Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 October 2020 Hebrews 9:22.

Hebrews 9:22.     Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.

Well faithful soldiers and saints of Christ, that big day, the day of the Lord is here again, calling us to praise and worship in whatever way we can. And this Sunday is Thanksgiving weekend here in luverly Canada, so there is no better time than this to ramp up our thanks and praise to Almighty God, our Creator and Provider, who has done so much for us, a bunch of poor, pathetic, undeserving sinners. 

And also, there’s no better song to sing today than this one which talks about our greatest gift from God; forgiveness of our sins through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. That precious fountain of blood which flowed from Immanuel’s veins and paid for our awful debt of sin, for evermore. And the official name of the hymn was ‘Praise for the Fountain opened.’ But now it’s generally known by its first line. ‘There is a Fountain filled with blood.’ It’s based on the Old Testament verse from Zechariah 13:1, re the cleansing of Jerusalem. ‘In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness.’ 

But before we get into this beautiful old hymn, let’s get a li’l background on it and its writer, William Cowper, an English poet of great renown. (1731-1800) Born to an English clergyman father, physically frail and emotionally unstable, which the death of his mother at six further complicated. He studied law, but when called to the bar he experienced a panic attack which led to a mental breakdown and attempted suicide. That consequently led to a stay in a mental asylum. 

It’s claimed that during that time, while reading the Bible, he came across Romans 3:25 that Jesus Christ is “set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” And through reading of the Scriptures, Cowper realized his need for a Savior and the need for forgiveness of sins. Consequently, in 1764, at the age of thirty-three, he dedicated his life to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Bouts of depression, melancholia and attempted suicide apparently peppered his life, but they say that ironically some of his best hymns were written during those times. And wonder of wonders, whom do you think he linked up with later in life – the one and only John Newton, the slaver turned Anglican Pastor, and writer of ‘Amazing Grace.’ And they teamed up over the years to write ‘The Olney Hymns’ Hymnal, (349 hymns) named after the town where Cowper and Newton were then living. 

Just more amazing instances of the Lord’s mysterious movements in getting His work done, through rather unlikely people. That’s why the Good Book says: ‘But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound (put to shame) the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound (put to shame) the things which are mighty.’ (1 Cor. 1:27) 

So let’s get to it now nuh: in full, soulful and sincere voice, in a slightly rocking tempo, like the live worship video done by the band, Shane and Shane, let’s offer up our sacrificial praise. No dirge like music this Thanksgiving weekend, especially for such a wonderful gift from our Creator. 

‘There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel’s veins; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains: Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains. The dying thief rejoiced to see That fountain in his day; And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my sins away: Wash all my sins away, Wash all my sins away; And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood Shall never lose its pow’r, Till all the ransomed Church of God Be saved, to sin no more: Be saved, to sin no more, Be saved, to sin no more; Till all the ransomed Church of God Be saved to sin no more. E’er since by faith I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply, Redeeming LOVE has been my theme, And shall be till I die: And shall be till I die, And shall be till I die; Redeeming LOVE has been my theme, And shall be till I die. 

When this poor lisping, stamm’ring tongue Lies silent in the grave, Then in a nobler, sweeter song I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save: I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save, I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save; Then in a nobler, sweeter song I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save….I’ll sing thy pow’r to save…’ 

Oh my people, what truthful and most magnificent sentiments! The precious shed blood of Christ is the greatest thing in this world, because it is the only thing that can take away our sins, when, like the thief who died on that fateful day with Christ, we come to the cross and let that crimson blood cleanse us white as snow! Mama Mia! No other faith can match the power of Jesus, because He is the Son of the One True God Jehovah! 

And interestingly enough there’s a book titled ‘Immanuel’s Veins,’ by Ted Dekker. The author apparently says that Christ bled on the cross for us…’For the heart of man.’ And talking about ‘Immanuel, God with us – that he would leave the spiritual realm and be present in flesh and blood in such an act of humility is a staggering notion.’ And it surely is! ‘He willingly gave His blood, in the flesh, so that others might find life, for it is written: “He did not come by water only, but by blood” (1 John 5:6), and ‘Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.’ (Hebrews 9:22). 

This why blood is required for us to have life. And He didn’t give ‘just enough to satisfy the requirement, to fulfill a covenant or agreement? No. He gave it all. He gave His life. For us. Because He LOVED us.’ Yes friends, Jesus sacrificed His sinless life because He LOVED us. As Isaiah tells it: ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us have turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ (Is. 53:5-6) 

And He did it all for LOVE, my brethren! That just goes to show the awesome power of LOVE! And I guess it’s appropriate here to quote the most important verse in the Good Book; the raison d’etre for it all: ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) And that’s why Jesus said the greatest commandment is to LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, body and soul, and the second is to LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. (Matt. 22:37-39) 

Consequently, if we don’t have LOVE, and show LOVE, then we are not true followers of Christ! Much LOVE!

…from the creation…to the revelation…it’s all about LOVE… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 June 2017 2 Corinthians 5:21.

2 Corinthians 5:21.   For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Aye mih breddren, Saturday has rolled around once again! What are your plans eh? I know I’m not planning to do much of anything productive. It will be mostly a day of rest and relaxation, especially if it’s another nice one like the last few. And it’s supposed to go up to around thirty degrees Celsius. 

Mama yo! Many will now complain that it’s too hot, and the a/c will be blasting cold air. But many others will also break out the sunscreen lotion and work on their tans. It’s a good thing that my tan is natural yes, I don’t have to work at it. (smile) Thank You Lord! 

Anyway, since it’s Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm offered this week nuh, in his marvelous effort to inspire us to aspire to a better tomorrow. Hear this one: ‘Without action you aren’t going anywhere. An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.’ 

And is that ever so true and rather appropriate to our Christian faith my brethren, because we’re certainly doing more talking, more preaching, rather than putting the preaching into action, as is most necessary in this lost and evil world. 

Then he tells us: ‘Forgive and let it go. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.’ I guess you have to be strong to be able to forgive and let go of hurts inflicted by others. And the eye for an eye thing will certainly make the world blind. 

What did Jesus have to say about the blind leading the blind? ‘And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’ (Matt.15:14) Gospel truth that! For Jesus doesn’t lie. 

This next quote is a bit touchy. ‘You are in control. Nobody can hurt you without your permission.’ Technically speaking it’s true, we allow others to hurt us. But when someone does dreadful things to us, it’s not that easy to say ‘I won’t let them hurt me,’ and just turn off the hurt. 

The penultimate quote advises: ‘You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.’ The only problem there is that our current ocean of humanity has much much more than just a few dirty drops in it. 

And I’ve left the best for last. ‘A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.’ More gospel truth friends! And there’s no better example of that than our own Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

Just look at all He did for us nuh, all the ‘sufferation’ He endured on our behalf, and from then to now, He’s never gotten the plaudits He so rightfully deserves. But he didn’t do what he did for praise and glory, but for LOVE! Can you imagine it? Hn! Most of our leaders today are simply out for their own glorification. 

However our Bit declares of Jesus: ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’ 

The Father really put Him between a rock and a hard place, but He did what He had to do without a lot of complaining. No, it wasn’t easy, even for Him as the Son of God, but it’s what the Father desired, and He wanted to please the Father. Oh, how I wish that more of us supposed Christians could feel the same way; simply desirous of pleasing the Father and doing what He asks of us without a lot of hemming and hawing. That would be the day! 

Ah friends, it’s not easy living a true Christian life, but when we put our minds to it, with the help of God, it is certainly exciting and adventurous. And I’m not talking from hearsay there, but from personal experience. 

And all I want to do today is highlight a couple of scripture verses that enhance our Bit, from the magnificent prophecy of Isaiah in chapter 53, re the Suffering servant. ‘He is despised and rejected of (forsaken by) men: a man of sorrows (pains), and acquainted with grief (sickness): and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 

Surely he hath borne our griefs (pains), and carried our sorrows (sicknesses): yet we did esteem (reckon) him stricken, smitten of (struck down by) God, and afflicted. But he was wounded (pierced through) for our transgressions, he was bruised (crushed) for our iniquities: the chastisement (discipline, self-control) of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ (Is.53:3-6) 

Yes friends, our leader showed us the way, by walking His talk with strength of purpose. He bore our sinful burdens selflessly and gave us His peace and righteousness. Now why can’t we just live up to the little He asks of us eh…to LOVE the Father, LOVE ourselves, not in a narcissist manner, and to LOVE our neighbours as ourselves? 

Is that so hard to do my Christian brethren? What a wonderful world we’d truly have! And there would be supreme joy both in heaven and on earth! Let’s try and make that a reality nuh my people. With God’s help it’s possible. But we have to sincerely want to do it and then put out the great effort necessary. Much LOVE!

…that tremendous gift of atonement…paid for with Jesus’ blood…should have us chomping at the bit…to do God’s bidding…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 April 2015 Matthew 9:36‏

Matthew 9:36. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted (were weary), and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Oh Friends, please be advised that the NHL Hockey Playoffs began last night, with several games on every night. And since I am a fan of the game, it means there will be several late nights, like last night, in the offing. Unfortunately, those late nights will obviously lead to late mornings, like this one.

So please don’t be too peeved and upset with me if the Bits are somewhat late in the next few weeks. (smile) It’s just a fact of life. There isn’t much I watch on the tube, but hockey is one of those things.

And a much better bit of news is that it looks like spring has finally truly sprung. Yesterday was warm, not hot, and beautiful, with loads of brilliant sunshine, and today is forecasted to be more of the same.

The temps are getting up to the mid to high teens, and that’s bringing out the pent-up winter frustration, so the hot rod cars with their loud engines and mufflers are now out on the road, the walkers, runners, cyclists and the ‘motorbikers’ are getting into gear too. So look out for the madness, especially after such a long and harsh winter.

And Friends, on this Thursday morning in mid –April, I want to remind us of some rather important facts as they pertain to our faith. It comes from Gramps Schuller’s (Robert H Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional, but they are the words of the prominent American churchman, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.

And he reputedly said that: ‘Religion can never be the answer to human problems. All of the religions of the world are inadequate. Christ alone is the Answer. Christ alone understands. Christ alone forgives. Christ alone eliminates your guilt.

Christ alone saves and then assures you that you are God’s child and the most wonderful person possible! Christ alone fills the human heart with LOVE –joy- peace- self-confidence. No wonder a genuine Christian really LOVES himself.’

Oh my people, my people, what wonderful words of utmost truth and wisdom! There is nothing in that passage that can be disputed! So please, please, this morning let’s allow those fateful words of truth to sink into our hearts, minds and spirits, so that they can reinforce, renew and reinvigorate our passion and joy in our faith and in Christ Jesus!

We need that sort of renewal regularly, because in these last days the enemy is fighting mightily, to keep us from believing and acknowledging the wonder and worthiness of our faith.

And I like that last part of Dr. Shoemaker’s statements: ‘No wonder a genuine Christian really LOVES himself.’

Why, you ask? Because if all of the previous statements are true, which they are, we ought to have such LOVE for our God, ourselves and our neighbours, that nothing whatsoever can diminish the light and joy of Jesus in our souls and lives.

That brings us to our Bit. ‘But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted (were weary), and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.’

Oh Friends, can you imagine the sorrow that filled Jesus’ heart when He saw His people so lost and scattered, without any proper guidance, just going astray any which way? Remember Isaiah’s prophecy, re comfort through trust in the Lord?

He said: ‘Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand (in strength), and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is.40:10-11)

And that is exactly what Jesus came to do my people! He was the fulfillment of that prophecy. Read John 10 and you can hear Him expound on the theory of the sheep and the shepherd, as pertains to Himself.

First, He tells them a parable. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter (doorkeeper) openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.’ (John 10:1-5)

Ah my brethren, all of that is oh so true! Now listen to some useful explanations by the scholars. ‘10:1. Door is the one who stood in the opening of the (stone) fold. (the pen where the sheep were kept at night). The thieves and robbers were the Pharisees. See also verse 8.’

’10:3. Sheep know only their shepherd’s voice. In the Near East several flocks belonging to different shepherds may be in one fold (a fenced in area). But only a shepherd’s own sheep will follow him out of the fold. Cattle can be driven, but sheep must be led.’

Obviously the people listening to Jesus didn’t understand what He was talking about. ‘Then Jesus saith unto them again, verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:7-10)

And at the remembrance of that wonderful news, all God’s people gave a mighty and glorious shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah! All praise and thanks be to the awesome shepherd of our flock; our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly!’

So my people, in ending, let me remind us, that if we are the sheep of Jesus’ flock, then it is of the utmost importance that we listen to His voice, and follow Him and Him alone. If not, then we’ll be marked for certain death, as all else are merely thieves and robbers, come to kill, steal and destroy.

So let’s open our ears and quite clearly hear our Master’s voice and follow Him down the straight and narrow, but safe path where He will inevitably lead us. That my brethren, is certainly wisdom and understanding of a heavenly nature! Much LOVE!

…all we like sheep have gone astray…but Jesus in His LOVING-kindness…has found us and brought us safely back to His fold…oh what a joy…