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 4 August 2019 John 10:11.

John 10:11.    ​I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
 

Please get with the programme friends! What programme you ask? How yuh mean what programme eh? It’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, that means church calls! Yes, we’re required to join with other believers in the Lord’s sanctuary to worship and exalt our heavenly Father, encourage each other, hear His Holy Word and get confidence to go out and fight another week of victorious battles in His name! Yes friends, it’s the biggest day of the week! So let’s begin the celebrations in our usual manner nuh; in song, in praise and worship, telling our wonderful God how much we LOVE and admire and revere Him. 

And today’s song of praise is possibly the second most known and LOVED bit of scripture, after the ‘Our Father,’ or ‘Lord’s Prayer.’ And we talking about Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd! Yes mih people, Bruh David’s amazing and immortal words celebrating the care, compassion and LOVING-kindness of the God of his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! So in strong voice, with plenty soul and sincere emotion, truly believing those simple but awesomely descriptive words and sentiments, let’s sing!  

‘The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want He makes me lie down in green pastures He leads me beside the still waters He restore’th my soul And guides my path in righteousness For His name’s sake Surely goodness and mercy Shall follow me all the days of my life And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever and ever and ever. 

Yea, Though I walk through the valley Of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou prepar’est a table Before me in the presence of my enemies Thou anoint’est my head with oil My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and LOVING-kindness Shall follow me all the days of my life And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever and ever and ever. Amen!’ 

What a marvellous description of our Jehovah God! I don’t think it could be described any better, for we are indeed lost and dumb like sheep and we desperately need a good and kindly shepherd to lead and guide and take care of us. And there’s none who does it better than Yahweh; our Creator, Provider, Healer, Comforter, our Be All and End All! Yes indeed, our heavenly Father is all those things to us, and when you add His unconditional LOVE, grace, and forgiveness to the already long list of His wonderful attributes, you just have to jump and shout for joy and declare: ‘Oh what a good thing I’ve got!’ 

And yuh know what friends, Bruh David could only have written such touching and heartfelt words because He experienced first hand the Lord’s goodness and LOVING-kindness in His blessed but oh so tumultuous and eventful life! And the imagery of God being our shepherd would have resonated quite well with the agrarian Israelites back then, because it was language they understood. 

And following that story line, the scholars make an interesting observation: ‘Believers are never pictured in Scripture as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on their Shepherd for His provision and protection. The believer is more than a dependent sheep, however; he is also like and honoured guest, since the Lord prepares a table for him (v.5). Connected with this honoured position is abundant provision, vindication before one’s enemies, and eternal celebration of God’s goodness.’ Oh brother! What could be better than all that eh? Absolutely NOTHING! 

And Isaiah also writes of God looking after His people in the shepherd metaphor. ‘Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand (in 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 my people, there’s something that just resonates of calm and comfort and compassion and caring when we talk about shepherding. And I guess because in our current society we are more into manufacturing and technology than farming, and actual sheep herding is not a big thing, we don’t understand all the nuances involved, and thus cannot really appreciate the great importance of a shepherd to a flock of sheep. But believe me, without a shepherd, a kind and caring one, a flock of sheep would not last very long in the great outdoors. Consequently, when Jesus came He continued the metaphor of the shepherd looking after his flock. Thus, He made this magnificent proclamation: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’  

Oh friends, mankind should be ever so ecstatic and joyful that Jesus made such a statement then went on to make it true, laying down His sinless life for our sinful ones, so that we could be reconciled with the Father, and have our sins forgiven and our souls washed white as snow! But I guess because we don’t fully understand the chemistry and sync between shepherd and sheep we’re lost and unaware of the deep relationship that exists between them. 

But Jesus reminds us of that important relationship. ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ (John 10:14) Yes precious people, the shepherd knows all his sheep, and the sheep know their shepherd as Jesus earlier stated. ‘But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter (doorkeeper) openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.’ (John 10:2-5) 

Now that’s what our Lord and Saviour is expecting of us friends; to know His voice and follow His call, not that of stranger’s, for they will just lead you astray. And to make the picture complete, listen to Bruh Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians when they sacrificed to send him a gift. ‘But my God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:19) That means when we remain in Jesus’ fold we will be well fed by the Father through Him. 

‘Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Phil.4:20) Please have a blessed day my fellow saints in Christ! Much LOVE!

…sheep without a shepherd…is like the blind leading the blind…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 June 2019 Matthew 6:34.

Matthew 6:34.   ​Take therefore no thought for the morrow (therefore do not worry about tomorrow): for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil (trouble) thereof.
 

Well we’re up to, or down to Wednesday, the middle of the week – anyway you want to put it, and we’re finally into the groove of the weekly rat race. It’s strange how we go to work almost every week, but yet it still takes us a couple of days to get back into the swing of things. Oh, the strange make up of the human animal! It doesn’t take us long to get into the swing of things we like though. (smile) 

And I’m chuckling here because today I want to share a prayer posted on the door of my office which I pass several times a day, and did not even know it was there…in fact I happened to read several prayers up there a few days ago, and was I ever surprised to see them there. And I know they’ve been up there for some time, because they all sound very strange and new to me. (smile) 

And you might ask, what’s the purpose of putting them up there then if you don’t see them? Now that’s a good question, to which I can’t give a good answer. Now interesting and encouraging stuff is stuck up all around the office, but the truth is, I come in and out of the office everyday and don’t see most of them. And I daresay that many of us face a similar problem, too busy and otherwise preoccupied to notice what’s in front of us. 

Anyway, let’s get on with this prayer, titled ‘A Prayer for Today,’ written by one Winifred Brand that I apparently got sometime ago from a Silent Unity Publication. So please pray with me. ‘Lord, give me strength just for today, to do the tasks that come my way, to say the word, to think the thought with which real strength of soul is wrought. 

Lord, give me courage to resist the urge to worry or persist in borrowing from future years, trouble unknown or futile tears. Just for today Lord, let me find true strength and faith and peace of mind, and I will tomorrow pray, when it becomes a new today.’ 

And does that ever make a whole lotta sense my people! All we need is the wherewithal to make it through each and everyday. As the saying goes, ‘take it one day at a time.’ And to tell the truth, you can’t take it any more than that nuh, because we’re only gifted with one day at a time. Thus too the sweet song: ‘One day at a time, sweet Jesus, One day at a time, that’s all I’m asking of You.’ 

And neither will He give us more than that. And Jesus made that quite clear after telling His listeners in the Sermon on the Mount. ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added to you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow (therefore do not worry about tomorrow): for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil (trouble) thereof.’ (Matt.6:33-34) 

Ah mih people, right in those two verses we have two most invaluable lessons; the first is that we must seek God’s kingdom first, and the second is not to worry about tomorrow, look after today, because tomorrow will look after itself. Just live one day at a time; today. As the prayer above so wisely says: ‘and I will tomorrow pray, when it becomes the new today.’ And that’s quite right, because in reality, what we call tomorrow never really comes, it’s always becomes today! 

So friends, let’s learn to live for today nuh. It doesn’t mean we don’t think about or consider or put aside for tomorrow, but let’s focus most of our concentration and concern on the things of today, because if we don’t do what we need to do today, we might not have a hearty, healthy and happy tomorrow! (smile) 

And we really don’t have any need to worry about what happens today, tomorrow or even next week, next month or next year because we have so many wonderful and glorious promises from our magnificent and magnanimous God, re our provisions in this earthly existence. 

Listen to a few nuh, beginning with Bruh Paul’s encouragement to the church at Philippi. ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:19) Yes my brethren, if we seek God sincerely, and help others, even when we too are in need, then God will gloriously supply all that we need through His unlimited resources through His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

Now hear this other reassuring scripture from Bruh Paul to the Corinthians. ‘And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. As it is written, He hath dispersed (distributed) abroad; He hath given to the poor: His righteousness remaineth for ever.’ (2 Cor.9:8-9) In verse 9 there, Bruh Paul is quoting from Psalm 112:9. 

And in talking about God’s assurance in scripture for His faithful followers, there is no passage as immortal and as widely known as those uplifting words of Bruh David in the opening of the 23rd Psalm: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.’ 

Mama Mia! What an impactful and insightful statement! Please note, Bruh David did not see it fit to list any provisos or conditions for his declaration. There are no ifs, ands or buts. It was a simple statement of fact based on his life experience of faithfully following the God of his forefathers, and the same applies to us, if we follow in his august footsteps. 

So having all that reassurance, faith and whatever other good and godly thing there is exciting our souls and spirits, let’s go home proudly declaring (steups!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus! As one, in sincere sense of purpose: ‘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 will that future ever be so glorious my people, so glorious that we can’t even imagine what it will be truly like. So please stand strong and steadfast in the Lord if you want to enjoy it nuh. Much LOVE!

…this is the day the Lord has made…let us rejoice and be glad in it…it’s the only thing that makes sense…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 February 2019 Matthew 8:26.

Matthew 8:26.   ​And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea: and there was a great calm.
 

Well it’s Tuesday now, and the crazy wind storms and snow squalls that have harried us for the past couple days seem to have died down, but it’s still beastly cold, somewhere around –12 in my area. And I’m chuckling here because I know that during the inclement weather many of us were praying, trying to get God’s attention to stop it. Not me so much, because I was praying rather that He’d get me safely to where I was going, cause I got caught out in it a couple of times. 

But this time I don’t think Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat nuh, He was wide awake and just waiting to see how we’d behave. And we behaved just like the disciples did when the storm caught them going across the lake and Jesus was resting quietly, ostensibly without a care in the world, but the disciples panicked: 

‘And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea: and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him.’ (Matt.8:25-27) And that kind of behaviour from men who had been with Jesus for quite some time and seen Him do all sorts of miracles! 

The point I’m trying to make here this morning friends is that too many of us supposed believers are still too small in faith like the disciples, though we have seen Jesus do great and extraordinary things in our lives! We talk a good talk about faith, but when the occasions come for us to show that faith, we always seem to fall short. 

Why is that eh?  Don’t we truly believe…or are we just scared and afraid of whatever comes against us? No, it’s not easy, and Jesus promised that we’d have trials and tribulations in this world…’But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) 

Yes, and even with that encouragement, He knows that it will be hard for us, but He expects that our faith, which is supposed to grow each and every day we draw breath, will strengthen us and see us through whatever difficulties we encounter down here on earth! 

And the sad part is that even before Jesus came, the Lord was dissatisfied with the faith of His people Israel, as outlined in the words of Moses’ song to the Israelites. ‘And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very forward (perverse) generation, children in whom is no faith.’ (Deut.32:20) 

So I guess nothing much has changed sine way back then! And how many times did Jesus lambaste, castigate His people for not having the faith they should have eh? And there are several! Here are a couple of illustrations: In talking about nature versus Cousin Sol’s glory, nature won out every time. ‘Wherefore, if God so clothe(s) the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall ye not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?’ (Matt.6:30) 

That means we ought not to worry and be anxious or fearful of what’s going to happen because we’re more important to our heavenly Father than nature, which He looks after so well. And when the Roman centurion came to Jesus, asking Him to heal his sick servant, and Jesus offered to go to his house and do so: 

‘The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in all Israel.’(Matt.8:8-10) 

Yeh friends, the servant was healed, not because of his own faith, but because of His master, the centurion’s faith. Jesus was just showing up there the foolishness of His Jewish people who refused to accept t Him for who and what He proclaimed to be, but this supposedly heretic Roman, had no problem with doing so! And He’s doing the same thing today my people; crying out to us to truly believe and have the faith that belief ought to instill in us, but which seems to be sadly lacking! 

Remember the words of the great psalm that we all like to quote: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ (Ps.23:1-6) 

Oh my people, how do you think all of that wonderful stuff, those mighty and awesome  promises are going to happen eh? They won’t just fall into our laps like manna from heaven nuh, but we’ve got to believe them and have the faith to expect and do our part to allow them to happen. 

So please my brethren, please let us improve our faith nuh, starting today, RIGHT NOW, both for our sakes and the sake of Jesus’ church, for if we don’t do better very soon, our world will surely fall apart with all the ungodliness and evil that’s currently being foisted upon it. 

And having said all of that, let’s go home declaring (right ho) our Tuesday Mantra, telling the world, loud and clear, who and whose we are. In strong and sincere faith 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 the corollary to that is for us to now go out and share the friendship and LOVE of Jesus with those who don’t know Him, but desperately need to! Much LOVE!

…according to your faith…be it unto you… (Matt.9:29)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 March 2018 Psalm 23:1.

Psalm 23:1.   The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

It’s time once again friends for our weekly rejuvenation; meaning it’s the Lord’s Day and we need to go to His sanctuary to get oiled and lubed, (smile) so we can handle the upcoming week’s affairs with strength, faith, hope and confidence. 

Oh by the way, for those of us who live in the Daylight Savings Time zones, please be reminded that the clocks went back one hour tonight, which means that church will held an hour earlier. So please don’t miss it by pleading ignorance of the time change. (smile) I won’t put it past many of you to do so. 

And as always, before we hear the Lord’s word, we offer up sacrifices of praise and worship, letting our heavenly Father know that we certainly do adore, glorify, exalt and LOVE Him. Today we’ll sing one of the most well-known and heartwarming passages in the Good Book – Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd. 

Those immortal words of Bruh David had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. They are too meaningful and applicable to our earthly lives to have simply come from a man’s finite mind. But be that as it may, let’s raise our voices in sweet adoration and wonderful harmony, as we lift up those words to heaven, words written so long ago, but which still retain their awesome power even to this day. 

‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 

Thou preparest a table in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen!’ 

Oh friends, did you feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving in your individual soul and felt like He was present everywhere in the sanctuary, just enveloping us all with His amazing and unconditional LOVE?  I surely did! But what a mighty work of God that Psalm is! Almost every believer knows it, and/or has used it in some tough and unforgiving times.  

And the opening verse, our Bit: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,’ is so all encompassing and comforting that I don’t where or how to start describing it, so I’ll just share the scholar’s explanation. ‘Psalm 23. The psalm has been a favourite of God’s people through the ages with due reason: it expresses as simply and clearly as any the role of God as our protector and provider in life. 

The charm of the psalm rests on two figures of speech: the Lord is compared to a shepherd and the believer to His sheep (vs.1-4); then the Lord is likened to a host with the believer as the guest (vs.5-6). The image of the Lord as shepherd is a frequent one in both the Old Testament (Is.40:11; Jer.31:10) and the New Testament (John10:11-16; Heb.13:20). 

Believers are never pictured in Scripture as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on their Shepherd for His provision and protection. The believer is more than a dependent sheep; however, he is also like and honoured guest, since the Lord prepares a table for him (v.5). 

Connected with this honoured position is abundant provision, vindication before one’s enemies, and eternal celebration of God’s goodness.’ 

Wow mih people! In what other faith can you have all of that goodness and LOVING-kindness eh? NONE WHATSOEVER! Only if you are a believer in Jesus can you have a Deity, lead and guide you in safe paths, beside quiet waters, look after all your needs, down here on earth, then take you to dwell with Him eternally in heaven when your earthly sojourn is over. 

And please note my fellow believers, the life of eternity in heaven will even be better than that we experience on earth. So you can imagine how wonderful heaven must be! I doubt it, because our minds are too small to imagine it, but Jesus has promised it, and He does not renege on promises. 

Now here are a couple of those other verses above that quote God as a shepherd, starting with Isaiah. When he talks about finding comfort through trust in God ‘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.40:11) 

And here is the piece de resistance from Jesus Himself. ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ (John 10:11, 14) 

And we’ll close with these most appropriate words from the author of Hebrews: ‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect (complete) in every good work to do his will, working in you what which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Heb.13:20-21) 

And that’s my wish for all of us today, my fellow believers. Much LOVE!

…oh how blessed we are to have a wonderful shepherd like Jesus…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 August 2017 Psalm 23:1.

Psalm 23:1.   The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (lack anything).

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa! Yeh friends, it was just one of those days, after running around in the hot sun yesterday afternoon, the old body just cried out for rest and simply refused to get up this morning before it felt sufficiently rested. (smile) 

And yesterday was probably the hottest day yet for this summer. Old July went out with a heat wave, and August seems to want to come in the same way, because it’s also supposed to be fairly hot today. 

And I have to go out and do some more stuff out there today too. But I have no doubt that with the Lord’s invaluable help, it will all turn out fine. 

Now here is something from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that ought to lift us all up this morning, give us comfort and assurance to face the day’s problems. It’s titled ‘The Promise.’ 

Let’s pray together: ‘O dear God, I continue to believe Your personal promise still stands Though every quivering question within Shouts that it will be broken. I am claiming Your help through the wilderness Despite every frightening shadow and vale. Often You do the most When you seem to do the least. 

Sometimes secretly Sometimes quietly Often slowly But always most certainly You are true to Your word. And so, my Lord Though I am weak, weary, and worn help me not to despair. You see me, You hear me. You know I am depending utterly Upon Your unblemished integrity Surely You will keep Your word.’ 

And that’s an indisputable fact my fellow believers in Christ! The Lord God Jehovah, creator of the universe and all therein WILL keep His Word for He is a Deity of the utmost integrity!  And that’s exactly why we can place our utmost trust in Him and feel safe and assured! Glory to God my brethren! 

Yeh friends, that’s the whole purpose of having a God; someone to look up to, especially in tough times, someone who CAN, and also WILL hear our cries for help and answer them in the affirmative. 

And the awesome, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the ONLY One of the many gods being worshipped today, who is actually capable of doing that! For He is the ONLY LIVING GOD! 

All others are merely dead and lifeless idols, creations of man’s mind, or the creation of the One and Only True God Jehovah. So how can you worship something that is dead, or was created by someone else and has absolutely no power to do anything under its own will or power eh? It just doesn’t make sense. Hope what I’m saying makes sense though? (smile) 

And the Bible Verse that substantiates that Promise is none other than one of our most famous Bible Verses; the true and wonderful words of Bruh David: ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (lack anything).’ 

What marvellous words of assurance eh mih people! No other faith can proclaim such a statement and have it be the truth…but we can! All power and glory to our great God! 

And Bruh David lays it out, all nice and simple and straightforward. ‘He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (pastures of tender green grass): he leadeth me beside the still waters (waters of rest): He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.’ (Ps.23:2-3)  

Oh my faithful brethren, doesn’t that just resonate powerfully and peacefully through your hearts, bodies and souls? It certainly does through mine, and has me longing for the green pastures and peaceful waters of sweet Tobago, which I haven’t experienced for almost two years. 

And can’t you just imagine Bruh David penning those heartwarming words as he sat below some shade tree, on a beautiful summer’s day, beside a quiet stream, watching his sheep graze on the lush and plentiful green grass around him? 

It was just the perfect metaphor to describe his God; the eternal and merciful One who found healthy forage for his sheep and protected him from the wild animals and natural disasters that constantly came against them. 

That’s why they have become such a standard, such foundational truth in our faith! The only prayer possibly known better than that is the ‘Lord’s Prayer,’ or ‘Our Father.’ 

And Bruh David didn’t stop there, he went on to elaborate even further on the rich and blessed assurances of his awesome God. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and staff they comfort me. 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy (LOVING-kindness) shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ (Ps.23:4-6) 

And all God’s people shouted ‘Amen and Amen!’ Yeh friends, it couldn’t get any better than that! 

As the scholars explain: ‘Psalm 23: The psalm has been a favourite of God’s people through the ages and with due reason: it expresses as simply and clearly as any the role of God as our protector and provider in life. 

The charm of the psalm rests on two figures of speech: the Lord is compared to a shepherd and the believer to his sheep (vs.1-4); then the Lord is likened to a host with the believer as the guest (vs.5-6).’  

So my people, with all of that bubbling and reverberating in our hearts, spirits and souls, let’s go home now sincerely declaring our Tuesday Mantra. 

‘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!’ 

Now, the next move is for us to put it all into action! Much LOVE!

…with God as our shepherd comes…’an honoured position…abundant provision…vindication before one’s enemies…eternal celebration of God’s goodness…’  

P.S. Yes, I know it’s long and late, but it’s still beautiful, even if I say so myself. (smile)

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 May 2017 Psalm 121:2.

Psalm 121:2.    My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

And then it was Saturday… and the rains have stopped…though for how long, no one knows. Yes friends Friday was a wonderful rainy day! (smile) I left home to go to my appointment in the city around eleven in the morning, but did not get back home until four thirty in the afternoon, and all throughout that time it rained steadily.

At one stage they were even talking about closing the main north south highway, Don Valley Parkway because it runs near to the Don River which overflows its banks and floods the highway when there is a lot of rain. And strangely enough there wasn’t as much traffic as I expected going into the city yesterday. It was harder traversing the downtown roads than the highway. I guess the rain kept a lot of people away. 

So Jesus and I just rode in companionable silence, looking out at the bleak and dreary landscape, listening to the variety of beautiful tunes emanating from the stereo system, smiling at each other when a particular tune that we liked blared forth. Oh my brethren, it’s such a pleasure riding with Jesus, I just wish more of us would consider it. You’d never go back to riding alone. 

Anyway it’s Saturday, which means we have to check out some of this week’s quotes from our friend Anselm, whose avowed aspiration is to inspire us for a better tomorrow.  Listen to this first one: ‘Plant your garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.’ Yeh, we ought to have a big hand in building our own lives, not merely waiting for others to boost us…with God in attendance though. 

And that leads to this: ‘Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.’ Oh so true my people! We should NEVER allow ourselves to be bullied period! And again, I would add, define yourself…but with God’s wise help. (smile) 

Now hear this last quote: ‘People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.’ 

Now I agree that we should not allow our circumstances to control us, but we must also be very careful in trying to manipulate circumstances to fit our agenda, for they can very often run contrary to God’s plans for us. So again I will have to add a caveat to the quote: do nothing without talking to God first. That’s wisdom 101 my faithful breddren! 

That brings us to our Bit, which espouses that very wisdom. ‘My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.’ 

Yes friends, we saw that in yesterday’s reading of Psalm 121. And if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then that should be the overriding factor in every one of your decisions. For if the Lord made the heaven and the earth, then whom else would you logically turn to for help eh? Obviously the great Creator!  God should always be our FIRST counsellor, not our LAST, as so many of us unfortunately tend to make Him. 

Now let’s check out some scripture that wisely advises us to keep God first place in our lives. Listen to Moses as he blesses the tribes of Israel before his death. ‘Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency (majesty)! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee (submit to you); and thou shalt tread upon (down) their high places (places of pagan worship). (Deut.33:29) 

Ah friends, those same circumstances pertain to us today, provided we are obedient to God’s law. But since we are so blatantly flouting it, what else can we expect but negative consequences; calamity and disaster.  

And the psalmist puts it this way. ‘Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.’ (Ps.33:20-22) 

And you’ll notice I highlighted that last piece, because there is a rather important proviso contained therein; as we hope and believe in and obey the Lord, He will bless us proportionately. We will only reap what we sow. 

And we’ll end with these interesting verses from the prophet Hosea, as he foretold Israel’s destruction. ‘O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? And thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.’ (Hos.13:9-11) 

Yuh see friends, the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh, and His wrath is not something we really want to experience. But if we continue down our current road of disobedience, believe me, we will eventually feel it. So true wisdom dictates that we repent and return to the godly ways we once followed, if we want to enjoy the Lord’s grace and mercy. Much LOVE!

…the Lord is my shepherd…I shall not want…

 

 

 

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