Today​’s Scrip-Bit 31 March 2019 Isaiah 53:7.

Isaiah 53:7.   ‘He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.’  
 

Aye friends, just a gentle reminder that this is vacation time so the Bit will not always be early or even at the same time every day. (smile) It all depends on where I have to go or what needs to be done. So please don’t feel badly, or take umbrage, if it shows up at all weird sorts of times. 

Anyhow, we done late already this Sunday morning, or rather afternoon; had to go to church and then fellowship afterwards, then come home and eat some of the breakfast stuff I bought at church, bake and saltfish, then rest. Yuh know the rest is essential for the ole fella these days. (smile) 

So let’s go directly to our song of praise and worship. It’s one of my favourite hymns from my boyhood days, and as I was resting there a while ago contemplating what song we’d sing today, the Lord reminded me of that one and requested it. And it’s obvious I could not refuse His request. (smile) 

It’s titled ‘There is a green hill far away.’ It was written many moons ago by Cecil Frances Alexander (nee Humphreys) (1818-1895), the Anglo-Irish hymnodist and poet. And just for your info, she apparently also wrote that other popular hymn ‘All things bright and beautiful,’ and the Christmas Carol, ‘Once in Royal David’s City.’ 

So let’s now sing those fateful and true words of ‘There is a green Hill far away,’ like if we really mean them nuh, because in another few weeks, on Good Friday, we ‘re going to be truly celebrating the sad and sorrowful but oh so necessary and important demise of Christ on that cross in a far away land! 

All together in strong, sweet, harmonious voices: ‘There is a green hill far away, Without a city wall, Where the dear Lord was crucified, Who died to save us all. We may not know, we cannot tell, What pains he had to bear, But we believe it was for us He hung and suffered there. He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good, That we might go at last to Him, saved by His precious blood. 

There was no other good enough To pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate Of heav’n and let us in. Oh, dearly, dearly has he LOVED! And we must LOVE him too, And trust in his redeeming blood, And try his works to do.’ 

Yes my faithful brethren, we cannot doubt those truth bearing words of Cecil Frances Alexander, because without the redeeming deeds of Jesus we’d still be living in darkness and headed for Hades at the end of this miserable earthly life. But all thanks and praise be to God the Father, who sent Him, and to Jesus, God the Son, who obediently went to the cross to die for our abominable sins which had kept us very removed from the holy and righteous Jehovah God! 

Ah mih people, I don’t know about these words of Frances nuh: ‘We may not know, we cannot tell, What pains he had to bear,’ because the Good book plainly states them; lashes with a cruel whip, taunting and jeering and spitting, a crown of thorns pressed down upon his head, then made to carry His cross through Jerusalem like a common thief, then to make matters even worse, nailed to that cross between two common criminals after being speared in the side and His clothes auction off by casting lots! 

So don’t tell me we don’t know what pain He had to bear, because it was immense and inhumane! But it definitely was for us that He underwent that horrific ‘sufferation!’ No doubt about it! As Isaiah had foretold eons before that terrible day at Golgotha: ‘He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.’  

Yes friends, Jesus did it all for us on the basis of LOVE which personifies the Father, and also to bring to reality, the magnificent and ever-faithful promise of the Father, as Isaiah also prophesied when talking about the Lord’s servant. ‘Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect (my chosen one), in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgement (justice) to the Gentiles. 

He shall not cry (cry out), nor lift up (raise his voice), nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking (dimly burning) flax shall he not quench (extinguish): he shall bring forth judgement (justice) unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgement (justice) in the earth: and the isles (coastlands) shall wait for his law.’ (Is.42:1-4) 

And so said so done, my people! In fact it’s not quite done as yet, because Jesus has to return to clean up the mess that’s the earth today. As the scholars explain: ‘The ministry of the Servant of the Lord will be to bring forth judgement or justice to the Gentiles and in the earth. His kingdom knows no barriers of nationality or race. Of all the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah saw this fact most clearly. While Jesus’ early ministry was to the house of Israel, His ultimate commission extended to the Gentiles as well.’ 

And just for our info, the New Testament quotes this prophecy as being fulfilled in Jesus in Matt.12:18-21. Please check it out. (smile) So what’s the long and short of the story my people? Christ died that our sins might be forgiven, He paid the price that ONLY He could pay with His precious, sinless blood, so that we could be reconciled to the Father and thus have the wonderful option of enjoying eternal life in the company of the Triune God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! 

Ah friends, it was not an easy row that the Father gave Jesus to hoe, but He did it obediently because He LOVED both the Father and us. Consequently, our response to all of that should be exactly what we sung in the hymn above: ‘Oh, dearly, dearly has he LOVED! And we must LOVE him too, And trust in his redeeming blood, And try his works to do.’ Nuff said! Much LOVE!

…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…otherwise the consequences will be…extremely disastrous…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 March 2017 Psalm 133:1.

Psalm 133:1.   Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Well friends, it’s that most wonderful day of Sunday again, where we gather in the Lord’s house to sing and praise and worship and glorify His holy name, to listen to His word, and receive His strength, confidence and enthusiasm to face the upcoming week! 

And all God’s people gave out a delirious shout of ‘Praise the Lord for His goodness to the children of men!’ And that we most certainly ought to do at every opportunity we get my brethren. But right now, let’s begin with some sacrifice of our lips, singing the old hymn, ‘There is a Green Hill far away.’ 

As a young boy growing up in Tobago it was always one of my favourites. So let’s raise our voices on high and give the Lamb of God the praise He so assuredly deserves. ‘There is a green Hill far away, Without a city wall, Where the dear Lord was crucified, Who died to save us all. We may not know, we cannot tell, What pains he had to bear, But we believe it was for us He hung and suffered there. 

There was no other good enough To pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate Of heav’n and let us in. Oh, dearly, dearly has he LOVED! And we must LOVE him too, And trust in his redeeming blood, And try his works to do.’ 

Oh friends, there is so much truth in those few simple words. No one else was good enough to pay the price necessary to wash away our sins, but Jesus. And He did it so selflessly and sacrificially without complaining, because He LOVED us so much and could not stand seeing our sinful souls going to waste in Hell with Lucifer. 

And you know, all He asks in return is that we LOVE Him and each other the way He first LOVED us. Now that should not be too hard to do, but in this evil and ungodly world, for whatever reason, it is very difficult for many of us to reciprocate that awesome LOVE of God. But it’s something we have to do, if we desire to see His wonderful face come the time we leave this earth. 

Now here is some interesting and mysterious doings of our great and wonderful God. Yesterday afternoon, just before I left home for my church for an occasion we called ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes,’ I heard about a family that had been reunited and it warmed the cockles of my heart. 

This family had been living with resentment and anger towards each other for a while, and as I was driving to church and thinking about the goodness of God, our Bit just flashed in to my mind as being rather appropriate. ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ 

Then at the church, our Pastor, Father Jeff also made reference to it, because the occasion was a show of solidarity with the Muslim community, regarding the attack on the mosque in Quebec a few weeks ago. All the politicians were there, politicking as usual (smile) as well as people from other faiths and churches. 

Our Bit was certainly appropriate in both situations. First for the individual family that had gotten back together, as well as for the different families of faith who all live in the same community, and who all desire to live in LOVE and peace. 

But unfortunately these days, in both families and communities, that desire is being sabotaged by a few diehards, a few fools, who are following a different agenda; one of anger, hate, disunity and dissatisfaction. Consequently more families are falling apart, and more communities are now living in fear of these ignoramuses nicely called terrorists, when they are just out and out murderers. 

But that seems to be the fare of the day. However we don’t have to let it keep us cowed my people. We have the great God Jehovah as our leader, and with Him in control of our destiny, there’s no need to fear what man can do to us. We’ve got to stand up strong and fight back against these powers of evil that want to destroy our peaceful and LOVING way of life. 

And we can only do that if and when we become unified, both as families and communities and fight the enemy together, not allow them to divide and thus conquer us. Strife is the number one weapon of the enemy, but we must conquer it with LOVE! 

Now here’s a good example of how to dissipate strife. It comes from way back in the Old Testament, when Abraham and Lot’s herdmen got into strife about grazing grounds for their cattle. ‘And Abraham said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.’ (Gen.13:8-9) 

Now friends, there isn’t always such an easy way to fix strife, especially in these rather tumultuous times, but if all parties are willing and able, then they can find a way to live amicably together. 

And we’ll close with these poignant words from Hebrews. ‘Let brotherly LOVE continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ (Heb.13:1-2) 

So friends, let us never forget to show hospitality to all and sundry, for it will benefit them down here on earth, put away rewards for us in heaven, and above all,  glorify our great God. Much LOVE!

…only LOVE…can truly conquer strife…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 July 2016 Luke 8:50

Luke 8:50.   But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

Ah friends, once more we have been blessed with another wonderful day on God’s marvellous creation called planet earth! And believe me, there’s method to God’s madness for allowing us to see another day. It means we still have things to do in the great plan that He’s mapped out for us since the beginning of time. 

So let’s be joyful and declare as the psalmist did: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps.118:24)  Yes my fellow believers, under the circumstances, it’s the only attitude that makes sense. 

And furthermore, since the psalmist wrote those words, we have even more reason to celebrate because our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ died to cleanse our sinful souls, reconcile us to the Father and offer us the magnificent gifts of salvation and eternal life by simply believing in Him and being obedient to His Word! Wow! What a Saviour!  

And this summer Sunday morning I’d like us to sing an old hymn, a favourite of mine in my youth, which tells of Jesus’ great sacrifice on our behalf. It’s called, ‘There is a green hill far away.’ 

Please sing loudly and lustily with me. ‘There is a green hill far away, Without a city wall, Where the dear Lord was crucified, Who died to save us all. We may not know, we cannot tell, What pains he had to bear, But we believe it was for us He hung and suffered there. 

There was no other good enough To pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate Of heav’n and let us in. Oh, dearly, dearly has he LOVED! And we must LOVE him too, And trust in his redeeming blood, And try his works to do.’ 

Oh precious people, it is so good to offer up praise and thanks to our God after what He’s done for us. Just look at it nuh; Jesus was the ONLY one who could unlock heaven’s’ gate so that we might enter because He was sinless! And he did it so selflessly, enduring the horrendous pain without any complaints! 

Meanwhile, we soft, pampered people today, cry and complain so much if we have even a li’l hang nail. (smile) I don’t think many, if any of us, could have borne even one tenth of Jesus’ suffering without going crazy from the abuse and the pain. 

However, thankfully, we’re not called on to do that, but we are called on to bear some trials and tribulations in this earthly life, which we should try to do without too much caterwauling and complaining.  And the formula for doing that is given at the end of the hymn above. ‘LOVE Jesus, trust in His redeeming blood and diligently try to do His work.’ 

It’s all right there in a nutshell friends, just waiting for us to put it into action. And that’s exactly where we as supposed followers of Christ fall down. We talk a good talk, but can’t match it with our walk. And that’s not right, because the only way others will want to come to Jesus is by seeing His grace and truth, mercy, forgiveness and LOVE in action in our lives. 

And it’s high time we start doing better, if we want to carry the day for Jesus. But we need to first believe that it’s possible and then that we have the necessary parts to do it.  

Listen to Jesus’ admonition to Jairus the synagogue ruler when he heard that his daughter had died. ‘But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.’ 

Yes friends, the starting point for everything is BELIEF! If you don’t believe, generally speaking, it won’t happen. Now let’s look at a couple of other instances where Jesus invoked belief. 

Let’s begin with His early morning journey from Bethany to Jerusalem. He was hungry and approached a fig tree expecting to find figs because it was fig season. However the tree was barren of all fruit. Jesus then declared to the fig tree: ‘Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.’ (Matt.21:19) 

Obviously the disciples were amazed at the fig tree’s sudden demise. ‘Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt.21:21-22) 

And friends, please note that the important word in that last sentence is ‘BELIEVING!’ If you don’t believe, all your prayers are useless. 

Now let’s turn to our final example, that time when Jesus heard that His friend Lazarus was deathly ill, but He stayed where He was for another two days before returning to Bethany. By then Lazarus had died and his sister Martha met Jesus on the way and criticized Him. 

‘Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead (may die), yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.’ (John 11:21-27) 

Ah friends, Martha surely believed, but she did not understand Jesus’ intention to raise her brother in the current time. Thus when they took Him to Lazarus’ tomb and He ordered them to roll away the stone from the mouth, ‘Martha saith unto him, Lord by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? (John 11:39-40) 

And we all know that after Jesus spoke to His Father, for the people’s sake, He ordered Lazarus to come out and he came out, alive and well and many of those who saw Jesus’ work, believed. 

I ask us now friends, do we believe that strongly so that we can see the glory of God? For all of our sakes, I sincerely hope so. Much LOVE!

…without belief…not much is possible…