Today’s Scrip-Bit   15 January 2023 Deuteronomy 33:27a.

Deuteronomy 33:27a.        The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:

Come Sunday, it will be all right… Yes friends, come Sunday everything will be fine as we gather in the Lord’s sanctuary on His day to give Him thanks and praise for His awesome goodness to His children! Nothing could be better than communing with our heavenly Father all in one place at one time. As the Lord’s word reminds us in Hebrews: ‘And let us consider one another to provoke (stir up) unto LOVE, and unto good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more as ye see the day approaching.’ (Heb. 10:24-25) 

And the scholars tell us that ‘This admonition involves far more than erratic attendance. It involves the entire worship of Christ and is an outward indication of an inner condition. The assembling of God’s people provides opportunity for reciprocal encouragement, strengthening, and the stirring up that can be gained from one another (cf. Col. 3:12-16). It consists of participation in worship and fellowship. The church is a body interacting (1 Cor. 12:14-27); it is not merely a dispensary of spiritual food and medicine.’ 

And having been told off in no uncertain terms (smile) let us proceed to interact by offering up some sacrificial praise through this marvellous song of encouragement and strengthening, aptly titled, ‘Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.’  And as we raise our voices in sweet harmony, in an up-tempo version of the hymn, let’s do as the website Hymnary.org advises: ‘As the hymn is sung, contemplate what it means to find refuge in our heavenly Father’s arms in times of fear and trial, and to allow His joy and peace to replace our loneliness and anxiety.’ 

We definitely can’t go wrong, doing that my fellow believers. So let God’s people sing: ‘‘What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms. (Refrain: Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.) O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim’s way, leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms. 

[Refrain]What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms, Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning on the everlasting arms…leaning on the everlasting arms of Jesus… oh how good it is to be, leaning on the everlasting arms of Christ my Saviour….’ 

And you’d better believe that there is certainly no better place to lean than on the everlasting arms of Jesus! The story goes that the hymn came about from the letters of two past pupils of Anthony J Showalter, who informed him that their wives had died, and they were seeking consolation. And while answering their letters he was inspired by these marvellous words of comfort found in Deuteronomy 33:27. ‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.’ 

Apparently though, Showalter had some problems putting the hymn together, so he approached Elisha Hoffman, a prolific gospel writer for help, and together they wrote the song which was eventually published in 1887. Wow! Another oldie but goldie! And it’s revered as one of the greatest hymns for times of solace, as it encourages us to keep ‘leaning on the everlasting arms’ of God when seeking comfort. 

And why not eh, when Bruh Paul writes it so plainly in his first missive to the church at Corinth. ‘Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble (tribulation), by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.’ (2 Cor. 1:3-4) 

Mama Mia! What a wonderful God we serve and worship my faithful brethren! He comforts us in our trials, so that we can comfort others in their time of need! What a simple but every effective way to do it. And that’s one of the reasons why consistent church going is important; you can’t be encouraged if you’re not associating with your fellow believers. And the opening lines of the hymn just exude comfort and consolation. ‘What a fellowship, what a joy divine…what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.’ 

Then the chorus declares: ‘leaning safe and secure from all alarms;’ How could we not like this wonderful hymn eh? And for good measure, let’s hear some more of those comforting sentiments. (smile) ‘Oh how sweet to walk in this pilgrim’s way…O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms.’ It certainly does my people. Therefore, ‘What have I to dread, what have I to fear, I have blessed peace with my Lord so near.’ Absolutely! 

That’s why the psalmist could unequivocally state in Psalm 91: ‘I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in him will I trust.’ (Ps. 91: 2) Likewise Bruh David in Psalm 27 was not afraid to proclaim: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ (Ps. 27:1)  And we certainly can’t doubt Moses when he sings in his famous song: ‘The Lord is my strength and song (fortress, defense), and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation (praise him); my father’s God, and I will exalt him.’ (Ex. 15:2) 

Yes friends, that magnificent Library of God’s Word, is filled with such sentiments throughout its pages. And not from hearsay either nuh, but from personal experience, thus it‘s ever so important for us to read, study and sincerely consider the many encouraging and uplifting anecdotes found therein. 

And if you don’t believe me, then listen to the Lord as He speaks to Joshua when He made him the leader of the Israelites on the death of Moses. ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of (shall continually be in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) 

Yes my fellow saints, that’s really the only scripture we need to ever learn and follow yes! So please let’s begin doing it seriously and sincerely as of right now nuh. For then we will make our way prosperous and have good success. I‘m sure we all desire that. And it’s right there in the palms of our hands, ready for the taking. So please, let’s be wise and do it. Much LOVE!

…in the storms of life…there is no where else to find true peace and comfort…than leaning on the everlasting arms of Christ our Saviour… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 April 2020 Matthew 4:4.

Matthew 4:4.    ​It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
 

Aye mih people, it’s another day in the life; another uncomfortable and unpredictable day in the sojourn, the pandemic and panic of Covid-19, with no end really in sight as yet, just more confusion, so let’s do the wise and smart thing and begin our day with some age old encouragement nuh, some acclamations that have been tried and tested and found rather useful down through the ages of time! And if that isn’t a Bruh Paulian sentence, I don’t know what is! (smile) 

So please declare out loud with me: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps. 118:24) And on top of that: ‘God will supply ALL of my needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus, our wonderful Lord and Saviour!’ (Phil. 4:19) Mama Yo! What could be more encouraging than that eh? Well this: ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!’ (Phil. 4:13) And yuh feel that divine and supernatural strength just flowing through your veins now mih people? I know you do! Because we just know that ‘If God is for us, who the hell can be against us eh? (Rom. 8:31) Not a single, bloody soul my faithful brethren! 

Because He is the most powerful being in the universe, and if He’s got our back, then we’re safe like nobody or nothing else can make us! Therefore, with ALL of that wonderful stuff going for us from and through our omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Creator, we can truly and faithfully declare these marvellous words that Joshua declared so long ago: ‘As for me and my house, we WILL serve the Lord!’ (Josh. 24:15) Yes, precious people, as long as we draw breath on this earth, regardless of whatever trials and tribulations may come against us, let us not stray from that tried and true path that leads through Jesus Christ, right to the throne room of Almighty God in the high heavens! Amen! 

And I don’t know about you all, but that has certainly energized me! (smile) So, since it’s Friday, let’s hear what the ordinary, most likely out of work, workingman has to say nuh. And as always, he opens with: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!’ (but not with his usual enthusiasm and expectant tone.) ‘Chuh! But that sounds so hollow though, since there’s nothing to look forward to. Friday’s become just like any other day, not the prelude to the weekend, like it was when I was working. Doh even remember when last I worked. This Covid-19 nonsense been going on for so long now. 

Thankfully though, I’m now getting a few dollars from the government that helps to pay the mortgage and put some food on the table…but it’s definitely not enough to do everything. I can’t even work a li’l overtime to get me over the top. Ah Lord eh! When it all going to end eh? Like we all in jail yes! Can’t even go outside and talk to nobody…got to keep this social distancing foolishness…oh I know it’s necessary, but it’s still seems foolish…staying six feet from people when yuh see them, even though yuh ent see nobody in a long time! Steups! But ah guess we still have to give God thanks that we still alive and kicking some, and as they say, this too shall pass…just hope it don’t take too much longer to pass nuh…’ 

Yes my fellow saints in Christ Jesus, that’s how this lonely, anxious and unpredictable time is affecting a lot of us, believers included. That’s why it’s ever so necessary for us to delve into God’s Word and find encouragement to keep us going strong in faith and courage. Remember Jesus’ rebuke to Satan when he tempted Him in the first time in the wilderness about making bread from stone. Now that would have been a piece of cake for Jesus to accomplish, but then He would have been bowing to Satan’s request, which as the Son of God, He could not do; therefore He replied: ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ 

He was referring there to Moses earlier warning to the Israelites way back when they came out of bondage from Egypt and the Lord was teaching them how He wanted them to live as His Chosen People. (Deut. 8:3) And that provision still stands today my people. In the Word of God is where we find ALL that we need to successfully live this life! It’s our Guidebook for earthly living! And the Lord specifically said it to Joshua when He made him the leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death. 

‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) Oh my people, my fellow saints in Christ, what more has the Lord God Almighty has to say to us to make us listen and get into His most marvellous Word eh? He’s stated it as clearly as possible: when you read it consistently and study it, then put it into practice, then you’ll be successful and prosperous! That’s a no-brainer! 

But we’ve become so blooming full of ourselves and figure the li’l knowledge we have is so great, that we refuse to follow the simple, but tried and trusted way set out in the Lord’s guidebook. That’s foolish friends, especially in these disturbing and scary times. So let’s get wise and return to the Good Book nuh, where we can find enormous encouragement, assurance, grace, mercy, forgiveness, salvation and eternal life! It’s the ONLY answer to ALL our problems! Now let’s go home doing what we’ve also been encouraged to do, communicate with Holy God through prayer; our rejigged Friday Chant. 

As one sincere voice now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. It’s been pretty rough…though not from work, but from all the confusion and havoc that the Covid -19 virus causing. We not accustomed to that Lord, and it really telling on us. But with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat this virus. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the  least amount of loss to life and property as possible. 

And please use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, and also introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And then we do what the Good Book says: wait expectantly, displaying hope and faith; keep on reading and praying, and doing good and not evil. Much LOVE!

…without bread…the body dies…but the spirit lives by…the Word…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 February 2020 Joshua 1:8.

Joshua 1:8.    This book of the law shall not depart out of (be constantly in) your mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for them thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
 
Welcome to a bright and sunny Saturday morning friends! It’s somewhat on the chilly side though, and the banks are full of snow. But that’s to be expected since it’s winter in the northern climes. And I guess a lot of us are sleeping in this morning after a tiring week of labour…and some of us might say not of labour but of navigating the daily traffic problems, especially with the snowfall we’ve had this past week. 

Yes, there are just too many cars on the roads especially during the morning and afternoon commutes. But you wouldn’t like to see the amount of cars that are parked in the train station lots; several thousands. When I travel on the train and see them sitting in the parking lots, I can just imagine the chaos and traffic problems we’d have if they all hit the road morning and evening too. 

Phew! But today is Saturday, we don’t have to contend with work and traffic, so instead, let’s focus on the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week nuh, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And I like this first one: ‘Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.’ And is that ever so true! Possibly because of our high level of intelligence, we seem to think that unless something is complicated it’s no good. Thus we introduce stuff into stuff that’s not necessary. 

Think about all the rules and regulations we have in life…I’m sure we could do without half of them if we were only better neighbours and friends, and could be depended upon to do the right thing at least 8 out of 10 times. But because we aren’t, provision has to be made for our ‘unneighbourly’ and unfriendly attitudes. (smile) So for each rule we introduce, there must be several provisos to explain and counteract it. Steups! 

This next quote is also of mucho importance: ‘What we really are matters more than what other people think of us.’  Now that’s gospel truth! But sadly too many of us don’t understand or believe it, and thus allow what others think of us to control and ofttimes spoil our lives. We give it names like social pressure or social stigma, doing what the supposedly higher ups, or our social betters want or expect us to do. Chuh! 

Oh friends, please have faith in yourselves and your God! He made you to be who you are, in His image, with His plan for your life, not for another human’s! And the usual corollary to situations like those is that the ones who are so critical of others, are worse than those they criticize, do worse than them in the same circumstances. In other words they are just a bunch of blooming hypocrites! 

Thank the Lord I learned that at a tender age from watching people criticize my mother, then discovering they were a whole lot worse than her! Friends, please don’t live your lives because of what others say or do. The Lord has a plan for you, find out what it is, and then live accordingly. 

Then there’s this interesting quote: ‘The topic of leadership is a touchy one. A lot of leaders fail because they don’t have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord. Throughout my years, I haven’t had that fear.’ Good for our friend Anselm if he’s referring to himself! (smile) But that’s basically true because leaders are the ones who take us usually where we’ve never gone before, and to do that they must have a special something, call it bravery, common sense, wisdom, a dream, a vision, or all of them. 

Now it could even include stupidity or mental incompetence, which means leading their followers astray. Think about all the sects that have populated our world because of such leaders. But what makes a leader -good or bad –  is that belief in themselves, that feeling of infallibility, which causes others to even give their lives in their service. And this next quote doesn’t only pertain to leaders but to all of us. ‘If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.’ 

Yes my people, the active ingredient in our mind and spirit is the one we usually bring forth. So if fear is the dominant attitude, then most likely we will bring forth failure. That’s not to say that we won’t or can’t fail if we think success. The difference though is the amount of energy and faith we put into our projects when we think positively and of success, as compared to the negative side of failure. 

And this last quote says it all: ‘Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.’ Glory be mih people! You won’t ever be successful unless you make the necessary preparations for it! That’s because success doesn’t come without certain preparations, like thinking positively about it and putting in the necessary hard work it calls for. And I guess the best advice I can give on the subject is found in the words of the Lord God Himself to his servant Joshua when He appointed him leader of the Israelites. 

‘This book of the law shall not depart out of (be constantly in) your mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for them thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ 

Oh my fellow believers it couldn’t get any more straightforward and plain than that! Meditating on the Lord’s Word and following it, is what brings true, real and lasting success. Supposed success gained by any other method is ephemeral and not lasting. And our God is such a wonderful Leader and encourager, I just LOVE His next words to Joshua. ‘Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.’ (Josh.1:9) 

Yes friends, those same words of the Lord echo down to us today as we face the difficulties and calamities of this troubled world. That was the third time in four verses that He was reminding Joshua to be strong and courageous because his omnipotent, merciful, LOVING and gracious God would go with him wherever he went. Let’s accept that most encouraging and reassuring message to day like Joshua did back then nuh my brethren, and go out and do the work the Lord’s prescribed for us, the same way Joshua went forward with bravery and courage and did his duty. Much LOVE!

…the Word of the Lord…it’s the guidebook to….successful earthly living…

Today​’s Scrip-Bit 16 April 2019 Joshua 1:8.

Joshua 1:8.   This book of the law shall not depart out of (shall continually be in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
 

So it’s Tuesday and everybody is back into the work groove now! ‘Hn! What work groove eh?’ some of us snarl, as though anybody could ever get into the work groove! But we can all get into the party and good life groove though! 

Ah friends, what a lazy and feckless society we are, nobody wants to work, but everybody wants to enjoy the good times! How do they think we get the wherewithal to have good times eh? It’s by working! And those things are quickly used up…and again, they can only be replaced by the letting of blood, sweat and tears! So work is essential in this life! 

And along with reminding us of that fundamental fact, I also want to bring to mind two other very important life principles: The first is that the Bible is God’s Word to us and it remains fresh through all the ages. Thus, if we read it, we will certainly find God’s wisdom in its pages. That means if we need to acquire God’s wisdom and plans for our lives, then we need to read His Word. 

And secondly, I want to remind us that One Truth from the Bible is worth more than all the wisdom of man! Glory be my brethren! So if we want to acquire wisdom and truth, the reading, studying and meditating upon God’s Word is absolutely necessary! Yes friends, like everything else in this world, if you want to learn about God and His Word and Ways, you have to spend time with Him, reading and talking and listening to Him. 

You can’t become well acquainted with anything or anybody unless you spend oodles of time with it or them. The same applies to our Triune God. The problem these days though is that we all want to know about God, but we don’t want to take the time to get to know Him. We spend lots of time learning about our modern day toys and all the foolishness that’s currently in the world, but that apparently doesn’t apply to God too. We can’t find time to spend with Him, cause we’re too busy following the foolishness and ungodliness of the evil world! 

I guess we expect to learn about Him through osmosis nuh, where it just seeps naturally and unconsciously into our sinful souls. But that is just a pipe dream yes my people! The Lord expects conscious and purposeful attention on our part to His Word and Ways. There’s NO OTHER WAY by which we can get a sincere and useful insight and knowledge of His doings and thoughts!  

And talking about wisdom and truth being available from the Bible, the necessity for meditating on God’s Word is also greatly portrayed and recommended there. Let’s look at a few examples. And I guess the most important word on it might be from the Lord Himself, when He commanded Joshua after making him the Leader of the Israelites on the death of Moses. 

‘This book of the law shall not depart out of (shall continually be in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ 

Oh friends, it couldn’t get any plainer than that! And it’s from the Lord Himself! To have true prosperity and good success, we need to meditate on God’s Word and keep it close to our hearts and mouths! Now meditation is not rocket science; it’s simply thinking about things, quietly pondering on stuff, trying to get deeper into it. 

And meditation was happening long before the Lord spoke to Joshua. In Genesis we are told: ‘And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the even-tide…’ (Gen.24:63a) That’s when He saw his father’s servant returning from his homeland with Rebekah his future wife. 

And we all know the wonderful words of Psalm1: ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly (wicked), nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate (ponder, contemplate) day and night.’ (Ps.1:1-2) 

And we all know what happens to the man who does that! ‘And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.’ (Ps.1:3) Oh Mama Mia! Again we see that prosperity and success comes from meditating on the Lord’s Word and obeying it! What more do we need to understand, believe, and put that into action eh? 

Hear Bruh David nuh: ‘My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow (the best) and fatness (abundance); and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings I will rejoice.’ (Ps.63:5-7) And we all know Bruh David’s great intimacy and success, and prosperity with God being his Number ONE! So I don’t know why we’re so afraid or foolish not follow his example. 

And lastly, listen to Bruh Paul to Timothy: ‘Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine (teaching). Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (council of elders). Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly (entirely) to them; that thy profiting (progress) may appear (be evident) to all.’ (1 Tim.4:13-15) 

And having read and inwardly digested all of that (smile) let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are! In strong voice and sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

And the corollary to that is we now go out and share that wonderful friendship and LOVE of Jesus with the unfortunates who don’t know Him! That’s our bounden duty! Much LOVE!

…read…meditate…think on…ponder…contemplate…obey God’s Word…the first step to success and prosperity…