Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 April 2021 Matthew 8:26a.

Matthew 8:26a.     ​And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?

A blessed Sunday to you, my fellow believers in Christ! The days are rolling by ever so quickly in these turbulent times that we don’t even have time to notice them. Some of us would like to hide from our individual problems, and those that are plaguing our world, but that’s not a wise idea, especially if you’re a follower of Christ Jesus. We believers need to stand up strong in faith and fight our battles courageously with the awesome help of our Lord and Saviour. It’s all a matter of faith my people, how mature we are in our belief in Him. 

But enough talk, today is Sunday and we are gathered, virtually though it might be, to celebrate the Lord’s Day. So let’s do that nuh, beginning as always, with a song of praise and worship, a song that renews our faith and confidence in the true, living God, He of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And today’s song is meant to do just that. It’s titled ‘Ride Out Your Storm.’ 

And the version we are singing today is a reggae version made famous by the Jamaican artist, George Nooks. So, as we are wont to do, let’s raise our voices in harmonious, joyful praise, letting heaven and earth know, without any doubt,where our sympathies and beliefs lie, the true, strong and solid foundation on which our faith is built; none other than Jesus Christ! 

Altogether now, in an up-tempo, reggae riddim: ‘Don’t give up just ride out your storm. You’ve been in the storm and it seems like forever. And your nights of confusion has been too long. Your ship has lost anchor, and the storm’s got you drifting. Just hold on to Jesus And ride out your storm (Chorus: Ride out your storm, God is there with you, you may not feel him, but you’re not alone. You’re hurting now, but your morning is coming…Lord have mercy, just hold on to Jesus and ride out your storm) 

Remember His promise, He said I’ll never forsake you, though the waters are troubled, they’ll do you no harm. Don’t give up the battle for your answer is coming, just hold on to Jesus, hold on to Jesus, and just ride out your storm. Ride out your storm God is still there with you, you may not feel him but you’re not alone. I know you’re hurting now but your morning is coming, Lord have mercy, just hold on to Jesus and ride out your storm. 

Oh Ride out your storm God is there with you, you may not feel him, but you’re not alone. Although you’re hurting now, your morning is coming, just hold on to Jesus and ride out your storm. You know He’ll never leave you, so just hold on to Jesus, and just ride out your storm. Hold on to Jesus, and ride out your storm.’ 

Yes people, our only hope for survival is to hold on tightly to Jesus and ride out our storm, for He is theONLY ONEwho can calm the angry seas. And it’s not like the Lord hasn’t promised never to leave nor forsake us. Hebrews 13:5 in the New Testament reminds of us that. But let’s go right back to the Old Testament nuh, and get it first from Moses, then from the Lord himself. When Moses passed the leadership mantle of the Israelites to Joshua, he told him thus: ‘And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.’ (Deut. 31:8) 

And if that wasn’t sufficient, when the Lord officially enshrined Joshua as the leader, hear His fateful words to him. ‘There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.’ (Josh. 1:5) And a few verses later, the Lord reminded 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) Strong words indeed my brethren, but also ever-faithful ones. 

And before Jesus left us to return to heaven, He made the same promise to the disciples: ‘and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the very end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:20b) So it’s not like we don’t have word promises, but we also have actual situations where those promises were kept. We’ll just look at two situations with Jesus and the disciples, situations that we all know about, but unfortunately don’t take them as seriously as we ought to in these perilous times. The first is when Jesus, after feeding the five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, sent the disciples across the lake in their boat, while He went up into the mountain to pray. 

But when the boat was in the middle of the lake, a serious storm arose and began tossing the boat to and fro in a wild manner. Obviously, the disciples became fearful, but Jesus knew their plight and came walking to them on the water. The Good Book tells it thus: ‘And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying it is a spirit (ghost); and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer (take courage), it is I, be not afraid.’ (Matt.14:26-27) 

Then we have the episode of Peter going out of the boat and walking on the water towards Jesus. And he was doing very well until he took his eyes off of Jesus, and focused on the wind and the stormy sea, then he became afraid and began to sink and had to implore Jesus to save him, which Jesus did, saying unto him, ‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt.’ (Matt. 14:28-31) Unfortunately though friends, that’s how it is with us to this day. We start out strong and confident in Jesus, but as soon as the storm begins to seriously kick up, we take our eyes off of Jesus, lose our faith, get scared and begin to sink. 

Then we have the granddaddy of all the examples of losing faith, of not staying focused on Jesus. That time when they were going across the sea in their ship. ‘And behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea: and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!’ (Matt. 8:23-27) 

What can I say eh friends? After spending so much time with Jesus, and seeing so many miracles, the disciples still showed serious fear, even when He was with them. But here are some interesting words on the subject from commentator, Danielle Bernock, from the Christianity.com website. 

‘The significance of Jesus calming the storm is pertinent to what’s happening in our world today and is evidence of God’s love for us. COVID -19 has had a significant impact on our lives. We’re flooded by numerous types of storms daily. These storms are both internal and external. The intense surges of emotion within us are due to our humanity while the chaotic circumstances around us are beyond our control. Right now, many can relate to the disciples’ emotions when Jesus calmed the storm…

There have been many epidemics and even pandemics throughout history, and now we have many skilled scientists in the world. So, it seemed that we were prepared for COVID-19. But as country after country and state after state go into lockdown, the same fear and panic the disciples experienced looms over us. So, when things come upon us suddenly, we find out what’s in our hearts. Like the disciples, fear is coming out of many people’s hearts. It’s an emotion common to being human. 

One might say that the disciples were just being human. All of us during this pandemic are feeling our humanity deeply as fear sweeps across the world like a dark cloud. But Jesus was human too. He often took time away to refresh. During the storm, Jesus was sleeping because he was exhausted from ministry.… A good question for us to ask ourselves as COVID-19 rages is, where is our faith? The disciples spent a lot of time with Jesus and saw him perform many miracles. You would think that they’d have a lot of faith. But in their humanity, it became evident they had more faith that the storm would destroy them than in Jesus saving them. 

Jesus may have rebuked the disciples for their weak faith, but he didn’t abandon them to let them drown. Instead, he calmed the storm and then continued to teach them who he was and demonstrated what it was to have faith in God. Do we have more faith in the pandemic than in the mercy and grace of God? There is not a disease that Jesus was unable to heal. If the fear in us is stronger than our faith, we can turn to God and he’ll teach us because his mercy endures forever. Feeding on God’s word will build your faith and calm the storm raging within you.’ 

And we’ll end with those wise words my brethren. But please, please, let’s take time today, and in the upcoming ones, to ponder those questions that Mr. Bernock has posed, for they are very important to our current situation.Much LOVE!

…if we truly believe in Jesus…there is NO storm that we can’t ride out… 

P.S.Yes, it’s pretty long (smile), but I think it’s all very worthwhile. Much LOVE! 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 May 2020 Deuteronomy 31:8.

Deuteronomy 31:8.   ​And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
 
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
 
Oh my fellow saints in Christ, these are certainly rough times we are currently experiencing yes! For the umpteenth Sunday the Lord’s sanctuaries are closed on His day. And today, on Mother’s Day, many mothers will be alone and lonely with no friends or family around them, to celebrate their special day…all because of the lockdown made necessary by the Coronavirus pandemic. Today is also a somewhat sad day for some of us due to the passing of our great friend of St. Francis Anglican Parrish, the Rev. Dennis Doloff. 

He wasn’t our Parish Priest, but he attended many of our functions and preached a few times for us when our regular priest was unavailable, all from the confines of his wheel chair. Despite his physical setbacks, he was a most encouraging, enlightening and humorous soul, quick witted and always ready with a joke. We of St. Francis wish his family our sincere condolences and grieve with them, though we’re all glad that his suffering is now over and he’s in a much better place. 

So today, as all those storms come against us, it is ever so appropriate that we sing this wonderful song: ‘Ride Out Your Storm.’ It’s good assurance and strength for all of us. We’re letting the enemy know that we’re not giving up, we’re going down fighting and celebrating because we have the Most High God as our refuge in any and all the storms of life. Isaiah said it thus: ‘For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.’ (Is.25:4) 

So with that in mind, let’s raise up our voices in sacrificial praise and thanksgiving, singing the up-tempo reggae version of this popular gospel song done by the Jamaican Artiste, George Nooks. And the band played…and the voices rose in sweet harmony… ‘Don’t give up, just ride out your storm. You’ve been in the storm and it seems like forever. And your nights of confusion have been too long. Your ship has lost anchor, and the storm’s got you drifting. Just hold on to Jesus And ride out your storm 

(Chorus: Ride out your storm, God is there with you, you may not feel him, but you’re not alone. You’re hurting now, but your morning is coming…Lord have mercy, just hold on to Jesus and ride out your storm) Remember His promise, He said I’ll never forsake you, though the waters are troubled, they’ll do you no harm. Don’t give up the battle for your answer is coming, just hold on to Jesus, hold on to Jesus, and just ride out your storm. Ride out your storm God is still there with you, you may not feel him, but you’re not alone. I know you’re hurting now but your morning is coming, Lord have mercy, just hold on to Jesus and ride out your storm. 

Oh Ride out your storm, God is there with you, you may not feel him, but you’re not alone. Although you’re hurting now, your morning is coming, just hold on to Jesus and ride out your storm. You know He’ll never leave you, so just hold on to Jesus, and just ride out your storm. Hold on to Jesus…and ride out your storm.’ 

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! There’s no better person to hold on to than Jesus in the time of storm my people. Remember when He was crossing the sea in the ship with His disciples and a great storm arose, and it looked like the boat would capsize, and the disciples were scared to death. What was Jesus doing then eh? Snoozing quietly in the back of the ship. Hn! Hn! 

The Good Book reports it thus: ‘And the disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!’ (Matt. 8:25-27) Those disciples really didn’t have much faith nuh mih bredrin. Having seen Jesus do all the earlier miracles, they shouldn’t have been so scared. 

But we really can’t get on their case too much because we do the same thing nowadays too. Despite the many miracles the Lord has worked or wrought in our lives, we still get scared and doubtful and anxious when storms and life’s difficulties come our way, instead of calmly taking it all to God in prayer and trusting that He will at least walk through the storm beside us. And please don’t forget the Lord’s marvellous promise through His prophet Isaiah: ‘When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon (scorch) thee.’ (Is. 43:2) 

Please remember that friends: whatever we go through, our great and faithful God is always right there beside us! And ofttimes He does even better than that. Listen to Moses on His behalf, as he gave over the Israelite leadership to Joshua. After warning him to be strong and of good courage, he continues: ‘And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.’ Mamacita! Our God doesn’t only walk with us through life’s storms, He goes one better, goes before us to clear the way for us. 

So friends, this Sunday morning, regardless of what is coming against us, please, I implore us, let’s be strong and of good courage, for we have all those faithful promises of our faithful God to hold on to. He never said that it would be easy, but He would bring us through it, just like He brought the three Hebrew boys out of the fire unscathed, not even smelling of smoke, the same way He brought Daniel out of the lion’s den unharmed. That means we cannot allow the heathen, the unbeliever, or even our fellow believer to look at us and derisively say, ‘O thou of little faith!’ 

And a Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women out there, for you are the backbone and major source of faith in most of our families! Without you, our faith would be even less than it is. Much LOVE!

…the best pilot in stormy waters…JESUS…