Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 November 2020 Matthew 3:17.

Matthew 3:17.     ​And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Awright, so we running a li’l long and late this cloudy Thursday morning… so what else is new eh? (smile) But that was just due to a rather late bedtime. I am trying to reform, to change my nocturnal habits, but even with the Lord’s help it is proving to be a somewhat formidable task. And I guess it would, if deep down you don’t really want to change. (smile) 

And have you ever noticed that when yuh running late that the enemy always manages to insert his obnoxious self into your business to try and make you even later? Well, just now, as I was coming down the basement stairs with my cup of java, the basement door knocked the elbow of my hand that held the cup and spilled some of it on the steps. Steups! Thus I had to stop and clean up the strong, sweet java wasted on the floor. And those are all my excuses this morning…and I am sticking to them because they are the indisputable truth! 

So what shall we talk about today eh friends? Well the Good Book opened today on an interesting subject, the temptation of Jesus, so I assume that’s what the Lord wants us to talk about. (smile) Anyway, after Jesus’ public baptism by John in the Jordan River, where John felt unworthy to baptize His awesome cousin, since He needed no repentance for sin, saying to Him: ‘I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?’ (Matt.3:14) But Jesus reasoned thus with him: ‘Suffer (allow) it to be so now: for thus it becometh us (is fitting for us) to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.’ (Matt.3:15) 

And the scholars explain: ‘3:15. Suffer it to be so means allow it to be or let it happen. Jesus sought this outward identification with John’s ministry to fulfill all righteousness. By identifying Himself with those He came to redeem, Jesus inaugurated His public ministry as the Messiah. In regard to the Jewish religious observances, such as synagogue worship, attendance at feasts, and payment of temple tax, Jesus always met the duties of a faithful Jew.’ And we all know what happened when Jesus was baptized by John. As a young boy, it used to be one of my favourite passages of scripture. 

Hear how the Good Book describes it nuh: ‘And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Matt. 3:16-17) Wow! Can you imagine being on the banks of the Jordan that day and experiencing that momentous experience! Unless is John alone who saw and heard it. 

And again we have some interesting info from the scholars: ‘3:16-17. In the process of His baptism Jesus went up…out of the water, the prepositions suggesting that He was completely in the water and came up out from it, again indicating immersion. The descending of the Spirit of God fulfilled the predicted sign to John in order to indicate the true Messiah (cf. John 1:33, Is. 11:2). The dove was a symbol of innocence and purity (cf. 10:16) and served as an ideal symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit. 

The voice from heaven is that of the Father (see also 17:5 where He speaks at the Transfiguration and just prior to the Crucifixion), giving His verbal approval to the ministry of His beloved Son. There can be no doubt that all three persons of the Trinity are actively involved here as distinct persons of the Godhead. The Father speaks, the Spirit descends, and the Son is baptized.’ 

Only our great God can do such things you say! And you are right! No other supposed deity can manage a task like that! And I’m chuckling here friends because I’m realizing that we are not talking about Jesus’ temptation but His baptism. And yuh think we God easy…not at all nuh, because that is what first came to my mind to talk about, but I figured that it was easier to get my mind around the temptation situation than the baptism. But the Lord, in His awesomeness, slyly guided me back to where He wanted me to go! 

Mama Mia! How can I not LOVE Him plenty plenty eh, because He is so faithful, and never gives me a task without giving me the enabling, grace, power, mercy and strength to perform it. Even when I shy away, He is wonderful enough to draw me back to where He wants me to be. And since we in Christ’s baptism, I guess it’s only right to check out the sign that John the Baptist was given for knowing the Messiah. Hear the Good Book from the gospel of John. 

One day while John the Baptist was baptizing by the Jordan, the Pharisees sent some messengers to find out who he was. And when John admitted that he was neither Christ, Elijah, nor Isaiah they wondered aloud why then was he baptizing if he was none of those three? (John 1:19-25) 

‘John answered them saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me (ranks higher than me), whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me (ranks higher than I): for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 

And John bare record (witness) saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode (remained) on him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record (witness) that this is the Son of God.’ (John 1:26-34) 

Now doesn’t our God work in wonderful ways! And I’ve always wondered about John the Baptist and Christ’s relationship, seeing that they were cousins. But the scholars answered my question. They explain that ‘Before Jesus’ baptism, John knew Jesus only as a good cousin, not as the Lamb of God. Not until he saw the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus did John realize that He was the Son of God.’ Our God does move in mysterious ways, way beyond our level of thinking, so anything’s possible. (smile) And to avoid any controversy and confusion between the gospels of Matthew and John, I guess ‘the next day’ John talks about is the day after Christ was baptized. 

And now that we’re all up to date on Jesus’ baptism and not His temptation, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Thursday Blessings, that have been so magnanimously bestowed on us by our most magnificent and magnanimous heavenly Father. Altogether 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!’ 

It’s now our bounden duty to go out, or stay in, in these Covid-19 times, and share them just as generously as they were shared with us. Much LOVE!

…except a man be born…of water and of the Spirit…he cannot enter into the kingdom of God… (John 3:5) 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 January 2020 Psalm 107:8.

Psalm 107:8.    Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
 
Yes, we’re somewhat tardy this morning, but through no fault of mine. Let me make that abundantly clear! (smile) I went to bed early…well yes and no…but I was up early, had to go and do some blood work though, that’s why we’re running a tad behind. (smile) 

And we’re going to begin today with a prayer, one of my favourites, something I’ve shared before, doubt you’ll remember it though. (smile) But it’s one done by the Life-Study Fellowship Group in Noroton, Connecticut, some years back. It’s titled, ‘Lord, Please Accept My Heartfelt Thanks!’ And the prayer has as it’s Bible promise: ‘Praise the Lord for His Goodness.” (Ps.107:8) And do we ever need to do that my fellow believers in these sad and trying  times. So please pray with me. 

‘Dear Lord, You are so good to me! And I thank You sincerely for the many blessings You send me! I’m very glad to have You in my life day in and day out – whatever I do and wherever I go! You are the One who always does what is best for my happiness! How grateful I am to be able to turn to You for guidance and comfort when troubles come my way! If any situation arises that makes me feel discouraged, You let me know I can lean on You for support! And because of Your LOVE for me, somehow I seem to find the strength to keep going – even through the most difficult times! 

I’m grateful, too, for peaceful moments like these when I’m all alone with You in prayer! Talking with You never fails to reassure and uplift me! Nothing I say to You goes unheard. You listen with great concern to everything I confide in You! For You truly care about me! As I look to 2020 I pray that You will continue to watch over me – and grant me even more of Your wonderful blessings! And may I serve You well in my every word, my every deed! Be my Guide hour by hour, I pray! Amen!’ 

Oh friends, what a marvellous prayer! I think it covers all the bases: gratefulness for guidance and comfort in times of trouble; encouragement and support when necessary. As the old Bill Wither’s song says, ‘Lean on me when you’re not strong. And I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on!’ Now that’s exactly what our God does! And we can surely do that with all confidence because He is an omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present God! And because of His LOVE…oh my people, my people, because of God’s unending, unconditional and unsurpassed LOVE, we find the strength to keep going even in the most difficult of times! Glory Hallelujah! 

As the Good Book says: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’ (Phil. 4:13) Mamma Yo! With a God like that, who else do we need eh? Not a single soul! For our God is more than enough to meet our needs. Again, as He promised: ‘God will meet all of my needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus!’ (Phil.4:19) Wow! But yuh know the best part of that prayer is the peaceful moments experienced when we’re all alone with our Maker in prayer. 

Oh friends, there’s something we experience when we’re communing with Almighty God, our heavenly Father, that cannot be truly defined or put into words. I guess the best we can do is call it peace, or the all encompassing Jewish word ‘Shalom!’ And when you’re talking to him, and know for a fact that He’s listening to you closely, and sincerely cares for you…why wouldn’t He eh, when He made you? A feeling of utmost quiet and stillness and calm, even when it’s rough, comes over you. 

Remember too, the Lord is also the Best Confidante we can ever have. He doesn’t tell our ‘secrats’ to anyone, and we can bring EVERYTHING, yes EVERYTHING to Him in prayer, because He’s interested in EVERYTHING that concerns us, be it big, small or intermediate! That’s the kind of caring and considerate God we serve and worship my people! I know some of us wrongly think that we can’t bother God with small, supposedly unimportant stuff, but He’s truly interested in it all! Just as we like our children to bring even their most personal problems to us, so does our heavenly Father want us to bring ALL our problems to Him. 

Remember, He’s not only our God, our Creator, our Judge and Saviour, but also our Father…and Friend, and He does desire to perform fatherly and friendly duties for and with us! Give Him much thanks and praise my breddren, for He so worthily deserves it! As the psalmist so rightly declares: (steups!) ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men!’  And do we ever need to thank the Lord for all the blessings He bestows on us, especially the most important one; our Lord and  Saviour Jesus Christ! 

Oh we can never give Him enough thanks and praise for that nuh, because there isn’t enough in all the world to ever make up for Jesus! Bless His holy name! That’s why I’m encouraging us to really get with the programme this year of 2020 my fellow believers, for it’s a watershed year, a year that will make or break us, a year that will set the tone for all the other ones to come! That’s why Christians have to seriously and truly come together in these perilous times, because everything depends on us; the fate of our children and our world rests solely in our hands; placed there by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ when He gave us the Great Commission: 

‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the very end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20) And yuh see how kind and caring our Jesus is? Although He’s given us a big and important job to do, He’s also given us the tools to do it, through his Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and by whom He also keeps His promise to be always with us. 

So friends, on this first Tuesday of our new year, let’s sincerely declare (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know in no uncertain terms, just 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!’ Now, as we’ve just promised, let’s go out and tell them about our Lord and Saviour, His undying LOVE and amazing friendship! Much LOVE!

…the Lord…He satisfieth the longing soul…and filleth the hungry soul with goodness… (Ps.107:9)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 July 2019 Isaiah 30:21.

Isaiah 30:21:    ​And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
 

Brother! At long last we’ve finally gotten here! Yeh friends, me and my stubborn desktop computer have been fighting for the past forty minutes to get it to boot up properly. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but most days it boots up wonderfully, then on days like these, it just decides to freeze, as though it’s going through a winter cycle. (smile) But it doesn’t seem to realize that man was made before machines, and we’re usually the winners in any battles between the two. 

And I was just as stubborn, I refused to give up and go and use my laptop upstairs, because I much prefer to write on my old, but trusty desktop – except when it starts to act up on me. So please accept the lateness of the Bit, it’s not all my fault. And now that I’ve made all my excuses, let’s get right on with the programme this wonderful Thursday morning, the penultimate day of our workweek! 

And for your edification, I’ve had the required Bible verse for our Bit long ago. While the computer was acting up, I decided to open the Good Book and see what the Lord had to offer today. And lo and behold the Good Book opened unto this excellent verse: ‘And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.’ 

Yes my fellow believers, especially in these dangerous and distasteful times, we all need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, our lead and guide on Christ’s behalf. Our Bit is part of a passage in Isaiah that’s an appeal to the Lord for help. And do we ever need help in these troubled times my brethren; and not only natural help, but more so supernatural help from Almighty God. But just like the Israelites did back then, we seem to be refusing God’s help. 

When Isaiah declared to them: ‘For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest (repentance and faith) shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke (threat) of one; and the rebuke (threat) of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon (pole) upon the top of a mountain, and an ensign (a banner) on a hill.’ (Is.30:15-17) 

And, unfortunately, we are doing the very same thing today; refusing the wonderful help of Almighty God, and thus our world and societies are full of anger, strife and warfare!  Listen to what the Lord told Isaiah after the Israelites refused to hear about the futility of relying on Egypt for help. ‘For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, (have called her Rahab-hem-shebeth), Their strength is to sit still (Rahab sits still). 

Now go, write it before them in a table (on a tablet), and note it in a book (on a scroll), that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever. That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, see not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.’ (Is.30:7-11) 

Ah mih people, what foolishness! Now hear these explanations of the scholars: ‘30:8-17. The prophet is commanded by God to write His message in a table (tablet) and a book (scroll). He is to write down God’s message for the time to come (or for succeeding generations to read). He is to note that the people of Judah are a rebellious people, who are telling the prophets See not…Prophesy not. 

They have refused the truth and would rather hear smooth things and deceits. Their rebellion and reprobation are so deep that they want the prophets to cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. While the nation was busy sending out emissaries of peace they had failed to make peace with God. Returning and rest refer to repentance and faith, which are necessary to true salvation.’ 

Oh my brethren, my brethren, we have fallen into the same trap: not wanting to hear the truth of God’s Word, but more desirous than ever of removing Him completely from our society. But that will NEVER happen! For the Lord God Jehovah is the creator and ruler of the universe, and if we try, like the foolish Lucifer, to overthrow Him, we will end up the same way; cast out into hell fire and damnation. We’re looking all about for help, except where true help is to be found, in Jehovah God! 

And these prophetic words of Bruh Paul to Timothy re the coming apostasy (abandonment of religious faith and principles) describe our current world to a T. ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be LOVERS of their own selves, covetous (money LOVERS), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. 

Without natural affection, trucebreakers (irreconcilable), false accusers (slanderers), incontinent (without self-control), fierce (brutal), despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady (reckless), high-minded (haughty), LOVERS of pleasure, more than (rather than) LOVERS of God: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.’ (2 Tim.3:1-5) 

And that is exactly what’s happening in our world today friends! It’s a perfect description of our current society! And just like Bruh Paul commanded Timothy to stay away from these false teachers, who have ‘mere religion without power or spiritual life,’ we also have to stay away from them if we know what’s good for us. Anyhow, I know that none of us are involved in that foolishness (smile) so let’s go home declaring (right ho!) our Thursday Blessings out loud, so that the world can know what a mighty and generous God we serve and worship. 

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 remember that those heavenly blessings are not for us to hoard selfishly, but to go out and share them generously, just like the Lord shared them generously with us! Much LOVE!

…only a fool…or a madman…turns away from…or tries to overthrow… His Creator and Provider…