Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 February 2021 1 Thessalonians 5:6.

1 Thessalonians 5:6.     ​Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (self-controlled).

Well it’s another new day, another Wednesday, with lots of new mercies and compassion for which we are eternally grateful! Therefore we will give the Lord much thanks and praise and enjoy the day as we sincerely, diligently and efficiently do His holy will! And His children’s voices were raised in a loud, grateful and spontaneous ‘Amen!’ 

Today is also Ash Wednesday, the day in our religious calendar that begins our season of Lent. And what is Lent, you ask? Basically it’s a time of fasting and praying, of reflection and thanksgiving, of abstinence and self-denial, of desiring to get more intimate with our God, of giving up some of the things that we enjoy, but which keep us from giving our all to Him. It corresponds to the forty days that Christ spent in the wilderness fasting, being tempted by the devil, while preparing Himself for His upcoming earthly ministry. (Matt. 4:1-11) 

Likewise, every so often, not necessarily in the Lenten season alone, we ought to empty ourselves, get serious and talk as intimately as possible with our great and wonderful God; go to Him with life changing and puzzling questions and await His faithful answers. Oh friends, it’s only as we sincerely seek God that we can ever get answers. For as Jesus said so plainly: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33). 

That’s why we should always endeavour to keep God in first place in our lives, for without Him in that Number One position, we will not be beneficiaries of all the wonderful and immeasurable benefits that He has prepared for us. And one of those immeasurable benefits is life – both earthly and eternal! 

Ah mih people, it’s so good when you can wake up another day and don’t see your name listed in the obits. (smile) Yes, heaven might be wonderful and all that, but I’m sure that most of us are not quite ready to go there. There’s something about earthly living; could be the enticing promises of sinful living, (smile) or better yet, the desire to do God’s work here on earth. But whatever it is, in most of our hearts and souls, we’re not ready just yet to give up this tempestuous, troubled, evil, dangerous and uncertain earthly life. (smile) 

I pray though, that we’re all ready, just in case the Grim Reaper shows up unexpectedly and calls our name, or Jesus happens to come again to receive His own unto himself. That is all important friends; the preparation, the readiness for heaven whenever it calls. We cannot be found wanting when Christ calls us to come home, whether it be in death or His Second Coming. When either of those times arrive, He must be our Lord and Saviour, or else we will not spend eternity with Him, and that will indeed be a crying shame, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but then it will be too late. 

As Jesus clearly stated; when He shall return, and when we shall be called home, no man knows it. ‘But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only…Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.’ (Matt. 24:36, 42) And since ALL options will be off the board when either of those situations occur, it’s of the utmost importance to always be in a state of readiness for either occasion. 

‘Be prepared; be ready,’ should be our watchwords and motto in this earthly life, for we don’t want to miss out on the eternal and heavenly one with Jesus. The only other option; hell, eternal darkness and the lake of fire with Satan is unthinkable! So let’s just concentrate on being with Jesus nuh, which means putting Him first place in our lives, and doing whatever He requires of us. 

And Bruh Paul spelled it out quite clearly in his first epistle to the Thessalonians. ‘For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night…But ye, brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children (sons) of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (self-controlled). 

For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and LOVE; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.’ (1 Thess. 5:2, 4-10) 

Yes my brethren, that’s exactly why we do what we do; so that we can live together with Jesus forever! And one of the ways to ensure that in this evil world, comes from Bruh Paul’s last command. ‘Wherefore comfort yourselves together (encourage each other), and edify (build up) one another, even as also ye do (are now doing).’ (1 Thess. 5:11) 

Oh my people, it’s ever so important for the saints of Christ to encourage, teach and build up each other, especially in these times of rampant sickness, evil, loneliness, depression and inhumanity. So like now, when isolation is the norm, let’s try and stay in touch with each other nuh. We have the means and the technology to do it, but we need to dig down deep and find the will, for it’s what Jesus desires of us. 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. As one strong and sincere voice: ‘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 let’s not forget that if we endure to the end, that future will be even more glorious than our puny minds can even contemplate. Much LOVE!

…when the roll is called up yonder…will you be there…that’s the most important question… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 April 2020 1 John 4:8.

1 John 4:8.    ​He that LOVETH not knoweth not God; for God is LOVE.
 
Come Easter Saturday morning, me and my friends, will be heart-broken, thinking of Jesus, His beaten and battered body buried in the tomb, but whose awesome spirit is fighting the devil in hell, so that He can return triumphant on Easter Sunday! Oh glory to God my faithful brethren! He’s such a wonderful God, and LOVES us much that He gave His only Son to die to atone for our sins on that horrible but blessed day called Good Friday! 

And it is always worth noting, that though we’re sorrowful for the abuse, injustice and terrible ‘sufferation’ Jesus experienced on our behalf yesterday, without Good Friday, we would never be able to have the joyous resurrection of Easter Sunday, and thus the amazing promise of eternal life! And all God’s people gave a loud and grateful cheer of ‘Praise the Lord, for His mercy and LOVING-kindness to the children of men!’ 

And having said all of that, let’s turn now to the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one says it in spades: ‘The future depends on what you do today.’ And is that ever so true my fellow believers! The seeds of our today doing will be the ones we reap henceforth. As we all know, we reap whatever we sow, and as Uncle Charles (Dr. Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘We reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow.’ 

And ain’t that the gospel truth! Have you ever noticed how much harvest we receive even though we only sow a few seed? Well that’s exactly what will happen to us, with whatever we sow today, good or evil, LOVE or hate. It will be multiplied and measured back to us several fold. So please, lets pay close attention to what we sow today, for it will certainly boomerang on us tomorrow. 

And here’s another nugget of truth: ‘Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than trying to solve them.’ That’s for certain sure! We like to give it a fancy name like procrastination, but it’s usually an act of laziness, or fear, as we just don’t want to face the problems that have come against us. I can testify to the laziness aspect. (smile) And the truth is, if we just ramp up our efforts and deal with the problems in a timely and effective manner, most of them will quickly go away, for most problems are never as insurmountable as they seem when we shy away from them. 

Therefore, this next quote is rather timely. ‘Don’t brood. Get on with living and LOVING. You don’t have forever.’ And isn’t that what many of us are finally finding out with the Covid-19 pandemic that’s clutching tenaciously at our throats? We can’t allow life to pass us by without making significant efforts to throttle it and keep it in line. We must LIVE and LOVE as though there was no tomorrow! And who knows if there will be eh? 

But still so many of us refuse to do what is necessary to survive, or at least have a reasonable chance of surviving. There is still too much doubt, denial, confusion and totally different messages prevailing amongst the top echelons in our society, so what can we expect from the lower rungs eh, but the same negative behaviour. 

Then there’s this: ‘LOVE yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to LOVE yourself to get anything done in this world.’ I don’t know how much truth there is that statement nuh, although I suspect there is some. The long and short of the story though is that Jesus said: ‘Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:37-40) 

Yuh see friends, LOVE for God ought ALWAYS to be first place! And you’ll notice that LOVE for self runs a distant third, because we need to LOVE our neighbours after we LOVE the Lord. The only mention of LOVE for self there is in the context of LOVING our neighbours.  How much we LOVE others, will be in direct proportion to how much we LOVE ourselves! The truth being that we can’t LOVE anyone, or can only LOVE them as much as there is LOVE in our own hearts. As Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say on the subject: ‘You can’t give away what you don’t have.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth! If you don’t have LOVE in your heart, you obviously can’t give it away! That brings us to this amazing quote: ‘Keep LOVE in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.’ And don’t I ever know that! Oh friends, LOVE is the most important thing in the world, as Jesus reminded us above. LOVE for God, our neighbours and ourselves! For LOVE is truly what makes the world go around! 

As John so clearly tells us in his epistle. ‘BELOVED, let us LOVE one another: for LOVE is of God; and every one that LOVETH is born of God, and knoweth God.’ (1 John 4:7) 

But the scholars clarify that by stating: ‘In context, John is not saying that everyone who LOVES is somehow a Christian, whether they trust in Christ or not. He makes it clear elsewhere that true knowledge of God entails right belief about Christ, as well as right response to God, including LOVE of others. Mere human LOVE apart from Christ’s redeeming presence and motivation falls short of LOVE in its fullest dimension as a human response to God’s perfect and infinite compassion (cf. 1 Cor. 13).’  

Thus the LOVE we’re talking about here is that which is securely entwined with true belief in Jesus Christ. And thus John could continue: ‘He that LOVETH not knoweth not God; for God is LOVE.’ And all God’s people declared a loud and proud ‘AMEN!’ 

And we’ll close with this reminder from the scholars, re that verse. ‘John has also recorded that “God is light” (1:5) and “Spirit” (John 4:24). LOVE is one of many attributes of God and is to be understood in relation to the others, such as holiness and justice.’ 

And that’s why sin had to be justly paid for, before forgiveness could be bestowed. Much LOVE!

…but the greatest of God’s attributes is…LOVE…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 October 2018 Deuteronomy 26:9.

Deuteronomy 26:9.    And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.

HAPPY  THANKSGIVING  DAY  CANADA!

 

Yes my people, it’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada! Glory to God! As the psalmist says: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps.118:24) In fact, all weekend we’ve been celebrating and doubly rejoicing. Why? Because we have been obeying the Lord’s ordinance, as delivered to the Israelites by Moses, bringing the fruits of our prosperity to offer it before the Lord, sending portions to the poor and offering succour to the stranger! 

And why wouldn’t we eh my brethren when ‘He hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.’ And does this great land of Canada ever flow with milk and honey? It surely does, because we are living so much better than most of the world. Oh, like everyone else, we have our problems, but thankfully we have not sunk as deep in the mire as some of the other countries around. 

We have not pushed God out of our society as much as they have. But if we continue on the wide and destructive path we’re currently on, we will eventually get like them. And the only thing that will stop us is by concentrating on staying on the straight and narrow path of Jesus; fomenting His LOVE Revolution, and thus keeping God first place in our society. And to do that successfully, we need all Christian hands on deck because it’s a formidable task, and no one else can do it, or is even interested in doing so.

Hn! Looks like I’ve preached the Sermon before the preamble. (smile) Anyway, the Holy Spirit knows where it’s leading me. And let’s not forget that today is Monday; the day so many of us LOVE to hate. And Glory be! It’s a holiday in this great land, therefore many of us won’t be going out to labour today… 

And I hear a great groan from those who have to go to work because our modern society runs 24/7. But as always, we do have the cure for your Monday Blues. We call it our Monday Morning Battle Hymn! And it does work. So let’s get to it nuh…with whatever enthusiasm you can muster. 

‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

And all God’s people continued with a loud, hearty and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord!’ as they feel their spirits miraculously lifted and their minds and bodies become more alert. Oh friends, that’s the power of the Holy Spirit; the worker bee of the Holy Trinity! And if we’re wise, we’ll pay more attention to Him as He tries to guide us in godly fashion, moment by moment. 

And as always, the loudest and most raucous voices belong to those not going to work and have been deeply involved in the celebrations. And before I forget, for all you celebrators, Granny’s warning is a must this weekend. Don’t care if yuh tired hearing it, but it will protect your soul! Sonny Boy; drunk or sober, please mind your business!  

Now getting back to the Thanksgiving story, here is some interesting scripture the Israelites were told by Moses to say and do after they had presented their offering of first fruits. ‘And now, behold I have brought the first fruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.’ (Deut.26:10-11) 

Yes friends, it’s our God-given right to enjoy the fruits of our labour with the poor and the stranger in our midst, but only after we have given the Lord His share first. Remember, EVERYTHING belongs to the Lord, and it’s only through His grace and LOVING-kindness that we are able to get wealth and become prosperous. So for those of us not going to work today, let’s rejoice and celebrate in the gifts God has blessed us with, but also remember to share our blessings with the less fortunate. Much LOVE!

…give thanks to the Lord…for His goodness endures forever…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 January 2016 Psalm 78:11

Psalm 78:11.    And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had showed them.

Oh friends, as I listen to the church bells peal in my mind this frosty Sunday morning, I am reminded of my youth, when the church bells actually did peal on a Sunday morning with a glorious invitation to gather at the Lord’s house to praise and worship Him, to give thanks for the past week, and pray for a safe and secure journey in the upcoming one. 

How sad that church bells no longer ring out on a Sunday morning eh? But I guess in our foolish, politically correct society that would disturb and encroach upon the rights of others. Ah Lord eh! And we wonder why our society is going to hell in a hand basket?  

But I’ll dwell, reminisce on the better days of old, when the church bells were a staple in our society and people were glad to hear them ring because it woke them up and reminded them that it was time for church. (smile) 

Now at one stage I lived fairly close to the church, so like most young people, I never hustled until I heard the last bell ringing, because it only took me a couple minutes to get there. And I’d get there just in time for the proceedings to begin. No waiting around, sitting on the hard pew benches, fidgeting and talking with your friends, only to be told to shut up by your elders. 

Hn! You couldn’t try that with the young people nowadays, instead they’d tell you to shut up. Steups! But I guess that’s what we call progress nuh.  

Anyway, on a brighter note, here is a gem from our friend Anselm, who always aspires to inspire us. ‘I realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go.’ 

And isn’t that a fact my people! The trees know that winter is coming and they don’t stand a chance of staying alive in the cold, mucky season if they want to keep all their greenery. So it’s all a matter of simple survival. Shed your leaves and go naked in the world for a few months if you want to stay alive, to fight another day.  

The same thing goes for us my brethren. If we want to run our race of life as smoothly as possible, then we have to give up, get rid of the baggage that’s dragging us down; be it friends, family, business associates or some activity, and keep God first place in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. 

We definitely cannot afford to do like the Israelites in our Bit did. ‘And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had showed them.’ 

But before we get into our Bit, I wonder how many of you noticed the mighty and wonderful work I did yesterday eh? In the middle of the Bit, I took the Israelites out of Israel instead of out of Egypt. Hn, Hn! What a mighty work! And I read the Bit at least three times before publishing it yes. Just goes to show that the ole fella is human after all and thus fallible. 

Anyway, let’s get to the story of the Israelites, their forgetfulness and unfaithfulness. Now yesterday we ended with them wondering if God, who had provided water for them in the wilderness could also provide food.  (Ps.78:20) 

What a bunch of selfish, lustful, ungrateful people! ‘Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth (furious): so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation: 

Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn (bread) of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full (food to satiation). He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. 

He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: And he let it fall in the midst of the camp, round about their habitations (dwellings). So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire.’ (Ps.78:21-29)  

Oh my people, our God is truly something else yes! Remember how the Israelites were murmuring and complaining in the wilderness about food, and the Lord sent them manna. But that didn’t satisfy them, they wanted meat, flesh. So the Lord rained down a torrent of quails upon them, so they ate until they were satiated. (Ex.16) 

I guess it’s like we do with our children sometimes: when they want some kind of food so badly, we give it to them until they are stuffed and uncomfortable and possibly get sick. That usually cures them of the greed and lust for that particular food. But the manna and quails did not satisfy the Israelites. 

For as Asaph continues: ‘They were not estranged from (deprived of) their lust (craving): but while their meat was yet in their mouths, The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest (stoutest) of them, and smote down the chosen (choice) men of Israel.’ (Ps.78: 30-31) 

Yeh friends, our God is not a skylarking God, but a serious deity. Yuh see before they could even finish eating the flesh of the quail, He struck down some of the mightiest men, because of their disbelief and unfaithfulness. (Num.11:33) 

But in spite of all that, Asaph declares: ‘For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. Therefore their days did he consume in vanity (futility), and their years in trouble.’ (Ps.78:32-33)  

Oh what a foolish, stubborn and hard-headed people! But please don’t laugh and try to put them down, because we are doing the very same thing now. God is trying to talk to us, but we’re not listening. We’re just interested in going our own way. He’s showing us signs and wonders, natural and man-made disasters, warning us of things to come if we deviate from His path. But we’re not paying any attention, because we’re too wrapped up in the lusts of our flesh. 

Oh friends, if God’s chosen people paid a most serious price for their disobedience, why do you think we won’t for ours eh? And I’ll leave us to ponder on that most vital question today. Much LOVE!

…he who doesn’t hear…will certainly feel…rest assured of that…