Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 June 2021 Mark 1:11.

Mark 1:11.     And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And the heat wave is on this Sunday morning in Southern Ontario! Hope your A/C units are working well, otherwise you are liable to burn up in the heat – a small preview of what hell is like. (smile) And come to think of it, that might just motivate us to turn to Christ! For if we can’t stand this minor earthly heat, then how we going to stand the blazing heat that’s supposed to exist in Hades eh? But since we not going there, we don’t have to concern ourselves about how hot it is, just think about getting through this earthly summer weather in good stead with Christ, our Lord and Saviour. 

And as is our custom when we gather to worship on the Lord’s Day, be it in person in His sanctuary, or through technological means, we open with a song of praise and worship. And today’s hymn titled ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’ is a magnificent anthem to how much we do need Jesus Christ. The song was written by Anne Hawks, an American poet and gospel hymnist, in 1872, with the music annotated by Pastor Robert Lowry. 

The website Godtube claims that Hawks explained the purpose of the hymn thus:”For myself, the hymn was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of personal sorrow.” And they report Lowry as saying: “I believe it was the expression of her own experience. It came to me in the form of five simple stanzas, to which I added the chorus to make it more serviceable. It inspired me at its first reading. It first appeared in a small collection of original songs prepared for the National Baptist Sunday-school Association, held in Cincinnati, Ohio in November 1872, and was sung on that occasion.”  

Meanwhile the website umcdiscipleship.org claims ‘to have a personal account of the genesis of the song: Hawks writes, “One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks during a bright June morning [in 1872]. Suddenly, I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, these words were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me — ‘I Need Thee Every Hour…'” 

However, ‘Following the death of her husband, Hawks reflected on the power of her song: “I did not understand at first why this hymn had touched the great throbbing heart of humanity. It was not until long after, when the shadow fell over my way, the shadow of a great loss, that I understood something of the comforting power in the words which I had been permitted to give out to others in my hour of sweet serenity and peace.”Ah friends, such is the mysterious working of our great God. He causes us to do stuff that doesn’t take on any serious personal importance until much later on, when something happens in our lives, and that same stuff is there to comfort and help us. 

So, having gotten all that info on the hymn, let’s finally sing it nuh, lifting up our hearts and voices to heaven with sincere need.‘I need thee every hour, Most gracious Lord, No tender voice like thine, Can peace afford. (Chorus: I need thee oh I need thee, Every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee.) I need thee every hour, Stay thou near by, Temptations lose their power, When thou art nigh (Chorus) 

I need thee every hour, In joy or pain, Come quickly and abide, or life is vain. (Chorus) I need thee every hour; teach me thy will, and thy rich promises in me fulfill. (Chorus) I need thee every hour, Most holy one, Oh make me thine indeed Thou blessed Son. (Chorus: I need thee oh I need thee, Every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee. I need thee, Oh I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee…I come to thee…’

Oh my people, what heartfelt sentiments, sentiments that are all basically about intimacy with God. And today, we’re just going to look at some scriptures that deal with that intimacy. Now it was a hard choice because there are so many, and I therefore chose those that spoke to my heart. And the first one is obviously these words of Moses to the Israelites, which Jesus hailed as the greatest commandment. ‘And thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.’ (Deut. 6:5) If we’re talking about intimacy with God, we must totally give our all to Him. 

Then there are these magnificent words of intimacy written by Bruh David: ‘As the hart panteth after (deer long for) the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before him?’ (Ps. 42:1-2) And if those words of Bruh David didn’t inspire you to intimacy with God, then try these: ‘O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land.’ (Ps. 63:1) How much more intimate can we get than by sincerely longing to be with our Maker, our Provider and our God eh? 

Now hear Jesus to the disciples. ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’ Wow! That’s intimacy personified! One abiding in the other! You couldn’t get any closer than that! 

And we obviously could not leave out this gem from Bruh Paul: ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ…That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:7, 10) Yes friends, Bruh Paul wants to experience the stuff that Christ went through so that he could have a real personal experience, suffering His death, as well as His resurrection. Now that’s what you call hungering for real intimacy! 

Now, let’s close with what I believe is the most intimate scripture, that at Christ’s baptism: Mark describes it thus: ‘And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened (torn open), and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Mark 1:9-11) 

Oh my fellow saints, I think that is the greatest picture of intimacy we can ever get; that wonderful interaction between Father, Son and Holy Ghost, our wonderful Triune Godhead! I’m sure it warmed the cockles of Jesus’ heart, that the Father chose to acknowledge Him before the earthly crowd, and have His Spirit empower Him for His upcoming ministry. 

Now, since we are representatives of Christ, we surely need to have intimacy with Him. And the best way to get it is, as He says, abide in Him, and let Him abide in us, for when we do that, both the Father and the Holy Spirit will also come to abide in us. Then we can show intimacy to those around us. It’s all in a day’s walk with Jesus my people! Much LOVE!

…our God created us…above all else…for intimacy with Him…                                                            

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 July 2020 Acts 4:12.

Acts 4:12.     ​Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
 

It’s the Sabbath Day friends! And hear what the Lord had to say about its observance through the prophet Isaiah nuh. ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places (hills) of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ (Is.58:13-14) 

Glory be mih people! That’s how important the Sabbath is to our God! So let’s be wise and do as He says nuh, so we can enjoy His delights; yuh know there’s nothing that compares to them! (smile) And as always, we begin with a song of praise and worship, today’s being the ever popular hymn ‘I Need Thee Every Hour.’ But before we get into it, here’s the story behind it, according to the website GodTube. 

Annie Sherwood Hawks was an American poet and gospel hymnist who wrote a number of hymns with her pastor, Robert Lowry. The hymn by which Hawks is most widely known, “I Need Thee Every Hour”, was written in 1872. It is said to have been translated into more foreign languages than any other modern hymn at the time of her death. Hawks stated: — “For myself, the hymn was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was wafted out to the world on the wings of LOVE and joy, instead of under the stress of personal sorrow.” 

Lowry, who wrote the music, went on to say: “I believe it was the expression of her own experience. It came to me in the form of five simple stanzas, to which I added the chorus to make it more serviceable. It inspired me at its first reading. It first appeared in a small collection of original songs prepared for the National Baptist Sunday-school Association, held in Cincinnati, Ohio in November 1872, and was sung on that occasion.” Now, knowing some of its history, let’s offer up our sacrifice of praise with strong, sincere, harmonious voices in a heartfelt and soulful rendition of this wonderful hymn. 

‘I need thee every hour, Most gracious Lord, No tender voice like thine, Can peace afford. (Chorus: I need thee oh I need thee, Every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee.) I need thee every hour, Stay thou near by, Temptations lose their power, When thou art nigh (Chorus) I need thee every hour, In joy or pain, Come quickly and abide, or life is vain. (Chorus) 

I need thee every hour; teach me thy will, and thy rich promises in me fulfill. (Chorus) I need thee every hour, Most holy one, Oh make me thine indeed Thou blessed Son. (Chorus: I need thee oh I need thee, Every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee. I need thee, Oh I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee…I come to thee…’ 

That was wonderful friends! And it is the living truth: we need Jesus so badly, that as He rightly says, without Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5) And that’s the understatement of the ages! In the first place it’s only through Him that we can be saved. As Peter so boldly informed the high priest: ‘This is the stone which was set at nought (rejected) by you builders, which is become the head of the corner (chief cornerstone). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:11-12) 

And as the scholars explain: ‘4:12. The name of Jesus Christ is the centre of contention (vs. 7, 10, 12) and ever will be. Salvation for the Jew and Gentile alike is exclusively through the name of Jesus Christ (cf. John 14:6).’ And here’s what that amazing and true scripture says: ‘Jesus saith unto him (Doubting Thomas), I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ (John 14:6) What a confident proclamation! But it’s true, whether you believe it or not. 

And besides Jesus being our Saviour, He is also our Prince of Peace, through whom we get the divine peace that passes all understanding. (Phil. 4:7) Not the kind of peace that the world gives, but the one where we can rise above the circumstances that daily confront us. ‘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) What awesome reassurance! 

And don’t talk about comfort and rest…Jesus is the everlasting fount of those things. He promised us through the 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 friends, how can it be any plainer than that eh? 

And when we talk about comfort, we talking about His Holy Spirit that He sent to comfort us, to lead and guide us and help us have a close relationship with Him and the Father! Hear Him as He said to the disciples. ‘If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.’ (John 14:15-16) And that is exactly what He did. The Holy Ghost came on that Pentecost day after His ascension like a roaring wind with cloven tongues of fire and descended on the disciples and now indwells every believer! (Acts 2:1-14) 

Mama Yo! How then can we not need Jesus continually eh my people? He’s our ALL in ALL: Our God, Saviour, Prince of Peace, Comforter, Intercessor, High Priest, etc. etc.! Annie Sherwood Hawks definitely knew what she was talking about when she wrote that hymn! So in these difficult and dangerous times, let’s show true wisdom and come to Him in true trust and surrender nuh, for He is indeed the answer to ALL our prayers! Much LOVE!

…JESUS…the ONLY name…for One Stop Shopping…