Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 November 2018 Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28:   Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

Sunday morning coming down, heading for the house of God, with hearts a flutter, souls and bodies flushed with excitement to hear His holy word, sing praises unto Him, and thank Him for the gift of fellowship amongst believers. What can be better than that eh friends? Nothing really! For sincerely worshipping God in company with other believers is one of the greatest experiences a Christian can attain on this earth! 

You really can’t put it into words, you have to be there to see and experience it for yourself.  So let’s have joyous fellowship this morning nuh, beginning with some praise and worship, through a hymn written in 1880 by Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909). And it’s one we all know and LOVE! 

And according to Wikipedia, Evangelist Dwight L Moody liked it so much, that once when he was in the hospital and Thompson came to visit him, he declared: ‘Will, I would rather have written “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling” than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.” Now that was truly praise for the song, because Moody did do a lot of good and godly things in his life. 

But nuff talk now, the Father and the whole host of heaven are waiting to hear our song of praise and thanksgiving. So let’s get soulful and trill it up in rich, harmonious voice and sincere hearts, causing tears of joy to flow down the cheeks of those up there. ‘Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me; see, on the portals He’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me. 

(Refrain: Come home, come home; you who are weary come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, O sinner, come home!) Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading, pleading for you and for me? Why should we linger and heed not His mercies, mercies for you and for me? (Refrain: Come home, come home…O sinner, come home!) 

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, passing from you and from me; shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming, coming for you and for me. (Refrain: Come home, come home…O sinner, come home!) O for the wonderful LOVE He has promised, promised for you and for me! Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon, pardon for you and for me. (Refrain: Come home, come home; you who are weary come home; earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, O sinner, come home…come on home!)’ 

Yes friends, we certainly stirred up the emotions this morning with a wonderful, soulful rendition of that marvellous hymn! Brother, the words are so realistic – I never really paid them that much attention before, but they do tell the story of Jesus and our sinful souls in living colour! 

And He’s just standing at the door waiting for us to come home to Him, like how the Father had an eye out for the Prodigal Son and ran and met him as soon as he came into sight. Hugging and kissing him, and not letting him get a word in edgewise. Yes mih breddren, that’s how Jesus is anxiously waiting to greet us! 

And yuh know most of us are weary and tired with this evil old world, so why are we tarrying and lingering when Jesus is calling us to come home eh? Let’s wisely heed His mercies, His promises, His pardon nuh for all the sins we’ve committed. There’s no better solution to our dark and damnable situation than that! And time’s flying by, not waiting on us, shadows are gathering and deathbeds are in the offing, so why not accept Jesus’ wonderful offer to come home to Him eh? No good reason whatsoever! 

And friends, I don’t know what scripture Johnson used to write that hymn, but believe me, I don’t think there’s a better and more appropriate passage in the Good Book than the Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.(Matt.11:28-30) 

Yeh friends, if you don’t know anything else about Jesus, that passage of scripture ought to have you looking towards Him for some answers to your sorrowful situation. How can you not consider it eh? No other supposed deity is so earnestly and tenderly calling you to come into their fold like Jesus is doing. All the other supposed deities want a whole lot of stuff from you, but all Jesus wants is your LOVE and your belief in Him. Yuh better believe He won’t have to ask me twice! (smile) 

So friends, what’s stopping you from coming to Jesus eh? Whatever it is, please don’t let it, because it’s not worth passing up Jesus’ invitation! Nothing on the face of this earth is worth that! Remember, the earth and all therein will pass away at some time or the other, in the Father’s time, but the LOVE and mercy and pardon and forgiveness enshrined in Jesus, which leads to eternal life will NEVER pass away! 

That’s gospel, gospel truth! It’s better than having plenty money in the bank or plenty material possessions, because those will rot and be destroyed over time, but faith and trust and belief in Jesus will last for eternity. So please, please, I implore you, come to Him today nuh; relieve yourself of your heavy burden and get some fruitful rest. 

Jesus is simple, but powerful, and also kind, LOVING and gentle! There’s so much you can learn from Him. And as He says, His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. That means you will not be asked to bare any heavy loads or toil till you’re totally exhausted. 

And John says it thus in his first epistle: ‘For this is the LOVE of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (burdensome).’ (1 John 5:3) And if anybody should know about Jesus’ commandments, it would be John, who spent so much time with Him and wrote so much of the New Testament. So don’t take my word for it, take John’s! Much LOVE!

…true wisdom is listening to Jesus…and doing as He asks…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 September 2018 2 Corinthian 5:7.

2 Corinthians 5:7.   For we walk by faith, not by sight.

And then it was Saturday; the day so many of us use to sleep in. I tried to do it, but it didn’t work, the aches and pains were too powerful. Hn! I went out yesterday evening, came home tired and went to bed early, so the body responded by being up early too. But them’s the breaks! What’s the saying? Early to bed, early to rise! 

So here we are, another week of work is over and we need to recuperate in just two short days. And it’s only if and when we’re walking wholeheartedly with Jesus that we can accomplish such a miraculous task. So please check Him out. He’s anxiously awaiting your call for help. 

And you can see that by the wonderful offer of His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28-30) 

Ah people, what an invitation! There’s never been any like it, and will never be another like it, because Jesus is the only Being who can promise such stuff and actually provide it. Glory to His Holy Name! 

Now since it’s Saturday, we ought to look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us, but unfortunately I only received one this week. But it certainly is interesting and good enough for us to build around. So here it is: ‘The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.’ 

And that’s the gospel truth friends! But you know why? Because as true believers in Christ: ‘We walk by faith and not by sight.’ Glory be mih people! It’s our faith in Christ Jesus that allows us to see the things that are not as the things that are. We don’t first have to see something to believe it. We believe it and then we see it! Glory to God! 

That’s why we have those magnificent verses of scripture from Hebrews that tell us: ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds (ages) were framed (prepared) by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (are visible).’ (Heb.11:1-3) 

Yeh friends, it’s faith that moves mountains; faith that allows us to believe what we don’t see, it’s through faith we believe that God spoke the world into existence from nothingness! And when we have great faith it can be counted to us for righteousness, like it was for Abraham. 

And then later on in Hebrews 11, we have that other famous verse on faith: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ (Heb.11:6) 

Oh my brethren, only through faith can one believe that God, the ephemeral, spiritual, almighty Being exists, because you can’t see nor touch Him. And I’d be amiss if I didn’t share the scholars’ thoughts on the subject. 

‘11:1. Verse 1 is not so much a definition of what faith is, as it is a description of what faith does. (cf.11:6). Two truths concerning its activity are stated here. First, faith provides substance (Gr. hypostasis). Though broad in its usages, this Greek word normally has the meaning of “assurance” in the New Testament  (cf.3:14; 2 Cor.9:4; 11:17) and this seems to be the best sense here. 

Second, faith provides evidence (Gr. elegchos). It is evidence in the sense of proof that results in conviction. The difference between assurance and evidence would be minimal were it not for the phrase qualifying each: of things hoped for and of things not seen. The first involves future hope; the second involves present realities that are unseen. 

The first includes the hope of the resurrection, the return of Christ, and the glorification of the saints. The second involves unseen realities, such as the forgiveness of sin through Christ’s sacrifice and the present intercession of Christ in heaven. Hope is faith relating to the future; conviction is faith relating to the present.’ 

Ah friends, I hope (smile) that that li’l treatise on faith helps you to understand it better. And to end, we’ll get some more immortal words from Bruh Paul, this time to the church at Rome, on the subject of hope. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) wait (wait eagerly) for it.’ (Rom.8:24-25) 

Exactly my fellow believers! If you can see something, there’s no reason to hope for it. But if you can’t see it physically, then there’s all the reason to hope for it! So let’s wisely hope for all the good things we can’t see nuh, and through faith, believe that we have them and with perseverance wait eagerly for them! That’s wisdom for the ages! Much LOVE!

…you can’t have faith…unless you first have hope…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 July 2018 Lamentations 3:22-23.

Lamentations 3:22-23.   It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Ah mih Scrip-Bit breddren another hot summer’s day is in the offing… But what do we expect eh? It’s summer! It’s supposed to be hot! We’re just a bunch of pampered, selfish people, who only want it to be the way we want it! It’s a good thing though that our God thinks differently. (smile) 

Anyway, it’s Saturday, so let’s get going with some really interesting quotes this week from our friend Anselm, who aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one says: ‘Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.’ And that’s no lie friends, for all the material wealth in the world cannot be compared to the figurative wealth, talking about wisdom and experience and simple joy that one gets from living a full and productive life. 

That brings us to this next quote that’s tied up with the first. ‘Life is short and the older you get, the more you feel it. Indeed, the shorter it is. People lose their capacity to walk, run, travel, think, and experience life. I realize how important it is to use the time I have.’ 

And is that ever so true! When we’re young, energetic and supple, we feel like time is there waiting on us, like we have oodles of it. But the older we get, the more restricted our bodies become and we realize that time’s not waiting on us, and we need to use whatever we have left in a big way. The old fogies like me, will recognize the ultimate truth in that statement. (smile) 

Therefore, one has to ‘Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.’ That also relates back to our first quote, because we all know that a life lived on the safe side does not produce any real joy and excitement, just a bland, so-so existence, and that’s not the kind of life that Jesus died for us to have. 

We were put down here to experience life, not merely go through the motions. That means we need to step out of our comfort zone and take some risks every so often; for that’s the only way we will ever grow, both in Christ and in the living world. 

And the last quote is rather eye opening: ‘Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms.’ 

Yes friends, if we could only see life through another’s eyes, we would not be as judgemental and cynical and repulsive and repugnant as we are. And only when we try to understand another’s position or circumstance can we have that wonderful trait called empathy, which is just another name for compassion. 

That brings us right to our Bit. ‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’ 

h mih people, it’s the Lord’s empathy towards us that has us breathing and experiencing another day in His world! That’s what Jesus had for us, that’s why he came and died to pay for our sins, and it’s the same thing we need to have for others, even though they may be different in many or all respects from us. And I want to finish the scriptures on compassion today, so let’s get right to it. 

And the first scripture comes from a parable of Jesus, one we all know and talk about but don’t practice nearly as much as we ought to, else life would not be as bad as it is. (smile)  That’s the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Levite and the priest, supposedly good and religious people, passed by the wounded man on the ground with nothing but a mere glance. 

Regardless of what excuses they might have had for their behaviour, in Jesus’ eyes, they were heartless, unsympathetic people. ‘But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.’ (Matt.10:33) And we all know the story of how he looked after him, took him to an inn and paid for his recovery. 

And the scholars offer a good explanation of the situation surrounding the parable. ‘10:33. Jews and Samaritans were bitter rivals (John 4:9). The Samaritans were despised for having at least partially Gentile ancestry (due to Assyria’s conquest of Samaria in 721 (B.C) and for having a different worship centre (Mount Gerizim; John 4:20). 

Thus Jesus’ parable was highly provocative. Samaritan was to Jesus’ hearers automatically a term of reproach. To portray a Samaritan as fulfilling the commandment (see v.27) (LOVE thy neighbour as thyself), but Jews as circumventing it, would be a supreme insult to the listening lawyer (v.25) and to the rest of the audience.’ 

Unfortunately though my brethren, that’s exactly how a lot of us supposed believers behave, while unbelievers offer more empathy, sympathy and compassion to their fallen brethren. And just like it shone a poor light on the priest and the Levite, it likewise shines a poor light on us. So let’s try and be more supportive of others nuh, regardless of their race, creed or class, because that’s what Jesus asks of, and expects of His followers. 

And we’ll end this series of messages on compassion with the most important scriptures of them all on the subject; Jesus’ Great Invitation to a suffering mankind. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28-30) 

Oh my people, my people, what a magnificent offer! No one else has ever offered such an invitation besides Jesus, because NO ONE else had, or has the ability to keep it! So please, I implore us, in these crazy times, let’s turn to Jesus and accept His invitation nuh, it’s the wisest decision we can ever make. And furthermore, let’s also try and get others to do the same, for it’s our bounden duty as followers of Christ! Much LOVE!

…the Christian life is all about…compassion…compassion…compassion…as per Jesus’ example…



Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 June 2018 Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28.   Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Brother! Everybody was early this Wednesday morning but me. I opened my e-mail and saw all sorts of messages there from an early hour, meanwhile I am just beginning to write the Bit at 10 o’clock. Hn, hn! But as they say, better late than never! 

I just had a long day yesterday with a doctor’s appointment in the city and that usually takes up the whole day. Had to do much waiting to see her too. But she was happy with my recovery schedule. That made it all worthwhile! 

Then, on my way home, I went to a church meeting and barbeque, more barbeque than meeting (smile), so by the time I did get home I was all bushed out. And the old bod doesn’t seem to recover as quickly as it used to, because this morning I had to fight it to get up. 

Tell me though, why is the early morning sleep so much sweeter than that of the nighttime eh? Perhaps it’s because we know that we have to get up, but deep down we don’t want to. 

Anyway, it’s Wednesday, and many of us are breathing a sigh of relief, knowing that we’ve reached the hump, the midpoint of the weekly work cycle, and we can now see some daylight ahead, while still yearning for Friday and the weekend. 

And I have to share these interesting and ever so true words from one of the Daily Bread Devotionals. And it says: ‘Prayer is the place where burdens change shoulders.’ 

Wow people! What inescapable truth! That’s one of the reasons why we pray. But please note, it is not the only, or even the most important reason for prayer. However, when we do pray for help from Almighty God, oftimes we can feel those burdens just lifted off our shoulders. That’s why Jesus offered His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ 

Oh friends, I know we recently did that scripture as our Bit too, but that’s where the Lord led me this morning. It’s as though He was saying that we are a stubborn and hardheaded people, so we need to hear the truth, the real truth, over and over again before we accept it. 

But my people it’s such a wonderful truth! Why do we have to hear it over and over before we accept it eh? We don’t have to hear lesser invitations from our fellow man over and over again before we rush to accept them. So why this reticence in accepting the greatest invitation ever eh? 

And that’s not all: Jesus explained why we should come to Him in prayer with our burdens. ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:29-30) 

Oh friends NO ONE else has ever ventured to offer such an exceptional invitation because they just didn’t have the ability to keep it. But Jesus did, and still does have that ability to take our burdens and give rest to our souls. If He bore ALL of our sins on the cross, why can’t He bear our lesser burdens too eh? No reason whatsoever! 

And hear Him (Jesus) later on, reinforce those words to a crowd of unbelieving Jews nuh. ‘I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise (certainly not) cast out.’ (John 6:35-37) 

And why would He cast us out, if He first invited us to come to Him eh? That makes no sense whatsoever! But friends, we first have to believe in Jesus and the role He came to earth to play, and believe strongly, so that we are able to surrender our all to Him. 

He doesn’t want just the parts of our lives that we are prepared to give Him, but EVERYTHING; our whole lives! From the simplest aspect to the most important Jesus wants to be involved in, otherwise He can’t do justice to His invitation. 

That’s why Jesus highlighted in the Beatitudes, in His Sermon from the Mount that you cannot serve two masters at the same time: ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon (earthly wealth).’ (Matt.6:25) ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt.6:33) 

So friends, I don’t know what else to say to make us consider putting ALL our trust in Jesus Christ, the ONE who sacrificed His sinless life on the Cross at Calvary, took ALL of our sins on His shoulders, so that we could be set free from ALL of our sinful baggage, for ALL time. 

But here are the words of a sinful man just like us, Bruh David, who even before Jesus came to earth wisely advised. ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit) the righteous to be moved (shaken).’ (Ps.55:22) And we do know how Bruh David lived up to that wisdom and was very successful in life. Maybe his staunch and faithful example might sway us this Wednesday morning. (smile) 

Now for those of us who sincerely believe, let’s go home declaring our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know of our position in Jesus Christ. Let’s wail mih breddren, in strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘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 as always, that glorious future ahead, just boggles the human imagination! Much LOVE!

…if you can’t accept God’s invitation without worry…whose then will you accept…man’s…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 January 2018 1 John 4:11.

1 John 4:11.   Beloved, if God so LOVED us, we ought also to LOVE one another.

And then it was Tuesday, the 2nd day of January 2018, and the festivities have been abruptly curtailed! Hn! It’s time to get back to the common task and daily grind, or however they say it. Reality has finally hit home! 

It’s time to go back to work and consider how we’re going to pay the enormous bills we’ve run up over the holiday season. Some of us are liable to drop down dead when we see the bills. But not to worry, whatever foolishness we’ve done can be rectified if we take it to Jesus. 

Remember His awesome invitation? ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28-30) 

Oh my people, no one in this great wide world has ever offered such a sincere invitation, with the power to back up every word. So if this morning you’re straining under any kind of pressure at all, the wisest thing you can do is take it to Jesus in humble prayer and supplication. 

He will NOT, will NEVER turn you away, for He’s also faithfully promised: ‘I’ll never leave nor forsake you.’ But He can’t do anything for you until you turn to Him and ask for His help. 

Now He might not just wave away your problems, although He has the power to do so, but He’ll surely show you a way to handle them without a backbreaking effort and give you the grace and mercy to see it all through. That’s His promise and He doesn’t renege on any of His promises. 

Remember too friends, that we’ve dedicated 2018 to be the Year of LOVE…and where does true LOVE come from, where is its fountainhead? Jesus Christ! And we’ve also declared that we only need ONE New Year’s Resolution; that of following Christ more closely than ever. 

Therefore, using all that simple logic, (smile) no rocket science involved, it’s easy to deduce that ALL wise roads lead to Christ, for He is the ONLY One who’s inviting us to bring our problems to Him, and the ONLY One who has the power to solve them, and/or take us safely through them. 

Oh, and don’t forget our motto: EACH ONE LOVE ONE! Yeh mih breddren, each and every day, we’re supposed to LOVE at least ONE person. But please don’t just stop at one, the more the merrier. That brings us to our Bit. ‘Beloved, if God so LOVED us, we ought also to LOVE one another.’ 

Oh my fellow believers no greater truth has ever been spoken. Remember all the LOVE began with God! He first LOVED us, and so much, that He sent Jesus to die for us. And as the scholars tell us: ‘4:10. No human LOVE is the standard for understanding God’s great compassion, but God’s own action on man’s behalf.’ 

And here is some interesting reasoning from John, as he continues after our Bit. ‘No man hath seen God at any time. If we LOVE one another, God dwelleth in us, and his LOVE is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the LOVE that God hath to us. God is LOVE; and he that dwelleth (abides) in LOVE dwelleth (abides) in God, and God in him.’ (1 John 4:12-16) 

Oh precious people of God, that scripture is so rich in nutrients, that I doubt we have time and space to pull them all out. But let’s see what nuggets we can get in what time we have nuh. Hear the scholars: ‘4:11-13. God’s character, through His Spirit, is to shape and progressively dominate the character of the believer. The Spirit of God imparts the will to LOVE.’ 

Yeh friends, all this LOVING business presupposes that you are a believer in Christ, and have received the life changing and saving gift of His Holy Spirit to dwell in you. Otherwise NONE of this will work. The Holy Spirit is the catalyst that raises up our LOVE quotient. 

‘4:15. This helps provide the context for rightly understanding verse 7 (our Bit from yesterday). Trust in Christ as the incarnate Son of God makes genuine, God-wrought LOVE possible’ Oh people, only through a sincere trust in Jesus Christ can we ever achieve the LOVE that comes from God. 

‘4:16. John, like Paul (1 Cor.13:13), stresses the supremacy of LOVE as a characteristic of God and therefore as a dominant characteristic of the true believer.’ 

And unfortunately my brethren, although we might talk a lot about LOVE, it just doesn’t dominate the Church of Christ and its followers as it should. That’s why we’re talking about it and trying to build our knowledge and thus sincere participation in it, for only as the true LOVE of God is present far and wide in our individual societies and our world, will they be any good.  

Now let’s go home declaring our Tuesday Mantra, telling the world who and whose we are. In strong, sincere voice now. ‘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 next step is to go out and action that last statement. Much LOVE!

…without the LOVE of Jesus in our hearts…mankind is just another mindless wild animal…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 December 2017 Psalm 118:5.

Psalm 118:5.  I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large (broad) place.

Oh my people, what else is going to mar the joy of this 2017 Christmas season eh? I’m talking about the rampant wildfires that are currently raging through Southern California with a renewed vengeance. As the old people would, say, when it’s not one thing, it’s another. And that’s the truth. 

The heartbreaking pictures of the sprawling devastation show us just how fragile and momentary our lives are. Can you imagine the terrible Christmas those people affected by those fires will spend? Ah Lord eh! Thankfully though, the loss of life doesn’t seem to be a major problem, for which we are very grateful. 

Friends, please, let’s do what we can to physically help them, but most importantly, let’s get on our knees and sincerely offer prayers on their behalf, as prayer is the greatest power on earth. 

And you know I wasn’t planning on using the Bit from the past few days today, but after writing that stuff above, I found that it was just so appropriate, that I had no choice. ‘I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large (broad) place.’ 

That’s the best, in fact it’s the first thing those people should do; call on the Lord God Jehovah seeking His grace, LOVE and mercy in their devastating time of need. It’s first thing WE ALL should do when we find ourselves facing difficult situations, but oftimes it’s the last thing we do. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for us to turn to the Lord first nuh; if it’s a matter of trust or simple disbelief, but that’s what His word says. 

Listen to His Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28-30) 

Oh my people, who else has offered such a magnificent and welcoming invitation eh? NO ONE ELSE! But yet we have problems in accepting it, and I really can’t understand why. All I can surmise is that we don’t truly believe God’s word, our faith isn’t strong enough, and we prefer to first put our trust in man, and leave God as a last resort. 

But that’s utter foolishness my brethren! For as the psalmist so strenuously warns and reminds us in Psalm 118, a few verses after our Bit: ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.’ (Ps.118:8-9) 

How much clearer can that be eh friends? Not much. But what’s our usual first response when trouble comes? We run to the phone or text a friend, or google the problem on the Internet. And if none of that works, then we cry out to God for help and expect it to come immediately. But unfortunately friends, our great God doesn’t work like that. 

He expects to be FIRST and FOREMOST in our lives, at ALL times, and in ALL situations! Anything other than that is unacceptable! Our first reaction should ALWAYS be to call on God, like Bruh David did in the opening of Psalm 4 – An evening prayer of trust in God. 

‘Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged (relieved) me when I was in distress: have mercy on me (be gracious to me), and hear my prayer.’ (Ps.4:1) 

Oh my fellow believers, as I keep reminding us, despite all his sinfulness and troubles, Bruh David knew on which side his bread was buttered, thus he continually called on the God of his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

And please note how he opens his prayer by acknowledging the righteousness of God, and then remembering all the times that the Lord had previously helped him, and then on those bases, pleading for help in his current calamitous situation. 

We should be doing likewise in our time of adversity, but all too conveniently and foolishly we forget the times when the Lord helped us, and get angry when His help is not immediately forthcoming. 

Friends, we can’t want a better example than Bruh David in terms of prayer and praise. He was a man just like us with a sinful nature, but he kept crying out to God in ALL situations, and wonder of wonders, the Lord called him a friend and a man after His own heart. 

If we sincerely trust and rely on the Lord God Jehovah in ALL that we do, we too can look forward to being called a friend of God, and a man or woman after His own heart. To me, that is the greatest accolade we can ever receive in this life, and is something I’m trying to work toward. 

But in the meantime I’m also going to enjoy the blessings He’s so generously bestowed on us, as listed in our Thursday Blessings. And since there is power in our words, let’s declare them with much enthusiasm, sincerity and truth nuh. 

Loud and proud now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! 

I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Oh friends, what a magnanimous and magnificent God we serve! Give Him the thanks and praise He so rightly deserves, and follow His desires, as we go out and share those wonderful blessings with others today. Much LOVE!

…who is Number ONE in our lives…and who are we going to call on FIRST…the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…


 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 October 2017 John 15:13.

John 15:13.   Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Oh friends, what a sick, crazy, evil and ungodly world we’ve become eh! Everyday is some new disaster, either man-made or natural! 

And the latest is the killing of some 59 persons in the glitzy tourist town of Las Vegas, and the injuring of hundreds more participating in a country music festival across from the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Vegas Strip. 

The killer, a supposed quiet, retired, ex-accountant apparently had numerous weapons in his room on the 32nd floor of the hotel and just began firing indiscriminately through the window at the crowd. Obviously the crowd of over 20 thousand stampeded, which only made matters worse. 

And the sad part of the matter is that Isis, the Islamic State terrorists, boldly claimed responsibility for the attack, although no association or any other grounds for the claim could be justified. That just goes to show how sick our society really is, when we claim other people’s destructive behaviour as ours, without a shred of evidence. 

But enough of the bad news, here is some good news; good news about a wonderful friend we have, His name is Jesus. This comes from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional. We’ve prayed it before, but we need to be reminded of it again, especially in these rough and anxious times. 

It’s titled ‘What a Friend!’ Please pray with me. ‘You have never failed, Lord, to be my one, essential, intimate friend. When I was: Lonely in striving – you encouraged me. Lonely in struggling – you lifted me. Lonely in serving – you supported me. Lonely in suffering – you comforted me. Lonely in sinning – you forgave me. Lonely in sinking – you renewed me. Lonely in succeeding – you rejoiced with me. What a friend I have in Jesus! Thank you, Lord. Amen.’  

And those words are ever so true my fellow believers! There is no greater and more faithful friend in this world that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Wow! What a majestic and mighty individual He is! He died for us, paid our sin debt in full, when He didn’t have to. That alone makes Him the greatest friend ever! 

And as he philosophized in our Bit: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ Then my brethren, He went out and proved it, enduring some of the worse ‘sufferation’ known to man, all on our behalf. So how can He not be our greatest and best friend eh? 

However, there is a proviso, as He stated after our Bit. ‘Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.’ (John 15:14) Yeh mih people, if we don’t do what Jesus desires, if we’re not obedient to His will, then we’re no friends of His. To be His friend, means to do what He requires of us. As simple as that. 

And hear this verse following those other two. ‘Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.’ (John 15:15) 

And right there you have a couple of the main definitions of the word friend; sharing and trusting. Jesus so trusted His disciples, that He shared all the information that His Father had told Him. Consequently, He’s also sharing that info with us today, my fellow believers. 

He’s telling us all about the life God has planned for each and every one of us through His death, resurrection and ascension.  Right now he’s sitting at the Father’s right hand, advocating, pleading our cases to Him. How much more friendship can we need or deserve eh? 

But Jesus is so wonderful, that He doles out even more, through His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek (gentle) and lowly (humble) in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28-30) 

Ah mih people, what a glorious invitation! That from a sinless man who died so that we could live eternally, then sits in heaven pleading for us. Hn! We’d be rather foolish not to accept His friendship and His invitation to join Him in the magnificent and joyful halls of heaven! 

And to round it off in fine style, let’s end by declaring our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are – believers in, and friends of Jesus. 

With much gusto and sincerity now. ‘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 let’s go out and tell the good news story of Jesus and share His LOVE with the world, as He desires of us. Much LOVE!

…oh how wonderful it is…to have Jesus as our best friend…there’s none more faithful…trustworthy…kind and LOVING than Him…

P.S. Please pray for the ole fella this morning as he goes into the city to do a heart biopsy procedure. It’s a fairly safe and common procedure, but a li’l prayer never hurts and oftimes helps. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

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