Today​’s Scrip-Bit 14 April 2019 Exodus 20:8.

Exodus 20:8.    ​Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
 
Hello there my people, it’s Sunday, the day we set aside for fellowship, praise and thanksgiving in the Lord’s sanctuary. And today is a special Sunday, one we call Palm Sunday, where we celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, like a king, with the people throwing their clothes and palm branches in the road for Him to ride on and joyfully shouting: ‘Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.’ (Matt.21:9) 

Yes friends on a beautiful Sunday like today, two thousand years ago, they welcomed Jesus as a king and conquering hero, but one week later they were howling like crazy for His blood to be shed on a wooden cross! Hn! That’s the fickleness of ungrateful and unfaithful man! Anyway, we’re not going to get into the Palm Sunday routine today because everyone else is doing it, and here on the Bit we try to be a li’l different from the rest. (smile) 

And as we are wont to do every Sunday, let’s open the proceedings with a song of praise and worship. Today’s ditty is called ‘In the midst of the rain,’ taken from the Bebe Winans album titled ‘In Harm’s Way.’ It’s a beautiful Christian, soulful ballad, so let’s raise our voices in song and do it justice nuh: 

‘Every time I lift my eyes to the sky, I’m reminded of a time in my life, When all the dark clouds hung over me, I was lost inside, in search of a key. I remember LOVED ones being so kind, Saying things would get much better with time. And I admit sometimes they did for a while, And then I’d find myself back under the cloud. 

(Chorus: Right in the midst of the rain, My heart was so full of pain. Jesus, You came and rescued my soul, And then your LOVE took control. Right in the midst of the rain, You caused me to smile again. My life was awesomely changed, Right in the midst of the rain.) 

When it comes right down to just you and me, There’s nothing better now that these eyes can see. And tell me what compares to all that you are? You are everything, yes my morning star! My mind, my heart and soul I now give to you. I’m under your command so what can I do? Cause I surrender all, all that I owe, And will follow wherever you go. (Chorus) 

There will never be another, Cause You’re nothing like the others. This LOVE I find in you, I found to be true! Right in the midst of the rain, My heart was so full of pain. But Jesus, You came and rescued my soul, And then your LOVE took control. Right in the midst of the rain, You caused me to smile again. My life was awesomely changed, Right in the midst of the rain.’ 

Oh friends isn’t that beautiful! The words are marvellous, filled with awesome truth and our sweet, powerful and harmonious voices raised to heaven did it immense justice! All heaven had a tear escaping because of our heartfelt rendition! And how could it not be heartfelt eh, with touching situations like Jesus rescuing our souls right in the midst of a terrible downpour, when we feel so lost and alone? And having done that, then His amazing LOVE simply takes control of our lives and leads us down the right path, the straight and narrow one. 

All power and praise and glory be to out wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the name that’s above every other name, to whom ALL knees will eventually bow! Yes friends, He certainly deserves all the pomp and glory with which we honour Him! 

However, I want to turn our attention to another important subject, one that we don’t seem to keep and revere as we ought to. I’m talking about the observance of the Sabbath. Now that’s always been important to our God, and it still is, but with man’s growing arrogance and prideful ways, the sabbath is constantly being diminished in our lives.

 Hear God’s commandment to the Israelites from the early days, even putting it in the Ten Commandments: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ (Ex.20:8-11) 

Yuh see friends, God gave us seven days in a week, but we ought to work only six and rest at least one every week, the way He did when He created the universe. I believe the Israelites took it to the extreme, taking every little thing as work, and ranting on Jesus when He healed a woman on the Sabbath. So Jesus had to smarten them up. 

‘The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass (donkey) from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed (put to shame): and all the people (multitude) rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.’ (Luke 13:15-17) 

Yes friends our God is not that strait-laced to expect us to do absolutely nothing on a sabbath! We just should not engage in too much stuff that not’s restful and pertaining to Him. And the scholars offer this explanation of the above verses: ‘13:15-17. Jesus makes His point well. But there remains in every generation the temptation for traditions and programs to take priority over people.’ 

So true that my people! No wonder Jesus had to inform the rulers of His time that ‘The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.’ (Mark 2:27) And as the scholars tell us: ‘2:27-28. Jesus’ reasoning is that divine institutions on earth are to have a God-honouring, noble, and liberating function. Sabbath laws had for some degenerated into a mockery of God’s intent.’ 

And so it also has in our time. But please note that if we honour the Sabbath. ‘Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places (hills) of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ (Is.58:14) That’s God’s promise friends! Much LOVE!

…honour the sabbath…and the Lord will honour you…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 December 2012 Romans 12:21

Romans 12:21:     Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
 
Ah mih people, welcome to another glorious day on God’s fabulous earth! And all true believers responded with a heartfelt, ‘Praise the Lord!’ Yes Friends, that’s what our Leader and Saviour wants us to do, under any and all circumstances. Regardless of how rough life might be, we are called upon to always give thanks and praise to the Father. As Bruh Paul says so poignantly in the verses before our Bit: ‘Recompense (repay) to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest (have regard for good things) in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in (depends on) you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: For in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.’ (Rom.12:17-20) Those are definitely tough rules to live by my people! But before going any further, let’s hear from the scholars; ‘Give place unto wrath: Paul quotes Deuteronomy 32:35 to show that only God has the right to avenge, and He certainly will avenge. Heap coals of fire on his head (cf. Prov.25:22): This may refer to a sense of shame or remorse engendered when we treat an evildoer kindly. Paul is discussing personal, not national enemies. He is not teaching pacifism.’ No Friends, Bruh Paul is certainly not teaching pacifism, which makes these rules even tougher to live by, because we then have to find a fine and healthy balance between completely giving in (pacifism), and taking matters into our own hands (vengeance). But to be true to our Christian faith, we must endeavour to live that way. And how do we do it? By focusing on our Bit: ‘Be not overcome of (by) evil, but overcome evil with good.’ By having that advice as our constant mantra, by writing it indelibly in our hearts and minds, we’ll be reminded that whenever evil shows its ugly face, we have to show a good one in response. Oh fellow believers, that’s not an easy task, especially in these cruel, greedy and evil times. But with all that Jesus asks us to do, so many of which are contrary to the mores of the world, He’s also given us all the tools necessary to accomplish them. Yes, in His LOVING-kindness, mercy and grace, He’s provided His Holy Spirit to guide and protect us, to help us live the kind of life He desires us to live. And with that wonderful Spirit indwelling us, plus things like our prayers, faith, patience, perseverance and fortitude, we can accomplish His will, overcoming the foolishness and folly of Lucifer’s wicked world. It’s up to us now Friends, to use those tools wisely, to be strong and sensible, using them to propagate good and not evil. Now the word I want to focus on today is ‘overcome.’ It’s one that conjures up thoughts of difficulties and hard times, but in the end winning the battle. Let’s listen to some scripture that encourages us to overcome, starting with John’s first epistle. ‘For this is the LOVE of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (burdensome). For whatsoever (every believer who) is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?’ (1 John 5:3-5) The scholars explain that last verse thus: ‘There is conquering power through this confession because God is sovereign over the world, and only through the Son does man have access to and find favour with God.’ And all God’s people joyfully declared: ‘Thank You Jesus!’ Yes my brethren, we do indeed have a lot to be thankful for to Jesus; His selfless sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins, and then His advocacy in heaven on our behalf. We can never repay those things. But the good part is that Jesus doesn’t want repayment, He just wants us to live a certain way, to overcome the evil of this world. Now let’s hear what He has to say about overcoming. Remember yesterday we saw where He spoke about Him already overcoming the world. (John 16:33) Today we’ll listen to Him from the Revelations of John. In His message to the church at Ephesus, He warns. ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.’ (Rev.2:7) The scholars say: ‘The promise to him that overcometh probably applies to all Christians with genuine faith (cf. 1 John 5:4-5) (above) and will be fulfilled as believers enjoy the blessings of New Jerusalem (22:2,14), the paradise of God.’ And in the message to the church at Pergamos, Jesus declares: ‘But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of the potter shall they be broken to shivers (pieces): even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.’ (Rev.2:25-28) Oh Friends, according to the scholars; ‘The obedient believer will be given a reward of power or authority in the millennial kingdom as he reigns with Christ (12:5; 19:15; 20:4). The morning star is probably a reference to the eternal presence of Christ Himself.’ In Rev.22:16, Jesus does refer to Himself as ‘the bright and morning star.’ And we’ll end with some uplifting words from Bruh Paul to the Corinthians. ‘But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor.15:57) Oh my people, it’s all over but the shouting! So let’s get on our horses and ride nuh; ride to victory with Christ! Much LOVE!…he that hath an ear…let him hear…what the Spirit saith unto the churches…(Rev.2:29)…wise words indeed…