Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 September 2020 Mark 4:41.

Mark 4:41.     ​What manner of man is this (who can this be), that even the wind and the sea obey him?

‘I am under the rock…the rock is higher than I, Jahovah hides me! Yes, I am under the rock…the rock is higher than I, Jahovah hides me… I am under the rock!’ Oh mih people, mih people, I sure hope you all are under the rock with me yes, because when the storms of life come howling through, as they most certainly will, and are currently doing, under the rock that’s Jesus, in the shelter of His safe, LOVING and comforting arms, is the only place that true refuge can be found! Why? Because He is the ONLY one who can calm those hungry angry winds of the storm! 

Case in point; the evening Jesus and His disciples were in the boat crossing over the to the other side and a most fearsome storm arose, so that it threatened the lives of those on the water. But where was Jesus eh? Mark says: ‘And he was in the hinder part (the stern) of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto him, Master, carest not thou that we perish?’ (Mark 4:38) Doesn’t that just make you chuckle? This great storm is happening, the boat is tossing and turning, most likely taking in water, but our wonderful Lord and Saviour is in the back of the boat quietly and serenely snoozing away like nothing is happening. 

But Jesus knew exactly what was happening and knew exactly what He would do. So Mark continues: ‘And he arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?’ (Mark 4:39-40) And that’s exactly what He’s saying to us in these trying and very troubled times my people: Where is your faith eh? The faith you talk about so much when things are going well, but seem to lose when times get tough. 

And what was the disciples’ reaction to all that eh? ‘And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this (who can this be), that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ (Mark 4:41) Oh my people, it was the Creator of the wind and the sea, so that’s why they obeyed Him! But unfortunately, although the disciples had seen Jesus do other miracles, their faith in the actual time of storm was not good enough. But that’s how Jesus operates; often questioning us in order to spur us on to deeper trust and faith. 

And the scholars offer an interesting explanation of the scriptures here: ‘4:35-5:43. Jesus takes His disciples from the classroom to the laboratory. Having just taught that God’s power will cause His kingdom to grow to worldwide proportion and influence – the parable of the mustard seed – (4:30-32), Jesus now performs four miracles that demonstrate this divine might. God’s power is seen overcoming (1) the danger of a storm (4:35-41); (2) demons in a victim possessed (5:1-20); (3) disease in a woman physically ravished (5:21-34); and (4) the death of a little girl (5:35-43).’ 

But friends, we can’t be too hard on the disciples nuh, for as the scholars further state: ‘4:41. The fear must have been a mixture of reverential awe and real fright – it would be chillingly eerie to witness the instantaneous dissipation of a violent storm.’ And so it surely would be to all of us, regardless of how much we knew about Jesus’ divine might! But as Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer says: ‘When God awakens you to His presence, everything becomes a whole lot more meaningful.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! Once you truly understand what’s happening with Christ in your life, your entire life takes on a whole new perspective. 

And talking about refuge in Christ and being under the rock, causes me to think of two interesting situations, the one of Moses, and the other of Elijah. Both were going through some difficult times in their earthly ministry. Moses prayed for God’s presence to lead him in the exodus of Israel from Egypt. He desired God’s assurance: ‘show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight; And consider that this nation is thy people.’ (Ex. 33:13). And the Lord agreed. ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’ (Ex. 33:14) 

But Moses still was not satisfied, and later said: ‘I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he (the Lord) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee… (but) Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift (cleft) of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.’ (Ex. 33:18-23) 

And I like this explanation that www.frankgantz.com/the-cleft-in-the-rock offers: ‘A cleft is a narrow space or split. This would have put rock under Moses’ feet, behind his back and on either side of him. In a sense he was wedged into this rock which would hold him in place and provide a stable base. From that vantage point he would behold the back of God’s glory.’ That makes sense doesn’t it. 

The same thing with Elijah; after killing the prophets of Baal he got tired and discouraged and ran away into the wilderness hoping to die. But God made him rest by a brook for a couple of days and fed him divinely. Then he went for forty days and nights in the strength of that food to Mt. Horeb and hid in a cave there. But the Lord called and asked what He was doing there and he claimed that he was tired and scared after being very zealous in doing the Lord’s work, but the children of Israel had forsaken the Lord and wanted to kill him. 

‘And he (the Lord) said, Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord: (1 Kin. 19:1-11) And an earthquake happened, but the Lord was not in it. Then a fire, but the Lord wasn’t in that either. ‘…and after the fire a still, small voice (delicate whispering voice). And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering (entrance) of the cave.’ And there the Lord spoke with him, strengthened and reassured him, then sent him back to continue his ministry. (1 Kin. 19:11-18) 

Yes friends, when we are weak and discouraged, and think we can’t go on, the most desirous place to be is in the comfort of God’s arms, in that safe cleft of rock on the mountain top that shows His mighty power. He will give us the peace and calm and the reassurance that we all need at times, to continue to be of service to Him here on earth. 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know who and whose we are. In strong voice, with 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 now it’s time to put those words into godly action! Much LOVE!

…the best place to recuperate…in the LOVING arms of God… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 August 2020 Psalm 119:89-90.

Psalm 119:89-90.     ​Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations: you established the earth, and it endures.
 

This Tuesday morning has opened somewhat dark and cloudy in my area, but the sun is valiantly trying to push through the dark, ominous looking clouds. How successful it will be though, is anyone’s guess. But I just want to remind us that despite the physical darkness or light of this world, we have a spiritual light that emanates from our magnificent Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ which NOTHING in this world can ever dim or darken! Wow! And all God’s children declared a loud, and grateful: ‘Glory Hallelujah! All praise and honour be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!’ 

Yes friends, on those three omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present deities or God-heads, is where ALL of our praise, honour, thanks and glory ought to rest. And yuh won’t believe it nuh people, but I just went upstairs to reheat my caffeine, and lo and behold, was greeted by a brilliant burst of sunshine! The sun has actually won the battle! Just goes to show the awesome power of light over darkness! (smile) And what other encouraging words or news do we have to offer today? Well just this: ‘The Facts!’ 

Yeh bredrin, some awesome facts of life are what we’re talking about, as released in this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. So please pray with me: ‘Lord When I feel I can’t possibly make it When I feel deluged with problems When I feel helpless Against the strange twistings of life When I feel there is no way out The FACT is You have a plan You know what You’re about. The FACT is The greater the strategy of the Enemy The greater the assurance of victory. The FACT is The worst may seem to happen But the best is on the way. God, hold me to the facts.’ 

And it’s all so true my fellow saints in Christ! Whenever life seems to come against us, as the poem says so sweetly ‘the strange twistings of life,’ we need to remember that we have a heavenly Father who is the most powerful, most generous and most LOVING Being in this universe, who will not let anything evil overtake us! But the FACT is, that WE have to remember it and stand strong in His promise! And don’t worry, If we hold on to God, He will help us to hold on to the facts. The facts which are contained in these eternal words of truth, that are associated with today’s poem. 

Now I’m faced with a dilemma here: you all know I’m partial to my King James version of the Word, but the NIV, the New International Version used with the poem sounds good and somewhat more appropriate than the KJV. Steups! And I was just guided by the facts: share them both! Yeah! So here goes. The KJV says: ‘For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled (stands firm) in heaven. Thy faithful ness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth (stands, endures). (Ps. 119:89-90) Now hear the NIV: ‘Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations: you established the earth, and it endures.’ 

Yeh mih people, they say the same basic things but just in a slightly different fashion. And for today, I think I’ll use the NIV as our Bit. Now don’t get worried my purist friends, the KJV will always be our favourite, but sometimes we do need to use other resources. (smile) That brings us to this other powerful verse from Psalm 119. ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ (Ps. 119:105) And that’s exactly what the Word was given to us for; to lead and guide us on this strange, twisting journey that we call life on earth! 

But we have to read it, study it, and then keep it, do as it says. Otherwise it is of absolutely no use to us. And that’s why so many of us supposed believers are not living the full and abundant lives that Christ sacrificed his sinless life for us to have: we don’t read, study, or put the Word into action, like we ought to. 

Oh fellow saints in Christ, the Word of the Lord is our most important asset and guide for earthly living. But we have to use it. Hear how Jesus describes it nuh. ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.’ (Matt.24:35) Now that’s as simple and straightforward as it can get! Everything else may, and eventually shall pass away, but the Word of the Lord will endure forever! 

So why do we doubt the Word of God eh, and not put it to proper use in our lives eh? Because we’re proud and foolish and believe that we no longer need God in our lives, we can do it all on our own. But if we look closely at the state of our world right now we’d see that we cannot make it on our own, the problems of life are too big for our finite, puny minds and oversized egos! 

But please listen as Peter uses the words of Isaiah 40:6-8 to address us. ‘For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.’ (1 Pet.1:24-25) What more can I say eh friends? Not a whole lot. But just remember that one day we’ll all have to stand and answer for our deeds here on earth, and as Sun Rise says, we can’t take the big house, the big car and the plenty money with us to the grave, we have to leave them all here for others to use and abuse. (smile) 

So let’s go home now declaring… (brother, can’t spell that word right for LOVE nor money!) So let’s go home now declaring (yeahh!) our Tuesday Mantra telling the world who and whose we are, to whom we gloriously belong. All together now, in strong voice with 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 obvious corollary to all that is for us to now go out and share the wonderful LOVE, trust and friendship of Jesus that’s supposed to distinguish us from the rest of the world. Much LOVE!

…he who has ears to hear…let him hear… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 June 2020 Jeremiah 13:15.

Jeremiah 13:15.     Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. 
 

‘Turn, turn, turn!’ Oh friends, remember that popular sixties song written by Pete Seeger and made famous by the British band ‘The Byrds’? Oh, I forgot that some of you might be too young to remember! (smile) You can look it up on You Tube though. And yes, it was based on Cousin Sol’s marvellous and ever so true words from Ecclesiastes 5: ‘A time for Everything.’ Oh my people, those words are ever so important and appropriate for these troubled days. Hear them nuh, and please take them to heart. 

‘To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born (to bear), and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 

A time to get (gain), and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend (tear apart), and a time to sew (sew together); a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to LOVE, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.’ (Eccl. 5:1-8) 

Oh friends, oh friends, right now our world is so filled with turmoil, adversity, hate, war and tearing apart, of throwing stones, of weeping and mourning, that if we seriously hope to survive, we desperately need to turn it around and instead make it a time of LOVE, healing, sewing together, of peace, of gathering stones, of embracing, and building up, so that we can eventually laugh and dance together! As the song says, ‘What the world needs now, is LOVE, sweet LOVE!’ That’s the ONLY thing of which we have a real shortage! 

But then again, how can we ever find that abundance of true LOVE that we need to make our world livable and sustainable for our descendants eh? Only ONE Way, and from ONE Place! By turning back to Almighty God, the ONE and ONLY LIVING GOD! He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Because we’ve turned away from Jehovah God, our Creator and Provider, and become dependent on our own inferior and finite wisdom, our world has fallen apart! It’s obvious that we are not fit, either in mental or emotional acumen to successfully rule ourselves. 

When God gave us free will, He expected us to see that and remain under His august umbrella of safety, freedom, peace and LOVE! But when we got so big and bright and full of ourselves, we decided that we no longer needed Him. But my people, that’s the furthest thing from the truth! How can we not need the One who made us and keeps us alive and kicking through His breath of Life eh? But the long and short of the story is this my bredrin! 

As Jeremiah told his people of Israel when they were turning away from God and experiencing the same sort of calamity and disaster like we’re now doing: ‘Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.’ (Jer. 13:15-16) 

Yes people, the Lord is giving us a serious warning and we need to heed it without delay, otherwise we might end up like Israel, who did not listen. ‘But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive. Say unto the king and to the queen (queen mother), Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down (your rule shall collapse), even the crown of your glory.’ (Jer. 13:17-18) 

And that is exactly what’s happening right now friends, the proud, evil rulers and leaders are beginning to lose their power and their glory under the simultaneous onslaught of pandemic sickness and worldwide unrest. These things have never happened together on such a worldwide scale before this, and any fool ought to see it as a serious warning of some kind. A warning that things are not right in our world and we need to change. 

Now listen to this interesting explanation of the scholars: ‘13:15-17. A third illustration concerns a weary traveller in danger of being overtaken by the falling darkness of night. Such was Judah. It must renounce all pride and give God His rightful glory before the final darkness of national catastrophe engulfs it.’ 

Ah friends, our warning above was Jeremiah’s third example of what would happen to Judah if they did not renounce their foolish pride and return to the God of their forefathers. And, unfortunately, the same thing is being said to us today: we are in danger of being swallowed up in the evil and frightful darkness of the enemy if we don’t swallow our pride and stop trying to turf God out of our society, His Creation! 

And if there’s one thing the Lord hates more than any other is the sin of pride, because it says, shouts out loud, that we don’t need Him! That’s a situation to which He has long ago made clear: ‘I AM the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.’ (Is. 42:8) So for those of us who are currently bowing down to all sorts of ungodly images and idols, please let that be a serious and timely warning! 

And having said all of that, let’s go home now declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know who and whose we are. In strong voice with 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!’ 

So then, let it be, let us go out and do Jesus’ will and share His awesome LOVE and friendship with a dark and unfriendly world! Much LOVE!

…obey God…and leave all the consequences to Him… (Uncle Charles – Dr. Charles Stanley)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 June 2020 Psalm 119:147.

Psalm 119:147.    ​I prevented (rose before) the dawning of the morning, and cried (for help): I hoped in thy word. 

 

‘This is the day…Yes! This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!’ Oh friends, that’s the only sensible option of the two we have today and every day: either to rejoice and be glad in it, or be miserable and sad in it! (smile) And sadly, too many of us will indeed choose that latter option – believers included.

But friends, please, please, let’s remember the momentous words of Jeremiah in his Lamentations nuh: ‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’ (Lam. 3:22-23) 

Yeh mih people, it’s the Lord’s mercies, his LOVING-kindness that keeps us going, and they’re new every day! Wow! No stale mercies for His people! But bright and fresh ones every day, like fresh bread from the oven every morning and you just slather it with butter…Ohhh, awfully good! 

It’s like the manna that the Lord fed the Israelites with for forty years in the wilderness: everyday, except on the Sabbath, they picked it up fresh. They might not have liked it, but it kept them well-nourished in their rough times. Likewise, our Lord’s new mercies everyday keeps us well-nourished spiritually every day, and we’d be foolish not to accept them and cherish them. End of sermon! (smile) 

And lemme make a salient point here before we move on nuh: this thing about going to bed early is really for the birds oui, not for me. I tried it last night, went to bed much earlier than usual, spent most of the night in the bed, but did not sleep as much as I expected, and still got up late. And worst of all, I got up severely pained in body and soul, as if I’d done a night of hard labour! Steups! 

So all yuh could keep this early night nonsense yes! But as for me, I’m going to stick with my night owl business yes, because although I might wake up late the odd time (smile) I don’t get up as pained in body or soul! Now that’s my position…and I’m sticking to it! Chuh! No more of this early night foolishness! And it even make me less productive too…! And now that I’ve said my piece, (smile) let’s see what the Lord has to say to us nuh. 

But this morning looks like a Jeremiah Lamentations morning yes, because the Lord is also pointing out the words of Jeremiah to his people Israel when they were facing extremely rough times like we are currently. Hear him nuh: ‘Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.’ (Lam. 2:19) 

Oh my people, there is so much hunger and poverty and strife and negative stuff in our world that we can never correct or even attempt to fix it without the Lord’s help! But we’ve become such a proud, haughty and know it all civilization that we blatantly refuse to acknowledge our Creator and de facto Controller and try to do it our way. With what results eh – pandemic sickness and pandemic struggles and protests in our streets! And yet we still refuse to turn back to Almighty God. How foolish is that eh? 

When we were a fairly godly society, did we have as many problems? I really don’t know nuh. But I know for sure that trying to get God out of our lives right now is definitely not going to work, because He’s not going to allow us to do it. It’s His world and as He said so profoundly a long time ago: ‘I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.’ (Is. 42:8) And if we don’t believe that, then we can continue to fight the losing battle we’re currently fighting. 

Oh my people, when are we going to truly realize and accept that the Most High God Jehovah is the Ruler of the universe eh, and that nothing happens without Him allowing it? We can’t control the most important aspect of our lives, that’s life itself. Regardless of how much money and power we have when the Grim Reaper comes a calling, we have to go. And even when we want to go before time, by taking our own lives, just look at how often we fail. 

But listen to what the psalmist said nuh: ‘I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. I prevented (rose before) the dawning of the morning, and cried (for help): I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent (are awake through) the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. 

Hear my voice according unto thy LOVING-kindness: O Lord, quicken (revive) me according to thy judgement (justice). They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law. Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.’ (Ps. 119:145-152) 

Yes friends, until we begin again to seriously do the words of the psalmist; cry out sincerely for help to God, acknowledge His sovereignty, and obey His Word, our world will remain in turmoil. It’s as simple as that. The Lord is now crying out to us to turn back to Him in true repentance and acknowledgment, but unfortunately we’re not hearing His cry. So what’s to be done eh? For the relatively small amount of us who do acknowledge his sovereignty, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the rest of the world know who and whose we are. 

Altogether now, in strong voice, with 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!’ 

Now what we waiting for eh? Let’s go out and do just that nuh! Much LOVE!

…we expect the Lord to hear us when we call out to Him…but He also expects us to listen and obey…when He replies…