Today​’s Scrip-Bit 14 April 2019 Exodus 20:8.

Exodus 20:8.    ​Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
 
Hello there my people, it’s Sunday, the day we set aside for fellowship, praise and thanksgiving in the Lord’s sanctuary. And today is a special Sunday, one we call Palm Sunday, where we celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, like a king, with the people throwing their clothes and palm branches in the road for Him to ride on and joyfully shouting: ‘Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.’ (Matt.21:9) 

Yes friends on a beautiful Sunday like today, two thousand years ago, they welcomed Jesus as a king and conquering hero, but one week later they were howling like crazy for His blood to be shed on a wooden cross! Hn! That’s the fickleness of ungrateful and unfaithful man! Anyway, we’re not going to get into the Palm Sunday routine today because everyone else is doing it, and here on the Bit we try to be a li’l different from the rest. (smile) 

And as we are wont to do every Sunday, let’s open the proceedings with a song of praise and worship. Today’s ditty is called ‘In the midst of the rain,’ taken from the Bebe Winans album titled ‘In Harm’s Way.’ It’s a beautiful Christian, soulful ballad, so let’s raise our voices in song and do it justice nuh: 

‘Every time I lift my eyes to the sky, I’m reminded of a time in my life, When all the dark clouds hung over me, I was lost inside, in search of a key. I remember LOVED ones being so kind, Saying things would get much better with time. And I admit sometimes they did for a while, And then I’d find myself back under the cloud. 

(Chorus: Right in the midst of the rain, My heart was so full of pain. Jesus, You came and rescued my soul, And then your LOVE took control. Right in the midst of the rain, You caused me to smile again. My life was awesomely changed, Right in the midst of the rain.) 

When it comes right down to just you and me, There’s nothing better now that these eyes can see. And tell me what compares to all that you are? You are everything, yes my morning star! My mind, my heart and soul I now give to you. I’m under your command so what can I do? Cause I surrender all, all that I owe, And will follow wherever you go. (Chorus) 

There will never be another, Cause You’re nothing like the others. This LOVE I find in you, I found to be true! Right in the midst of the rain, My heart was so full of pain. But Jesus, You came and rescued my soul, And then your LOVE took control. Right in the midst of the rain, You caused me to smile again. My life was awesomely changed, Right in the midst of the rain.’ 

Oh friends isn’t that beautiful! The words are marvellous, filled with awesome truth and our sweet, powerful and harmonious voices raised to heaven did it immense justice! All heaven had a tear escaping because of our heartfelt rendition! And how could it not be heartfelt eh, with touching situations like Jesus rescuing our souls right in the midst of a terrible downpour, when we feel so lost and alone? And having done that, then His amazing LOVE simply takes control of our lives and leads us down the right path, the straight and narrow one. 

All power and praise and glory be to out wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the name that’s above every other name, to whom ALL knees will eventually bow! Yes friends, He certainly deserves all the pomp and glory with which we honour Him! 

However, I want to turn our attention to another important subject, one that we don’t seem to keep and revere as we ought to. I’m talking about the observance of the Sabbath. Now that’s always been important to our God, and it still is, but with man’s growing arrogance and prideful ways, the sabbath is constantly being diminished in our lives.

 Hear God’s commandment to the Israelites from the early days, even putting it in the Ten Commandments: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ (Ex.20:8-11) 

Yuh see friends, God gave us seven days in a week, but we ought to work only six and rest at least one every week, the way He did when He created the universe. I believe the Israelites took it to the extreme, taking every little thing as work, and ranting on Jesus when He healed a woman on the Sabbath. So Jesus had to smarten them up. 

‘The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass (donkey) from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed (put to shame): and all the people (multitude) rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.’ (Luke 13:15-17) 

Yes friends our God is not that strait-laced to expect us to do absolutely nothing on a sabbath! We just should not engage in too much stuff that not’s restful and pertaining to Him. And the scholars offer this explanation of the above verses: ‘13:15-17. Jesus makes His point well. But there remains in every generation the temptation for traditions and programs to take priority over people.’ 

So true that my people! No wonder Jesus had to inform the rulers of His time that ‘The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.’ (Mark 2:27) And as the scholars tell us: ‘2:27-28. Jesus’ reasoning is that divine institutions on earth are to have a God-honouring, noble, and liberating function. Sabbath laws had for some degenerated into a mockery of God’s intent.’ 

And so it also has in our time. But please note that if we honour the Sabbath. ‘Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places (hills) of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ (Is.58:14) That’s God’s promise friends! Much LOVE!

…honour the sabbath…and the Lord will honour you…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 March 2015 Psalm 25:12

Psalm 25:12.       What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.

Well Friends, once again we’ve come around to Sunday; the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, the day of rest and fellowship, the Sabbath Day?And what does the Good Book say about it: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Ex.20:8) And that’s otherwise known as the 4th commandment. And what did the Lord do to it? ‘The Lord blessed the Sabbath and hallowed it.’ (Ex,2011b)

Yes my people, the Lord blessed the Sabbath and made it holy, which makes it a special day, one in which we should show bountiful respect and reverence to Almighty God, our Creator and Strong Provider!

And we usually do that by resting, by spending time with our families, as well as congregating to worship and fellowship with other believers in the Lord’s sanctuary, or wherever it’s safe and appropriate. That’s where we get our spiritual batteries recharged and replenished, and our faith, courage and confidence strengthened, so that we can handle another week of work and whatever else comes our way.

And strangely enough, possibly through God’s mysterious workings, I was just reading an article on the Sabbath, and the author was saying that a lot of stuff, of illness that we’re diagnosed with is technically inaccurate, for our basic problem is rest. We don’t rest enough, neither do we observe the Sabbath day as much as the Lord would like us to, that’s why we’re so stressed out, impatient and angry.

And he does have a point, for before almost everything was running 24/7, and we wanted everything now for now, we had time to rest, to fellowship with other believers and to spend fruitful time with our families. We won’t that stressed or impatient – in fact stress wasn’t even a high subject on our radar screens as it is now – because our souls, bodies and spirits had adequate time to rest and be renewed.

I remember when I first came to Canada, some forty odd years ago, nothing much opened on a Sunday and sports events began sometime in the afternoon, so that everybody had a chance to go to church and possibly have family time together.

Unfortunately though, a generation later, all of that has changed. Almost everything now is opened 24/7 and thus we’re too busy or tired to go to church, or even communicate with our immediate families, unless it’s by one of the many new forms of social media.

What a sad state of affairs my brethren! Nowadays, families, or rather households seldom eat or gather together like families. We’ve forgotten the old adage that families that eat and play together, stay together.

Oh Friends, I don’t know how we can successfully get back to reuniting the smallest and most important group of our society, the family. But I do know that if we don’t try and revive it, as well as rest and rejuvenate ourselves properly every week, our society is just going to keep going to hell in a hand basket, as it currently is.

So for all our sakes, I implore us to start getting back to the old meaning of family nuh. Well there really is only one true meaning of family – a LOVING, caring, responsible, energizing, encouraging, tightknit unit of society.

It’s obvious we can’t shut down most of the stuff that’s now open seven days a week, but we can certainly put forward greater efforts to make time to be together, both as blood families and church families, especially on the Sabbath day, so that we can at least keep one of the Lord’s commandments in this evil and ungodly world.

And the good, or rather great thing about it all, is if we do that, then the Lord will teach us what he wants us to learn, as our Bit declares: ‘What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.’ Gospel truth that, Friends! For the Lord will gladly teach His ways to anyone who truly revers and respects Him. Why wouldn’t He eh?

And Bruh David continues after our Bit: ‘His soul shall dwell at ease (in goodness); and his seed (descendants) shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear (reverence) him; and he will show (cause them to know) his covenant.’ (Ps,25:13-14)

That’s simple logic my brethren, for we all behave like that with earthly organizations and earthly leadership, by gladly teaching our ways to those who desire to follow us. And we’ll close with these beautiful sentiments on the subject from Psalm 31, where Bruh David declares his trust in the Lord.

‘Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence (the secret place) from the pride (plots) of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion (shelter) from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord: for he hath showed me his marvelous kindness in a strong city.’ (Ps.31:19-21)

Yes Friends, that’s the kind of awesome protection and help we have to look forward to when we place our faith and trust in Almighty God!

So please let’s show some wisdom by returning to His fold if we have left it, or by simply strengthening our belief in His power, faithfulness and unconditional LOVE for us, so that we can step out in faith and do a better job for Him than we’re currently doing.  That’s truly wisdom from heaven. Much LOVE!

…trust and faith in Jesus don’t come easily…but when they do come…the rewards are wonderful…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 May 2014 Luke 4:16

Luke  4:16.     And he came to Nazareth. Where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

And then it was Sunday – the first day of the week! Yes Friends, the day that we believers use to get up close, comfortable and personal with our omnipotent, but ever so magnanimous and generous God, by extending much praise and worship to His divine majesty!

Wow! What an awesome privilege! But please note that I said the first day of the WEEK, not the work-week, for they are two different things.

Sunday is the day we prepare ourselves with joyful worship to start a new week on the right foot, in a relaxed atmosphere with other believers, so that when the alarm goes off on Monday morning, the first day of the WORK-WEEK, we’re not tired, miserable and disjointed. We rise with a preparedness, with a high energetic level, which sets the standard for the rest of that day, and also for the rest of the week.

Oh my people, to be ready for whatever Monday brings, we have to start preparing from Sunday. And the best place to begin that preparation is in God’s house, listening to His Word, and bringing down, or rather raising the roof with songs of praise, thanksgiving and worship!

In other words, the best way to greet Monday, is by going to church on Sunday! (smile)  And this behaviour of going to God’s house on the Sabbath day is best exemplified by none other than our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Listen up as our Bit informs us. ‘And he came to Nazareth. Where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.’

Now the overriding words in that sentence my brethren, are, ‘and, as his custom was.’ That tells us that wherever Jesus found Himself on the Sabbath day, He made sure and attended the synagogue to praise and worship with others of His faith.

And remember what the scholars told us recently: ’12:3-4. Though chapter 11 (of Hebrews) provides many champions for believers to emulate, the supreme example of endurance (and all else) is Jesus Himself.’

Consequently, using that undeniable logic, (smile) if Jesus could make sure that He was in His Father’s house on the Sabbath day, then why should we, His ardent and true followers be any different eh mih bredden, when He is our guide and esteemed leader? No reason at all my people!

Our God did not establish His house, His sanctuary, for no good reason. There’s always a legitimate purpose and reason behind anything our heavenly father does. And His house was established as a meeting place for His followers, so that they could glorify Him as one big family.

And as Jesus so rightly declared when He threw out the moneychangers and other business people from the temple: ‘It is written, My house shall be called the House of Prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.’ (Matt.21:13)

Mark also tells us about Jesus’ habitual presence in the synagogue on the Sabbath. ‘And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.’ (Mark 1:21)

But Friends, Jesus wasn’t the only man of faith to make it a regular habit to visit God’s house on the Sabbath. Listen as Acts describes Bruh Paul and Barnabas’ actions at Antioch. ‘But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.’ (Acts 13:14)

Now hear of Bruh Paul in Thessalonica: ‘Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner (custom) was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.’ (Acts 17:1-2)

Note Friends, the Good Book specifies, ‘as his manner (custom) was.’ And he spent three Sabbaths there reasoning with them on the scriptures.

And though we’ve been talking about the House of God for worship and prayer, a building or a tent, or some physical structure isn’t necessary for prayer and worship, the true criteria is basically wherever God’s people choose to congregate. As Jesus said: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20)

And a good example of that is also found in Acts, where Bruh Paul is in Philippi. ‘And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a riverside, where prayer was won’t to be (customarily) made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither (met there).’ (Acts 16:13)

And the scholars offer this info: ’16:13. Jews often gathered by a riverside on the Sabbath when their community lacked enough Jewish males to establish a synagogue. Since the institution of the synagogue is usually dated with the Exile (as in Ezek.11:16), this practice may also have arisen from Ezekiel (1:1; 3:15).’

So Friends, it’s obvious that gathering to celebrate and worship our God is essential for our wellbeing on at least one day in seven. Now that isn’t too much to ask, is it? If God could rest from His labour of creation on one day to admire His handiwork, then so can we rest on one day to give Him praise and thanks.

So the obvious inference from all of that my people, is that we should get up and go to church today, and if possible, every Sabbath day. For in that rests heavenly wisdom. It’s so good for both the body and the soul! Much LOVE!

…one day…only one day the Lord asks for…to rest and pay special attention to Him…and only Him…therefore…remember the Sabbath day…to keep it holy… (Ex.20:8)