Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 April 2021 John 3:16.

John 3:16.     ​For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

So friends, we have at last come to that sorrowful day of mourning in the lives of Christ’s followers! A day that we contrarily call Good Friday. But the truth is, that day, two thousand years ago, was one in which a most horrific crime was committed, the inhumane abuse and eventual crucifixion of Jesus Christ on an old, rugged cross on the hill of Calvary on the outskirts of Jerusalem. And the unbelievable thing is that this took place, less than a week after they had welcomed Him in such a wonderful manner on Palm Sunday, hailing Him as their Saviour, their Immanuel, with Hosannas to the Son of David! 

And it’s not so much the crucifixion itself that was most hurtful, but the shameful manner in which the dastardly act was perpetrated. As the song, ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ puts it, that Cross was and still is ‘the emblem of suffering and shame.’ But the most important point of that day is the purpose behind Christ’s crucifixion, why He allowed Himself to be so abused and demeaned. Hear His fateful words on the subject as He talks about there being one fold and one shepherd in His kingdom. 

‘Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it up again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18) Yes friends, as Jesus said, they didn’t take His life from Him, He gave it to them, willingly, so that a world of lost sinners could be saved, so that our horrible sins could be forgiven by a just and righteous God the Father, otherwise we would be heading directly to eternal damnation! 

But Christ’s sacrifice on that old, rugged cross gave us another option, a most wonderful one, that of reconciliation with our Creator! And all God’s children declared a loud and grateful: ‘All praise to Jesus and His atoning death on our behalf!’ And what’s so great about Jesus’ sacrifice, is that the Father didn’t force Him to do it, but He did it willingly, because of His LOVE for the Father, and knowing the Father’s great LOVE for us! And that’s why we call it Good Friday, because the good of salvation, of atonement, of sin debt relief in full was embedded in, and born of that fateful act! 

Oh, glory be mih people! What a mighty and unselfish act! And that’s why we cherish that old, rugged cross, though it’s the ‘emblem of suffering and shame,’ the manifestation of an act that could only be described as ‘sufferation!’ And yuh know what friends? We ‘LOVE that old cross with the dearest and best, for a world of lost sinners were saved.’ And we’ll keep cherishing that old, rugged cross ‘till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old, rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.’ 

Oh my fellow saints, what a wonderful Saviour Christ is! Who else would have spilled His divine blood on a rugged, man-made cross for a bunch of ungrateful sinners eh? NOBODY! In fact, nobody else possessed the ability to pay for the sins of a lost and fallen world, just the sinless Son of God. And God LOVED us so much, despite the bunch of disobedient ingrates we had become, that He broke His own heart and sent His Son to earth to sacrifice His life on our behalf, so that we could have an opportunity to be reconciled to Him. Now if that isn’t real, true LOVE,I don’t what is nuh. 

As Jesus so graciously puts it. ‘For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) Yes precious people, all we need to do is believe in Christ, and we become saved, sanctified, justified, forgiven, indwelt by His Holy Spirit, with our name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that means eternal life with Christ! Now what could ever be better than that eh? Absolutely NOTHING! 

So those of us who simply refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour are just fooling ourselves, laying down a most unwelcome path to eternal damnation with that ole fool Satan, when we could have a most excellent journey through eternity with Christ. But as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. And that’s the same way with us hard-headed, stubborn sinners, who believe in the now pleasures of sin, and don’t think of the serious then consequences of our ungodly behaviour. 

Oh yes, there are always consequences to sin, because our righteous and just God can’t stand sin, can’t stand disobedience, and the pleasures of sin only last for a fleeting moment, while the consequences can last a lifetime, even an eternity. So my people, there’s no better day to embrace Christ and all that He stands for, than on this Good Friday, when He selflessly gave His life, His all for us, so that we could be filled with new and eternal life. 

And do we ever need His saving grace in this time of pandemic and strife that’s engulfing our entire world. So please, let’s go to Him in prayer nuh, the medium that He’s set out to communicate with us. So as one strong, sincere, but humble voice, let’s offer up our Friday Chant. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. Yuh know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the racial strife causing. We not accustomed to that kind of life Lord, and it really telling on us. And we know we can’t handle it on our own, that we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. 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 help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, so that we can avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. It’s also a good opportunity to 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 and the unrest in the streets 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!’ 

Now let’s go out and show the Lord that we are indeed faithful believers nuh, by handling the situation in a godly manner! Much LOVE!

…weeping may endure for a night…but joy comes in the morning…Easter Sunday soon come…

P.S. I didn’t forget the ordinary workingman’s spiel, but he was so angry today because the province wide lockdown that starts tomorrow, has cancelled his long awaited return to work, and he bluntly refused to talk to us. Them’s the breaks! (smile) Much LOVE!

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8              

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 October 2020 John 10:17.

John 10:17.     ​Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

Break open Saturday…wide and free…sunny and bright, but somewhat chilly, as most of the days henceforth will be! (smile) But that’s just how life is, how it was made to unfurl in the northern climes, and we just have to make the best of it with the tools we’ve been given. And believe me, we can do so successfully, if we just settle down and concentrate on the Lord for He’s already given us all the tools we need to be successful. He wouldn’t create us and then leave us in the lurch. That’s definitely not His style. 

Remember these immortal words of Jesus: ‘The thief cometh not but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have live, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) Wow mih bredrin! What an amazing promise! But as always, we have to go out and receive it, make it come true, through our sincere, godly efforts. Sermon done! (smile) 

Now let’s see what words of wisdom our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘Success is a process that continues, not a status that you reach. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.’ And that is ever so true! Success doesn’t just stop when you reach the top of the hill; it’s a continuous learning curve. What happens if you stop when you’re on top eh? You lose all motivation, you get lazy and apathetic, then you slowly start sliding back down to the bottom. To stay on top, you have to be continuously learning and improving in some area(s). 

As the quote says, once we’re alive, there are always things for us to learn…if we want to stay truly alive. (smile) And that’s why this next one is such good advice. ‘Don’t settle for mediocrity; never let good enough be good enough.’ Oh friends, is that ever gospel truth, especially if you’re a believer in Christ, because Christ does not do mediocrity! In his realm it’s either excellence or nothing at all! But so many of us, beset by the troubles and trials of this world settle for just good enough. That’s wrong my people. The Lord made us to excel, not to come in second, to make it just by the skin of our teeth. That’s the world’s way, not the Christian’s! 

As believers we should always be fighting to reach higher ground as we do Jesus’ work. And that nicely segues us into the next quote. ‘No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.’ That’s for certain sure precious people of God! There is always room for improvement. And when we believe that, then learning and growing gets exciting, especially if we’re living for Christ. 

Now, living for Christ is always somewhat difficult, but we know that living for Him is also always interesting and adventurous. So let’s hold on tightly to Him and all that He has and provides nuh, so that we can live the more abundant and excellent life that He expects from us and died for us to have. And the good thing about Jesus is that He does not expect whopping big miracles and deeds from us, but just that we do our daily, mundane tasks with a good attitude, a sense of pride and fulfillment, even though the everyday tasks are often boring and same old, same old. 

And that’s where this next quote comes in: ‘Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.’ That’s the magic formula my people! A little every day, eventually adds up to a great amount. As mih Jamaican bredrin would say: ‘One one cocoa full basket.’ And that’s the living truth! The problem with our society these days is that we all want to reach to the top, but too quickly. We don’t realize that if we don’t grow to the top, when we get there we won’t stay there. 

Just look at all the one hit wonders, all those who flew to the top on a jet plane. Hn! And what happened eh? They descended with just the same speed…or even quicker. But those who do their time in the trenches and learn what life is really all about, knowing that it takes a while to reach the top, when they get there, they will know what it takes to stay there. 

Yuh see friends, real life is all about learning and growing. It’s just like planting a seed. You have to wait for it to grow; it doesn’t just grow up overnight. But all the while you have to LOVE and nurture it; water and weed around it. That’s how we ought to treat our lives, LOVING and nurturing them as we patiently grow them. 

And this last quote gives us some invaluable advice on the whole subject. ‘A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.’ Yeh friends, real leaders help others to grow! Leadership is not about us, but about those who are following us. That’s why Jesus is such a wonderful leader. He cares about those who follow Him more than he cared about Himself. That’s why He sacrificed Himself on the cross at Calvary for a bunch of no good sinners like us. 

Yuh think He really wanted to die such a horrible death? No way! But the Father asked, and there was no other way, so He went obediently like a lamb to the slaughter. That’s what true leaders do; sacrifice themselves for their people, not ask their people to sacrifice themselves while they sit quietly by and enjoy the fruits of that sacrifice. And I believe that’s the best way to judge a leader; by what he or she is willing to sacrifice for the movement. 

And another thing about leaders, they must be able to follow. Yes friends, you can’t truly lead, unless you first know how to follow. Then you know how following feels, and that then enables you to lead properly. Sadly, that means that many leaders today are not real leaders because most of them don’t know how to follow, and are calling on others to sacrifice for them, but they themselves are not willing to sacrifice for the cause. But our Leader, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ did just that! He knew how to follow too. And that’s why He’s the greatest Leader the world has ever, and will ever see! 

These words of His will prove my contention. ‘Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18) 

That’s true leadership my people! Jesus had the power, but He did not abuse it, as so many of today’s so-called leaders do. And He was willing to sacrifice for the cause. But He also knew how to follow because He was always obedient to the Father. As the Good Book says: ‘He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Eph. 2:8b) Now that’s the example we need to go out and do our best to follow. We won’t ever perfect it, but we’re certainly expected to try. Much LOVE!

…God’s people… learn and grow…bit by bit…as He moves them…from glory to glory… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 April 2020 Hebrews 9:22.

Hebrews 9:22.    ​And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness).
 
Prologue: Yes, it’s long and late, but that’s nothing new. (smile) I thought though that a heads up was necessary, since today’s Bit is somewhat different to what we might all expect on a day like today. But that’s where I was lead. So I hope it does make sense and it resonates strongly and deeply with us all. (smile) Much LOVE!

And then it was Good Friday! But you ask what’s so good about it, when they tortured our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ so terribly, then nailed Him to a cross to suffer and die in the burning noonday sun? Well the simple answer is that we were, and still are, a bunch of disgusting, ungrateful sinners, and if we didn’t get some form of salvation, we’d all go to hell and be eternally separated from the Lord God Jehovah, our wonderful Creator. However, though the Lord is all powerful and can do anything, there is another side to His nature, one that’s just and righteous, and requires justice to be done. 

He couldn’t deny Himself, so though He LOVED us ever so much and wanted to save us from eternal death and damnation, it would not have been right to just forgive us without any payment for our sins. And the Good Book, His eternal Word, says: ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23) It also stipulates without any hesitation or distinction: ‘For the wages of sin is death;’ (Rom. 6:23a) The Good Book also says: ‘And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness).’ 

And right there is the roadblock. Something or somebody had to die to pay for sin. Now earlier on in the Old Testament, the Lord allowed the Israelites to kill animals in temporary atonement for their sins. Moses wrote in Leviticus on the Lord’s behalf: ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.’ (Lev. 17:11) That’s why there was so much killing of animals and sacrificing and sprinkling of blood in the olden days; atonement called for blood. That’s also why the Israelites were not allowed to eat blood. (Lev. 17:10-12) 

But we also know that from the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned, and the Lord threw them out of the Garden of Eden, though He placed a curse on them, He also promised that by Eve’s seed mankind would one day be eventually redeemed. (Gen. 3:14-24) In that bit of scripture (vs. 21) the Lord also made more durable clothing for Adam and Eve by clothing them with ‘coats of skins,’ as opposed to the fig leaves that they had originally used to hide their nakedness. 

And as the scholars explain: ‘This is how Yahweh provides clothing for Adam and Eve after their feeble attempt to cover their nakedness and shame. It is His way of demonstrating that He acknowledges their act of faith in verse 20. The word for “skins” presupposes the death of an animal and therefore the idea of blood sacrifice is clearly implied.’ 

And having said all of that, I guess I now have to quote verse 20 so you might get a better understanding of the topic. (smile) ‘And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; (life or living) because she was the mother of all living.’ The scholars say: ‘Eve comes from the verb ‘to live.’ Here is Adam’s act of faith, looking to the future with hope. This word sounds like the word used in this verse, living. Adam seems not only to believe that God spoke the truth, but also to have faith in the salvation God had promised in verses 15-16.’ Please read them for yourself. (smile) 

And life moved on through the flood and Noah, (Gen. 6-7) then the City and Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9) and finally to Abraham, whom God promised to make a great nation of and from whose seed a Messiah, a Saviour would eventually come. (Gen. 12:1-3) And all through the ensuing years, in fact centuries, the Lord, through the prophets kept promising the Israelites, His Chosen People, Abraham’s main descendants the coming of a Messiah to save them from their sins. The only problem there was that Israel thought the Messiah would be a warrior king, coming to release them finally from all their days of slavery and impotence. 

That’s partially why when Jesus came, in the Lord’s much belated time, saying He was the Promised Messiah, but speaking peace and LOVE, so many doubted Him. That brings us finally to the real reason for Good Friday. I guess the Lord finally got tired of all the blood sacrifices and decided it was time to put on the grand show; so we have Jesus being born supposedly at Christmas time, growing up as the carpenter’s son, then ministering, doing miracles, healing and teaching and showing the people what their great God was like in person. As he said so often, if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. 

But then His rhetoric and deeds were too revolutionary for the rulers of Rome and Israel, so they hatched a plot to get rid of Him. But little did they know that that was His express plan for coming to earth as a man; to die and be a once and for all blood sacrifice for man’s sins. That’s why He specifically said: ‘Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life. That I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18) 

Yes friends, Jesus death on the cross was the next step in God’s plan to provide a real and serious but fairly easy option for us to be reconciled to Him and be redeemed. Remember no real atonement was possible but though the shedding of blood, and it still isn’t, except that Christ with His sacrificial death on the cross paid for ALL our sins once and forever. The father placed them ALL on His shoulder that extremely rough but nonetheless blessed day. That’s why we can afford to call it Good Friday. 

And don’t think that it wasn’t rather rough on the Father to turn away from His wonderful One Son. It was pure hell for Him. And I guess especially so when Jesus cried out on the cross: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46). Yeh friends, that must surely have broken the Father’s heart, because it was the very first and only time that He and His precious Son had been on opposite sides. But He had to do it, if He wanted to save mankind from their deadly sins. 

His ultimate plan of atonement and forgiveness, because of His righteousness and justice, called for a sinless soul, and Jesus was the only other sinless soul in existence, that’s why He was forced to sacrifice Him. And strangely, whenever I think about the Father sacrificing Jesus for us, an old song always comes to mind. It was made famous by BL&D, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires back in the late sixties, ‘Only a fool breaks his own heart.’ I always picture small, but powerful Keith Lynn singing that soulful ballad and consider How Jesus’ death must have broken the Father’s heart. 

And the sad part is that His heart is still breaking because two thousand years later we’re still reluctant to accept His magnanimous offer of salvation and redemption and forgiveness and eternal life through the sacrificial death of His wonderful and selfless Son Jesus Christ on this Good Friday, and His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, a couple days hence. Please friends, let’s remember that without Good Friday, this rough and heart breaking day, there’d be no rejoicing and glorifying on Resurrection Day; Easter Sunday, and wisely make the most of the time we have left on this earth! Much LOVE!

…the wages of sin is death…but the gift of God…is eternal life…through Jesus Christ our Lord…  (Rom. 6:23)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 November 2019 Hebrews 4:16.

Hebrews 4:16.    ​Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Time to refuel once again friends; time to revitalize our spiritual energy with a visit to the Lord’s house this Sunday morning, or evening, where in fellowship with other believers, we give thanks and praise to our heavenly Father, hear His awesome Word, filled with wisdom and encouragement and come away strong and confident, empowered to face our turbulent world for another seven days, diligently doing His holy will! Hn, hn! I like that sentence; though it’s long, it’s chocked full of truth! And as believers in Jesus Christ, that ought to be a major priority in our lives. As Bruh David says in Psalm 25: ‘All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.’ (Ps.25:10) If you are a true believer, you certainly can’t deny that. 

Anyway, let’s get on with the praise and worship, beginning, as always, with a song of heartfelt LOVE being floated up to heaven. And today’s song is an old favourite, ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds,’ written by none other than John Newton (1725-1807); the licentious sailor, slave trader, abolitionist and priest, who contributed numerous songs to our Hymn Book, the most famous being the immortal, ‘Amazing Grace.’ So let’s sing out our souls in all sincerity to Jesus, letting Him know how much we LOVE, adore and appreciate Him. 

As one voice, in perfect harmony: ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, and drives away our fear. It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast; ’tis manna to the hungry soul, and to the weary, rest. Dear name! the rock on which I build, My shield and hiding place, My never-failing treasury, filled, With boundless stores of grace. O Jesus, shepherd, guardian, friend, my Prophet, Priest, and King, my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring. How weak the effort of my heart, how cold my warmest thought; but when I see you as you are, I’ll praise you as I ought. Till then I would your LOVE proclaim with every fleeting breath; and may the music of your name refresh my soul in death.’ 

Ah friends, there’s really no sweeter sound to a believer’s ear than that magical, mysterious, powerful and all-encompassing name of Jesus! Give Him much heartfelt thanks and praise for all He’s done for us miserable, sinful human beings nuh. I guess because of Newton’s ungodly early life, he was able to hit the nail on the head when writing this hymn. Most likely Jesus did it all for him; soothed his sorrows, healed his wounds, drove away his fear. I’m sure He made whole his wounded spirit and calmed his troubled breast…and undoubtedly, He was manna to his hungry soul, and in his weariness, gave him peaceful rest. And yuh know what my people, Jesus will do the same for each and everyone of us, if we will just accept Him into our hearts and be obedient to His will. 

Listen to some of the awesome, but oh so truthful statements that Jesus made in His time here on earth. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but my me.’ (John 14:6) Right there the situation is explained in living colour: only through Jesus, by believing in Him, and living a lifestyle in concert with His, will we ever get to see the Father’s face and behold His immaculate glory! Then hear Him on the shepherd scene: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.’ (John 10:14-15) And did He ever lay down His sinless life in a most sacrificial manner for us, the sinful and willful sheep of His pasture! 

And as for obedience, hear Him: ‘A new commandment I give to you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) He also emphasized the LOVE factor later on in talking about the Holy Spirit. ‘If you LOVE me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.’ (John 14:15-16)  And He kept His promise, that’s why we have the Holy Spirit indwelling each and every believer today! 

And there’s nothing in this whole wide world like Jesus’ 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) Coming obediently to Jesus is wisest way to find rest friends! I can certainly vouch for that, and so too can many of you. 

And if you want more, He is also the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim. 6:15); the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last (Rev.1:8); The name above every name, to which every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11) He is also our Advocate, our lawyer in heaven. ‘And if any man sin, we have an advocate (intercessor) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous’ (1 John 2:1b) Glory be mih breddren! 

And finally, Jesus is also our High Priest: ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God’ let us hold fast our profession (confession) For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’  (Heb. 4:14-16) That’s the best advice to end with today friends! Please pay significant heed to it. Much LOVE!

…Jesus is our Be All…and our End All…our Everything in ONE…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 September 2019 Isaiah 40:11.

Isaiah 40:11.    ​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.
 

Good news people! Today’s Tuesday! Wow! That means the frustrating and oftimes emotionally negative day called Monday is past and gone, now confined to the dustbin of history, and we can therefore move on without any fear or anxiety about it…at least for another week! (smile) Yeh, a brand new day on God’s great earth has blossomed, for which we ought to be eternally grateful. 

Now here is this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that highlights some of our problems, but then shows us the answer to them all. It is appropriately titled: ‘I Keep Running Back to You.’ 

Please pray with me. ‘You know how it is with me, Lord: So often I mess up my days. I judge harshly I am critical and obstinate I waste time and energy I blame others for my failure. There are people I try to avoid And tasks I try to evade And when I can’t have my own way I sulk in my own little corner. Lord, I even turn my back on You To escape Your penetrating gaze. 

Then finally I get fed up with myself. The intolerable loneliness frightens me And I can no longer endure my shame. It always happens, Lord – I keep running back to You! Where else can I go? Who else understands me so well Or forgives me so totally? Who else can save me from foolish pride? No one, Lord, but You. So thank You for accepting me For LOVING me For always welcoming me. I just can’t help it, Lord I keep running back to You!’ 

And my fellow believers that’s just wisdom at it’s highest level! For there’s NO ONE like our great, merciful and LOVING God, who is willing to accept us just as we are! And He’s even happier than us when we come running back to Him, because remember His ultimate desire is that He loses not a SINGLE ONE of His most precious creation to the evil and satanic realm! 

That’s why Isaiah proclaimed in his writings these wonderful words of hope and encouragement: ‘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.’ Mama Mia! How can you not want to be a child of Almighty God with such awesome promises being made eh? 

And furthermore, we know that the Lord never breaks any of His promises, He keeps every single one, which means that offer of shepherd-like care and LOVE are not just empty words, but a most generous enticement and welcome to His wonderful fold! And there are so many scriptures that portray our great God as a wonderful and caring shepherd that today I just want to share a few of them. 

And we all know the most popular one; those remarkable words of Bruh David: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.’ (Ps.23:1) Oh friends, those few, simple but endearing and enduring words say it all! With God being our shepherd we’ll never want for any good thing! 

And Jeremiah joyfully declares: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles (ends, lands) afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.’ (Jer.31:10-11) 

Ah mih people, although the Lord punished Israel for their abominable sins, His LOVE for them was so great, He promised to gather the remnant and bring them back to their homeland and treat them like a caring shepherd. What other supposed God is so magnanimous eh? NONE but ours! 

Meanwhile Ezekiel confirms: ‘Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle (sheep) and cattle (sheep). And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David: he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.’ (Ezek.34:22-24) 

And lest you think that that’s all Old Testament stuff, hear the realization of all those promises from the One and Only, Jesus Christ Himself, as He rightly and righteously proclaims: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And so He did my brethren! And so He selflessly and sacrificially did! 

And as He further declares: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ (John 10:14-16) 

Yes friends, that’s us, Gentiles, non-Jews, that Jesus is referring to there! Please note He didn’t forget about us, but very much included us in His all-encompassing flock!  One flock, and One shepherd! That’s all that’s needed when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ is so great and wonderful! Are you hearing His voice today people? Are you heeding His shepherd’s call? I certainly hope so, since your eternal destiny depends totally on it! End of sermon! (smile) 

Now let’s go home declaring (wow!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the entire world know who and whose we are. In strong and sincere voice now: ‘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 if we’re truly sincere, then let’s go out and share that awesome and amazing LOVE and friendship of Jesus with others who don’t know it nuh. That’s our bounden duty and Great Commission! Much LOVE!

…if you’re a sheep…then you need a shepherd…and the best there is…His name is Jesus…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 April 2015 Matthew 9:36‏‏

Matthew 9:36. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted (were weary), and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Ah Friends, it’s Friday, and it’s supposed to be another glorious day in my neck of the woods, so you can imagine the craziness that’s going to take place this weekend if the weather stays fairly warm. All the barbecues and everything that smacks of summer will be out in full swing.

You can already hear the working populace crying out with joy. ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday yes, and the weekend’s up to bat! The ribs will be a braising and the beer a flowing! The talk will be plentiful and the laughter hearty and loud! Thank God at last for a warm weekend yes!’

Ah mih breddren, those of you down south, who have warm weather and plentiful sunshine all year round, wouldn’t understand what a nice, warm weekend means to us northerners nuh. But most aspects of our lives are built around the weather. In winter we do certain things because it’s too cold outside. Then in spring and summer we do other things because it’s warm out side.

Anyway, I believe that this is the first truly warm weekend of the year, so for sure, a lot of outside activities will be on the agenda. But just to help us not get too carried away and keep the right perspective, let’s chant our Friday Chant. And I surely don’t have to tell us with much enthusiasm and energy, because those will come naturally at this time of year. (smile)

So let’s chant: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through.

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’

Yes my people, a dash of moderation and circumspection are definitely needed as we get into this weekend. Otherwise we’re going to allow the enemy to get a foothold in our souls, for he is out there ravenous and deceitful as ever, looking for any way to cause us to fall.

And that is exactly what was happening in Jesus’ time, when our Bit was written. ‘But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted (were weary), and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.’

Yeh Friends, Jesus is still moved with compassion today because so many sheep are still going astray, being lost in this sinful world without any proper guidance. He wants to be, longs to be their guide and shepherd, that’s His bounden duty and purpose.

That’s why He declared during His earthly sojourn: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And that’s exactly what He did later on Friends; He sacrificed His holy and sinless life for the lost and directionless sons of man. How wonderful!

Then Jesus went on to further explain: ‘But he that is a hireling (hired man), and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling (hired hand) fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep.’ (John 10:12-13)

And that’s a proven fact my brethren, as the scholars remind us. ’10:12. A hireling  (a servant for pay) will flee in time of personal danger, because he is working for money, and neither owns nor LOVES the sheep.’

But thankfully, Jesus is ever so different! And He proudly proclaims it: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” (John 10:14)

Oh Friends, the billion dollar questions here are (1) does Jesus know you as a sheep of His flock, and (2) do you know Him as your good shepherd? I certainly do hope so, for our very lives, both earthly and eternal depend very much on those distinctions.

And Jesus continues with His monologue on the shepherd and the sheep. ‘As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.

Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:15-18) 

Oh Friends what a beautiful passage of scripture. It says so much in those few words. Jesus is about to lay down His life for the sheep of His flock, and He is so obedient to the Father’s will, that the Father has no choice but to LOVE Him. Plus He’s going to bring another flock, the Gentiles into the equation, and make it all ONE big flock, with ONE shepherd. How glorious a promise!

And as the scholars say: ‘10:17-18. Jesus does more than predict His crucifixion and resurrection, He also shows that He has the power to lay down His life and take it again, once more asserting His deity.’

And sadly my people, that has been a major stumbling block for mankind, right from Jesus’ first days on earth, up to the present time. Men have doubted His deity from day one, and continue to do so, sadly to their own detriment. But the smart few, like us, who have embraced Him in all the splendour and power of His deity are laughing all the way to the bank; figuratively of course. (smile)

On second thought, heaven might have been a better comparison. (smile) Anyway Friends, let’s not be proud and pompous at being a chosen member of Jesus’ flock, for that has never been His intention.

Let’s do like Him, have compassion for those who are still lost, and try our very best to encourage them to come to Him, to become members of His flock too, for that’s what He desires of us. Much LOVE!

…oh what a joy, pleasure and privilege it is…to be a member Jesus’ one, worldwide flock…nothing else can compare to it…