Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 February 2021 Hebrews 12:6.

Hebrews 12:6.     ​For whom the Lord LOVETH He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Oh mih people, is J’ouvert morning! So we sing: ‘Mas, mas! Play mas! Mas in yuh mas! Play mas! Ole mas!’ Yes it’s Carnival Monday in T&T, time for plenty fete, much wining and drinking, plenty pretty costume and half-naked women too as Carnival rolls around for 2021. But yuh know what? Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 virus, there’ll be no official carnival this year. Who would have ‘thunked’ it eh? And the Police are adamant that they will have no nonsense in the streets, no fetes and liming or any such gatherings. 

According to the newspapers, one high ranking Police official said there must be no paint, powder or mud on the streets… What? So how yuh going to play ole mas eh? (smile) No drunken sailor awash in baby powder; no jab-jab, no red-devil all painted up, blowing His whistle ‘pay the devil;’ no pan on the avenue either? The police officer also claimed that some foolish people are planning to come out for J’ouvert, but those who intend to “test the waters”, they will “drown”. 

Tough words from Babylon. I certainly wouldn’t want to test them, but it is a given fact that some brave, or foolish Trinidadian (take yuh pick) going to ‘test them waters.’ Some die hard fanatic going to claim: ‘No mas! Deh crazy?’ And then come out to prove their point. Make no doubt about it, the police will be busy, because Trinbagonians won’t take their lack of mas very easy and polite. When coming to their carnival, T&T has never been known to be the quiet, obedient type, so my bet is that they going to give Babylon a run for their money. (smile) 

And I searched for a while to find a scripture that could be used in this scenario. Finally, the Lord led me to this one about His discipline. From the author of Hebrews, who quotes Cousin Sol from Proverbs 3:11-12. ‘Ye have not yet resisted unto blood (bloodshed), striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children (sons), My son, despise not thou the chastening (discipline) of the Lord, nor faint (be discouraged) when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord LOVETH He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.’ (Heb. 12:4-6) 

Yes precious people, the Lord is a disciplinarian, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as the scholars explain. ‘12:6. Whom the Lord LOVETH, he chasteneth: God’s principle of disciplining His own people is completely congruous (in agreement or harmony) with human practices. This quotation from Proverbs 3:12, stating God’s practice, corresponds to the commands God gave to fathers. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that LOVETH him chasteneth him betimes (promptly)” (Prov. 13:24; cf.22:15, 23:13). LOVE and corporal punishment are not incongruous (incompatible); they are two complimentary and necessary aspects of training.’ 

Ah friends, all of that is oh so true! But unfortunately, our world has gotten so soft and fearful that many of us refused to discipline our children, consequently we have ended up with a lot of undisciplined, entitled, rowdy, selfish, unmannerly children in this generation. And please remember that chastening doesn’t mean abuse, or even necessarily corporal punishment, but it certainly means holding children accountable and finding some useful punishment in cases of gross disobedience. 

Hear how the author of Hebrews continues. ‘If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then ye are bastards (illegitimate) and not sons.’ (Heb. 12:7-8) Oh, we have certainly bastardized a lot of our children by not chastening them for whatever mistaken reasons. 

‘Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence (respect): shall we not much rather be into subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure (what seemed best to them); but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.’ (Heb. 12:9-10) 

Yes my brethren, we respected those earthly fathers who disciplined us according to their timetable, so why won’t we accept God’s discipline eh, which is meant for our betterment, so that we can be partakers of his holiness? That’s a very good question? And the answer might just be that we are naturally rebellious and don’t like to be disciplined. But hear this last verse which sets the table right. ‘Now no chastening (discipline) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby.’ (Heb. 12:11) 

And that does bring the matter to a head: chastening never seems good when it happens, but it’s always useful in the future. In hindsight, many of us parents would now admit that the chastening we received in our youth was indeed beneficial in our older years, so why did we spare the rod and spoil our own children eh? And why are we also disobedient to God eh when He only has good things planned for us? I don’t have answers to those questions, but I do know that the first requirement to fix any of them is going to God in prayer and baring our souls before Him. 

So let’s do that right now nuh, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. As one voice: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive and standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the many natural disasters that now seem more prevalent than ever. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Now we just have to wait and see the Lord’s response, while being obedient and patient. Much LOVE!

…disobedience…ALWAYS has…negative consequences… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 August 2017 2 Chronicles 15:7.

 2 Chronicles 15:7.  Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. 

Welcome friends to a wet Caribana Friday; at least in my neighbourhood! It didn’t seem to be much of a shower though, but more like a short drizzle, and I doubt that it will last for the day. 

And even if it does, it will not stop the workingman from being exuberant in his declarations, especially on this long Civic Holiday weekend, with the numerous festivities planned for the Greater Toronto Area. 

I can already hear him proclaiming to all and sundry: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday! Thank Him for this long Caribana weekend, where the partying will be enormous, in fact outa sight! Pan Competition tonight…then the big Parade tomorrow…mas in yuh mas mih breddren! 

So this Carnival weekend is pure partying – Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday! Mama Yo! We go mash up the town this weekend! Thank God for this break from slave labour oui!’ 

And believe you me, some people are going to do just as he says; party the weekend away. But we all know my fellow believers in Christ that that is not such a wonderful idea, for it just invites the ever-lurking enemy to find a foothold in our souls and spirits. 

Nothing is wrong with partying, but with a modicum of circumspection, with certain boundaries that we make sure not to cross. That means Granny’s warning is ever so important this weekend, even though some of you don’t like to hear it. ‘Sonny boy; drunk or sober, please mind yuh business!’ 

And I believe that if we keep that in mind, we will not fall victim to the enemy. Now let’s chant our Friday Chant, which gives a better, or more focused reality for the weekend. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. 

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Yeh friends, that’s more in tune with our Christian faith. So let’s pay serious attention to it nuh, along with our Bit, the warning from the proper Azariah to King Asa and all of Judah. ‘Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.’ 

Ah mih breddren, if believers would only put their hands to the plough seriously and do what’s expected of them, what a wonderful world this would be. But as I said yesterday, too many of us have gotten soft and wishy washy, have lost whatever belly and backbone we had by living in this plush and comfortable society. 

So, as a result, Christianity is steadily losing ground in the spiritual warfare in which we’re engaged. Friends, we have to pick up the slack, be strong if we want to see Jesus’ LOVE Revolution win the day! There’s no two ways about that. 

Consequently, I’m imploring us, asking us to remember our bounden duty as Christians, to be strong and work sincerely and diligently for Christ Jesus! Otherwise our faith will surely crumble and all Jesus’ sacrifices would be a waste of time. And I know you wouldn’t want that. So let’s ramp up our efforts nuh. 

And to help us do that, here are a couple of examples of scripture which corroborate our Bit. And the first, possibly the most important, comes right at the beginning of God’s word, His promise to Abram. He was still known by that name. Abram had just won a battle for the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and had refused their reward. (Gen.14:1-24) 

The Good Book tells it thus. ‘After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.’ (Gen.15:1) 

And the scholars explain: ’15:1. Thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward: This chapter introduces the Abrahamic covenant by which God promises him an heir and eventual descendants who will one day possess the land of Canaan. The word ‘shield’ is translated in other passages as “believed.” 

Thus, God is the object of Abram’s faith and thereby the source of his confidence. The promise of reward is especially significant in view of the fact that Abram had just refused a reward from the king of Sodom. God Himself would be Abram’s true reward (cf.Ps.127:3).’ 

And what greater reward can there be than Almighty God Himself eh mih people? None whatsoever! 

And we’ll end, most appropriately, with the words of Jesus Himself, words of wisdom from the Sermon on the Mount, from the Beatitudes. 

‘Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’ (Matt.5:11-12) 

And the scholars offer these explanations. ‘5:11. Again, Jesus warns that men shall revile you, and persecute you. This became true during His own ministry, in the lives of the apostles, and throughout the history of the church. The persecution spoken of here is twofold. First, it involves a physical pursuing of the persecuted, and second, a personal attack of slander against them.’ 

And that is still happening today, and will continue to happen until Jesus comes again. All we can do is simply grin and bear it, and think about out rewards accruing in heaven for the unfair and unjust persecution. 

But now hear this other explanation: ‘5:12. Rejoice is the command that grows out of the blessedness of the believer. The phrase ‘rejoice and be exceeding glad’ means even more, exult! Great is your reward in heaven focuses attention on the eternal destiny of all things. 

If God is as real as He claims, if the Bible is true, if heaven is to be gained, then no temporary earthly trouble or persecution can dispossess the child of God of joy in the prospect of the eternal glory that lies ahead.’ 

Wow mih breddren! Isn’t that marvellous? Nothing can stop us! So let’s get strong and retake the world for Jesus nuh, for that’s what He expects of us! Much LOVE!

…believers should concentrate more on their rewards…than their problems…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 March 2015 Psalm 27:10

Psalm 27:10.     When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up (take care of me).

Well Friends, it certainly seems as though the days, weeks and months of this year are in a real hurry to get somewhere, or simply to go by as quickly as they can. Chuh! It was just Saturday… and already it’s Monday!

Can you imagine too that we’re already into March, and it seems like only yesterday we were singing Old Lang Syne, and wishing each other a Happy New Year. It’s already been a couple of weeks too since we were singing: ‘Mas in yuh mas! Play mas!’ (smile)

And Lent will soon be over and then we’ll be lustily singing ‘He is risen! Jesus Christ has risen from the grave.’ Most appropriate sentiments for the Easter season.

And all of that was just to say my people that time is swiftly moving by and who knows what will happen, or when, so it is essential that we get our house in order, just in case…just in case Jesus returns unexpectedly and we’re not ready. The same way we’re seldom ready for Monday mornings. The big difference though is that we have something to counteract our Monday morning blues – our Monday Morning Battle Hymn.

However, if Jesus returns and we’re not ready, there will be nothing to counteract our sad, unfortunate demise; our eternal separation from the Father, because we never truly embraced the Son. And as I keep saying Friends, that’s the worst fate that could ever befall a human being.

Anyway, let’s get our Monday morning adrenaline rush from singing our Battle Hymn with much fervour, in loud, harmonious voice. ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together.

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

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle.

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ Not bad, not bad at all my people, though heaven didn’t clap and clamour for an encore! (smile)

But please don’t let that get us down, for we have an even more important promise to concern ourselves with in our Bit. ‘When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up (take care of me.’ 

What a wonderfully refreshing and encouraging statement my brethren! Though our earthly parents might forsake us the Lord won’t ever do such a heartless and unthinking thing. Bless His holy name! And in Isaiah 49 – in the section which assures that Israel will be restored to Zion- the Lord binds that promise on His heart by pronouncing it publicly through His mouthpiece Isaiah.

‘But Zion said, the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her suckling (nursing, breastfeeding) child, that she should not (and not have) compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven (inscribed) thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continuously before me.’ (Is.49:14-16) What a marvellous promise from a most faithful and magnanimous God!

And now listen to Bruh David from Psalm 103 – Thanksgiving for God’s mercy. ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children: so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame (understands our constitution); he remembereth that we are dust.’ (Ps.103:12-14)

Yes Friends, the mercy of our God is ever working on our behalf. He knows from whence we came and what we really are because He made us and thus knows what we can and cannot bear. And from way back when, the Lord through Moses, promised the Israelites: ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee, he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ (Deut.31:6)

And when not talking to the band of Israelites, the Lord was assuring His men of faith individually. We all know the famous words He spoke to Joshua after Moses died and Joshua took over leadership of the band of intransigent Israelites. ‘There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’(Josh.1:5)

So Friends, please don’t worry or be afraid, for the Lord will LOVE and protect His children from anything or anybody that comes against them. That He has promised, and we know that our wonderful God is very faithful to His promises.

So my brethren, let’s take a little time from our busy worldly lives nuh and confront any fears or anxieties we may have, and get rid of them, for our omnipotent God has promised that He will never leave nor forsake us, and He who has promised is ever-faithful. Much LOVE!
 

…God specializes in LOVING and caring for sinners…not leaving or forsaking them…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 February 2015 Deuteronomy 16:17‏‏

Deuteronomy 16:17. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.

And then it was Friday… and the jamming began: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! Carnival Friday to boot! Is going to be one big ruckus in the town this weekend! Mas for so! Mas in yuh mas! Play mas! Yes, thank God is Carnival Friday oui, and we going to party down the place!’

Oh Friends, that’s not me, but the vibe of the general population and the thousands of visitors who’ve come to enjoy the spectacle, the bacchanal, of two days – Monday and Tuesday – of partying in the streets like leggo beast. Better them than me yes. My days for all that nonsense done. I can’t handle it physically, and in my opinion the standards have fallen so drastically, that it turns me off.

It’s no longer a display of beautiful, innovative costumes, but mostly nakedness and wining. The music doesn’t thrill me any longer either, for that too has degenerated to simply ‘hands in the air’, and ‘jump and wine.’ As far as I am concerned, the whole substance of Carnival has now been downgraded to an even more ungodly spectacle than it ever was.

And it seems that a lot of Christians over here usually go to religious camps and retreats at Carnival time. Anyway to each his own! I’ll just spend my time in my serene retreat in Tobago; possibly go out the street for Ole Mas on Monday morning, but not much else.

So let’s chant our Friday Chant to give us a better perspective on how to use the weekend. As one now:  ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through.

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’

That’s how we ought to handle the weekend my brethren! Now re adventures; yesterday I didn’t have any really. I just went to the beach, Store Bay, where it was nice and calm, with beautiful light green water. The duchess wasn’t feeling too hot, so she stayed in the car, while I enjoyed the therapeutic waters and did some walking along the golden sandy beach.

Oh the beach was packed with people, and therefore umbrellas and beach chairs, you could hardly find space to walk between them. I just don’t like how Store Bay has become so commercialized. But I guess that many of the locals make their living from the tourist traffic.

After the beach, we just came home, the duchess cooked some food, then retreated to her usual spot on the deck. Uh oh! On the way home from the beach we stopped at a wine store in a small plaza nearby. I didn’t go in, but when the duchess came back, was she ever excited. She raved about the opulence of this wine store; with its comfortable, upscale chairs, like in your living room, etc.

She had never seen anything like it in any other wine store in all her travels. I had to laugh, the way she was carrying on, but when the duchess raves about something, it must be fairly decent, because her standards are pretty high. One day I must go into this wine store myself and check out its opulence.

Later in the evening, as we were sitting on the deck, watching the sun go down, not so spectacularly because of a heavy cloud cover, I was harassing her about the beauty and tranquility of the scene, when she surprised me by suddenly saying; ‘It’s i-d-y-l-l-i-c!’ spelling the word idyllic for me.

Hn, hn! I almost died laughing from her introducing the word by spelling it. And Friends, the word ‘idyllic’ fits the surroundings to a T! It’s truly idyllic! And like the duchess is on a roll, for she came up with ‘serene’ the other day, then with ‘idyllic’ yesterday, and I’m supposed to be the wordsmith.

And children, I understand that you all are worried about getting me to come back to the cold North Country. But on that point, I think it’s the duchess you should be worried about, for a little while after hitting me with ‘idyllic,’ she hit me with another gem, telling me that it was her greatest pleasure to wake up and open the front door every morning and look out on the serene, idyllic scene.

I think it’s gotten to her more than me. She can definitely handle it! (smile) Anyway, when it got dark, we came inside and watched some of the Carnival activities on the television till bed time. That’s one good thing about down here, a lot of the shows are broadcast live on the television. And that’s possibly where I’ll view the majority of my mas.

Now it’s time for our Bit, dealing with another basic law of God’s kingdom. ‘Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.’

Oh Friends, I can’t begin to tell us how true and important that principle is in the eyes of our God! We want Him to give to us, and He does, but He also expects us to give some of what He’s so generously blessed us with to others less fortunate.

And just like with forgiving, if we don’t give, He won’t give to us. It is therefore in our best interest to share His bounty with others not so blessed. And besides, He gives us more than enough for ourselves, so that we have enough to share.

Now let’s check out some scriptures that show the giving, the generosity of our wonderful and magnanimous God. Remember yesterday we said that God is the ultimate giver, and you can’t outgive Him. Listen to these scriptures that support those truths.

In Psalm 85 – God has removed His anger from Israel – the sons of Korah wisely and truthfully declare. ‘Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps (make his footsteps into a way).’ (Ps.85:12-13)

Then Bruh Paul, in his first missive to the Corinthians, when they were arguing about whom they should follow; Apollos or Bruh Paul, tells them straight up: ‘I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.’ (1 Cor.3:6-7)

Now that’s gospel truth my people! Everything we have, belongs to and comes from God. He is the giver of ALL things! Please let’s remember and ponder on that, as we go about our business today. It will only enhance our lives and godliness. More on that tomorrow, God willing. Till then, please go with God, for He is the best guide and protector there is! Much LOVE!

…giving from the heart…is one of the best ways to receive favour and blessings from Almighty God…