share a couple of passages from the Hour Of Power Devotional with writings by our dear, departed Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller). Long time we haven’t turned to him for some wise advice, (smile)  but he does give some that’s very pertinent to our faith in these Covid-19 times. 

So please read with me, this first devotional he so wisely titles ‘Choose Hope.’ ‘Yes, I believe God is still alive. He knows where I am and how I got here. He’s way ahead of me, manoeuvring in the silence and the shadows. He really cares. I trust Him. The alternative is an unthinkable, unacceptable mental attitude that’s certain to lead me down a path of hopeless despair. Yes I am addicted to hope. That’s my decision. My hopes may not be completely fulfilled, but at least they’re keeping me alive and alert and pragmatic. 

Hope promises to generate and sustain life (and then does). Despair promises to generate and deliver depression and death (and then does). I’d rather choose HOPE (an emotional reaction that promises life but can’t guarantee that all of its promises will be fulfilled) than choose despair (an emotional reaction that guarantees that its promises of failure and death will surely be kept).’ 

Oh my people, all of that is oh so true and wise! Hope might not be able to guarantee everything it says, but at least it gives you a fighting chance. Despair and hopelessness on the other hand, does guarantee and provide death and failure. So as the Good Book says, ‘I call heaven and earth to record this day (stand as witnesses) against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may life.’  

Precious people of God, that’s wisdom from heaven itself, straight from the mouth of our great God and Creator! And He offers that wise advice because He knows what’s best for us. So please, I implore us to take that divine advice and choose life and not death in these scary times; a life that is only provided through hope, faith, trust and true surrender to Almighty God! And to help us do that, here’s the second passage from Gramps Schuller’s Hour of Power Devotional: ‘A Prayer for Hope.’ 

So please pray with me: ‘I have a strong, serene feeling that God is planning something good for me today. I cannot explain it, but I have a deep feeling that wonderful things are in store for me. I am expecting God to surprise me with His tender mercy. He will turn my hurts into halos. He is guiding my life in such a way that whatever happens to me will prove to be a beautiful blessing. Thank You Lord. Amen!’  

And I do hope that as we prayed that prayer a new and higher layer and level of hope, faith and trust rose up in us. Yes friends, we do need abundant and divine hope in these rough times. And the only way to get it is to believe that God is truly for us and will do all that He’s promised, and will work everything out for our good eventually. 

That’s why Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say: ‘Something good is going to happen to me today. And something good is going to happen through me today!’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! Remember, there is awesome power in the Word of God my people, for with it He created the world and all therein. So let’s use it to our advantage nuh. That’s why He gave it to us…to use – day and night! 

And who says good things aren’t happening to us today, right now eh? Lots of wonderful things are happening; we’re being showered with our Thursday Blessings! So let’s declare (yeahh!) them in strong voice and sincere hearts nuh, as we lift up our great and wonderful God, who’s provided us with such awesome blessings. 

‘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!’ 

Wowee, Wowee! How can we not LOVE and worship and reverence such an amazing and faithful God eh! But one word of reminder; those blessings are not to be selfishly hoarded, but to be generously shared with the less fortunate, just as the Lord generously shared them with us! Much LOVE!

…addiction to HOPE…is what we need right now…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 April 2020 Psalm 130:5.

Psalm 130:5.    ​I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
 
Moving right along…It’s April 1, 2020 – April Fools Day, or as we know it down South- All Fools Day! A day for jokes and hijinks. But not today. No! Please, not this day in the year of 2020! This is a time for very serious behaviour, although we do need some levity in our spirits and souls if we don’t want to go crazy. However, we already have so much false info and misdirection and outright lies in our society, mostly funneled through social media, we definitely don’t want to introduce anymore today, when half the world is locked down and in a state of panic because of the Coronavirus. 

And on a point of interest, in Canada it seems that people are still drinking Corona beer, whilst it’s unavailable in some other places. That just shows how ignorant and/or superstitious we humans are. Just because the brand of beer happens to have the same name as a deadly virus doesn’t mean that it’s undrinkable or in any way connected to it. But that’s the nature of the human animal. (smile) And as always friends, we here at Scrip-Bits believe in acting as catalysts, to help us stay strong in the Word of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to give us hope, help us stay imprisoned by it, because without hope, we might as well be dead; in fact without hope, spiritually, we are indeed dead. 

So today, let’s latch on tightly to the hope infusing words of Psalm 130 – My soul waiteth for the Lord. Yes my brethren, the Lord and His awesome and everlasting Word, which never changes or dies, is indeed the fountainhead of hope! And right now in these scary and frightening times, we need divine hope and help more than ever. So let’s pray with the psalmist nuh: ‘Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark (take note of) iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?’ (Ps. 130:1-3) 

Now that’s a very good question my people. If the Lord should take note of all our iniquities and punish us for them, who shall stand afterwards eh? None of us! ‘For all have sinned and come (fallen) short of the glory of God.’ (Rom. 3:23) Oh yes, we’ve fallen far short of God’s righteousness, as the scholars explain: ‘3:23. For all have sinned: The human need and the divine provision are alike applied universally. Come short of the glory of God: man can exceed his own standards, but never, left to himself, can he attain to God’s standard of righteousness.’ 

And nobody knows this better than our Creator, who made us with all our faults and frailties, and that’s why in His eternal wisdom and divine mercy and LOVING-kindness, He’s made ample provision for our iniquities. As the psalmist continues: ‘But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared (held in reverential awe).’ (Ps. 130:4) Oh friends, how mighty and wonderful is the word ‘forgiveness’ and all that it implies! For without it, we would have no hope at all. That’s the divine option that gives us hope! All the other things like LOVE, mercy, and grace are indeed important, but without forgiveness we’d still be in the same khaki pants; lost and doomed to damnation and hell-fire! 

And how do we access these essential things called  hope and forgiveness. It begins, like the psalmist says: ‘I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.’ Now that’s the first movement in the divine symphony; patience (perseverance) and trust in His Word. But how do we get patience and trust in God’s word eh? By knowing it; hearing it, reading and studying it. Remember the immortal words of God to Joshua when He appointed him leader of the Israelites after the death of Moses. 

‘This book of the law shall not depart out of (be constantly in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) The Lord couldn’t have been any plainer or more explicit than that my people. It’s by reading and studying His Word and doing what’s written in there that we can achieve prosperous and successful lives! So in these uncertain and disastrous times, it’s plain to see that we have to get into God’s Word more than ever, and do what it says we ought to. 

As the psalmist continues: ‘My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.’ (Ps. 130:6) Yes friends, he is hungry for the Lord! And that’s how we have to be also, especially in these calamitous times, for the Lord God Almighty, the One who created us, is the ONLY One who can truly save us! Thus the psalmist concludes: ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy (LOVING-kindness), and with him is plenteous (abundant) redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.’ (Ps. 130:7-8) 

Oh my fellow believers, it is imperative that we turn to the Lord God Jehovah and cry out to Him for deliverance if we truly want to get rid of this Covid-19 scourge that’s currently plaguing the earth. Remember, as the scholars said above, in his own strength, man can never achieve the righteousness of God, and that also extends to his wisdom and ingenuity. Therefore, since we can’t find the answer to our problem, we need to go to a Higher Power; the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! That’s where we will find ALL the answers! 

And now, for those of us who truly believe that and sincerely try to adhere God’s Word, let’s go home joyfully declaring (yeahhh!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our enviable position in Christ Jesus. In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘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!’ 

And yes, my faithful brethren, regardless of what’s happening in our world today, we who sincerely believe and try to do God’s Will, will indeed have a glorious future with Jesus; one, more glorious than we can ever ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…prayer and supplication…perseverance and thanksgiving…our most urgent needs at this time…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 March 2020 John 14:27.

John 14:27.    Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
 

And another day has bitten the dust…But our world is still alive, though somewhat discombobulated; scarred and scared by the ole Coronavirus, since not enough good, but still too much bad and ugly is happening. And is it ever a good thing that we believers know the Truth, and that the Truth will set us free! Glory to God! A few places are holding their own, but many, like the U. S. are now exploding because of too late precautions. And I understand that mih people in J.A will be under lock and key from tomorrow… 

Hn! Ah talking about a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. And believe me, I know what that is like, having experienced it way back in 1970 with the Black Power Riots in T&T. The voluntary stay at home now is bad enough, but when you can’t be seen in the streets at all during certain hours, that’s a horse of a different colour, especially if the military and the police are out looking for curfew breakers. But not to worry mih bredrin, our good God has it all under control. We just have to obey our leaders, stay home and practice safe routines, and come to Him in sincere prayer with heartfelt repentance for our myriad number of ghastly sins. 

And as He has promised, eventually, everything will be worked out for our benefit. Remember though, that it will all happen in His time, not ours, and that’s the cut-tail part of it all. We hate to wait, and the Lord doesn’t hurry! And if yuh doh believe me, then just try it and see nuh! (smile) Oh my people, this virus business is indeed a serious matter, but too many of us are letting it get us too afraid, depressed and daily losing hope. But now is the time when we believers ought to be on the ascendance with our strong and wonderful faith! 

It’s not the time for us to wilt like faded and dying roses, as so many of us are doing, because the world needs that awesome faith we have more than ever now! Now is the time for us to stand up and really show our true colours; be the amazing salt and light of the world that Jesus desires of us! And yuh know what? If, we believers, with all of our supposed faith in, and awesome promises of God, become fearful and lose hope, what will be the response of the unbeliever be eh, of the rest of the world, who don’t have what we have? Utter chaos and confusion! 

That’s why, as a group, Christians need to stand strong and steadfast, take the matter seriously, but don’t panic and give assurances to the unbelievers. It’s at times like these when we can do our best evangelical work, bringing others to Christ, by the staunch and steadfast examples we set. Jesus knew that we’d face trials and tribulations, thus His encouraging and reassuring words. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In this world ye shall have tribulations: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) 

And a lot of us quick to quote those words, but when the time comes to put them into actual action, like now, too many of us falter and fail. If we falter now friends, it means that we don’t have sufficient faith and trust in our God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that’s supposed to dwell in us and lead and guide us in godly righteousness. We obviously don’t hold Jesus’ many assurances of ‘FEAR NOT!’ in high regard. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but of doing stuff while afraid, with the power of the Holy Spirit assisting us. 

And what about these words of Jesus eh? ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) It doesn’t seem as though we are taking those words seriously either. And what if some of us die? We all have to go sometime. As the Good Book says: ‘And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.’ (Heb. 9:27) Now don’t get me wrong, very few of us are ready to, or want to die right now, including me, but the truth is that  none of us have the power or authority to prolong our lives, so when the Grim Reaper comes a calling, we just have to go, whether we want to or not. 

The one proviso necessary though before that time comes, is that we go with Christ as our Lord and Saviour tucked away safely and deeply in our hearts. So once you truly have Jesus as the Light of your life, there’s no need to fear death, for what we call death, the physical aspect, is merely a leaving of our physical body behind, with a glorious continuation of life on the other side, in the spiritual plane, with Jesus. Oh friends, just like Christ died once, on our behalf, we can only die once, but with Him in our hearts, we are assured of a resurrection just like Him. 

And thus let’s hold on tight to this somewhat obscure and unknown verse of scripture: ‘So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look (eagerly wait) for him shall he reappear the second time without (apart from) sin unto salvation.’ (Heb. 9:28) So my faithful brethren, instead of dwelling on the worst case scenario in these trying times, let’s instead focus on the big picture nuh; the Second Coming of Christ with the beautiful promise of salvation in His wings! That’s the wise way to handle this current situation, and it will help us to stand strong and steadfast as prisoners of divine hope. 

Now let’s go home showing our mettle nuh, by declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. In strong, fearless voices, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

And now, the natural consequence of that declaration (steups!) is to action it in whatever safe way we can. Much LOVE!

…sincere HOPE in Christ…is the ONLY antidote for fear… 

P.S. Yeh, it’s somewhat late, due as usual to my penchant for late nights, (smile) but I like it…and I hope you do too. Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 March 2020 Proverbs 13:12.

Proverbs 13:12.    ​Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
 
Arise people, it’s Monday, the start of another week of work, even for those of us who are working from home. Let’s not abuse the privilege and try to be just as diligent and excellent in our work habits as when we had to physically venture out into the evil world. Nothing much has changed; confusion, uncertainty and panic still abound, but more importantly, our great and wonderful God is still on His heavenly throne overseeing things! And in that everlasting fact, we can put our sincere hope, faith and trust, knowing that He will keep His promise and work everything out for our good eventually. But we still have to do our part in the partnership, and at this moment, that’s prayer. 

So right now, in this turbulent time, let’s come before the Lord and ask for His help, as we pray our Covid-19 Monday Morning Battle Hymn, in strong voice, with sincere hearts. ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. 

And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Now we just have to do like Bruh David says: ‘Wait (in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait (in faith), I say, on the Lord.’ (Ps. 27:14) And when we have faithfully waited on the Lord, you know what will eventually happen? We will sing the song of praise of the redeemed, like Isaiah writes: ‘And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’ (Is. 25:9) 

Oh friends, there is no better feeling than having waited faithfully, eagerly and expectantly for God’s promise, to be fulfilled in His time, and then having it come to pass. And all God’s children declared a loud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord! Bless His holy name; now and forever!’ And do we ever need to do that as often as possible, since He is indeed very worthy to be praised! Now hear these words of further encouragement from Cousin Sol: ‘Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth friends! For as the scholars explain: ‘13:12. Hope deferred depresses, but its fulfillment revitalizes.’ That’s an indisputable fact! When our dreams and hopes don’t come true, we tend to fall into bouts  of depression. But when they come to pass…oh boy…the joy that they bring is overwhelming. That’s why friends, we need to do like Zechariah advises: ‘Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render (restore) double unto thee.’ (Zech. 9:12) And you know who is the stronghold He speaks of? Zion’s future King; Jesus Christ! 

Oh my people, our ONLY true help in this time of crisis is the Creator and Controller of our Universe, the Lord God Almighty, in conjunction with His Son, Jesus Christ, the name above all names, who redeemed us by His sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary, and His Holy Spirit, who works His miracles in our souls and spirits! So please, this Monday morning, in this time of pandemic, let’s not lose hope in our great God and His faithful promises. Instead, let’s ramp up our hope, and do like Bruh Paul wrote to the church at Rome: 

‘Let LOVE be without dissimulation (hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil; cleave (cling) to that which is good. Be ye kindly affectioned (affectionate) one to another with brotherly LOVE; in honour preferring (giving preference to) one another; Not slothful in business (lagging in diligence); fervent (boiling over) in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient (persevering) in tribulation; continuing instant (steadfastly) in prayer; Distributing to the necessity (needs) of saints; given to hospitality. Bless (speak well of) them which persecute you: bless and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.’ (Rom. 12:9-15) 

And don’t tell me we can’t do those things friends, because they are all a part of basic Christianity, a part of the foundation, the example Jesus laid down for His church to follow! And believe me, we, the church of Christ, need to do them more than ever in these cruel and trying times, if we desire and expect to have any hope of survival. Much LOVE!

…and now abideth faith, hope, LOVE…but the greatest of these three is…LOVE… (1 Cor. 13:13)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 March 2020 Hebrews 11:1.

Hebrews 11:1.    ​FAITH: the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.
 
Now it’s Tuesday, a wet, dark day in my area. Hn! What a sudden change from the nice sunny, bright and warmish weather of the weekend! And by the way, I do hope that most of us have gotten over whatever negative effect(s) the change back from Standard to Daylight Saving Time caused on the weekend. Steups! I still don’t understand or see the reason for these time changes nuh. And besides, almost all the population are against it, for it does cause sleep and other related problems. Furthermore, a whole lot of places have either cut it out, or are now making preparations to do so. However, in our Province of Ontario there doesn’t seem to be any serious move to get rid of it, although many people complain about it. 

Personally, I don’t know if it causes me any backlash nuh, because sleep and I don’t seem to be on the same wavelength anyway. (smile) A good example of that is last evening, after having an after dinner nap, I didn’t go back to bed until three something, but by four fifteen my eyes were wide open. I got up and went to the bathroom, then by six something my eyes were wide open again, and try as I wanted, I couldn’t get back to sleep again, partly due to the aches and pains and not being able to find a comfortable contortion for my ole bod.

 Hn! Yuh think it easy? Getting on in age brings a whole lotta problems we not prepared for. (smile) Granted, some of my problems might be attributable to my hating to take  the pain pills…Steups! I’m already taking so many blooming pills for my other problems! Don’t want to turn into a pill popper anymore than I already am. (smile) So I only take the pain stuff when things get real uncomfortable. But yuh know what? With the awesome help of our magnificent and magnanimous God, we can handle anything that comes against us, for as the Good Book faithfully proclaims: ‘We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Phil. 4:13) 

And again: ‘Our God shall supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) And if neither of those scriptures lifted your spirits, then try this one: ‘And Jesus, looking upon them saith, with men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.’ (Mark 10:27) Yes my fellow believers, that is the gospel truth in capital spades! And if you don’t believe that, then you’re wasting your time calling yourself a true believer because you are sadly lacking in faith. 

And remember what the Good Book firmly stipulates: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is (He truly exists), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ (Heb.11:6) Now that is what God is all about: ‘FAITH: the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ Yes my people, sincerely coming to God is all a matter of trust and surrender and large hope, that resounds as faith. You can’t see it, but you can surely feel it. 

And Bruh Paul puts it plainly and clearly to the church at Rome, when he wrote: ‘ For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for it? But if we hope for what we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) (eagerly) wait for it.’ (Rom. 8:24-25) Ah friends, what magnificent and reassuring scriptures! That’s what our faith is built on; hope that leads to perseverance and eager expectancy! But we must first believe, before we see it. That’s how it operates in God’s economy. We don’t adhere to the seeing is believing motto that the world holds on to so tightly and foolishly. 

And it’s not like we don’t have a whole host of examples of strong faith: The Good Book tells us about Noah, who was warned by God of the things to come, and having not seen any evidence of it, still believed, ‘moved with fear (reverence), prepared and ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.’ (Hebr.11:7) And yuh see what happened? Noah’s family was the only one saved when the Lord destroyed the sinful world by flood. 

Likewise Abraham, the father of our modern faith. The Lord called Him to leave his family when he was some seventy years old and go out to a land that he knew nothing about. But the Lord promised Him lots of good stuff and Abraham believed God, trusted Him impeccably, and went out, not knowing whither he went. And look at how the Lord prospered Abraham for his faith nuh. Look at Sarah his wife, who laughed when the Lord promised them a child from their own loins. Yes, it did take twenty five years, but it happened, and note when, when Abraham was a hundred and Sarah was ninety. 

Do you still think that ALL things are NOT possible with God? Look at Moses, look at Jacob, at Bruh Joseph – yes we do have a third Bruh, although we don’t talk about him as much as the other two, David and Paul. (smile) And that ofttimes hurts me, because his story is such a fascinating one, one of awesome faith and perseverance, where despite the wonderful dream promised him, time and time again, he is innocently thrown into serious adversity. But he always keeps his cool under pressure. And you’d note that wherever he went, he always found favour with his bosses, until the Lord was ready to lift him up to the second highest post in the then known world; second only to the great Pharaoh himself! 

No, it’s not easy having true faith, but as we said earlier on, through Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Father; our triune Godhead, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! But we do need to believe it first, and then live by it. And I’m chuckling here, because this wasn’t the sermon I intended to preach this morning…in fact I didn’t have any sermon in mind, (smile) but this is where I was led, and I do hope that it makes some impact on us all today, since our faith needs serious bolstering if we are to make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s camp. 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

Mama Mia! What a wonderful Lord and Saviour we serve! Let’s go out now and share that LOVE and friendship we have with Him, so that others can come to know Him too! Much LOVE!

…and now abideth…faith, hope and LOVE…but the greatest of these is…LOVE… (1 Cor.13:13)

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