Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 September 2021 Isaiah 41:10a.

Isaiah 41:10a.     Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:

Sunday morning…time for worship…the last one we will have technologically at my church. Thank God! From next Sunday our church will be again opening its doors, so whosoever will, may come. Yes, many people have complained about missing the benefits of physical togetherness in worshipping under the same roof, but it’s still left to be seen how many will show up on opening day. We Christians talk a good talk, but we don’t walk our talk as well as we talk it. (smile) And with the Covid 19 virus still very active in our area, plus all the protests, fearmongering and disinformation being spread about it, some people will still be anxious, leery and somewhat fearful to attend physical church services. 

And under the circumstances, I don’t know if we can really blame them, but being sincere Christians, we ought to have some faith in the promises of our God when He tells us not to fear. As He said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.’ (Is. 41:10) But unfortunately, even in Jesus’ time, two of His favourite words to the disciples and the people, were ‘Fear not.’ And several times He accused them of little faith. 

We also know these famous words of His, when He promised the disciples the Holy Spirit after He went away. ‘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) And a couple chapters later He uttered these awesome, reassuring words to the disciples. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) 

Now those were tough words for the mostly youthful and uneducated disciples to absorb. And even with our better understanding of the scriptures today, it’s also difficult for many of us to hang on to those reassuring words of Jesus. Thus, fear and anxiety are still a major part of our lives, especially with the enemy currently being in worldwide ascension. But fear not friends, (smile) today we will sing a song of worship that will help us to annul any fear or anxiety we might feel. It’s sung by that rising American gospel singer Tasha Cobbs, and it’s aptly titled: ‘No Longer a Slave to Fear.’ 

Wow! And isn’t that good news my people? It surely is! If we can break the bondage that fear has over us, then we are free and clear of the enemy; victorious over his evil deceptions and lies! So let’s sing it like we really mean it nuh. In full, soulful voice, letting the words rise sincerely up from deep within our hearts, all the way to heaven’s throne, showing our Saviour that we have matured, we now fully and faithfully believe His promises, and are no longer slaves to fear. 

‘(Chorus: I’m no longer a slave to fear, For I am a child of God (2) You unravel me, with a melody, You surround me with a song, Of deliverance, from my enemies, Till all my fears are gone. (Chorus: I’m no longer, a slave to fear, For I am a child of God (2) From my mother’s womb, You have chosen me, Your LOVE has called my name, I’ve been born again, Into your family, Your blood flows through my veins. (Chorus: I’m no longer, a slave to fear, For I am, a child of God (2) Oh oh, oh oh oh. Oh oh, oh oh oh! You split the sea, So I could walk right through, My fears are drowned, In perfect LOVE, You rescued me, so I could stand and sing, I am a child of God …

You split the sea, So I could walk right through it, My fears are drowned, In perfect LOVE, You rescued me, so I could stand and sing, I am a child of God, I am a child of God, I am a child of God…. I know who I am, I know who I am, I am a child of God! He calls me the head and not the tail, Above and not beneath, a lender and not a borrower. So I no longer walk in fear, but in faith. For I am a child of God. If you are a child of God, sing Hallelujah to His glorious name!’ Awright mih bredrin, let’s shout some ‘Hallelujahs’ to our wonderful heavenly Father, because we are indeed His ever-faithful and ever-LOVING children! Glory be! 

And the Lord’s certainly moving in mysterious ways in me these days yes, because as I listened to the song on You Tube, I was again led to scroll down to the commentaries, and there I found this wonderful testimony from a young lady named Sophia G, first posted about a year ago. Please read these heartfelt words with me. She says: ‘Recently I’m experiencing so much pain right now. I’m in high school and all of my “friends” have turned on me and starting to bully me basically. I don’t feel like I’m being bullied because I ask god to fill me up with his Holy Spirit and fruits of the spirits everyday. 

But I do get down because the enemy is trying so hard to let me loose faith in Jesus and to get me depressed. My friends don’t like me because I’m different and no matter how hard they try and get a reaction of negativity out of me I never do and never will. They see god inside me and they don’t like that. But I’ll praise god in the good and the bad no matter how much I get down and this sing just gets me going and for (full) fills me. I love God so much and he is probably letting me experience this for a lesson. But it’s hard and some days I get so down I want to give up completely. Please pray for me and for my friends also so they can get Jesus in their life also, thankyou💞😭’

Now doesn’t that just break your heart? But here is the wonderful part, she recently shared. ‘Hello guys!! It’s been 10 months since I posted this comment and I just want to say Thank you so much for all your love and support. I would have never have ever thought this comment would get so many people praying for me! And oh wow how I have changed. God has blessed me so much and your prayers have helped me more than you could imagine. My mental health was very very bad. I was very depressed I’m not gonna lie. Everyday was a battle for me and every night I would be sobbing myself to sleep. But the devil never wins. 

My faith with Jesus has grown. In this world ye shall have tribulation so much now. Now for me this year has been the happiest I’ve ever been.  Even though 2020 had been a very strange year I can say this has been the best year for me mentally in my whole life. I ended losing all my friends which made me quite sad but I realised how toxic they were for me. But now I have the best friends I could ever ask for. All my problems I was in has been erased from my life and I have forgiven everyone. I’m honestly so happy and thankful for you all. God is so good and even in the hardest times you feel like giving up he’s always by my side. 

This just shows how powerful God is and gods people💘💘 I love you all and I appreciate you very much. I still have a lot to learn and I want god to teach me more about life. It took me just less than a year for god to turn my life around but I’m more grateful than ever. I will never forget any of you xxxx.’ 

Mama Mia! And who says our God isn’t a great and powerful God eh? One who answers prayers! But we have to come to Him, to actively and consciously seek His face like that young lady in the testimony above, and allow Him to drive away the fear in our hearts and souls. That’s the only solution to our fear problem my people! Much LOVE!

…God hath not given us the spirit of fear…but of power…and of LOVE…and of a sound mind… (2 Tim. 1:7)                                                                                             

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 January 2018 2 Timothy 1:7.

2 Timothy 1:7.   For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind.

And then it was Saturday…somewhat late in the day though, and many of you won’t notice, because like the ole fella you also slept in some. (smile) But what’s life eh, if once in a while you can’t sleep in and not be run ragged by the busyness of this insane world? The Lord’s LOVE, mercy, grace and forgiveness will still be there when we get up. 

Oh how wonderful is the God we serve and worship my brethren! He is always thinking about our welfare, so we need to be very thankful and grateful as we walk arm in arm with Him. And remember too, that NO ONE can separate us from Him, but us. And such a move on our part would be rather foolish. Nuff said. 

Let’s see what our friend Anselm has to say on this bleak and gloomy Saturday morning. First off, he tells us that ‘Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.’ 

I have serious doubts about that yes, because in this society there are oodles of people right now with lots of formal education, who can’t even get a job, much less earn a living. And if and when they do get one, the wage is definitely not in line with their standard of education. It’s surprising that in this supposed first-world economy, the number of university grads who are making minimum wage. 

And in my province of Ontario, at the beginning of the year, the government raised the minimum wage from eleven something to fourteen something, and as expected all the business people are up in arms, threatening all sorts of retribution. 

Some Tim Horton’s franchises have already cut back paid breaks, tips and stuff, taking away what little the employees already had, in their greedy desire to keep their profit margins high. So who knows, self-education might just be the answer. 

And I like this next quote. ‘If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.’ That’s oh so true my fellow believers. I’m sure most of us have had that experience at some time(s) in our lives. 

Times when we actually buckled down and did stuff we had to do, and was surprised at the quality and quantity of work we accomplished because we had set our minds to it. Many of us never reach our full capability, because we’re either not challenged to, or we just settle for average results. 

That leads us to this quote. ‘Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.’ And there’s much truth in that advice, especially in these modern times, where a lot of supposed successful people add li’l or no value to the society. Check out the celebrity culture that currently rules the world. 

How many of them add anything worthwhile to the society eh? Not many. That’s a big reason why the world is in such a mess. So friends, in our lives, please let’s concentrate on adding value to our lives and our society. Value usually means success in the real world, but not necessarily the other way around. 

And finally Anselm tells us that ‘Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.’ There is indeed substance to that remark, because the more we practice not being afraid, the more we will learn to conquer fear. 

But the basic foundation for conquering fear comes from our association with Jesus Christ. That’s who gives us the strength and wisdom to conquer fear. Oh friends, throughout the Good Book there are numerous warnings about fear. And one of the most powerful is that found in our Bit; Bruh Paul’s admonition to Timothy. ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind.’ 

And that’s gospel truth friends! Our wonderful God has not given us a fearful spirit, we allow the enemy to put fear into our hearts. And all I want to do today is highlight a few scriptures where God warned us not to be afraid. And one of my favourites is the one He commanded Joshua, when He made him leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death. 

Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’ (Josh.1:9) Ah mih people, the Lord could not have been more explicit. 

Then in Isaiah, re the final restoration of Israel, He warns His people the same way. ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be thou not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.’ (Is.41:10) 

Now hear one of the first ‘fear not’ instructions; that from Moses when the Israelites were preparing to leave Egypt. ‘And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation (deliverance) of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace (be quiet).’ (Ex.14:13-14) 

And so said, so was it done. The Lord drowned the Egyptians in the closing of the Red sea. And we’ll end with these words of Jesus as He talked about care and anxiety and seeking God’s kingdom above all else. ‘Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ (Luke 12:32) 

And it is indeed the Lord’s desire to give us the kingdom, if we seek Him above all else. So friends, there is no need to fear man nor beast once we are walking hand in hand with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please, let’s therefore rid ourselves of all the unwanted and unnecessary fear that is secreted in our hearts, by giving it to God. That’s wisdom of untold proportions! Much LOVE!

…fear can only be conquered by faith…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 September 2017 Luke 12:32.

Luke 12:32.   Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 

And another one bites the dust…well possibly two! Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have recently felt the wicked lash of hurricane Maria, and who knows where it’s going to land next. Meanwhile, they are still trying to come to terms with the earthquake in Mexico City… 

Ah mih people, these are certainly rough and tough, but also interesting times in the annals of mankind. How will we end up, what will our society look like after the devastation eh? 

Will it be more of the same evil, godlessness, or will a wiser, repentant and godlier society rise from the ashes of our calamity? Only God knows. And only time will tell. For all our sakes though, let’s hope our future is based sincerely on the latter option. 

But with all that misfortune going on, it still doesn’t stop the workingman from declaring his Friday anthem: ’TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday and the weekend is finally here! Regardless of what’s happening in the rest of the world, we going to party hearty…eat, drink and be merry! 

For who knows, tomorrow, or even today we shall die! So bring on the good times, especially in this extra summer weather we getting here! Let the waters flow…the food pile up…and the music blast out! Thank God is Friday and we done work for another week!’ 

Oh friends, that is exactly the kind of attitude we’re trying to counteract. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the end of the workweek, but the limits to which we go is another story. The workingman’s definitely goes overboard. A more sober and constructive one would be like our Friday Chant. 

So let’s chant it with nuff enthusiasm nuh! ‘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.’ 

Yeh mih breddren, to many of the young folks that might sound too retro for them, but it’s the kind of thing that the Lord desires; we enjoy His blessings, but keep our feet on an even keel so the enemy doesn’t get any leeway into our lives. 

And quite rightly, though we are all concerned about what’s happening worldwide, and also close to home, if we are living with and for Jesus then we should not be disturbed or blatantly afraid. 

For as He said, if we seek God’s kingdom as our priority, the Lord will satisfy all our needs. And as a lagniappe, or extra encouragement, Jesus tells us in our Bit: ‘Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’  

And if Jesus says it’s so, then it’s obviously so, for He has no reason whatsoever to lie or lead us astray. However, our natural sinful nature encourages fear much more than faith, so today we’re just going to concentrate on a few passages from God’s word on the subjects of fear and faith, beginning with this famous verse from Deuteronomy. 

‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee nor forsake thee.’ (Deut.31:6) Oh my faithful followers of Jesus, our God can’t say it in any plainer language than that. 

But in Isaiah, He unfailingly repeats the promise, the invitation to partner with Him. ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.’ (Is.41:10) 

And friends, if we truly believe the Lord of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the Creator and controller of the universe, then we should not have any problems believing His word. But my favourite verses on fear and faith come from God’s command to Joshua, when He made him leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death. 

‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shall meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 

Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’ (Josh.1:8-9) 

And if that doesn’t grab you right in your heart my people, then I don’t know what will. But we’ll end with these uplifting words from Ethan, the Ezrahite from Psalm 89 – God’s sure promises to David. 

‘Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn (strength) shall be exalted. For the Lord is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.’ (Ps.89:15-18) 

That’s for certain sure my fellow believers in Christ. Now let’s stand strong as soldiers of Christ, and fight the good fight of faith, as He desires of us nuh! Much LOVE!

…one can only stand strong…if one is bolstered by faith…and not debilitated by fear…