Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 April 2021 Isaiah 11:3.

Isaiah 11:3.     ​The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

Oh friends, it’s Tuesday! Give thanks and praises unto our wonderful God that He has blessed us with another beautiful and bountiful day on planet earth; His beautiful universe! What a wonderful God we serve my faithful brethren! There’s no other deity like Him in this evil and godless world, and every day He gives us the strength to do whatever He needs us to do. No other supposed deity does that either. 

So why shouldn’t we praise and worship and glorify Him eh, since we know from practical experience that He’s a great and good God? No reason whatsoever! That’s why I think this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin is ever so appropriate for today, any day really. (smile) It’s titled‘Only Goodness.’What a wonderful title! 

So please pray with me. ‘What glorious words of wonder Come from the Apostle Peter. He wrote, “But we are looking forward To God’s promise of new heavens And a new earth afterwards Where there will only be goodness.” (2 Pet. 3:13) O dear God “Where there will be only goodness.” After centuries of war, greed, and lust After indulgences shamelessly practiced After hatred, hostility Jealousy and abuse. Murder and martyrdom Crime and cruelty Curses and rebellion. After whimpering cries from starving children After tragedy and catastrophe Loneliness and despair At last…at long last “There will be only goodness.” O dear Lord Your promise is Your guarantee But please hurry a little.’ 

Yes, my fellow saints in Christ, one fine and glorious day, our Lord would have had enough of this sinful world and replace it with a world where there is only goodness. He has promised it, and we know that His promises are ever faithful, so it’s only a matter of time. And yes, I know that some of us are rather impatient, we can’t wait for that day to come, but as always, it’s in God’s timing, whenever He is ready, and He’s never in a rush like we are, neither is He ever late. I can testify to that! 

And it’s not a new promise nuh mih bredrin. From since the days of the prophet Isaiah, the Lord faithfully promised: ‘And there shall come forth a rod (shoot) out of the stem (stock or trunk) of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow (bear fruit) out of his roots. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding (his delight shall be in the) fear of the Lord; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes (by what he sees), neither reprove after the hearing of his ears (decide by what he hears): 

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity (decide with uprightness) for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite (strike) the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle (belt) of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins (the belt of his waist).’ (Is. 11:1-5) 

Yes, friends, that was the Lord’s promise of the Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom to His people Israel. But they misunderstood the whole thing. They expected a warrior king to come and release them from the bondage of Rome and were very disappointed when He came as a quiet, peaceful, LOVING rabbi. In any case, that particular promise was not supposed to happen in His first coming, but in the second. As John describes it in Revelation 21; the scripture promise on which our poem is based. 

‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst (who thirsts) of the fountain of the water of life freely.’ (Rev. 21:1-6) 

Oh my people, that’s what the faithful of God have to look forward to! It may not happen for a while yet, but we can be sure that it will happen when the Lord decides the time is right! That means we have to hang in there, keep being faithful even during these evil and godless times, because the promise is not for little while, but for eternity, which is forever! And as the prophet Habakkuk so rightly declared: ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ (Hab. 3:3) 

Yes friends, the time will eventually come when ‘the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.’ (Is. 11:6) Oh what a beautiful picture of peace and harmony! Those shall be the characteristics of Christ’s eventual kingdom! Glory be mih people! No more predatory stuff, no sin, no evil no pain and sorrow, only goodness and mercy, dwelling with our Triune God, till the end of time! 

Wow! What a glorious time to look forward to! And for those of us who are eagerly looking forward to it, let’s go home now declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. In strong and sincere voice: ‘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!’ 

Now it’s time to stop talking and go out and share Jesus’ LOVE and friendship with those who don’t know it. Much LOVE!

…faith without works is dead… (James 2:26)  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 April 2021 Habakkuk 2:3b.

Habakkuk 2:3b.     ​though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

And then it was Holy Saturday; that suspenseful day of waiting between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the day after the tragedy, but the day before the great awakening of joy and celebration! And yes, it’s always difficult for us human beings to wait for something, even though we know it will be better than what we currently have, especially in these times of immediate gratification. 

But please wait patiently on the promise my people. For as the Good Book says: ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ (Hab. 2:3) Yes friends, Easter Sunday will surely come, so let’s just mourn quietly, but expectantly today, show our tremendous faith, for we are assured of the triumphant rising of the Holy One of Israel tomorrow! 

Now let’s see what interesting quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week as he aspires to inspire us for a brighter tomorrow. Here’s the first one: ‘We can’t retract the decisions we’ve made. We can only affect the decisions we’re going to make from here.’ I don’t know if that is totally true nuh, because sometimes we can take back the decisions we’ve made, especially if they have not been yet implemented. But in the logical process of the situation, I guess you can look at the retracting as a new decision and not merely a taking back of the old one. So, in that sense, the quote is right. (smile) 

Then there’s this: ‘I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.’ Now that seems to be rather truthful. If the current situation is bad, then things will only get better if wise change occurs. Merely leaving it the same will not cause any improvement. However, I totally disagree with this next quote: ‘When in doubt, choose change.’ That means you’ll be choosing change just for the sake of change, since there might be no good or logical reason to change. 

But change, especially significant change, should not be made without some good grounds, some useful purpose or enhancement such change will provide. And just because you have doubts, doesn’t mean you should just jump into the unknown. Although that’s what a lot of us are doing in these times of great change. Oftentimes, we don’t know what we’re doing or where we’re going, but because others are changing, are doing something new or different, we think we ought to do the same, we can’t let them get ahead of us, because we absolutely need to be a part of the in-crowd. But that is pure foolishness my brethren. 

Not all change is good for us, and the follow the Jones’ lifestyle only gets us into more problems than we already have. Just take the example of the new cell phones that come out almost every year. Some of us just feel we need to have them because they are new, and have new toys in them. But they are usually more expensive too, and don’t always work as good as the older ones. And in fact, most of us won’t ever use the new toys in them. 

We don’t even use our current phone to its best level. But there’s a new one out, and we must have it, we must keep up with the throng and make the phone makers even richer! And in such situations, re our first quote, we definitely may not be able to retract our hasty and thoughtless decisions. (smile) But as they say, to each his own. 

That brings us to the next quote: ‘When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you.’ Now that’s gospel truth friends! When defining moments crop up, you only have two options; to let the moment define you, or you define it. And the sensible option is usually the latter. You define the moment, you come up over the problem, don’t allow it to take you where it wants to go. 

And I guess we should define what we mean by defining moments. (smile) Those are basically important times in your life, when what is in front of you has the ability to change the trajectory of your life, like a new job offer, or meeting a new lady friend, or the most important defining moment in all of our lives, finding Jesus and cheerfully latching on to Him! When those opportunities appear in our lives, we have to face them mano -a- mano, rise up above them, take the bull by the horns sort of thing, evaluate the situations, and hopefully make wise decisions, because it’s not always in our best interest to let nature take its course. 

And that segues real nicely into our last quote. ‘A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.’ Now that’s certainly an interesting statement. I guess it goes back to a couple of other sayings: ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.’ And also, ‘Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ The last one insinuates that if you are foolish, then most likely your friends are also foolish, so there’s not a whole lot you can learn from them. 

Meanwhile, the first saying is telling us to keep a close eye on our enemies because we can learn their secrets and tactics, which will help us in our fight against them. But the whole thing boils down to having wise friends and no enemies. But if you do have enemies, as Cousin Sol says in Proverbs: ‘If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink. For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.’ (Prov. 25:21-22) And the scholars tell us that ‘Coals of fire does not refer to revenge or punishment but to pangs of shame that will lead to reconciliation.’ 

But Jesus goes one better than that. He says: ‘LOVE your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully (spitefully) use you, and persecute you.’ (Matt. 5:44) Now that’s not an easy row to hoe in this strife filled world of ours, but that’s what Jesus expects of His followers, and what we should all endeavour to do, if we bear His name, consider Him our Lord and Saviour. 

And remember, He’s promised never to leave nor forsake us, as He told the disciples: ‘and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:20b) So there’s no need to fear, for Jesus is always with us, leading, guiding and helping us through His indwelling Holy Spirit and allowing us to do great things in His name, through His divine strength. Much LOVE!

…one more day…just one more day…before the triumphant resurrection…please wait faithfully for it… because it WILL come…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 November 2015 Psalm 42:5

Psalm 42:5.  Why art thou cast down (bowed down), O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance (presence).

And then it was Saturday Friends! Wow! Another great day to be alive, because we don’t know what wonderful blessings and mercies the Lord has planned for us today. But be sure of this one thing; He does have stuff planned for us, otherwise His fabulous breath of life would not be flowing through our physical bodies right now. 

And all God’s people declared a loud and hearty ‘Praise the Lord for His LOVING-kindness to the undeserving children of men!’ We surely are thankful my people. 

And since we’re continuing our series of messages on HOPE, I thought this quote from Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) a Jewish Dutch philosopher of some renown, would fit right into our plans. Baruch is reputed to have said that ‘There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.’ 

Yes Friends, we all feel some sort of fear, anxiety and/or doubt, when we’re in a hoping frame of mind. And even when we’re truly fearful, there is always a smattering of hope lurking somewhere in the background, telling us that everything will be all right. So it’s just a normal human reaction to have a touch of fear in hope and hope in fear. 

But my precious people, let’s never forget those memorable words of encouragement that Bruh Paul wrote to Timothy. ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind.’ (2 Tim.1:7) 

So though it’s only natural for a little fear to sometimes creep into our lives, that is not our basic human nature, it is of the enemy. We have been empowered, filled with LOVE and a sound mind by Almighty God to pursue His purposes! 

That brings us to our Bit. ‘Why art thou cast down (bowed down), O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance (presence).’ 

Oh my fellow believers, in this dangerous and difficult world it is normal for us to sometimes feel less than strong and powerful, and thus have our spirits sink to a fraction of their natural buoyancy.  But the important thing to remember when those times befall us is that we must turn to our great God for help. He is the only one who can provide the necessary comfort we seek. 

As the psalmist says in Psalm 130 – My soul waiteth for the Lord: ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy (LOVING-kindness), and with him is plenteous (abundant) redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.’ (Ps.130:7-8) Words of indisputable truth my people! 

Now listen to how Isaiah puts it in chapter 25 – The song of praise by the redeemed. ‘He will swallow up death (forever) in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.’ (Is.26:9)  

Oh Friends, now why wouldn’t we hope for that eh? It’s such a wonderful promise! And we know that all of our God’s promises are faithful and true, though they make take a while longer to come than we would like. But as Habakkuk so wisely advises: ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ (Hab.2:3) 

Yes Friends, ALL of God’s promises will eventually come true, but in HIS OWN TIME. That means we have to hope and pray and wait. What better example can we find that our father Abraham eh? 

Here’s what Bruh Paul wrote to the Roman church about him. ‘Who against (contrary to) hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations. According to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 

He staggered (wavered) not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong (strengthened) in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded (convinced) that what he had promised, he was able also to perform.’ (Rom.4:18-21) 

My people are we as convinced that our God can perform His promises? I certainly hope so, otherwise we’re fighting a losing battle and we’re not true Christians. How many of us would have packed up all our belongings and moved far away from our families, not having a clue as to where we were going, just because some obscure and so-called God told us to do it? Not many. 

And how many of us would have believed that a woman could bear children at almost a hundred years old? Not many! And how many of us would have believed that we would become the father of many nations when the Lord told us to sacrifice our one and only son, from whom all the mighty lineage was supposed to flow? Again, not many! But Abraham did. That’s why it was ascribed to him as righteousness.  

Ah mih people, sometimes it’s a hard row we have to hoe, but with God’s help we can certainly do it. So please, regardless of the difficult circumstances we might now be undergoing, please don’t ever give up on our God. Abraham did not have to sacrifice his only son, but our heavenly Father did it so that we could be saved, be reconciled to Him, have salvation and eternal life. 

And remember He did not have to do it, but He did it for our sakes. Now if that isn’t LOVE, I don’t know what is. So just hang in there my people and all will be well in the Lord’s time. Much LOVE!

 …to hope…to hope…and yet to hope…that is a Christian’s lot…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 April 2015 Psalm 139:7‏

Psalm 139:7Whither shall (where can) I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall (where can) I flee from thy presence?  

Ah Friends, two very important people in my life have died in the last two days. Yesterday it was Jesus, the day before it was Gramps Schuller – Robert H Schuller (1926-2015), the visionary who melded Christianity with the Positive Thinking of Norman Vincent Peale.

 
Gramps Schuller was the man who began a church in Orange County in California in a drive in theatre, where he would preach from the rooftop of the snack bar, while his wife Arvella played the organ.  Then he went on to build a drive in church, and then the fabulous glass based Crystal Cathedral. How could you build a glass cathedral in California, with all it’s eartquakes and seismic faults, unless you had great vision and strong, positive faith in Almighty God?
 
I was introduced to him some years ago by my mother, via the Hour of Power programme on television, and I believe of all the ministers I’ve listened to He impressed me the most, both by what he said and how he said it. He was always enthusiastic and positive, and I know some people criticized him for that. But what’s wrong with having a positive outlook in Christianity eh?
 
What did Jesus preach about?  Believing in God, but you can’t truly believe in anything with a negative mind set. Jesus never went around sour and miserable and negative as a lot of Christians think they should.
 
And here is Gramps Schuller’s ‘Possibility Thinker’s Creed,’ or what some refer to as ‘The Mountain Mover’s Prayer.’  ‘Lord, when I face a mountain, do not let me quit. Give me the strength to keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, or tunnel underneath. And if my best efforts fail, give me the patience to stay and the perception to see the possibilities of turning my mountain into a gold mine with your help. Amen.’ 
 
Now tell me what’s wrong with that eh Friends? Not a single thing! It’s certainly the attitude we supposed Christians ought to adopt, instead of the lackadaisical, give up easily mentality that so many of us have. And I can still remember Gramps Schuller some years ago reading these verses from Psalm 139, including our Bit. The way he delivered them was very expressive, and oh so powerful:
 
‘Whither shall (where can) I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall (where can) I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there, If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.’ (Ps.139:7-10)
 
Oh Friends, that’s obviously gospel truth, but Gramps Schuller made you feel it. I don’t know about anybody else nuh, but as far as I am concerned the Hour of Power was the BEST programme on the tube when it originated from the Crystal cathedral! I say that because it was a beautiful visual production, and you got a wonderful blend of everything; religion and church, interviews with interesting people, and by far the BEST music. The Hour of Power Choir is still my favourite.
 
It’s sad though that in 2011 the Crystal Cathedral had to be sold into bankruptcy because of a large debt, family feuds and other internal wrangling. It just goes to show that even in the best, or most religious families, there can be serious problems. And who do you think bought the Crystal Cathedral and renamed it Christ Cathedral? The Catholic Church of Orange County California.
 
Anyway, the Hour of Power Programme is still on the tube, but comes from a smaller, ex-Catholic church, called Shepherd’s Grove. It is run by Gramps Schuller’s grandson, Bobby. It doesn’t make such a big splash, as it did in the Crystal Cathedral, but it’s still amongst the best and most wholesome viewing on the tube.
 
Dr. Schuller was also a prodigious writer, penning some 50 books, with at least five of them best-sellers on the New York Times list. He apparently passed away in a nursing home from esophageal cancer that struck him in 2013. Regular readers of the Bit know that I hold him in high esteem and often feature some of his stuff from the Hour of Power Devotional.
 
Here is a passage from yesterday’s journal. It’s titled ‘Winter’s Cold,’ and it says: ‘I never fail to remind new Christians who join our church that there are seasons in the spiritual life. For most people the beginning of the Christian life is a spring time experience. The icy sea of doubt is broken; a new life springs from a cold heart. No wonder people describe it by saying, “I’ve been born again!” This is the springtime season of the soul.
 
When the Christian matures through the disciplines, there is growth, sometimes painful, in exposure to the summer sun and wind, and finally the ripening of the fruit. The harvest season arrives and you offer to God the fruit of a life of service. And, strangely, it is after a period of fruitful service that the winter time comes.’
 
Ah Friends, how true that is, especially in Dr. Schuller’s life. After a long life of service to God and many successful seasons of harvesting good fruit, the winter of his discontent set in, through illness, family and financial problems. May he rest in peace with his God.
 
And we’ll end today with a scripture from Jeremiah that certainly validates our Bit and the verses that accompany it. The Lord’s talking about false prophets, and asks these questions? ‘Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.’ (Jer.23:23-24)
 
Oh Friends, our God is certainly a faithful, hands on, always right here by our sides God, not some fly-by-night, never present deity. And if we believe that He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, then there’s no place in His universe that we can ever successfully hide from him.
 
Some of us foolishly try to do that though, but eventually, hopefully sooner rather than later, they will find that hiding from our God is simply impossible, and will instead run to His outstretched arms and enjoy the comfort and LOVE that’s waiting there for whosoever wants to embrace it.
 
That’s basic common sense and a touch of godly wisdom thrown in for good measure! (smile) Much LOVE my brethren on this Easter Saturday morning!
 
 …just one more day…just one more day…so please wait patiently for it…with eager expectation…for it will come…the promise will come…it will not tarry…