Today’s Scrip-Bit   21 November 2021 John 10:11.

John 10:11.     I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

It’s that time again my brethren, Sunday morning, where we gather to worship our wonderful God, to sing His praises, hear His refreshing and enlightening Word, and give Him much thanks for His awesome LOVE and compassion towards us, His most undeserving children. But that’s the kind of God we serve and worship. And today’s opening song is a not so old hymn, (smile) as compared to some others we sing, written by John Willard Peterson (1921-2006), in the early years of his ministry, and aptly titled ‘No One understands like Jesus.’ 

And believe me friends, that’s the indisputable truth! And why shouldn’t it be true eh, since He is God whose thoughts and understanding are incomparable, and when you add the fact that Jesus Himself underwent all the stuff that we go through down here on earth, it certainly adds up to a wealth of understanding. That’s why Hebrews can tell us: ‘For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (who cannot sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:15-16) 

Anyway, enough talk, time to do some singing. And in our usual harmonious and soulful manner let’s offer up our sacrifices of praise to heaven and our marvellous Godhead. ‘No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare; Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him!) No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels; Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals. 

(Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail; You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail! (Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way; Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him! Cast your every care on Him, Cause no one understands like Jesus.’ 

You can say that again my people: ‘No one understands like Jesus!’ (smile) And there seems to be an interesting and heart-felt story behind the writing of this song, as there usually are behind many of our favourite tunes. Mr. Peterson appears to have been quite involved in Christian music and tells the story thus: ‘”At one time I had a responsible position with a well-known gospel ministry. One day a supervisory position opened up in my department. I was led to believe that I was to be promoted to this position. I was thrilled and challenged by the prospect of a new joy. But I was by-passed, and a man from the outside was brought in to fill the position.  

There followed days of agonizing heart searching. It was all I could do to keep from becoming bitter. One night I had occasion to spend an evening with the man who was brought in for “my” position. For some reason or other, though otherwise a very pleasant fellow, that night he became quite caustic in some of his remarks to me; and I was deeply hurt. Later that evening, after returning home, I was sitting in our living room thinking about the events of the past days and about the bitter experiences of that evening. I began to feel very alone and forsaken. 

Suddenly, I sensed the presence of the Lord in an unusual way and my mind was diverted from my difficulties to His faithfulness and sufficiency. Soon the thought occurred to me that He fully understood and sympathized with my situation–in fact, no one could ever completely understand or care as did He. Before long, the idea for the song came and I began to write. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). 

And Peter, who witnessed the perfidy of Judas, echoed his words: “Casting all your care [anxiety] upon Him, for He cares [is deeply concerned] for you” (I Pet. 5:7). Discouragement gripped him. He felt alone and forsaken, and was tempted to become bitter, until he began thinking about the great compassion of the Lord. Who cares? He does!’ 

Yes friends, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does care deeply about us, else why would He leave the joys and comforts of heaven and come to earth in human flesh to suffer the humiliation and abuse He did eh? These awesome words of His speak plainly of caring. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (Jon 3:16) There was no reason for the Father to do that, except that His LOVE and compassion for us was so great, He couldn’t just allow us to lose our souls and end up in Hades with Beelzebub. 

So Jesus’ coming to earth was all about caring. And the Good Book tells us in so many instances of God’s care and concern for us. Let’s check out a few nuh. Mr. Peterson mentioned a couple. The first one being the words of Bruh David from Psalm 55 – A cry against deceitful friends – where he declares in no uncertain manner: ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit, allow) the righteous to be moved (shaken).’ (Ps. 55:22) and if you are a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then it’s imperative that you believe those words! 

Then there was Peter, who experienced Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, as well as his own, when he thrice denied knowing Christ, having been forewarned by Christ that he would do it. And when the cock crowed and Jesus looked around at Peter, he must have wished the earth could open up and swallow him, the shame he felt. (Luke 22:55-62) But the Lord not only forgave Peter, but also encouraged him, ‘Feed my sheep.’  (John 21:15-19) And Peter rose to be one of the leaders of the church. 

All of that caring and compassion of Jesus, must have compelled him to write: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet. 5:6-7) And that’s the gospel truth friends! Peter experienced it, so he could testify to it. Likewise, many of us have also experienced the Lord’s care and compassion in our normal everyday lives, but you know what, in these turbulent and dangerous times we need to seek His care and compassion even more than usual, since the world is in such turmoil. 

And Psalm 37 – the true state of the wicked – has a couple of interesting verses that we should all take hold of. ‘Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass…The steps of a good man are ordered (established) by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.’ (Ps. 37:5, 23-24) 

Oh my fellow believers there’s no doubt whatsoever that Jesus cares for us. How else can you interpret these words of His: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) My fellow saints, please ponder those words today, and see if they don’t add up to a tender and heartfelt caring on the part of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Much LOVE!

…no one understands…or cares…like Jesus… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 November 2019 Psalm 55:22.

Psalm 55:22.    ​Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit) the righteous to be moved (shaken).
 

Come Sunday morning, we’re going to the house of the Lord, to have sweet fellowship with other believers. And there we will encourage each other, as we sing and dance and praise His holy name, while giving thanks for His faithful mercies and compassions that are new each and every day. And by the hearing of His life-giving Word, our minds will be renewed, our faith will grow stronger, and we shall be uplifted in soul, body and spirit! Glory be my people! There’s no one place beside the Lord’s sanctuary that we can go and leave so strong and refreshed. That’s because the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Neh. 8:10) And in His house, His joy resonates like nowhere else. (smile) 

And this morning, to get us going, we’re going to sing a rather poignant and soul-searching hymn written by John Willard Peterson (1921-2006). It’s titled ‘No One Understands Like Jesus.’ And if you’re a true believer, you know that’s the gospel truth! But before we get into the song, here is a li’l background on its composition. Apparently, in his early days of ministry, Mr. Peterson held a fairly high post  at a well-known gospel ministry. One day a supervisory position became available, and he was led to believe that it would be given to him. But as so often happens, someone from outside was eventually brought in to fill it. 

Obviously he was broken-hearted and struggled to keep a good attitude. To make matters even worse, he happened to spend an evening with that new man, and though he seemed to be a decent sort, for some reason that night he made some caustic, unfeeling remarks that obviously hurt Mr. Peterson. And as he sat at home, later that evening, contemplating all the recent hurting and negative experiences, a terrible feeling of being alone and forsaken overcame him. 

But then suddenly, in his own words: “I sensed the presence of the Lord in an unusual way and my mind was diverted from my difficulties to His faithfulness and sufficiency. Soon the thought occurred to me that He fully understood and sympathized with my situation – in fact, no one could ever completely understand or care as He did. Before long, the idea for the song came and I began to write.” 

Only with Jesus, yes friends, only with Jesus, can that kind of experience be experienced! Now let’s sing what he wrote, in a sincere, soulful and heartfelt manner. Altogether now, let’s raise our earthly voices to heaven and acknowledge Jesus’ Kingship and Lordship over the earth and all therein! 

‘No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare; Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him!) No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels; Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals. (Chorus) 

No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail; You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail! (Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way; Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him! Cast your every care on Him, Cause no one understands like Jesus.’ 

Oh my people, what words of indisputable truth! No one cares like Jesus! When the hard, dark times come, as they do for all of us, the best source of comfort, care and healing is certainly the arms of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For He is the Great Healer, the Great Comforter, the Great Carer…in fact He is the Great I AM, the Great EVERYTHING! Glory to God! Just like the Lord’s sanctuary is a one stop-shop, likewise Jesus is a one stop healing and caring and comforting station. In your deepest sorrow, He is the best one to run to, for He will NEVER turn you away, but will instead welcome you with wide opened arms. 

And there are no better words to describe His compassion and care than His Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) Ah people, if you don’t take advantage of that glorious invitation, then, as the old people would say, yuh not righted, yuh mental! Yeh! Is only crazy people who wouldn’t accept such a wonderful, life-giving, life-saving invitation! 

And yuh know what, long before Jesus ever came to earth, Bruh David’s been saying the same thing. Listen to him in Psalm 55; his plaintive cry against deceitful friends. ‘The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit) the righteous to be moved (shaken). But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody (bloodthirsty) and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.’ (Ps. 55:21-23) And friends, we all know how Bruh David overcame his many enemies through that sincere trust in Almighty God. 

And after Jesus, Peter, with his own problems of denying Jesus, received healing, comfort and forgiveness, thus he could later on declare: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet. 5:6-7) And if you can’t believe the words of Bruh David, Peter and Jesus, then all that’s left for me to say is… Much LOVE!

…like mothers care greatly for their children…so does our heavenly Father care greatly for His children…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 June 2018 Isaiah 53:7.

Isaiah 53:7.   He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

‘Sunny days are here again! Glory Hallelujah!’ Yeh friends, it’s sunny and beautiful once again, although yesterday did turn out nicely, except that in the afternoon a mild thunderstorm swept through the area leaving a devastating windstorm in its wake. 

Ah Lord eh! The thunderstorm wasn’t bad, but the wind provoked the region all evening, late into the night, blowing down stuff and causing a fair amount of damage. Thankfully my property didn’t seem to suffer any damage this time, as the last windstorm we had blew down a part of my fence. 

And if that’s the extent of our disasters, then let us give God much thanks and plenty glory yes, because so many others are undergoing much worse disasters, like floods, volcanoes and wildfires, and the tornado and hurricane seasons will soon be upon us in full force, so we have a lot of negative stuff to look forward to. 

And I was just reading that a lot of people in Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys are still living in very trying conditions, without electricity, in rundown trailer parks etc, nine months after the last hurricane devastated their areas. How sad is that eh friends? Where is the government…and the church…and we, the supposed neighbours… and the many charitable organizations that are constantly collecting money from us eh? 

I don’t know the answers nuh friends, but I do know that in the LOVE of Christ, our fellow men and women should not be living in such trying conditions through no fault of their own. And to help alleviate our concerns, I have two seminal quotes from the Daily Bread Devotionals. The first says ‘No one understands like Jesus.’ 

And isn’t that the living truth my people! Nobody understands our trials and tribulations like Jesus because He experienced them too in His earthly sojourn. So in times when our small, finite understanding fails us, He is the One we need to go to and just lay all our burdens before Him. 

Remember what He said in His Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matt.11:28) And He was not joking my brethren, but being very serious. There’s no other Being in man’s history who has ever made such a declaration! That’s because no other has ever had the parts to fulfill it. But Jesus does my people. 

So whenever we’re down and out and don’t know what to do, please turn to Him, that’s the wisest thing to do, and He will give you succour. I can personally testify to that. He might not drive away the negative circumstances, but He will certainly give you the wherewithal to bear them in a positive manner. And sometimes that’s all we really need if we are true and faithful believers. 

And the second quote is: ‘Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, motivates us to sacrifice ourselves for others.’ Or at least it ought to. Unfortunately though in too many cases it does not. In fact, the word ‘sacrifice’ is not one that’s used much in our everyday lives. Some people don’t even know it, or know what it means. 

And for our information, here is how the dictionary defines it. ‘Sacrifice: Giving up of thing for the sake of another that is higher or more urgent, thing thus given up, loss thus entailed.’ Yeh friends, it means giving up something, losing something for somebody else’s sake, because their need is more urgent than ours. 

And what’s the greatest sacrifice ever made on the face of this earth? That of Jesus giving up His sinless, holy life for our sinful, disgusting one, so that atonement could be made for our sorrowful, sinful state. The Good Book declares: ‘He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.’ 

Yeh friends, that’s how Jesus died on our behalf; without a word of murmur or complaint. So why is it so difficult for us to give up much simpler stuff for others eh? Why are we so greedy and like to hoard stuff for ourselves, even when we sometimes have no use for them? 

I guess that’s the natural nature of man, especially in today’s selfish and greedy world, and the LOVE and sacrifice of Jesus have not yet truly infiltrated our hearts and souls so that we can become more like Him, generous to a fault. But we LOVE to get, to receive. Oh brother do we ever! 

But please remember these immortal words of Jesus: ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom (pocket). For with the same measure that you mete (use to give) withal it shall be measured to you again.’ (Luke 6:38) 

Yeh friends, that means if you give stingily, you will be given back stingily. However if you give generously, you will receive generously. That’s just the law of God’s economics. So please let us start giving generously nuh, of our time, talents and money, so that we can receive generously from God and man too. It’s only wisdom friends. 

Now let’s go home declaring our Thursday Blessings, that the Lord has so generously bestowed on us, although we don’t deserve many of them. But that’s the kind of God He is! So all together now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! 

I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! 

I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now please note that the Lord didn’t give us all of that to hoard for ourselves, but to go out and share with the less fortunate. So let’s do His will on that nuh, so that He can bless us even more. Much LOVE!

…it is so much better…to give than to receive…but we must also learn how to receive…in humility…