Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 November 2022 Psalm 122:1.

Psalm 122:1.        I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.

Once again friends, it’s time to gather round and lift up our voices and hearts in praise, worship and thanksgiving to our wonderful God! It’s Sunday, the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, that makes it the most important day of the week! Let us not forget His warning, in no uncertain terms: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) 

And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing today, beginning, as we always do, with a song of praise. Today’s song is a li’l ditty we all know and LOVE, titled ‘Crying in the Chapel.’ Most of us might know the Elvis Presley version, but there have been numerous versions down through the years since Artie Glenn wrote it in 1951 for his son Darrell to sing. However, it apparently languished in a desk drawer for two years until Darrell, while still in High School, finally recorded it in 1953 with Artie’s Band, the Rhythm Riders. 

From the time it was released it became a favourite, possibly because of the deep sense of peace and contentment it radiates. I believe Elvis’ version in 1965 was the biggest chart topper, but today we’re going to do a version by the First Lady of song, Miss Ella Fitzgerald. It’s a more light and airy, bluesy, mid-tempo, but still very soulful treatment, not as dark and dirge-like as some of the other versions. (smile) So let’s open our hearts and voices and lift sacrificial praise to high heaven. 

‘You saw me crying in the chapel. The tears I shed were tears of joy I know the meaning of contentment Now I am happy with the Lord. Just a plain and simple chapel Where humble people go to pray I prayed the Lord that I’ll grow stronger As I live from day to day I searched (I searched) and I searched (I searched) but I couldn’t find No way on earth to gain peace of mind Now I’m happy in the chapel Where people are of one accord (One accord) Yes, we gather in the chapel Just to sing and praise the Lord – 

Meet your neighbors in the chapel, Join with them in tears of joy, You’ll be happy with the Lord – You’ll search and you’ll search but you’ll never find No way on earth to gain peace of mind Take your troubles to the chapel Get down on your knees and pray Then your burdens will be lighter And you’ll surely find the way (and you’ll surely find the way) Yes, you’ll surely find the way.’ 

Oh my fellow believers that’s exactly why we are gathered here today in the Lord’s sanctuary; so that we can get down on our knees and pray, have our burdens lightened and find the way, which leads directly through Christ Jesus. Remember His fateful words. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:8) 

And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! No one can enter into the Father’s presence unless they first go through the Son, Jesus, for He’s the Father’s gate keeper. As the psalmist says of children in Psalm 127: ‘Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.) (Ps. 127:5) Yes, friends, that’s what Jesus does for His Father; speaks with the enemies that come to the gate and drives them off, unless they bow to His wishes. 

Now that’s where we come in. We were once enemies of the Father, but once Jesus arrived on the scene, His sacrificial death on the cross killed all enmity, brought reconciliation and forgiveness, and now we’re LOVING Jesus and bowing to His every wish. (smile) But on a more serious note my people, the words in today’s song ring oh so true that we can’t help but pay attention. Listen to them nuh: ‘You’ll search and you’ll search but you’ll never find No way on earth to gain peace of mind.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth! But when you turn to Jesus, then you’ll find the peace that passeth all understanding. That’s His peace. As He so clearly defines it. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) Wow! There’s no peace on earth like Jesus’! 

And the good thing about it is that you don’t have to stand on no ceremony to receive it. As the song says: ‘ Take your troubles to the chapel Get down on your knees and pray Then your burdens will be lighter And you’ll surely find the way.’ Yes friends, it’s that true and easy. Why yuh think Bruh David said in Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps. 122:1) 

And furthermore, it doesn’t have to be no fancy chapel, but ‘Just a plain and simple chapel Where humble people go to pray.’ Oh my, my! And what happened there eh? ‘I prayed the Lord that I’ll grow stronger As I live from day to day.’ Plain and simple, straightforward, heartfelt communication. And what was the result of that communication? ‘You saw me crying in the chapel. The tears I shed were tears of joy I know the meaning of contentment Now I am happy with the Lord.’ 

Ah mih people, there are no tears like tears of joy, because they just refresh our souls, wash them clean, and bring contentment. But all of that can only be achieved when one is in strong league with Jesus Christ. Please remember that. The world and its evil sinful self cannot offer it. And before we end, I want to point out one very important fact in the song. ‘Now I’m happy in the chapel Where people are of one accord.’ 

Oh my fellow saints, being of one accord, of one spirit, mind and agreement is ever so important in the Christian life. Bruh Paul thought it so important that he noted it in several of his missives to the churches. Like this one to the Philippians. ‘If there be therefore any consolation (encouragement) in Christ, if any comfort (consolation, solace) of LOVE, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels (affection) and mercies (sympathy). 

Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same LOVE (showing no partiality), being of one accord (united in spirit), of one mind (the whole church with the same values and goals). Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (selfish ambition or conceit): but in lowliness of mind (humility) let each esteem other better than themselves (regard his fellow Christian as more important than himself). Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others (be just as concerned for the needs and problems of one’s brother believer as for one’s own affairs).’ (Phil. 2:1-4) 

Yes friends, that’s how Christianity ought to work. It seems the church at Philippi overall wasn’t bad, but there was some disunity and lack of harmony, which Bruh Paul needed fixed for his joy to be complete in them. And oh, is there ever a great deal of disunity and disharmony in the current church of Christ, that He desperately needs fixed for His joy to be complete. So please, I implore us, for our children and their children’s sake, let’s get together seriously and sincerely nuh, and start working on narrowing our differences and divisions, many of which are selfish and petty and can be easily corrected if we truly want to be sincere saints of Christ. Much LOVE!

…nothing will warm the cockles of Christ’s heart…like His church truly being of one accord…                                                                                                                                

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   6 November 2022 Psalm 122:1.

Psalm 122:1.         I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. 

It’s the Lord’s Day my fellow believers! Time to gather in worship to celebrate and give praiseful thanks to the Lord our Creator and Provider, either by our physical presence in His sanctuary, or through technological means. Let’s not forget the Lord’s commandment re this day: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) We break enough of them, and this one is fairly easy to keep, compared to some of the others. And Bruh David puts it ever so nicely when he writes in the opening verse of Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) 

Yes friends, it ought to be a pleasure, a privilege, a duty to enter into God’s house to praise and worship Him with other believers. And there are several other passages of scripture that invoke the same sentiment, as Isaiah 2:3, Micah 4:2, and Zechariah 8:21. That means going to the Lord’s house to worship is extremely important. And so, as the ole people would say: ‘Matter fix!’ (smile) We’ve proved our point. But many around the country will be late and inconvenienced with the turning back of the clocks one hour last night to be in sync with the unnecessary daylight saving time ritual. 

Now, let’s turn to today’s song of worship, one titled ‘Heaven Help Us All, originally written as a soulful ditty, but with a gospel-infused sound, by Ron Miller in 1970 and made popular by Stevie Wonder. Today though, we’re going to do the Ray Charles/ Gladys Knight version. So it’s time to open up our harmonious vocal pipes in soulful sacrificial praise and let heaven know of our earthly plight. 

Singing: ‘Heaven help the boy who never had a home Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone And Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall Lord, won’t you help us all? Heaven help the black man if he struggles one more day Heaven help the white man if he turns his back away Heaven help the man who kicks the man who has to crawl Heaven help us all. (Chorus: Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call) 

Oh, yeah Heaven help the boy who won’t reach twenty-one And Heaven help the man who gave that child a gun And Heaven help the people with their backs against the wall Lord, won’t you help us all? (Chorus: Heaven help us all…when we call) Gladys – monologue: ‘I want everybody within the sound of my voice this evening to fall down on their knees and say a prayer; asking for His guidance, His grace, His mercy. You might want to say: Lord, Lord, Lord, have mercy! 

Now I lay me down before I go to sleep In a troubled world, I pray the Lord, the Lord to keep. Keep hatred from the mighty and the mighty from the small Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call. We need You Jesus so won’t you hear us when we call. We can’t do without You, so please hear us when we call. Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call.’ 

Ah mih people, we were so serious and sincere that I’m sure heaven heard our call! And do we ever need plenty of heaven’s help to handle the numerous heart-breaking and gut-wrenching problems we have down here on earth. But since it takes two to tango, it means that heaven alone can’t fix our many problems, we also have to be a major part of the solutions, just as we are a major part of the problems. That entails first of all getting ourselves right with God through prayer, repentance and thanksgiving, then LOVING each other as Christ said when He detailed the two greatest commandments. 

‘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) 

And that’s the gospel truth people! Until we start showing a li’l more reverence and LOVE to our great God, and also to our fellow human beings, none of the problems listed above will ever go away. Our world will always be filled with lots of strife, envy, greed, advantage, poverty, sickness, oppression and evil doing; all deeds espoused by our enemy Satan. And it’s not like we don’t know it, because many more of us are suffering from the negative effects of those things than are prospering from them. But it seems like the lure of sin in these disaster-filled times is greater than the appeal of godliness. 

So the majority of us continue to wallow in Satan’s mire of sin and evil, while only a relative handful fight the good fight on God’s behalf. The sad part is that there are many supposed believers who are not doing their part, either through fear or simple apathy, and thus are allowing the enemy to have his way with their lives. But if the billons, or even millions of us who call ourselves Christian were to truly stand up for Christ, get some belly and backbone, and fight the good fight, our world would never be in the shameful, evil state it’s now in. 

Ah friends, as I keep reminding us, the evil-doers, the iniquity workers are not going to improve our world because they have a vested interest in seeing it fall apart and sink into the devil’s quicksand. It’s only through us supposed believers that our world will ever get a chance to improve. Our generation has already made a mess of it, we can’t allow things to get any worse, otherwise our descendants will certainly end up living in a veritable hell right here on earth. If you think it’s bad now, just wait and see. 

In any case, many of us won’t be around to experience it, we might just be experiencing the real thing, like Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar, found in Luke 16:19-31. While here on earth the rich man enjoyed the good life but Lazarus sat poverty-stricken at the rich man’s gate. However, in the after-life, the rich man is in hell feeling the heat, begging Abraham to send Lazarus, now up in heaven, to dip his finger in some water and wet his tongue. But Abraham informs him that there is a great chasm or gulf between the two worlds, so no one can get from one place to the other. 

Then the rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to his five brothers, for maybe they would listen to one who rose from the dead and change their ways. But Abraham also nixed that request telling him that they have Moses and the prophets and if they would not listen to them, then they wouldn’t listen to one who rose from the dead either. 

My friends, that story ought to give us pause for thought. It came from Jesus’ lips, and He doesn’t make jokes over serious stuff. So, I would strongly advise that we all take it seriously and closely look at our lives in light of that tragic tale. It certainly can’t do us any harm, but it might just do us all a lot of good in the long run. Much LOVE!

…stand up, stand up for Jesus…the trumpet sound obey…till every foe is vanquished…and Christ is Lord indeed… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   28 August 2022   Ephesians 2:8.

Ephesians 2:8.      For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

My fellow believers, let’s come together right now, to praise, worship and give thanks to our great and wonderful God, for that’s the major reason He created us! Consequently, Bruh David could joyfully declare (chuh!!!) in the opening verse of Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ That’s where we’re supposed to be sometime this last Sunday in August of 2022. 

And besides being made to praise and worship God, the psalmist also declares: (yesss!!!) ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.’ (Ps. 107:8-9) That’s even more reason to praise and worship Him. 

And as always, we have a marvellous song of worship to open the proceedings. Today’s hymn is one of our very ‘favouritest’ (smile) aptly titled ‘Amazing Grace.’ It was supposedly written ‘to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day of 1773.’ by the sailor, slave trader, turned Anglican priest and abolitionist John Newton (1725-1807). The story goes that Newton, who was brought up in a Christian home rejected his mother’s teachings and became a real profane and wicked individual. 

However, during one of his voyages, a wicked storm (smile) enveloped his ship and threatened to drown them, but during the storm, his mind turned to Christ, and later, finding a New Testament he began reading it. And apparently Luke 11:13 changed his mind about being too wicked to be saved. ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?’ 

Now that’s a terribly important question. And the answer is the Lord will give us ever so much more than we can give our children! Obviously, Newton must have asked for the power of the Holy Spirit and the Lord granted it to him. And isn’t that just the way our Lord LOVES to work; take us up, rescue us when we are at our lowest point. It’s a perfect example that we can never fall too low for the Lord’s grace and mercy to reach us and pull us out of the evil mire in which we’re ensconced. 

Anyway, enough talk for now. If you didn’t know the general background of the hymn, now you know it, so let’s sing it in a soulful, harmonious, mid-tempo version. I hate hearing people sing it like a dirge, for it’s not a sad song but a happy one. A song of salvation should never be sad. So, with voices raised to the max, let’s offer up sacrificial praise, singing like we truly feeling the overpowering sentiments of the song. 

‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures. 

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, who called me here below, Will be forever mine. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.’ 

Ah mih people, that was marvellous! Heaven couldn’t doubt that we were sincere! And I particularly like this comment in an article on the song from the website Godtube. It says: ‘This song isn’t a song of theology – it’s John Newton’s own heartfelt expression of gratitude to God, who helped him turn from his profane and wicked life and eventually fight against the ills he practiced.’ 

Yes friends, it must be amazing when we can go from one end of the spectrum right to the opposite end! And although the song might not be a theological text (smile) it’s only God’s grace can cause that to happen. For as Bruh Paul wrote to the Ephesians: ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ (Eph. 2:8-9) 

And I guess Newton full well recognized that fact, having later become and Anglican priest, for in the song, he acknowledged this most important fact: ‘’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far. And grace will lead me home.’ And that’s for certain sure my fellow believers, for as James, Jesus’ brother tells us: ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness (variation), neither shadow of turning. Of his own will he begat us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.’ (James 1:17-18) 

Yes precious saints of Christ, everything good comes from our heavenly Father, who is immutable, doesn’t change. And as we said at the beginning, He made us, His most important creation to have fellowship with Him, to be the first step in His redemption plan for all creation. And as the song concludes: ‘When we’ve been here ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we first begun.’ 

Now isn’t that the glorious truth? It surely is! As long as there’s’ life in our bodies, physical or spiritual, we’ll always have occasion to sing the Lord’s praises, for that’s why we were made!  So, let’s remember that nuh and keep singing God’s most deserved praises each and every day of our lives as the Good Book instructs us to do. ‘O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise (glorify) him, all ye people. For his merciful (LOVING) kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord (shout Hallelujah!)’ (Ps. 117:1-2) 

And that only comes when we truly believe, and thus have the joy, the truth, and the grace of God moving majestically within us! Much LOVE!

…it’s never too late…or one’s never too far gone…to receive God’s grace…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 August 2020 2 Kings 2:8.

2 Kings 2:8.     ​And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 

‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Ah friends, what a wonderful scripture that is, and I wish it could be done without any fear of repercussions, medically and governmentally, (smile) but unfortunately many of us still can’t actually, meaning physically go into God’s house and fellowship together. But when has that ever stopped God’s people from celebrating His magnificence, from worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth eh?  NEVER! Celebrating God’s goodness and mercy doesn’t need a physical place to make it real. So for those of you who can once again gather together, good for you, the rest of us will keep on gathering virtually. (smile) 

And today we’re going to begin our celebration with what the website hymnary.org tells us is ‘one of the best known African American (Negro) Spirituals in Christian history,’ the one titled ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot.’ Hold on to yuh horses a minute mih pardner Scottie, because I know that this one of your favourites. (smile) 

Let’s hear some more good info from hymnary.org. ‘On any given day, reading any newspaper or watching any daily news show, it is not hard to become despondent about the state of the world. When our friends die of disease, or our children are bullied, we cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord, how long?” And yet (for the believer, there is always a “yet”), we make this cry knowing that we have a God who hears us and responds. We are able to call out the evils of this world for what they are, because we know something better is coming. We have hope in our own salvation, and in the renewal of God’s creation. 

Thus, when we sing this great spiritual, it is important that we do so not in an escapist mentality. While we eagerly await the day we see God face to face, we must trust that until that day comes, God is fulfilling His purpose on the earth through us. We can’t sing this hymn in order to run away from the hardship and the pain. Rather, we sing this hymn as an assurance that hardship and pain is not the end. Amidst all of our trials, we know what is yet to come, both in heaven and in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, and we wait for that day expectantly.’ 

I couldn’t have said it better. And would you believe that I listened to several versions by different people, in different genres, but had to come right back to the first one: a raunchy, rocking, reggae version by Eric Clapton done way back in 1975. And if we take the words above seriously, you’ll see that this ditty has got to be sung with passion and tempo and expectancy! So let’s do just that now nuh! As one harmonious choir, after the drum roll… let’s lick it up in scintillating reggae fashion – and remember the call and answer response (smile). 

‘(Refrain: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.)  I looked over Jordan, and what did I see, coming for to carry me home? A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] If you get there before I do, coming for to carry me home; tell all my friends I’m coming too, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] I’m sometimes up, I’m sometimes down, coming for to carry me home; but still my soul feels heavenly bound, coming for to carry me home. 

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home… coming for to carry me home… swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home… coming for to carry me home.’ 

Oh mih people, mih people, that was tres magnifique! All heaven was singing and dancing with us…including the Father and the Son, because the Father likes nothing better than a rollicking song of praise! Wow! And aye Scottie – I heard you loud and clear brother! (smile) 

And here’s some more good info from hymnary.org. ‘Considered by Erik Routley to be one of the “archetypal” (perfect or typical specimen) of African American spirituals, “Swing Low” welcomes death as the occasion “to carry me home” to glory. The text incorporates the imagery of “Jordan” and “chariot” from the Old Testament narratives of Elijah’s ascent into heaven (2 Kings 2). In spite of the “ups” and “downs” of earthly life (vs. 3 above), it is comforting for Christians to know with certainty that their final destination is the glory of a new heaven and earth.’ Now it couldn’t get any better than that friends! 

And for those of you who don’t know the story, and will not read 2 Kings 2, I’ll spoon feed us a li’l bit of it. (smile). ‘And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.’ (2 Kin.2:1) And it’s amusing that all the way along to Jericho, Elijah kept telling Elisha to tarry here at whatever town they came to. But Elisha refused and went with him all the way, even to the Jordan river. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets, who had told Elisha that his master would be taken away from him that day, which Elisha already knew, stood and watched them on the banks of the Jordan. (2 Kin.2:2-7) 

‘And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither, so that they two went over on dry ground. (2 Kin.2:8) Now after they got to the other side, ‘Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken away from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 

And it came to pass as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder (separated the two of them); and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes and rent (tore) them in two pieces.’ (2 Kin. 2:9-12) 

Thus Elisha got twice as much of Elijah’s spirit ‘so that Elijah’s God-empowered spiritual activity might continue after his departure through his successor. Obviously only God could grant such a request.’ That means there is still hope for all of us friends. So please, let’s keep looking to heaven, for who knows what we might see there and the resulting consequences thereof! Much LOVE!

…with God…ALL things are possible… 

Today​’s Scrip-Bit 24 March 2019 Revelation 4:11.

Revelation 4:11:   Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are (by your will they exist) and were created.
 

Sunday morning’s coming down friends…in fact, by the time you receive this missive, it will have already come down! (smile) But don’t worry, God’s great universe is unfolding as it should. But what else do we expect from the great architect and planner eh? Nothing less than things running the way He planned them. 

And so it is with us, His greatest creation: He planned us to worship and praise Him and pray to Him and receive answers to those prayers. He also stipulated that once a week we should lay down our labour and gather in His sanctuary to fellowship with other believers, and we have designated Sunday as our Sabbath, our day of rest and worship. 

So let me invite us to gather in the Lord’s house nuh. And let us be also glad, the way Bruh David was, when they invited him to go into the house of the Lord. (Ps.122:1) (smile) And as always, we’ll begin the proceedings with some praise and worship in glorious song! 

According to the Internet site ‘godtube,’ our song for today,’ To God be the Glory’ is a hymn with lyrics by Fanny Crosby and music by William Howard, possibly written around 1872, but first published in 1875. It soon became popular in Britain, but never had any success in the U.S until the 1950’s when it was added to the songbook of Billy Graham’s crusades. Now it’s one of our very popular hymns. 

And we can certainly understand why: Because it ‘celebrates the greatness of God and calls upon an appreciation for the wondrous things “He hath done.” It is a glorious hymn to be sung rejoicefully in the spirit of gratitude.’ And that’s no lie! So without further ado, let’s sing it nuh, in sweet, soaring harmony, rejoicefully, and most definitely in the spirit of gratitude! 

All together now: ‘To God be the glory, great things He hath done; So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, Who yielded His life an atonement for sin, And opened the life gate that all may go in. (Refrain Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice! O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.) 

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To every believer the promise of God; The vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives. (Refrain) Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done, And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son; But purer, and higher, and greater will be Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see. 

(Refrain: Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice! O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.) 

Oh friends, oh friends, that was beautiful! We sounded like the heavenly host that continually worships God. ‘The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are (by your will they exist) and were created.’ (Rev.4:10-11) 

O my fellow believers, is our great God ever worthy of tumultuous praise and worship, glory, power and honour! He certainly is! Just look at the marvellous things He’s done nuh! He LOVED us so much that He sacrificed His only Son, like a lamb on the cross at Calvary, so that His sinless blood could pay for the atonement of our sins! And with His resurrection, opened the gate of eternal life for anyone who believes on Him to enter into the halls of heaven! 

Wow! For that the Lord is certainly worthy of praise! And we ought also to rejoice over that perfect redemption performed by Jesus. And what a wonderful situation Jesus’ sacrifice caused, so much so that even the most disgusting offender is instantly pardoned once he sincerely believes! And in the doing of all those great things, our majestic God has also taught us great things! 

And if yuh think we rejoicing now through Jesus earthly work, just listen to Fanny’s words as she reflects those of the Good Book: ‘But purer, and higher, and greater will be Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see.’ Yeh mih breddren, the celebration now is incomparable to what it will be when we bounce up with Jesus face to face in the hallowed halls of heaven!  

Ah friends, that’s why Christians are supposed to be the happiest and most joyful people in the world! We have been accorded such wonderful privileges and blessings down here on earth, along with the faithful promise of more to come in the afterlife that our puny finite minds can’t even truly comprehend them! 

I guess that’s why so many of us drag ourselves around like we’re bearing the whole weight of the world on our shoulders. Sorry friends, Jesus has already assumed that position! You don’t have to go around feeling sad and sorrowful and beating up yourself any longer. Otherwise you’re just making a mockery of Jesus’ sacrifice. And I’m sure you don’t want to do that. 

So please, let’s lift our heads, hands and hearts to the sky and shout a loud, proud and grateful, ‘Thank You Lord! You are indeed worthy to be praised! We LOVE You and bless Your holy name! Amen! And again we say: ‘Amen!’ Now let’s go home rejoicing in the goodness and wonder of our great Triune God – the ONLY REAL and TRUE DEITY that exists! Much LOVE!

…the joy of the Lord…is the true believer’s strength…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 July 2018 Genesis 1:31.

Genesis 1:31.   And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Oh friends and fellow believers, it’s Sunday and consequently I am inviting us all to visit the Lord’s sanctuary some time today. And I do hope I get a welcome response like Bruh David gave when that same invitation was meted out to him a long time ago. ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) 

Oh my brethren, how many of us truly feel that way eh, truly are glad to go the Lord’s house on a Sunday? Or are we just going for going sake, just to say we went to church on Sunday? Now I know that some days we just don’t feel like getting up so early in the morning, on what’s supposed to be a day of rest (smile) getting dressed and trudging dutifully to church, but that’s not the right attitude for a true believer. 

We ought to be joyful to go and worship the Lord in fellowship with other believers, but oftimes the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak and we force ourselves to go with a half-hearted attitude. But yuh know what, that is better than making excuses and not going at all. Don’t worry, the Lord sees our hearts and knows what we’re going through and will suitably enliven us when we get to His house and get involved with the proceedings. 

But enough talk, let’s open as always with some worship, some praise and thanks to soften up our hearts and get us in the mood. And today we’re celebrating God’s wondrous work in nature. So let’s open up our mouths in sweet sacrifice as we sing the wonderful, age-old hymn penned by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) titled ‘All things bright and beautiful.’ 

Let’s sing it like we truly mean it friends: ‘(Refrain: All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.) Each little flow’r that opens, each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings. [Refrain] The purple-headed mountain, the river running by, the sunset and the morning that brightens up the sky. [Refrain] 

The cold wind in the winter, the pleasant summer sun, the ripe fruits in the garden: He made them ev’ry one. [Refrain] He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell how great is God Almighty, who has made all things well. [Refrain: All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them ALL!.)’ 

And did He ever my brethren! He made them bright and beautiful, wise and wonderful! Of every colour and every variety, each to serve a certain useful purpose in His wonderful world! And look at His reaction after making them nuh. The Good Book tells us in our Bit: ‘And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.’ 

Yes my people, after six long days of hard work, the Lord inspected His handiwork, and with a heartwarming sensation, saw that everything He had made ‘was very good.’ Chuh! What else would you have expected from our wise, mighty and ingenious God eh? Nothing less than amazing stuff! And I’m sure He was proud of His handiwork too. Who wouldn’t be proud of creating such an awesome, intriguing, totally interconnected and stellar universe! 

And today all I want to do is look at some scriptures that show His most prized creation, mankind, did and does appreciate the beauty with which He has surrounded us. Hear how Nehemiah puts it: ‘Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshipeth thee.’ (Neh.9:6) 

And Psalm 104 – God’s preservation of nature – is a wonderful tribute to God’s works. We don’t have the time nor space for all of it, so please read it for yourself. But here are some marvellous excerpts. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain…

Who laid the foundations of the earth. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away…He watereth the hills from his (upper) chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. 

He causeth grass to grow for the cattle, and herb (vegetation) for the service of man; that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart…He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down…O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches…’ (Ps.104:1-2, 5-7, 13-15, 24) 

Oh my brethren, the Lord thought of everything when He made the universe! You can’t find one mistake in it! That’s why He is God, and we are the sheep of His pasture who ought to be obedient to His commandments and worship Him in all sincerity and truth. So please let’s get a diligent move on in that direction nuh people; wisdom and common sense dictate it. Much LOVE!

…if you can’t admire and enjoy the Lord’s handiwork…then you can’t admire the Lord…nor enjoy communication with Him…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 April 2018 Psalm 9:7.

Psalm 9:7.   The Lord also will be a refuge (stronghold) for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

‘I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Oh my fellow believers, what better way is there to begin this first Sunday after Easter than with the encouraging words of Bruh David eh? None really! 

And I do hope that we all will be glad to go to the Lord’s sanctuary today to give Him thanks and praise and receive His awesome renewal of our souls and spirits through the reading of His word and our fellowship with other believers, so that we can continue to do His work with exceeding diligence and excellence in this evil and ungodly society. What a mouthful! (smile) But a truthful mouthful. 

And as always, we’ll begin with some praise and worship to soften up our hearts, so that the Lord’s word can quietly and easily seep into all its nooks and crannies and revive us. Glory to God my brethren, for there is none like Him! Therefore let’s raise our voices to high heaven in sacrificial praise as we sing the golden oldie hymn, ‘Rock of Ages.’ It’s a hymn based on the theme of refuge, and today we’re seeking refuge in our great God. 

All together now people: ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure. Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die. While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyes shall close in death, When I rise to worlds unknown, And behold Thee on Thy throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.’

Ah friends, there is no place of greater safety and refuge than under the mighty wings of our omnipotent God, as our Bit and the verse following it testify. ‘The Lord also will be a refuge (stronghold) for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord hast not forsaken them that seek thee.’ (Ps.90-10) 

Oh precious people of God, that’s gospel truth and wisdom to the nth level!  And Bruh David is talking about us there; the ones who wisely put their trust in Almighty God! Glory be my people! Now that theme of refuge and stronghold being found in God is a constant in Bruh David’s writings. Let’s look at some of them. 

In Psalm 32 – The blessedness of forgiveness, he powerfully proclaims: ‘Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about (surround me) with songs of deliverance.   Selah.’ (Ps.32:7) 

Meanwhile in Psalm 46 – God is our refuge and strength – Bruh David opens with this bold declaration: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present (an abundantly available) help in time of trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst (the heart) of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.   Selah.’ (Ps.46:1-3) 

Wow! What powerful and trustworthy sentiments my fellow believers! I do hope that all of us gathered here today can express them as sincerely and powerfully, for it is only when we have that kind of faith, trust and security in our heavenly Father, that we can walk this evil and cruel earth with true courage. 

And lastly, in Psalm 62 – God only is my rock and my salvation – Bruh David declares in no uncertain terms: ‘Truly my soul waiteth (waits silently) upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense (strong tower); I shall not be greatly moved (shaken)…In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.’ (Ps.62:1-3, 7).  

Yes mih breddren, Bruh David was very sure of the One in whom he placed his trust; the Creator and Controller of the universe. And likewise, so should we. But just in case we don’t, or we’re not sure, let’s take this wise and very timely advice from Bruh David. ‘Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.   Selah.’ (Ps.62:8) And that’s the indisputable truth! 

So let’s go home this morning refreshed and lifted up my fellow believers, with God joyfully filling every inch of our hearts, bodies and souls, as our heavenly Father desires. Much LOVE!

…wisdom, common sense and logic…all dictate that we put our trust…in the One who created the universe and all therein…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 March 2017 Psalm 95:6.

Psalm 95:6.   O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

Ah well mih people, it’s another beautiful day in paradise… 

And some of you look at me as though I’m crazy. Paradise, you ask? Can this world ever be paradise? Why not eh? It was once before, why can’t it be so again eh? 

For our information friends, with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ at the helm anywhere can be paradise! In fact wherever He is, it’s paradise! And the mere fact that He dwells within us, makes our souls paradise. 

What does paradise mean eh? In this context, simply joy and peace and contentment at a level that keeps away anxiety, stress, resentment, anger and all the many other negative emotions that are currently blanketing our world. 

It’s the peace that passes all understanding, the joy that comes from the Lord’s strength, and the ability to go through trials and tribulations without batting an eyelash. (smile) 

Oh we do feel the pain and other negative stuff, but it does not affect us the way it does unbelievers. We know that our wonderful God will bring us out safely, and better off too, on the other side. 

That’s what we have over unbelievers; the knowledge that our magnificent and magnanimous God is working everything out for out good. And once we surrender our souls to Him, place our sincere trust in Him, we can ride out any storm, for He is always there to lead and guide us. 

But therein lies the rub; mankind does not easily trust and surrender, especially to an invisible, non-physical Being. And even some of those who do submit to Almighty God, don’t submit everything, they keep some stuff back for them to control. 

But friends, our God does not delight in halfway or partway measures. He wants it ALL or NOTHING at all! And unfortunately too many of us refuse to give it all up to Him. Some have even gone as far as to challenge the existence of God. 

As Bruh David claims in Psalms 14 and 53 – The foolishness of men. ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…’ (Ps.14, 53:1) 

But friends, I’m here to tell us an entirely different story. I’m here to invite us to do as our Bit says: ‘O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.’  

My brethren, that is one of the best invitations you can ever receive! No wonder Bruh David solemnly declared in Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) 

And why is it so great and important to bow down and worship Almighty God eh? Listen up closely: ‘For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand (under His care).’ (Ps.95:7a) 

What better reason can there be eh friends? The Most High God Jehovah is our Maker, Our God, Our Controller and our Provider. So whom else should we pay allegiance to eh? NO ONE! That is if we are wise. 

And the psalmist continues with these words of wisdom. ‘Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation (rebellion), and as in the day of temptation (trial, testing) in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted (tried) me, proved me, and saw my work.’ (Ps.95:7b-9) 

Yeh friends, the Israelites tested and tried the Lord’s patience in the wilderness after He had so graciously and mercifully brought them out of four hundred years of bondage in Egypt. 

And as the psalmist continues: ‘Forty years long was I grieved (I was disgusted) with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err (go astray) in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.’ (Ps.95:10-11) 

Oh my people there is no better example of rebellion against Almighty God and the consequences that follow than the Israelites journey through the wilderness! Because they refused to obey His commandments they wandered for forty years until all those who had come out of Egypt died. None of them entered the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb. 

So friends, regardless of what mankind says, there is a God, a mighty One too! And if we don’t obey His dictates, we are going to pay some serious consequences, just like the Israelites. 

So with those wise words of warning, let’s go home declaring our Thursday Blessings. And please remember that a blessing is not a blessing until it has been spoken over someone. 

In full voice 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!’ 

Now if you believe it all, let’s go out and bless others! Much LOVE!

…if Jesus calls today…please answer respectfully…and listen wisely…